Daily Search Forum Recap: July 29, 2016

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:

Other Great Search Forum Threads:

Source: SEroundTable

Merkle’s early data on expanded text ad CTRs: results are mixed

Merkle has released early results on click-through rates of expanded text ads relative to standard text ads in its Q2 Digital Marketing Report. The agency began participating in the expanded text ads beta in April and analyzed the longer ad format’s impact on click-through rate (CTR) across thousands of ad groups.

When Google first announced that expanded text ads (ETAs) were coming, the company touted as much as a 20 percent lift in click-through rates on expanded text ads. Merkle looked at ad performance for non-brand traffic and brand traffic.

For non-brand queries, early results showed expanded text ads drove a 16 percent lift for the median site and ad group on desktop. Mobile phones, however, saw just a 4 percent bump in CTR and tablets an 8 percent increase overall. Merkle added that individual results did vary widely, with several advertisers seeing lower CTRs from expanded texts on non-brand traffic from some devices.


Source: Merkle


On brand traffic, expanded text ad click-through rates were nearly in line with, or slightly worse than, standard text ads.  ETA click-through rates were 4 percent lower than standard text ads on mobile phones, flat on tablet and off one percent on desktop.


Source: Merkle


Merkle points out a few caveats when looking at this data. Little is known about the auction conditions for ETAs, such as how many expanded text ads display on a results page, how often product listing ads showed with expanded text ads and whether there is a difference in the queries that trigger ETAs versus standard ads during this period when both ad formats are running simultaneously. Another thing to note is the frequency and mix of extensions that show with ads can vary significantly with each impression.

ETAs were receiving 47 percent of total impressions in the ad groups in which they were included, Merkle reported. Merkle’s client base skews large retailer.

These are early results, and more analysis will be forthcoming as ETAs are now available to all advertisers, but they raise questions about both the testing environment advertisers are supposed to be making decisions in over the next couple of months, as well as the long-term upside of ETAs. Google has said the key impetus for the new longer format was the idea that giving mobile users more information upfront will give them more confidence to click. With that it’s surprising to see these phone CTR results, and to see desktop outperform phone.

It’s also worth pointing out that distinct mobile (preferred) ad copy is not supported with expanded text ads, meaning the same messaging is served across all devices.

The full Digital Marketing Report includes more on paid and organic search, comparison shopping engines, and display and is available for download (with registration).

The post Merkle’s early data on expanded text ad CTRs: results are mixed appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Update, Penguin Status, Donald Trump, AdWords & Verizon Buys Yahoo

This week in search, we covered a possible Google update earlier this week. Googleâs John Mueller said there will be a Penguin update again. Donald Trump was dropped as a presidential candidate in Google because of a bug. Google said 3xx redirects pass full PageRank but some SEOs still donât believe Google on this. Google also said that if you try to redirect an expired page to another, Google will likely treat it as a 404. Google said they wonât penalize you for using emojis or symbols in your titles. Google is still sometimes showing emojis in the search results. Google said you should build high quality content before worrying about web spam issues. Google said if you have stolen content outranking you, to let them know. I shared a cool featured snippet that is way localized. Google shared an FAQ on migrating news sites from HTTP to HTTPS. Google added social icons to local knowledge graph profiles. Google AdWords smart bidding uses machine learning. Google AdWords is rolling out expanded text ads and device bid adjustments. Google also released the new version of AdWords Editor and is retiring converted clicks. Google also said the payday loan AdWords ban has started rolling out. Google also released three new conversion reports. Finally, Verizon is going to be acquired by Yahoo for $4.8 billion. That was this week in search at the Search Engine Roundtable.

Make sure to subscribe to our video feed or subscribe directly on iTunes to be notified of these updates and download the video in the background. Here is the YouTube version of the feed:

For the original iTunes version, click here.

Search Topics of Discussion:

Please do subscribe via iTunes or on your favorite RSS reader. Don’t forget to comment below with the right answer and good luck!

Source: SEroundTable

Google Adds Social Icons To The Local Knowledge Graph

Google has added social profiles and icons to the local knowledge graph. This was discovered by @ryanbowlerhat and Joy Hawkins posted this on Twitter. Joy is a super focused local SEO who tracks this stuff and she confirmed with me that previously only big brands had social profile icons but now even small brands will show social icons, if they have it, in the local knowledge graph.

Here is a screen shot:

I was not sure if it was new, but Joy is confident it is:

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Google May Treat Expired Products Page Redirects As Soft 404s

google 404

Google’s John Mueller said that Google may very well treat pages that no longer let you buy a product, i.e. the product is no longer available, as a soft 404. If you try to redirect that page to your home page, category page or an unrelated product, Google may treat that also as a soft 404. And Google treats soft 404s as real 404s and reports them in the Google Search Console.

