Search briefing - key takeaways from September to action now

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 7 Oct, 2015
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September was a busy month in search with lots of new products, advice and news breaking.

If you didn’t have time to keep on top of the headlines, you could be missing out on fresh opportunities to keep ahead of the curve, stay on Google’s good side and improve your search position. Sit back with a coffee and make sure your SEO and search strategy factors in these September events…

  1. Instagram overtakes Twitter

Mid-month Instagram knocked Twitter off its second best in social perch with the news that it had surpassed 400 million users, soaring past Twitter for the first time ever. Why is this important for your search strategy? Social media is essential for SEO and is widely considered to be a ranking factor. If you’re time poor, you need to focus your efforts on the networks where you’ll get the best returns. If you’ve previously dismissed Instagram, the news that is now has more active users than Twitter means it’s worth rethinking your approach. If you aren’t using Instagram, now could be a great time to introduce a foot into the water.

  1. Google confirms Panda still rolling out

If you breathed a sigh of relief two months ago when Panda 4.2 made its debut and your site navigated the tricky waters unscathed, you may want to shore up your defenses. Google has confirmed that Panda 4.2 is still rolling out – almost three months after it was introduced. The search engine says this will be the case for some time to come so don’t rest on your laurels. There is still the potential for your site to be sent off course by Panda 4.2. What does this mean for your SEO? Be vigilant about link audits, content audits and best practice. Just because you haven’t noticed a difference yet, doesn’t mean you won’t.

  1. Pinterest reveals user figures and lowest ad opt out rates in the industry

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann told Ad Week in New York that it has 100 million active users (mainly in the USA) and the lowest ad opt out rate in the industry. What does this mean? Ads are still fairly new on Pinterest so you may not yet have bought into the promoted pins or buyable pins functions which were launched in summer. However, with the ability to buy direct from a pin, it is worth exploring. Silbermann said the low ad opt-out rates mean the site offers excellent potentials for advertisers.

  1. Google adds customer match

Google has introduced a customer match feature for AdWords advertisers. For brands that upload their customer details, there is now the potential to display hyper targeted advertising and match advert targeting to user profiles through demographic and behavior comparison.

  1. Google takes hard line against repeated offenders

Google published a post on its Webmaster Central blog warning websites who are repeatedly found to be in violation of the search engine’s good practices guidelines could be banned for life. It says some sites try to fool the search engine by removing bad links when hit with a manual action, only to reinstate them when the penalty has been removed. Google says it is now wise to this practice and sites that persist with this strategy will face permanent exclusion from the SERPs. The takeaway? You can’t fool Google!

  1. Dynamic Callout Extensions Added to AdWords

Towards the end of September Google unveiled dynamic callouts for AdWords. This new technology is used to automate some ad text – it will pull certain information about your business and your product from your website and automatically insert it into your AdWords ads. What does this mean for your AdWords campaign? Dynamic callouts can make your PPC ads much more compelling. You can opt out if you want to retain full control over ad text though.

  1. The millennials are coming

If your business targets the Millennials then your social strategy in particular needs to be on point. comScore data found US Millennials spend an average of 30 hours a month browsing social media sites from a mobile device. 26 of the 30 hours were spent on Facebook. What does this mean for your digital strategy? If consumers between the ages of 18-35 are important to your business, read Chris Woods’ post on mobile marketing to millennials.

  1. Structured markup could be a ranking factor after all

Google’s John Mueller threw the Internet into chaos when he said that sites not using structured data markup could see their search engine rankings slide. This is in direct contradiction to what Google has said previously. The lesson? If you aren’t using structured data already, it’s time to plan it.

  1. TrueView rolled out to AdWords advertisers

Right back at the beginning of the month, Google announced that TrueView would display alongside Search, Shopping and Display campaigns in the AdWords interface. The change meant three new reporting columns and the capability to manage TrueVideo video campaigns from the AdWords dashboard.

  1. Mobile pushes changes in Google Display Network

The expanding importance of mobile has led to new improvements in Google’s display network. The changes include more transparency in the AdWords audience insights and a fresh approach to dynamic remarketing. What does this mean for your search program? Check you are making the most of the new features ahead of the busy holiday season. If you haven’t logged into your AdWords interface for a while, make the time to do so today. If you outsource the management to a PPC agency, schedule a call and check that all of the new features rolled out this month or being used to maximum effect in your campaign.


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