Search Engines

  • Grow Customer Lifetime Value with People-Based Search Marketing

    It’s time to think beyond the keyword, and tailor your PPC campaigns based on who is actually viewing or clicking your ad. With a people-based approach to your search marketing, you can improve the cross-channel customer experience, optimize PPC campaign performance, and ultimately re-acquire customers and grow CLTV.

    Join our paid search experts to understand how people-based search marketing, using Google Customer Match, can help you optimize your bid strategies, target or suppress certain audiences, and customize ad copy and promotions.

    Register today for “Baby Come Back! How to Grow Customer Revenue with People-Based Search Marketing,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by LiveRamp.

  • Another study shows how featured snippets steal significant traffic from the top organic result

    When a featured snippet is present, CTR for the first organic result falls below 20 percent.

    A new study released today by Ahrefs shows how featured snippets have a negative impact on clicks to the first organic search result.

    Ahrefs analyzed two million featured snippets and found that the first organic result shows a significant drop in click-through rate when a featured snippet is present. Without a featured snippet, the first result gets a 26 percent click-through rate. With it, it only gets a 19.6 percent click-through rate, and the featured snippet gets an 8.6 percent click-through rate. Here is the chart from Ahrefs:

    The study also shows that the presence of a featured snippet means fewer clicks overall for the organic search results:

    Out of the 112 million keywords that Ahrefs analyzed:

    • 12.29 percent of search queries have featured snippets in the search results.
    • Only 30.9 percent of featured snippets rank at the very top placement in the organic results.
    • 99.58 percent of the featured snippets are already in the top 10 positions in Google.
    • The vast majority of featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords.
    • Wikipedia has by far the most amount of featured snippets in Google.
    • Featured snippets often change sources.

    This follows another featured snippets study we posted last week that looked at 1.4 million queries and hundreds of thousands of featured snippets.

  • How to optimize Google My Business listings for multi-location businesses

    Being listed on Google My Business (GMB) is an essential part of any local SEO strategy.

    But how can businesses with multiple locations make sure they aren’t penalized in search rankings?

    Produced in association with SweetIQ.

    Image result for google business

    Google My Business

    Google My Business was rolled out in 2014 to make it easier for local businesses to be found via search. It had an added benefit of allowing businesses to stay on top of reviews, and to perform analytics on interactions like clicks, views, calls and requests for directions.

    In other words, it became the first step in any local search marketing strategy.

    Today, a well-maintain GMB listing remains a vital source of traffic and, ultimately, revenue – especially for businesses competing for location-specific keywords.

    Google’s ‘three pack’ of local search results, which is triggered by search terms with local intent like “restaurants Venice Beach”, is given significantly more prominence than organic results in both desktop and mobile SERPs. In fact, organic results are not even visible above the fold for mobile users.

    Google’s mobile SERP for ‘restaurants Venice beach’ (left) vs ‘Venice beach’ (right). Screenshots courtesy of Andy Favell

    Essential for SEO

    Since Google reduced the number of local results from 7 to 3 in 2015, it has become more important than ever for businesses to feature as high as possible in these results. And with 1 in 3 Google searches now having local intent (according to digital marketing expert Jordan Kasteler) there is more traffic up for grabs than ever.

    On the flip-side, competition for this traffic is fierce, meaning mistakes can cost you dearly. The Local Search Association estimates that over $10bn worth of potential annual sales are lost because of missing or conflicting information in Google My Business listings.

    For businesses with multiple locations, this is a real problem; each business location has a unique address and contact details. How can big businesses ensure they aren’t penalized for conflicting information on their Google My Business profile?

    First steps

    Luckily, Google is well aware of this problem, and allows business owners to claim multi-location business listings. However, in order to be verified by Google as such, a few conditions must first be met. A business must:

    • Have at least 10 locations
    • Not be a service business
    • Not be an agency managing several clients

    The local 3-pack for ‘pizza delivery New York’ returns Domino’s Pizza – a chain with many hundred locations


    Optimize your multi-location business

    After claiming your multi-location business on GMB, the next step is to optimize your listing. But before you can do this, you must first understand what factors influence your chance of appearing in the local ‘three pack’.

    The most important of these is accuracy across all platforms. This means making sure every piece of information about your business is consistent across all the websites it appears on, including Yellow Pages, Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, Apple Maps, Hotfrog and, of course, your own website.

    Google bots crawl all of these pages and, when encountering information about your business, will compare it to your GMB listing to establish its validity. Any inconsistencies will raise a red flag about the accuracy of your information and will likely lead to your GMB listing being penalized in the rankings.

    How do you ensure accuracy between your listings?

