If you think it’s getting harder to distinguish between paid ads in search results and organic results, you’re not alone. Wall Street Journal has said that search engines are ignoring the FTC 2013 directive. I agree. My practice today is to immediately skip over the first 3 to 5 results because they are usually somewhat disguised paid ads.
WSJ: Search Engines Ignoring FTC Rules About Labeling Search Ads, Greg Sterling, Search Engine Land (Oct 13)
Key line – “From an SEO perspective, G+ is mandatory,” she says. “If you want to show up in Google, you have to be on G+. There’s no way around that.”
What Can We Believe About Google+?, Lin Grensing-Pophal, EContent (Feb 10)
I don’t love Google+ for search, but it’s clear from this article if you want to rank better in Google’s search results you’ll have a presence in Google+. If you want to establish authorship, you’ll be there writing. It seems Google also pays attention to links given in the postings.
Someday soon when you click on new tab in Firefox you’ll see – ads – they are to be called directory tiles – and they are targeted at new users or new Firefox installs. They will gradually morph into items of more interest to you (guess how they know that!). Well – all that empty real estate – wonder that no one did this sooner.
Mozilla to sell New Tab page ads in Firefox, Seth Rosenblatt, CNet (Feb 11)
“Paid advertisements are on their way to Mozilla Firefox’s New Tab page in an attempt to show more sites to first-time browser users.”
Called Directory Tiles, the initiative will use a combination of sponsored sites, popular sites based on geographic location, and Mozilla ecosystem items to fill in blank New Tab pages. Currently, the nine empty boxes on a new New Tab page fill in over time with sites culled from the user’s browsing history, frequently visited sites, and bookmarks.
SEO has changed with the greater semantic capabilities of the main search engines. Only optimizing on certain key words won’t cut it – must think about natural language queries and answer them, and provide context for the topic. Much more challenging.
Semantic Search Tips For The Future Of SEO, WebPresence (Dec 3)
If the whiz kids doing search engine optimization are being advised to think “semantic” and work towards meeting “user intent and interpretation”, searchers should reconsider their search styles.
Barbara Starr at Search Engine Land describes 5 Ways To Unlock The Benefits Of Semantic Search (Nov 7)
- “Google is using “form based” or “template” queries to answer questions at scale in real time” of which Google has many.
- Social search is more prevalent – who you connect with may influence results – all the more reason to pay attention to the company you keep.
- Google+ is important to business.
- More websites will be using “structured data markup, paying special attention to markup vocabulary from schema.org,”
Wall Street Journal had the surprising headlind – Google May Stop Using ‘Cookies’ to Track Web Users (Sept 20). Google might “create its own anonymous identifier for each individual”. What would this do to everybody else who uses those cookies for advertising? And what will this mean for privacy? Hard to know for either.
“Google’s proposal, which was reported earlier by USA Today, could give advertisers the ability to track people more widely. “The Internet gets a lot cleaner at that point,” Mr. Anderson said.”
“Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford University professor who studies online advertising and privacy, said it was unclear that so-called anonymous codes would actually protect privacy. “
Being a search engine marketer takes skill and knowledge as we can see from this article at PPC Hero on 25 Ways PPC Has Changed In The Past Year (June 17). Observations are grouped by Account Structure, Settings, Analysis, Bidding, Conversions and Technology. There is a lot to think about.
Video email – sounds like a non-sequitur – but it’s nearly upon us. Are You Ready For Video In Email? in Marketing Land (Jun 12) tells email marketers what to do to deliver video content. HTML5 is making this possible, but it still depends on whether your email client supports that. Mercifully, recommendations include “shorter is better”, and don’t use auto-play. Also – make the video “aspirational”!
The European Commission is forcing Google to play fair and not give preference to its own properties in search results. Google has prepared some proposals for labelling its own results more clearly. But this may not address the main complaints by vertical / specialized search services such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and many more.
EC details Google’s proposed search concessions, by Stephen Shankland, CNet (April 25)
Under Google’s proposal, the company would label its own services in specialized search results and mark them off as a separate region. And it would clearly show links to at least three rival services as well.
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land provides a more detailed look at Google’s layout proposals — Google’s New European “Antitrust” Search Results: Here’s What They’ll Look Like
If you weren’t concerned about privacy on the Internet before, you will be after listening to – Hyper Targeting – How Brands Track You Online. This is an episode by Terry O’Reilly, in the excellent CBC radio program, Under the Influence. It’s very scary business on how much is known about us and there are very few controls. Read and listen – podcast is 27 minutes – I’m guessing it will be available for 2 or 3 weeks before it’s pulled and sold through ITunes.