Google Still Refusing Calls for RTBF Extension

Despite calls from European privacy regulators for Google to extend Right to Be Forgotten (RTBF) rule to the whole Google index, Google still refuses to do so.

Since the EU’s RTBF ruling, Google has begun removing information from their search results upon request, when deemed reasonable. Thus, search results of a person’s name that are out of date, inaccurate or no longer relevant are now frequently removed by Google. The aim of this is to protect individual privacy, where the information is inaccurate or irrelevant.

Currently, the ruling applies only to European domains, so Google is removing disputed links from national domains only.

This is causing problems as EU privacy regulators argue that Europeans can easily access “.com” results – thus making the RTBF ruling a little redundant. The privacy regulators want, therefore, for Google to remove disputed links from the entire global Google index.

At present, Google is refusing to do this, with many believing that it might hamper freedom of speech and freedom of information. The EU want this privacy rule extended and applied across the globe, but in reality this also causes problems with the differing rules and laws surrounding privacy and freedom of speech across the globe.

On the one hand, incorrect or irrelevant information – especially incorrect information – should arguably be removed from search results pages. After all, if the information is inaccurate then it really isn’t any use to anyone. On the other hand, however, this causes problems with freedom of speech and freedom of information – if the information is out there, we should be able to access it easily.

It should be taken into account that the RTBF rule does not remove the information from the internet, it simply removes it from the SERPs. The information is not being denied anyone, it is simply harder to find.

For more information about search engines and search engine optimization, visit Search Marketing Group.

Bing Ads Now Also Removing Phone Numbers from PPC Ad Copy

In March 2013, Search Engine Land reported a Google announcement stating that in April of that year they would begin disapproving Adwords ads with phone numbers in the text. The change meant that any advertisers who wanted phone numbers displayed would have to use the call extensions feature instead, and this is how it works now. Regarding the matter, Google said that “We are making this change to foster a safer, more consistent user experience across desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.” Since advertisers are charged click fees when users click on the ‘call’ button in the ads (available on smartphones only), the change also means that Google can now charge for mobile ad engagements.

Now, a year and a half on, Search Engine Land have reported the Bing Ads announcement stating that they will also be removing phone numbers from PPC Ad Copy. This change means that, beginning in February 2015, phone numbers will only be allowed on Ads with Call Extensions or Location Extensions.

A blog post from Bing said that the alterations are due to “a change in our editorial policies”. They also state that the change only affects new campaigns and that existing campaigns will not be affected until June 2015. Bing warn, however, that even small changes that have nothing to do with the phone number, such as the correction of an error, may result in the Ad being disallowed due to the policy change. It might be best, therefore, to make any changes and check for errors now before the change is implemented.

Currently, this change in policy only affects the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Taiwan, so it is advertisers in these countries that need to act now. That being said, advertisers in other countries should also update their ads accordingly, as it is likely that this change will begin to affect other countries soon too.

For more information or help with your PPC campaign, visit www.searchmarketinggroup.co.uk or contact a member of the friendly team today.

The Apprentice Winner is Starting SEO Company

The Apprentice has announced its newest winner this weekend. Mark Wright, an Australian and one of 20 candidates in the BBC1 competition ‘The Apprentice’ has won this year. In winning, he has gained a £250,000 investment from Lord Alan Sugar in his digital marketing agency.

His company, which focuses on digital marketing and search engine optimization, beat that of Bianca Miller in the final to take the winners title. Miller’s company idea was a range of tights that matched different skin tones, and said of the defeat “to lose to him was the best I could hope for, really”. Wright has also commented that his rivalry with Daniel Lassman, a competitor who lost out in the semi-final, encouraged his success.

In an increasingly cramped area of business, you might wonder why both Mark Wright and Lord Alan Sugar have chosen the area of SEO. However, with the name Lord Sugar connected to it and the expectation of success associated with this, Wright may have a winner after all.

Mark Wright, who is from Australia, has commented that his family didn’t even know that he was on the show, and instead thought that he was away backpacking.

He commented that he came to the UK as it’s the ideal place to start a business, saying that “London particularly is a land of opportunity for young people to start businesses”. He also noted that “In Australia the population’s not big enough and the dollar’s not strong enough”.

Whether his business is a success or not is down to him and Lord Sugar, but they might have some difficulty in the market.

For more information or help with your SEO, talk to someone at Search Marketing Group today.

Google Breaks No Holiday Updates Promise

Google might have made an unofficial promise to not Update its ranking algorithm during the holiday season, but it doesn’t seem to have stopped them this year.

Since Thanksgiving (November 27th), there have been a number of Penguin Updates – at least three, according to Search Engine Land.

Penguin is an algorithm used by Google to find sites that violate Google’s content quality guidelines and attempt to manipulate rankings unfairly in their favour. Thus, it is used primarily to assess whether a site’s backlinks are natural or not.

Google uses Penguin occasionally, and penalizes sites that it thinks violate the content quality guidelines. Once a site has been hit by Penguin, it must wait until the next Update in order to find out whether changes and corrections made have been good enough for Google to lift the penalties. Sometimes this is a lengthy wait – those hit by Penguin 2, for example, had to wait a year for Penguin 3. However, since Penguin 3 this year there has been at least 3 more Updates (according to Search Engine Land.)

What’s interesting is that these have happened during the holiday season – from Thanksgiving onward. Matt Cutts himself has previously Tweeted “we try to minimize major updates right before the holidays”.

So why so many this year?

According to some, these ‘Updates’ are actually part of the ongoing rollout of 3.0 from October, so not actually individual ‘Updates’ at all. Search Engine Land, however, argue that Updates rarely take this long (six weeks) to launch, and “rarely cause fluctuations toward the end of a rollout” – saying that those fluctuations are “usually the hallmark of a change to the filter, a new update happening”.

