TWIS 14 July 2017

What’s in the SEO News this week?

Major SEO News & Updates are a bit thin on the ground this week, but fortunately, there have been a few big shifts in the wider world of Digital Marketing:

#SEO #DigitalMarketing #FacebookMessenger #VoiceSearch #GoogleAdsense #GoogleLocal #AMP


Facebook Releasing Messenger Ads

Summary:

  • Facebook has released a suite of ad types which will be available in users Messenger feeds.
  •  There are three types:
    • Messenger ads, which are straight ads like the NewsFeed ads.
    • Click to Messenger ads, which initiate a conversation within Messenger (perfect for chat bots).
    • Sponsored messages, which are ads which look like messages.
  • These are starting to be available in the Facebook ad manager interface.
  • There is no organic way to appear in Messenger, but organic traffic can affect which ads surface.

TWIS 14 July 2017 Facebook Messenger Ads

Actions to take:

  1. If you use Facebook ads, log into Ads Manager and see if they are available to your accounts yet.
  2. Follow the Facebook guidance for initiating and placing ads.
  3. If you use them, target your website visitors by using Facebook Pixel.
  4. Contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

Discussion:

Facebook is becoming a bit of an advertising powerhouse, only behind Google in terms of the money spent on ads on its platform. Unfortunately, it has also been running out of inventory, meaning in time honoured fashion that new ad spots are needed. This could also be a function of fewer user posts on Facebook, meaning there are fewer posts to slot the ads in between.

I’ve not yet seen any user complaints about this, but I can imagine there will be quite a few. The messenger feed is private, or feels that way anyway. Using this will make users feel like brands, sites etc are stalking them and invading their space, especially if re-targeting is used.

I haven’t yet tested this, but I would imagine that Ad Blockers which already block NewsFeed ads will also block Messenger ads. This could be a driver to install ad blockers.

The other thing I haven’t tested yet is whether people sharing links etc via Messenger is enough to allow a re-targeting cookie to sit on your device (loading the preview may fire the cookie). I suspect it will.

There isn’t a way into the messenger feed organically, aside from people sharing links & good old word-of-mouth, unfortunately. However, if you use Facebook ads and Facebook Pixel, you can create a Custom Audience to retarget those visitors – and your competitors can use Lookalike Audiences to target visitors like yours.

More info:

Return to Top


Mobile First is NOT Mobile Friendly


Millennials Making Voice Device Purchases

Summary:

  • Walker Sands have released their Future of Retail Report, which the rather shocking revelation that 43% of millennials shop in some way via  voice-controlled devices.
  • It should be noted that this is 43% of millennials who *own* a voice-controlled device, not all millennials.
  • This really means they are shopping via Amazon Echo, not via Google Home, other devices, or via mobile voice search (yet). It’s not stated, but presumably these are mainly branded purchases, or re-orders.
  • The researchers used a fairly small sample of US consumers, which may not scale up to the entire US population, let alone the world.
  • Google tends to release very broad data statistics on Voice Search, which show it in a good light, but voice search and voice purchase is coming,
  • Kids these days!

TWIS 14 July 2017 Voice Device Purchases

Actions to take:

  1. The key things to do to prepare for voice search are to make sure you are very well optimised for local search, you are optimised for long-tail search and you are optimised for conversational search (as the tech gets better, users are tending to ask questions more conversationally).
  2.  You also need to test voice purchases where possible, and make sure you are present where users are searching for products, so when they come to purchase they seek out the product by name.
  3. You also need to work hard on vertical search. Amazon Echo is a big deal, and if you’re well represented in Amazon search, it is likely voice purchases will follow.
  4. Contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

Discussion:

We’d better all get ready for a voice search world. Naturally, voice search is the next big thing. I have a sneaky suspicion it will be like mobile search: something which will be a long time coming, until it reaches a critical mass. Don’t expect to suddenly be doing your supermarket shop by voice next week.

There is a bit of a disconnect for voice search to turn into web or app traffic. Users currently really search for specific answers rather than do generic informational / research searches. There is also a significant level of local  search “what time is XYZ shop open”, rather than “find me 5 local plumbers”.  There isn’t a decent way for the tech companies to turn those voice search queries into a 10 Blue Links, unless they just skip past those and go straight to a full pay-to-play sponsored results model.

Time will tell. Before we know it, we’ll be on the bus whispering “have a pint of milk delivered” into our phones or watches or other devices, and it’ll be there waiting on the doorstep when we get home.

More info:

Return to Top


Adsense Bans Pop Ups & Pop Unders

Summary:

  • Google Adsense has updated its policies to ban ads from being loaded onto pages which are pop ups or pop unders.
  • Additionally, Adsense has also banned ads from loading on sites which trigger pop unders.
  • If only they’d ban sites from using pop ups.

