Search Marketing Round Up - Best of Feb 2016 | Semetrical

The Search Marketing Round Up – Best of Feb 2016

March 4th, 2016 Posted by Search Marketing Round Up, SEO 0 comments on “The Search Marketing Round Up – Best of Feb 2016”

It’s been a busy month in the world of digital marketing. There have been seismic changes to Google’s paid search results, as well as the introduction of accelerated mobile pages (AMP).

Below you will find a breakdown of the key events which took place during the month, and we offer our thoughts on how this may affect the digital strategies moving forwards.

Google Launches Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in Search Results – February 24th 2016

Accelerated Mobile Page (or AMP, for short) is a project from Google and Twitter designed to significantly increase the load speed of mobile pages. It’s basically a stripped-down form of HTML, which in essence is a much lighter, and more basic version of the code. It appears that their mission is to develop an entire platform designed to benefit user readability and load time.

The first adopters trialing this project are large publishers such as The Guardian and The Independant – they are using rel+alternate version to source the new version, whilst adding a canonical tag, which points back to the main website, or content URL.

For those who are concerned about the impact of AMP on paid advertising, Google confirmed that it will still be providing adverts within the AMP pages – however, the advertisments will be ‘stripped down’ and much more ‘lightweight’. We await further developments.

At Semetrical, we believe that AMP will greatly improve the user experience for mobile users due to the quick load speeds. We’re excited to see how AMP develops over time, as it’s open sourced to developers who can contribute to the project.


<!doctype html>
<html ⚡>
   <meta charset="utf-8">
   <link rel="canonical" href="hello-world.html">

<style amp-boilerplate>body{-webkit-animation:
-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both;
-moz-animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both;
-ms-animation:-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both;animation:
-amp-start 8s steps(1,end) 0s 1 normal both}
@-webkit-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}
@-moz-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}
}@-ms-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}
@-o-keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}
@keyframes -amp-start{from{visibility:hidden}to{visibility:visible}}</style>

<style amp-boilerplate>body{-webkit-animation:none;

   <script async src=""></script>
 <body>Hello World!</body>

Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results.

The long-running test is finally over! Google are no longer going to show ads on the right hand side of desktop search results. Search advertisements will only be shown at the top and bottom of the search results pages. According to Search Engine Land, the tests began in 2010 and have been tweaked throughout the last six years.

According to a Google spokesperson, there are certain exceptions:

  • Product Listing Ad (PLA) boxes – which will show either above or to the right of search results.
  • Ads in the Knowledge Panel.

Google have confirmed that for “highly commercial queries”, a fourth ad will appear at the top of the organic search results. This will reduce the perceived difference between desktop and mobile search results – as mobile search results never had ads on the right hand side.

There are arguments to be made either way for and against the change. Organic click-through-rates may increase due to the decrease of ‘clutter’ on the right hand side of the search results; whilst organic click-through-rates for “highly commercial queries” may reduce due to the addition of the fourth advertisement.



Semetrical are setting up tests to determine the impact of this change on organic click-through-rates, as well as paid search advertising performance. We will report our findings if found to be conclusive.

We believe that due to Google’s mobile-first approach, the search goliath may be making an effort to standardise the advertising ecosystem across devices.

There is a case to be made that if search marketers abandon resources on improving organic ranking performance – due to increased focus from Google to further monetise their platform – paid search competition will increase and with it the CPC’s will become greater. Perhaps a strong organic performance will become more cost effective, and benefit as a result?

AdWords CTR Increases As Right Side Ads Dropped

After Google dropped the right hand side advertisements from desktop, Accuracast have analysed the impact on CTR during a 7-day period before and after the change in advertisement placements for Google desktop search.

The research shows that there has been a large increase of 18.2% for ads in position 4 for desktop search. This was accompanied by substantial increases for position 1 (8.4%) and position 2 (7.7%).

Google Desktop Ads - CTR Changes


Android Users Can Now Preview Apps Directly From Google Search Results

At Semetrical, we do not take our eyes off the growing app market. This week, Barry Schwartz wrote an article on Search Engine Land highlighting that Google App Streaming is now live in the Android Google App search results.

Users who are running Android L or later, and are on WiFi, will have the opportunity to select “Try Now” for an app in the search results. This app streaming will provide the user with the opportunity to try an app without installing it on to their device.



Investment In Mobile App Advertising Drives 196% Increase In Installs

In Q4 2015:

  • Total spend on mobile app install ads increased by 155% year-on-year (YOY)
  • Mobile app installs increased by 196% year-on-year (YOY)
  • Cost per install decreased by 14% year-on-year (YOY)
  • App install ads on Instagram delivered more than 20% of all app install ad clicks


Google To Close It’s Financial Comparison Service – Google Compare

Google has decided to close down it’s financial comparison service, named Google Compare. Search Engine Watch reported the closure after a letter was obtained which Google had sent to it’s Compare Partners, stating that “the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for.”

Graham Charlton, who published the post on Search Engine Watch, said “it would be nice to think that Google decided that it was unfair to favour its own products in the search results and pressure of an ‘unfair advantage’  from various country governments resulted in Google backing down“.

However, Mr Charlton then goes on to add, “the cynic in me and the coincidental timing of the new four Adwords listings for commercial queries makes me believe that Google will financially be better off whilst at the same time keeping those large financial and travel Adwords spenders happy.

This is another example of the seismic changes to the field of search due to Google’s alterations to Adwords.


Google Flagging Incorrect Hreflang Set-up To Webmasters

This is an update from February 18th, where John Mueller, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, confirmed to Barry Schwartz that Google were sending out notifications to websites which had implemented their hreflang markup incorrectly.

hreflang error message

No comments yet. You should be kind and add one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.This is a required field!

<small>You may use these <abbr title="HyperText Markup Language">HTML</abbr> tags and attributes:<br> <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>