The Last Month in Search – August 2014

Welcome to the second edition of our monthly search news wrap-up. Each month we release a summary post of all that is recent and newsworthy in the world of digital marketing – including the latest in SEO, SEM, content marketing, social media marketing, CRO, analytics and more.

Video Marketing star performer

A report from Vidyard says 71% of marketers say video content conversion rates outperform other marketing content. The study has shown that, “video converts better than other forms of content and this performance certainly contributes to an improving ROI for video.” It’s worth noting that this specifically relates to the inclusion of video in page as a content asset rather than off page.  YouTube still has one of the lowest conversion rates and average visitor values of all social networks.

HTTPS as a ranking signal in Google’s web-search

Google’s newest update now provides a slight trust signal for site wide HTTPS. Our SEO Director, Andrew Gloyns weighs in on the topic: ‘When I saw this announcement from Google first thing I thought of was to look at shares in SSL certificate registrars as I imagined people blindly buying SSL certificates ‘because they help you rank higher’ rather than looking at the bigger picture.” People are constantly looking for the next SEO silver bullet.  Let us assure you, this isn’t it!

From an SEO perspective, Andrew also points out that, “there are many other levers that will make a much bigger impact than having HTTPS such as having a fast, responsive website with content that addresses the audience’s need. Incorrect migration to HTTPS can actually have a negative impact on your SEO due to content duplication and page speed issues so it should be carefully considered.’

Quality Guest Blogging included in Google Webmaster Guidelines

Google updated their webmaster guidelines, specifically in the little or no original content guideline, to add “low-quality guest blog posts” as an example of “scraped content.” Guest blogging continues to be a tactic that can work when highly targeted, however, it is now such a minefield as to what is and isn’t acceptable that it shouldn’t be considered as part of an SEO strategy, rather a component of a greater inbound marketing strategy.


Bing Tests New Search Results Design & Top Navigation

Bing is testing several new interfaces for their search results. They are testing three different variations of this test and @rgomezric captured them. Here is the current Bing interface followed by the three tests:

 Image Sources:


Google Image Search Bug Leads to Duplicate Auto Accident Images in Search Results

A Google image bug showed images of a Russian car crash for most queries on August 26th. When users searched for anything within Google Image Search many of the images that returned were of this crash picture below. Weird!


Video SEO in a post-snippet world

This is a great post by Phil Nottingham of Distilled that outlines how results now dominate SERPS since the recent rich snippet update. The Key takeaway of the article is that YouTube should be considered a platform for engaging with a specific audience, not just a place to host all your videos. It’s worth a read!

Bing Ads new interface

Microsoft began rolling out a new Bing Ads interface to its users in August, bringing a wide range of upgrades, improvements and new features. The key benefit we see for you is improved efficiencies with campaign management including negative keywords and opportunities. Another improvement Bing has announced is improved location targeting enabling refined radius targeting for local campaigns.

Close variant matching for all exact and phrase keywords

Whether it’s “kid shoes”, “kid’s shoes”, or “kids shoe”, people interested in buying a new pair of shoes for their child want to see the most relevant ads despite the variations in their search term. Google recently announced that in late September, they will be applying close variant keyword matching. With this update, you will no longer have to build extensive lists of misspelled or abbreviated variations of your keywords,  instead you can focus on adding negative keywords (including close variants you don’t want to match for) to gain traffic and reduce spend.

Create engaging mobile ads for GDN

Google recently added the ability for AdWords advertisers to upload HTML5 ads built with Google Web Designer into Google Display Network campaigns. For an interesting read on how to use this integration to build HTML5 ads for you GDN campaigns, see an overview on the Inside AdWords blog here.

Have you upgraded your Google Shopping Campaigns?

August 31st has been and gone so that means you should have well and truly upgraded your campaigns to ensure they are set up to your requirements. At the end of August, regular Product Listing Ad (PLA) campaigns retired and were replaced by shopping campaigns.

Google AdWords Launches Website Call Conversions

Google recently announced an addition to their AdWords platform. Google will now give advertisers the ability to track call conversions for customers who click on a paid ad and then call the business after browsing the website. One of our partners, Delacon, responded to the recent update with this great article.

Other articles we were reading in August:

What have you been reading in August? Are there are any other updates that you think should be included in this monthly round-up?

Remember that our FirstClickers are experienced, passionate and performance-driven people, who love all things search, therefore don’t be shy about commenting and discussing anything you have read or come across in your search efforts.

You can also reach out and talk to us on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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