This overview shows you the mobile usage on certain types of site and is very interesting who does and who does’t get mobile users.
Multi-platform audience measurement immediately changes the established view of the digital landscape, with media properties’ audience sizes increasing, in addition to changes occurring within content category rankings. The average property within the Top 100 increased its audience size by an average of 38 percent, and 19 of those properties had incremental mobile (i.e. smartphone and tablet) audiences that extended the reach of their desktop audiences by at least 50 percent. The properties with the greatest incremental percentage gains from mobile were Groupon (223 percent), Zynga (211 percent) and Pandora (183 percent).
|Media Metrix Multi-Platform Top 50 Properties
Total U.S. (Age 18+ on iOS & Android platforms for Mobile)
Source: comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform
|Unique Visitors/Viewers (000)|
|Total Digital Population||Desktop*||Mobile**||Mobile-Only||Mobile Audience Incremental % to Desktop|
|Total Internet : Total Audience||235,855||221,379||127,106||14,475||7%|
|9||Wikimedia Foundation Sites||109,523||85,856||49,296||23,667||28%|
|18||The Weather Company||76,642||56,120||37,368||20,522||37%|
|27||Federated Media Publishing||54,607||39,577||24,297||15,030||38%|
|33||Meredith Women’s Network||45,533||32,253||19,771||13,280||41%|
|36||New York Times Digital||44,206||33,175||19,869||11,031||33%|
|37||YP Local Media Network||43,191||30,112||17,539||13,079||43%|
|43||Discovery Digital Media Sites||37,590||30,504||10,622||7,085||23%|
|45||Fox News Digital Network||37,340||29,829||15,276||7,512||25%|
|46||Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.||37,050||26,514||15,469||10,536||40%|
|50||Time Warner (Excl. Turner/WB)||35,142||25,729||13,693||9,413||37%|
Here are some common mistakes we see on smartphone-optimized websites and how to avoid them.
Many videos are not playable on smartphone devices. This can be due to requiring software or device capabilities that smartphones do not support or due to licensing constraints. We recommend using HTML5 standard tags to include videos and avoid content in formats, such as Flash, that are not supported by all mobile devices.
Regardless, try your best to offer smartphone users the best experience possible to make sure that the videos are playable on as many devices as possible. Also consider having the transcript of the video available on all devices as that may better serve your smartphone users.
Many sites have dedicated smartphone-optimized pages and redirect smartphone users based on the user-agent. A common error is to redirect a user trying to access a URL on the desktop site to an irrelevant URL on the smartphone site.
Some common examples:
•Your desktop site’s server is configured to redirect smartphone users to the smartphone site’s homepage, regardless of which URL they originally requested, even if the mobile site has the equivalent page to the redirecting desktop page.
•Desktop URLs with dynamically generated content and URL parameters that don’t map well to the equivalent mobile URL. For example, if a user is looking for a train timetable on a specific date on the desktop site and gets redirected to the general timetable search page on the smartphone-optimized site instead of the actual search.
We recommend that you configure the redirection correctly if you do have an equivalent smartphone URL so that users end up on the page they were looking for.
•Redirecting some mobile devices but not others. For example, a site may redirect only Android users to the mobile site and not redirect iPhone or Windows Phone users.
Some sites serve content to desktop users accessing a URL but show an error page to smartphone users.
To ensure the best user experience:
•If you recognize a user is visiting a desktop page from a mobile device and you have an equivalent smartphone-friendly page at a different URL, redirect them to that URL instead of serving a 404 or a soft 404 page. Also make sure that the smartphone-friendly page itself is not an error page.
•If your content is not available in a smartphone-friendly format, serve the desktop page instead. Showing the content the user was looking for is a much better experience than showing an error page.
App download interstitials
Many webmasters promote their site’s apps to their web visitors. There are many implementations to do this, some of which may cause indexing issues of smartphone-optimized content and others that may be too disruptive to the visitor’s usage of the site.
Based on these various considerations, we recommend using a simple banner to promote your app inline with the page’s content. This banner can be implemented using:
•The native browser and operating system support such as Smart App Banners for Safari on iOS6.
•An HTML image, similar to a typical small advert, that links to the correct app store for download.
A common practice when a website serves users on separate smartphone-optimized URLs is to have links to the desktop-optimized version, and likewise a link from the desktop page to the smartphone page. A common error is to have link point to an irrelevant page such as having the smartphone pages link to the desktop site’s homepage.
If you add such links be sure sure that the links point to the correct equivalent page.
Optimizing a page’s loading time on smartphones is particularly important given the characteristics of mobile data networks smartphones are connected to. Here are some starting points:
- Make your mobile pages render in under one second
- Make the mobile web faster
- Optimize for mobile
- Use Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze page loading issues for your site
This basically simplifies, for Google, their policy on this matter.
