How to master Facebook advertising and targeting

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Facebook advertising is becoming very useful, especially when you explore its potential and all its targeting options.

Greg Gifford, Director of Search and Social at DealerOn, delivered a very informative presentation at Brighton SEO last week, describing all the advertising options that Facebook offers along with the impressive targeting you can achieve.

According to Greg Gifford, Facebook used to be “the drunk guy who showed up late to the party and annoyed everyone”, but now it’s managed to become the “cool mofo that everyone wants to party with” in social advertising.

It did this by taking advantage of its popularity to create a very cost-effective advertising platform.

It makes sense for your brand to explore Facebook’s advertising options, as this is the platform that most users spend their time on while using their mobile devices.

Starting with the basics, here are all the advertising types you can create on Facebook:

Facebook Ad Types

Page post engagement

One of the most popular ad types. It’s good for boosting your content’s reach, while it works both with published or unpublished posts.

Page Likes

This is another popular option, though its popularity is not always reflected in its success. Many Facebook Pages use this ad type to grow their audience, but the lack of proper targeting and engagement (comments, shares, clicks to the site), may lead to a waste of your budget.

Clicks to website

This ad type can be very useful when you’re trying to increase the traffic to your site, or when you want to drive users to a specific landing page to promote a campaign.

Website conversions

This is a great option for lead generation and ecommerce which requires the installation of a tracking pixel to the site to measure the number of visitors that turned into customers, coming directly from Facebook.

App installs

If your brand wants to promote an application, then this is a great option, as it may lead users directly to the app store, combining promotion with effectiveness.

App engagement

If you want to take app promotion to the next level, you may experiment with app engagement, trying to connect with existing app owners and make them re-engage with your app.

Offer claims

If you just launched an offer on your Facebook page, then this ad type may help you drive more users to your Facebook page to ensure a larger participation.

Video views

The domination of video in Facebook has made this option very popular, helping video producers promote their content directly to the most relevant audience. It supports .mov, .mp4, or .avi files and the ratio is 16:9.

Local awareness

Last but not least, local awareness is about advertising on mobile devices, according to a set location and it can be very useful for a local business trying to beat its competitors.

Targeting opportunities

Facebook’s deep targeting allows you to create an ad that reaches a very specific audience, and it goes beyond the expected demographics, by even targeting particular life events, political beliefs, parents (even defining the age of children), or friends of people celebrating life events.

This increases the chances of spreading your message to the right audience, which is also cost-effective, as you won’t spend your budget on users who are not interested in your product.

More options for targeting

Custom Audiences

custom audiences facebook

Custom audiences consist of email contacts you already have and it may be a great alternative to the limitations of email marketing. There are no opt-ins, no unsubscribers – only people who are relevant to your product who would otherwise miss your email.

Custom audiences can be very useful for lead nurturing, while they may be used in more creative ways, such as:

  • Yploading your current customers to use them as a negative list for other campaigns
  • Targeting people who never open your emails by uploading a separate list
  • Targeting your LinkedIn connections by creating a new list

Lookalike audiences

lookalike audiences facebook

Lookalike Audiences are the best way to target new qualified users. Facebook creates an audience of the same size and matching demographic. These can be very useful when you’re trying to overcome ad fatigue when reaching a new audience but still maintaining your targeting filters.

This option is more popular in smaller scale businesses, as they can reach the right audience with a minimal budget.

Examples of targeting

Here are some examples on how targeting works, depending on the audience and the goals.

  • If you need PR exposure, then you can target journalists, employees of local TV, radio, newspapers to learn about your story.
  • If you want links, then you can write an amazing post and then promote it to influencers, writers, journalists and get links
  • If you want sales, then you can run ads that target the customers of your competitors and they’ll convert.

Moreover, if your goal is to increase your sales, you might want to consider the idea of running three different ad types to maximise your potential:

  • Offer ad (with shipping deal, or discount)
  • Carousel ad (showcasing the images of the products)
  • Website clicks ad (to increase the traffic back to the site)
  • This is a useful way to ensure that your ads are suitable for your goals and increase the chances of success.

