Google Removes Adwords Keyword Search String Data

The paid search industry has been buzzing with rumours and actual facts about Google’s latest move to remove the search string from Google Adwords searches.

The search term data is still available in Google Adwords search query reports and still available within matched search query reports in Google Analytics. However, third party systems that parse the search string will no longer be able to do so. See this example from a Statcounter report that I have just run.

Analytics Data Searches 11-4-14

Analytics data searches minus the keyword

As this image taken from a Statcounter report shows 4 of the 6 paid searches are now showing “Keywords Unavailable” and look remarkably similar to the organic searches next to them.

Apparently the data is still available via a Google API and many of the third party vendors of Google Adwords software have mounted major PR offences to push this information out into the search marketing community.

Meanwhile, a Google Analytics matched search query report covering the same period shows all the keyword detail.

The most comprehensive assessment I have seen so far is by Larry Kim on Search Engine Land.


Matt Cutts: Facebook and Twitter Signals Don’t Help You Rank

I’ve just picked up on this 4 minute video from Google’s Matt Cutts.  Covered in an article on Search Engine Land, the video is Matt’s response to the question: Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the [Google] ranking algorithm? How much do they matter?

Matt’s short answer is no. He specifically refers to Facebook likes and Twitter followers as not being ranking signals. His caveat is that this is “currently” and to the best of his knowledge. Remember he works for the anti-spam team. And does not directly oversee management of the Google ranking algorithm. Matt goes on to explain why the social signals are ignored.

My initial response was to share the video and related post on my LinkedIn and Twitter accounts. I also asked the question about the implications for all those social media agencies that are still out there telling people that social media signals do have a direct relationship with Google rankings. Within the video Matt points out that an observed correlation – that is websites with lots of social signals may rank highly on Google – is not necessarily causation.


Travel Local Appoints Simply Clicks for SEO Campaign

IndoChina River Boat Travel Local

IndoChina River Boat Travel Local

Asian travel specialist Travel Local has appointed Simply Clicks to handle their organic search marketing activity. The deal was essentially sealed at this year’s World Travel Market in London.

Travel Local specialises in authentic private tours in Central Asia and the Silk Route, the Indian sub-continent, China, Taiwan and Mongolia and IndoChina and south east Asia. The full list of destinations includes the following destinations:

  •  Central Asia and the Silk Route
  • SE Asia & Indochina
  • Indian Subcontinent
  • China & Mongolia

The key point of difference for Travel Local is that they utilise local travel companies to organise local transportation.  Organising travel components locally leads to a better, more authentic trip – as no-one knows a country like a travel company based there. UK consumer payments are protected by the Travel Trust Association.

Simply Clicks was appointed to handle Travel Local’s PPC management in September.


The Content Marketing Show – Strategy

Last Friday I attended the Content Marketing Show in London. This is just the third show in the series. The show is put on by the same people as Brighton SEO. My rationale for attending was to keep up to date with the latest trends in content marketing and the impact it is having on SEO practise.

Content Marketing Strategy Model - Brilliant Noise

Content Marketing Strategy Model – Brilliant Noise

There were several good presentations over the day. However, for me, the most informative was the presentation on content marketing strategy by Lauren Pope of Brighton digital marketing agency, Brilliant Noise. Lauren showed us a model for content marketing strategy, then explained how she goes about sourcing, creating, publishing and amplifying relevant content.

As in all of these models and constructs, the key is how each of the elements link together. Getting a clear idea of purpose and sharing and agreeing that idea with others in the marketing and PR team ensures that content marketing is built on strong foundations.

Conveniently, and as a aide memoire, all of the key elements begin with a “P”.

  • Purpose
  • Principles
  • Platforms
  • Processes
  • People
  • Performance


Winning the Work – Digital Marketing, Analytics, Big Data

Following yesterday’s Workforce Revolution conference I have put together my initial thoughts on Winning the Work into a presentation.

At this stage it is very much a work in progress. I will be adding and amending content. And will be pleased to accept any thoughts from other delegates to the Workforce Revolution conference.

Brand Client Engagement

Brand Client Engagement

The discussion covered a number of areas in relation to digital marketing and social media. I also expounded my thoughts on reskilling and repositioning one’s expertise to match market opportunities and demand. Three areas of mention included digital marketing in general, digital analytics specifically and the current flavour of the month, big data.


The Great British Workforce Revolution

The Workforce Revolution Conference

The Workforce Revolution Conference

I am out of the office on Wednesday 16th October attending The Great British Workforce Revolution conference in London. The conference aims to discuss and tackle the issues surrounding the growth of the independent director. As well as attending the conference I am involved in a panel discussion entitled “Getting the Work“. My specific brief is to cover the areas associated with utilising digital marketing and social media.

The conference is a collaboration between leading interim management agency Russam GMS and Angel News. Angel News is the leading European news service for the investment market, especially for business angels, investors and the companies they back.

The conference’s main sponsor is Santander Breakthrough.


Google Analytics Improves Interface

This morning Google has improved the way it presents data in Google Analytics. This has a high relevance to us at Simply Clicks. Not only does Simply Clicks provide a web analytics service for most of our clients but we also undertake web analytics training, key component of which is Google Analytics. The constant changes underway at Google, including amongst many other things the growth of “Not provided” search and the changes to Google Adwords, have meant that many of our training schemes need more than the usual updating.

