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No doubt you’re all aware by now that Google is removing ads from the right-hand side of its search results pages (SERPs).
Ads will now only appear at the top and bottom of SERPs.
To give some context around what this means for search marketers, we asked several experts for their take on why Google made this decision, and also how marketers need to adjust their PPC campaigns as a result.
Another startup with a silly name? Sounds like something I’d like to get my teeth into.
For the uninitiated among you (where have you been?), DuckDuckGo (DDG) is a private search engine that has seen exponential growth since its inception a few years ago.
So why should you care?
Earlier this year, Google revealed that prominent interstitials encouraging users to install mobile apps drove users away by the boatload on its Google+ social network.
Search and social are frequently seen as two distinct marketing channels, but that could be changing.
The world's largest search engine, Google, and one of the world's most prominent social platforms, Twitter, have announced a new partnership that will integrate social content more deeply within the search experience.
Today, Google began to use mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, but the search giant isn't stopping there in its push to promote good experiences for mobile users.
Google is ditching its carousel integration for the hotel vertical in favour of a new (more profitable) 'three-pack' SERP rendering and some new secondary page experiences.
What does this mean for marketers?
Last year, we published the results of user tests which found that 41% of users were unaware of the distinction between paid ads and organic listings.
Well, thanks to UX firm Bunnyfoot, we have an updated version of the test, which finds similar results.
This time, 36% of people tested still do not realise that Google Adwords are ads.
Furthermore, about a quarter of people don’t know that Google had any advertising at all. And this despite the yellow text box proclaiming 'ads'.
Ryanair has been undergoing something of a cultural revolution recently after initiating a novel plan to stop intentionally antagonising its own customers.
It began with a simple Twitter Q&A with CEO Michael O’Leary and has developed into a full-blown marketing campaign aimed at softening the brand image and creating “a new Ryanair experience”.
A major part of the new customer-friendly image is an overhaul of the company’s previously dreadful website.
Gone are the annoying banners and fiddly buttons, replaced instead by an altogether cleaner look with a simple interface and navigation.
Unfortunately something appears to have gone horribly wrong for Ryanair, causing it to plummet down Google’s SERPs for a broad range of important search terms.
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.