Google AdWords and DoubleClick… It feels like they have been around for a lifetime but well over 15 years later we are finally saying goodbye – Well, maybe not entirely… What we are seeing is a serious rebranding campaign from AdWords to Google Ads, along with a combination of services by Google to help you as the user to effectively utilise these platforms.

Google AdWords set to become Google Ads

Lets begin with some of the more simplistic changes. The less convoluted adjustments are to Google AdWords or as it will be soon known as, Google Ads. That’s right, Google AdWords will cease to be and instead Google Ads will be standing in its place. The name change seems like the logical decision to make as not all Google ads campaigns focus on words. By calling the platform “AdWords” it may be putting off potential users who assume that this is a word-based platform.

google ads

Looking back about 15 years, Google AdWords did focus on word-based ads but if you look at it today you may be surprised to see the range of ads it now supports. This includes ads such as Videos, apps, Search, YouTube and many more types of ads. Knowing this shows that it may be time to make a change to the name, which is what Google has now decided to do with the emergence of Google Ads.

You may be wondering about some of the recent changes to AdWords and if they are related to the rebranding campaign to Google Ads. To answer your question, it seems unlikely. These changes include a big change to the User Interface (UI), but the changes seem to have been because they were needed by the platform instead of being part of the rebranding process. For anyone who is wondering what a user Interface is, a user-interface is the point where the Computer meets the user (You). In short, it is essentially what you are seeing on the screen.


Hello Google Marketing Platform

Now while changing the name of Google AdWords to Google Ads may not be the huge change you were expecting, I think you will agree that the changes to DoubleClick are on a much larger scale.

google ads

What Google has planned is to strip down DoubleClick Digital Marketing into sections and then add these sections to the Google Marketing Platform. The DoubleClick services are also being merged with Analytics 360 to form something more. When visiting the Google Marketing Platform, you can expect to see some new options such as “Display & Video 360”, this service is a combination of both DoubleClick and Analytics 360.

google ads

Combining these services together and grouping them under the Google Marketing Platform will give users such as yourself, a better experience as well as helping to make good use of all the services on offer.

The Birth of Google Ads Manager

google ads

We still have one final big change to explore and this change is the creation of Google Ad Manager. It’s been over 10 years that Google successfully acquired DoubleClick, beating companies such as Microsoft in doing so. For the past 3 years of this time, Google has been trying the unify parts of the DoubleClick services and it looks like they may have succeeded. The new unified platform, Google Ads Manager combines DoubleClick Ad Exchange (AdX) and DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) into one.

Avoid Dodgy SEO Providers – Top 10 Tips!

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is important in all kinds of ways – so important, in fact, that many businesses, large and small invest a small fortune in outsourcing SEO activities to other expert, specialist companies.

Happen upon a great SEO provider or company and you will soon notice the results. However, end up with a provider that seems to talk the talk, walk the walk, but doesn’t deliver on results. Then they might end up taking your money for effectively doing nothing, or very little at most.

1. Low quality and duplicated content

SEO at one time was about cramming as many keywords into a sentence, paragraph or blog post as many times as you could – even if it made no sense whatsoever. Those times have thankfully changed, and more SEO companies know that high-quality content, regularly and consistently posted is the key to SEO success.

Monitor your blog and content. Shady operators will simply rehash the same pieces over and over again, changing one keyword for another, from one post to the next. The bad news is that if this is happening your website could be being penalised by Google and others for poor quality and duplicate content.

2. Outdated tactics

Overly long meta tags, a huge number of meta keywords, everything hidden behind a ‘read more’ link. If it all sounds a bit like, ‘I can’t be bothered’ then they probably can’t and you will end up paying not only their bill but also the price of your website getting nowhere – other than sliding down a slippery slope.

If you are not sure, a quick search online for current SEO practices will either confirm or deny your suspicions.

3. Blog posts… one after the other… and only blog posts

Blog posts are undoubtedly a key part of SEO, but if the strategy is focused solely on blog posts, then this is not good news. There is more to making your website the must-go-to authoritative place than umpteen blog posts.

Woman frustrated at computer

Blogs and articles are just one slice of the SEO pie.

