Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - August 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of our regular newsletter, which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing techniques and trends, to help you keep up to date on the latest developments.
In the first article this month we take a look at how it's crucial for the content of a website to meet Google's criteria for the four key trust factors, in order for it to benefit in the search rankings.
Next we examine the IAB's recent figures that show sales for global mobile ads are nearly double in 2012 and the reasons for that significant increase, as well as the growing need for updated mobile metrics.
In the final article this month, we mark the 2nd birthday of Google+ by following up our recent story in June on "The Benefits of Using Google+ For SEO", by examining how to make the most of this social networking platform through the use of an entirely different marketing strategy to that used on Facebook.
You can read more below, or you can also browse through previous editions of the newsletter, either by month or by subject. You can also follow us on Twitter for the latest developments during the month, or follow our Facebook page or Google+ page for updates.
On to this month's edition...
Trust Factors that can Enhance a Website's Rankings
Over recent months Google has been further tightening its Panda and Penguin algorithms, to target poor content websites and in turn, help to improve the rankings of sites that contain unique, valuable content. This focus on targeting low quality content and 'web-spam' in the search rankings means that Google is trying to identify common 'trust' factors on a website or web page. This means that it's more important than ever to ensure that your website is seen as 'trustworthy' by Google.
Google has previously outlined some of the potential factors that Google looks at to determine the trustworthiness of any website. These may sometimes be difficult to identify through an automated programme, but it is accepted that there are four key factors they are looking at:
1. Duplicate or Redundant Content
It's important to ensure that your site doesn't have a number of similar content pages or articles, with just a few keyword changes. Google needs to ensure that the content pages that they will rank are driven by genuine interests of readers of a website, rather than just contain repeated content that attempts to rank individual pages well for specific terms.
2. Accurate, Quality Content
Google wants to reward websites with 'good quality' content, so it doesn't favour sites that have sloppily produced content. This might include ones that have not been accurately proof-read, have been directly plagiarised, or ones which have been "keyword stuffed". A website therefore needs to contain legible, original content that makes sense to the reader rather than just the search engine.
3. Complete Content
The completeness of the provided information is another key factor in the trustworthiness of a website in Google's view. It favours comprehensive content about a topic, rather that one that might omit vital information. This could be difficult for Google to assess but it's much better to focus on providing complete content to the reader, rather than simply relevant key-worded anchor text. Google would ideally like to find content that is seen as a valuable source of information which visitors would like to share and bookmark (including through Google+ - see below).
4. Expert Content
The factual correctness and expertise of the author in the relevant subject matter on the website is an important factor for Google, as this helps to determine if the site is a well-respected authority on the subject. Also, having a name, face, and bio associated with the content gives it authenticity and demonstrates the willingness to stand by the facts presented. This can be done through the use of the rel="author" tag, linked to a Google+ profile and it therefore makes sense for Google to use this as part of their algorithm.
Therefore Google is looking for identifiable factors on a website that may indicate 'trust' - or lack of it - when determining the ranking potential of a site. This is just one of the factors being used in the ranking criteria, but an important one that website owners have control over and have to think creatively about developing.
If you'd like more information about how we can help your website benefit in the rankings from these trust factors, please contact us now.
Sales for Global Mobile Ads Nearly Double in 2012
Figures recently provided by the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence, IAB Europe and global consulting firm IHS, found that mobile ad revenue worldwide increased sharply last year, rising by 82.8% to $8.9 billion from $5.3 billion in 2011. This is not entirely surprising and reflects the rapidly increasing use of mobile devices and the opportunities advertisers have to target these users.
The IAB reported that US mobile ad revenue more than doubled in 2012 to $3.4 billion. Growth was highest in North America, at 111%, followed by Western Europe (91%), Latin America (71%), Central Europe (69%), the Middle East and Africa (68%), and Asia-Pacific (60%). Among the regions, North America is now almost level with Asia-Pacific in the share of mobile ad sales, at 39.8% ($3.52 billion) to 40.2% ($3.55 billion). Western Europe represents 16.9% ($1.5 billion), with another steep drop-off to Central Europe at 1.3% ($112 million).