    Tips to consider when creating Facebook ads

    Greg Gifford shared his tips on how to create successful Facebook ads:

    • Be extremely picky with your targeting. Narrow it down as much as possible to increase its effectiveness.
    • Use awesome images. Don’t underestimate the power of images. The size should be at least 600×314, while 1200×628 makes ads even more appealing.
    • Set a goal. Don’t start posting ads before you have a clear goal in mind. Set a measurable number, a due date, and workable guidelines for your goal
    • Use ad scheduling. Post the ads in the best possible time, don’t waste your money in the wrong time. Also, if you’re running call-only mobile ads, make sure you use them when you’re open.
    • A/B test every advert. Keep experimenting with ad types and images until you find the best ones for your goals.
    • Think outside the box. Be creative, come up with new ways to promote your business. How about running ads at your competitors’ locations to appeal to their customers?
    • Image should include less than 20% text. Even if Facebook allows you to add more text, you don’t have to use the space, as the further you get from 20%, the less the reach.
    • Use Power Editor. Power Editor is offering more precise targeting capabilities, along with bulk uploading and editing of adverts, which is less time consuming and more effective.

    Nine lesser-known SEO resources and blogs you might not follow, but should

    ranktank logo

    I was having a conversation earlier today about some of my favorite SEO resources and how I felt like they were flying under the radar.

    So I decided to put together a list of my favorites that I feel aren’t shared or mentioned enough.

    Not because I think these individuals deserve more views, but because I think the SEO community is missing out by not listening to what they have to say.

    Bill and Ammon’s Bogus Hangout

    Bill Slawski and Ammon Johns have this hangout (almost) weekly. Most of the episodes have less than 80 views on YouTube so I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of SEO professionals are not tuning into this, which is a shame because I genuinely think some of the best conversations in the industry happen here.

    You can listen weekly on Tuesdays, but I usually watch sometime after the live broadcast, usually days or weeks later, and often multiple episodes in a row. I find it to be great background material to keep learning and thinking constructively while I work.

    SEO Theory YouTube Channel

    Another video resource which I’m surprised has such low view counts. Michael Martinez has a few different blogs where he writes about SEO (which you have probably read) but I find these videos to be incredibly insightful elaborations on some of the topics he’s already written about. Definitely worth a listen while you work as well.

    The SEM Post

    This is probably the most followed resource in this list. A more general SEO news blog than the others mentioned, but I find Jennifer and the other writers at The SEM Post cover the most relevant news without being overwhelming.

    Some of the other general SEO news blogs have a tendency to cover so much news (not that it’s a bad thing!) that it can be overwhelming and hard to keep up.

    With other “large” SEO publications, you could easily lose hours reading articles which may not apply to you. This blog offers a happy medium so you can get the news you need while still having enough time to get your work done.

    Advanced Web Ranking Blog

    As the name suggests, this is an SEO blog geared towards experienced professionals. They cover a wide range of topics and most of the information here is highly actionable. Overall, I think they offer a great introduction into advanced SEO strategies for junior professionals hoping to expand their skillset.

    OHGM

    I’ve referred to this website as the “obscure technical black metal of SEO blogs” before and I still haven’t come up with a better way to describe it. That’s exactly what it is. Obscure, fun and technical SEO posts focused more on the search engine side rather than the marketing side of SEO.

    RankTank

    This isn’t as much a blog (though they do have one) as it is a compilation of open source SEO tools but I’m including this because I feel that it doesn’t get the love it deserves.

    I think a lot of SEO professionals don’t realize that they can build incredibly useful tools with Google Sheets for absolutely free, and RankTank can help them do that.

    SEO 2.0

    I could copy and paste his name, but I’m just going to call him Tad because it’s easier for all of us. He has been writing great posts about SEO for a long time, and chances are you’ve read a lot of his articles already, but I don’t see his own blog being shared too often. He offers a fresh perspective on a lot of topics from SEO to social media and content.

    NeoMam Studios Blog

    Probably the most “content marketing” based resource in this list, NeoMam Studios have really great insight into creating valuable content and getting eyes on it. They also have some of the best (in my opinion) posts about scaling email outreach.

    Cre8asite Forums

    Even though this forum isn’t extremely active anymore (there are a few new posts here every once in a while, but scroll about half way down the first page on most of their forums and that’s where the posts from 2016 end), it is still a great resource to browse.

    I don’t want to say this website is “dead” but you’re probably not going to get super up-to-date info here. Nonetheless, it is worth a mention because of its historical value.

