Robert Ferguson, Lisa McAteer, Brian Grassie.
This week is all about Google and SEO as Robert breaks down Google's latest crusade against annoying ads, Brian chats Google's offline shopping tracking, and Lisa talks the fundamentals of SEO.
Google crusade against annoying ads
Google announced recently that it will be joining an advertising industry body called the Coalition for Better Ads, who are dedicated to improving the experience of online advertising for users.
Big G’s stated aim for this is to ensure users have a better experience when consuming content online, which would logically mean users keep browsing content online and so ad impressions delivered to said users keep the money flowing into Google bank accounts.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce for Google said: “…It’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web… These frustrating experiences can lead some people to block all ads—taking a big toll on the content creators, journalists, web developers and videographers who depend on ads to fund their content creation.”
As well as the relatively benign advertising standards declared by the coalition, which dangles the carrot of advertisers getting higher interaction with their ads by avoiding the kind of ad formats users hate, Google has employed the stick of declaring that by 2018, they will stop serving ads on Chrome browsers where the ad inventory falls in a site where ad inventory slots do not meet the guidelines expressed in the advertising standards.
This is potentially bad news indeed for publisher sites featuring intrusive pop-up ads and sticky scrolling ads because a sizeable chunk of their ad impressions (hence revenue) will come from Chrome users. This financial imperative means Google’s decision might have a real impact on changing ad formats that publishers choose to have on their sites.
Strategic SEO Decisions to Make Before Website Build – Keyword Research
Today we’re going to discuss an oldie but a goodie keyword research! More importantly, keyword research for website architecture, this is an essential step which is so often overlooked but the consequences of such are seen post launch when a drop in organic traffic will be more than just a fluctuation.
Keyword research and SEO as a whole is something which is sadly an afterthought post site launch and that case we end up working backwards trying to firefight SEO issues that could have been factored into the website build.
Why carry out keyword research at the information architecture stage? This research is done to build the necessary digital footprint of the website and the services or products offered – this is essential to ensure your website will be found by your target audiences at key stages in the conversion process.
From this we are trying to determine who your competitors are and how do they perform in search? How do you currently perform in search and how we can do better with the site redesign? Also, what specific content or service categories require their own dedicated page and what should feature in the main navigation?
What you don’t want to do is simply guess what content should be on site and what should be included in the navigation. Keyword research at the IA stage can help you make these decisions based on tactical research and competitor and user data. It’s an integrated approach to user experience and SEO that will warrant the best outcome – keyword research will decide which pages the site should have and the decision on how they should be grouped and connected will be a user based decision.
In summary, keyword research is one of the tasks that should be carried out first in the design/redesign of a new website. The insights it provides will be invaluable in how you shape the content and overall navigation, based on how your target audience searches. Not just on how you think they will.
Senior SEO Channel Manager
Google Now Tracking Offline Shopping
Google’s ability to trace online shopping activity is now par for the course when it comes to digital marketing. However, until recently, reliable data around purchases in physical stores/locations was very difficult to acquire. That is all about to change in the US where Google have rolled out a new tool that will be able to trace credit and debit card transactions Advertisers’ physical stores.
The theory behind this is pretty simple, Google Services monitor user clicks on all ads, and combining this with data from Credit/Debit Partners, they are able to accurately attribute sales. Putting this into practice, however, will have been complex. Google state that 70% of Credit/Debit transactions are available to them through their partnerships. To reassure users around the new tool, Google state that the data collection is done in a “double-blind” way. Meaning the identifiable information that Google stores cannot be viewed by its partners. Likewise, Google's identifiable data cannot be seen by advertisers/merchants or its credit and debit card partners.
Trackability of ad performance is the key benefit to Digital Advertising vs traditional and this is another show of strength and ambition from Google. Albeit a move that at one point would not have been feasible, from a marketing perspective it helps solve a number of challenges, at least in the US for the time being.
In the US 1/3 of all advertising spend takes place online. Google will see this new tool as a chance to increase its market share, and land another blow to its competitors online and offline.
PPC and Digital Marketing Manager
So that's it for this week folks! Be sure to hit us up if something we've mentioned is of interest and have a great weekend.