Monthly Archives: September 2016

Google Roll out the Elusive Penguin Real Time Update

Google Penguin Real Time

The much-anticipated Google Penguin 4.0/Penguin Real time update has been officially announced by Google (as released today, 23rd of September). It was originally expected to be released at the end of 2015 but it never happened and website owners, SEOs and Agencies have been patiently waiting for it ever since.

Key Points to note:

Penguin now updates in real time – This marks the end of the official Penguin updates. From now on, website owners won’t have to wait for an ‘update’ to occur. Changes to your link profile will be taken into account upon the next spider crawl from Google.

More Granular – Penguin is now more granular and instead of penalising a whole website due to spammy in bound links, the bad links in question will be ‘devalued’ based on specific spam signals, thus indirectly affecting a websites SEO profile.

What this means for website owners:

  • You may notice a fluctuation in your keyword rankings across the Google SERPs
  • You may notice an increase or decrease in organic traffic coming to your website
  • You may receive a manual penalty notice in your Google Search Console/Web master Tools account IF you have been engaged in spammy SEO practices.

If you haven’t been engaged in un-natural organic optimisation then this update shouldn’t worry you. On the whole, this new Penguin Real time update will be beneficial to website owners by allowing them to see the effect of changes in real time, rather than having to wait 12-18 months for an official Google Penguin update.

HTTPS Websites Now Make Up a Third of Google Search Results

https Google Search Results

When Google proclaimed HTTPS a ranking factor in August 2014, some website owners—those that are SEO conscious—didn’t hesitate to eschew HTTP while some others believed the development had little or no benefit to warrant making a switch.

It was always a matter of time before the impact of the announcement revealed itself.

How the Update Has Played Out So Far.

Data provided by Dr. Pete Meyers of Moz showed that,before the announcement, about 7% of websites listed on the first page of Google search results used HTTPS. The number moved up by only 1% after a week of the announcement and didn’t show much improvement even after two weeks. This was possibly why many website owners didn’t assign much importance to the update and thus didn’t bother switching to HTTPS.

But then by June 2016, data from Moz showed that Google means business—32.5% of websites listed on Google results’ first pages now use HTTPS. This number was confirmed by Google’s webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes, in a tweet to @rustybrick, saying, “…Didn’t I say ‘about 30%’ and referenced @dr_pete?”

This Could Mean One of Three Things

  • Google has, since the announcement, made updates to its algorithm, rewarding the use of HTTPS. If so, then the percentage of sites using HTTPS that feature on Google search results will progress gradually over the coming months.
  • Website owners are adopting the ‘https:’ protocol for reasons best known to them.
  • Or it could be that Google has simply manipulated people into believing that their websites will be rewarded with higher rankings if they switched to HTTPS.

What The Data Means for Google

  • Google needs to find an even ground. Rewarding the use of HTTPS now that sites that have adopted it are the minority could mean devaluing great websites that haven’t made the switch. Alternatively, waiting for sites using HTTPS to become the majority would only render the reward obsolete.
  • Google also can’t afford to set the reward for the use of HTTPS too high. Otherwise, it might become an invitation to sites looking to manipulate the system. On the other hand, the reward can’t be too low—or people will ignore the prompt to switch.
  • Thebest time for Google to instruct its algorithm to start rewarding sites using HTTPS is when at least a half of all websites have adopted HTTPS. Also, for its HTTPS campaign to be successful, Google may need most major trusted websites to make the adoption. Once the top players are on board, smaller sites will be more compelled to switch.

Risks

Big changes to URLs don’t only threaten your site’s SEO and daily hits, but can consume time and money too. This is especially true for heavy websites. You have to weigh the risks against the unverified boost Google’s algorithm will give your website if you switched to HTTPS.

Google ssl https secure

Take a look at the problems Wired.com encountered while switch to HTTPS. It will give you a broader view of what to expect as you plan your move.

If you haven’t switched to HTTPS yet, you might want to keep an eye on the number of sites in your niche that are adopting it. Also, watch out for another update, pertaining to HTTPS, to Google’s algorithm within the next one year.

That way, you will be ready to make your switch as soon as the need arises.

Bing Ads Joins the Expanded Text Ads Train

Bing expanded text ads

Bing Ads

Bing has announced that they will start supporting expanded text ads (ETA) very soon and released a UI to show ads manager exactly how it would look like.

Clearly, the announcement is in line with recent developments in search engine marketing, coming on the heels of Google’s earlier announcement to start supporting expanded text ads.

Google tested the feature extensively with some advertisers and realized that there was a 20% increase in click-through rates once the new feature was applied.

Expanded text ads are designed to take advantage of the over half a trillion searches that happen on mobile phones. The expanded text ads are optimized to fit perfectly into the most popular smartphone screens.

Hence, it’s no surprise then that Bing modeled their expanded text ads with that of Google.

The increased texts will allow advertisers to display more information about their product. Advertisers can focus on optimizing their ads and engaging more with prospects before they click on their ads.

Apart from the increased click through rates advertisers will enjoy, prospects will be able to know more about their destination before clicking on an ad.

Here are the important changes advertisers should expect:

  1. Ad Title

The ad title currently has a restriction of 25 characters. However, the ad title will be increased to 60 characters once the new expanded text ads come into effect. The 60 characters ad title will be divided into two, separated by a hyphen.

Take a look at the screenshot below.

Bing text ads

Bing expanded text ads

  1. Ad Text

The text ad will be increased to 80 characters from 71 characters once the expanded text ads come into effect.

  1. Display URL

Currently, you can manually enter any display URL that you like. However, once the expanded text comes into effect, the display URL will be automatically generated by Google, from the final and customizable URL path.

Mobile URL

The new expanded text ads will no longer support separate mobile preferred ads. Advertisers will only be able to select a separate mobile URL. This means advertisers will lose the ability to customize a separate mobile advert. However, with the ability to bid separately on various devices coming soon, you can create a separate mobile campaign.

Seamless Integration with Adwords

Bing also announced that advertisers will be able to move ads seamlessly between their platform and Google Adwords’ platform to save ad managers time and allow them to get started faster.

The expanded text ad is expected to launch before the end of the summer this year (2016).