It has been hard for Google to find the right balance on dealing with trademarks and their search ads. Can you bid on competitors trademarked names? Can you use those trademarks in your ad copy?
Google has updated their AdWords trademark policy to fit on standard worldwide, specifically with using the trademarked terms to trigger ads (not in ad copy).
Effective April 23, 2013 Google “will not prevent use of trademarks as keywords in the affected regions, trademark owners will still be able to complain about the use of their trademark in ad text.” Google said they will “will no longer prevent advertisers from selecting a third party’s trademark as a keyword in ads targeting these regions.”
The regions Google disallowed this in the past were China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Brazil.
Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding the use of trademarks as keywords. Starting on 23 April 2013, keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil.
While we will not prevent the use of trademarks as keywords in the affected regions, trademark owners will still be able to complain about the use of their trademark in ad text.
How does the revised policy affect which ads can be shown?
Google will no longer prevent advertisers from selecting a third party’s trademark as a keyword in ads targeting these regions.
Why did Google change its trademark policy?
Google’s goal is to provide our users with the most relevant information, whether from search results or advertisements, and we believe users benefit from having more choice. Our policy aims to balance the interests of users, advertisers and trademark owners, so we will continue to investigate trademark complaints concerning use of trademarks in ad text. In addition, this change means that the AdWords policy on trademarks as keywords is now harmonised throughout the world. A consistent policy and user experience worldwide benefits users, advertisers and trademark owners alike.
Does this policy change impact the usage of trademarks in ad text?
No. This policy change relates to the use of trademarked terms as keywords.
Who is affected by the policy change?
Google’s revised trademark policy applies to trademarks held in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil. This policy is already in effect in all other regions throughout world. Please consult our existing trademark policy for more information.
What will happen to existing trademark complaints?
Starting on 23 April 2013, keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark complaint and investigation will no longer be restricted in the affected regions. If you have an existing complaint on file that includes both keywords and ad text in one of the affected regions, we will continue to restrict use of your trademark in ad text.
Will Google respond to trademark complaints in the affected regions?
Yes. With respect to the use of trademarks in ad text in the affected regions, advertisers will be able to submit trademark complaints.
What are your plans to extend this policy to additional regions?
We do not restrict trademarks as keywords in any other regions. This policy change in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil brings these countries in line with our trademark keyword policy in the rest of the world.
Will trademark terms in my account start triggering ads?
Keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark investigation may begin triggering your ads in the affected regions, starting on 23 April 2013. If you do not want your ads to run on certain keywords, you can remove those keywords from your campaigns or add them as negative keywords.
Does this mean that I can now use trademark terms as keywords?
Google is not in a position to make recommendations regarding the use of terms corresponding to trademarks. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact your legal counsel and consult the AdWords Terms and Conditions .
How do I change the list of those authorised to use my trademark in ad text?
If you would like to edit the list of authorised users of your trademark in your current trademark complaint, please send us a revised list. Learn more about our trademark authorisation procedure.
Who should I contact if I have further questions about this policy change?
You can email any questions you might have about the policy change to email@example.com.
Mar 14, 2013 at 12:09pm ET by Trond Lyngbø
Having spent over ten years as an SEO consultant, I’ve gathered a list of “top ten challenges” (or, as I think of them, my pet peeves) about the industry and our clients.
I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences to share with our community. I’ll go first, and list out 10 things that challenge and push SEO consultants to come up with their very best efforts.
1. Fascination With Quick Fixes
Our clients, normally savvy business owners, are strangely driven by the urge for “quick fixes” in their SEO. Even though they understand the complexity of SEO and the potential benefits from getting it right, many just want a quick win.
My clients are evaluated on their quarterly or annual results. Even though my convincing pitch with fact-based reasoning demonstrates that they will double revenue from organic search by taking a long-term approach and working on a 24- to 36-month timetable, I still see resistance. They don’t like this. They want faster results. They prefer 12 month horizons.
Often, I’ll get anxious client emails before board meetings. They’ll break down our organic traffic goal into a 12-monthly figure, get pretty graphs drawn, and then discover (to their dismay) that the traffic we’re receiving is nowhere near what we “agreed upon at our initial discussion.”
Businesses should understand that organic search is important, and it cannot be rushed. Quick fixes may deliver quick wins, but it is unreal to expect them to be sustained and long-lasting.
2. ”But My Competition Does…”
One of the toughest questions I’ve had to field begins with, “My competitors are doing _____ , so why can’t I?”
Many sites ignore Google’s guidelines and exploit loopholes in the search giant’s algorithms. They indulge in practices like shady link-building, exact match domains, ranking on duplicate content, and so on. In the near term, sometimes, these techniques help them outrank other businesses.
