It's not you Yahoo, it's me

After three years of going steady Mozilla and Yahoo have now called it quits, Mozilla announced the breakup earlier this week in a press release with the introduction of the new Firefox Quantum.

 

This new introduction appears to be the cause of the split with Quantum replacing Yahoo with Google for the U.S, Canada, Hong Kong and Taiwan as the engine’s default search browser. Mozilla explained that it this change is “part of [their] focus on user experience and performance”.

 

Despite things moving so quickly in the digital industry the breakup comes as a surprise to many Firefox users with the rollover occurring before an announcement was even made. It’s particularly surprising considering the Yahoo-Firefox affair was set to last at least five years.

 

On why the parted ways earlier than expected Mozilla’s chief business and legal officer Dennelle Dixons says, “We exercised our contractual right to terminate our agreement with Yahoo based on a number of factors including doing what’s best for our brand…”

 

Yahoo is yet to make a statement on the split, but despite the amicable parting Yahoo must definitely be feeling the sting as Google’s popularity continues to grow.

Meet Poly – Google’s sister

Google is launching a free, new platform for all your 3D needs named Poly. A fun and playful branch of Google, Poly’s homepage features a bright pink 3D geometric shape surrounded by an underwater 3D treasure trove with tagline – “explore the world of 3D’”.

 

 

Users upload their designs to Poly for free download through Google’s Tilt Brush or Block tools. While Poly is ultimately designed for virtual and augmented reality developers that are building apps with virtuality reality development platforms, models can be accessed by anyone for now.

 

Poly models range from an animated cartoon riding a bike that shoots rainbows to animated apples. With animators flexing their…creative muscle there’s bound to be a model for everyone.

 

These 3D models can then be downloaded and used as is or further remixed to suit whatever platform or design is needed. For the less virtual reality and augmented reality inclined, these fun models can be turned into GIFs directly from Poly.

 

The project is still in it early stages and can now be used to search and download 3D models but Google is still in the process of further developing and expanding Poly and even if you have no interest of designing any VR it’s definitely worth a browse!

 

Google announced new AMP features

For the past few months Google has been emphasising the importance of mobile-friendly websites and mobile commerce with their newly introduced AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), which load 4x faster than regular pages and are rumoured to improved SEO rankings.

 

Just recently they have announced that these Accelerated Mobile Pages will now be updated through additional projects that will improve and add features.

 

These additional features include:

 

  • Scrolling animations – which can be used for parallax effects, subtle zoom, fade-in of images or even starting and stopping images
  • Responsive sidebar – allows for easier to make responsive pages
  • Native video analytics support – to collect engagement data of users
  • Improved Client ID information – AMP viewers can now accept vendor identifiers and/or API keys included in pages
  • Fluid ad-support for publishers

 

While this project is still underway, it does signify the mobile to desktop shift that is become increasingly apparent in digital spheres as consumers are reaching for their phones and tablets more and more for information, shopping and research.

 

It will be interesting to see how far these AMP updates will go and how they will improve both user and publisher mobile experience as Google continues to flex is mobile muscles.

How to… a story by Google

How to change a nappy?

 

How to do your own tax?

 

How to fix a leaky tap?

 

There probably isn’t a single person that hasn’t typed in “How to…” into their Google search engine at point or another. It seems that Google agrees because they’ll be launching a site that not only reveals the most popular “how to” searches but also offers data based on these searches.

 

As someone that would rather find an answer online than seek help from a seasoned professional it comes as no surprise that “how to” searches have grown by 140% in the past 13 years. Gone are the days of walking into the local library or hardware store to looking for plumbing information, instead, we turn to our plethora of online experts to show us videos, tutorials and tips.

 

It turns out that in Australia the most common “how to” searches are:

  • How to fix a wall
  • How to fix a door
  • How to fix a window

 

But not all online searches are about home repairs! Some other popular searches from around the world include:

  • How to make pancakes
  • How to make money
  • How to lose weight
  • How to tell if a guy likes you
  • How to jump a car (we don’t recommend actually carrying out these instructions)

 

It’s not just fun tid-bits of relatable information that Google will be offering, it also breaks down seasonal variations, geographic variations and monthly variations amongst searches. So as a business consider what are your “how tos” and figure out how to use that to your advantage.

