Monthly Archives: May 2016

GOOGLE EXPERIMENTS WITH BLACK LINKS IN ITS SERPS INSTEAD OF THE TRADITIONAL BLUE LINKS

google-travel-search

Looks like Google is yet to come out of its experimental mode. According to some media reports, Google is experimenting a new link color in its search results. Instead of using the typical blue colored links, Google is now displaying black colored links in its SERPs.

On one hand, Google uses red colored links in its china based Google searches and on the other it has never before used any other color besides blue in other parts of the world. But Google recently tested different shades of blue colored links in its SERPs.

But whether Google’s latest endeavor will go down well with the audiences or not, is a thing to be seen as there are many other reports doing rounds in media circles, including Google’s Help forum.

These snapshots from Google’s mobile and desktop SERP serves as proof of Google’s experimental nature:

google-black-serp-desktop google-black-serp-mobile

Again, this is a test that many searchers are seeing right now.

The discussion forum is at Google Web Search Help.

GOOGLE RELEASES GOOGLE MY BUSINESS API’S LATEST VERSION 3.0

google-mymaps

Managing multiple business locations simultaneously can be a strenuous task for businesses with large set-ups. But not anymore! Google’s latest API version comes with some additional features that will enable large businesses to manage their business locations with ease. Although there’s no official word from Google on the release of its latest version, going by the new look of the changelog and the mention of new Business API features in the help section it is more or less confirmed that the latest media reports are right.

It was in December, last year that Google had last updated its Google My Business API, which allowed businesses to automatically manage their listings.

Let’s see what Google has to say about the release of its latest API version.

Version 3.0 adds new functionality for people who manage locations at scale. The “key new features include the ability to read and respond to customer reviews and provide additional attributes for locations, such as whether a restaurant accepts reservations, serves brunch, or has outdoor seating.”

Here’s a list of some new features that the changelog with the latest version brings to the table

  • Attributes:- It provides businesses with more specific, category-based information about their business location.
  • Reviews:- Businesses can now recover and reply to business reviews by using the new API feature.
  • Look for Business Matching Location:- This feature allows businesses to search and manually link their current Map locations with their actual business address.
  • Transfer Business Location:- This is a new actionable feature which lets businesses transfer their location (based on business information) between two accounts (personal or business).
  • Selected Photo:- It gives businesses the option to first display their selected picture in Google Maps business listings and searches.
  • New Google Search Filters:- This new feature informs businesses about new updates from Google.
  • New Business Location States:- This feature now includes information on the verification status of the businesses – whether the business is verified or needs to be verified.
  • Image URL Improvements:- It allows businesses to upload photo based URLs, without any other requirements
  • Backwards Modifications:- Businesses can now update their photos for locations having a Google plus presence. The output section now includes fields such as the category_name and location_name. When setting their categories, businesses can use the category IDs. Location requirements aren’t mandatory for the Field masks section. Businesses can only use Prefix for included fields. The create/update operator now uses business location details with other parameters being included in the query section.

GOOGLE’S NOW TURNING THE HEAT UP ON SITES USING SNEAKY MOBILE REDIRECTS

redirect

After serving several notices to businesses employing “sneaky” mobile redirects that mislead the users to do something unintended, Google’s now coming out to punish those who didn’t heed to its warning.

In its 2015 webspam report, Google had announced that they are taking manual action against sites that sneakily redirect the users. So businesses that recently witnessed a drop in their organic search ranking, need to verify the status of their site on Google’s webmaster forum.

Google’s webmaster forum will make you understand the process that you have to go through to clean up your site of the sneaky mobile redirects. After cleaning up the mess, the site owners must submit a reconsideration request to Google to hopefully waive off the penalties. This, in a way will also serve as a warning to other sites that intend to mislead their online visitors using sneaky mobile redirects.

It was in April, 2014 that Google first updated its webmaster guidelines pertaining to the use of sneaky mobile redirects. This was the first instance where the company openly warned businesses of mass manual actions against sites found guilty of using such tactics.

GOOGLE’S HTTPS MISSION SPREADS TO INCLUDE BLOGSPOT DOMAINS

https

With the ever increasing online spamming incidents, internet security is one of the prime concerns for Google at the moment. Google’s leaving no stone unturned to see to it that security is being made available to every single online entity. This is the reason why Google supports the idea of bringing HTTPS to all BlogSpot domains on the web. Bloggers don’t need to press the panic button as it will be an automatic transition that doesn’t require a user to do anything upfront.

With Google redirecting all the HTTP BlogSpot domains to the highly secured HTTPS version, bloggers don’t need to bother about the search visibility of their content. This transition won’t impact the chances of their content being discovered on the new secured server.

From making HTTPS a ranking signal to now moving every BlogSpot domain to a more secure server, Google’s doing everything it can to expand it’s HTTPS everywhere mission on the web.

Let’s see what Google posted on its official BlogSpot

HTTPS is fundamental to internet security; it protects the integrity and confidentiality of data sent between websites and visitors’ browsers… Today, we’re launching another milestone: an HTTPS version for every blogspot domain blog. With this change, visitors can access any blogspot domain blog over an encrypted channel.

