It’s a while since we’ve taken a look at what’s been happening at Google of late, so here’s a quick round-up of their latest news. A new type of Google AdWords ad has surfaced in the new Image Search Ads. It is shown when you are within the Google Images results for a search. In the past, Product Extensions and Product Listing Ads (PLAs) were only shown in Google Images. Image Search Ads are being phased in as a substitute to PLAs for those advertisers who do not currently have a Google Merchant account. This could also provide an alternative to Google Shopping’s commercial model.
Google says that its Shopping move to ‘paid-for’, which should be in place by this autumn, is designed to “make it easier to research purchases, compare different products, their features and prices, and then connect directly with merchants to make their purchase.”
It claims that by having a commercial relationship with merchants, it will urge them to keep their product information up to date, and that accurate prices and current product availability will mean better shopping results for users, which, in turn, will create higher quality traffic for web retailers. How nice to see that by giving merchants that incentive also adds to Google’s bottom line, though.
Google already has a ‘Shopping’ tab which, when clicked on, takes you to Product Search – a combination of paid and unpaid placements. The new “Google Shopping” will all be paid placements, which are based on merchants’ bids sent via a constant feed. It’s worth noting that searches for products will also include purely organic results which are places below the top and right side of the page.
There’s more…Google is also introducing “Google Trusted Stores”. This is a scheme that it quietly started back in April which takes into account customer reviews, delivery times, etc. to give Google’s seal of approval to merchants.
Anything else ‘Google’ to mention? Well, Google updates its search algorithm – the formula it uses for working out search results – around 500 times each year. However, every couple of months along comes a major update which is worthy of note. In April of this year the ‘Penguin’ update was released – Google likes using animal names for some reason. This update put tighter guidelines on website optimisation and adjusted a number of web spam factors.
Optimising your website to get the best results in the search engines can be a science unto itself, but here are a few tips based on the latest goings on (apologies if it gets geeky):
z Keep your keywords in check and incorporate them in your copy as you write.
z Title tags are still key. Put your most important keyword first in your title tag, followed by your brand name.
z Images: Name your images after your keyword names only if they are related to that keyword. For ALT tags, ensure that they describe the picture – this hopefully will include your keyword and some other descriptive words as well.
z Have a diverse range of links back to your site.
z Build up a good array of relevant content throughout your site: blog regularly, send out press releases, and put out whitepapers.
Well, I think that’s plenty to get your head around for this month. Have fun with that lot and I’ll see you next time.
Andrew McEwan of The Web Workshop in Morebattle (www.thewebworkshop.net) helps businesses in the Borders and beyond with their online presence and digital marketing.