Google Keyword Tool Is No More, Twitter Has A New Commerce Chief, Be Specific With Your Reconsideration Request, & More

Google Keyword Tool Is No More, Twitter Has A New Commerce Chief, Be Specific With Your Reconsideration Request, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

Google Stopped Watering Its PageRank Toolbar Plant

Typically, Google updates its PageRank Toolbar data every three or four months. However, it has been six months since its last update, and Google has not commented on the matter. Considering Google said the toolbar still exists strictly for aesthetic purposes with webmasters, this shouldn’t be too surprising.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

PLAs Are The Place To Be

Marin Software just released a report on Product Listing Ads, which Google introduced way back in October of 2012. It’s not surprising that the visual ad format is demonstrating much higher click-through rates than traditional text-based ads – 21% higher in July, to be exact. Of course, cost per click for PLAs has also increased 53% over CPCs a year ago, compared to a 10% increase for text ads.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Chrome Releasing “New Tab Page” Feature To More Users

Chrome is getting nearer to releasing its New Tab Page to all users. The experimental version was released in December 2012 but Google announced on Tuesday that it was continuing to tweak the feature and roll it out to more beta users. The New Tab Page is exactly what it sounds like though it includes open APIs, allowing users to add a search box from their default engine or customize the new tab page to their liking.

Source: Search Engine Land

Twitter To Make Shopping Within Tweets Possible

Twitter has brought on former president of Ticketmaster Nathan Hubbard as Commerce Chief.  His major focus will apparently be making shopping via posts possible by allowing partner brands to offer products within tweets.  In exchange for allowing retailers to sell their products on the social network, Twitter may take an unspecified cut of all the action.

Source: The Verge

LinkedIn Releases “Sponsored Updates”

LinkedIn has rolled out sponsored feed updates, supplementing its currently limited range of traditional ad units. The new sponsored updates will look much like an organic listing, with a small, gray “sponsored” label setting them apart. Instead of being on the right hand side of the page, these ads appear right in the homepage feed.

Source: Aim Clear Blog

Calling All Quakers Small Websites

Donning a stars and stripes top hat and tri-colored vest, Matt Cutts called on webmasters to give him the name of a few small websites they believe should be ranking better in Google. Comprised of the name, URL and reasons for the submission, the form won’t actually get your site ranked better, but it will provide Google with more feedback on what their algorithm might be missing.

Source: Search Engine Land

Good News For Google AdSense Users Who Love Fonts

If you’re passionate about Open Sans, Open Sans Light, Roboto Light, Ubuntu Light, and Lora font types, you’re going to like the way Google AdSense looks. I guarantee it.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Specificity Is Essential For Reconsideration Requests

If your Reconsideration Request is as short as a tweet, that won’t impress Google much. In a Google Webmaster Help forum, John Mueller said webmasters need to show their work before Google takes these requests seriously. Basically, if you half-ass the request, Google knows and disregards it.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Ain’t No Sunshine When The Google Keyword Tool Is Gone

The Google Keyword Planner has been working on a coup to usurp the Google Keyword Tool for some time now. This week, the transition became permanent, marking the end to one of Google’s most popular free research tools.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Foursquare Transforms From Social To Search Engine

Foursquare has long carried the philosophy of a social network, with an interface geared for interactions with fellow “check-in” savants. However, with some aid from Microsoft, the company has morphed its Windows 8 app into a search-and-discovery experience, with a focus on getting users to explore potential destinations before checking in.

You don’t need us to explain why a mobile app is shifting its focus to search and discovery, but it’s an interesting turn for a company that has seen itself get cast by the wayside as Google, Facebook, Yelp, and other apps get better at the local search game.

Source: Fast Company

Study Finds Retail Paid Search On Rise, Organic Search On Decline

Among retail-based websites, paid search traffic in the first six months of 2013 rose 30%, while organic traffic declined 3%. According to the MarketLive study, paid search-driven revenue comprised 44% of revenue from all search engine mediums. Conversion rates and order sizes were also higher than organic, although some of these numbers have to be affected by the increase in PLAs and easier visibility afforded to paid search bidders.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Self Censorship Alive And Well On Instagram

Nick Drewe of The Data Pack has uncovered a long list of hashtags that Instagram has banned users from searching on. Most of the verboten hashtags are incontrovertibly profane or explicit, though there is an argument that some legitimate and well-intentioned organizations may be caught up in the dragnet.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Facebook Notifies Users Of Change To Data-Driven Advertising Policies

It’s amazing what a $20 million settlement will do to get a company to change its business practices. In this case, Facebook updated its advertising policies to give users more freedom over whether or not their Facebook usage can be mined for advertising purposes. It’s not that much different than before, except they’re telling you they’re using your likeness. Naturally, no one has a problem with this.

Source: Marketing Land

Google Maps Problem Reports Are Easier To Use

If you notice a problem with a Google Maps listing, it is now easier to share that issue with Google thanks to an overlay that keeps you on the Maps interface. The new feature is also better organized to streamline your search for the specific problem in question.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Amazon To PLAs: ‘No Kindles For You!’

Product Listing Ads are popular. They generate solid click-through rates and most people say they have positive ROI. Well, Amazon says ROI BE DAMNED! They’ve disabled their Kindle products from showing up in Google’s PLAs.

Source: All Things D


Notable Commentary

Guaranteed To Boost Morale


The Really Long Unauthorized Biography Of Marissa Mayer

This long-form biography of Marissa Mayer does not fall under the TL;DR category. If you’re at all interested in her rise and fall at Google and rapid resurrection of Yahoo as a desirable place to work, read this profile. It’s well worth your time.

