Google’s PPC v SEO War

Posted on February 28, 2016 under PPC, SEO

Last week saw Google remove the text ads from the right hand side of it’s desktop search results. The 8 ads that seemed glued to many search results and appeared on desktop search are no longer appearing.

An additional 4th ad may appear in the search results for ‘highly commercial queries’, something that Google’s been testing for a while. The 4th Ad can benefit from showing all the ad extensions, including site links, call outs and location extensions.

The screenshot below shows 4 ads at the top.
Google introduces a 4th Ad at the top in Google AdWords
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Google My Business Listings Scam

Posted on February 18, 2016 under SEO

Google My Business listings are Free. You can sign up here if you already don’t have one.

If you have someone manage them for you then fair enough you may have to pay a management fee.

However it appears there are companies cold calling claiming to have a ‘special relationship with Google’ and are attempting to charge for the privilege of maintaining and improving your listing, when it’s already there and in many cases performing pretty well.

For those that don’t know, below is a screenshot of what a Google My business listing looks like in the SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Positions).

Google my Business listing

Just ignore any companies that phone out of the blue, claim they have an association with Google, and if you don’t pay an annual subscription your Google My Business listing won’t be renewed.

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SEO Thoughts for February 2016

Posted on January 30, 2016 under SEO

Some quick thoughts to kick off 2016.

Brands & Multiple Listings

Weren’t the days of Google showing 3 results for a website in the SERPS supposedly at an end? Obviously Not! The screenshot below clearly shows 3 listings for Gumtree. It’s annoying to see Gumtree doing so well when the pages are all littered with ads (Google hammered one of my sites for this) and the content similar on all 3 pages. This is an example of Google’s algo favouring a brand and over the last few years, I’ve seen this more and more. No matter how much SEO you do, Google still favours sites like Amazon, Gumtree and Ebay at the expense of smaller independent sites.

multiple listings in the SERPS

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All That Glitters Isn’t SEO Gold

Posted on September 12, 2015 under SEO

This is a cautionary tale for every siteowner thinking of getting their website refreshed or redesigned.

When the designers are called in to refresh the site, and it goes beyond a basic refresh of the skin, you as a site owner should be aware that you can seriously harm the rankings and performance of your website. Proceed with caution.

Remarkably this happens more times than you’d think, new designer comes in, does his magic, rips the site apart and pulls the rug from underneath. It’s gutting to see a site that you’ve worked on be massacred by a design team that have no idea of even the basics in page titles, internal links, site structure, 301 redirects or simple on site SEO.

no google analytics tracking code shows a dip in traffic

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Google Adwords Mistakes Part 2

Posted on August 21, 2015 under PPC

What seems like a very long time ago I wrote an article on my own AdWords mistakes. Most of them still apply. 7 or 8 years later here’s a follow up with a few more.

1. Limited by Budget

If you are running on a fairly small budget or your cost per click is high relative to your budget then the ‘Limited By Budget’ warning can be fairly common. Sometimes this is very difficult to work with, particularly if it’s a small client dipping their toes into Adwords and they aren’t prepared to up their budget. They usually have a low budget and a high cost per click.

If the daily budget is £10 per day and your clicks cost you £1, then when you get 10 clicks your ads will stop showing. If your budget runs out at 5pm then your ad no longer shows.

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Google’s New 3 Pack for Local Listings

Posted on August 9, 2015 under local search

Google seems to have rolled out a new look and layout for local listings and cut the 7 pack down to a 3 pack.

The last few months or so I’ve noticed Google has been experimenting with a different look and layout for local listings. It now seems they have rolled this out across the board. vets Belfast 3 pack

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SEO Thoughts July 2015

Posted on July 15, 2015 under SEO

Exact Match Domains

Do Exact Match domains still carry any ranking value in 2015?

I think it’s too simple to say keywords in domains no longer hold value.

I certainly still think they do, they certainly do in folder names and file path, absolutely no doubt about that.

I also still see plenty of keyword rich domains that rank highly, and the keywords are a contributing factor.
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Google My Business Update Goes Wrong

Posted on June 20, 2015 under local search, SEO

This morning I noticed a big big change in a particular Local Business market I would monitor fairly regularly.

Something has happened to the Google My Business local rankings for ‘web design’ related businesses. These have always been a law unto themselves and only recently started to show again after Google had pulled them.

I keep a close eye on the local rankings for ‘web design Belfast’ terms and the 7 pack seems to have changed overnight.

Google My Business update

So from these results here’s how to rank locally:
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Which Drops a Suspended Site Quicker?

Posted on June 19, 2015 under local search, SEO

Which drops a suspended site quicker? Google My Business or Google Organic?

hosting suspended dropped from google's index

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Google Adwords Request Features

Posted on June 15, 2015 under PPC

I’ll add more to the list but here’s a couple of kick off with.

1. The ability to add annotations/comments. This is long overdue. Having to write notes in a Google Doc and refer back to these is time consuming.

2. I’d like to have the date picker that’s in Google Analytics, it makes it very easy to compare this year with last year’s performance. You can run comparisons in Google Adwords, though arguably they aren’t as easy to read/digest.

3. Ad scheduling at Ad level, so that I could create different ad text for different times of the day.

4. Being able to group select Broad Match Modifier keywords.

5. Being able to set different ads to display 10%, 20%, 50% of the time.

6. More flexibility & common sense with mobile ads, seems a nonsense to have to run a separate mobile ad campaign with the same keywords and decrease mobile settings by 100% in the original desktop/tablet campaign.

7. I’d like to be able to simply click a button and restore an account to a previous date, rollback functionality. I rarely use the undo changes feature, and backing up an account and restoring would be too time consuming everytime you made significant changes.

8. Being able to review and assess Quality Score for keywords over time.

9. I’d like to be able to get an email notification sent straightaway when the daily budget runs out, and not have to go through the current process of setting up rules to run at certain times to check if the cost has exceeded a certain amount.

10. I’d like to be able to see all the IP addresses in Adwords and what they get up to on the site.

Update August 2016

11. It’d be great to have coloured rows rather than all grey rows, which can sometimes be hard to distinguish, and can lead to mistakes if you’re writing the figures down.

rows in Google AdWords reporting

Have you got any?

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Michael Wall

Michael Wall is an experienced web developer based in Belfast N.Ireland currently running his own web design company.

Michael Wall is available for Internet Marketing, Google Adwords PPC and SEO work. Please call Belfast 02890 923383 or use the contact form.

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