    Most SEOs try to do a good job staying updated on current topics, but reading what the industry was talking about in the past can be a great way to learn new things too.

    At the very least, this forum is a giant rabbit hole to topics you may not have explored before. For as much as SEO changes nearly every day, it’s also surprising how much of the conversations have remained the same. Find some threads from before you started working in SEO and I promise you’ll learn something new browsing here.

    cre8asiteforum

    This list started off much more extensive, but I managed to whittle it down to a handful. If a site could be found easily by Googling “SEO blogs” I removed it.

    If they had a lot of social media followers, I removed them. If they were ad-heavy or otherwise blatantly promotional, I removed them. If they’ve been listed in a lot of “SEO resources” posts already, I removed them. You get the idea.

    If there are any you think I missed, please let me know because I would love to know about them.

    Anthony Randall is a link building dude at Rizolt.com and contributor to SEW.

    Guide to Google ranking signals – Part 1: on-page factors

    Methods Unsound - title tag

    Today we begin a mammoth task in presenting to you a breakdown of every single ranking signal Google uses to determine where your site and its content appears in search results pages (SERPs).

    In fact it’s such a mammoth task, we’re dividing the signals into manageable, neatly categorised parts – which will eventually culminate in a gigantic, all-conquering dossier of every Google ranking signal.

    There are likely to be hundreds of signals, and we’ll never be 100% sure of everything that comes into play. Also the algorithm changes thousands of times a year, so this will be a constantly evolving document. But we will do our best to be as up-to-date and accurate as possible.

    Future instalments will specifically cover content, links, machine learning, site-wide factors, domain factors, mobile, speed, local, social… phew, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

    First let’s look at the simple, technical elements Google uses to rank your page.

    On-page factors: 1 – 10

    Title tag

    As I’ve already discussed in our guide to writing title tags, these are used to tell search engines and visitors what your webpage is about in the most concise and accurate way possible.

    According to Moz, title tags have “long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements.” Here’s what you need to know about how they affect your ranking…

    1) You need to include any keywords you wish to rank for in the title tag.

    2) The closer to the start of the title tag any given keyword is, the more likely it will be to rank for that keyword based query.

    Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

    3) Your title tag needs to be written for humans – as in it needs to make logical sense, rather than a keyword stuffed mess.

    Your title tag will appear in a variety of places, from SERPs, to a social share, to the browser tab, so make sure it’s relevant and readable.

    4) Do not duplicate your title tags across your website as this can adversely affect your visibility.

    Important elements that aren’t necessarily signals, but will affect click-through:

    • Make sure your title tag is 50-60 characters long, including spaces. Anything longer and Google may cut you short.
    • If nobody has heard of your brand or company name (and it’s not part of the important keyword phrases) put it at the end of the title tag.

    H1 tags

    The difference between a H1 tag and a title tag is simple: title-tags appear in search results and the H1 tag is what visitors see on the page. Your headline or webpage name will (in the majority of cases) form your H1 tag.

    Here’s what you should know about H1 tags:

    5) Your target keywords should be in the H1 tag.

    6) Your H1 however can be different from the title tag. It doesn’t have to be – you won’t be penalised for having the same title tag and h1 tag for a web-page (after all, most CMS generate this automatically) – but varying the keyword phrasing of both can increase your chances of appearing for different search intents.

    7) Only use one H1 tag per-page.

    8) Break up the main body of your articles by using plenty H2 and H3 tags, but try to use them in a descending, logical order.

    h2 and h3 tags

    9) Your H2 and H3 tags should also contain relevant keywords too. Although you shouldn’t repeat yourself, there should still be words and phrases you wish to rank for.

    Meta Descriptions

    10) A meta description is the short paragraph of text placed in the HTML of a webpage that describes its content.

    Methods-Unsound-meta-description-on-facebook

    Google has stated that meta descriptions are NOT a ranking signal. But, the quality of the description will influence click-through rate, so it is very important to use this element wisely…

    • Make sure your most important keywords for the webpage show up in the meta description.
    • Write legible, readable copy, and treat the meta description as if it’s an advert for your web-page
    • A meta description should be no longer than 135 – 160 characters long.
    • Do not duplicate meta descriptions.

