Twitter, despite being in the news seemingly every day, is still struggling to see improvements on the business side of the platform. Yesterday, the company unveiled a new ad format they’re calling the Video Website Card, a “creative format that combines the power of video with the ability to drive users back to a site to learn more or take action in the moment.”
In recent years, Apple devices used either Google and Bing to provide search results for users depending on how they searched. Safari on Mac and iOS search results were powered by Google, where Siri, Search inside iOS (previously known as Spotlight) and Spotlight search results were all powered by Bing.
This week, Apple has announced a change. Google will once again be the default search engine for Siri, Search inside iOS, and Spotlight on the Mac. However, image search results from Siri will still come from Bing, for now.
“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” Apple said in a statement. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”
Given Google’s large search market share, it will be interesting to see how this change impacts trends in organic search traffic to websites.
On a related note, you may also notice Siri is little more chipper while reading those Google results today. Last week, Apple’s virtual assistant had some work done on her vocal cords to sound less robotic and more life-like.
Technology is a fickle beast that can really creep up on you. One minute you’re blissfully content that two-day deliveries exist, and next thing you know, there’s shoes that order pizza and hoverboards that don’t actually hover and function as boneless scooters (turns out keeping wheels on things is still one of the best ways to keep your face from eating concrete).
The advent of 360 cameras was one of those things that crept up on me. From 16 GoPro camera rigs to smartphone clip ons, companies are constantly innovating the way consumers are telling their stories. However, like the proverbial cynical caveman that I occasionally am, the discovery of fire has left me wondering about the best ways to use it.
Read more after the jump…
I logged in to our Google AdWords account one day to find that my keywords were no longer where I expected them to be. Apparently, some of our pay-per-click (PPC) ad accounts had magically been migrated over to the shiny new AdWords interface that has been rolling out over this past year. Frustrated, I found myself looking for the hidden exit door that would transport me back to the safety and comfort of the old, familiar interface with which I’d become intimately acquainted over the years.
I actually had to pause for a moment and talk myself down. Is change really so bad? Might I (gasp!) actually like the new platform? Find value in its new functionality? Experience improved efficiency? Learn something new? Or maybe even remind myself of the value in adapting to change in life in general?
This new look and feel is taking some getting used to. And I admit that there have been a handful of times when I have jumped back over to the old interface to check off a quick hit on my list of to-dos in the name of efficiency or to complete a task not yet available in the new interface. But by and large, despite the ability to revert back, I’m trying hard to push through the uncomfortableness that comes with change and just roll with it, recognizing that change can very well be a good thing.
So, if you’re feeling a bit curious about what’s on the other side, don’t be afraid to click that little “Try the New AdWords” button at the bottom of your screen. You might just find that you like it (and you can still find your way back if you don’t – at least for now).
Should social media be a space for branding/thought leadership or a function of your sales team?
We work with clients on this issue often and the short answer is that social media, when done correctly, should do both. On one side, organizations shouldn’t (or can’t afford to) blindly pass on an opportunity to generate sales or action through a channel where opportunity exists.
On the other hand, social media isn’t simply “another sales channel.”
We (and many others) have made the comparison often: social media should be treated like a cocktail party or networking event. If you walked up to everyone you met at an event, told them what you do, why they should work with you, hand them a business card and walk away, you wouldn’t be making a great impression on anyone. The better approach is to engage with those you’re talking with and actually build rapport and credibility.
Snapchat’s “Our Stories” feature now has some crowdsourced images and videos (or “snaps”) generating significantly more than twenty million views. For context, the average viewership for the most-viewed shows on American television is about 17 million.
Could it be because disappearing user-generated content is better than NCIS and the Big Bang Theory? Yes, but that’s not the whole reason. Snapchat currently has around 200 million active users, with 50 percent penetration among users 18-24. What’s more, these users are very active. Due to the functionality of Snapchat, users must hold their finger on the screen to view images or videos which allows the platform to know exactly how long they are engaging.
Consider your audience’s response.
That’s a cardinal rule for consumer brands when developing digital content. But does the same now go for consumers aiming to critique these brands online?
In an age in which critics have become brands unto themselves, that notion is certainly an interesting one. And one of my favorite Denver restaurants provides a captivating case study.