Regardless of whether these are individual Updates, or the effects of October’s Update, if you are affected then talk to someone at Search Marketing Group today for help and advice.

Google has added conversion estimates to the keyword planner

Google have made a change to their keyword planner, and now you can view conversion estimates with the Keyword Planner tool in AdWords. This means that you can now use your conversion data to view how bid changes could affect the performance of mobile and desktop across multiple conversion metrics.

According to Search Engine Land, Google will use the historical conversion data of the account to see how bid changes could affect various metrics such as estimated conversion, conversion value, ROAS and Average CPA for mobile and desktop. Alternatively, users can enter their own conversion rates and conversion values to see how bid changes may impact those metrics.

Users can view the conversion estimates broken down into these categories: ad group, keyword, device and location. To view this, users simply select those tabs above the chart.

Using the Keyword Planner, you can also search keywords and ad groups to see how they perform. This helps you choose what keywords to add to a new campaign, or what keyword to add to an existing campaign. You can also view historical statistics and traffic forecasts to help you choose which keywords are best. Using historical statistics, you can see how keywords perform so you can make educated choices about which keywords to use for a new or existing campaign. Using traffic forecasts, you can find out predictions and estimates of performance so you can make a choice of what keywords to use depending on your bid or budget – or you can set your bid/budget accordingly.

For more help with your AdWords campaign, or other areas of Search Engine Optimization, visit the Search Marketing Group website or talk to a member of the friendly team who will be happy to help.

Bing admit they will probably never take Google’s Search Market Share

At the Web Summit conference in Ireland, Stefan Weitz (Microsoft’s Director of Search) admitted Bing is unlikely to have a significant effect on Google’s search market share.

They have estimated that they (both Bing and Yahoo) have 30% of the share of pure keyword search in the US, and less in Europe. Although Bing’s share has increased slowly over the years, it is increasing at the expense of Yahoo – not Google.

So what are they going to do about it?

Since it is quite clear that Bing will never replace Google for pure keyword search, and Bing are obviously aware of this, we might wonder what Bing plan on doing to gain the share of the market elsewhere.

Stefan Weitz said at the Web Summit conference that Bing will aim to make its search technology more prominent in other things that people use daily, such as mobile apps.
Additionally, Bing have also focussed on conversational search that it launched in August. As explained by Search Engine Land, conversational search is a new feature that allows the site to ‘remember’ the context of a search between queries.

To explain this, they use the example of presidential searches. If you searched, for example, for who the president of the US is and then searched for who he is married to (without using his name – only using the pronoun ‘he’), the results should reflect the first search. In other words, the search results ‘remember’ the first query and thus ‘remember’ that ‘he’ refers to the president.

Alongside this, Bing have announced that they will be releasing more search features in the future in order to gain some more of the search market.
So, it is clear (to everyone, it seems) that Bing will probably never take Google’s search market share – but they can at least attempt to make a small dent in it with these new search features.

For more information about search engines and search engine optimization, visit Search Marketing Group today.

Google Third-Party Policy Changes to be made This November

Google third-party policies affect anyone who manages Google advertising for customers, and the policies are about to change. Read on to find out more.

If you’re an individual or business that manages Google advertising for customers, or a customer of such individuals or businesses then you should already be aware of the existing policies. If not, then now would be a good time to find out what they are – and how they’re changing.
Google have said that they are releasing a new third-party policy this November. This change is intended to clarify what Google expects from third parties and give more information on why individual aspects of the policy are as they are. It is intended to clarify the consequences of violating the policy and contains two new requirements to increase transparency and accountability of third parties.

The two new requirements are as follows:

Management fees
The first requirement is that third parties disclose any management fee charges beyond the cost of AdWords or AdWords Express. In their Advertising Policies, Google have said to at least “inform new customers in writing before each first sale and disclose the existence of this fee on customer invoices.”

AdWords or AdWords Express customer IDs
The second requirement is that third parties inform the customer of their customer IDs for their AdWords or AdWords Express accounts when asked. This allows advertisers to contact Google directly with any issues with the third party, and allows Google to investigate such issues.
All in all, the changes are relatively straight forward. If you have any questions then contact the team at Search Marketing Group.

Is Google Toolbar’s PageRank display Officially Dead?

First things first, what’s PageRank and what’s Google Toolbar’s PageRank display?

If you’re wondering what PageRank is – it’s a system for ranking web pages a little bit like a voting system. Google counts how many links to a page there are, considers the quality of these links and decides the ranking of the page based on this. Then, when a user searches something in Google, it uses this information and other information such as the content of the page to provide the user with the best quality and most relevant sites for their query.
Google Toolbar’s PageRank display was basically a way for users to see what PageRank Google had given the site. This allowed users to make their own judgements on the quality of a site with the assistance of Google.

What’s happened to Google Toolbar’s PageRank display?

In October 2013, Google’s head of search spam Matt Cutts implied there would not be an update for Google’s Toolbar PageRank before 2014. In December 2013 Google, albeit accidentally, updated Toolbar PageRank. And since then we haven’t seen any more updates.
Now, ten months since the last update, Google’s John Mueller has said in a video Google+ hangout that Google probably won’t update Google Toolbar PageRank again.
As explained by Search Engine Land, it’s no surprise since there’s no Google Toolbar or add on to show PageRank values for Google chrome. Google also got rid of its Toolbar for Firefox. This means the only remaining browser to have a PageRank display is Internet Explorer – and the data for that display is over 6 months old.
So is Google Toolbar’s PageRank gone forever? Probably, maybe.

For more information visit Search Marketing Group and chat to someone there!