Design changes will be rolling out in your search results on mobile. From the rearrangement of information in ads to the addition of favicons in organic results, Google’s search result revamp is the search engine’s way of decreasing a user’s search time and emphasizing the sources that information is coming from.
Search Ads Branding & Design Changes
The most noticeable changes coming to mobile search results are the branding and layout revamps for search ads. Currently, we have come to expect each search ad to be accompanied by the word ‘ad’ in green, outlined text next to a web address and underneath the ad’s headline. However, with Google’s new changes, search ads will now have the word ‘ad’ in bold, black text displayed next to the web address and above the ad’s headline. Changes to the design and layout of search ads is expected to make sources of information more obvious to users.
Organic Search Results Changes
You may have noticed Google testing website icons in search results on and off over the years, but these favicons are now set to appear in organic search results on mobile over the next couple of days. These favicons are icons that will show up at the top of a search result block to the left of the website’s name and breadcrumbs. The name and breadcrumbs will also both now appear in black text instead of green. Favicons should represent the website’s company or organization’s branding. To set up a favicon for your website, you can follow the steps on Google’s support page here.
Although Google is first making these changes only for mobile, it is expected that they will add them to desktop in the near future. In an effort to highlight sources behind information, these changes to search results are rolling out just as Google has also started adding more images and other visual elements to mobile search result pages to also enhance the overall user experience.
Last year, Google started including thumbnail images with search results as another way for users to find the result that best fits what they were searching for. Although thumbnail images have been common throughout the past year, RankRanger, an SEO tool provider, reported a spike in the frequency that thumbnail photos are popping up in mobile search results through Google.
The report from RankRanger found that from March 7 to 11, the percent of mobile search result pages with thumbnail photos on Google jumped from 40 percent to 75 percent. This jump in frequency comes a few months after Google announced that they will be heavily focusing on image search in 2019, so this test with mobile search results showing more photos may be part of Google’s shift in focus for the next year.
With thumbnail photos clearly becoming a focus for Google, companies should stay ahead of the game and evaluate their websites and pages to ensure they are populated with relevant and optimized images that may be pulled by Google for thumbnail photos. When it comes to SEO, even if your company’s website is not ranked in the first couple of spots, it is possible for a thumbnail photo to make your result stand out from your competition while featuring a product or corresponding image.
As Google continues to push out more features that makes search more user-friendly, it is necessary for companies to keep up and make changes accordingly to benefit from the changes. As we dive deeper into 2019, images will only continue to be useful tools that should not be overlooked when designing a website and implementing an SEO strategy.
The competition for top app continues! Facebook Messenger is the latest Facebook app to mimic the popular photo-disappearing app Snapchat. Snapchat is known for pioneering popular photo-sharing features enjoyed by billions, but that hasn’t stopped Facebook from trying to outshine them. Messenger Day is Facebook Messenger’s latest clone of Snapchat’s popular Stories feature. Messenger Day allows users to add photos and videos where friends can view and reply to them for up to 24 hours before disappearing. The target is to create a more casual means of communication between friends and family with the goal of increasing engagement on Facebook’s main app.
Facebook has a long history of attempts at trying to outdo Snapchat’s Stories feature. In February, the Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp revealed a new feature called Status. WhatsApp’s Status feature allows its users to share images, GIFs and videos for up to 24 hours. Last August, Facebook-owned Instagram released a Snapchat-inspired Stories feature as well. Instagram Stories has become a huge success for Facebook with more than 150 million users daily.
It’s safe to say Facebook seems to be on the right track at competing with Snapchat for user growth. Snapchat’s share price even dropped slightly the morning Facebook announced the release of Messenger Day. Facebook’s Messenger Day has already starting rolling out on iOS and Android devices, so be on the lookout for the newest update!
In recent years, there has been a revolution in how consumers purchase products. Consumers search for information and make purchasing decisions online before stepping foot into a store. A few years ago, this was still defined by a single moment—“I open my laptop and search.” But now with mobile devices, these moments have become an integral part of the constantly-connected consumer’s day. As an advertising agency, we understand the importance of making sure the consumer’s eyes reach our clients’ advertisements and with this new revolution, those eyes are on mobile devices. Here are a few key factors of mobile search advertising that businesses should consider.
- MOBILE SEARCH PLAYS A ROLE
According to research gathered by Ipsos and Microsoft Research, during the decision-making journey, consumers are relying on their mobile devices throughout the entire process, from the initial research stage all the way through shopping, purchasing, and sharing. While that is true, consumers are still more likely to convert either in-store or on a desktop or laptop computer, using mobile for “upper funnel” research. Research also shows how seamless the flow from PC to mobile is, and this illustrates the importance in planning campaigns for cross-device searches.
- LOCATION MATTERS
When it comes to mobile search, shopping local is everything to users. According to Nielsen’s Digital Consumer Report, mobile consumers are looking for hyper-local results. When performing a search, they are expecting the results to be within five miles of their current location and want to take action immediately. The report also states that 76% of mobile shoppers have used a store locator to help find and visit a local store, and 3 out of 4 purchases that stem from a mobile search actually take place in a physical store. When setting up a mobile search campaign, try considering geo-targeting and test different copy and offers with different radius targets.