If you’re a brunch junkie, you’ve done yourself a disservice if you haven’t been to Onefold in Denver, a quaint spot that artfully weaves comfort foods of the Asian, French and Mexican persuasions. That is to say, there’s always a line out the door and it’s highly likely you’ll be dining amidst a sea of chambray and skinny jeans.
“Five years ago, you could do SEO in your sleep. Now, you have to actually be awake.” – Bruce Clay
Mobile-first index, AMP, PWAs, featured snippets, chatbots, voice search, virtual assistants… The world of SEO is changing – and changing fast. There were 1,623 Google algorithm changes in the past year alone. That’s an average of four to five updates per day.
I had a blast learning about some of these current and upcoming changes while attending the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this week. Three days of back-to-back sessions – chock full of nothing but search, search, search. I even joked on day two that there was some hidden meaning in the fact that several of us had to search long and hard to find not only a place to sit to eat our hot lunches, but also to find silverware with which to eat them.
By the end of day three I walked away better equipped to serve GroundFloor Media’s and CenterTable’s clients and excited to for what’s to come. This conference packed quite a punch for those who work (or play) in the search marketing world – and certainly left me wanting more. But like all good things, SMX had to come to an end (until the next one anyway). Here are a few of the many takeaways from the conference:
Top Ranking Factors and Algorithm Updates
- Top ranking factors in 2017 include more content, more images and faster speeds – and, obviously, mobile/responsiveness.
- The more content you have, the better your chances of ranking well. Recommended page length varies by topic, ranging from 800-2,700 words per page. The most tolerated paragraph length for a user is two to three sentences.
- Focus on getting one really good backlink rather than 10 mediocre ones. And buying links on large article sites (think Forbes) are a waste of resources from an SEO perspective.
- Speed is crucial: 53 percent of people will bounce out of a webpage if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
- You don’t necessarily need to have a high authority website or use schema to get a featured snippet. And if you’re in position six, it can be easier to get to position zero than position one.
Mobile is Huge
- 60 percent of searches are conducted on mobile devices and 50 percent of website traffic comes from users on mobile devices. This trend is rapidly growing.
- The Mobile-First Index is coming – although likely not until sometime in 2018. We need to be preparing now and responsive design is the preferred approach, otherwise you’ve got lots of work to do to get ready for the switch.
- People research spontaneously on mobile so it’s a huge lost opportunity if you’re not there when they need you. However, people typically don’t complete their research or buy/convert on mobile. Desktop still matters!
- Google’s mobile interstitial penalty was rolled out – make sure you’re compliant.
- Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) seem to be preferred over AMP. But you can apply AMP coding standards to your website to increase its speed.
The Latest in Local Search
- Citations (which are online references to your business’s name, address and phone number) are the ante to play in the local SEO game. Once you’re in the game, they don’t make a big difference.
- Although proximity is a huge factor in local search, it is not the only factor. You have to have at least decent onsite SEO in place to even make the cut to appear in the local pack. Once you make that cut, Google will then order listings by proximity.
- Schema markup is essential for SEO success in local businesses and eCommerce sites for that matter.
Lastly, these quotes I overheard throughout the week really put SEO into perspective for us:
- SEO is not something you do. It’s what happens when you have done everything else right.
- Make your website so good that Google feels embarrassed if they’re NOT showing it in search results.
- Building a website without SEO is like building a house without the wiring.
- Over optimization is like putting on too much makeup. At some point, you don’t like it.
- Now more people have smart phones than toilets.
If you’ve spent much time on social media in the past few years, you’ve definitely noticed an influx of advertising taking up space on your screen, in the form of boosted posts, promoted content, or pre-roll videos, among others.
Advertising on social media networks topped $15 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach almost $20 billion in 2017. $15.3 billion in 2016 represented a 41 percent increase over 2015, which is astounding growth, but probably not sustainable.
Get ready for micro-moments.
Buyer behaviorists have for a long time relied on the traditional consumer journey funnel to describe how a potential customer starts with a set of brands and through a set of methodical steps, reduces the number of brands down to a small number to make a purchase. The following funnel visually indicates the typical consumer journey:
Read more after the jump…