TWIS 14 July 2017 AdSense Bans Pop Unders

Actions to take:

  1. If you are using pop unders on your site and you run Google Adsense, you either need to stop the pop unders, or remove Adsense from your pages.
  2. If you use pop ups, you need to remove Adsense from the popped up pages.
  3. Pop ups and pop unders make money, but there have always been better ways of making it.
  4. Contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

Discussion:

About time too! I must admit, I thought Adsense had banished pop ups and pop unders a long time ago. It’s good that they have banned pop unders completely, since these are a very effective, but very detested form of advertising. (They are very effective because users don’t notice them popping and then forget which site popped them).

It would be good if they also banned pop ups. They are an instant site turn-off for me, but they probably can’t go that far.

More info:

Return to Top


Menu Tab Hits Google Local

Summary:

  • The most frustrating part of restaurant hunting may be near to an end as Google inserts a menu tab into the local listing.
  • This will let users check out the menu before deciding to book, or confirm that .
  • It may also mean an end to the infuriating over-blown restaurant websites with impossible to find PDF menus.
  • I can’t wait personally, although this only appears to have made it to select restaurants in the US currently.
  • Try the wings, they look good.

TWIS 14 July 2017 Google Local Menu Tab

Actions to take:

  1. If you haven’t already, it really is time to retire the PDF menu in favour of an HTML solution.
  2. Use the Schema.org structured data markup for restaurants and menus, as Google doesn;t have a specific structured data type for this yet.
  3. Don’t forget to 301 redirect the URL for the old-school PDF menu to the shiny new marked-up HTML page, and update any internal links pointing to it.
  4. Contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

Discussion:

The single most frustrating thing about choosing a restaurant is the download and opening of the PDF menus that most seem to use. It’s nearly as annoying as the Flash sites that all restaurant websites were built in. It was so prevalent, I thought it was a law that all restaurant sites had to run on Flash.

Even though this is currently US only, and it is not for every restaurant, it’s a good move forward, and will hopefully eventually wend its way to more global listings.

It makes a good deal of sense to use structured markup for the HTML version of the menu – that would really help Google and others interpret and index the menu.

Generally, if you run a restaurant, and you get a lot of searches, or visits to your menu, it makes a huge amount of sense to get this done. PDF menus are from the dark ages.

More info:

Return to Top


The State of SEO Mid-2017 Released

The State of SEO Mid 2017

We recently released the super-exciting The State of SEO in mid-2017. Read it now.

Return to Top


Twitter Apps Linking to AMPs

Summary:

  • Twitter is now linking to AMP variants of pages from its native apps on iOS and on Android.
  • The company hasn’t made any formal announcement, but SE Land reports significant traffic increase to publisher’s AMP pages.
  • There are still teething issues with AMP implementation, but it is definitely worthwhile testing for publishers, especially as the Mobile First Index is coming.
  • All the signs are there that AMP will be worthwhile to implement, although it is likely not to be a very long-term solution, as there are too many finicky issues with it.
  • Twitter, of course, doesn’t offer its own “fast-loading” variant of HTML, although it was one of the first to adopt a mobile-first philosophy.

TWIS 14 July 2017 Twitter Linking to AMP Pages

(Credit SE Land)

Actions to take:

  1. Set up AMP on your pages now, especially if you get a lot of Twitter referrals.
  2. Ensure you test that everything works as expected on the pages before pushing wholly live, especially advertising and video.
  3. As previously noted AMP causes some issues with Analytics (when using Google’s AMP solution). Be wary of this and set up a different profile for AMP usage. You need to ensure AMP traffic and conversions are tracked but don;t want it to be inflated / missed.
  4. Contact me if you would like to discuss this further.

Discussion:

Everyone loves a fast loading web. I find the Twitter iOS app (*cough* follow @BelmoreDigital) “open in reading view” option to be a godsend when it comes to reducing the on-screen bloat in websites. I haven’t tested this to see how it works with AMP URLs – the Reading View option may preclude loading AMP.

 AMP has its share of complications and teething troubles, but with the recent news that Facebook is effectively allowing AMP into Instant Articles (and effectively killing Instant Articles), its future looks rosy for the short to medium term.

There is some hope that the web will transition away from the bloated JavaScript mess it is currently, but I don’t hold out a lot of it. Initiatives like AMP need to be seized and used so users get used to a quick web again.

More info:

Return to Top


Bits & Pieces

  • Google uses ccTLD and GSC setting primarily for geo-targetting. As we move towards a cloud world, it gets much harder for Google to divine the country the content is targeting. Note that is “primarily” – other signals still count somewhat, especially the countries being targeted by inbound links.
  • Google says not to redirect by IP Location. (Almost as bad as redirecting by browser language). It’s quite often wrong and gives a poor user experience. Nothing wrong with popping up a “would you like to go to this country’s page” however.
  • Googlebot crawls without cookies or stateless, in other words. If you’re site relies on cookies entirely, you’re making life very difficult for crawling and indexing.
  • Google Search Console managed to lose 20 days worth of newbie data at the end of June. Whoops. Perhaps they need a backup solution?
  • Google My Business is rolling out a Message feature in the US allowing businesses to chat with their customers. Can’t we just talk about it?

Return to Top


TL;DR

Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

Return to Top