4. Lowered bounce rate

via GIPHY

The bounce rate of a website is the percentage of people who visit your site but ‘bounce’ away after visiting only one page.

Some experts suggest that an increased bounce rate gives an indication that the home or landing page is boring and not what it should be. Clearly. Creating an enticing homepage will make for a better-used website but obsessing over this one statistic means you or your SEO provider are missing other important aspects of SEO.

If the SEO company say they can drastically reduce bounce rate, then ask them what they are doing, as there are technical means of artificially decreasing this rate, without adding any value to the process.

5. SEO buffet

This is where an SEO provider offers you a menu of choices allowing you to pick and choose what you want doing and how.

animated man with menu

You may think this is a good sign – it saved on the budget! – But, the SEO provider should be THE expert on SEO so offering a piecemeal approach to their services is not giving you the service that you need.

Clearly, there will be different levels of packages but no choice of SEO components.

6. Guaranteed ranking

We’ve all seen the websites that promise or guarantee instant success. ‘Hand over your cash,’ they more or less say, ‘and let us propel your website into the stratosphere within 10 minutes or less.’

This is rubbish – and it always will be. Rankings are worked out via a series of complex ranking factors, the majority of which remain hidden and secret, known to only a handful of search engine executives, a bit like the recipe for Coca-Cola.

No one can guarantee rankings.

7. Cheap-as-chips SEO

SEO is one of those time consuming, labour intensive activities IF it is done being done correctly. And this is why you, along with thousands of other companies outsource their SEO activities to an expert company.

If they say that they are cheap-as-chips, check that what they are doing is SEO work and not posting a blog every week on your behalf. There is a difference.

8. Set up fees

At the other end of the scale, you have SEO providers that charge set up fees. All well and good you may think but, ask them what it is you are actually paying for.

There is research needed at the front end of the project but if this is not included in the first month’s fee then ask questions because seriously, this is a bit of cheek.

9. No Google Analytics

Google is THE biggest search engine in the world, so frankly, these are the people and the algorithm that you want to please with SEO activities and tactics.

There are some shady SEO providers however, that for some reason hide Google Analytics from their clients and there is, in all honesty, no reason why they should be doing this. Likewise, if they don’t ask for your Google Analytics, then you should run away just as fast.

10. “What monthly report?!”

It is your website. You have worked hard on it. You have spent hours on it. It cost you a fair bit of your budget too. It is the shop window to your business on the web.

Investing in SEO is a big move too, and so you want to know what you are getting for your money. If the package does not include a monthly report, look elsewhere.

Monthly Report

If the monthly report is next to useless, only offering ‘feedback’ on keyword rankings, for example, then this is of little use whatsoever. A report should show organic traffic and trends over time.

Avoiding shady SEO providers

There are times when, due to our lack of knowledge and expertise, we can be sucked in by someone who seems to know what they are talking about. Bear these ten tips in mind to get the best out of your SEO provider!

If you are looking for an SEO Provider, be sure to focus upon your local area prior to launching any national campaigns. For tips on how to succeed with your localised SEO strategy follow this link: https://digitalnext.co.uk/blog/6-tips-ensure-local-seo-campaign-track/

Google has announced to make significant changes with AdWords and Analytics in the recently held GPS summit. The emphasis has been on Mobiles and even though there were many cosmetic changes over the past 2 years, the recent changes that are going to be rolled out in this year are quite significant. As PPC specialists, here is our view on the good and the bad of these updates.

Extended Text Ads

The Extended text ads are optimised for the mobile-first world and they are designed to maximise the Ad presence on search results. With nearly 50% greater ad copy, this format features a more prominent headline and extra room to highlight your products and services.

Google AdWords Updates

Apparently the beta tests have proven a boost of 20% increase in the CTR which is pretty good. This also means before this update is rolled out, it’s quite important to plan to re-write the ads. The new character charter counts also has changed as below.

Google AdWords Updates

Good: This is a great feature to have more space for Ads. Its gives more room and space to communicate the value proposition to the users and I’m sure this will help to increase the CTR.

Bad: However, it could take up a lot of space which means the organic results could be pushed a little more down. It will be interesting to see the evolution of Ad space in Google Search engine.

