No Noise Friday 30 May’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. Google Engagement Ads Out of Beta
  2. Webmasters Can Now See What Google Sees
  3. Google “Dealers Nearby” Ads Launched
  4. Executive Business Reporting Released by Google Analytics
  5. New Look Call To Action Overlays on YouTube
  6. Stop It – Google Confirms No Penguin Update

1.Google Engagement Ads Out of Beta

Google Engagement Ads are no longer in beta and now available to all advertisers. What are Google Engagement Ads?  Theses are banner ads on the Google Display network which feature rich media that users can interact with. There are two formats that these engagement ads come in. They are;

  • Light Box
  • Hover-to-play

Both of the formats require the user to hover over the advert for two seconds. This will activate the interactive media contained within the advert. Have a look at an example of a Lightbox advert.

Why should you care? The main reason you should care is because you only pay per engagement with this form of advertising. This means that you are only charged when someone engages with an ad by hovering over it for the required two seconds (less than that, & you don’t pay, but still get free brand exposure). Further more, when the advert is activated you get 100% share of voice.

2.Webmasters Can Now See What Google Sees

Google have added a new feature to the ‘Fetch as Googlebot’ tool in Google Webmaster Tools. Now you can see how Googlebot renders the page. So now rather than just seeing an output of code and HTML, Google will show a visual representation of what Googlebot ‘sees’. It will also show you errors on what resources Googlebot was unable to access, preventing them from fetching and rendering everything on the page. This is what the new button for Fetch and Render looks like. fetch-as-googlebot

Why should you care?

This will let you see your website as Google sees it and spot any issues. You can chose which device the render will appear as – smartphone, tablet or desktop. To show how it works, here’s how Google currently sees the SureFire homepage…


Oops, we clearly have several things that need addressing.

3. Google “Dealers Nearby” Ads Launched

The “Dealers Nearby” has gone live in the US. These are adverts for car dealers that appear in the knowledge graph panels to the side of a “branded” search. This image displays what this means.

Dealers Nearby Desktop Example

Why should you care? 

Right now this only appears to be available in the US and isn’t showing up in Google NZ search results. However it’s likely only a matter of time before it does and this will be something car brands and their dealers will most likely see as an enhancement (we think it is).  

4. Executive Business Reporting Released by Google Analytics (Premium)

Google Analytics is undoubtedly the most popular web analytics package available. And for good reason – it’s incredibly useful and its free. An even more powerful Premium version of Google Analytics is available with enhanced functionality and support.  But this comes at an eye-watering price, so most businesses are happy to stick with the free version. Google have now come up with another reason why some businesses might want to spend the money upgrading. It’s called Roll-Up reporting.

Roll – Up reporting in Google Analytics Premium allows you to get an understanding of the overall performance and interactions of all your company’s digital products. Features

  • Executive Dashboard – The dashboard aggregates the data from all of your sites and apps in real time. It offers key summaries using accurate data.
  • Notice Overperforming Business Units – The Source Properties Report allows you to see quickly and accurately what units of your business are over or under performing.
  • Customer Journey – Allows you to see the total unqiue visitor reach of all your digital properties.
  • Fast Set Up – Setting it up is easy with no tagging changes needed.

Why should you care?

“Prior to using roll-up reporting we had no way to see all of our sites in a single Google Analytics view. Now we can easily compare our nine sites and react to trends in real time. This means that a product manager with a hunch about a new traffic pattern can quickly prove/disprove a theory without wasting hours of time pulling numbers for every site.”   – Jesse Knight, VICE Media Group

The Roll Up Reporting function gives you the ability to see the big picture & make decisions faster which may well be a competitive advantage over businesses who use standard Google Analytics (which is most businesses).

5. New Look Call To Action Overlays on YouTube

Recently the Call-to-Action overlays that were on promoted YouTube videos have been given a new sleeker look. The two lines of text that usually accompany the advert will be removed and a single line Call-to-Action will replace it. This is what the expanded CTA will look like for desktop and mobile:

Expanded YouTube Advert Example

This is what the collapsed CTA will look like for desktop and mobile:

Collapsed YouTube Advert Example

Why should you care?

These visual makeovers are not the only changes. In addition the CTA clicks will be included within the “Clicks” and “CTR” metrics that are reported in Adwords for video. This will give you a better ability to see the interactivity impact of your videos. New reporting abilities will be added soon. These include:

  • Improved Column Sets – Adding a “View Rate by Default”. It will allow you to get a snapshot of your video campaigns.
  • Added Conversion Segmentation’s – You will be able to segment by conversion name and category.
  • All Metrics Visible in Videos Tab – Gives you an easier way to optimise your videos.

6. Stop It – Google Confirms No Penguin Update


With the release of Panda 4.0 and Pay Day Loan 2.0 recently there has been a lot of noise online that Google has also slyly released another version of Penguin. The Penguin algorithm specifically targets websites that are trying to game the Google system through unnatural link building practices. Google are maintaining that no penguin update had been released even though there are webmasters contesting this.

Why should you care?

If you have seen a big change in your website rankings in the last week or so, chances are that it was due to the Panda 4.0 update. Until Google states otherwise, there has been no Penguin update. However if you are engaging in a back-link building strategy – & you should be – ensure you don’t do anything that means you get nailed next time Google updates Penguin.

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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