Last month, with the help of Dr Pete Meyers from Moz, we looked at how PPC ads are changing and what they will look like next year.
Some of these predictions have already happened, such as the yellow 'ad' labels and less obvious background shading.
One of the themes of that article was Google's efforts to make ads blend in more on results pages, something Dr Meyers referred to as 'ads in sheep's clothing'.
This is now happening in Google's UK results, with the top PPC ads on some brand searches resembling results more than ads.
Yesterday, I had a rather heated debate with a fellow online marketer, on one of the most popular topics within SEO at the moment: Namely, the impact of Google+ (and its +1s) on search rankings - or lack of, to be more precise.
Let me start this post with a couple of caveats. First up, whilst I'm very much on record as not being a fan of Google+ (I *may* have called it 'The King's New Clothes of Social Networking' a few times) my opinion about the topic in question is entirely unrelated to this.
I may not be a fan, but I certainly recognise the impressive offering Google have developed in the fight against Facebook. I have a Google Plus profile, I encourage our clients to use it too and I pop on there at least once a week to see what's what.
It would not be a big surprise if Google was using information from Google author profiles to influence how pages rank in searches., but as yet there is no evidence to show a correlation between author profiles and better ranking URLs.
Google’s authorship markup feature allows news, other online publications and blogs to use the rel="author" tag to connect their authors’ online articles to official author profiles on Google+.
The profiles include a profile photo, biography, information about their activity and followers on Google+ as well as links to other articles by the author.
Despite the current trend to segment your audience as much as possible it's still easy to overlook the art of meta description writing.
After all Google search still reaches all of your target market and beyond.
Here's a reminder of the important considerations for meta description writing with some examples.
Brick-and-mortar retailers may face challenges in competing online, but pure-play online retailers that think they've won the ecommerce game shouldn't count out their old-school competitors.
In fact, in some product categories, brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to beat out pure-play retailers.
At a conference earlier this year, Hollywood big wig Ari Emanuel suggested that Google could do more to thwart digital piracy by helping to ensure that pirated content doesn't find its way into the world's largest and most popular search engine.
At the time, a Google executive called Emanuel's suggestion "very misinformed" and noted that identifying who owns content is not always an easy task.
But apparently behind the scenes, Google was far more amenable to the concept than it indicated publicly. In a post on Google's Inside Search blog on Friday, Google SVP Amit Singhal announced that the company has launched a new update that may ensure Google's top executives get invites to all of Hollywood's red carpet events.
According to new data, Google +1s have a stronger correlation to high natural search rankings than Facebook Likes, and play a bigger role in a blended natural search strategy.
Digital agency Stickyeyes has looked at the influence of both Google +1s and Facebook Likes as emerging ranking signals using its Roadmap tool, which analyses over 100m ranking signal metrics each month across a 13 terabyte database.
This study looked at over 7,000 URLs that rank in the top 20 positions across multiple competitive sectors in Google.co.uk and correlated their actual +1 and Like counts versus ranking position.
The results suggest that +1s have the strongest correlation with search rankings...
Don't look now but Google+ may not be dead on arrival after all.
Quietly, it has attracted some 150m active monthly users and Google's social network scored higher than Facebook in the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report.
On the brand side of things, Google continues to push forward in trying to build an attractive ecosystem. The latest example of that: a new set of Page Management APIs are coming soon.
Is a big part of search's future based on content partnerships?
You might think so looking at the recent deals Bing has struck with Encyclopaedia Britannica and Yelp.
Earlier this year, Encyclopaedia Britannica announced that it would discontinue producing its annual 32-volume printed edition.
"By concentrating our efforts on our digital properties, we can continuously update our content and further expand the number of topics and the depth with which they are treated without the space constraints of the print set," Encyclopaedia Britannica's president, Jorge Cauz, explained.