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Panda is 21! – 8th November 2012 The beginning of the week saw a Google Panda refresh for the 21st time. Google said that worldwide, the update will impact about 0.4% of queries which the regular user might notice. As for those searching in the United States in English, Google states the percentage is higher at 1.1%. Google have not announced anything specific in relation to the update but, as with all previous updates, their main aim is to help users find more high quality sites when entering a query. In order to ensure your site is protected from the effect of Panda, it is still crucial to ensure your site does not publish low quality/duplicate content. The key is to focus on delivering relevant information to users by hosting quality unique content that engages the user. Doing this is the most effective way to avoid search losses. Google’s Matt Cutts said earlier this year that Panda updates would be less impactful moving forward, as the company focuses on other important elements of search. While Panda 20 and Panda 21 have both impacted more results than other updates, their effect has still been relatively minimal. – Daniel Kelly More details:

Google Moving Search Options above Results – 8th November 2012 The test where Google shows its search options above the search results instead of on the left - is not a test anymore. Google has just confirmed that all U.S. searchers will soon be getting the new interface — one that highly resembles Google’s mobile search results pages. Options to search verticals like Images, News and Maps are moved from the left-side of the page up above the top search results. Here’s how the new interface looks, from a screenshot Google provided in its blog post:

The advanced search tools and filters are available under the “Search tools” option on the right. Google says it plans to introduce the new interface outside the U.S. to other areas and languages “as soon as we can", so keep an eye out for it appearing in the UK very soon. – Chris Richardson More details:

Universal Analytics Beta – 6th November 2012 Google

announced the launch of a "Universal Analytics" Beta last week, introducing a set of features that change the way data is collected and organised in Google Analytics. Within Universal Analytics, you can collect more types of data and improve your data quality, to get a better understanding of how visitors interact with your business at each stage — advertising, sales, product usage, support, and retention. Universal Analytics has the following features: 

Multiple devices Data Integration

Mastering data on your website is no longer sufficient - larger clients are increasingly asking for a cross platform view of their data in Analytics. Universal Analytics allows you to seamlessly send your own data about your customers and business (from any digital device that you are measuring) to your Analytics account. This can help you see how users interact with your

brand from multiple touchpoints - phones, tablets, laptops or more - in one place. 

Mobile App Analytics Integration

Universal Analytics now enables you to measure your marketing more holistically by integrating Mobile App Analytics with your Google Analytics account. 

Cross-channel measurement

Cross-channel information is more important and more diverse than ever before. Universal Analytics lets you sync your own data from across various marketing channels, so you can discover relationships between the channels that drive conversions. 

Customised metrics and data

With Universal Analytics, you can integrate your own data and can customize the metrics that matter to you - beyond website visits. Universal Analytics can deliver the custom metrics you want, in the same report you’re used to, based on the customized data you provide. If you’re a large enterprise that is interested in exploring the integration options, you can request access to the Universal Analytics beta from Google. – Blair Liu More Details:

Google Voice Search On Apple – 5th November 2012 Arch-rivals Google, have recently launched voice search on their standalone Google search tool, meaning that iPhone users will now be able to benefit from this feature as it is placed in direct competition with Siri. Will this mean more die hard iPhoners start using Google voice search over Siri, or will this make minimal impact in terms of the voice search market? Google also claim to have more accuracy and coherency with this new update to voice search, as the article attached demonstrates. What this could mean for search is more and more users will potentially exploit longertail search queries rather than the short variations advertisers are used to within mobile search.

In the short term I would expect this to make minimal impact, but if voice search starts to take off then this will mean even more variations and search queries in the future, as consumers will no longer be restricted by the limits of the keyboard. – Kevin Ting More details:

Only 5% of Search Advertisers Follow Mobile Best Practices – 2nd November 2012 Data just released from Wordstream indicates that only about 5% of advertisers follow Google best practice for their Mobile search strategy. This is rather alarming when you consider that mobile usage is expected to overtake desktop; with tablet usage already greater than desktop outside peak working hours. When mobile advertising started driving greater volumes a few years ago, Google recommended splitting mobile and desktop campaigns in order to maximise account efficiency, given that mobile CPCs were cheaper then, as competition was lower in the search space. One of the causes of this lower competition is that many advertisers did not havemobile optimised sites and many continue to miss out on this. While splitting out device targeting is usually the first port of call for advertisers, there are a great many further measures that can be taken, which seemingly have yet to take hold in the industry. Furthermore, mobile targeting is a default setting when setting up a campaign, as with most features, so it is imperative mobile optimisation is considered and recommendations made to website designers where a poor user experience exists. Research conducted by Google found that of the top two requests, users want to call a business after searching and yet less than 5% of advertisers employ call extensions. The other top request is being able to find a business or location, again this is an ad extension that is scarcely used, although this may not be applicable to all advertisers. The same study found that 74% of those surveyed would return to a mobile friendly site and more tellingly 55% believed a poor mobile experience damages brand reputation. Besides the aforementioned extensions, other important considerations include tailored creative and keywords, to attract user attention.

Another bone of contention is attribution and conversion tracking, which leads to lower average CPCs on mobile. Many users will simply search and possibly compare and read reviews of a product on their phone and then convert at home or work on a desktop. Traffic and CTR was found to be higher for mobile, yet conversions were only 40% those for desktop, based on Marin Software data for Q2 2012. These findings underline the need for better defining KPIs and ROI for the mobile platform in order to inform best practices implementation and the measurement of these optimisations, as the survey data is overwhelmingly in favour of these changes.

– Jafar Mahir More details:

Google's iOS Search App to Give Direct Answers – 1st November 2012 For a while now, Google have been working towards becoming an 'answers' service rather than a standard search engine. The Google Knowledge Graph is potentially the tool that Google will use to achieve this. It seems Google are now increasing the coverage of the Knowledge Graphs by introducing it to the new update for their iOS App (see video). Ask the app a question and the Knowledge Graph will provide the answer in the app.

This is a great feature for the user and allows them to find answers to questions without the need to click through to other sites. There are some potential problems for Marketers however with the effects of the Knowledge Graph on Paid Search still unclear - it is supposed there could be a reduction in CTR. – Andy Negus More details: d

Search Lately: Issue 66  

The world of search is such a fast paced environment in which it is vitally important to stay on top of the latest developments and stay ahe...