Daily Search Forum Recap: January 31, 2017

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web.

Search Engine Roundtable Stories:

  • New Google Mobile-Friendly Test API

    Google has announced they finally released the mobile-friendly test API, something webmasters have been asking for since the test has came out in November 2014.

    Google said “the Mobile-Friendly Test API lets you test URLs using automated tools…

  • Gary Illyes: Report Companies Impersonating Google

    Gary Illyes from Google was listening in on a conversation about folks calling me asking if I was Google. No kidding…

  • Google AdWords Updates IF Functions & Default Values

    Google quietly announced on Google+ that they made some changes to the IF functions and default values used for ad customizations. Google said “we’re making it even easier to customize these ads with IF functions and default values…

  • Google: Tell Us About Your HTTPS Migrations Again

    Gary Illyes from Google wants to hear feedback on success, failure or other issues during your HTTPS migration and how Google handled picking up and reindexing those HTTPS URLs and any traffic changes…

  • Google Releases New Content For Hacked Site Support

    Google’s Nathan Johns announced on Twitter that Google has released “new support content around help for hacked websites.” The new content can be found at developers.google.com/webmasters/hacked…

  • Google Campus Protests Hit 2 Million Googlers #GooglersUnite
    There are tons of pictures on social media of the Google campus protest last night at the Mountain View, GooglePlex headquarters. Reports say there were about 2 million Googlers there. Here is a phot

Other Great Search Forum Threads:


Source: SEroundTable

New AdWords interface alpha is rolling out to more advertisers

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Google has been slowly building out the new AdWords interface, which was introduced last March. More accounts have been granted alpha access, and on Tuesday, Google’s head of search ads, Jerry Dischler, said it is rolling out to even more AdWords accounts in the next few months.

When you first get access, you may be taken right to the new interface, or you may see a notification in the top right corner or at the bottom of the screen like the one below.

try-new-adwords-notice

Don’t worry about clicking it and never being able to get back to the land you know. You can toggle back and forth between the new and old interfaces, which you’ll want to do because functionality like being able to download data is still not available. A guided tour will launch the first time the new UI loads in an account.

Last fall, I wrote about some of the handy, time-saving visualizations in the new interface, which you might find helpful if you’re just  getting access or want to see what’s coming.

Google continues to add more features to the new UI, so even if you don’t find yourself working in it extensively at first, it’s worth continuing to check out and get used to the navigation. Here’s a look at an Overview screen today. The Advanced bid adjustment menu option on the left nav is relatively new, for example.

adwords-interface-01-31-17

Google says accounts are selected based on a number of factors, such as the features used.

The post New AdWords interface alpha is rolling out to more advertisers appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

Google launches Ads Added by AdWords pilot: what we know so far

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Automation is nothing new in AdWords, but this month, Google launched a pilot this month that adds new text ads to advertisers’ accounts. Dubbed Ads Added by AdWords, the program started on January 26.

Not surprisingly, this news has set off alarm bells among paid search managers that worry about Google usurping control over the ad creation and testing process. Here is what we know so far about this test.

The initial set of advertisers were notified of the pilot on January 12. For those that chose to participate, ads were added to ad groups two weeks later, on January 26, at which time a second wave of advertisers were notified about the pilot. Currently 2,000 accounts have been selected for the test. Each has a two-week opt-out window via a form. If you do not receive an email, you haven’t been selected for the pilot.

What accounts were considered for this program? Google looked at campaigns with ad rotation settings of either “Optimize for clicks” or “Optimize for conversions” that have ad groups with few ads in them.

If you’ve opted out of automated extensions or are in a vertical with privacy sensitivities such as pharma, your account was not selected for this program.

How are the ads generated? We’re told that, for the test, the ads were generated by people (as opposed to auto-generated) based on the existing ads in the account and the landing page content. The ads went through review by the product team, among others, for quality assurance. The sales teams were also involved in creative review and account selection for the pilot.

From the Help Center page on this new program, we also know that any ads generated for the pilot will be labeled “Added by AdWords”. In the example below (yes, all of the ads are terrible, but try to look past that for now), Google has added two test ads in an ad group that had just one ad. Notice that the headlines, description and paths are all being tested.

ads-added-by-adwords

 

Google says on that Help Center page, “We believe that adding more ads to the affected ad groups can improve these ad groups’ performance by 5 to 15%.” The new ads are set to run indefinitely, and Google recommends pilot participants not pause the ads. Theoretically, if they perform worse (based on conversion or click-through rates), the ads will be shown less. But, certainly review the ads if you’re participating in the test, as Google also advises.

