The latest developments in Search – what you need to know

Welcome to the latest in search news, techniques, changes and industry rumours.

At a glance:

  • FirstClick Presenting Partner at the Google Analytics User Conference (GAUC)
  • ‘Structured snippets’ introduced to organic search results
  • The 27th Panda update rolls out!
  • Top Christmas season tips for retailers
  • What the Apple Watch means for Search?
  • Changes to mobile ad creatives
  • Local inventory ads expanded to Australia
  • Dynamic remarketing now available across all verticals
  • Searchmetrics 2014 SEO report released

Enjoy!

FirstClick Presenting Partner at the Google Analytics User Conference (GAUC)

FirstClick attended the Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) as an industry panel expert answering questions about working with a GACP.

We were surrounded by analytics celebrity Avinash Kaushik, analytics evangelist Justin Cutroni and a strong presence from the GA Product team.

We took out some great key learnings from hot topics including Google Tag Manager, attribution and how to make use of the next product features including cost data import and enhanced eCommerce. To get the inside scoop, get in touch and schedule a consultation or book in a Google Analytics audit.

Google introduced ‘structured snippets’ into organic search results

Google announced the introduction of ‘structured snippets’, which shows additional data directly underneath individual search results. The results are showing for various superhero characters, product specifics, popular events and company profile searches.

It’s important to note that these structured snippets are not shown through structured data (schema.org) but are powered by Google algorithms that try to find interesting tables within webpages to extract key facts relating to the topic of the page.

Essentially, Google is adding further reward (beyond just higher rankings) for excellent, unique and detailed product descriptions with the introduction of snippets. There’s also the benefit of further increasing your conversion rate.

Below are a handful of search queries I found that have gained structured snippets already:

With the introduction of structured snippets, it’s more important than ever to take a closer look at how we create and format product specifications. Google announced, “We have algorithms to determine quality and relevance that we use to display up to four highly ranked facts from those data tables,” so you may not have control over what’s shown. The key is to test different versions to see which work best. We’ll be talking to our clients about this but if you have questions, please reach out.

The 27th Google Panda update!

Last month Google started rolling out its 27th Panda update (4.1) to continue its push against spam and duplicate content.

As per the announcement, if your website has rich or high quality content, there is a good chance you may actually receive a boost in rankings.

This latest update is more equipped to identify the low quality content. ‘Low quality’ essentially means content that is copied from elsewhere, is poorly constructed in terms of language and grammar or is one of hundreds or thousands of pages each with just a few words. Generally it will impact eCommerce sites who use standard manufacturer product descriptions, lyric and medical condition sites who all publish the same content. We constantly monitor our client’s accounts for any changes in rankings in general so this isn’t a concern for our clients.

Top Christmas tips for retailers

According to recent research, 29% of shoppers plan to start their holiday shopping before the end of October. With this in mind, Google has put together a Holiday Shopping Checklist filled with the season’s best practices for retailers to maximise performance across both Search and Shopping campaigns.

Address increased shopping demand today: Last holiday season, traffic sent to merchants from Google Shopping doubled year-on-year. This momentum has continued and in July we saw traffic sent to merchants surpass last year’s peak holiday traffic from Google Shopping. Get the most out of this high volume shopping period by establishing your marketing goals early and using the checklist to help achieve them.

Connect with mobile shoppers: The best way to connect with your customers is to be there whenever and wherever they’re looking for your products, and increasingly this is on mobile. Make sure you plan for a significant proportion of your shoppers to be mobile this season.

Provide fresh and accurate information to customers: Pricing and shipping are two of the most important factors for shoppers when making a purchase online so it’s important to update your product feeds regularly. Improve the customer experience by using automatic item updates on Google Shopping based on the data found on your website. If you offer free shipping, include messaging in your text ads or use the new Merchant Center shipping configuration tool to reflect this in your Shopping campaigns.

The Apple Watch will enable users to keep up with their social connections from their wrist. With the Apple Watch launching in 2015, it’s too early to tell how it will stack up in terms of search.

Designed to work with an iPhone, the watch is packed with sensors that can be used to help monitor your activity as well as access social apps like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Users of the watch will even be able to make purchases with the included NFC technology at a selection of retailers, such as McDonalds and Whole Foods in the US. Watch this space!

Changes to mobile ad creatives – Make every character count

Google announced an improvement to the way ads look on smartphones to make it easier and faster for consumers to find things while searching on the go. From October 15th, ad extensions may show in place of the second line of ad text (depending on performance) for mobile search ads.

We’ll be reviewing our client’s mobile ad creatives to make sure all of your relevant information is in the description line 1.

 

Local inventory ads have expanded to Australia

Google announced local inventory ads are now available in Australia. Local inventory ads are designed to make local shops and products accessible to people searching online.  Aussie retailers now have the opportunity to promote their store items and products to nearby shoppers on Google.

Dynamic remarketing now available to advertisers across all verticals

Over the next few weeks Google will be rolling out dynamic remarketing to all verticals including hotels, flights, real estate, classifieds, jobs, auto, finance and education.

Dynamic remarketing shows site visitors tailored ads that feature the products they viewed on your website, and related products they might be interested in. Let’s say you sell cars and offer hundreds of makes and models in multiple cities. With dynamic remarketing, you can build one ad that will dynamically show tailored messaging to your site visitors, like the cars they engaged with on your site, and similar cars in that city and price range. Beta clients across multiple verticals reported a 2x increase in conversion rates and 60% reduction in CPA when they added dynamic ads to their remarketing campaigns.

Search Metrics released their 2014 SEO rank correlations and factors report

This report re-emphasises that it’s all about content. High quality, relevant content ranks better and is ‘identifiable by properties such as comprehensive wording in regard to the co-occurrence of related terms in the context, a higher word-count and media enrichment.”

The report outlines how having a well optimised technical performance of a page contributes to good rankings. The quantity and quality of backlinks also remains crucial as there are many features this year that have been revised to improve the quality of the results.

Check here for more information.

Articles we’ve been reading:

Seen anything interesting you think we should have included in the round-up? Be sure to let us know.

Remember that our FirstClickers are experienced, passionate and performance-driven people, who love all things digital, 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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