The Latest Developments in Search – March 2015

The Latest Developments in Search – March 2015

This month in search we take a look at the not-to-be-missed search updates in January and February. Have you heard about the new mobile algorithm update? Did you know that you now have more control over which photos are displayed in your search and map results? Read on to find out more

At a glance:

  • Mobile usability will be part of the google algorithm from 21st April
  • Google Testing “Slow” Label in the Search Results
  • Businesses now have more control over which photos are displayed in the search and map results.
  • In February Google introduced call-only campaigns
  • AdWords app launches on Android
  • Google introduced Upgraded URLs for AdWords ads

Google officially announced that mobile usability will soon be a part of the algorithm

Following Google implementing the ‘Mobile friendly’ label in organic search results in November last year, Google officially announced last week that mobile usability will be part of the algorithm from 21st April.

Google’s statement reads:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

The key outtakes here are the terms expanding and significant impact.  The implication being that Google has likely used mobile usability as a ranking factor for some time, as the majority of SEO have hypothesised.  Google’s likely been experimenting with mobile UX as a signal and has finally decided that their algorithm is solid enough to ‘turn up the dial’.

We’ll be watching how Body & Soul (non-mobile friendly) performs against Michelle Bridges 12WBT (mobile friendly) in the last week of April.

For more than two years, mobile has formed a core part of the team’s SEO audit documentation and our ongoing work with clients. All of our clients successfully passed the mobile friendly test and the team will continue to work on mobile as it is a great way to drive additional revenue and conversions.

Google testing “slow” label in the search results

Google has reportedly been testing a red slow label in the search results that will warn people of site speed before they click on your website. For now, these are just tests being run by google, a timely reminder to consider how page load speed impacts SEO and user experience.

We’ve not seen one in the wild yet, but would be really interested to hear if it’s affected anyone’s inclination to click on an organic listing (particularly a well ranking one).

Google gives businesses more photo control with My Business upgrade

In February, google made an update to the Google My Business product where businesses now have more control over which photos are displayed in the search and map results.

Users can now log in to Google My Business and see suggestions of which photos work well for different fields.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Google’s been making significant improvements to their Maps product for small and local businesses, however many small business owners still report it to too hard to use, navigation, own and control their local listings.

Call-only ads are now available globally for advertisers who value phone calls over website clicks

In February Google introduced call-only campaigns. Call only campaigns are a “new and easy way for businesses to reach potential customers by prominently showing your phone number, business description and call button — right when people are searching.” The headline of the ad displays as the phone number and the display URL contains the company’s branding. Users click on either the call button or the ad the phone number to make the call.

A google study shows that 70% of mobile searchers call a business directly from search results, therefore tailoring ads for phone calls eg) call to book a free appointment, can let people know that they can contact your business without visiting your site directly.

With this new ad type, it allows you to design a bidding strategy based specifically on your CPA or ROI goal for calls as you know every click ends in a call.

AdWords app launches on Android

Google recently introduced the AdWords app, this app will provide users with an easy way to manage ad performance on the go. The new app will allow you to view campaign stats, update bids and budgets and get real time alerts.

Currently the app is only available for devices that use Android 4.0 or later, we will be keeping an eye out for more updates including more features like keyword editing and conversion data.

Google introduced upgraded URLs for AdWords ads

In February, Google announced the introduction of upgraded URLs. This new feature allows an easier and faster way to manage and track your ads and tracking parameters.

This will be a huge plus to anyone managing AdWords accounts that have manual tracking appended to the destination URL as with Upgraded URLs, Google now separates the landing page and the tracking parameters and treats them separately. This allows advertisers to update the tracking information on ads without having to re-set the actual ad and the data that sits with it, so you will continue to see historical performance.

Overall Upgraded URLs has several benefits for advertisers and agencies managing their Client’s AdWords accounts;

  • Less time managing keywords and ad level URLs
  • Reduced crawling and load time on your website
  • Faster ad review times
  • New custom parameters that enable you to gain additional insights about your ads

Articles we have found interesting:

 

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