Analysis By: Nicholas Carlson, Business Insider

Five Usability Lessons From Thousands Of Usability Studies

Utilizing 100,000 usability studies as background research, Phil Sharp offers five important tips on how to improve your site’s functionality for potential customers.

Analysis By: Phil Sharp, Moz

The Ambiguity Of Natural Vs. Unnatural Links

The world is never black and white, nor is a website’s link profile. Search Engine Roundtable posted a Webmaster Help Forum discussion sparked by a webmaster who said a link Google called unnatural is, in fact, natural and legitimate. The thread is an interesting read, and at the very least, should instill increased fear of link acquisition…however natural it may be.

Analysis By: Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Roundtable

CPA Bidding In Small Accounts

Back in the dark ages (2007), it used to be that you needed at least 300 conversions per month to turn on Target CPA bidding in an AdWords campaign, but these days that threshold is only 15. AdWords guru Brad Geddes lays out a step-by-step process for successfully implementing Target CPA bidding in accounts that aren’t the size of Texas.

Analysis by: Brad Geddes, Certified Knowledge

Sometimes Google Doesn’t Even Know What You Should Be Disavowing

Google wants you to use Webmaster Tools to identify bad links to your site worthy of disavows, but in a Q&A Google Hangout with Google engineer John Mueller, Jim Boykin pretty much debunks the accuracy and usefulness of relying specifically on this index of links back to your site.

Analysis By: Jim Boykin, Internet Marketing Ninjas

For Any Keyword Search, Context Is Everything

Tom Anthony has an excellent column explaining how query models are shifting with Google’s increasingly advanced algorithm and explores the implicit and explicit context in which Google lays out its search results.

Analysis By: Tom Anthony, Moz

How CPA Can Be Like A Bear Trap

Without a doubt CPA is a crucial metric for any online advertiser to track. But if it’s the only thing you’re tracking, you’re probably in for a world of hurt. David Rodnitzky at Search Engine Land gives some good examples of how a low CPA doesn’t necessarily lead to good ROI, and what metrics you should be paying attention to instead.

Analysis by: David Rodnitzky, Search Engine Land

Four Oft-Overlooked Technical Problems That Can Wreck Your SEO Strategy

The best laid technical plans of webmasters and SEOs can go awry. Glenn Gabe runs down four common – and often hidden – technical glitches that can completely ruin a site’s ability to rank and drive traffic from Google.

Analysis By: Glenn Gabe, Search Engine Watch

It’s Been A Rough Month For Yelp

First, a small business forum in Los Angeles turns into a scene from Parks & Recreation, and now Mike Blumenthal has a great example of the rock hard yet deceptive sales tactics used by some Yelp account representatives. Enter the Yelp world at your own risk, SMBs.

Analysis By: Mike Blumenthal, Blumenthals

How To Rebrand And Live To Tell The Tale

There were a lot of fingers crossed last year when the home maintenance site ServiceMagic rebranded itself as HomeAdvisor. In addition to a site redesign, the company switched over more than 10 million URLs to a new domain. Amy Gesenhues interviews two C-level execs on how they handled the most harrowing moments. Key takeaway: don’t do the redesign and domain switch all at once.

Analysis By: Amy Gesenhues, Search Engine Land

How To Report Without Just Vomiting Numbers

Daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, we all have to distill spreadsheets of data into readable reports. Vic Drabicky has five ways to help break through the logjam of numbers we’re presented with before every reporting period.

Analysis By: Vic Drabicky, Marketing Land

The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Local SEO

Paul Bruemmer has a great introductory primer on how to perfectly execute a local listing strategy to maximize mobile and location-based searches.

Analysis By: Paul Bruemmer, Search Engine Land

Think Like Google To Understand Google’s Opinion Of Links

Peter Da Vanzo offers an interesting perspective on Google’s recently changed Webmaster Guidelines rules concerning natural and unnatural links. His damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t approach is very refreshing.

Analysis By: Peter Da Vanzo, SEO Book

The Great Link Outreach Gig In The Sky

If you have any questions about link outreach tactics such as email structure, target research, and market positioning, Stephanie Beadell has the handbook for you.

Analysis By: Stephanie Beadell, SEER Interactive

In Search Of The Perfect PLA Campaign Structure

Martin Toettgerding outlines how easy it is to set up an optimized Product Listing Ads campaign (“Get granular, son!”). The execution, however, is another story.

Analysis By: Martin Toettgerding, Certified Knowledge

Fake/Seeding Traffic All The Way Down

Although I’m not sure Collective Soul music videos are more popular than puppies snoring in tubs, this article provides an interesting look at startup sites “faking” engagement to coax new users, as was the case for Reddit and PayPal.

Analysis By: Sangeet Paul Choudary, Medium

Evergreen Link Building

Link builders love to get tricky, talk about fancy tools and capitalize on the latest algorithm changes. But some of the most effective link building practices are often overlooked, and they mostly involve being a good member of both the online and offline community. Erin Everhart shares the top nine tactics link builders should always keep top-of-mind.

Analysis by: Erin Everhart, Search Engine Land

Demystifying The Change In Quality Score Reporting

Google recently announced a change in the way it reports Quality Scores, claiming the change doesn’t affect the way Quality Score is calculated – just how it’s reported. However, even if they haven’t changed the factors that determine Quality Score, there may be changes to they way they normalize results, which could have a major impact on your account. Andy Stefano explains.

Analysis by: Andy Stefano, Wordstream Blog