    Next time we’ll look at even more on-page ranking signals.

    How a customer reviews strategy can impact SEO #BrightonSEO

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    Chris Bullick, Managing Director & Head of Marketing Services for Pull Digital, delivered an interesting presentation at Brighton SEO last week about how reviews can affect purchasing decisions and what this means for SEO.

    When we discuss the idea of adding reviews to a brand’s strategy, here are the most persuasive stats to support the decision:

    • 90% of consumers read reviews before visiting a business
    • 31% of customers are likely to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews
    • Reviews can boost your results by using fresh user-generated content
    • 72% of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review

    “88% of consumers trust online reviews like personal recommendations” – on reviews and SEO #BrightonSEO

    — Search Engine Watch (@sewatch) September 2, 2016

    Google’s ranking factors are changing all the time and there seems to be an increasing focus on content, uniqueness, device friendliness and social sharing.

    Thus, every new piece of content should be:

    • Unique (appears nowhere else on the web)
    • Relevant (contains content that engines can interpret as on-topic),
    • Helpful (resolves the searcher’s query in a useful and efficient manner)
    • Uniquely valuable (provides information that’s unavailable elsewhere)
    • Offers great UX (is easy and pleasurable to consume on any device)
    • Likely to spread (convincingly answers the question ‘who would amplify this content and why?’)

    It is estimated that review signals account for 9.8% of the total ranking factors, which means that they cannot be ignored during SEO, especially if a brand can benefit from their use.

    Six ways reviews can help SEO

    Creates fresh user-generated content

    Content is never enough and reviews make a great form of user-generated-content, coming directly from users – which is more influential for future customers.

    What’s more, it’s a great form of relevant content and they should always be encouraged.

    Boosts long-tail keyword traffic

    As reviewers are buyers of your products, the language they use is similar to the one your target audience will use. Thus, the consistent flow of reviews will help you target more traffic through the right keywords, coming directly from your own customers.

    Boosts social conversation

    What if a series of impressive reviews helps your product become popular, increasing both the social reach, but also the sales? How about incorporating reviews to your social strategy as a way to prove the love for your products.

    Google favours highly-rated sites

    Google takes into consideration the rating of sites, favouring those having the highest ratings. It’s your social proof and authority that reviews can boost, which means that it’s not just about adding reviews to your site, you should also to focus on how to improve them.

    Receive visible star ratings

    When star ratings are displayed in Google search results, prospective customers can instantly judge whether they can trust your product enough to visit your site. This helps increase the traffic, and possibly the sales, but it’s not always easy to achieve it.

    Google relies on specific third-party review sites to determine your star rating. You should have at least 30 unique reviews during the past year, with an average of 3.5 or higher.

    Star ratings may lead to an increased conversion rate of up to 17%, which is a great incentive to research more about them, along with Google’s guidelines on how to be eligible.

    Improve ranking for products

    As more people start searching for the reviews of your products, there will be more opportunities to rank higher in SERPS, increasing the chances of seeing more searches in the form of [product name] + review.

    This may serve as an additional opportunity to reach your potential audience in the most relevant way: right when they are searching for more details about your products.

    How to make the most of reviews

    According to Chris Bullick, here are the best ways to use reviews for your brand’s strategy:

    how to use reviews for SEO

  • Have a strategy. You don’t want to leave your brand’s reputation to chance.
  • Encourage reviews. There are many ways to encourage more reviews, whether it’s through the site, email campaigns, or social media. Keep asking for them, new reviews are always welcome.
  • Track and improve your score. It’s not just about gaining new reviews, but also about improving your ratings to increase the conversion rate. A closer communication with customer service would help you understand what customers want from your products, trying to improve it, aiming for better reviews.
  • Reward reviews. As you are seeking more reviews, a reward may be useful for your customers, but still, don’t try too much by providing too many rewards.
  • Right time – right place. Not every time and place is suitable when asking for reviews, especially when taking into consideration the purchase journey. Make sure you are targeting the right audience (customers) when asking for reviews, rather than a generic audience that may include one-time visitors.
  • Use rich snippets. Rich snippets on your product pages may help your reviews show up in search results, provided they include the right information for your products to help Google trace them.
  • Reply to reviews. Reviews are still part of your communication with your customers, so even the worst review needs to be answered. Always apologise to a disappointed customer and be ready to help if possible.
  • Keep calm and carry on. Set a tone that reflects your brand and stick to it. Keep in mind that the tone has to be polite and helpful, but it may still be authentic, enhancing the customer experience when needed.
  • Sign up with the best third party review site. As Google relies on third party review sites to determine a site’s reviews, it may be a good idea to learn more about these sites, working towards building your reputation, leading to better SERPs.
  • Don’t forget Facebook ratings. Your review strategy should not ignore reviews on social media, especially on Facebook, where many users flock to learn more about a brand, or a product.
  • Embrace bad reviews Negative reviews are still important for your review strategy, as they tend to be the most sought out and read by users. Keep monitoring them to improve your customer experience, be ready to respond, and never delete them or hide them.
  • Google experiments with new desktop SERP layout

