No Noise Friday – 9 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. The Mobile Path to Purchase
  2. What is Uber?
  3. Why the New Google Keyword Planner Upgrade is Good News?
  4. Shares in Alibaba May Give Yahoo the Potential to Gain on Google
  5. Bill Gates says it Makes No Sense to Sell Bing – It’s a “Core Business”
  6. Google Isn’t Going to Devalue Links Anytime Soon – Matt Cutts

1.The Mobile Path to Purchase

A study released by Comscore shows that smartphones and tablets have dramatically changed the digital media landscape. Today in the US, more than half of all time spent consuming digital media occurs on mobile platforms (42% smartphones, 12% tablets).This has had a huge impact on local search behaviour.

The survey found that almost 90% of smartphone users conduct local searches. The top reason for local search is to find a specific business. However the second most common reason was to find a business selling the product or service desired (category search).

What this shows is that while many local searchers are looking for “name in mind” information, a substantial number don’t have a specific business in mind. The advertising implications of this are obvious.

Compared to other devices, mobile phones have the highest conversion rate. Nearly 80% of mobile phone searches end in a purchase and 75% of these are in brick-and-mortar stores.

Why should you care?

We’re seeing similar behaviour here in NZ with most websites experiencing significant jumps in visits from mobile devices. (If you have Google Analytics on your website check out the mobile report under the Audiences tab – you’ll probably be surprised).

With the growth in mobile traffic it’s essential that businesses have mobile optimized websites with complete location information to satisfy user expectations and AdWords advertisers should be using Google extensions to localise their ads.

2. What is Uber?

The cost of using a taxi in New Zealand has been all over the media. Annoyed customers have been voicing their opinions over expensive prices charged. The spot light on that current model of transportation is about to get a little more intense.

A new challenger has set up shop in the New Zealand market.

Uber a company that connects riders to drivers through its apps in countless cities across the globe has officially launched in Auckland providing transport in Ponsonby, Parnell, the CBD and Mount Eden.

Why should you care?

Apart from offering a different option to catching a taxi it’s important to note that this coincides with Google Maps releasing a major update for Android and iOS. The update comes with a range of new features including;


  • Lane Guidance
  •  Offline Mode
  •  Local Search Filters
  •  Public Transit Integration
  •  Access Your Favorites
  •  Plan Your Vacation


  • Uber Integration

Google Maps has direct integration with Uber. If you want to utilise Uber or any of the aforementioned features within the Google Maps App make sure that you upgrade yours ASAP.

3. Why the New Google Keyword Planner Upgrade is Good News?

Last week, Google made some upgrades to their keyword planner tool. This upgrade happened quietly and has new features which offer some major improvements.

  • Seasonal Trends.
  • Device Performance.
  • Location Targeting.
  • Monthly Average Searches

Why should you care?

Seasonal Trends: If you have a business that has seasonal fluctuations such as travel, tourism and retail you can now see where the peaks and troughs are. This means that you can budget more accurately.

Device Performance: Gives you help to determine bid adjustments for each device and see trends for specific devices in terms of seasonality.

Location targeting: You can compare average monthly searches by specific locations. There is a preview function available for device and location bids that let you see what impact bid changes will have on keywords in the keyword plan.

Monthly Average Search: Gives you the ability to compare average monthly searches for two time periods. This will help you pick out keywords which are the clear ‘winners’ in the account based on performance. You can see how search volume for multiple keywords have changed over time compared to Google trends where you are limited to one – saving time.

4. Shares in Alibaba May Give Yahoo the Potential to Gain on Google

The leading e-commerce company in China Alibaba has filed papers for an initial public offering of stock with the aim to raise at least $1 billion. Some analysts are predicting that it could raise more money than the $16 billion dollars FaceBook raised 2 years ago. This would give it an estimated market value of $150 – $200 billion.

Yahoo is going to unload an estimated 40% of its stake in Alibaba which would free up over $10 billion for Yahoo to invest. The company is hoping that it can use this money to close the ever widening gap between themselves and web rivals Google and FaceBook.

Why should you care?

It will give Yahoo the ability to try and buy high profile startups that have high user traffic. The company may look at purchasing Snap Chat or putting an offer in for Pinterest. If Yahoo can increase its market share it may offer another viable avenue for your business to market on. Yahoo spent a fortune on buying Tumblr.

Let us know if you have any predictions about which start-up Yahoo might have their eyes on next.

5. Bill Gates says it Makes No Sense to Sell Bing – It’s a “Core Business”

If you have used Windows 8, you know that Bing is baked in to the whole experience. For instance, if you search for a document on your C drive – it’s Bing that does the work.

In fact, the default settings stay firmly within the Microsoft family.

Why should you care?

Bing currently holds a 3% market share in NZ; however this is expected to grow, as more people upgrade their PCs, tablets or phones to ones with Windows 8 preinstalled.

While Bing is unlikely to seriously threaten Google, there are a growing number of searches that are being conducted on Bing.

Although Bing’s organic search results are broadly similar to Google’s, we recommend supplementing these with well-targeted Bing Ads.

There are unlikely to be as many of your competitors using Bing Ads, which can result in low CPCs. We often find that the conversion rates from Bing Ads are similar to AdWords, which means some very low cost per conversion figures.

It is well worth running Bing Ads, in our view.

6. Google Isn’t Going to Devalue Links Anytime Soon – Matt Cutts

Google’s Matt Cutts stated that backlinks, a core part of Google’s ranking algorithm will become less relevant over time. This is largely unsurprising as Google will aim to leave as little as possible open to manipulation.

Matt Cutts states that he expects for the next few years backlinks will still be used to assess the basic reputation of websites.

Significant changes are likely a long way down the track though, with Cutts admitting earlier this year that internal testing has been done where the influence of backlinks were excluded, although the quality of results was ‘much, much worse’.

Why should you care?

Backlinks have always been a key indicator on authority that Google uses in its algorithm to rank websites. And Matt Cutts indicates that this will most likely continue for “next few years”.

You should focus on the “next few years” in this statement. Meaning that while having a back link strategy in place is very relevant today you should also be preparing for the future that is less reliant on links.

A few ways of doing this is by building authority in your industry by producing great content, building your brand through authorship and having effective on page SEO.


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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