No Noise Friday 4 July,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. Facebook under fire for emotion manipulation study
  2. Links that are changed are trusted less by Google
  3. Google’s struggles continue in China
  4. Facebook wants a bigger slice of the video advertising pie
  5. Google rolls out enhancements for location extensions and targeting
  6. Kiwis spend up large online – Nielsen Report

1.Facebook under fire for emotion manipulation study

“Start typing in the letters “dele” into Google and you’ll see “delete Facebook account” as a top suggestion.

Delete Facebook Example


Facebook is the largest social media site on the planet. However, there is a growing number of people who are starting to turn their backs on the social network.

The social network attracted a fair bit of criticism and negative press due to a recent Facebook study that was released by a team of social scientists from Cornell University, San Francisco.

What was the study?

Basically the scientists from Cornell selected at random 689,003 of Facebook’s users and manipulated their News Feeds.

How the scientists manipulated the unknowing participants was to show a reduced amount of positive news  to some, while the others experienced the opposite – a reduced amount of negative news.

The results were that those who were shown less positive news used more negative words and those who were shown less negative news used more positive words in their updates.

Find more information about the study here.

Why should you care?

Chances are you weren’t part of the experiment. But, due to the outrage that many people are expressing online SureFire thought that we should bring it up.

It brings into question Facebook’s practices and just what they are willing to do to understand their users on a truly granular (…some might say intrusive) level.

Of course there are two sides to every story. Read Sheryl Sanberg, Facebook’s COO response here.

2.Links that are changed are trusted less by Google

Pedro Dias (a former member of the Google search & spam team)  recently said on Twitter that “Google is less likely to trust a link once it has changed from the first time it was seen.”

This is Pedro’s Tweet:

Pedro Dias First Tweet Example

Why should you care?

Does this mean that you shouldn’t change links that Google has crawled? For example changing the “anchor text” of a link. When Pedro was pressed about the tweet he said “less trust doesn’t mean it’s bad or negative.”

We don’t know if he is 100% correct but he did work for Google for many years and chances are he knows what he is talking about. It does make sense that Google might trust a link less that had been changed depending on the change.

We would suggest that if you are building links from authoritative sites or you know where a link is coming from you should do your best to make sure it is correctly set up from the get go. But if you have a link that needs to be changed – change it.

 3.Google’s struggles continue in China

Greatfire.org is a website that is dedicated to monitoring the Firewall of China. They are reporting that China is effectively blocking Google.

Right now http://www.google.com.hk (Google Hong Kong) is only accessible for short periods of time, making Google essentially unusable in mainland China.

Google is  the most dominant search engine world wide, however in China its market share is small and dwindling.

It had 1.7% market share in January 2014 but by May 2014 it was reported that it had dropped to 0.75%.

Why should you care? 

It’s important to understand that in China Google isn’t the major search engine. If you’re a company that wants to do business within China you need to utilise Baidu. Don’t put all your eggs in the Google basket.

Baidu has 58.76% of the Chinese market.

e Chart of Search Engines in China

Interestingly there are approximately 18,100 searches for “Baidu” each month in New Zealand on Google.

If you want to find out more about advertising or how to rank on Baidu talk to SureFire.

4. Facebook wants a bigger slice of the video advertising pie

Facebook has acquired video tech start up LiveRail. LiveRail is a platform that allows its clients to serve adverts on the videos that play on their website.

Facebook has made this acquisition because of how lucrative the video advertising space is. Google is cleaning up with advertising on YouTube which they own. This marks another step in the battle between Facebook and Google.

Facebook are hoping that this will increase their revenue from video advertising on desktop and mobile.

They are also banking on LiveRail’s knowledge and technology to be able to serve more relevant ads to people watching video online on their platform.

Why should you care?

Facebook videos could become another option to reach more qualified potential customers. Facebook is doing everything it can to make sure that adverts are served to relevant, qualified and interested people.

The purchase of LiveRail shows how interested they are in going after the video advertising dollar. It makes sense for Facebook to try and deliver the best results to publishers who are spending money advertising on the Facebook platform.

If you want to know more about advertising on Facebook contact SureFire.

5. Google rolls out enhancements for location extensions and targeting

Google has released  a couple of enhancements for businesses that have brick and motor locations. These enhancements are distance reports and improved targeting for location extensions.

They have made these changes because of a  recent survey from BIA Kelsey which stated “94% of consumers use online heavily for local shopping purposes.”

The changes are designed to hopefully make it easier for potential consumers to discover and visit your businesses locations.

Distance Report – This report will give you insight as to where your adverts that have location extensions are most effective. It will give you data on impressions, clicks and costs for varying distances. The distance range around your business can be between 0.7 miles and greater than 40 miles (1.13 km to 64.4 km). This information will show you whether you should bid more to target customers who are close to your store or less for those who are further away.

Improved Targeting Options – These targeting options will offer you more flexibility to optimise your targeting and bid adjustments for local extensions. This update will allow you to create local extensions with different radii for targeting and bidding based on the specific location of your business.

Why should you care?

People are using online to find out more about local businesses that they intend to shop at. These new updates allow you to target your advertising message more specifically and bid where you get the best results.

The updates will make it easier for you to advertise your business and hopefully generate more foot traffic and therefore more sales.

6. Kiwi’s spend up large online – Neilsen Report

It seems that New Zealanders enjoy shopping online – a lot! A Neilsen report which was released recently showed that the online shopping community within this country increased by over 100,000 in the last year.

This increase represents 6% growth.

“Consumers shop online for convenience, which includes being able to compare products and prices. It’s a trend that will continue to grow and with this, spend will increase substantially.” – Tony Boyte (Neilsen research director)

Why should you care?

$3.8 billion dollars is what Kiwi’s spent shopping online last year. This number is projected to grow to $4.15 billion by the end of 2014.

Of this $1.3 billion was spent on overseas based websites, leaving $2.5 billion on the table for New Zealand websites.

If you’re a company that has a website (you should) that sells products or services online it’s extremely important that potential customers can find your website. It’s equally important that when they find it they have a good user experience and find content that’s relevant to them.

Google Analytics is a great way to find out just how your customers interact with your website. Google AdWords is an effective way to advertise online. SEO is essential to make sure that potential customers can find your business and purchase your products and/or services.

Using these tools will help you position your business to take advantage of NZ’s growing interest and trust in online shopping.

Don’t get left behind and make sure that your digital marketing strategy is on point.

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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