Google held its annual developer conference, I/O, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, from May 7-9. Although not explicitly a digital marketing event, the information shared at I/O tends to interest marketing professionals as it forecasts Google’s strategy for the coming year. The 2019 edition of the event was no exception: the three-day conference was highlighted by product announcements and news that will shape the next twelve months.
First, Google announced enhancements to Top Stories in the News section of search results. Top Stories will now include more information about the searched topic, a story timeline where applicable, and direction to relevant podcasts.
The company also introduced augmented reality features giving users access to 3D objects for use in search results and the real world. For example, a search for a piece of furniture might give users the option to virtually place that piece of furniture in their living room. The utility for retail and ecommerce businesses is obvious.
Speaking of ecommerce, Google Assistant will soon help searchers complete certain tasks, including transactions such as movie ticket purchases or car rentals. If you’re not optimizing for voice search yet, added investment in Google Assistant should be the inspiration you need.
Expect even more Google news next week when we recap the company’s Marketing Live event, which took place May 14! In a blog post, Google teased announcements regarding the Google Ads app and local campaigns updates, including new inventory in Google Maps.
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media stays up to date with the latest and most pertinent innovations at the world’s largest search engine. Visibility on Google is paramount to success in our hyper-competitive digital marketing landscape, and GrowthEngine Media can ensure that your business gets noticed by the clients that matter most.
Image source: events.Google.com
Digital marketing professionals were taken aback last week amid reports that Google may start charging for Google My Business (GMB) listings. As every local search marketer knows, Google My Business is a critical tool in the fight for real estate on search engine results pages (SERPs). Perhaps more importantly, GMB listings are a great way for consumers to quickly find information about local businesses.
Google distributed a survey asking business owners how much they would be willing to pay for GMB services. Pricing options ranged from $25 to $60 per month. Many business owners and webmasters were surprised by the survey, in part because Google has not traditionally charged for appearances in organic search results.
“This method of charging for search results like this is not how Google has typically monetized search results,” wrote Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz on April 25. “Typically they monetize for search ads, not simply being listed in the search results. This would somewhat change that model and it may make things complicated within Google’s internal ethics to support.”
It would also force business owners and SEO agencies to carefully assess the value derived from GMB listings. The fact that they are free today is a major attraction – will businesses be willing to pay for added SERP visibility? And how will consumers be affected by this change? Local search results are intended to deliver geo-sensitive information; will a pay-to-play ecosystem make them less accurate and useful?
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media takes pride in our sophisticated and effective local search strategy. While Google’s proposed GMB changes would certainly impact our approach, rest assured that our search marketing team is prepared to find the right balance of paid and organic strategies to suit your business needs.
Performance marketing agency Merkle released its quarterly Digital Marketing Report last week, providing insights on the trends driving the paid search, organic search, display, and social media advertising markets. The report confirmed that digital marketing is both evolving and healthy.
Spending on paid search ads continued to grow last quarter, but more slowly than in the past. Desktop spending was shaky, up just 2 per cent year-over-year, but bolstered by mobile spending, which was up 47 per cent. Mobile search is also driving growth in ad clicks. It now accounts for 59 per cent of total clicks, up from 51 per cent in Q1 2018. However, mobile ads still deliver a lower cost-per-click (CPC) than desktop ads.
Google Shopping ads have become increasingly popular. Spending on this format was up 41 per cent YOY, spurred by a whopping 77 per cent increase in mobile spending. Text ads, meanwhile, have not fared well – spending fell 12 per cent from last year.
As users and advertisers continue to spend more time on their phones and less on desktop and laptop computers, expect these trends to continue to accelerate. Desktop search ads remain important to many digital marketing campaigns, especially in certain industries, but the shift to mobile is at this point irreversible.
“Google’s primary revenue source still overwhelmingly comes from search ads,” wrote Third Door Media’s Editor-In-Chief Ginny Marvin for Search Engine Land. “With competition from Facebook, Instagram and Amazon, expect to see continued focus on automated campaigns and optimization and new formats and inventory.”
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is uniquely positioned to provide a competitive advantage through our comprehensive suite of digital marketing solutions. From paid search advertising to social media management, GrowthEngine is here to address any and all marketing challenges.
On April 10, The Manifest published a report on small businesses’ understanding and use of search engine optimization (SEO). The report, based on a survey of 529 businesses with between 1 and 500 employees, found that only 36 per cent of small businesses have an SEO strategy, but those that do are confident in their approach. Most rely on an in-house team rather than an SEO agency.
“When small businesses invest in an SEO strategy, they set themselves up for long-term success,” the report reads. And yet, the number of small businesses with an SEO strategy is surprisingly small. This will change in the near future, however: and additional 23 per cent plan to launch an SEO strategy this year.
But how effective will these strategies be? Most businesses that currently engage in SEO (78 per cent) are confident that they understand the industry’s best practices. Just how nuanced or sophisticated their understanding is, though, is up for dispute. Local SEO Search Founder John Vuong believes it may be limited by the resources at their disposal.
“[Small businesses] get sold by Neil Patel or some of these other videos like SEMrush or Whiteboard Friday,” Vuong told The Manifest. “These guys are marketers.”
In other words, Vuong thinks small businesses’ internal SEO strategies may lack the technical expertise generally found at an SEO agency. They may not take into account, for example, mobile-friendliness, page speed, navigation, and site structure.
Indeed, The Manifest’s report found that ‘small businesses’ SEO strategies focus on activities that achieve brand visibility but may not qualify as best practices.’ Less than half invested in local search optimization or on-site optimization, two critical components of any successful SEO campaign.
As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and SEO agency with unique insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to help your business achieve maximum search visibility. With an established reputation for success in paid search marketing and a dedicated SEO team, GrowthEngine Media can ensure your company’s website gets found at the moments that matter most.
The big news in the search industry this April was a lingering bug in Google’s search index. Starting in early in the month, SEOs and webmasters noticed pages being de-indexed for no apparent reason. Google swiftly announced that the bug was a technical issue; on April 6, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller announced that it had been resolved, to the relief of every SEO agency.
Mueller’s statement proved untrue, however. Pages continued to be de-indexed, leading to reduced website traffic. Site owners began to worry about financial ramifications. SEOs fretted over their clients’ rankings.
“It does look like there are still some pages that need to be reprocessed,” Mueller tweeted on April 7. “Our systems are making good progress here, but it’s taking longer than I initially expected.”
Google’s SearchLiaison account chimed in on April 9, tweeting: “The indexing issue should be almost completely resolved within the next eight hours. Some documents might take an additional 12-24 hours to restore.”
Finally, on Wednesday of last week, Google announced once again that the issue was resolved. Chatter in the SEO agency community soon corroborated the claim. Google has not disclosed what caused the issue; we only know that “it was substantial and took days to rectify,” as Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz wrote, and that it affected about four per cent of websites.
Our clients’ websites were not among the four per cent affected. However, the de-indexing bug served as a reminder that SEO sometimes involves factors that are out of our control. As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing and SEO agency with unique insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media is ideally positioned to weather sudden upheaval in the search marketing industry. When glitches or bugs occur, trust us to ensure that your website remains online, indexed, and findable.