Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - August 2016
Welcome to the latest monthly issue of our regular newsletter which features news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search engine marketing techniques and trends.
In the first article this month we look at Google's recent release of price extensions for mobile AdWords ads. This should be interesting to AdWords managers who are keen to promote products and services with prices in the first position on Google's mobile search results.
We also look at some helpful tips on how to boost video rankings through both invisible and visible ranking factors. This should be useful for SEO practitioners who focus on improving their video rankings on both YouTube and the Google organic search results.
Finally this month, we look at the purchase of Yahoo by US telecoms giant Verizon and how it intends to turn around Yahoo's recent second quarter loss of $440m by focusing on its brands and large existing user-base through digital advertising.
On to this month's edition...
New AdWords Price Extensions Introduced
Google has recently released a new ad extension, for prices, so that additional information can show with mobile text ads that includes the cost of services and products. This is a useful addition that allows advertisers to showcase some of their range in the search results.
These new price extensions show as multiple rows and provide valuable information to prospective customers before they click on the ad. Each row features a type of product or service, its description and price, and a link to a relevant landing page. This structured way of highlighting information makes it easier for people to compare their options and decide if they're interested in the products or services, right from the mobile search results page.
Google claims that the addition of these price extensions can increase the CTR by as much as 18%. Also, by highlighting the price of a service or product it may encourage people to call directly from the search results, without needing to visit the website and therefore incurring a cost per click.
For time-sensitive offers like promotions, it's possible to create multiple price extensions with corresponding start and end dates to ensure the prices remain accurate. There must be a minimum of three entries for each extension, and up to a maximum of eight.
This is an appealing addition by Google, but the catch is that price extensions will only show with mobile text ads that are in position 1. It's highly likely that the introduction of these will lead to an increase in the average cost-per-click for that position, as demand and competition increases for that top spot, especially in peak shopping periods such as the lead up to Christmas. So the best practice we'd recommend for these is to have them running only for very short periods during special promotions.
If want more information about how these price extensions in AdWords could help your business, contact us now.
Video Content Optimisation Tips
This article provides helpful information on the best practices to boost video rankings and should be interesting for any SEO practitioners who need to focus on video search results. It's divided into two sections: invisible and visible ranking factors.
Google's YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet. It offers a wide range of management features and even provides its own comprehensive analytics dashboard to help channel managers determine the value of their content. These functions, together with the close link with Google, help it to achieve a competitive advantage over other platforms, like Vimeo or Vine and attract more users by doing do.
Any company that produces video content therefore has the opportunity to attract video views and website visits from this content, either directly from YouTube or from the integrated video results that sometimes appear in Google's search rankings. However, to achieve this visibility, video content owners need to consider the following ranking factors:
Invisible Ranking Factors
- Video Filename - Use a descriptive video filename as well as hyphens between words
- Meta Tags - Research the popular search keywords before tagging your video and use the relevant tags, with 10 or less keywords per video. Also don't use the same keywords you used in your title and description as 'tag-stuffing' can get your video removed
- Watch Time - Create descriptive and emotional video thumbnails as well as a compelling introduction, then build up interest throughout the video with programming, branding, and packaging techniques. It's good to use annotations in the video and links in the description to encourage users to view more content on your website, and then encourage comments and participation to get users involved and to keep them interested
- Flags/Reports - Make sure you follow the Community Guidelines and if you feel that your video was wrongly flagged, appeal the removal.
Visible Ranking Factors
- Title - Write a descriptive, relevant title using appropriate search keywords, and limit titles to 100 characters with the main keywords towards the front of your title for better SEO value
- Description - Include keywords here as well but be aware of the first 157 visible characters. Describe the video without giving away too much information amd provide a clear 'call to action' link to on-site content
- Transcripts, Subtitles and Captions - Your channel name, icon, banner and vanity URL should reflect your brand. Remember to fill in the channel keywords and targeting, plus the channel description and social links.
- Quality - Make sure that you focus on delivering the best content possible (preferably in HD), ensure that the audio is comprehensive and of cousre the picture should be clear and not blurry or out of focus!
- Engagement - Use any and all channels to get people to watch your videos and measure your views/engagement with analytics. Promote the video and moderate comments to ensure quality and recency of engagement, and respond to people who are commenting
- Inbound Links and Embeds - Utilize any and all marketing and PR channels to build links to the channel and videos, with a focus on your best content because it will naturally attract links. Remember to also embed videos on your site or blog to build up views and engagement
- Social Shares - Set up social buttons on your website to make it easy for users to share across networks and encourage your followers to share your content.
As shown above, there are close similarities between the techniques for optimising videos as there are for web pages. If they are correctly implemented, they will result in a better focus on YouTube's priorities and a business channel that has a greater potential to rank content well.
You can read more about these tips here or if you want to know more about how we can help you to improve your video rankings, contact us now for more information.
Verizon to Buy Yahoo For US$5bn
At the end of July it was announced that US Internet firm Yahoo is to be acquired by American telecoms giant Verizon Communications for nearly US$5bn. Yahoo was once a market leader in the early days of the web, but has slowly dwindled in recent years and will now be combined with AOL, another faded Internet star, which Verizon bought last year.
The price tag for the deal is well below the $44bn Microsoft offered for Yahoo in 2008, or the $125bn it was worth during the dot.com boom around 2000, when Yahoo and its directory were popular destinations on the growing web. Verizon said the deal for Yahoo's core Internet business, which has more than a billion active users a month, would make it a global mobile media company.
Marissa Mayer, chief executive of Yahoo, who took the helm at Yahoo in 2012 but who has made little progress in returning the company to profit, said: "Yahoo is a company that has changed the world, and will continue to do so through this combination with Verizon and AOL." In late July, the firm reported a $440m loss in the second quarter, but she said the board had made "great progress on strategic alternatives".
The takeover however, which is due to be completed in early 2017, raises questions about whether the Yahoo brand could disappear. Together, AOL and Yahoo will have more than 25 brands, including Yahoo Mail, the photo sharing service Flickr, Tumblr as well as AOL's Huffington Post and Techcrunch news sites. AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong said the deal was about "unleashing Yahoo's full potential", and creating a major player in mobile media.
Beyond the talk of becoming a global media company, Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdams wants a larger share of the booming digital advertising pie. He thinks this deal will help him and, as a leading US mobile phone network, Verizon already had a wealth of data from smartphone users that it could mine. Its purchase of AOL a year ago for its programmatic advertising technology allowed it to leverage that more effectively. Yahoo, meanwhile, has struggled to build its mobile advertising business.
So its appeal is that it has content. With Yahoo, Verizon gains the Internet company's 600 million monthly active mobile users, as well as its email service, Yahoo Finance, and Tumblr, which are popular among the latest generation of users. The idea is for Verizon to take on Google and Facebook. In 2015, these latter two claimed the largest share of the digital ad market. Whether or not Verizon can compete with them, and overcome the trouble Yahoo had building its mobile advertising business, will be interesting to see. It certainly will be a significant challenge.
If you would like more information about the Yahoo takeover, please contact us now.
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.
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