Six lessons advertisers can learn from local SEO

local ads

Last month, ClickZ Intelligence published its report into ‘The State of Mobile Advertising’, in partnership with Search Optics.

Among the report’s findings was the revelation that mobile advertisers are missing out on hyperlocal opportunities in a big way. As our Editor in Chief Graham Charlton observed in the article linked, “With the near ubiquity of smartphones, and their growing use to access digital content, the opportunity to target based on location has never been greater.”

And yet, advertisers aren’t taking advantage of these opportunities to employ hyperlocal tactics in their advertising. When asked which of the hyperlocal tactics listed they used to target consumers with ads – including tactics like customer match, retargeting and basic radius based on GPS data – less than half of respondents said they were using any of the given strategies.

One survey respondent said, “Armed with their mobile devices, consumers are conducting ‘near me’ searches that require brands to be more responsive than ever. If your business is not present when near me moments of need occur, you might as well not exist.”

So how should businesses be stepping up their efforts to target consumers locally and be present at the top of search when it is most important? Here are six lessons that advertisers can learn from local SEO to make the most of these hyperlocal opportunities.

Be mobile-first

As the quote above neatly illustrates, mobile and hyperlocal go hand in hand like UX and SEO. As many as 94% of mobile searches are said to have local intent, and 50% of those are likely to visit a store within one day.

Mobile is an essential consideration for all digital businesses, as Google consistently ranks mobile-friendly sites above those which aren’t, and has even confirmed it is developing a separate mobile index for searches carried out on mobile. (More reasons go here)

Designing for mobile increasingly means taking a mobile-first approach to user experience and content, rather than simply adapting to mobile.

But designing for mobile doesn’t just mean designing a mobile ‘friendly’ or ‘responsive’ site any more. “Mobile First is mobile first,” asserts Salvador Carrillo, CEO of Mobile Dreams Factory, in the ClickZ Intelligence report ‘The DNA of a Great Mobile Commerce Site’. “If you have or will have more traffic in mobile, start designing in mobile.

“Responsive web is not simply about designing a liquid or adaptive multi-device site. You have to create a totally different experience in mobile.”

Don’t neglect your Google My Business listing

Paid ads aren’t the only way to be present at the top of search. The ‘map pack’ of local search results which appears near or at the top when users make a local search is composed of Google My Business listings, which are completely free to register and an easy way to ensure your business appears across Google’s services, including Maps and Google+.

These results are even more important on mobile, where it takes a significant amount of scrolling to move past the paid ads – where they appear – as well as the local map pack, making a presence in the local map pack almost equivalent to being on page one of organic search.

In our first #ClickZChat of May, ClickZ Chatters discussed local SEO, and specifically gave their thoughts on what the absolute basics are that marketers should be covering to achieve decent local SEO. Graham Charlton tweeted that marketers should be sure to claim their Google My Business listing:

Q2 – Google My Business listing. Easiest and cheaper way to increase your profile. #ClickZChat

— Graham Charlton (@gcharlton) May 4, 2016

Even if you’ve already claimed your listing on Google My Business, take a moment to check that the details are all updated, local and correctly categorised and that you’re using the best and most recent business images that you have.

We’ve put together a guide on how to optimise your Google My Business listing, with input from four experts in local SEO.

Publish regular, fresh and local content

A well-known tenet of SEO is that publishing fresh content is a great way to stay on top. Search engines treat up-to-date content as an indicator that the information contained on a website is more likely to be current, relevant and accurate and thus provide a better experience for users, and so they’re more likely to give it a higher ranking.

From a marketing perspective, content marketing done well can achieve excellent ROI, so there is a very solid marketing argument to be made for publishing relevant content as well. Publishing content fleshes out your business, giving it increased authority on the topics you publish about, and presents additional opportunities for consumers to engage with your business.

To boost your business’s local presence and relevance, you should also strive to make your content, or your blog, a local destination. Greg Gifford gave this advice during his presentation on winning the local visibility race at Brighton SEO, pointing out that a blog with thoughtfully curated local content can become a go-to destination, providing valuable information to visitors that isn’t just about the company (but is still relevant to its message), while also building strong links with other blogs and businesses in the process.

Twitter user JaroG4, during our local SEO #ClickZChat, also advised businesses to focus on relevant local events in their content in order to stand out and get noticed.

@sewatch Q2. From a content perspective, focusing on relevant events can also play a significant role in getting noticed #ClickZChat

— JaroG4 (@JaroG4) May 4, 2016

Go after local links

Building on from the previous point, publishing quality content can be very effective in building links with other local businesses and institutions – figurative links, as well as actual web links. As Jim Yu wrote in his piece for ClickZ about blogging and SEO, although backlinks have a bad reputation from the days of ‘black hat’ SEO, website owners shouldn’t be afraid to go after them. And links with a lot of local relevance can be particularly valuable.

In his presentation at Brighton SEO, Greg Gifford gave a clever tip for getting ahead in local visibility that most businesses wouldn’t think to do: go after ‘crappy little church website’ links, links with huge hyperlocal relevance that no-one else is pursuing.

Even if the websites themselves aren’t the most professional and don’t have a lot of domain authority, it doesn’t do to underestimate their importance in a local context. And you can build those entities (whether they’re churches, youth groups or local news blogs) as topics into your content, giving it local relevance at the same time as building relationships that benefit your business.

parish of stiffordSmall, hyperlocal websites can wield a lot of local clout if you manage to gain links from them

If you’re worried about keeping on top of of the links you’ve gained or making sure you don’t have any that will harm your presence in search, read up on how to track your backlinks and how to deal with harmful backlinks that might hurt your ranking.

Make search ads relevant to context and location

Where you do place localised ads in search, it isn’t enough just to target them locally: consumers expect the advertising itself to be relevant to their context and location. A study by Google found that 4 in 5 consumers want ads that are “customised to their city, zip code or immediate surroundings”. As Google writes,

“By accounting for a consumer’s constantly changing location, all businesses can benefit, whether they are an online-only company looking to attract consumers in certain cities, a brick-and-mortar store trying to reach local consumers or a multichannel organization hoping to drive consumers from online to store.”

localised adsImage via Going Local: How Advertisers Can Extend Their Relevance With Search

Don’t take local visibility for granted

The overriding message from the ‘State of Mobile Advertising’ study as well as from all of these tips is simple: don’t overlook the importance of local visibility or take it for granted. Too many advertisers are neglecting opportunities to target consumers locally – opportunities which are demonstrably worth their while.

