Web Search & Marketing Newsletter - March 2014
Welcome to the latest issue of our monthly newsletter which covers news, tips and advice on effective website marketing, with a particular focus on search marketing techniques and trends.
In the first article this month, we take a look at the ongoing development of the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery and how this is becoming a valuable resource for users to access and develop key website performance reports within their Analytics account. Next, we take a look at the rich, interactive formats of the cross-device engagement adverts that Google AdWords recently introduced, and discuss for which types of businesses those are most suited.
In the final article this month we examine Google's targeting of link networks and how this has led to the removal from the search results of several link networks from around the world, plus the recent targeting of unethical guest blogging techniques.
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...
The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery
There have been some on-going developments to Google Analytics over the past year which have facilitated its user-friendliness with easier ways to see how your website is performing on key metrics. This should be of interest to any business using this tool, or Analytics user who wants quick and easy access to different report formats and to the key metrics that really matter to their website marketing.
Google originally announced the launch of its Google Analytics Solutions Gallery in January 2013. This was aimed to help new users, for whom it can be overwhelming to figure out where to look first for the data and insights that enable better decision making. It was also directed towards more advanced users, for whom it can be time consuming to create different custom reports or dashboards to get the clearest snapshot of a website's performance.
The Google Analytics Solutions Gallery has been developing over the past year and is now a valuable resource that hosts a wide variety of Dashboards, Advanced Segments and Custom Reports which can be quickly and easily imported into your own Analytics account to see how well a website is performing on different key metrics. Google initially introduced a range of solutions that it deemed to be useful for most businesses, but as more users create and share new report formats, the gallery now holds over 3,000 different templates, such as:
- Social sharing report - Content is king, but only if you know what it's up to. Learn what content from your website visitors are sharing and how they're sharing it.
- Mobile activity reports - choose from a range of dashboards or custom reports to get deeper insights into mobile or tablet behaviour.
- Publisher dashboard - Bloggers can use this dashboard to see where readers come from and what they do on your site.
- Technical dashboard - get insights into load speed, browser usage and screen resolutions to monitor how well your site performs.
- Engaged traffic advanced segment - Measure traffic from high-value visitors who view at least three pages AND spend more than three minutes on your site. Why do these people love your site?
Once you are logged into your Analytics account, you can access the Gallery from different points when setting up new reports, or you can go directly to the Solutions Gallery site. The most popular reports being downloaded recently are:
- New Google Analytics User Starter Bundle
- Social Media Dashboard
- Site Performance Dashboard
- SEO Dashboard - Finding Top Content and Keywords
- Segmentation Greatest Hits: From Ad Analysis to SEO to Sitelinks
- SEO Insights for Google Organic (not provided)
- The Remarketing starter pack (A recent inclusion that improves Remarketing with Google Analytics, by enabling the full power of enhanced segmentation for this data set).
Google's efforts to ease the use of Analytics for both novice and advanced users have been well received and the development of the Solutions Gallery will continue. If you would like to know more about this resource and how it can help to filter the most important metrics for your website, contact us now for more information.
Google Launches Engagement Ads
A recent development in Google AdWords has been the introduction of Engagement Ads as part of the Display Network. These ads use a new format that can be relevant to businesses that want to strengthen brand-to-audience relationships by making a rich creative canvas come alive as consumers stream videos, play games, and more.
Since the initial beta launch on Engagement Ads, they have become multi-screen compatible and offer a number of different formats. Advertisers have found it preferable to enable consumers to have the same experience with their brand, irrespective of which device they're using to connect. Google has therefore included self-service ad formats, including Cross Device ads, a YouTube Masthead Lightbox to aid in consistent branding across ad formats, and a Shopping Catalog Lightbox, which allows users to display multiple products from a merchant center account. The latter lets marketers showcase a number of items that shoppers can click and purchase, right from within the ad unit.
Engagement ads are available in a number of standard banner sizes and create interaction with the user. When customers interact with these ads, they load rich media either within the ad, or in an expanded canvas to present more information in video or graphic format. This type of interaction reduces 'accidental' engagements and therefore provides users with a better experience and should also give advertisers better value and recognition from the advert engagement. For instance, on laptops and desktop computers, people can hover their mouse over the ad for two seconds in order to engage with the content, whilst on mobile phones and tablets, consumers can tap on the ad to prompt the engaged state.
The Display Network engagement branding campaigns are directed more towards large corporations rather than SMBs, but the Shopping functionality may be more suited to SMBs with a wide range of products. You can watch an informative video about Google Engagement Ads here.
If you want more information about how these kind of ads to help your business and how they can be used as part of your Google AdWords campaign, contact us now.
Google Targets Bad Link Networks
Google has implemented strict approaches over the past year through penalising and removing link building networks and spam guest bloggers from search engine rankings. Guest bloggers defined as spam have had their sites and network of sites penalised and in some cases removed from Google search results. During the same period a number of large link building networks, predominantly from Europe, have been completely removed from the Google search results.
The head of Google's webspam team, Matt Cutts, recently announced that webmasters should avoid guest blogging requests as the practice is currently polluted with spam, which has led to a substantial amount of sites receiving penalties. The recent trend for spam content and links being generated through poor guest blogging techniques has been cracked down on by Google and more action is indicated for 2014, so doing this purely for link building is now being targeted (you can read more about this here).
Automated emails to blog owners and automated requests for guest blog posts and reciprocal link exchanges has rendered the technique ineffective, with Google now ignoring or penalising the practice. The changes in guest blogging highlights the importance of natural link building and this can also be seen through Google recently targeting and removing several link networks.
Over the past month Google has removed two major link networks in Poland from search results and this follows take-downs from Germany and other European countries. These link networks have been de-indexed from Google search results and sites associated with these networks have received substantial ranking penalties.
These strict approaches by Google over the past year emphasise the importance of natural link building to achieve SEO success. If you'd like to know more about how to avoid getting penalised by Google and the best practice for natural link-building, contact us now.
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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.