Dynamic Search Ads Go Beta, Analytics Adds Flow Visualiations And Alters Keyword Encryption, & More

Dynamic Search Ads Go Beta, Analytics Adds Flow Visualiations And Alters Keyword Encryption, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks

Dynamic Search Ads Goes To Beta Phase Testing

Dynamic Search Ads allow Google to show an account’s AdWords ad on keyword queries that weren’t bid on, but have relevance to pages in your website. The catch is that Google then sends that traffic to what it deems as the most useful page on your site, as related to that query. However, you are able to specify which pages should not receive that traffic, and which pages are preferred traffic magnets.

Source: Google Inside AdWords Blog

Google Alters Analytics Organic Search Tracking Policy

Websites can no longer rely on Google Analytics to provide concrete insight into organic keywords that bring users to the site through Google. A recent Analytics blog post announced that, if a user is signed into their Google account and conducts a search that brings them to your website, that query will no longer show up in Analytics as anything more than “organic traffic.”

Source: Google Analytics Blog

Google Analytics Gets Prettier With Flow Visualizations

At the Web 2.0 Summit, Google Senior Vice President of Ads Susan Wojcicki detailed the roll out of a new Google Analytics visual feature, Flow Visualizations. The Napoleon Bonaparte-inspired design displays user behavior based on location, browser, user type, etc. in a flow diagram.

Source: Mashable

Site Speed Is A Ranking Factor, But Rarely Does It Influence Searches

If you do a Google search 100 times, just once will a query be heavily affected by site speed, according to Google spam guru Matt Cutts. When answering a question on Google Webmaster Central’s YouTube Channel, Cutts also addressed how average page speed is determined, which is based on toolbar data and sometimes is more indicative of connection speed than page loading time.

Source: Search Engine Land

New Study Uncovers Motives For Facebook Use Among Top Brands

Covario, a search marketing firm and SaaS SEO provider, analyzed the most popular brands on Facebook and compiled statistics about their goals, and success using the web’s top social network. Most brands (35%) use Facebook to drive sales, 24% use it to drive engagement, and 23% aim to drive brand awareness.

Likewise, 40% of brands determine success on Facebook as growing their follower base and reaching their followers, 30% judge success by engagement (monthly posts, Likes, comments, etc.), and 20% feel the technical aspect (brand name in title and URL, name in description, using “official,” etc.) drives success on Facebook.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Places Pages Can Now Be Updated Without Business Verification

As Google Places becomes a regularly used tool in Google’s ever expanding toolbox, the search engine is now allowing users more freedom to access and edit incorrect addresses, hours, and other business information. The business will always receive a notification email when something is changed, and Google’s web-crawler now constantly scrapes for up-to-date business information to help automate that process as well.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Google + Gets Twitter-Like Hashtag, Real-Time Search

The most recent Google + update features hashtag search support and real time results that include a “Most Recent” button. The layout and functionality looks extremely similar to Twitter, furthering the assumption that Google + has more in common with the simplistic social network than its perceived competitor, Facebook.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Makes A Strange Pitch For Switching To Bing

If you conduct a “split test” search on Google and Bing for 10 different terms, 70% of the time you’ll receive the same results. That’s according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who also reasoned that the remaining 30% difference will be split evenly in terms of experiencing better results. It’s an interesting persuasion strategy to say that you offer the same product as your top competitor; therefore, people should use it.

Source: Search Engine Land

Meta Keyword Tags Are Alive And Well At Bing…As Spam Detectors

Much like that awful Limp Bizkit shirt you own that is now used as a rag to clean the house, meta keywords have become a spam-buster for Bing. Apparently the rising search engine uses meta keyword abuse as an indicator for low-quality websites.

Source: Search Engine Land

Organic Page One Click-Through Rates Are Declining

Traditionally, you’re living the good life if your website shows up on page one of Google or Bing SERPs for any desired keyword. However, a recent study from Slingshot SEO suggests that page one ranking may not carry as much valuable as it once did.

According to the study, entitled A Tale of Two Studies: Establishing Google & Bing Click-Through Rates, 52% of Google users click on a page one organic search result, while Bing users do so at exactly half the rate (26%). A top ranking on Google pages entices roughly 18% of all clicks, with the second ranking garnering 10%. Bing’s numbers are even smaller (9.66% and 5.51%, respectively).

CTR study

Nearly all CTR studies have differed in their results, but this most recent one certainly indicates that users are increasingly offered multiple different tools and click options on Google and Bing that are permanently changing the way they interact with search engines.

Source: Search Engine Land

Bing Click-Through Rate Study Yields Interesting Results

As a follow-up to the above post explaining a decline in overall click-through rates on major search engines, Slingshot SEO has released a study that declares the top position in Bing search results nets just a 9.66% CTR. The decline can be seen clearly in the graph above. Another finding of note was that Bing page one, overall, receives a 26.32% CTR, as oppose to Google’s 52.32%.