Bidding

After the announcements of Enhanced campaigns in 2013, Google removed the luxury of having Mobile only campaigns and device specific bidding model. However, Google has decided to implement the device specific bidding model which basically means you can alter the bids according to the specific device namely Desktops, Tablets and Mobiles.

This will massively help advertisers to choose the right bids on right devices. Even though the Cost per click on the mobile devices have gone higher in the last 2 years as a result of enhanced campaigns, it will be still better for advertisers to have a good device specific strategy.

Good: It will be brilliant to have a specific bid strategy for each device. This will give autonomy to the advertisers to modulate their bidding and messaging on various devices at various times of the day.

Bad: The CPC’s on Tablets will be a new area to explore however the bids on Mobile and Tablets will continue to increase. The bids on the mobile devices have already increased drastically after the enhanced campaigns were rolled out. This feature could push it even higher.

Local Search Ads to Appear on Google Maps

This has been a major move in terms of including Google Maps for local search ads. This will pretty good for the business which has a brick and mortar store to improve the footfall. Ideally this will benefit all Health clubs, Gyms, Restaurants, garages, or any physical store.

Google AdWords UpdatesGoogle AdWords Updates

Google states – Advertisers using location extensions will be able to prominently showcase their business locations when consumers search for things like “shoe store” or “car repair near me.” The Promoted pins is a brilliant way to attract more footfall to the store. Also the Maps users may start to see promoted pins for nearby coffee shops, gas stations or lunch spots along their driving route as many people use Google maps for Navigation. The data collected using Google maps/locations is massive and Google has found a way to monetise the same. There are about 1 million users worldwide who use Google Maps.

Good: New Inventory for advertisers to tap in. It will a great feature for any physical store/location to drive more footfall to the store. This will benefit small business/Local campaigns massively.

Bad: The ad will show up at the bottom of the screen with a button could distract a user who is actually driving. The Mobile screen could be cluttered with ads which more likely will only lead to a paid version without ads.

Responsive ads for display

The Display Ad builder has gone through changes over the last few years, however Google is changing the way to make responsive ads by providing simply providing the headlines, a description, an image, and a URL. We need to wait and see these new ads.

Google AdWords Updates

Good: Saves a lot of time in creating the right ads.

Bad: Most of the time, there are problems while saving the Ads created using the display ad builder. Hopefully that does not happen with this new feature. Also the designs will be the standard and the advertiser has limited control to change as it will be template driven. There will be no individuality.

Demographics for Search Ads

Although this has been beta tested a while back, Google did not release this beta all this while. Now is the time, and the roll out is expected in Q3. This will massively boost personalised ads which is the future. The ad will be served more intelligently depending on the location and the demographics which will be very interesting.

Good: It will benefit more Fashion retailers, gender specific product retailers or any business which understand it client base.

Bad: The information regarding the gender, age group, parental status may not always be accurate. This only could limit the campaign reach. Also it does not give the luxury to target users according to their disposable income as in the US which could have been more beneficial. If multiple users could use a same Tablet/Laptop, the targeting might not be precise.

Similar audience for Search Ads

Just like the similar audience for Display, Google is creating a similar audience which is could be more beneficial for prospecting. This is a key area where Google has been really weak. However, over the last 2 years Google has got better in understanding the audience and their intent signals.

Good: This will be great for advertisers who has maxed their impression share on search and looking to prospect. This look like model could help them to reach more users.

Bad: Profiling users based on their search terms may not reflect the intent of the users completely if multiple users have access to the same Tablet/PC. Also depending on the length of the purchase cycle, this list could be more meaningful or pretty useless.

In the ever increasing, new age, of mobile and tablet technology brings with it internet searching from anything but (what I used to call) a computer terminal or a desktop in its richer form.

More and more businesses owners are quickly realising their deep-founded loyalty to their websites is an emotional attachment and now is the time to respond to a changing of the guard and invest in a new responsive website that renders correctly on mobiles and tablets.

Go Responsive

With new research recently completed showing more than 50% of people now search more frequently from a mobile or tablet and analytics data often showing bounce rates for non-responsive websites is worrying high from a device such as an iPad or iPhone – now’s the time to “move with the times” and take the plunge into a new website.