- CONVERSIONS HAPPEN FASTER
The power of mobile search is in its ability to influence a user’s decision while he or she is close to a point of purchase. While looking at a purchase funnel timeline between PC users and mobile users, PC users convert in a matter of weeks, whereas mobile users convert in a matter of hours. According to a study by Nielsen/Telmetrics/xAds, the short conversion cycle reflects the urgency of mobile queries. Mobile users are often in their cars when searching for products or retail locations, and they need to gather the information while in transit.
- MOBILE SEARCH DRIVES MULTIPLE TYPES OF CONVERSIONS
Mobile consumers can generate cross-channel leads and conversions. Not only do they generate phone call conversions, but also store visits and purchases. According to a recent study by Ipsos, 61% of people said, “click-to-call is most important in the purchase phase of the shopping process.” Advertisers must account for these cross-channel conversions when trying to calculate the full ROI of a mobile search campaign.
- IT PAYS TO BE FIRST
Page rank is a big influencer on click-through rates and conversions on all devices, however, it is especially important on mobile devices because the screen is smaller, allowing less room for ads. Research shows that placement after the second position yields low click share on mobile devices. Improving keyword relevance and using bid modifiers will increase your chances of appearing in the top two spots on mobile search results.
As mobile usage increases every year, it becomes more and more important to be in front of that growing audience. Robertson & Markowitz is a certified Google AdWords agency and we are happy to help you be a part of the mobile consumer’s constantly-connected life.
Automobiles, the Internet, auto-brewing coffee makers; every now and again there is an idea that sweeps the nation—or the world—and changes the fundamental way we live our lives. Though this idea may not change the world as a whole, it has been changing the digital marketing world for the better—the “buy” button.
Facebook started this call-to-action trend last summer, and Twitter soon followed with its call-to-action Twitter cards. Last week, we wrote a blog about Instagram’s new advertising changes, which included call-to-action buttons, and two weeks ago, it was announced that Pinterest was toying around with the buy button, as well. In addition to these top social media platforms, Google has recently confirmed the enabling of buy buttons on search ads. The idea is still in its inception phase, so specific details on how it will work are still mum; however, the general idea is that after clicking the buy button on a mobile search ad, users would be taken to a special Google landing page to complete the transaction.
This is moving Google from a search engine to a marketplace, similar to Amazon, and people are on edge. Some industry influencers feel this change on Google could hinder retailers by decreasing their website traffic and preventing them from obtaining consumer data, since the transactions will be happening through Google and not the retail website. However, Google’s intention is to speed up the mobile buying process in order to strengthen the consumer’s shopping experience, which in turn will increase the retailer’s mobile conversion rates that have stayed low even though mobile usage rates have continued to rise. Only time will tell.
Call-to-action and buy buttons have made it easier for retailers to capture leads and conversions in this social-media-newsfeed-surfing era. Call-to-action buttons, in most cases, will increase traffic and conversions to a retailer’s website by leading consumers directly to what they are interested in, but in some instances, such as on Facebook and Google, transactions will happen in a limbo land between the platform and the retail site, essentially allowing consumers to purchase items without having to leave the site they are on.
Back in September we wrote a blog about this “new idea” of a buy button and wondered if it would take off or not. I guess we have our answer! Have you seen any call-to-action or buy buttons while on your favorite social media network? Have you used them? We would love to hear from you!
Over the last several months Google has been pushing their mobile-friendly update, urging webmasters to make sure their websites were mobile-friendly to avoid seeing “a significant impact” in the search results. The buzz became apocalypse-esque once the mainstream media picked it up and was soon coined “mobilegeddon.” D-day was April 21, and webmasters and SEO specialists were scrambling to ensure their sites did not drop in the rankings. Well, that date has come and gone, and little impact occurred. It has now been a month since Google’s supposed cut-off date, and Mark Munroe of Marketing Land reports that mobilegeddon has barely made a difference in search results. He notes that there was a minuscule dip in results and that most of the impact was seen on the second and third of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). So what happened?
Though there are a handful of theories as to why there was a lack of severity, one thing is for sure: Google has a sense of control over businesses, big and small. Google says, “jump,” and we ask, “how high?” Because of past algorithm changes that truly did change the face of the SERPs—Panda and Penguin, specifically—businesses don’t want to take any chances. So when Google warned “significant impact,” it’s no wonder we all reacted in an apocalyptic manner.
This is similar to an algorithm update they announced in 2014. Last year, Google announced HTTPS—a safer version of HTTP—would help with a website’s ranking. Following that announcement, scores of websites rapidly adapted to be more secure in fear of dropping in rankings. Yet, after the change, no shift in rankings occurred. Though no drastic changes occurred with either of these updates, a mobile-friendly Web presence and a safer website are not bad things. They are improving the Web experience for everyone, which is an obvious goal of Google.
Though the “punishment” was not as severe as promised, it is still heavily urged to have a mobile-friendly, responsive website. If you are interested in revamping your business’ web presence and creating a better user experience, call us at 912-921-1040. Robmark Web is proficient in creating responsive websites that work well and look great on any type of device, including mobile phones and tablets.