Category Archives: Google Updates

Crumbs! Another Google Update…

The Google update for mobile, optimistically dubbed ‘Mobileaggedon’ by various experts in the SEO industry, successfully rolled out on April 21st as planned. You might have read our blog about it and gotten in touch with us to make sure your site was mobile-friendly and what to do if it wasn’t.

So we know that Google know ranks sites depending on how well optimised they are for mobile, but is there anything else that’s happened? Though the algorithm’s been updated, there are still a few things that you might need to know about the way that Google’s Mobile search results are presented. Specifically, the update has changed the way that URLs are displayed in mobile search.

Mobile search results no longer display the actual URL of the site, but a breadcrumbs-style format of the URL Structure. This particular change has been rolled out worldwide.

The second change to the Google update has only been rolled out in the US so far, but there’s nothing to suggest that this won’t be rolled out worldwide in the future. The second change to URL structure for mobile is that you can display the site name rather than the domain. For example, if you were to type ‘Zebra Internet Services SEO’ into Google through your phone, instead of being displayed as www.zebra.co.uk/ seo-online-reputation/ it would instead be displayed as ‘Zebra > Seo & Online Reputation.’

As it turns out, Google has been planning this change for years, testing it through mobile and web search before deciding to roll out the worldwide changes. By the look of things, this new breadcrumb structure is set to change the way SEO is done yet again.

This update puts a new focus on well-structured URLs, so if you have organised your website in a silo structure with your folders laid out logically then you’re in luck. Based on the actual page URL or the navigation breadcrumbs on the page, the Google update will display the structure in a way that it determines to be the best representation of the way your page fits within the site.

A well-structured URL will effectively communicate what a page on your site is all about, and ideally your pages will be within a few clicks of the home page for the best results. What matters is that your URLs provide Google with context, such as the names of product pages and categories that those product pages fall into.

Implementing breadcrumb navigation in your site will give you a significant advantage when it comes to SEO, because the links that you create better helps Google to understand what your site is about as well as creating a more user-friendly site for your customers to navigate. It’s also a great way to assert your site’s authority through links, as a logical and well-laid out breadcrumb path will naturally pass link juice up to your main landing pages.

If the ability to display breadcrumb URLs under your own terms becomes available worldwide then you’ll be able to present your website to users through organic search the way that you want. From a branding and advertising perspective, it’s yet another opportunity to get your site seen by customers through easier brand identification and recognition. It seems that Google’s trail of breadcrumbs is set to lead a lot of websites out of the woods and into the warm light of a strong online presence.

Zebra Internet Services specialise in SEO & Online Reputation Management. For more information on our services, including Pay Per Click Management and Social Media Management, you can visit our site at www.zebra.co.uk or give us a call on 0191 261 2252.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is Head of SEO and Online Reputation Management at Zebra Internet Services.

@CamilleTaylor34

 

Google Adwords URL Tracking Update: Are You Ready?

Do you use Google Adwords? If you’re currently running a Pay Per Click campaign with them, you need to know about Google’s recent changes to Adwords’ URL management.

Google announced recently that they had improved URL management in order to make tracking easier for your Adwords campaigns. Adwords URL tracking is used in conjunction with your Google Analytics account, and refers to adding unique identifiers to the destination URLs so better gauge the success of your campaigns and the traffic they receive.

How it works

So how does the upgrade work, exactly? Google is essentially replacing the destination URL section, the field where you enter your web address for people to click on and arrive at your landing page. If you use Adwords URL tracking, the destination URL feed is also used to track parameters that you’ve set up.

Instead of the destination URL field, the update will introduce the final URL field as well as a new field for tracking management. While your final URL can contain redirects, the domain name must match the domain name of your display URL.

Will this affect my campaign?

Google updates of any kind have a tendency to get people worrying, but this isn’t the same as an algorithm update. Rather than refining search, Google is simply trying to improve the Adwords experience for users, and with so many businesses currently running campaigns to give their rankings a boost, it’s likely that this update will have people sighing with relief. After all, who wouldn’t want a better way to track their campaign progress?