Whilst the layout and design is a personal choice the platform it is to be built on take careful consideration. If it’s a static website geared towards brand awareness and lead generation then WordPress is widely regarded as the most SEO friendly platform. However, if you’re selling online through the website then an e-commerce platform such as WooCommerce or Magento have to be very seriously considered, whichever of the two you opt for really depends on the number of products held on the site.

Now to take the very careful steps to preserve the successful optimisation and online visibility you have invested so wisely in (to combat the moving of the goalposts and several Google algorithm updates). SEO companies can be worth their weight in gold in times of changing websites and below are some essential steps to implement or look out for to make sure your website’s online visibility remains as high as it was with your “good ole site from way back when” and that tracking is continually monitored and maintained.

Is the test site indexed?

Website development companies will, almost always, build any new site on a test URL so you can view changes and have input every step of the way.

When new site is signed off, and the switch flicked, it is vitally important to ensure the test website is not indexed and that the move of the site onto your previous URL remains the only copy of the site available of the web.

Redirects

In the event you have, not only revamped your website, at the same time updated the platform and CMS to a more modern updated version (WordPress or Magento previously mentioned) then it is highly likely a new URL structure takes effect. Ensure 301 redirects are in place so that all the strength built up through careful SEO on previous URLs (home, category, sub-category and product pages) are transferred to the URL structure in place on the new site.

Meta Information

Take time to ensure the meta/page titles on the new site are SEO friendly and read naturally, this is often something so simple and straight forward however is easily missed as the excitement of site launch grows ever nearer.

Content

Google is definitely placing more and more emphasis on content so the launch of a new site represents the ideal opportunity to look at site wide content refresh. Remember to keep it unique internally and externally and be guided by the advice provided by Google following their “phantom update” release.

Google Analytics

Make sure that the correct Google Analytics code is inserted into the new websites root so that you can track vital data obtained through the analytics portal. All too often we hear about tracking code being removed from the old site and not transferred to the new uploaded design. This can, in a worst case scenario mean all historic data is lost and a new code goes on the new site.

Also remember, if your new site is e-commerce or static to that matter, ensure you place codes on the shopping basket and/or contact form so that conversions and call to actions can be tracked, monitored and reported on.

Take these steps to ensure the time and budget you have invested, to date, in your online visibility and ventures are enhanced with your new responsive site and not to the detriment of.

Strain your eyes no longer people, throw away your iPhone and put away the magnifying glass, Google Analytics has finally made it onto the iPad.  On the 29th October, Google finally launched the upgrade to the app, which still contains all of the crucial data you’ll need but it much, much easier to read, as it is now optimised for the iPad.

What is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a free suite that helps to analyse your websites performance, showing webmasters and business owners exactly how well their website is performing, and measures how visitors interact with their website in general. This program is an invaluable tool for reporting on the success of organic and paid search.  This suite allows you to tweak your website towards your customers wants and needs, and is a great way to ensure that you’re delivering everything you need to through your website.

Any app created by Google is optimised for ease of use and this is no exception. The analytics app contains visualisations that you won’t find elsewhere. It’s smart, colourful and does exactly what it says on the tin, plus a little bit more besides.  However, those webmasters and business owners on the go had a requirement to check analytics on their smartphones and this is where we feel the app really let you down.  Viewed on a small screen (see above), it’s hard to keep track of where you’re up to, so now the iPad has it’s own version, you’ll be able to view the benefit of all those lovely graphics, perfectly optimised for your larger iPad screen.

Playing the numbers game

It’s no surprise that this app is now set to be the most widely used analytics app out there, as it is now accessible for smartphones, desktops and tablets, reaching a wider audience than ever before.  It’s said that a third of the UK population own a tablet, and adding this to the 7/10 people who own a smartphone, it’s elementary that the more platforms your app is available on, the wider your reach will be. Google is definitely playing the numbers game, and playing it well.

Not much has changed with the app (see below), and it contains every thing you’re used to such as real time analytics, the ability to set goals and see how you’re moving towards them, and measure behaviour, all contained with easy to use menus and classy design.

If you’re interested in how your website is performing, and you’ve got an iPad, then the new Google Analytics app for iPad is free to download, and highly recommended.