Source: Search Engine Watch

In Terms Of Traffic, Google + Is Quickly Becoming Google –

Google + traffic has declined 60% since its peak reached upon public release, according to Chitika Insights. The trend is “prolonged and sustained,” according to the report, and reasons behind the decrease in traffic could include Google’s obsession with developing a competing social network with Facebook instead of outperform it, and Facebook’s regular counter-moves to keep users on their site instead of switching over.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Google + Allows Pseudonyms, Google App Support

In more Google + news, the social network now allows users to refer to themselves through pseudonyms. Users can also integrate Google App support into the program, and both features are seen as a simple response to user feedback as well as current Facebook offerings.

Source: Search Engine Land

The More Facebook Friends You Have, The Denser Your Brain Becomes

A University College London study recently uncovered some interesting facts about the correlation between brain changes in structure and Facebook activity. According to the study, people with larger amounts of Facebook friends have more grey matter density in the amygdala and a few other regions, including the right entorhinal cortex. Translation: If you socialize a lot online, there’s a tendency for you to be more social offline.

Source: Mashable

Google Gives You Some Tips For Protecting Your Online Privacy

In a twist of irony, Google has pulled together a guide for carefully navigating the web without revealing too much about yourself and protecting your privacy.

Source: Google

Google Redesigns Gmail

Pictures of the new Gmail design. It has brighter colors and a more industrial design when compared to today’s version of Gmail. There is also a Google video about on YouTube.

Source: Business Insider

Google Presentations Get A Makeover

Google is offering more features for Google Presentations, which allows people to collaborate to create presentations similar to how Google Docs works. Similar to PowerPoint, the presentations will offer transitions, animation, new themes, drawings, rich tables and more.

Source: The Official Google Blog

Groupon And LivingSocial Inflate Regular Prices

A former employee from LivingSocial confirms that sales reps increase regular prices to make it appear like people are getting a better deal than they really are. The source says the sales reps are under great pressure to meet their numbers and some inflate prices intentionally to meet sales quotas.

Source: Business Insider

MC Hammer Announces He’s Creating A New Search Engine

For real. And U can’t touch it.

Source: Washington Post

Notable Commentary

Sans Meta Keywords

Reactions To Google Analytics’ Recent Keyword Policy Change

The SEO world has undoubtedly been thrown in a tizzy over the recent Google Analytics policy change. Alan Bleiweiss explains that there are bigger things to worry about than keyword tracking, no matter how contradictory the policy may seem. Matt McGee also provides a great breakdown of the various reactions to Google’s most recent update.

Analysis By: Alan Bleiweiss, Search Engine Journal

Analysis By: Matt McGee, Search Engine Land

The Brewing War Between Amazon, Apple, Facebook, And Google

The top four tech companies in the world are poised to compete with each other for technological supremacy over the next decade and beyond, and Farhad Manjoo has a prep sheet for the upcoming war. The battles will be conducted in individual spaces, rather than in a comprehensive field akin to the final one in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

Analysis By: Farhad Manjoo, Fast Company

Someone Leaked Google’s Human Search Quality URL Rater Guide

When Eric Schmidt explained Google’s testing process in front of Congress a few months ago, he specified that the search engine ran around 20,000 test modifications in 2010 and kept roughly 500 of them in order to improve search results. He also said they use a combination of mechanical and human rating systems.

Apparently someone leaked the Google URL rating guide on Amazon’s cloud (it has since been eliminated), and Miranda Miller decided to run down some of the biggest things Google asks people to look for when testing a good URL. It’s long, but definitely an interesting read if you want any insight into how Google conducts their human tests.

Analysis By: Miranda Miller, Search Engine Watch

INFOGRAPHIC: The Trials And Tribulations Of Facebook

Search Engine Journal has a fascinating “This Is Your Stalker-ish Life, Facebook” infographic detailing the world’s leading social network and its abundant privacy (and other) issues. It starts out with a conversation between a 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg and a friend, and just avalanches from there.

Analysis By: Melissa Fach, Search Engine Journal

INFOGRAPHIC: The Link Between Good Content And Good SEO

Quality content and an effective SEO strategy go together as well as John Lennon and Paul McCartney (from 1962-1969 at least). Search Engine Land has compiled statistics into a cool infographic explaining their intertwined importance.

Analysis By: Search Engine Land Infographics

The Myth Of ‘Mobile’ SEO

As mobile Internet access grows exponentially, there’s an increasing need for SEO professionals to focus on building out mobile strategies. However, Ryan Jones explains why the term “mobile SEO” is a joke and, realistically, mobile and desktop SEO aren’t that different.

Analysis By: Ryan Jones, Search Engine Journal

Google Ventures Doesn’t Really Work For Google

Bill Maris of Google Ventures says Google Ventures doesn’t really work for Google because it doesn’t make strategic investments for Google, instead it acts as an independent venture fund with one limited partner: Google.

Analysis By: Matt Rosoff, Business Insider

Bing Mobile And Local Director Of Product Management Andy Chu On Mobile, SEO

Andy Chu sat down with Bryson Meunier to discuss Bing and its attempts to catch up to Google in mobile search and desktop SEO. He outlines some of the company’s core search goals and what makes Bing different (and more useful) than Google.

Analysis By: Bryson Meunier, Search Engine Land

When Being An Expert Goes Wrong

There are people in every industry that are considered “experts,” either by their peers, themselves, or both. However, there are situations where “experts” that see themselves as such can do more harm than good because they are less likely to challenge an assumption they have about their industry.

Analysis By: Jason Cohen, Building 43