For people that have landing pages in place for existing ads, Google have assured users that they’re working hard to make sure that no one’s campaign progress is reset when the URLs are updated, so you don’t have to worry about starting all over again.

What do I have to do?

If you don’t use Adwords URL tracking then you don’t have to do anything at all; Google will automatically upgrade your URLs for you in July and your campaign will continue as normal. This will be done by copying your current Destination URLs to the new Final URL field for all of your ads and keywords. Adwords will also be updated to reflect this change, specifically the report columns that allow you to keep track of your data.

If you do use Adwords URL tracking, then Google is recommending that you upgrade your URLs before July 1st, which is when the change rolls out. Once July 1st comes around, be sure to check that your final URLs have been upgraded as Google stated and that the URLs appear as expected for your campaigns. Google has also announced that later this year the final URL field will be the only landing page option for your campaign. Direct URL will be around for a while longer, but eventually it will be retired in favour of this more efficient tracking field.

As well as providing professional SEO services, Zebra Internet Services offers pay per click management services to its clients, and as third party campaign managers we want to make sure that those campaigns remain successful. If your PPC campaign is being run by a third party, you should contact them to see if they are aware of the upcoming changes and work with them to get your URLs updated in time.

If you currently run a PPC campaign with us or would like to discuss the changes, you can call us on 0191 261 2252 or email us at [email protected].

 

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is Head of SEO and Online Reputation Management at Zebra Internet Services.

@CamilleTaylor34

April’s Google Update: What to Expect

As we enter April, there are murmurings of a new Google update rumbling across the internet. As always, the speculation is running high, but there is already some information available regarding this new update, set to come into effect on the 21st April. Before anyone starts panicking, allow us to explain this next Google update and what it means for your site, business and overall online presence.

What is the update?
Google’s next update will be directed at smart devices, mobile phones and other portable devices you can use to access the internet. As time has gone on and technology become more advanced, we’ve seen a shift away from traditional computing methods and more and more people are choosing to access the internet on their phone or tablet device instead. In fact, studies have predicted that in the future, mobile devices will be the way that the majority of users access the internet regularly. Google’s update is adjusting to these usage patterns to better reflect people’s search experience.

What will it do?
The update will be making two changes to Google’s search algorithm for mobile ranking results, which was launched back in 2013, in order to put more weight behind a website’s mobile-friendly factors.

So, once the update has been carried out, mobile-friendly sites will rank better in search engines. Google will also label your site as mobile-friendly so that other users know that it is easily accessed through a smart device. This is predicted to affect mobile searches worldwide as well as significantly impacting search results. Google will also be using information from indexed apps as a ranking factor for signed-in users with the app installed.

What does it mean?
It’s simple; if your website is not mobile-friendly, your rankings may be negatively impacted. This update is designed to help users find more relevant, high-quality search results that have been optimised for smart devices, so even if your site has great content, it won’t rank well for mobile search. Mobile-friendly site design is even more important than ever, and if you haven’t yet made that crucial optimisation then now is the time to do it.

If you need to make your site more mobile-friendly, don’t panic; Google announced the update ahead of time so that site owners can prepare, and there’s still plenty of time for you to make your website more mobile-friendly in anticipation of this big update. If you’re concerned about how you may be affected, you can speak to our Online Reputation Management team by emailing [email protected], or by calling 0191 2612252.

Google also has some tools available to help you determine how mobile-friendly your site is, such Google Webmaster’s ‘Mobile Usability’ reports and the Mobile-Friendly Test, where you can test some of your site’s pages. If Google’s update is anything to go by, mobile-friendly websites are the way of the future, and any site owners that want to keep up will have to make some crucial changes to keep their site ranking.

