Google Testing Banner Ads On Search Results Pages, Ads Set To Roll Out On Instagram Next Week, & More

Google Testing Banner Ads On Search Results Pages, Ads Set To Roll Out On Instagram Next Week, & More

This Week’s Industry News

Compile By Rocket Clicks Staff

Strong And Bold Are Basically The Same

Even though he responded to a similar question in 2006, Matt Cutts decided to give an update on a question that is most definitely something only an SEO would ask: what’s better, to mark important words in HTML with <strong> or <b> (bold)? Much to the relief of webmasters everywhere, the answer hasn’t changed: Google treats them the same.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Google Testing Site Name Above URL

Earlier this week alert Google user Stephen Vujevich snapped a screenshot of Google results showing website names such as “LinkedIn” and “Twitter” listed above the blue page titles. Google has tested swapping out site names for the green page URLs before, but never above the page titles. While no one knows if this will be anything more than yet another test, there’s one thing we do know: Barry Swartz does not like it.  None of it.

Source: Search Engine Roundtable

Judge: Yahoo! Must Bring Bing

A U.S. District Court ruling in a case between Microsoft and Yahoo! was made public this week, revealing that the judge ordered Yahoo! to roll out Bing as its search engine in the Hong Kong and Taiwan markets. Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer had reportedly wanted to delay the roll-out until a new Microsoft CEO is chosen and the foundations of the 2010 partnership deal between the two tech giants can be shored up.

Source: Search Engine Journal

Evidence Of Smartphone Ranking Penalties

Way back in June, Google acknowledged that it would be altering the search results for mobile users by making a site’s mobile experience a ranking factor. Google specifically wanted to do something to penalize smartphone misconfiguration errors. While for over four months many in the search community noted Google wasn’t enforcing its new policy, it appears now sites are beginning to be penalized for less-than-optimal mobile experiences. One of the first was GM.

Source: Marketing Land

Google Testing Huge Banner Ads For Branded Queries

Google has confirmed that they are running a “small experiment” with giant banner ads for specific branded queries.  This test is surprising since in 2005 Google promised banner ads would never come to web search. The “brand image experiment” is live with about 30 advertisers including Crate & Barrel and Southwest Airlines, and showing for less than 5% of queries.

Source: Search Engine Land

Updates To Google’s Ad Rank Calculation

Google has updated the way it calculates Ad Rank. Previously it would only take into account bid and quality score, but now a third component will be used as well. The expected impact of ad extensions and formats will be taken into account when calculating rank. Because extensions are becoming more important for rank, advertisers might need to increase quality score or bids or both. And of course they may see changes in average account CPCs. This update is only affecting ads appearing on search right now.

Source: Inside AdWords

Google Launches Shopping Campaigns

Among the other Google updates coming out this week is the revamp of user shopping experience on Google. Tuesday they announced Shopping campaigns that are designed to make it easier for advertisers to manage PLAs. The key feature is that feed data will now be visible from within AdWords, with the capability to set up product groups and custom labels. Other features include performance reporting by product or product attribute, and competitive benchmarks. Shopping campaigns are available to a small group of advertisers and will be rolling out gradually.

Source: Search Engine Land

Ads Set To Appear On Instagram Next Week

Instagram has begun introducing brand-oriented ads into news feeds, which include still imagery and videos. The initial list of advertisers included companies such as Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, and Burberry, who were chosen for their innovative use of the app. New advertisers will be gradually allowed into the program and users will be able to hide them if they choose.

Source: Marketing Land

Mobile Product Listing Ads Expand

Google rolled out Product Listing Ads for mobile back in March. Late last week they expanded the feature to allow for more products to be displayed from the search results page.  Users can now swipe across the screen to see more related products. Google also enlarged product images and titles.

Source: Search Engine Land

Twitter To Offer 70 Million Shares In IPO

Twitter announced it plans to offer 70 million shares during its initial IPO in the coming weeks. Shares will go for between $17 and $20, meaning the company has the opportunity to make upwards of $1.4 billion over the course of their initial offering.

Source: Mashable

Google Makes Changes To Geographical Targeting

Google has tweaked geographical targeting so that ads can be seen between countries.  So, you can perform my “London clothing store” search in the US on and get ads targeted to people in London, England or London, Ontario, Canada.  Previously, in order to see ads for locations outside your own country, you had to be on another country’s Google domain: or for the aforementioned searches, respectively.

Source: Search Engine Land


Notable Commentary

From Cookie Monsters To Content Creators


Cookie Monsters Without Cookies

The implications of Google’s recent efforts to develop its cookie-free, anonymous AdID tracking system, coupled with the proliferation of Do Not Track browser options, continue to rattle through the online marketing world. Gary Przyklenk at Search Engine Watch explains how to prepare for a cookie-less future.

Analysis by: Gary Przyklenk, Search Engine Watch

Inspiration For Content Creators

Think you’ve exhausted all the angles for articles on widgets, why widgets should be kept refrigerated, how to use widgets efficiently, blue widgets vs. red widgets, the top ten things you didn’t know you can do with your widget, etc., etc., etc.? Maggie Hibma of Hubspot comes to the rescue with 15 escapes from that dusty content rut you’ve found yourself stuck in.

Analysis by: Maggie Hibma, Hubspot

Looking For Work At A Digital Agency?

Ronnell Smith of Advice Interactive Agency shares what he looks for during the interview process. Interestingly, your ability to do the job isn’t top on his list.

Analysis by: Ronnell Smith, Search Engine Journal

10 Alternatives To Google AdWords

In this article from PPC Hero, Ally Aleh Barysevich talks about 10 different ad serving platforms that can be used if AdWords is not working. Details include three reasons why AdWords may not work for an advertiser and explanations on how the alternate sites work and how they might perform better for some.

Analysis by: Ally Aleh Barysevich, PPC Hero

Demystifying The PPC Double Serving Myth

Frustrated with competitors monopolizing ad space in Google or Bing? Well, Ginny Marvin from Search Engine Land shares your pain! In a recent article she describes why Google and Bing double serving policies have let many advertisers get away with showing two ads at a time.  She shares and analyzes some of her personal experiences with this situation.

Analysis by: Ginny Marvin, Search Engine Land

Why Account Structure Matters In AdWords Accounts

Search Engine Land’s David Rodnitzky shares his recent experience with a large company and how they nullified great usage of advanced features in AdWords by having a terrible account structure. He discusses the major problems such as driving traffic to the correct ad group with negatives, incorrect keyword match types, and poor organization of ad groups. He also describes easy ways to fix these things.

Analysis by: David Rodnitzky, Search Engine Land