This program obviously raises more questions about advertiser control and the role of machine learning in ad creation. If Google deems the pilot successful and roles Ads Added by AdWords out more broadly, it’s hard to see how the current ad creation and vetting process can scale without automation. One can assume that the machines will be learning from this pilot.

The post Google launches Ads Added by AdWords pilot: what we know so far appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

AdWords IF functions roll out for ad customization as Standard Text Ads sunset

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First, a moment of silence for the Standard Text Ad format that held on for 15+ years. Today marks the end. And with that, Google is rolling out AdWords IF functions globally to give advertisers the ability to customize their ads in much the same way ad customizers allow, but without the feed.

With IF functions,text ads can be tailored based on whether users are on mobile and/or a member of an audience list. For example, Frederick Vallaeys wrote in his column about using the IF function for mobile last fall when the feature was first announced as a way for advertisers who were running mobile preferred Standard Text Ads to continue customizing ads for mobile users.

In the example below from Google, an If function is used to customize the description offer based on whether a user is in the advertiser’s “Cart Abanodoners” retargeting list. If they on the list, users will see a “15% off” promotion; if not, they’ll get a “10% off” offer.

google-adwords-if-functions-abandon-cart

Syntax

Broken down, the syntax for IF functions is:

  1. Start with “{=IF”
  2. Add an open “(” after IF
  3. Follow with the targeting of “device=mobile” or “audience IN”
    1. If you’re using audience targeting, put the list you want to target inside parentheses. If you are targeting multiple audience lists, separate them with a comma.
  4. Put a comma after the targeting
  5. Add the text to insert when targeting criteria is met
  6. Close “)”
  7. Follow with a colon “:”
  8. After the colon, add the default text that will be used when the targeting criteria is not met
  9. End with the closing curly bracket “}”

Put together it looks like this:

{=IF(device=mobile or audience IN(audiencelist1,audiencelist2), Custom Text): Default Text}

A few more things to note

If you’re creating ads in the web UI, the IF function option will become available when you enter a curly bracket “{“. However, for now at least, it defaults to the mobile targeting syntax: {=IF(device=mobile,insert text):default text}. You’ll have to change it for audience targeting, and be sure to use the exact list name.

IF functions can be used anywhere in an Expanded Text Ad except for the final URL. They are only eligible to run on the Search Network.

And last but not least, with the default text provided with IF functions, advertisers don’t have to have an ad that doesn’t use customizers ad in their ad groups.

The post AdWords IF functions roll out for ad customization as Standard Text Ads sunset appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

The PPC industry would not exist under Trump’s immigration policy

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President Donald Trump’s executive order barring people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, even if they have a valid visa or green card, is not the way to “make America great again.” In fact, the online marketing industry as we know it would not exist had this order been in effect in Google’s early days.

Let me explain.

One of the most successful companies to come out of the US in the past two decades is Google, founded by Sergey Brin, a Russian and Larry Page, an American. While they had a great search engine, there was no business model. According to John Battelle in “The Search,” Google was months away from shutting down in 1999, when it was spending $500,000 per month with only $20 million in the bank and no significant revenues of any kind.

Employee #9, Salar Kamangar, born in Tehran, Iran, is credited with figuring out how to start making money by selling relevant ads on Google.* Employee #11, Omid Kordestani, also born in Tehran, figured out how to scale that business.

How much did it scale? In 2016, Google parent Alphabet Inc. and Apple went back and forth for holding the honors of being the world’s most valuable company based on market cap. On January 26, 2017, Google, the part of the business including ads, reported Q4 2016 revenues of $25.8 billion with profits of $7.8 billion. It is estimated that about 90 percent of Alphabet’s revenue comes from ads.

Had it not been for two Iranian immigrants and all the profits Google makes from selling ads, Google might no longer exist today. When I worked there from 2002–2012, I found ads tremendously exciting, but I also knew that my work helped fund all the things that make our lives more convenient and that we could not imagine being without, like Maps, Search, Gmail, Apps, and soon, self-driving cars.

And the benefits haven’t been limited to making life more convenient or giving all of us in the online marketing industry our careers and livelihoods. It’s benefited companies of all sizes everywhere. Across the US, Google’s search and advertising tools helped 1.4 million businesses drive $165 billion in economic activity in 2015.

And that is why I will argue that President Trump’s latest executive order is misguided.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are my personal ones.

*The pay-per-click advertising model was invented by Bill Gross of Idealab. Salar’s unique twist was to make ad relevance part of the ranking algorithm. Online ads at the time were on the decline because users hated how irrelevant and interruptive they were. By making them relevant, users started to click on ads to connect with companies that could help them, a true win-win.