    1. Claim and verify all your locations using a single, unique GMB account.

    Make sure you delete any duplicate listings or accounts that may have been created by other staff members in other locations.

    2. Ensure your business name, address and phone number (‘NAP’) are an exact match wherever they appear.

    The easiest way to achieve this is to simply copy and paste from your GMB listing.

    3. Optimize your store locator on your central website so it’s crawlable by Google.

    Google considers your website the most ‘official’ source of information regarding your company, so ensuring Google can access it is essential.

    4. Use a microsite for each of your store locations.

    This gives each location a unique reference and separate About page – each with an accurate NAP that Google can crawl.

    5. Use a Local Marketing Platform to manage all of this information.

    It allows you to see what Google sees, and check and edit data for all your store location from a single interface – ensuring complete accuracy across all platform. Most can also provide advice on optimizing store locators for your website, along with detailed analytics on user interactions, traffic sources and more.


  • Bing Shopping Campaigns get inventory feeds, search query reports at product level

    Bing Ads rolled out three new features this week for Shopping Campaigns.

    1. Search term report at product level: Advertisers can now see which search queries triggered product ads a the product ID level with Product Search Term.
      This report will show whether products are triggering for appropriate search terms. But in theblog post, Bing Ads also points out that this report can help guide product title optimization in ways you might not already be thinking about, such as seasonal triggers:


      Example: If you’re selling personalized photo frames and you notice seasonal surges in search queries (for example, with Mother’s Day approaching, you could see a surge in queries like Mother’s Day gifts, Mother’s Day photo frames), it would be beneficial for you to experiment with adding the occasion in front of the product title and change it seasonally to match what customers are searching for.

    2. Inventory update feeds: Advertisers can now upload — via FTP or manually — an online product inventory update feed with availability and/or price changes as a supplement to the main product feed. This supplemental feed means you don’t have to upload a new main feed every time products go on or off sale, run out or get restocked.
    3. Feed download scheduling: Advertisers can now designate the time of day daily, weekly or monthly to have Bing Ads download automatic feeds
  • Google reaffirms 15% of searches are new, never been searched before

    Google processes trillions of searches every year, and still, 15% of those queries have never been seen by Google before.

     Google has reaffirmed that 15 percent of Google searches done by users on a daily basis have never been seen before. Google said this back in 2013 and now has restated that metric as Google announced Project Owl this morning.

    Google wrote:

    There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new — which means there’s always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search results will never be perfect, we’re as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone.

    Last year, Google told us they handle over 2 trillion searches per year. In 2012, Google claimed they processed 1.2 trillion searches per year. Google did not give a more specific number today, saying “trillions” of searches are performed yearly on Google.

    Google was specific in saying that 15 percent of the queries Google sees are brand-new, which is why search is a challenge in general. Back in 2007, that figure was closer to 20 to 25 percent.


  • Earth Day Google doodle offers up conservation tips to help save the planet


    While the official date for Earth Day is April 22, Google has posted its 2017 Earth Day Google doodle a day early.

    To celebrate this year’s Earth Day, the Google doodle team has created a slide show of animated images reminiscent of a children’s book.

    Designed by doodler Sophie Diao, the illustrations tell the story of a fox dreaming about a world with polluted oceans and suffering through the adverse impact of climate change. Upon waking, the fox begins to make small changes during his day that lead to greater energy-conservation efforts.

    Google shared the following sketches of the doodle in its early stages:

    Clicking the search icon on the doodle leads to a search for “Earth Day tips” and surfaces an interactive tool that includes a collection of Earth Day tips, along with information about the conservation efforts currently underway by the World Wildlife Fund, The Ocean Agency and The Jane Goodall Institute.

    “Today, we honor the rich, vast Earth that’s sustained generations before us and continues to nurture life and inspire wonder,” writes the Google Doodle team on its blog, “At an estimated 4.543 billion years of age, the Earth is still the only known object in the Universe known to harbor life.”

    Google’s Earth Day doodle is being shared across the globe — posted on its US and international home pages.

  • You can submit URLs to Google in Google’s search results


    Google now lets you submit URLs to their index directly in the core Google search results page. All you need to do is search for [submit URL to Google], and Google will display a box at the top of the search results that enables you to submit a URL to Google’s index.

    Here is what it looks like:

    This mimics the functionality of the public submit URL form tool but places it directly as a smart interactive answer directly in the search results.

    With this tool, you can submit any URL you want to the Google index. Google will then review and see if they want to index the URL and show it in their search results. Of course, submitting a URL to Google for inclusion in their search index does not mean (a) it will be included in the index, and (b) it will be shown in their rankings.





