No Noise Friday 20 June’14

The latest news about web marketing, SEO, PPC & Analytics. But only the stuff that matters from a New Zealand perspective. Less noise, more signal!

If your business has anything to do with the online world you know how much information is out there. It’s overwhelming and constantly changing.  Finding out what’s relevant to your business amongst all the noise is time consuming and can result in information overload.

At SureFire Search we want to help you by sifting through all the noise and highlighting what’s new and noteworthy in SEO, PPC and Web Analytics. But more importantly, answer the question – Why this might matter to YOU and YOUR business here in New Zealand.

Here’s what caught our attention this week…

  1. Universal Search results return 65% videos results – YouTube dominates
  2. Google knowledge graph adds phone numbers with hangout integration
  3. Is LinkedIn the Grownups Version of Facebook?
  4. Does Google’s “Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness” Study Mean What it Says?
  5. Google aiming to make reconsideration rejections clearer
  6. Have more control over Facebook Adverts both as a consumer & advertiser

1.Universal Search results return 65% videos results – YouTube dominates

A study was released by Search Metrics that highlights the dominance of Universal Search results in Google search Results.

Hang on. What are Universal Search Results?

Universal Search, otherwise known as “blended search” refers to the way that Google blends results from “vertical search engines” such as Google Images, Google Videos, Google Maps and Google News into the search results.

The statistics from the study show that 85% of all searches results contain elements of universal search. The most common out of all the vertical engines is Video with 65%.

Video appears for 65% of keywords, the majority of the video is YouTube. (mmmm….Doesn’t Google own YouTube?)

Why should you care?

This really highlights the importance of getting your video SEO in order on YouTube.

If you aren’t using YouTube video then it’s something you should consider doing.

For example, this is the result that you get for the search term ” how to build a raised garden” on Google NZ.

Universal Search Example

Mitre 10 has the number one organic result for this term.

The number two result is a video that they created in 2012. If you’re looking for instructions on how to build a raised garden and you find an instructional video telling you what to do, provided by a company that sells the materials; chances are that you’re going to purchase from them.

This video is close to two years old. However, it will be driving traffic to Mitre 10s website and customers to their physical store.

2.Google knowledge graph adds phone numbers with hangout integration

Google has recently added phone numbers that link to Google Hangouts in their Knowledge Graph Results.

This means that if you search for a local business, bar or restaurant on your desktop Google may present you with a phone number that’s clickable.

By clicking on this button it will open up Google Hangouts and let you dial the company through your computer. Google is hoping that you will use Hangouts to place an order, make a booking  or talk to someone from the company.

Why should you care?

Right now in New Zealand we couldn’t find any results of this being in place. But with the new release of Google My Business and its integration with Google Hangouts – it will only be a matter of time.  It also highlights the importance of making sure that Google can easily find your local business number on your website or Google Plus profile.

For example if you search for “SureFire Search Phone Number” you get this result.

SureFire Number Search Example


If you search on a mobile phone you can click to call. On a desktop its not clickable however it’s displayed prominently at the top of the results. This may become clickable in the near future.

3.Is LinkedIn the Grownups Version of Facebook?

For a while LinkedIn had a reputation of being the social media network for people that were looking for jobs. That’s it. It was viewed (correctly or incorrectly) as an online CV.

Another problem with the social media network was that it had a low amount of engagement when compared to the big boys – Facebook and Twitter.

However, this has changed.

Engagement has increased to a point where some people such as HubSpot Founder Dharmesh Shah report that his LinkedIn engagement is higher than on Twitter.

How did this happen?

LinkedIn through its Influencers program essentially handed the platform to its most powerful and connected users. People such as Richard Branson & Gary Vaynerchuk could now share content to LinkedIn users through Pulse.

Pulse is LinkedIn’s news and content aggregator.

Why should you care? 

The Influencer program proved so popular that it was opened up to all users in February 2014. This means that you and your business can publish content on LinkedIn’s Platform.