The intended move by Google will not only benefit bloggers, but also it will make their on-site visitors feel safer. The “green lock” icon besides the URL is a sign of safe browsing experience. This will ensure that there is be no trust deficit amongst your online visitors with regards to their online privacy, which could make them visit your domain more frequently.

However, Google’s intended URL transition to HTTPS accompanies certain functionalities that may not work on the latest URL version, as it includes incompatible templates, mixed content, devices, etc. Google’s currently working on fixing these errors.

HOW TO SELECT RIGHT IMAGES FOR YOUR BLOG POSTS

blog-posts

Generally, SEOs lay more emphasis on the quality of the content than on the visuals. In a way, it does help matters when you publish content of great quality that adds value to your product. But today’s online users appear to spend more time on blogs which they seem to find more visually appealing. It is not a secret that blogs served with nice and attractive images tend to receive a lot of attention on microblogging sites. This brings us to the topic of visual content marketing, which is becoming a more prevalent SEO practice these days.

To keep the ball rolling in the right direction, you need to do a lot of research to get apt images for your blog post. If you feel short on time then we’ll give you some quick tips that will help you find suitable images for your blog articles.

Select pictures that suit your blog post requirement

With the internet community growing rapidly, you won’t find any shortage of images on the web. From the many options available, look for images that best fit the topic of your blog post. Use compelling visual images that give people a reason to read your blog post. Remember, your content and picture, both should be in sync with the topic of your blog post and reinforce the need for each other.

Tips on how to search for images for blogs

A lot of pictures and illustrations that you may come across in your searches are secured in terms of a copyright act. Using such images may require due permission from the owner or creator of the images. If that worries you then there’s enough collection of images on the web that you can opt to either buy or even use for free.

Images

Click Your Own Pictures

If you don’t find an image that really suits your requirements then it’s better to click one for yourself. This will best serve your purpose of finding the right image to go with your blog post. You also don’t have to worry about any type of copyright claims or paying someone for using their stuff.

If you’re blogging about your real life activities then it’s better that you click your own pictures. The same rule applies if you happen to write a blog on food & beverages. However, if you pen for a company blog or on highly technical subjects then it becomes a tough to capture snaps that match the content of the blog that you’re writing.

Use Images From Platforms

It doesn’t make any sense to use your own snaps if you happen to write on abstract topics. In that scenario, you can purchase or download images from a platform. There are many such platforms that allow you to use free or paid images that will go well with your blog post. You can visit sites such as Shutterstock, Pixabay, Librestock, Yayimages, Unsplash, etc. There are many more such sites on the web. Before using any of the snaps from these domains just ensure that no other domain has been using your stock image.

Illustrations

Hire the services of an Illustrator

Hire a professional illustrator who could help transform your specific ideas in the form of illustrations or pictures to go with your blog post. Collaborating with a professional illustrator on a specific assignment will get you original and unique content that matches your blog post topic. And if you happen to work with him on a series of blogs then it will become very easy for people to recognize your work just by looking at the illustrations. There are many professional illustrators that work on freelance basis. If you happen to come across a professional illustrator’s work on social media profiles (eg. Facebook) then just do a Google search for their name and you’ll get their contact details. Set aside a budget if you want to get the job done by hiring the services of a professional illustrator.

Your Final Takeaways

Getting the content in place is just half the job done. If you want to drive audiences to your blog post then you need to make your blog post visually appealing to the audiences. There’s no denying the fact that images and illustrations not only add value to your blog post but also make it more visually appealing to the audiences. But ensure that you tick all the boxes when it comes to selecting one that best suits your blog post requirements.

BING LURES ADVERTISERS BY ROLLING OUT NEW CALLOUT AND REVIEW AD EXTENSIONS

bing

Improving the quality of your displays ads with extensions is one of the best ways to make your website stand out in front of your target audiences. To help advertisers achieve that, Microsoft-powered Bing network recently rolled out not one, but two ad extensions. According to reports, Bing rolled out two ad extensions last week, viz Review and Callout extensions, in all Bing ad markets; except in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong. Hence, advertisers can make use of both these extensions to not only build trust but also increase their click through rate. Let’s see how advertisers can make use of both these extensions that will now be a part of Bing’s ad network.

Callout extensions

callout-extension-bing-ads

As an advertiser, you can add up to 20 Callout extensions in your ad campaign and display as low as two Callout extensions in your ad group.

But, as to how these callouts show-up on the ad network may vary in terms of the ad format. The ad shown above displays two lines of callout ad extensions, wherein one features dot separators (“Free Cancellation”) and the other shows up with dash separators (“The 20 best hotels in Chicago, IL”).

Review extensions

review-extension-bing-ads

Review extension is quite useful as it helps to extend the authority of the site. To do that effectively, you need to get reviews from your industry specific, credible sources. Besides that, these reviews must show up on the landing pages that are specifically designed for this purpose. To have a positive impact on your site, reviews need to be worked out accurately along the lines of the original review idea.

The ad display shown above has two lines of callouts and extended site links which come along with review extensions, displaying a review from the World Travel Awards.

Advertisers can add both these new features from the Ad Extension tab on their Bing Ads dashboard.