The ‘State of Mobile Advertising’ survey also found that where advertisers do employ local targeting techniques, regardless of what they are, the results are overwhelmingly positive. When asked how effective the hyperlocal tactics they used were for driving successful ROI from mobile advertising, the vast majority of advertisers (anywhere between 73 and 96%) rated their tactics “good” or “excellent” at driving ROI.

hyperlocal ROI

So the biggest lesson that advertisers can take away from local SEO is to not underestimate the importance of a local presence for your business. Local SEOs understand this, and advertisers should, too.

For more great insights, trends and best practice guides on digital marketing, head to ClickZ Intelligence and check out our library of reports.

12 reasons for brands to use GIFs in content marketing

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GIFs are nothing new, but their use is more popular than ever. Here’s why brands should include them as part of their content marketing strategy.

GIF, which is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, was introduced back in 1987 by Steve Wilhite of CompuServe as a new way to present a moving image.

The internet quickly embraced the GIF and the fact that it’s still relevant after 29 years proves its value in web terms.

Here’s why…

1. They’re easy to consume

GIFs are easy to consume and this makes them very attractive to any brand trying to meet the audience’s content needs.

According to Twitter, people shared more than 100 million GIFs in 2015 through tweets and direct messages and we are not expecting this number to reduce this year.

Want to know what the digital DNA of the most progressive organisations looks like? https://t.co/BC58I02CEN pic.twitter.com/4KLsaebaog

— Digital Shift (@ShiftEvents) May 11, 2016

2. Appealing, but also effective

GIFs are not only appealing, but also effective as they help enhance a brand’s message with visual content.

It has been observed that people only remember 20% of the text they read without visuals, which reminds us once again why visual power is more important than ever.

As brands prefer to blend their content efforts with their ROI, GIFs may provide the right encouragement for a user to listen to a brand’s message, serving as the ideal call-to-action.

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3. Better than images, but cheaper than video

Brands started loving the idea of using GIFs in their content marketing strategy after finding them more appealing than images, but also cheaper (and easier) to be created, comparing to videos.

Some predict that 84% of communication will be visual by 2018, so any type of visual content that may help a brand find its personality is more than welcome.

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4. They speak the internet’s language

GIFs are part of the internet culture, from the early days until today, and despite the changes in content and communication through the years, brands can still be rewarded when keeping up with the times.

Is every GIF equally effective?

Do you know which GIF suits for each case?

gif pepsi

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5. GIFs are mobile-friendly

As GIFs only last a few seconds, their file size is significantly smaller and the process of uploading them is faster comparing to videos, while the auto loop increases the effectiveness of a brand’s message.

What’s more, their integration on the biggest social networks contributed to their revival and the increased exposure they’ve recently seen.

(Twitter even introduced its own GIF keyboard in collaboration with Giphy, making their use even more convenient.)

The GIFs are coming! Get ready to search and send GIFs in Tweets and Direct Messages: https://t.co/uk75stt1zN pic.twitter.com/1dDD1B4CW2

— Twitter (@twitter) February 17, 2016

6. Hooking users

Visual content tends to appeal to the audience’s emotions, creating a range of feelings that increase the likelihood of success.

The impulse of sharing a GIF is instant, which is precious at a time where attention is harder than ever.

According to Giphy’s CEO, Alex Chung, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but as “the average GIF contains sixty frames, then they’re capable of conveying 60,000 words – the same as the average novel.”

gif coca cola tumblr

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7. Multi-platform use

GIFs can be used in many social platforms, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are the most popular ones, which means that a brand may use them to all of them accordingly.

Although people behave differently on every social network, GIFs are still popular in all of them, although it’s not necessary to distribute the same content to all your platforms.

8. Telling a story

Storytelling can be very effective in a brand’s content strategy, as it builds a relationship with the audience in a more authentic way and, once again, visual content and GIFs in particular can be a vital part of the story.

In fact, GIFs may be used as the ideal middle ground between an image and a video and Disney manages to perfect the use of GIFs on Tumblr and it’s no surprise that it’s the most popular brand on Tumblr, also having the most engaged fans.

gif disney

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Buzzfeed also loves using GIFs on Tumblr and other social networks, in order to help users skim a story as fast as possibly, managing to capture their attention and create an outline of their actual content.

gif obama

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9. Promotion becomes more interesting

People are becoming less receptive to traditional advertising and brands try to use their creativity to capture their attention.

GIFs may be used either in social media or email marketing as a different way of informing the audience about a new product, in a more interesting and appealing way, in just a few seconds.

For example, Nintendo announced its collaboration with Vans through Tumblr and this GIF was the perfect way to summarize the announcement.

gif vans

10. Engage with the audience

GIFs have been used as a new form of communication among users, with an animated image representing the exact feeling they want to express in each case.

Brands joined this trend in order to prove that they understand what their audience likes and Twitter has significantly contributed to it.

Counting down ’til the first #Oreo cookie of the new year… have a delicious 2016! pic.twitter.com/WDqMzVRS9d

— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) December 30, 2015

Many brands use GIFs to interact with their followers, from Buffer to Oreo and the number of available stocks help them find the right GIF for each occasion, while they may also create their own ones, as Southwest Airlines did, in order to wish for their follower’s birthday.

@TheNameIsCasie Happy Birthday, Casie! Have a drink on us! ^JB pic.twitter.com/YVQOBpAxkv

— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) May 11, 2016

11. Thinking differently with content

GIFs may help a brand think outside the box and that’s what Paramount Pictures did for the promotion of the “Terminator Genisys” movie release.

As they understood how effective GIFs may be, they decided to partner with six GIF artists on Giphy, asking them to reimagine the movie’s characters from their own perspective. This lead to an unexpected exposure with impressive results and numerous shares on Tumblr.

giphy (13)

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12. Abundance of stock

It’s also interesting to note that even if a brand is not able to create its own GIFs, there is a huge stock out there to find the right ones for every occasion.