Google Analytics Acquisition Panel October 2013

Google Analytics Acquisition Panel October 2013

The first change I have spotted is the change of the “Sources” panel on the left hand side. This has panel has been renamed “Acquisition”.

The panel then contains a number of sub-headings. The old sub-heading for “Search” has now been replaced by “Keywords”. Ironically this splits in paid and organic search. I use the term ironically because of course organic keywords are now dominated by the “not provided” category.

Two new sub-headings are “Overview” and “Channels”. These two sub-headings allow you to see at a glance the performance by the major sources of traffic i.e. Paid search, organic search, direct, referrals and social.

The explorer bar now also has the addition of a summary view. This provides a complete overview of the performance of your website, combining most of the relevant data that used to be contained over the three separate views of Site Usage, Goal Set and E-commerce into 9 columns. These columns are grouped into three and shown separately as groups of three metrics under the headings “Acquisition”, “Behaviour” and “Conversion”.

Google Analytics Summary View October 2013

Google Analytics Summary View October 2013

I have taken a screen shot of a 7 day, this year vs last year comparison.

This shows all nine columns of the summary view. In many respects, this summary view has made the other views redundant as it contains the most important metrics.

I have only used the new version of Google Analytics for 10 minutes or so but it is already growing on me. Unlike many of Google’s other recent changes.


A Bigger Christmas PPC Campaign for The Christmas Jumper Store

Women's Penguin Christmas Jumper

Women’s Penguin Christmas Jumper

The New Penguin Christmas Jumper for 2013

The Christmas Jumper Store has returned with a bigger PPC campaign for Christmas 2013.
The success of the Christmas 2012 campaign has encouraged the business owners to expand their range of fun Christmas jumpers.

Additional styles this year include:

  • Penguin
  • Snowman
  • Chimney pot
  • Bah humbug
  • Snowflake
  • Nordic
The range of new jumper styles complements last Christmas’ favourites of which the biggest success was the Christmas pudding jumper.
This is the third search marketing campaign undertaken for Manchester based JT Macs Ltd, The owners of The Christmas Jumper store.
Christmas jumpers have become and increasingly popular fashion item.


The End of SEO as we Know it?

Brighton SEO September 2013 Screen

Brighton SEO September 2013 – One Week On

A week ago today I attended to September 2013 conference of Brighton SEO. I attended various presentations and took several opportunities to speak to many of the sponsors and stand holders. Much of the material presented was of high quality. Since then, I’ve spent a week mulling over much of what was presented and discussed and have finally organised my thoughts in a way that it is worth putting pen to paper. So to speak.

The broad consensus expressed at the conference was that SEO practise had changed radically since the spring 2013 conference. And that we were witnessing the end of old style SEO. A summary is as follows:

Negative Elements – Old SEO

These things are dead

  • Orthodox link building led SEO
  • Anchor text
  • Poor quality content
  • Article marketing
  • Link buying – if not dead – much riskier than in the past

In essence Google are getting ever smarter at spotting spammy SEO and driving the websites that utlise spammy tactics from the top rankings.

Positive Elements – New SEO

These activities become more important:

  • Strong branding
  • Strong marketing programmes
  • Building and managing technically sound websites
  • The publication and distribution of unique and compelling content
  • The ability to participate in dialogue with customers and other stakeholders

As a general consequence of the new environment many of the existing SEO agency business models are now defunct. The models deployed by many SEO agencies no longer work and could, in many case, actually be harmful to a client’s marketing prospects. Further, many SEO agency business models must be called into question. Who needs a link buying budget and someone to manage the link buying programme when the output will be worthless? What about the measuring and tracking software used to count and analyse inbound links of your own and competitor websites?

Following on from this, an SEO agency needs to look more like an advertising agency. Business strategy and branding require a different set of skills from raw link building.

I’ll be adding to this post of the next few days.


Get a Life – Facebook is Bad for You!

The Economist Facebook Get A Life

The Economist Takes a Look at Facebook Users

I’ve not blogged for a while on Simply Clicks. I’ve been busy with new client accounts and have just spent two weeks in the South of France. However, an article on The Economist website caught my eye.  The article covers research into the happiness and wellbeing of Facebook users. Essentially it refers to two pieces of research that appear to show, that the more someone uses Facebook, the less happy they feel. In essence, heavy Facebook use is bad for you.

There are several caveats. First, the samples are quite small. In one study, just 82 people and the other 584 Facebook users. Secondly, the reasearch is largely confined to young adults in their twenties. Nevertheless, the research tends to indicate that relying on the social media platform your networking leads to a loss of self-esteem. This in contrast to networking in the offline world. One reason given is that posts on Facebook tend to amplify success and doctor the reality, tending to create feelings of envy.

Ironically, as the image above shows, 24,000 Facebook users had “liked” the article in the two weeks after publication. I suspect that as readers of The Economist they may tend to be lightweight users of Facebook. Anyhow, on a personal basis, as a lightweight user of Facebook, both socially and commercially I tend to feel vindicated by this research. Now, a similar study on LinkedIn would be more interesting from my perspective.