    card search UI

    Yesterday, while indulging in my daily spot of ego-surfing very important research, I was surprised to find Google offering me a completely new layout.

    It seems Google is once again experimenting with a card-based SERP for desktop, where each result is placed in its own separated box like you would normally see on a mobile search.

    This is the search for an album review I recently published…

    These cards appear all the way down the page…

    card search UI

    Assuming this may just be a one-off, or specific to ‘reviews’, I then searched for my very favourite query…

    card search UI

    All the results are ‘carded’ once again, with News results given their own specific area.

    I also tried a local search for ‘london steak restaurants’…steak restaurants london   Google Search

    Not only are the results in card-form, but Google is showing a local three-pack here, rather than the two-pack its been experimenting with recently.

    There are a few interesting things to note in this experiment…

    • The number of results (11 plus News results) on the new layout is exactly the same as the ‘standard’ layout.
    • The snippet width is significantly longer on the card-based SERP. There are roughly 20 extra characters here than on the standard width.
    • On mobile there’s grey shading between the cards to add further delineation, this is missing on the desktop version.
    • After a flurry of searches, I am no longer being served the new look SERP 🙁

    The timing is interesting…

    Just a few days ago, Google’s core algorithm experienced significant turbulence, which led many experts to believe a change is coming.

    Google has also recently been testing another desktop UI variation, by increasing the spacing between results. According to The SEM Post the test gives a much cleaner look with more white space, but it also means that results get pushed further down the page.

    bottom-test

    However it should be noted that Google has experimented with this card-based layout before. Way back in 2013 it underwent testing, but shortly disappeared soon after. It then appeared again earlier this year in May.

    Although neither test led to a roll-out, there’s clearly a reason why it keeps coming back. It does make for a cleaner SERP, with results feeling neater and better organised. And perhaps Google persists with the test because it would make its desktop and mobile UI consistent.

    Maybe in a year’s time we’ll know the winner in the battle of ‘more space’ vs. ‘cards’. Or maybe we’ll be staring at something completely different…

    Personally my fingers are crossed for results appearing one-at-a-time on screen via increasingly elaborate star-wipes.

    What does Google AMP mean for ecommerce?

    AMP1

    Google has made some significant changes to the SERPs by rolling out AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for ecommerce.

    As of the August 22, the AMP project now provides the option to build aspects of ecommerce sites, such as product and category pages.

    It seemed only a matter of time before this would occur, especially after eBay announced the launch of 8 million AMP-enabled pages, but what exactly does it mean, and how should retailers react?

    What are the key changes for retailers?

    Anything that can increase conversion rates will always be welcome news for retailers, and the improvements in page load speeds that AMP brings will most likely help to achieve this.

    Furthermore, Google will display AMP pages in the search results, rather than just in the carousel. It’s important to note that this update does not affect rankings directly (yet), although site speed and on-site engagement metrics, which AMP is focused on, could have an impact on your rankings.

    Over time, it is also possible that Google will favour sites running AMP as they will cater for the growing mobile audience too.

    Although AMP pages aren’t the most adaptable or customizable at this stage, some large retailers (including eBay) are partnering with Google to test features such as smart buttons and advanced tracking, so we should expect a lot more developments in future. You can check out the proposed timeline with upcoming changes here.

    Richard Gingras, Google’s head of news and social products explains:

    “This is a very big step forward simply in terms of the amount of traffic we will now see going to AMP files — by far the biggest so far, in terms of increasing overall AMP adoption and traffic.”