Coca Cola may prefer to create its own GIFs, or even encourage users to be creative, but many brands highly appreciate GIF stock libraries, such as Giphy, Imgur, GifBin and many others (and let’s not forget Tumblr).

giphy (12)

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According to Giphy, there are currently around 150 million original GIFs, while New York Times tried to collect the number of GIFs on the most popular social networks, numbering:

  • 23 million GIFs are posted to Tumblr every day
  • Five million GIFs are exchanged on Facebook Messenger daily
  • More than two million GIF interactions take place on Slack monthly

GIFs in email marketing

GIFs in email marketing are not new, as they manage to capture the users’ attention with the additional layer of movement that offers more possibilities than a still image.

gif american apparel

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Many brands, including American Apparel and ShoeDazzle showcase their products with GIF images, while Dell saw impressive results from its first GIF-centered email campaign, as it measured:

  • 6% increase in open rate
  • 42% increase in click rate
  • 103% increase in conversion rate
  • 109% increase in revenue

gif dell

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GIFs in outdoor advertising

GIFs can even be used in outdoor advertising, with the idea coming from Netflix along with Ogilvy Paris when they decided to create 100 different GIFs for the promotion of the service’s launch in France.

gif netflix

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Tips to consider

GIFs don’t magically work in a brand’s content marketing strategy, so it is important to use them appropriately after analysing the audience’s behaviour.

Just when your brands starts embracing the GIF trend, remember:

  • Don’t overuse them
  • Always try to find the source of them
  • Don’t talk through GIFs as a brand
  • Use them in context (don’t try too hard to look cool)

And finally, GIF or JIF?

There is a big debate regarding GIF’s pronunciation and whether we should use a soft “G” (as in “gin”) or a hard “G” (as in “graphics”).

Despite the majority’s tendency to pronounce it with the second option, Steve Wilhite, GIF’s creator has clarified that the correct pronunciation is with a soft “G”, with the idea of the name coming from the American peanut butter brand Jif.

giphy (9)

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Hybrid SEO: bright futures for personal & professional career progression

hybrid seo

SEO is a challenging and rewarding career for people from a number of different types of backgrounds.

It requires a degree of comfort with numbers, as SEO professionals should be able to look at the data coming in and understand how to make adjustments to improve the success of their campaign.

SEOs should also understand how to take the big picture– of business goals and objectives– and be able to translate it into a marketing SEO strategy. Professionals need to understand where their SEO efforts should thrive to help the brand achieve the stated goals.

SEOs also need to excel at experimentation. If there is one constant in the world of online marketing, it is that it is always changing.

Google regularly issues new updates, customer preferences change and the technology updates, all forcing marketers to be able to work well within these parameters of constant change. The professionals that can judge trends and make accurate predictions about how websites can prepare for impending changes are the ones that will see the most success.

Being comfortable with this level of experimentation and uncovering new paths towards success also attracts candidates who are capable of thinking outside the box. These successful marketers are not only flexible, but they are imaginative and creative.

These skill sets, however, can serve professionals beyond SEO. As the industry continues to grow and mature, professionals are going to have to find a way to work with members of other marketing departments.

Walls between marketing silos are coming down, which in turn is adjusting workflows and methodologies. Professionals who already have the skills needed to reach across these marketing silos are well-positioned for both organizational and personal growth.

Why the future is bright for SEO hybrids

According to the 2014 Digital Marketer Report by Experian Marketing Services, an estimated 80 percent of marketers worldwide say that they will be running cross-channel marketing campaigns over the next year. These brands have to learn how to bring their different platforms together so that they can function as a single unit.

Additionally, 61 percent of marketing leaders surveyed for the same report indicated that collecting and managing structured and unstructured data is among their biggest challenges.

Given that 88 percent of B2B and 76 percent of B2C organizations say they use content marketing, however, the need is now greater than ever for brands to learn how to use SEO, measure their progress, pinpoint opportunities and remain relevant. Online marketing is no longer a guessing game. Instead, analytics are a big part of this system.

Hybrid marketers are able to take the skills that make them exceptionally good SEOs and expand them into new roles so they can maximize the full potential of the marketing department and produce genuine changes.

Since SEO helps brands improve the relevancy of the company’s marketing efforts for the search engines, these hybrid marketers can expand the usage of these optimization practices throughout the organization, improving the success of campaigns.

Last year at Share15 Adobe shared great insights and discussed a hybrid approach to SEO. The company spoke about progress from 2006, when it was still just doing basic, fragmented SEO, to what it termed the ONESEARCH effort in 2015.

During this push towards integrated SEO, Adobe brought together teams and worked together towards the same goal. These joint efforts yielded spectacular results, with a 73 percent decrease in cost-per-subscription, a 106 percent increase in subscription volume and a 45 percent decrease in SEM spend.

Despite the growing interest of brands in cross-channel marketing, there remain talent gaps within the marketing industry. Thirty percent of respondents on a recent survey said that finding candidates with the right qualifications can be a big problem.

The SEO professionals who are able to hone their skills and expand their professional expertise will be the ones who are best-positioned for the future of online marketing. They will be able to elevate the importance of SEO within their organization while also being able to bridge the divide that separate the different areas of marketing. They will help their brands advance while also growing their own careers.

How to elevate SEO and advance your career

Strengthen your skills in analytics and measurement

Measurement is crucial to any successful marketing campaign, yet according to the Online Marketing Institute, there is a 37 percent talent gap in analytics. This makes learning about data an important first step in the journey to becoming a hybrid marketer.

Understanding analytics inside and out –including measuring your successes and failures, how your campaigns are impacting conversions and the bottom line as well as how to present this information to your business leaders– is crucial to helping everyone else understand the important nature of SEO.

The entire marketing team, from social media to content development, needs SEO to shine against the competition, and understanding analytics is an important step in making this need clear.

Analytics will also help you and your team create more effective and efficient campaigns, responding directly to the numbers, thereby improving the brand’s position.

Cultivate relationships with those in other areas of marketing

It is also important to cultivate your relationships with professionals in other areas of marketing. Get to know the people who work in social media, paid marketing and lead nurturing roles– such as email marketing.

You want to understand their strategies and goals to see how they correlate with your own ideas. Start to build the bridges that will help you overcome divisions and work together. Find opportunities to collaborate on projects or seek each other’s advice when appropriate to set the foundation of working together.

Personally take the time to learn skills and earn certifications

Maturing within the online marketing industry is also about personal growth. Use your own time to learn skills and earn certifications in other areas of marketing. There are a variety of online resources available to help you master the latest strategies and techniques.

Learn how to use the entire technology stack employed by your organization so you are not confined solely to the tools used in SEO. For example, learn how to use Google Analytics through the Google Analytics Academy.

Look for opportunities to expand professional experience beyond your title

Let your managers and bosses know that you have earned new certifications and that you are interested in putting them to use for your organization.

Look for opportunities to collaborate with marketers from other specialties and use your new insight to help your marketing campaigns reach the next level of success.

Working on these collaborative projects will not only help you practice and improve your skills, but they can also be excellent resume builders.