The biggest benefit of publishing content is that LinkedIn will promote that content for you.

For example if you have 400 connections and you publish an article all of your followers will be notified. This is different from Facebook and Twitter which rely on your followers actually seeing the update before they can consume your content.

Therefore it’s a powerful way to increase your network and authority. The mindset of people on LinkedIn is hugely different to other Social Media websites in that the people there are generally looking for business related content.

If you want to get an advantage over your competition take advantage of this.

As LinkedIn continues to grow and increase engagement with its users it becomes a more viable and less crowded place to advertise.

4. Does Google’s “Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness” Study Mean What it Says

A new study by Google and Ipsos MediaCT claims that search ads raise brand awareness. The study asked people to run a search using specific keywords like “small cars” and were then shown either standard results (control group), or results with the test brand in the top ad position (test group).

When later asked which brand first came to their mind, an average of only 8.2% of the control group named the test brand, whilst 14.8% named the test group (with some variations between different variables).

Clearly, the self-serving message Google want to get across is that even if there is no action you want visitors to take on your site, paid search ads will help your business.

Whilst this message will help increase the number of advertisers bidding on a keyword and therefore increase the average cost per click (CPC) on keywords, it’s likely that they are also wanting to get advertising started for keywords where there is no (or very little) advertising.

For example, you wouldn’t go to a website to buy soup so companies tend not to bid on those keywords. However, if you know that there are branding benefits, then it creates a reason to do this. An NZ example of an advertiser doing this is Sanitarium:

Sanitarium Example


Why should you care?

What this shows is that every search on Google creates an opportunity to sell advertising. Google has recognised that for some keywords there are simply no buyers. By trying to demonstrate that search adverts increase brand awareness they open up another revenue stream by selling for lack of a better word “distressed stock”.  Coincidentally (or not) Google NZ are currently hiring an “Account Manger (Branding)” to do the selling.

5. Google aiming to make reconsideration rejections clearer

Google has recently decided that they “may” give clearer instructions to the way that their spam team rejects manual action reconsideration requests.

What exactly are “manual action reconsideration requests”?

These are requests that webmasters make to Google when the Spam Team at Google has punished (usually a loss in rankings) their website for acting outside of Google guidelines.

Matt Cutts, the head of  the Google Spam team mentioned at SMX Advanced last week that they are “building into our templates, an open text area so an engineer can explain more about the problem.”

Why should you care?

This is good news because (if lucky enough to get it)  the explanation will help webmasters fix the issues that Google has with their website. Previously it has been difficult to see just what Google had an issue with.

Below is an example of what the rejection letter could look like –

Rejection Email Example

Please note that there is no guarantee you will get “A note from the reviewer” and that this only applies for websites which have a had manual action taken against them. If your website has lost rankings due to algorithmic changes then this will not affect you.

6. Have more control over Facebook Adverts both as a consumer & advertiser

One of the most annoying features about Facebook is being continuously shown adverts which have no relevance to you.

Facebook has announced that users will now have more control over the adverts that they are shown. They will do this by allowing the user to to see why an advert is in their News Feed and decide if they want to keep or remove interests based on that advert.

However, at the same time Facebook announced that they will allow advertisers to target users based on the actions the user took on other sites on the web.

Why should you care?

Less irrelevant adverts showing up in your Feed will be a good thing.

By allowing you to essentially choose what you are being shown Facebook is getting people to self select and self qualify. Brilliant.

By allowing advertisers to target the interests of users that Facebook discovers offsite, it opens up even more opportunities to advertise at a granular level on Facebook.

It’s important to note that this update doesn’t mean you will receive less adverts – just more relevant adverts.

Talk to SureFire if you want to explore your options around what Facebook advertising can do for your business.

OK, that’s what we think. We’re keen to hear your thoughts on any of the above.


Last week’s web marketing news

About the Author SureFire

These search marketing news updates feature articles of interest picked up through the week by the SureFire team.

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