    What does this mean for ecommerce?

    Google says that ‘AMP is a natural fit for ecommerce because AMP makes webpages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions.’ If you want to see what sort of results are coming up with AMP searches, click this link and perform a search from a mobile device.

    The aim for this project will ultimately be to provide a complete overhaul of the mobile e-commerce experience, utilizing stripped-back HTML to provide quicker load speeds, but also faster transitions between products.

    This is certainly something retailers will want to bear in mind as they craft product pages and select images.

    AMP could provide a boon for early adopters, as we will expect this to become the industry standard for all ecommerce sites in time – much in the same vein as the ‘mobile friendly’ tags, recently removed from SERPs now that over 85% of sites meet the criteria.

    The lightning bolt tag displayed alongside results will also lead to higher click-through rates as consumers realize that they relate to faster loading speeds, so there is an additional benefit here.

    How should retailers react?

    This should be viewed as a great opportunity to provide a better mobile experience and increase conversion rates. Implementing AMP may not be a straightforward process, but this open-source initiative does come with a lengthy list of best practices to aid developers.

    If you are still on the fence as to whether you should make your content AMP compliant, these recent changes just might tip you over the edge.

    Clark Boyd is VP, Strategy at Croud. This article was co-written by Andy Cooney, Head of SEO.

    Facebook unleashes its very own mobilegeddon

    canvas

    Last year, Google changed its algorithm to favour mobile-friendly sites.

    The change was dubbed Mobilegeddon as it threatened businesses that had not built mobile-friendly sites with lower rankings.

    Now, Google rival Facebook is weighing in on mobile-friendliness. Citing research, the social network says up to 40% percent of users will abandon a mobile site after three seconds of delay.

    That, for obvious reasons, is problematic for advertisers with slow-loading mobile sites who are paying Facebook for clicks.

    To address the issue, Facebook is taking several steps.

    First, it is encouraging advertisers to improve the mobile-friendliness of their websites using many of the techniques Google’s mobile-friendly test already recommends.

    These include compressing files, minimizing use of redirects and plugins, removing render-blocking JavaScript and using Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).

    Second, Facebook has built a prefetching system that identifies ads users are likely to click on and automatically retrieves some of the HTML content from the ad links in the Facebook in-app browser before they’re clicked.

    The company says can reduce mobile site load times by up to 29% or 8.5 seconds. Since advertisers can’t opt out of prefetching, Facebook includes a header that advertisers and third-party, tag-based measurement companies can use to identify prefetch requests.

    Third, the world’s largest social network has created a number of ways for advertisers to engage users without taking them off-site.

    In addition to Facebook Pages, Facebook offers Canvas Ads, “an immersive and expressive experience on Facebook for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products.” Designed with mobile in mind, Facebook says Canvas content loads 10 times faster than the standard mobile web.

    Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Facebook says it will look to “improve ad experiences for people by considering website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system.”

    In other words, Facebook advertisers with slow-loading mobile websites could find that their ads are displayed less frequently.

    That’s a big deal and highlights the growing importance of having a mobile-friendly website. While companies that have lackluster mobile experiences are already paying a high cost for their shortcomings in the form of high bounce rates and lower conversions, some don’t know it.

    But with Google and Facebook now cracking down on mobile-unfriendly websites, the costs will be more and more apparent.

    Google’s latest algorithm update: did anything happen and what might it affect?

    mozcast

    Friday was an exciting day for search, as the ‘chatter’ around a core Google algorithm increased dramatically.

    Here we’ll take a brief look at how the speculation arose, and what this means for search marketing right now.

    Why the speculation around an algorithm change?

    The evidence came from a few different sources…

    MozCast is a tool from Moz that anyone can access, which measures Google algorithm ‘turbulence’ over the previous day. “The hotter and stormier the weather, the more Google’s rankings changed.”

    The temperature on Thursday 2nd September was a sweltering 108 degrees.

    Dawn Anderson, a digital marketing strategist who provided so many useful tips in our guide to SEO tools, also noted the following peaks in her own monitoring.