Use your SEO skills to evangelize your success

Use your hybrid marketing skills to create a personal brand online. Use keyword research to uncover the types of positions that you would be most interested in reaching and the terms related to your ideal industries.

Optimize your personal online space, such as your website and resume, to help demonstrate your expertise in SEO and hybrid marketing to employers when they look for people in your field. This can be your key to upward mobility within the industry.

The marketing world is rapidly changing as consumers’ channel agnosticism forces brands to become more sophisticated and more integrated in their marketing efforts. Professionals themselves have to be willing to change and adapt to these situations if they want to remain relevant in their field.

Casting light on the relevancy of SEO while also working to expand your experience and knowledge beyond one specialty into a hybrid marketer is an effective way to evangelize and elevate your value and position in your organizations.

The three Us of mobile design: UX v usability v UI

amc_mymovie_cz21

Mobile design focuses, or should focus, on the user. This so-called user-centric design has generated a healthy obsession with the three Us: user experience (UX), usability and user interface (UI).

These terms, and the roles associated with them, are commonly mistaken and/or used interchangeably. This is not entirely unsurprising as there are no ubiquitous definitions and some overlap.

A useful way to approach this is to identify your typical mobile user and what they want to achieve from your service, then ask:

  • Did they achieve this goal? How easily/quickly? = Usability.
  • Did they find using the service rewarding? = UX.
  • How do they physically interact with the device? = UI.
  • Robert Gaines, a Kansas, US-based web and app developer suggests adding a fourth element visual design, which is a good idea, but it would throw an unhelpful V in with the Us.

    I would also include visual design, which ensures that static visual components, including graphics and typography, are attractive. The four are distinguished as follows:

    • UX is about a user’s overarching experience. It involves the analysis of how the user feels about both interfaces and processes, including sales funnels [the progression from prospect to customer].
    • Usability is about how easy it is to complete a task.
    • UI is about how a user interacts with a website.
    • Visual design is about the appearance of static visual elements, including graphics and typography.

    The four fields overlap, but in summary: UX is about emotional response, usability is about ease of use, UI is about interaction, and visual design is about appearance.

    Are there examples that combine great usability with user experience?

    A website I recently took note of was AMC Theatres. Not only is this website attractive and easy to use, it exhibits a unique form of on-boarding that is unobtrusive yet ubiquitous.

    The “My Movie” feature makes users feel engaged while also encouraging them to sign-up for an account and share their activities on social media. This pattern takes the on-boarding funnel, often detrimental to the user experience, and turns it on its head by converting it in to an experience that customers actually enjoy using.

    There are lots of different analogies for UI/UX/usability/visual design, but none beats the car and driving analogy (adapted from Thomas Baekdal).

    A Ford Focus or a Ferrari Testarossa will get you from A to B. So the usability is the similar. But the driving experience – UX – will be (you would hope) more thrilling in the Ferrari. The UI is the steering wheel, pedals, gear level etc. Visual design is the lines, dashboard, color (any color as long as it is Ferrari red).

    Depending on the size of the project, these requirements could be serviced by a team of specialists, with variety of job titles, or they could be merged into one all-encompassing role. See this job spec for a superhero in charge of mobile UX and UI design and strategy for web and app at Verizon marketing.

    User Interface

    The UI, or graphical user interface (GUI) or human computer interface (HCI), as it is sometimes known, governs how the user interacts with the device and the website or application displayed thereon. This includes layout and horizontal or vertical orientation; menus, including the main navigational menu – often represented by the three line “hamburger” icon; navigational, link and action buttons; text fields and forms; radio buttons and checkboxes; touch and gestures.

    For deeper insight into the layouts, input controls, menus and other aspects of UI, see the Android Developer Guidelines and the iOS Human Interface Guidelines.

    N.B. these guides are for native app developers, but there’s plenty of cross over with web.

    The UI designer will usually mockup the user interface for a mobile site or app using hand-drawn and digital wireframes.

    Few designers or developers will use design mobile UI from scratch. Designers will use UX kits, see this collection from Speckyboy. Similarly, developers will use frameworks such as jQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch, which allows them to reuse tried and tested UI elements and layouts.

    The art of the UI designer is to strike a balance between creating an experience that differentiates itself from the competition and creating a UI that is intuitive i.e. you don’t have to think about how to use it.

    There is a UI saying goes: A user interface is like a joke… If you have to explain it, it’s not that good. It’s unclear who said this first, but the design below is from London-based digital designer Kyle Robertson.

    user_interface_joke_robertson_cz21

    Ginny Keegan, senior business analyst for a large US retailer:

    The UI is a critical component. It’s like the foundation of a house. You must have a solid and strong foundation that will support the beams, flooring, walls and roof, without it your house will collapse.

    It’s the same thing in mobile development. You have to start with a solid foundation architecture, database structure, security, etc. that will support the overall user experience of the site. You cannot have one without the other.

    Usability

    Usability builds on the UI. It measures how well the interface works in practice – i.e. is it clear which buttons need to be tapped to proceed to the next screen? Is it easy to tap the appropriate button without unintentionally tapping the display ad next to it?

    But usability is much more than this. It also considers how easy it is for the user to complete their goal. To evaluate this, it is essential to identify the actual goals of the users. This is why good mobile designers obsess about use cases, user stories, customer journeys and user journeys, and so should you.

    Compared with UX, usability is more easily quantifiable.

    Usability is affected by:

    • Fast v. slow page load times.
    • Intuitive v. confusing navigation.
    • Obvious, well-placed buttons v. unintuitive, ill-placed or non-working buttons.
    • Large well-spaced buttons or links that are easy to tap v. buttons are too small or close together to tap accurately.
    • Page fits screen, all important information and buttons are in view v. off screen to right or below fold.
    • Easy to read v. illegible text
    • Well-chosen and appropriately sized images v. irrelevant and oversized.
    • Tap-to-call/email/map v. static contact details.
    • Relevant, appropriately sized ads v. large, intrusive and/or irrelevant ads.

    In the next blog we will consider how to conduct a usability test of your website. But as a taster…

    The following example was highlighted at the Digital Shift conference in London, last month. One presenter complained that they started to view the UK’s 100 winning startups on a mobile device, but received full-screen pop-up ads for each (he gave up after two pages).

    The interesting thing when comparing the experience on tablet and smartphone, the 100 Startups using Mobilizer is that full screen ads only appear to be served to mobile devices – ads on the tablet are less intrusive.

    100_startups_cz21

    Must it be function v beauty?