Broken down by ad formats, search continued to claim the lion's share of spending, with 52.8% of the total, followed by display at 38.7%, and messaging (third-party ads in SMS or MMS messages), with 8.5%. Search and display ad revenue grew at roughly the same rate last year (at 88.8% and 87.3% respectively), while messaging trailed at 40.2%. Its share also fell from 11.1% in 2011.
Looking at formats by region, Asia-Pacific still leads the way in display, but North America for the first time overtook Asia-Pacific to become top in mobile search, with 130% growth to nearly $2 billion in 2012. This is mostly attributed to Google's increased efforts to ramp up monetisation of mobile search as more and more of that activity takes place on devices.
Among broader forces driving mobile ad growth, the IAB study pointed to rising smart-phone adoption, the spread of 3G and 4G networks, more time spent on mobile devices and the growing focus by companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft on mobile media and advertising as well as devices.
You can read more about the IAB figures here.
Although these IAB figures are impressive, they come as no great surprise, especially as advertisers realise that mobile apps, in particular, provide a compelling canvas for engagement and brand building. Therefore marketers now need a more accurate metric to determine how much of their advertising budget should go on mobile app advertising, as the traditional metrics are falling behind in their capacity to precisely evaluate this. As a result, there are now suggestions in the industry that a new cost per mobile engagement (CPEm) metric is emerging to capture the real engagement value/ROI of mobile app advertising.
If you'd like more information about this data and how we can help to grow your sales through mobile ads, contact us now.
Google+ Becomes Two Years Old
Google's own version of a social networking service, Google+, has just turned two and the benefits of it are still to be realised by many social media advocates, brands and online marketers. So what are they, and how can Google+ be better used by businesses?
Google has been extolling the virtues of Google+ since its launch and have indicated that social-media marketers should ignore it at their peril, as well as search engine marketers who should consider how content on this service can combine with SEO efforts. Using a marketing strategy that includes Google+ as a key resource is becoming increasingly important and that strategy needs to differ entirely from a Facebook one.
Google+ was developed by engineers and as a result was originally seen as too complex for the end-user, plus there wasn't a strong reason to divert attention away from the market leader, Facebook. However, Google+ is now the second largest social network behind Facebook (693 million users) and gaining, with 500 million members - 359 million of whom are active monthly, which is a 27% increase in the past three months.
There are 3 main points of difference with Google+ that sets it apart from Facebook and need to be considered as a core marketing and general business communication tool:
Hangouts on Air
This is a powerful, free video chat function that allows an unlimited number of people to join and supercedes older conferencing platforms like GoToMeeting. Google+ is more visual and interactive, because Hangouts lets you video chat in real time with as many, or as few, people as you choose. There is the opportunity to integrate the hangout videos with YouTube, if required, and this part of Google+'s service is something that Facebook doesn't currently have.
Another key difference is in the way users can share content. Circles enable fast, easy and precise content sharing. According to Searchmetrics, sharing on Google+ is poised to surpass sharing on Facebook by 2016. When you add contacts to circles, you can assign them to a particular group such as family, co-workers, friends, etc. Then you can easily select which of your followers will see your Google+ updates. Circles lets you decide exactly who can see which content and therefore you need to create more specific content for your circles - Facebook content is more broad brush.
Google+ has two types of communities: public and private. These communities allow groups to form around particular interests. You can even join communities as a brand, which isn't possible to do on Facebook, so you can interact with influencers, experts, current and potential customers.
One other key point-of-difference is currently, at least, that there's no advertising on Google+. If you're not currently doing so, now is probably the time to create a content strategy that is unique to Google+ and then implement it with your profile. This can help your SEO strategy as well, and give you early advantages in your market if other companies are not yet using this tool.
Contact us now if you'd like more information about how we can help you improve your Google+ marketing strategy.
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We hope you've found this month's newsletter useful. Please contact us if you need any more information on the items covered, or our advice on any aspect of your website's performance. Also, if there are any issues you would like to see in future editions of this newsletter, please submit your suggestions to us.