Google’s financials show Cost per Click has dropped

Think your business is doing well ? Google turned over a very healthy $16.86 billion in the quarter ending Dec 2103
Unsurprisingly AdWords click revenues increased 31% from 2012, but I was very surprised to read that the Average Cost per Click dropped 11% from the previous year and approximately 2% over the previous quarter… Really ?

Delve into the detail here: http://investor.google.com/earnings/2013/Q4_google_earnings.html

 

Is your Website ready for the new Australian Privacy Principals ?

From March 12 2104 the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) will replace the previous legislated privacy requirements, and we encourage you to review the changes that may affect your website. According to Legal123 the new Australian Privacy Principals are becoming stronger with more restrictions and prescriptions for business.

Be aware this is not the usual yadda yadda with no consequences, as Legal 123 warns, …the Australian regulators have commenced reviewing websites and have been issuing penalties for non-compliant websites. Read more.

Changes include:

  • Your Privacy Policy must include your contact details, so customers/visitors can contact you to find out more and/or complain
  • You must notify customers/visitors whether you disclose personal information to overseas organisations
  • If you collect “sensitive” personal information you must get active agreement from the customer
  • If you collect information that is not directly related to your business you must notify the customer/visitor and obtain their permission
  • If you use customer information to direct market you must notify the customer and allow them to ‘opt out’ easily
  • You must ensure personal information you have is accurate and up-to-date and protected from mis-use or accidental disclosure, and
  • If asked, you must give customers/visitors access to their information within a reasonable period of time.

Read more here about APP at the Office of Australian Information Commissioner

European Privacy Requirements
Does your website’s target market include 
European countries (including the UK) ?
If so, you should take steps to ensure your website is compliant with the tougher European privacy requirements
Your site is required to provide ‘active’ 
notification to visitors if it is using cookies.

Succinct Ideas can source and install an Online Business Package that contains website documents:

  • Privacy Policy
  • Website Disclaimer
  • Terms and Conditions

The package also includes a complimentary disclaimer for you to use with your emails.

Read more or contact us to discuss your requirements.

Can’t see your WordPress website in Google? Check this setting.

WordPress Discourage Search Engines

A trap for inexperienced WordPress users, the innocent looking ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site‘ checkbox can be search death for your website. If left turned on (ie a tick in the box as illustrated) Google will obediently not show your website in search results… Argghh!

So why have such a potentially dangerous setting in WordPress ? If your web dev is creating a new version of your site, they can turn this on and Google will leave the draft site alone while its being created/updated.  …Someone just has to remember to turn it off when the site’s been cutover 😉

 

 

AdWords Trademark Policy Update

For years AdWords has enforced a strict policy on PPC advertisers that prevented them from using Trademarks in their campaigns as either search terms or displayed in Ads.

This has created problems for some resellers of trademarked products and there have been some notable legal disputes in Australia as well.  In April 2013 a quietly released update to the Adwords Trademark policy changed this dramatically for Australians, with Google standardising its trademark policy.

Notably Google says: Google will not investigate or restrict the use of trademark terms in keywords, even if a trademark complaint is received.
However Google may restrict the use of a trademarked term in ad text  

Trademark owners can submit complaints, but Google will do limited investigations…

One small step for man Google, one giant step backwards for Trademarks.

 

What’s the difference between Google Places and Google Plus ?

If you are also confused about the difference between Google Places (recognizable as the search results adjacent to red teardrops) and Google Plus Business pages which is a social media display then I found this article from Amanda Di Silvestro as very helpful indeed!

Google Places is a very important search element because it can provide exposure in local search results and best of all there is no charge from Google (currently anyway). Google Plus Business Pages is part of Google’s foray into Social Media and although it was initially mainly used by Geeks, it is now becoming mainstream.

One reason for the increased adoption of Google Plus is the suggestion that Google rewards users with SEO advantages and these days, every little bit helps!

 

So Duplicated Content isn’t a Rank Penalty anymore… Or is it?