    Focusing on usability can encourage utilitarian design, i.e. minimalist, simplicity, functional and stripping out features that are simply there to enhance visual appeal and wow the audience. Though it has to be said that the best utilitarian mobile web or apps, like Scandinavian furniture, can be a thing of beauty and enjoyment.

    Daniel Rowles, managing director, TargetInternet.com:

    Usability is about task-based interactions and making those tasks easy to complete and intuitive. The User Experience is something broader and is the emotional connection that we have to carrying out those tasks. Was it meaningful and valuable, and was it a pleasurable experience?

    Are there examples that combine great usability with user experience?

    Uber is a good example due to the simplicity and effectiveness of the app design. It has a wow factor in its simplicity and it’s very intuitive.

    It should be noted, however, that taxi app Uber has not yet chosen to extend the great experience of its native app to the mobile web, where the web site is no more than an advertisement for its download app.

    User experience

    UX is the over-arching feeling that the user gains from interacting with the mobile site (or app). It is less tangible, more individual and therefore harder to design for and to test than usability.

    Commonly, usability is considered to be a sub-category of UX.

    One of the best visual representations of UX is the user experience honeycomb, created by Peter Morville, president, Semantic Studios. This was originally created for web product, but each of these criteria is equally or more applicable to mobile.

    Consider how your website resonates with the users for each of the following:

    • Useful – will it become an essential utility that users can live without?
    • Usable – is it intuitive to use? Is it easy for user to complete their goals?
    • Desirable – when they hear about it from a friend, do they think: “I need that!”?
    • Findable – is it easy to find when conducting a web search for relevant terms (or app store search)? Is it easy to navigate, find what you need on the site?
    • Credible – is the call-to-action compelling? Will users trust the content onsite?
    • Accessible – is the site easy to use by people with disabilities; such as visually impaired person using a screen reader.
    • Valuable – will users pay, trade personal data, accept advertising in return for use?

    honeycomb_morville_cz21

    Ginny Keegan:

    The user experience is important to define in your strategy because it is what the user will remember the most when they use your mobile site or app. The UX is more about the emotion and psychology of the user; it’s about the feeling they get when they are browsing though and swiping from page to page.

    In mobile development it is important that the user has a positive, easy and enjoyable feeling when using your product. You want them to feel a joyful emotion or happy experience and a stress free and no struggle experience.

    Useful resources:

    • DigitalGov 42 mobile user experience recommendations – these are digital guidelines for US government departments. Treat them as law.
    • Usability.gov Basics of user experience – these guidelines from the U.S. Health Department are not mobile specific, but very useful.

    This is Part 21 of the ClickZ ‘DNA of mobile-friendly web’ series.

    Here are the recent ones:

    • Mobile design and the art of doing one thing well
    • The essential role of wireframes and flow diagrams in mobile design
    • Understanding the mobile customer journey and user journey; use cases and user stories
    • Getting to grips with mobile design methods and lingo: empathy maps and storyboards
    • The key ingredients of mobile design and UX methodology
    • Why user testing should be at the forefront of mobile development

    Google’s next mobile-friendly update will include page speed

    brighton-seo-site-speed-for-content-marketers-4-638

    The speed of mobile pages isn’t currently used as a ranking factor by Google, but that will change with the next mobile friendly update.

    At the Search Marketing Summit in Sydney today, and reported by Jennifer Slegg, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes confirmed that page speed would be a factor in the next mobile update.

    Illyes wouldn’t be pinned down to a date, but it seems we’re looking at a matter of months. Google has only recently updated its mobile algorithm, but there’s more to come.

    It also fits with the pattern of Google focusing on the user experience in its mobile updates. It has focused on factors such as small text, links too close together, and intrusive app download ads.

    This is no massive surprise, as Google’s introduction of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) shows its concern about page speed on mobile.

    Slow sites reduce conversions and traffic, faster sites increase them, as these stats on page speed show.

    So how will it rank sites according to page speed? Well, the Page Speed Insights tool seems the obvious answer. Looks like we may have some work to do 😉

    The lesson is clear though: its not enough merely to have a mobile friendly site, but businesses need to work hard to ensure that it performs as well as it can across a range of factors.

    How search can help with planning your m-commerce site

    An image of a stick person holding a mobile phone with the words "I want to..." underneath. To the right is a list of 16 options for things the mobile user might do, such as "Send a text message", "Watch a video", "Check the weather", "Call Mom" and "Listen to a song." At the bottom is a credit to Google Search Quality Guidelines.

    Last week we launched ClickZ Intelligence, a new service providing actionable insights into the worlds of digital marketing and ecommerce.

    One of the reports we launched with is the first in a series of in-depth and practical guides to achieving m-commerce success: The DNA of a Great M-Commerce Site, Part 1: Planning.

    With the number of consumers who want to purchase products and services using a mobile device rapidly increasing, there is considerable pressure for companies to embrace mobile commerce, or m-commerce, as quickly as possible. However, in their rush to enter the m-commerce market, business owners shouldn’t neglect the planning stages of their project, which are vital for a successful venture.

    In the report, author Andy Favell breaks down the process of planning, researching and evaluating your m-commerce project to get it off to a flying start. Search and search tools form an important part of this process, not just for SEO, but in performing research on competitors, understanding your audience, and getting to grips with how the mobile experience differs from desktop.

    Here, I’ll be giving a sneak peek into the ways Favell and other expert contributors recommend using search tools to plan out your m-commerce strategy.

    Keyword research and understanding your audience

    Carrying out keyword research is useful for far more than just SEO. In fact, keyword research plays into the planning process in multiple ways, from understanding your site’s visitors and what they search, to using relevant keywords to identify competing websites.

    Andy Favell points out that keywords can be a great way to determine the intent of users visiting your site, allowing you to plan the content, product mix and navigation of your m-commerce project according to what you’ve learned.

    Image by NY Photographic, made available by CC BY-SA 3.0

    People carry out searches differently on a mobile device compared to on a PC. Mobile searches are highly contextual, often dependent on time of day and location. There is also a rising trend of using voice commands to search on mobile, through digital assistants like Siri and Google Now. Voice search tends to use natural language, taking the form of whole sentences rather than isolated keywords, which is a trend you also need to bear in mind and accommodate on your m-commerce site.

    Favell recommends using Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines to get an insight into what people search for on mobile, and how. The section on Understanding Mobile User Needs is invaluable for understanding how mobile users search and what their intent is likely to be. Google’s guide breaks down different types of mobile search query into categories, such as “Do queries”, “Know queries” and “Visit-in-person queries”, according to what their aim is.