  • Exoplanet discovery Google doodle salutes the 7 Earth-like planets found by NASA

    Always the fan of space-travel and astronomy, Google wasted no time designing a doodle to acknowledge NASA’s discovery of seven Earth-like planets orbiting a single star 235 trillion miles from our own solar system.

    Named the TRAPPIST-1 solar system, Google shared NASA’s report that three of the seven planets are located in what scientists refer to as the habitable zone: “… the distance from the star it orbits where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.”

    From the Google Doodle Blog:

    Though scientists have some serious studying to do before we can definitively say whether any of the new TRAPPIST-1 planets are habitable, the potential is very promising.

    Designed by doodler Nate Swinehart, the animated image is now being displayed on Google’s US home page and all of Google’s international home pages. On the US home page, the doodle links to a search for “exoplanet discovery.”

    Google previously showed its love for NASA when it posted a similarly-themed doodle after NASA discovered evidence of water flowing on Mars.

    There was also a doodle in July of last year marking when NASA’s Juno probe reached Jupiter after its five-year long journey from earth.






  • 5 steps to optimizing your site for Google’s mobile-first index

    Google has started testing its mobile-first index. This new index will look first at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version.

    Google has been slowly moving toward a mobile-first index for quite a while now. Google first hinted at their intentions of a mobile-first index about a year ago, but November 4 was the first time Google has posted details about the mobile-first index on their own blog.

    So if you have been slow in joining the mobile revolution, now is the time to take action. As mobile continues to dominate search, Google and the other search engines are going to place more and more emphasis on mobile.

    Here are five steps you can take to optimize your site for Google’s mobile-first index.

    1. Speed

    In Google’s Site Performance for Webmasters video (below), Developer Programs Tech Lead Maile Ohye, states that “two seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.” Users have come to expect websites to load fast, and so does Google. Making sure your site loads fast is essential to ranking on mobile. Here are a few things to consider when optimizing your page speed.

    • Optimize images. Large images can slow down a site. Optimizing images to be the correct size is a great quick win.
    • Minify code. This is the process of removing all unnecessary characters from source code without changing its functionality.
    • Leverage browser caching. Browser caching stores web page resource files on a local computer when a user visits a web page.
    • Reduce redirects. Too many redirects can cause the site to have to reload and slows down the experience.

    2. Don’t block CSS, JavaScript or images

    In the early days of mobile design, blocking these elements was helpful. They often caused more issues and made the site drag. Today this is no longer true.

    Smartphones are, in many cases, more powerful than the computers owned by users. They can handle nearly anything we throw at them. The smartphone GoogleBot can also handle them and wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do. So make sure that you don’t hide them.

    3. Mobile design

    SEO has really transitioned from a technical skill to an art. Today’s SEO has to know and understand more than just code and ranking signals; they have to know how to use design to influence rankings.

    Mobile design is an art form in and of itself. In my opinion, responsive design is the best way to go, but no matter your process, here are some tips to optimize mobile site design for search.

    • Never use Flash. Apple killed Flash for mobile. Since many mobile users can’t view Flash elements on their phones, you need to remove them. It’s better to use HTML 5 or Java to add your extra cool elements.
    • Get rid of pop-ups. Lead generation is important, but if your mobile site is overloaded with pop-ups, you’re going to frustrate your users, and they will leave. This will guarantee a higher bounce rate and decreased rankings. So just dump your pop-ups on mobile.
    • Design for “the finger.” Since your mobile users have to navigate with their finger, make sure your design is “finger-friendly.” Accidental taps are annoying, so make sure they can scroll and tap with ease.

    4. On-page optimization

    When it comes to mobile SERPS (search engine results pages), you have less room to work with. So make sure that you keep your titles and descriptions concise and to the point.

    This will help the GoogleBot understand your page faster, as well as give the user a better understanding of who you are. This will lead to a higher click-through rate and improved rankings.

    5. Local optimization

    In September, Google released “Possum,” a massive update to the local search algorithm. Mobile search is crucial for businesses looking to drive foot traffic into their stores. Google’s research into local search behavior shows that local searchers are ready to take action.

    In this report, they show that “50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.” Local businesses have much to gain from the mobile-first index.

    Here are a few things you should implement to increase your mobile visibility:

    • City and state in the title tag
    • City and state in the H1 heading
    • City and state in the URL
    • City and state in content
    • City and state in the alt tags
    • City and state in the meta description
    • Business Name, Phone and Address

    We still have a lot to learn as Google furthers their experiment with their mobile index. But by taking action now, you can help make the case for your site and improve your visibility in mobile search.

    Don’t wait until the switch to mobile-first indexing is “official.” Now is the time for action.