    I know we’re not supposed 2 trust SERP monitoring tools 4 updates but just in case I’ll just leave this here. #SEO pic.twitter.com/LcvrGZ5Cy7

    — Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) September 3, 2016

    This is happening right now. Might even be tempted to think it’s #googlepenguin pic.twitter.com/lrOdqhwdg9

    — Dawn Anderson (@dawnieando) September 3, 2016

    The Mozcast temperature has now dropped down to a more bearable 78 degrees, and as Dawn Anderson carefully says above, you shouldn’t necessarily trust monitoring tools for updates.

    There’s been no official comment from Google just yet.

    So what has changed?

    Organic search has fluctuated up or down for many SEOs and according to Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Land, it looks like there has been two separate updates.

    1) Google core search

    Webmasters from across all verticals are experiencing changes in their organic traffic. Barry seems to think this isn’t a Penguin update, rather a change to the core search algorithm.

    2) Google Local Pack ranking quality

    Slightly more concrete is a change noticed by the local search community.

    According to Barry Schwartz, this is related to a quality update based on Google removing spammy local results, which will naturally shift and alter the look of the local SERP.

    But… did the algorithm actually change?

    Here’s where the fun begins. Just sit back and watch SEO experts on Twitter asking people like Google’s John Mueller for comment and then receiving very cagey replies.

    For context, the following exchange is based on the fact it’s currently Labor Day in the US…

    @dawnieando @BecomeKnown @iqseo If there were anything to announce, that wouldn’t be something they’d have to do in their time zone.

    — John Mueller (@JohnMu) 5 September 2016

    @dawnieando @BecomeKnown @iqseo We make a ton of updates that don’t get announced (at 1000+/year, that would be hard).

    — John Mueller (@JohnMu) 5 September 2016

    So it’s not a conformation, nor is it a rebuttal. Those diplomatic wizards!

    Why the excitement around Penguin?

    As you can imagine, SEOs, webmasters and search-news journalists have been in a state of cat-like readiness for Penguin 4.0 to shake things up since the previous update in 2014.

    Penguin is specifically meant to filter out (or penalise) websites spamming search results, with inorganic links bought or traded through shady link schemed.

    The prior update hit 12 billion search queries.

    A new update, Penguin 4.0, was expected in March 2016, but it never arrived. We’ve been waiting nervously ever since.

    However, there’s no real reason why you should be so nervous. As long as you’re keeping a nice, clean, legit backlink profile, and bloggers are no-following any links for freebies, then everything should be fine right. Right?

    We’ll update you on any further developments and changes.

    Best tweets and takeaways from ClickZ Live and Shift San Francisco

    Wednesday 31st August was the first day of ClickZ Live and Shift San Francisco, an event which attracted more then 500 attendees.

    It featured speakers from Accenture, Forbes, Intel, M&C Saatchi Mobile and keynotes from Aston Martin, Pandora, Walmart and Nitin Mangtani.

    Here’s a collection of tweets from the event, with some great stats and insights…

    Watching @astonmartin CMO give an awesome talk @ #CZLSF. Learned if you buy one they invite you to the factory to watch it get built. Crazy.

    — Adam Singer (@AdamSinger) August 30, 2016

    46 times a day. That’s how many times the average American checks their mobile phones each day. How often do you check? #CZLSF

    — Stacey Jaffe (@staceyjaffe) August 30, 2016

    A much anticipated talk from Heidi Browning from #Pandora giving invaluable #insights at #czlsf #marketing #mobilpic.twitter.com/pi2Ejg0HPb

    — Kevin Steineman (@KSteineman) August 30, 2016

    In 2014 mobile surpassed desktop users and now more time spent on media than sleeping #CliczIntelligence #CZLSF pic.twitter.com/S2P7LzgXnm

    — AdSpots (@AdSpotsInc) August 31, 2016

    “The customer journey is no longer linear” says @LinusGreg #CZLSF pic.twitter.com/IXjNYFFKWF

    — Gabriella Khorasanee (@MissGDK) August 31, 2016

    Why #consumers delete #mobile #apps. Important #uxdesign considerations to improve #customerretention. #CZLSF pic.twitter.com/bM1YCqyyJP

    — HERO (@MarketingByHERO) August 31, 2016

    Using schema markup on your reviews? Make sure your reviews were generated on YOUR site, not syndicated from others! #seo #CZLSF

    — Thom Craver (@thomcraver) August 30, 2016

    Yay for marketers, sad for tired people: “More time spent on media than sleeping” says @LinusGreg #CZLSF