In this new video Matt Cutts redefines the impact of duplicate content on a site’s SEO performance. For years the SEO community has been heeding guidelines, hints and more from Google that duplicate content will damage your site’s SEO. In what appears to be a complete turn-around, Matt now tells us that duplicate content wont damage your’s site ranking, but it will find the “best” result from the “cluster” of duplicated pages…

So did the SEO ‘community’ over-speculate on the duplicated content penalty or did Google decide to change their mind about this… All we need to do now is second-guess what Google means by “best result”; well only until they change their mind again…

AdWords Ad Extensions

AdWords provides a series of Ad Extensions that additional structured content to be added to your AdWords ads. Leveraging this ability provides several significant benefits for your online advertising:

Increased visibility
The ad extensions are displayed under your ads making the ads’ over-all footprint larger. The bigger your ad, the more obvious it is and so there is a increased chance prospects will therefore notice and click on your ads. Your larger footprint ad also displaces your competitor’s ads.

Reinforce your preferred Call to Action
By judiciously selection, the ad extension can encourage outcomes that are consistent with your preferred conversion path eg

  • If you prefer clients Phone you then use Call Extensions
  • Location Extension help guide personal shoppers to your business
  • SiteLinks help coax searchers into your website
  • etc

Build your Credibility
As we all know referral sales are the best, so now you can now include testimonials in Review Extensions

There more extensions as well and new ones keep appearing, so select the most appropriate Ad Extensions to keep your ads prominent.

 

 

 

Penguin 5 is hurting more sites than you might think

Based on the number of phone calls I’ve had recently from disgruntled website owners looking to find an alternative SEO provider following their recent rank crash, its clear to me that Penguin 5 has affected many more websites than the 1% that Google is coyly suggesting…

..and of course there is rampant speculation, rumor and scuttlebutt on what is causing ranking penalties. There’s a lot of opinions out there (seems like everybody has become a link spam expert) but until we get through the Penguin 5 recovery cycle no-one can say with any degree of confidence how they recovered and how long it took.

The closest I’ve seen is Tony McCreath’s article on how he recovered from an earlier Penguin penalty then sailed, even benefited, after the Penguin 5 (2.1 in the old money)  update – well done Tony!

 

 

 

Are you ready for Semantic Search? Google is now.

Now I’ve had a chance to reflect on Google’s recent Hummingbird update, I thought you might be interested to hear how you can (re-)position your business website to take advantage of where it seems Google search is going.

Here’s the background:

What is ‘Semantic Search’?
Google people and the SEO industry have been talking up the virtues of ‘semantic search‘ for a while, but frankly it seemed to be much ado about nothing… or maybe semantic search’s time is near.  Semantic refers to ‘the meaning’ of searches rather than just focusing on ‘key words’ in your search.

We are already doing ‘semantic enquiries’
Folks are tending to ask Google questions rather than traditional searches – distilling their query into ‘key words’.  This becoming quite evident when doing keyword research; there’s a trend of searches being conversational questions of Google such as “how do I…”, “where can I” etc etc.

Google Search Voice ICONSearch by Voice
The semantic approach is further supported by Google’s Search by Voice – the little microphone in the Google search box. Try it. You might be surprised at how well it works.
Voice search suits mobile users
Voice search works really well with smart phones and tablets where typing quickly can be a pain 😉  Click on your device and ask Google your question – its easier, faster and more convenient. Did I mention Mobile devices are the fastest growing internet devices; predicted to surpass desktop use of the internet in 2016?

Apples’ Siri is an early implementation of voice search – not really reliable, but interesting anyway. I’m sure it will evolve. Siri’s use of Bing for online search might even be part of Google’s impetus to push ahead with their semantic search capability.

Hummingbird is more ‘semantic capable’
Hummingbird apparently gives Google the ability to analyse and respond to searches semantically for:

  • better quality search results
  • better voice search performance
  • better answers to searched questions

How do I take advantage of this?
Google is now ‘officially’ geared up for semantic search – what now ?
Give Google answers. As a business owner interested in attracting sales, answer the questions these people ask. To give Google and sales prospects the answers in your site, the most obvious places are:

Frequently asked Questions
This popular information structure is under-utilised, and not critically implemented.
Ensure your FAQs answer your clients most popular questions – ie the ones your clients ask the most.
Dont just make them up; test your market Listen to what your clients ask.

Don’t have a FAQ section ? Now is the time to review that!

 

Blogs

I am a huge fan of blogging as part of your SEO strategy and now even more so!
Blogs provide a great forum to ask, then answer questions yours clients ask.
Frame the question in your post’s title and introductory paragraph, then answer it in the body of the post.
Don’t forget to use Categories and Tags to reinforce your Q & A

 

Summary
Google anticipates and has geared up for question/answer based searches.
Get questions and answers into your site to capture the sales prospects asking Google those questions.

Want to see more like this?
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