Bing Tests Paid Ads Among Organic Results, Google Lengthens Ad Copy, Google Places Drops Third Party Reviews, & More

This Week’s Industry Update

Compiled By Rocket Clicks Staff

Bing Is Testing Ads Among Organic SERPs

Microsoft confirmed they were testing paid ads within Bing organic results, despite it being a generally taboo subject among search engines.

Source: Search Engine Land

Ad Copy Limits Have Been Extended In Google AdWords

While still in beta testing, it seems that Google AdWords caps ad copy at 150 characters and allows extended headlines.

Source: SEO Book

Google Places Drops Third Party Reviews

Facing a potential anti-trust lawsuit from the likes of Yelp and TripAdvisor for publishing their unapproved reviews, Google has opted to drop these third party reviews from their Places pages. Google now will include reviews from their own users, and it’s likely that this decision could hurt third party reviewers’ traffic. SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin has a great piece of analysis on this move as well.

Source: Search Engine Land

Google Changes ‘Google Boost’ Name To ‘Google AdWords Express’

Google Boost has gone the way of Lew Alcindor, Caryn Johnson, and Reginald Kenneth Dwight, and changed its name to Google AdWords Express. Other than that, not much has changed within the program’s interface or features.

Source: The Official Google Blog

New Google Service Aims To Increase Page Loading Speed

Google Page Speed is a new service that grabs your site’s content and boosts its loading speed by at least 25 percent and at most 60 percent. Google plans to start charging for the service at some point, but that development remains ambiguous right now. The service will act as follows:

  • An online service that automatically speeds up loading of your web pages.
  • Switch your domain name to point to Google’s DNS.
  • Page Speed Service fetches content from your servers
  • It rewrites your pages by applying web performance best practices
  • It then serves them to end users via Google’s servers across the globe.
  • The service will do the concatenating CSS, compressing images, caching, gzipping resources or other web performance best practices.

Source: Search Engine Land

Between 30-40 Percent Of All Android Phones Get Returned

Android sales are expected to far outpace iPhone sales year after year, but the return rate on some Android devices is between 30-40%, compared to the iPhone 4’s return rate of only 1.7% in 2010. If the reports are true, it would mean that the Android platform is much smaller than previously represented.

One theory for the difference in return rates is that Android phones tend to be too complicated for the “average” user and they are disappointed with it compared to a friend’s easy to use iPhone or Blackberry.

Source: Business Insider

Twitter Now Allows Businesses To Target Promoted Tweets

Twitter has now made it possible for promoted tweets to reach specific followers of a given brand. The promoted tweet would show up in the same place at the top of the Twitter timeline, and typical promoted tweets have a conversion rate between 3-5 percent, according to the social network.

Source: Search Engine Land

Almost Three-Fourths Of Americans (71%) Frequent Video-Sharing Sites

According to a recent study from the Pew Internet Project, 71 percent of Americans visit video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. This is a 33 percent increase over last year at this time. The study also found that there’s no difference between rural, urban, and suburban usage of these sites. Like cable TV, Internet videos aren’t going away anytime soon. Somewhere, Daniel Tosh is smiling.

Source: Search Engine Watch

Apple Tops Smartphone Vendor Rankings, Has More Money Than The U.S. Government

Apple was proclaimed the world’s top smartphone vendor by Strategy Analytics, and its cash reserves of $75.9 billion are now bigger than the U.S. government’s ($73.8 billion). Apple has 18 percent of the smartphone market share, while Samsung is in second with 17 percent and Nokia is in third with 15 percent. Apple’s stock price recently surged past $400, and its total market capitalization is more than $363 billion, which makes it the second largest company in the world, behind Exxon Mobil.

Source: Mashable

Tweets NSFW May Be Regularly Flagged Soon

Twitter may soon flag “Not Safe For Work” tweets with a disclaimer. It’s probably good news for the serial work tweeter.

Source: Gizmodo

Notable Commentary

Of Epic Proportions

Do Google + Links Improve Search Rankings?

Eric Ward, the godfather of responsible link building, attempts to answer this question with the limited information available to the public. He also provides a solid catalog of links to stories relevant to this queston.

Analysis By: Eric Ward, Search Engine Land

The Black Hat PPC Version Of Google’s Top 10 Most Expensive Keywords

The folks over at Black Hat PPC beg to differ with Wordstream’s infographic detailing Google’s most expensive keywords in AdWords. They provide their own list, topped by Bingo, Poker, and Car Insurance, and state their case for why the Wordstream representation is flawed.

Analysis By: Black Hat PPC

Being Friends On Google + Does Affect Rankings

Danny Sullivan conducted a field test on his Google + friendship with Ford, and discovered the auto company showed up in the SERPs with a social notification when he searched for “cars.” He also details some additional features that showed up when interacting with the link.­

Analysis By: Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land

Putting Google +’s Growth In Perspective (With A Graph!)

TechCrunch provides a graph that catalogs how long it took Twitter, Facebook, and Google + to hit 10 million users. As you can see by simply lowering your plain of vision by roughly an inch, Google + has exploded in comparison to Twitter and Facebook.

Analysis By­­: Mike Butcher, TechCrunch

Is Groupon Profitable?

Long story short: No, but the Wall Street Journal has an excellent piece of analysis detailing their accounting tricks and why investors should be wary.

Analysis By: Shayndi Raice and Nick Wingfield, Wall Street Journal

Do Third Party Widgets/Tools Hurt Conversions?

Joshua Bixby explains why third party tools, such as the Google + and Twitter widgets, can cause pages to load slower, and thus hamper your conversion optimization efforts. He also includes some cool infographics to back up his assertions.

Analysis By: Joshua Bixby, Unbounce

This Is Your Life, Google +: A Month Of Highlights And Controversies

Search Engine Land looks back at the roller coaster ride that was Google +’s first month of life as a social network. As with any new, frequently discussed piece of Google news, there was a good mix of highs and lows.

Analysis By: Greg Finn, Search Engine Land

The Robot Olympics Are Underway In China (Photos)

Apparently China’s infatuation with emotionally responsive cat ears and talking robot bears has transformed into a full-on robot version of the Olympics. There’s no word on whether any robot has been disqualified for oil/lubricant fluid abuse.

Analysis By: Wall Street Journal

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