    “Success in m-commerce,” writes Favell, “starts with understanding what your mobile users want from your site or app and delivering it.” Applying this system to your keyword research will help you get to grips with what users are looking for when they visit your m-commerce site, and adapt the site to accommodate them.

    Of course, understanding your audience doesn’t end with search, and Favell goes into an immense amount of detail in the report about other means of conducting customer research, including web analytics, heat maps, surveys and user testing.

    Identifying the competition

    It’s unlikely that your idea for a great m-commerce project is completely original, and there will always be competitors. That’s why researching and analysing the competition for your m-commerce site or app is a vital stage of the planning process.

    Identifying the competition can help you to get a sense of how crowded the market is, what the gaps are that you can exploit, and also what your competitors are doing right that you can learn from. And the first step in discovering who the competition are is to use search.

    Favell writes that “There are tools that can help, but for m-commerce sites there really is no substitute for getting your mobile device(s) out and conducting web searches.”

    A stock photograph of a hand holding a mobile phone, whose screen is displaying a grid of different apps.Image by freestocks.org, made available via CC0

    • Conduct searches on all major search engines using keywords relevant to your brand, proposed site or app, and customers. Study which competitors rank highest and which are labelled as ‘mobile-friendly’, then explore their sites, bearing in mind how the experience is different from desktop.
    • A niche search engine like Plonked, which indexes businesses, can also be useful for looking up and researching competitors – although at the time of writing the search engine only indexes tech companies based in the US.
    • Don’t forget to also carry out the same queries using voice search, thinking about how you would phrase a search when speaking it aloud, and looking at which sites rank the best for those kinds of queries.
    • Use SEO or keyword tools such as SEM Rush to research the top-performing mobile sites by keyword, and the top-performing mobile keywords for competitor sites.
    • If you’re looking for app competitors, conduct keyword searches of app stores like Google Play and the iTunes App Store, and check out the most popular apps in categories that are relevant to your own app.
    • Tools like App Annie and Sensor Tower provide some additional insights into the closed-off world of app stores and app downloads, including isolating relevant keywords for each app and giving insight into reviews and ratings.

    A screenshot from app tool Sensor Tower, showing results for the app PayPal. The app has an "A" grade circled in one corner. Below the app logo are download and revenue figures, and then a long list of keywords in green, including eBay, Venmo, Money, Bank, International, Mobile, Online and more. At the bottom is a review breakdown in a display that looks like a column graph. It shows mostly green (positive) columns bars with a few red (negative) review columns below.Tools like Sensor Tower give insight into app keywords, ratings, revenue and more.

    SEO

    Search expert Bryson Meunier, SEO Director of VIVIDSEATS, observes in the report that m-commerce product pages will probably be similar across desktop and mobile, but emphasises the importance of understanding how mobile queries differ from desktop queries, as well as the need to optimise your pages with the right keywords and topics.

    Meunier also believes that Google may well be working towards a separate mobile index in search, making it even more essential to conduct research into mobile SEO and make sure your m-commerce project is optimised properly.

    Meunier recommends the following search tools for conducting keyword and competitive SEO research:

    1) Google Keyword Planner: Google’s free AdWords Keyword Planner only gives a single, unified figure for traffic from different kinds of devices, but you can also view a breakdown by device type to find out which devices are responsible for which percentage of traffic. As Meunier puts it, this can be useful to get a sense of whether a particular keyword is mostly used by mobile audiences, such as “navigate to” or “gas stations near me”.

    If your site has a large percentage of mobile traffic, this can also help immensely with proving a use case for a new, or improved mobile site.

    2) Google Search Console only shows which keywords are already bringing users to your site, making Google Keyword Planner stronger for general research, but it has one key feature to recommend it: the ability to view exactly how much traffic is reaching your site from different devices (smartphone, tablet and desktop) for specific keywords.

    Google Search Console also has a ‘mobile usability’ section which will identify any problem areas with your site’s functionality on mobile and recommend how to fix them. Alternatively, you can get ahead of the game with our handy mobile friendliness checklist!

    3) SEMRush is useful not just for carrying out keyword research, but for the ability to see which percentage of your indexed pages are mobile-friendly and compare these with competitors. With this information, you can isolate which keywords might present an opportunity to overtake competitors who are less mobile-friendly.

    For much more insight into the DNA of a Great M-Commerce Site and other detailed reports and best practice guides on achieving digital dominance, head over to ClickZ Intelligence or browse our Reports Library.

    Does Google look at anchor text in internal links?

    Internal linking SE

    Internal linking is a key SEO tactic, one which allows websites to send clear signals to Google on the relative importance of various pages.

    It also works from a user experience perspective, helping visitors find pages that are relevant or potentially useful to them.

    It’s something I place great importance on as an editor, as it’s one part of SEO that I can control, and I’ve seen the benefits for sites I’ve worked on.

    Internal linking: examples

    Let’s take an example from Search Engine Watch. I wrote this article on internal linking, with examples and tips, back in September 2015.

    I’ve since linked to it using that exact anchor text (and variations on it) on at least 10 occasions. Essentially, I’m telling Google that this is the page I want Search Engine Watch to rank for that term.

    As we can see, it’s worked well. Third on Google, and first for related terms (internal linking best practice for example).

    Then there’s Mail Online. The most visited English language newspaper on the web had a relatively haphazard approach to internal linking until recently.

    For common, high traffic terms (world leader’s names, celebrities etc) would be used regularly in articles.

    The result was that each article would end up competing against previous articles for the same keyword or phrase.

    The chart below shows its rankings for ‘David Cameron’ over a six month period. 80 different URLs were returned from the Mail for that search, but it didn’t rank consisitently for the term.

    The answer was a consistent internal linking and hub page strategy. Mail Online created hub pages for common terms and consistently linked to them.

    The result is a more consistent ranking from November 2015 onwards, when the changes were implemented.

    There have been some fluctuations, perhaps due to inconsistent implementation of the linking strategy, but the page is performing much more effectively. As a result, the site will pick up more traffic for that term. Applied across the whole site, this can make a big difference.

    nov 2015

    Does Google count anchor text in internal links?

    This is the question Shaun Anderson from Hobo Web sought to answer recently.

    In the examples above, the pages targeted with internal links all contain the keywords used in the anchor text. So, Google could be using the content of the page, and the fact that several pages link to it to decide on the ranking.

    In other words, this doesn’t prove that Google is taking note of the anchor text when choosing to rank a particular page.