The post The PPC industry would not exist under Trump’s immigration policy appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

New Google Mobile-Friendly Test API

Google has announced they finally released the mobile-friendly test API, something webmasters have been asking for since the test has came out in November 2014.

Google said “the Mobile-Friendly Test API lets you test URLs using automated tools.” “The API method runs all tests, and returns the same information – including a list of the blocked URLs – as the manual test,” Google added.

John Mueller from Google penned the announcement adding “we hope this API makes it easier to check your pages for mobile-friendliness and to get any such issues resolved faster.”

Here is a sample output of the API results:

Google Mobile-Friendly Test API

The test results output currently include:

  • MOBILE_FRIENDLY_TEST_RESULT_UNSPECIFIEDInternal error when running this test. Please try running the test again.
  • MOBILE_FRIENDLYThe page is mobile friendly.
  • NOT_MOBILE_FRIENDLYThe page is not mobile friendly.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


Source: SEroundTable

Gary Illyes: Report Companies Impersonating Google

Gary Illyes from Google was listening in on a conversation about folks calling me asking if I was Google. No kidding, I get about one call per day asking if I am from Google and if I can help them with everything from resetting their Android device to ranking help to a Google Play refund. But then Melissa Fach said she gets many calls from companies claiming their are from Google, offering to sell her something. That stuff has been going on for a while and we’ve covered it before.

Gary Illyes offered to help on Twitter if you give him the phone number and company name of the company impersonating Google. He said, “if you also happen to have phone numbers and perhaps company names, I can find someone who’d love to look into it.”

There have even been folks who have impersonated Matt Cutts and even impersonate myself. But people calling claiming to be from Google is a much larger issue.

I am not sure what Gary can do but it is worth sending him this data as you get it.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


Source: SEroundTable

Google AdWords Updates IF Functions & Default Values

Google quietly announced on Google+ that they made some changes to the IF functions and default values used for ad customizations. Google said “we’re making it even easier to customize these ads with IF functions and default values.”

IF functions help you customize your ad text based on whoâs searching and what device theyâre searching on, all without using a feed. For example, if theyâre a new customer, you might call out holiday promotions. Or if theyâre a returning customer, you might highlight the benefits of your loyalty program. You can also use an IF function to show mobile users customized ad text, such as highlighting your convenient mobile checkout.

Here are more details on IF functions.

Default values can now be used when customizer text canât be determined from your ad customizer feed or IF function. Say youâre a baking supply retailer promoting professional mixers. You might have an ad headline with an ad customizer set up to show the model name and âmixer.â Starting today, you could set âProfessionalâ as a default value to ensure that even if someone searches for a mixer model that isnât in your feed, theyâll still see the relevant headline âProfessional mixer.â Additionally, by using default values, you no longer need to have an ad without customizers in your ad group.

Here are more details in the help section.

Forum discussion at Google+.


Source: SEroundTable

Google: Tell Us About Your HTTPS Migrations Again

Gary Illyes from Google wants to hear feedback on success, failure or other issues during your HTTPS migration and how Google handled picking up and reindexing those HTTPS URLs and any traffic changes. Gary posted on Twitter “if you decided to move to HTTPS, Search would like to hear from you! Any problems? Traffic decline? Let us know!”

Here is the tweet with his friend Fred, the fish:

So here is your chance to give Google your URLs and tell them what went wrong or even what went right with your HTTPS migration.

As most of you know, I migrated this site pretty quickly, right after Google announced the HTTPS ranking boost to be your guinea pig and it worked fine – no real traffic boost but no real issues.

So if you got issues, let Gary know on Twitter.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


Source: SEroundTable

Google Releases New Content For Hacked Site Support

Google’s Nathan Johns announced on Twitter that Google has released “new support content around help for hacked websites.” The new content can be found at developers.google.com/webmasters/hacked.

It gives you these seven action steps to help with hacked site issues:

  • Build a team: Contact your web host and build a support team.
  • Quarantine your site: Prevent the hacker from doing any more.
  • Use Search Console: Use Search Console to help identify the hacking type.
  • Assess the damage (spam): For spam hacks, figure out what needs to be fixed
  • Assess the damage (malware): For malware hacks, figure out what needs to be fixed.
  • Identify the vulnerability: Figure out how the hacker got in.
  • Clean and maintain your site: Close the vulnerability that let the hacker in.
  • Request a review: Ask Google to reconsider your hacked labeling.

Most of you have had clients come to you with hacked site issues, this can be helpful not just in how to fix or discover the issue but how to talk to your clients about it.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


Source: SEroundTable