21st Jul 2017
Welcome to the Search Kernel, Further’s Search Marketing round-up for June 2017. Search is a tough nut to crack, so on a monthly basis we’ll be using our digital nutcrackers to get make the core of this fast moving industry more digestible. We hope you enjoy reading our angle on Search and feel free to get involved in the comments below.
As of 25th June a new batch of heightened Google ranking activity began.
According to RankRanger‘s Rank Risk Index, this has impacted the food & drink industry the most. Other areas affected include gambling, travel, retail/consumer goods and health and fitness categories. Their analysis also observed that this affected sites ranking 6-10 more than those in 1-5. This could well be a revert of the results from the last bout of testing.
Searching for images isn’t new. But using an image as the ‘search term’ to search for things that look similar is. And Bing have done just that.
Now you can search for an image, and then select elements or the whole image as the basis for an ‘images like this’ search.
For example, search for ‘vintage kitchen’ and you like this one…
In fact, you really like the clock. You want to see if you can find any more like it. You click the magnifying glass at the top left of the image and select the clock.
Once done, Bing serves you other pictures that look like what you have selected.
Depending on what you want, it doesn’t always work. We tried it with a Fiat 500 and it didn’t find any other Fiat 500s. This might be useful if you’re looking for something like a Fiat 500 but not a Fiat 500.
But it does recognise David Beckham.
It could be useful when you have an image of something that you don’t recognise. Almost like Googling, ‘what is this?’ and dropping in a pic.
One obvious application of this is to be able to buy things we see online. Bing says: “We automatically detect the shopping intent and, in addition to regular image search, we also run a product search to find matching products,” but we didn’t find this in our results.
How does it work? Read what Bing have to say about the new function.
On June 2, Google introduced its improved snippets. The principle behind snippets is the same as that of the blurb on a book – to give the potential reader an accurate idea of what’s inside the book to see if it’s what they’re after. So snippets offer Google users a look at what’s on web pages before they visit, to see which one might be the most appropriate.
Traditionally Google used the following information for snippets:
On-page content was the most obvious place from where to draw snippet information. But, as Google point out, this isn’t always the best solution.
This is when meta descriptions came into play: a description of the page where the on-page content didn’t clearly communicate it.
The final fallback was DMOZ or the Open Directory Project. “For over 10 years,” say Google, “we relied on DMOZ for snippets because the quality of the DMOZ snippets were often much higher quality than those provided by webmasters in their meta description, or were more descriptive than what the page provided.”
But with the closure of DMOZ, Google are now encouraging webmasters to provide good meta descriptions.
For a guide on what makes a good title and snippet, Google created a handy guide.
Now that DMOZ is no longer referenced you can safely remove the ‘noodp’ value from your homepage’s meta robots tag. Adding this informs Google to stop using your DMOZ.
<meta name="robots" content="noodp, noydir">
Google also refers to Yahoo! Directory for snippets as a fallback. Unfortunately, this post didn’t reference whether that reference is now defunct. So, it’s probably best you keep ‘noydir’ value if you don’t want that listing to be potentially used.
To top up last year’s update where Bing announced the opportunity to adjust bids for tablets and smartphones, you are now able to do the same with desktop devices (-100% bid adjustment). An essential update particularly for those with mobile-focussed business strategies and limited budgets.
Pretty big and exciting update as Bing has stepped up its audience targeting. As such, Bing is currently running tests for In-Market Audiences as well as Customer Match Audiences for search campaigns. As some might know, in-market audience targeting for search campaigns on Google is also currently in test so it will be interesting to see first results from both platforms. Clearly, this should improve campaign optimisation even further as you’ll be able to apply bid adjustments to those audience lists. Similarly, Custom audiences are going to provide marketers with better, more tailored targeting opportunities.
The end of standard text ads on Bing
It has been announced that Bing will not support a creation of the old standard text ad format as of July 31st 2017. Bing has developed some tools to ease the transition process to the new Expanded text ad format. The standard ads can still be kept in the account but it’s probably better to start converting your ads gradually to the new format.
Another long-awaited update from Bing – an introduction of competitive metrics! This means, advertisers are now able to view their impression share against competitors and have it broken down by all components of a quality score (rank, ad relevance, CTR, bid).
A feature that seems to have been available forever – remarketing – is finally available on LinkedIn! As you might know, remarketing campaigns tend to bring stronger engagement and conversion rates so is often a vital part of company’s Paid search strategy. With the remarketing targeting on LinkedIn, advertisers will be able to reach previous website visitors, existing contacts by their email addresses as well as specific company names to reach the desired decision-makers. Early test results indicate 7x stronger conversion rate and 15% higher CTR than a prospecting campaign.