Dislike of pop-ups is universal Google confirms  

 

There probably isn’t a single person on the Internet that isn’t bothered by a pop-up ad. The spectrum of pop-up dislike ranges from a mild annoyance to violent laptop throwing and screaming and while this isn’t a scientific measure it’s incredibly accurate.

 

It turns out that Google feels the same about pop-ups that we do which is good news for us because a new Chrome browser with a built-in pop-up blocker is rolling out.

 

While the search engine giant does make money from these ads it seems that user experience trumps profits (in this case at least) with 73% of users reporting they dislike online pop-ups. Another 70% responding they dislike ads on their mobile phone.

 

In an attempt to reduce the number of obnoxious ads Google has begun sending warning emails to websites that have “highly annoying, misleading or harmful” pop-ups based on the Coalition for Better Ads standards.

 

To keep up with these changes it’s a good idea to start a website wide ad re-evaluation with the first thing to scrap being pop-ups. However for an improved advertisement strategy consider other ads that are also getting on consumer’s nerves:

 

Desktop:

  • Auto-playing video ads with sound
  • Prestitial ads with countdown
  • Large sticky ads

 

Mobile:

  • Prestitial ads
  • Ad density higher than 30%
  • Flashing animated ads
  • Autoplaying ads with sound
  • Postitial ads with countdown
  • Full-screen scroll over ads
  • Large stick ads

 

While the Chrome update is yet to be rolled out it’s definitely time to start reconsidering your ad strategy before its too late.

Post it with Google

Google post, a feature that was recently introduced in late 2016 is now officially available to all small businesses within select countries. For those that are not in America or Brazil where it is available, Google Post is a feature that allows users to create content directly on Google resulting in high search result rankings.

Available to those that use Google My Business (GMB), users are given the option to attach an image to their Post with a 300 word maximum description. Call to action options include learn more, buy, reserve, sign up and get offer to prompt consumers.

Posts are an easy way to advertise quick snippets of information such as daily promotions, discounts and deal but also upcoming events, top products and new arrivals. Google are hoping that making Posts more available will provide businesses with the opportunity to reach new and existing clients.

While Posts does not have a specific industry target businesses such as cafes and restaurants could particularly benefit due to ability to promote daily meal specials or seasonal events.

There is currently no data measuring the success of Posts but there is no doubt that should they prove successful we will soon start seeing it roll out internationally.

The battle over extremist content

With the wave of concerning extremism from all ends of the spectrum surfacing on the Internet and eventually the real world it only makes sense that a digital giant such as a Google does their part to nip online extremism in the bud in Europe.

YouTube is already attempting to stem extremist videos through removal of ads, however they will be taking it a step further.

Here are the four ways that YouTube will attempt to cull the wave of extremist content on their site:

Technology

Currently, YouTube is using video analysis programs in order to detect extremist and terrorism-related content with a 50% success rate. With this new push for rooting out extremist content, they are investing greater engineering resources to improve content analysis to more quickly and easily detect and remove violating videos.

Independent experts

The Trust Flagger programme, a forum of experts that are able to nuance and flag extremist content from newsworthy content. They are able to accurately flag 90% of extremist/terrorism-related content but YouTube intends to expand this programme by adding 50 expert NGOs to the forum.

Tougher screening of content

There are a plethora of videos that may not directly violate YouTube policies but walk a fine line between extremism and information. These inflammatory videos will not be removed but will but will be unable to gain monetisation, user comments or even user endorsements.

Counter-radicalisation

The Creators for Change programme is an existing initiative that YouTube has implemented to discourage hate speech and radicalisation but a ‘Redirect Method’ will also be implemented across Europe in conjunction with Jigsaw. This will allow anti-hate propaganda and advertising to reach radicalised individuals based on their Internet usage in a step toward de-radicalisation.
While this new push against extremist content is occurring only in Europe, it’s a much needed push to reduce the dangerous and inflammatory content that is flooding the mainstream Internet.

Google’s mobile confusion

With mobile usage increasing, it is becoming more and more important to improve and develop mobile sites. This move is not only for user experience such as AMP but also for improved SEO. Despite Google’s announcement of a mobile first index to be launched in 2017 a combination of delays, trials and complication have pushed the roll out date back to 2018.

Following the continual flow of data heralding the age of mobile search most business’ would have improved their mobile sites, some maybe even switching to m-dot sites. While this may be been the most tactical move in the pre-mobile index era, that isn’t necessarily the case.

