Monthly Industry Roundup: April 2016
Location3 Media News: Our month was dominated by the launch of our latest technology, LOCALACT. The platform, released on April 19, is a suite of tools that allows enterprise brands to effectively scale local digital marketing programs, and ultimately, drive more in-store customer volume for their business locations.
“Helping our clients improve their digital performance has always been our number one goal as an agency from the day we opened our doors in 1999. When Google Maps was launched in 2005, we saw an opportunity to become experts in helping our clients drive more in-store traffic by using a unique channel that was brand new to the masses. Since then, the entire local landscape has evolved tremendously, and we’ve leveraged our experience, knowledge and strategic successes to develop a platform that allows brands with a national presence to make more impactful business decisions at the local level,” said Location3 President & Chief Strategy Office Alex Porter.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEARCH?
Google Shopping Updates
A couple key releases in April will make it easier for advertisers to get started with Shopping campaigns. First, Feed Rules is being launched to help managers take their existing inventory data and submit in a Google-compliant format. This is a big step toward making Shopping campaigns more user-friendly, as structuring a data feed from the ground up can be a complex and tedious process. Another improvement that gives product advertisers an edge is Shopping product insights, which in reporting, simply shows the status of each product to let the manager know if it is disapproved, excluded or out of stock. This is a small but powerful addition, allowing advertisers to stay on top of their feeds and ensure all products are eligible to show in auction.
We are likely to see some elements of the refreshed AdWords product during the Google Performance Summit Keynote on May 24th. A recent screenshot showing the ad schedule feature was unveiled as a teaser, and this event is sure to give the paid search community more substance regarding the update.
Google has made a shift where ads can appear in the Local Finder results, as well as how ads appear in Google Maps. If you click on ‘more places’ within the local pack, you will likely see an ad at the top of the resulting page. Additionally, in Maps, ads are only eligible to show if a location extension is enabled. This change also classifies Google Maps differently as it is no longer part of the search partners network, so advertisers should be on the lookout for a shift in activity.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN VIDEO?
Is Digital Video Beating TV as Bad as We Think?
According to eMarketer’s research, the answer is not so much. Trends show that more and more Americans are spending less and less time in front of television sets. However, and the data varies with demographics, traditional TV still takes the cake when it comes to Americans’ video-based attention, and therefore, the video ad dollars that follow. Data suggests that Americans 18 to 24 watch an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes of TV. Compare that to the much larger time of 6 hours and 3 minutes for Americans 65 and over. The question now being asked is which businesses will shift their focus to the digital landscape and target the 18 to 24 demographic, and which ones will stay put.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SOCIAL?
Google Analytics, meet Facebook Analytics. With the amount of time we spend on various social media platforms, it was only a matter of time before Facebook capitalized on our viewing time; making our time on Facebook more worthwhile, allowing us to spend even MORE time on Facebook than we already do. What this means is that Facebook will now attempt to predict how long you will spend viewing various types of content based on what you’ve viewed in the past. What this will do is rank and prioritize content Facebook believes you will spend time viewing, pushing the related articles of your interest to the top of your list.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN CONTENT?
How “Show, Don’t Tell” Can Build Authority
Every great piece of content comes back to the university writing class mantra, “show don’t tell.” It’s a cliche, but it’s a useful cliche. Jumping up and down screaming, “We are the best!” will never be as effective as creating an experience that shows you are the best. Demian Farnworth explores this simple but vital truth in this Copyblogger post, where Farnworth says the goal of “authority content” is empowering your audience. Farnworth includes four steps to writing authority content, which is more likely to attract quality links:
- Pick a topic
- Write a series
- Bundle the series
- Promote the series
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN LOCAL?
Why Local Listings, Local PPC and Local SEO Should Live Under One Roof
Marketers are always looking for more levers to pull in order to positively impact their clients’ bottom line. Brands are always looking to get more bang for their buck. Both parties can have what they want by integrating their local tactics under one holistic digital strategy. Location3 Head of Local Search Nick Neels outlines how this is done in this LSA Insider blog post.
Google Reveals How to Improve Your Local Ranking
For a small business owner, the ever-changing world of local SEO can get confusing fast. The most robust list of local listing strategies can be found in the Local Search Ranking Factors yearly study, but for a small business owner this may look more like a foreign language than an optimization guide. A simplified guide to local listing ranking published by Google aims to explain the basics: profile completeness, review management, and how Google determines local ranking.
HERE Seeks Investors to Compete with Google Maps
With additional resources and a broader consortium of investors, HERE can quickly develop and grow the mapping platform. HERE Maps is currently owned by Audi, BMW and Daimler, but the WSJ reports Microsoft and Amazon could bring huge cloud computing power to the consortium to enhance HERE’s current and further data processing needs.
Google Tests Review Snippets in the 3-pack
In yet another SERP test, Google appears to semi-randomly pull in review snippets. These mini-reviews have been spotted on and off in the wild, so while they aren’t here to stay yet, you can expect more layouts to populate in the future.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN SEO?
BREAKING: Link Building Takes Time
Ok, so maybe this isn’t breaking news, but it’s worth repeating. “SEO is an investment,” Kristina Kledzik said in this blog post from Moz. Kledzik emphasizes that link building is a legitimate SEO tactic that gets real results, but its immediate returns are difficult to measure and even more difficult to explain to investors. Through her own experiment, Kledzik studied just how long it takes for link building to influence ranking. Her results:
- It takes 10 weeks on average to see 1 rank jump
- The lower the rank, the more effect a link has
- Higher domain authority will move the needle faster
It’s going to take time build a strategy and recognize its benefits, but a well-executed link building strategy does pay off.
Google Penalties Explained
April saw a wave of Google manual action penalties handed out, which prompted even more questions about what was causing the penalties. Google’s Webmaster Central Help Forum provided some definitive information regarding the penalties. John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, told one affected blogger that the penalty was due to bloggers receiving free goods and linking to sites where those goods were sold without including the all-important nofollow designation on those links. Those bloggers can’t say they weren’t warned. Google issued a warning in March about the arrangements.