As an FYI on that, soft 404 redirects are not really counted.

This came up in the Google Hangout on Google+ this morning at the 6:30 mark into the hangout. The question was:

Is it good idea to redirect pages with expired content (thousands of real estate listings) to help Google crawl more important pages? Even if these pages still have decent organic traffic (together about 10K per month)?

John Mueller responded:

So if these are expired pages where essentially the user is landing on a page that says we canât sell you this product anymore, then that is kind of like a soft 404 page. which essentially should be treated like a 404 page. And if you have thousnads of these pages, then I wouldnât redirect them unless I had a clear replacement for them. Just because this product that you are offering is not available anymore, doesnât mean that it makes sense to redirect it to the home page by default.

That is something where you really want to look at the individual situations and say, well is this other URL a really good replacement for the existing URL? Can I do a redirect and say this is clearly what we should be showing instead or is this essentially just a 404 that you are trying to do with a redirect.

And if you are essentially trying to do a 404 with a redirect, then what will happen is we will essentially pick that up as a soft 404 page. And say oh, the webmaster probably did this wrong, and we will just treat it as a 404 on our side.

He actually said Google treats these expired pages/products as soft 404s in the past, he said it in April. Of course, I know many SEOs who still use this practice of redirecting these pages to pass the link signals to other pages, but it seems like those link signals won’t pass here?

Here is the video embed, watch it:

Forum discussion at Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

Why Some Don't Believe Google About Redirects Not Diluting PageRank Signals

Google Juice

As we reported a couple days ago, Google once again said 3xx redirects do pass full PageRank and do not dilute. But as you also know, many SEOs don’t believe Google on this topic.

So this morning in a Google Hangout on Google+ Dawn Anderson asked Google’s John Mueller about why some SEOs don’t believe Google. She said maybe it is because there is a bit of a time delay in when Google picks up on the redirect and passes those signs? She said maybe the reason people don’t believe Google when they say 3xx redirects do not dilute PageRank is because it takes time for Google to pick up on the redirects?

John Mueller agreed with that. He said:

Yea, I mean, any time you do a bigger change on your web site, if you redirect a lot of URLs, if you go from one domain to another, if you change your site structure, then all of that does take time for things to settle down. So we can follow that pretty quickly, we can definitely forward the signals there, but that doesnât mean it will happen from one day to the next.

This was brought up at the 2:55 minute mark into the video. Here is the video embed:

Forum discussion at Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

Google Featured Snippets Can Be Localized & They Are Wicked Smart

Rob Birgfeld shared on Twitter a featured snippet in Google that answered the query [er wait times] for his local hospital’s emergency room.

Here is a screen shot he shared:

click for full size

I asked Google about this and this is NOT a new feature, it is just the featured snippets coming up and being localized based on this user’s location. But how crazy smart is that – it shows this searcher the ER wait times for his local hospital.

I cannot replicate this but maybe that is because of where I am located but it is a neat feature.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source: SEroundTable

Three New Google AdWords Cross-Device Conversions Reports

Google announced that AdWords is adding three new cross-device conversion reports including devices, assisting devices and device paths.

Here is a brief explanation of each report:

  • Devices: see how much cross-device activity is happening in your AdWords account
  • Assisting Devices: inform your device bid adjustments by learning how often different devices assisted conversions on other devices
  • Device Paths: examine the top conversion paths for your customers using two or more devices

click for full size

Here is a sample of one of those reports:

click for full size

They also are adding new search benchmarks that show the influence of cross-device activity across the full search conversion path.

Forum discussion at Google AdWords Help and Google+.

Source: SEroundTable

AdWords gains 3 new cross-device attribution reports


Google is introducing three new reports on cross-device activity along with a reorganization of the Attribution section under the Tools menu in AdWords.

With 6 out of 10 online conversions in the US starting on one device and ending on another, according to a Google/Ipsos study, the new reports are designed to help marketers track cross-device conversion paths, including those that include search ad clicks from more than one device in a conversion path.

The new cross-device activity reports:

  • Devices: an overview of the cross-device activity in your account.
  • Assisting Devices: shows assist levels  and values by each device type — mobile, tablet, desktop.
  • Device Paths: the top conversion paths for visitors that used more than one device before converting.

cross-device-attribution google adwords

You’ll notice in the screenshot example above that the existing conversion, path and click analysis reports are now rolled up under their own sections within the Attribution reporting menu. The new reports and layout will be rolling out over the next several weeks.

With this announcement, Google also released benchmarks on cross-device conversion activity for search campaigns in the United States, Japan, Germany and Great Britain.

The post AdWords gains 3 new cross-device attribution reports appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Source: SEland