In fact, Google is urging site owners to change their m-dot sites to fully responsive websites before their 2018 roll out. Their reason for this is that full responsive sites already have an indexing system in place, so when the roll out occurs, sites will automatically migrate to mobile-first index.

However, should m-dot sites migrate after the roll out the process will take far longer, which could have short-term and long-term impacts on your mobile site. According to Google, the roll out will occur on a site-by-site basis rather than a single launch date in which all sites switch over at the same time.

While you don’t necessarily have to shift over you m-dot site now, it’s definitely worth doing before 2018 so that your mobile site is ahead of the game.

It’s not who you know, it’s where you are  

Have you ever noticed that whenever you search a product or service on Google the top results aren’t always first? Yeah, you guessed it Google is stalking you. Well, at least staying aware of your location in order to provide the best geographical match to your search query.

 

What is interesting is that the results that Google does display may not have a website, reviews or even well written content. Although this may be frustrating for search users, it is ultimately a way to increase ad revenue.

 

So what does this mean for organic search results? Organic results are not largely affected by this geographic results box, however it does mean that they are displayed further down the page.

 

Remember that Google is not the only source on information on the Internet. Utilise other platforms to improve your SEO such as TripAdvisor, Yelp or even Facebook. Optimise these sites and encourage traffic to your business here in order to improve your Google results.

 

Another impact of this is that local SEO must be more competitive. Before this update, your business may have been ranking on the first page through your own SEO. However, because of this update your business may now require the professional services of an SEO agency that has the time and resources to best optimise your business.

 

Just because Google is using a smaller geographic radius, it does not mean that local SEO is futile, simply work smarter and just a little bit harder to keep those ranks up.

5 steps to a killer SEO strategy

Getting started on SEO can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you have never done it before. There is a whole new world of technical terms, guidelines, penalties and thousands of online resources.

 

To make it easier for SEO newbies we have broken down a short 5-step strategy to help you get started! Keep reading for some handy tips and a great way to build your foundation.

 

 

Step 1: Prioritise!

 

Sometimes when starting SEO you want to do everything at once; avoid doing this, especially if you have site with an extensive number of pages. Start small and focus on a select amount of pages that you wish to promote and optimise.

 

This way you won’t bite off more than you can chew and still see results.

 

A good rule of thumb is to select pages that are the most popular or unique to your business in order to distinguish yourself.

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Know the competition

 

You can’t beat the competition without knowing their strengths and weaknesses. So once you have established what pages you want to optimise, analyse your competitor’s tactics – particularly focus on their on-page and off-page factors.

 

On-page factors to look out for include: keywords, titles, images, content structure and length, meta descriptions.

 

Keywords in particular are an important factor to consider as the correct number and placement of keywords has a significant impact on your overall ranking.

 

Off-page factors that are important to analyse are the number of backlinks that lead to the targeted page and what type of backlinks they are.

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Compare strategies

 

Now that you have looked at your competitor and analysed their strategies, it is time to make comparisons. What aspects are they surpassing you in? And how are they doing it?

 

This stage is piecing together the information you have gained from your analysis. From this point you can mix and match tactics from your own strategy and other strategies that best suits your business.

 

 

 

 

Step 4: Test the new analysis on your selected pages

 

This is the stage where you begin implementing the tactics that you have chosen. Once you have established these behavioural factors on the targeted pages, ensure that you are simultaneously using an analysis tool.

 

Analysis is another key aspect to this stage as it allows you to identify what works and what doesn’t. Features to focus on CTR, user experience and conversions. The former two criterions hold particular significance as they are identified by Google to have major ranking factors.

 

This is because Google perceives a high CTR to be equivalent to high relevancy; therefore these sites are awarded higher rankings.

 

User experience is similarly important as the longer that a user uses your site, the higher the perceived relevancy. A simple factor that you can use to measure this behaviour is the bounce back rate.

 

 

 

Step 5: Establish your strategy

 

If you have not recognised any distinguishable positive changes, simply adjust your behavioural factors. Don’t be disheartened by trial and error, keep trying and you will eventually find what works for you.

 

Once you have deduced the successful formula, implement this throughout the site.

 

 

 

It is important to remember that SEO is an ongoing process; there are continually new updates, features and guidelines that are introduced. Often because of the continually changing industry, it is most time savvy to employ a professional SEO agency such as SEO Premier to ensure that your site stays updated and relevant.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Katreena Pevec

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