    — Gabriella Khorasanee (@MissGDK) August 31, 2016

    Need to know what the customer wants, and be able to deliver to them through technology –@KevinKrone @SouthwestAir #WednesdayWisdom #CZLSF

    — Carly Ferry (@CRLYFRRY) August 31, 2016

    1/5 minutes spent on #mobile is on #facebook or #instagram #clickzlive #czlsf #czsf pic.twitter.com/PgUFZyS8Ss

    — Kevin Steineman (@KSteineman) August 30, 2016

    challenges @astonmartin when trying to integrate w/ diff functions. ->It happens to all companies. 🙂 #CZLSF pic.twitter.com/HBKUiyfVCb

    — Pam Didner (@PamDidner) August 30, 2016

    Five most important search marketing news stories of the week

    digital democracy manifesto

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

    This week has been a little quiet here in the UK. Mainly because of the bank holidays, but also because nobody could bear to be in an office because it’s too damn hot – but let’s see what we can find anyway…

    Bing Network reaches 20% market share in the UK

    Bing has announced that it has surpassed 20% market share in the UK, according to latest comScore figures.

    This increases its share of the search market to one in five UK searches. That’s the easiest maths I’ve ever done!

    The latest IAB Digital Adspend report saw paid-for search increase 15.3%, which now accounts for 51% of all digital advertising spend in the UK. And as Bing now accounts for 840 million monthly searches, perhaps its time you took some attention away from Google.

    The Digital Democracy Manifesto

    The current and possibly future leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn took to Facebook Live this week to launch his Digital Democracy Manifesto.

    Our writer Luke Richards reported fully on the story, but here’s some of the highlights of the proposal…

    Programming for everyone

    The intention is to use publicly funded Open Source technology and a National Education Service to get more children and adults into programming, coding and development.

    As Luke points out, this will be of interest to many in the digital sector, especially in light of the Conservative government’s latest acknowledgement of the current digital skills gap in the UK.

    Open knowledge library

    This will be a free-to-use online hub of learning resources for the National Education Service. The Open Knowledge Library will be the digital repository of lessons, lectures, curricula and student work from Britain’s nurseries, schools, colleges and universities.

    Community media freedom

    This part of the manifesto looks at access to media and how people are equipped to use emerging tools.

    “The National Education Service will provide learning resources for students of all ages to acquire the theoretical insights and practical skills for analysing and making media.”

    Social media marketing spend has surged, but falls short of estimates

    As Al Roberts reported in ClickZ this week, “Marketers’ spending on social media has tripled in the past seven years but falls way short of where marketers expected it to be when they peered into their crystal balls in 2009.”

    This is according to a CMO Survey conducted by American Marketing Association, Deloitte and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which found that social media now accounts for 11.7% of total marketing spend.

    That’s a big jump from where it stood in 2009 (3.5%), but still well short of the 17.5% marketers predicted it would account for today.

    Someone should probably also tell marketers that crystal balls are now a largely defunct technology, dismissed as quackery by most scientists.

    Facebook to punish advertisers with slow sites

    According to Danny Goodwin in Search Engine Journal, how quickly your mobile site takes to load will soon impact whether people will see your Facebook ads.

    In its own blog post, Facebook states that it will consider “website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system.”

    Facebook offers the following advice to speed up your mobile sites:

    • Minimising landing page redirects, plugins and link shorteners
    • Compressing files to decrease mobile rendering time
    • Improving server response time by utilising multi-region hosting
    • Using a high-quality content delivery network to reach audiences quickly
    • Removing render-blocking JavaScript

    Behavioral targeting is coming to Snapchat

    As Al Roberts reported in ClickZ, behavioral targeting is coming to Snapchat according to Snapchat’s director of revenue operations Clement Xue.

    According to Business Insider, “It looks as though any behavioral targeting will be limited to broad categories, rather than serving ads based on very specific interactions you have made inside the app,” which would be consistent with Snapchat founder and CEO Evan Spiegel’s distaste for “creepy” ads.

    Which is a but rich coming from a company with a terrifying ghost as its logo.

    /IMG/261/280261/snapchat-logo-app-store-370x229

    AGGGHHHHH RUN AWAY!