Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from the world of search marketing and beyond. This week, the mysterious “Google Posts” feature has made another return to the SERP, this time with GIFs and videos – could it be here to stay? Plus, why marketers aren’t investing in the hottest new technologies as much as you might think; and Google announces a new type of search product with “shortcuts in search”, which could mean big changes for SEO and paid search. Google Posts return – with GIFs and videos Google launched its “Posts” initiative during the US presidential election last year to relatively little fanfare. Dubbed an “experimental new podium”, Google Posts has since come and gone from the SERP several times, each with as little explanation as the first. Now it has reappeared in searches for several US sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees – complete with GIFs and videos. Clark Boyd took a look at the new incarnation of Google Posts this week and considered what Google could be seeking to accomplish with the feature. Google’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ad could be the future of paid voice search Google sparked a small firestorm last week when reports surfaced that its intelligent assistant device Google Home had delivered what appeared to be an unsolicited advertisement to unsuspecting owners: a plug for the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ live-action film. Al Roberts took a look at the reactions to what Google denies was an ad, and considered whether this could potentially be the future of “voice PPC”....

Is Google’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ad the future of paid voice search?

Google sparked a small firestorm last week as reports surfaced that its intelligent assistant device Google Home had delivered what appeared to be an unsolicited advertisement to unsuspecting owners. The reports first emerged on Reddit and Twitter, where users who own Google Home devices posted that Google slipped in an ad for Disney’s new Beauty and the Beast movie. As one user explained on Reddit: This morning while I was getting ready for work, I did my usual “Okay Google, good morning”. After information about the time and weather, my google home said something along the lines of “By the way, Beauty and The Beast opens in theaters today. In this version, Belle is the inventor. Sounds more like it to me.” A mixed response from Home owners Not surprisingly, many of the Google Home owners who heard the ad were not pleased. “Why in hell would I ever pay someone else to advertise to me, in the privacy of my own home no less?” one Twitter user asked. “Wow, Google. You were doing so much better than Siri. Then you just threw that all away. Siri may suck right now at many things, but at least I know that Apple will never inject her with ads,” a Redditor wrote. Other comments suggested that some consumers would no longer consider purchasing Google Home based on the presence of advertising. But according to Google, the ad wasn’t an ad. First, a spokesperson told Business Insider, “This isn’t an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales.” Later, as...
Biometrics and neuroscience: The future of digital analytics?

Biometrics and neuroscience: The future of digital analytics?

Advertising has always been about emotions. Emotions lead to actions and, as such, influencing emotions is the most effective route to influencing actions. Actions, in turn, become habits, and these habits are the driving force that creates global brands. Marketers have never hesitated to exploit this relationship – in fact you could even argue that it’s the job of a marketer to do so. But we aren’t capable of influencing everything that drives human behavior. In his classic 1895 work on human psychology, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, Gustave Le Bon wrote: “The greater part of our daily actions are the result of hidden motives which escape our observation.” This holds true today, and it unsettles us as digital marketers. The utopian message that underpins our industry is that everything is measurable, with Google AdWords the gold standard bearer in this regard. Le Bon’s statement is a truism that haunts Facebook, which offers a new form of engagement between consumers and brands, but has been plagued by measurement scandals of late. Google’s great success has always been in that accurate measurement of actions, and the easily calculable positive ROI that CMOs crave. Facebook brings that paradox inherent in the quotes from Le Bon and Bernays back to the fore in our industry, as it simply isn’t sufficient to measure actions alone on Facebook. Google is not immune to these criticisms, either. We have seen this in quite sensationalist terms recently, with Google’s YouTube and Display Network coming under fire for a lack of control on their placements. This is all the more shocking because we feel...
Can Google get users on board with “shortcuts in search”?

Can Google get users on board with “shortcuts in search”?

Google announced yesterday the launch of “shortcuts in search”, which will allow Android users (only in the US, for now) to access quick answers on a range of topics with the touch of a button. Fittingly, Google has termed these “tappable shortcuts” and they will lead searchers to instantaneous information on dozens of topics, including sports, restaurants, local amenities, and entertainment. The new feature is available within the Google app in the US, although users will have to upgrade the app to the latest version before the shortcuts are accessible. As Google continues its relentless release of new mobile-first products, this announcement is entirely aligned with the search engine’s strategy to keep pace with – and anticipate – trends in user behavior. Tappable shortcuts lend themselves to a search experience that is more open-ended in nature than traditional Google queries. Notably, they also remove a fundamental element of the Google experience: either typing or voicing a query. In a wider ecosystem that now includes maps, the knowledge graph, and structured data, it is understandable that Google has chosen to make this move now. With the addition to their fold of hardware like Google Home and the Pixel smartphones, combined with an upgraded Assistant on all Android phones, Google seems closer than ever to unifying the digital user journey. The following (very short) video was also released yesterday to demonstrate how ‘shortcuts in search’ will work: But will this initiative take off, what will it mean for SEO, and how will Google manage to integrate paid ads into this new search experience? Will Google convince users to get on board?...
How to create SEO-friendly content

How to create SEO-friendly content

Good content is important, but it also needs to rank high on SERPs if you want to reach a wider audience with it. Here’s how to create search engine-friendly content. Quality is always important when producing new content, but it’s the SEO that can boost your efforts of reaching a target audience. SEO-friendly content doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, provided that you understand how on-page SEO can work alongside your content. Here’s how to create content that both your audience and search engines will enjoy. Create original content There’s no point in creating new content if it’s not authentic enough to stand out. Even if you come up with an idea from a different source, it’s still up to you to offer your unique perspective that will add value to the particular topic. Copyscape is a plagiarism checker that can help you test your site’s content for its originality. Duplicate content, by and large, is not appreciated by search engines and it won’t help you rank higher in SERPs. If you find it difficult to come up with new content ideas, here are 21 quick ways to find inspiration for your next topic. Optimize the title Your headline is among the first things that users will come across when carrying out a search. This makes them important, and it’s useful to brainstorm as many variations as you can until you land on the best candidate. Using your focus keyword in the headline can also be a good idea, but don’t try too hard to include it. Use power words and avoid redundancy to create a clear and...
The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

Creating and launching a fully-fledged website is not enough to get your brand noticed by itself. In order to improve your online visibility, you will need to carry out SEO (search engine optimization) practices. If you want to achieve a higher ranking on Google and other search engines, you’ll need to get serious about search engine optimization. Luckily, if you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), there are a number of in-built features that make optimizing your content for search significantly easier. So what is it that makes WordPress such a strong platform for SEO? Let’s take a look. 1. Permalink Structure Permalinks are the permanent URLs for your web pages, posts, categories and tag archives. It is the web address used to link to your individual blog post and web page. By default, permalinks look something like this: http://mysite.com/p?=17 This structure makes it difficult for search engine crawlers to read and index your web pages and posts. That means you will need to make it more accessible for both search engines and we visitors. Fortunately, WordPress allows you to customize your URL permalinks for each of your posts and pages, adding a clear description of your page’s content as well as any relevant keywords – this makes your URL structure search-engine friendly. To change your default permalink URLs, you will need to go to Settings → Permalink. You can change it either using /post-name/, or /category/post-name. You can also set it using date and name, but I would prefer you to use “Post Name” to optimize your permalink structure for search engines. The custom permalink URL...