Zebra Internet Services is made up of a group of internet experts that specialise in domain name registration, web hosting, SEO, Online Reputation Management and data centre services. For more information, you can contact us on 0191 261 2252.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is head of SEO and Online Reputation management at Zebra.

@CamilleTaylor34

Wait… Google Pigeon???

Google Pigeon

What a surprise – Google has updated their algorithm. Again. Working in SEO and digital marketing means that we have to constantly be aware of what the search engine giant is up to in order to maintain effective marketing strategies and continue the production of excellent content that generates the best search engine rankings possible. Every time Google releases a new update the tide shifts and changes, leaving us to develop new ideas and strategies that keep us in the loop.

This recent update is noteworthy in that it was easily one of the largest local search algorithms to come from Google in quite a long time. The fact that this is such a large update suggests some significant changes on the horizon, as it does whenever Google rolls out a significant update. This particular update has already been named by Search Engine Land, another SEO information source, and is now known as the Google Pigeon algorithm. Unlike Panda and Penguin, this update doesn’t appear to be penalty-based, which raises more questions as to how exactly Pigeon works. How will the Pigeon update affect local searches?

The rollout exclusively affected US search results back in July this year, but there is a possibility that it will begin to apply to other countries. Though certain aspects of the Pigeon update remain unclear because Google is currently keeping key metrics and figures close to its chest, we can ascertain that the aim of the update is to provide better quality local search results by making them more accurate and relevant to the search query in question. It not being penalty-based suggests that it will not have a significant impact on the way that content is produced, but some key changes have already emerged from this update in other aspects.

One of these changes is that local listing packs have disappeared for a significant number of keywords, effectively refining the ranking process. As fewer queries now generate local listing packs, there’s a chance that your website might see a reduction in traffic and action will need to be taken in order to bring your rankings back up. There is also a stronger focus on website authority, meaning that local rankings are going to be affected by various SEO ranking factors like domain authority and backlinks. However, local directory searches like Yelp have seen notable boosts in their rankings, so while your rankings might be affected the chances of your business being found through a local directory search is largely improved.

As you can imagine, all of these changes could mean big adjustments to your own website and marketing plan. If you think that Pigeon might have affected your ranking and web traffic and don’t know where to begin to fix the damage caused, Zebra Internet Services can help you. Our team of experts offers specialist advice and strategies in the area of SEO and Online Reputation in order to help keep local businesses visible in the competitive and consistently shifting world of digital marketing, even in the face of the biggest Google updates out there.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is head of SEO and Online Reputation management at Zebra.

@CamilleTaylor34

Hummingbird: The Facts

HummingbirdThis month, the world of SEO has been seemingly shaken by what’s being hailed as Google’s biggest update since Caffeine in 2010.

Hummingbird has fluttered deep into the heart of Google’s infrastructure, conceptualising search and building on synonym-led queries that were introduced in 2002. SEO agencies across the world have been flooded with panicked calls from customers who’ve heard on the grapevine that Hummingbird could banish them from their rank positions, inciting a digital riot actually based on a deep misunderstanding of what the update actually means.

The idea behind Hummingbird is that Google will now be able to offer search results with an increased likelihood of satisfying the requirements of the user, not through keywords but the use of queries, particularly semantics, and conversational based searches. The scary announcement that over 90% of queries were affected is being challenged by the industry, as very few actually saw any difference in their traffic or positions.

What this doesn’t mean is an end to traditional and accepted SEO methods of great copywriting, authoritative link-building and, believe it or not, the use of keywords to drive traffic. What Google’s actually done is developed and built on an already existing system (Caffeine), and adapted its methods of pooling relevant data to suit our ever-changing technological world.

Despite their typically cagey approach to releasing details of new updates, this was actually the undercurrent of Google’s Senior Vice President and Software Developer Amit Singhal’s evasive statement back in September.

Who’s your #TeamZebra expert?

Camille Taylor

Camille Taylor is head of SEO and Online Reputation management at Zebra.

@CamilleTaylor34