    So, Shaun set up a test. He added an internal link to one page on his site using the target keyword as anchor text.

    It’s important to note that the target page did not contain the keyword used, so the only signal that it was relevant to said keyword was the anchor text on the link.

    As we can see from the chart, a number of days after the test was implemented, the page ranked for the target term. When it was removed, the page dropped again.

    hobo web screenshot

    As that page had no other relevance to the term other than the link, the anchor text appears to be the only reason for the page’s ranking.

    It’s worth reading Shaun’s blog post for more detail, and for further variations on the test, but the indications are that the answer to the question in the headline here is yes.

    It would be good to see other tests to back up this with more evidence. In fact, I’ll see if I can devise one on this site along similar lines.

    The most expensive 100 Google Adwords keywords in the US

    The Most Expensive Keywords in the US

    Google is on track to make more than $70bn in revenue in 2016, and the lion’s share of that number will be generated by its insanely successful advertising business.

    As I’m sure you know, advertisers pay a fee every time somebody clicks on a link in one of their ads. Some of the costs per click being paid are absolutely staggering, though they must be worth it, from the advertiser’s perspective.

    Last month I analysed a large chunk of Google Adwords data from SEMrush to discover the most expensive keywords in the UK. Today, I’m releasing the same research for the US. The old adage suggests that everything is bigger in the States, and that certainly seems to apply to advertising expenditure.

    So, here are the top 100 terms, based on a massive dataset of 80m keywords…

    As you can see, the legal sector dominates, with the most expensive term closing in on a truly incredible $1,000 per click. It sounds insane, but consider that the average mesothelioma settlement is in excess of $1m and it starts to make a lot of sense. Legal terms account for 78% of the top 100, and nine of the top 10.

    Water damage is another big ticket item, with clicks costing more than $250 for the top terms. Repair costs and associated claims for water damage into the tens of thousands, so again, it figures.

    The other sectors that need to spend big to make an impression include Finance (largely focused on insurance), B2B (typically around the provision of business telephony) and Health (the top terms being linked to rehab).

    One of the most obvious difference between the UK and US research is the total absence of any terms related to gambling in the latter country, where it remains illegal to gamble online. Gambling terms account for 77% of the UK’s top 100 terms, with the most expensive cost per click coming in at around $220.

    The other thing is the lack of typos. In the UK advertisers are quite happy to seek out people who cannot spell, something that makes the eyes narrow when those terms are linked to gambling.

    Sector by sector

    Here’s a sector-specific breakdown of the top five most expensive terms in the US. Note that I’ve adjusted the scale for each one, such is the variance in click costs between industries.

    You can share these charts individually, should you wish to do so.

    Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 13.10.15

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    Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 13.10.28

    Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 13.09.50

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    Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 13.10.38

    As Google continues to turn the screw towards a fully fledged pay-to-play model my bet is that we’ll see even more keyword inflation over the next few years, though ultimately there may be a point at which things start to plateau.

    What do you think? Are you surprised by the amount being spent by advertisers? Do leave a comment below…

    The continuing rise of voice search and how you can adapt to it

    google assistant

    Google’s I/O developer conference brought several huge announcements about Google’s future direction and projects, including two new technologies which demonstrate just how important voice search and natural language processing are to the company’s future development.

    The first, Google Assistant, is a voice-activated digital assistant which builds on “all [Google’s] years of investment in deeply understanding users’ questions”, as Google’s blog declared. It takes Google’s voice search and natural language capabilities to the next level, while also allowing users to carry out everyday tasks like booking cinema tickets or restaurant reservations.

    The second is Google Home, Google’s long-awaited smart home hub to rival the Amazon Echo, which comes with Assistant built in. Google Home – which will be “unmatched in far-field voice recognition”, according to VP of Product Management Mario Quieroz – will give users access to Google’s powerful search capabilities in answering their questions as well as linking together smart devices all over their home.

    It’s no surprise that Google is focusing heavily on voice search and natural language going forward when you consider that in 2015 alone, voice search rose from “statistical zero” to make up 10% of all searches globally, according to Timothy Tuttle of the voice interface specialist MindMeld. That’s an estimated 50 billion searches per month.

    Indeed, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed in his keynote speech at I/O that 1 in every 5 searches made with the Google Android app in the US is a voice query. Bing produced a similar statistic earlier this month when it announced that a quarter of all searches on the Windows 10 taskbar using Bing are voice searches. And statistics like these are only like to increase further as search engines, apps and developers respond to this trend.

    Digital assistants: The agents of voice search

    Siri. Cortana. Google Now. Alexa. Google Assistant. These are only the names of the most well-known digital assistants from the major technology companies; a search for “digital assistant” on the iOS or Android app store shows just how many different varieties of these voice-controlled AIs there are.

    Digital assistants are overwhelmingly the medium through which we interact with voice search and carry out natural language queries, so it makes sense that they, too, are on the rise as companies compete for the biggest share of this rapidly expanding market.

    The figures show just how recent much of this uptake of voice search is. Late last year, MindMeld published a study of smartphone users in the U.S. and their use of voice search and voice commands. It found that 60% of smartphone users who used voice search had begun using it within the past year, with 41% of survey respondents having only begun to use voice search in the past 6 months.

    Image: MindMeld

    With that said, digital assistants are not just confined to smartphones any more, increasingly integrated into devices like smart home hubs and game consoles. And the more that we speak to and interact with assistants, pushing the limits of what they’re capable of, the more sophisticated they become.

    The newest generation of digital assistants, including Google Assistant and Viv, a new AI from the creators of Siri, are capable of interpreting and responding to long, multi-part and highly specific queries. For example, during a public demonstration in New York, Viv showed off its ability to accurately respond to queries like, “Was it raining in Seattle three Thursdays ago?” and “Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5PM the day after tomorrow?”

    At the demonstration of Google Assistant at Google’s I/O conference, Sundar Pichai made much of the fact that you can pose follow-up queries to Assistant without needing to restate context. That is, you can ask a question like, “Who directed the Revenant?” and then follow up by saying, “Show me his awards,” and Assistant will know that you are still referring to director Alejandro Iñárritu in the second query. (It’s worth noting, though, that Bing’s web search has been able to do this for a while).

    follow-up
    Continuing the conversation: Google’s Assistant can now handle follow-up questions to a previous query without needing to hear the subject again

    How voice queries are changing search

    So how is this upswing in voice queries and technology’s increasing ability to respond to them changing the way that users search?

    We don’t search with voice the same way that we search with a keyboard. Computer users have evolved a specific set of habits and expectations for web search based on its limitations and capabilities. So we would start off by typing a quite generalised, keyword-based search query like “SEO tips”, see what comes back, and progressively narrow down through trial and error with longer search terms like “SEO tips for m-commerce” or “SEO tips for beginners”.

    Or if we were looking to buy a pair of red shoes, we might search for “red shoes” and then navigate to a specific website, browse through their shoes and use the site interface to narrow down by style, size and designer.

    Whereas now, with the advanced capabilities of search engines to understand longer, more specialised searches and the advent of voice search making natural language queries more common, we might start off by searching, “Quick SEO tips for complete beginners”, or, “Show me wide-fit ladies’ red shoes for under £50.”

    voice vs keyword searchWe search differently with a keyboard to the way we search with voice

    The increasing rise of voice search brings with it a wealth of new data on user intent, habits and preferences. From the first query about SEO, a site owner can see that the searcher is not just a novice but a complete novice, and is not looking to spend a lot of time researching in-depth SEO guides; they want a list that’s easy to digest and quick to implement.

    From the second query, a shop owner can tell exactly what type of shoes the consumer is looking for, down to the fit and colour. The price range indicates a budget and an intent to buy.

    When mobile users are conducting voice search with location enabled, site owners and business owners can also gain valuable location data. Often, the voice query will contain the important phrase “near me”, which shows that the searcher is looking for local businesses. Mobile voice searches are three times more likely to be local than text, so optimising for local search and mobile will also help you to rank for many voice searches.

    A mobile screenshot of a Google search for "Marks and Spencer near me", showing the three-pack of local results below a small map of the area.

    With the growth of voice search, we can expect to see more and more long-tail search keywords and natural language queries, which give increasing amounts of contextual information and useful data about searcher intent. The addition of voice assistants to smart home hubs like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home (Apple is also reported to be developing its own smart hub with Siri built in) will also give the companies behind them access to untold amounts of data on users’ daily life and habits, purchases, interests and more, opening up new avenues for marketing.

    How can you capitalise on voice search?

    With all of that in mind, what practical things can website owners do to take advantage of this new search frontier?

    Look out for natural language queries in your site analytics

    At the moment, there’s no way to tell outright which users are reaching your site through voice search, though Google is rumoured to be developing this feature for Google Analytics. But by looking out for natural language queries in your search traffic reports, you can start to get a feel for what users might be asking to find your site, learn from it and use it to inform your SEO strategy.

    Think about how people are likely to phrase queries aloud

    We need to start moving our approach from thinking of endless variations on different keywords to thinking about different types of questions and phrases that users might search. Ask yourself which questions might bring a user to your site, and how they will speak them aloud. What are the extra words, the ones that wouldn’t appear in a regular keyword search, and what information do they give you about the user’s intent on your site?

    Make sure your site is set up to answer searchers’ questions

    Once you’ve considered the types of questions a user might be asking, consider whether your site will satisfy those queries. Rob Kerry, in a presentation on the future of search at Ayima Insights, advised website owners to start integrating Q&A-style content into their sites in order to rank better for natural language searches and better satisfy the needs of users who are asking those questions.

    Q&A-style content can also be excellent material for featured snippets, which is another great way to gain visibility on the search results page.

    Develop content with a conversational tone

    Because natural language queries reflect the way that people speak, they aren’t just longer but more colloquial. So consider if there are ways that you can create and incorporate content with a more conversational tone, to match this.

    Use voice search!

    One of the best ways to understand voice search, how it works and what kind of results it returns is to use it yourself. Search the questions you think might bring people to your site and see what currently ranks top, to get a sense of what works for others. Are there questions that aren’t being addressed, or answered very well? You can take this into account when creating content that is geared towards voice search.

    Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

    Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

    This week we have a round of very exciting changes to AdWords and some stats about the intolerability of video ad formats.

    Google AdWords launches new features for mobile ads and maps

    As Sophie Loras reported last week, Google has “introduced new tools and features to AdWords to specifically address the consumer shift towards mobile.”

    These include:

    Expanded text ads for a mobile

    Headlines in AdWords will increase from one 25-character header, to two 30-character headers, giving advertisers more room to explain their products and services.

    The description line will also increase from two 35-character description lines to one 80-character description line.

    Responsive display ads

    These are designed to help advertisers with the many different content shapes and sizes across the more than two million publisher sites and apps on the Google Display Network (GDN).

    Bid adjustments for device types

    AdWords will soon allow advertisers to set individual bid adjustments for each device type (mobile, desktop and tablet).

    Connect online and offline with mobile

    Google is introducing new local search ads across Google.com and Google Maps to reach consumers as they search for physical business locations.

    New ad formats on Google Maps

    To make it easier for users to find businesses around them Google Maps will offer promoted pins as well the ability to include details for one off special offers or sales.

    You can now tie-up all your web properties together in Search Console

    As I reported a few days ago, you can now track the combined search visibility of all your managed web properties.

    So all the separate platforms you operate for one single brand – websites, mobile sites, apps – you’ll be able to treat as a single entity. You can even add HTTP or HTTPS versions of the same site and combine multiple apps.

    The aggregated data from your properties will be found in the Search Analytics of Search Console and you’ll be able to check everything from clicks, to impressions to CTR, as you would normally with single properties.

    Silent ads for the win

    Latest research from Wibbitz on the state of video advertising reveal some fascinating – if not obvious – home truths on our tolerance for video ad formats.

    45% of people said that muted ads are more tolerable than targeted, autoplay or interactive ad formats.

    Also, the survey found that 70% of people won’t watch an ad longer than 10 seconds, 61% admit they always skip video ads and 42% disapprove of autoplay ads.

    Bing’s share of the search market is growing faster than Google’s

    According to comScore, in April 2016, Bing’s share of the search market rose by 0.2% while Google’s dropped by 0.2%.

    Also according to SEJ, “Google’s total share of the US desktop search market has dipped below its previous 64% to 63.8%. Microsoft’s share of desktop search is now sitting at 21.6%.”

    Google’s new title and description lengths: ‘it’s just a test’

    Google has been experimenting with a variety of expanded title tag and meta description lengths in its SERPs over the last few weeks.

    However, as we all expected, Google’s John Muller has this to say about Google’s constant honing of the look of its search results…

    @JulianMHoffmann@methode We’re always experimenting, so I’d have a tough time saying “new” to any particular change.

    — John Mueller (@JohnMu) May 24, 2016

    So yeah, don’t get too excited.