As an SEO consultant, I get frustrated at hearing Google’s never-ending string of (rarely implemented) rosy promises and dire threats to discourage webmasters against such practices.
In Norway, we have 5 million citizens. That isn’t many. But when I’m responsible for SEO strategy at some of the biggest, highest-traffic sites in the country, I am frequently left red-faced at Google’s lack of effective responses to such under-handed and crooked tricks to game search rankings. My personal opinion is that Google isn’t quite good at filtering out low-quality content in Norway. Even when I report poor-quality sites, nothing happens.
There are times when I even feel sorry for my clients. Their competitors have been using tricky techniques for years, and yet nobody stops them or penalizes them for such actions. They make a lot of money through their shenanigans. On the other hand, my clients are practicing ethical and white-hat SEO, adopting best practices and respecting guidelines, only to find themselves outranked by low-quality sites. It’s frustrating for SEO consultants. Have you ever felt the same, or had similar experiences?
3. The Conundrum of “Hourly Rates”
So, I’m called to bid on an SEO consulting project. I make a presentation, hand over my proposal… and a few days or weeks later, my prospective client will call to complain that my hourly rate is too high. They love everything else about my proposal, but try to negotiate a lesser rate, saying that my competitors claim they can do it at a lower price.
Well, that’s true. They can. And it’s because they have a different approach and attitude toward SEO. Instead, wouldn’t it be nice when clients look at how much more money I’m going to add to their bottom-line? At how quickly I can help them achieve their financial goals and targets? At how effectively I can help them grow their business?
Look, a good SEO consultant is so much more than just a technical specialist. A great SEO consultant is excellent with analytics. Armed with access to valuable data, a consultant can help with your business development needs, guiding you grow your business in new ways. It is meaningless to evaluate such value by “hourly rates,” yet we see it all the time. How do you deal with it?
4. SEO Cannot Compensate For A Poor Product
SEO can’t fix everything. I know that’s contrary to industry-driven myths, but hey! If your product, service or customer care are mediocre or just not “awesome,” you should fix that first before you call in the SEO guy (or gal) to get you more traffic.
SEO can amplify your business results. If you have a great offer which adds value to people, SEO will help you expand your reach and help many more people while making a bigger profit.
5. Learn To Say “No” More Often
I should follow my own advice! Sometimes I get a bad feeling when a prospective client calls for a meeting. Maybe he wants to switch agencies for the 3rd time in 2 years. He isn’t happy with his present SEO vendor, or recently had a confrontation, and so, wants to change consultants.
I’ve often found that these clients are impatient, frustrated, and difficult to work with. Any trivial thing can affect their behavior and attitude toward their SEO consultant. A sleepless night, a bad quarter, a rough review by their boss, and they’ll impulsively leap to random conclusions, second-guessing your judgment, and blaming everyone but themselves.
It’s a bad situation to be in, as a consultant. Such a client’s attitude can drain your motivation and mess up your mood. You have to promptly break off these relationships. Say “No” when you see it coming. Cry “Stop” when it begins with an existing client.
Yes, you may lose an account. But it’s still the right decision. Keeping on “energy vampires” as clients can have devastating consequences on the rest of your consulting business.
6. An Obsession Over Hit-Counters
People love “hit counters.” Ok, maybe hit counters isn’t the right way to describe this. But, many clients still place disproportionate emphasis on page views, search rankings and other such low-quality KPIs (key performance indicators).
None of these correctly reflect your business’ performance. You need to focus on the right KPIs. Ones that are actionable, and which contribute directly to bottom-line profitability. Those are the ones you seek to improve through your SEO strategy.
In many clients’ eyes, ranking is still king. But, SEO consultants understand that a site’s placement in the SERPs is only a rung in the ladder to business success. Without an acceptable conversion rate, more sales and higher profit as a consequence, even a #1 ranking on Google will be worthless.
7. SEO Is Still Icing On The Cake
A few business owners cherish a naive belief in the ability of SEO to transform everything and magically create results. So, they put off consulting an SEO expert until everything else is ready with their website development.
Unfortunately, when this poorly planned and constructed site generates sub-optimal results, fixing it will need expensive changes. It’s far better to involve an SEO consultant right from the planning phase so that all aspects of your commercial website will work in harmony and synchronize with other elements to deliver stellar results.
8. IT Consultants Can Fix Everything
It still amazes me that my family will call whenever they have trouble with their printer, PC, mobile phone, scanner, or have a virus problem — just because I’m an “IT Consultant.” Sometimes, they’ll even call for help with their TV, cable connection, or satellite dish!
It’s the same story at work, too. Clients don’t see a difference between a Web designer, Web developer, paid search expert, or SEO consultant. They figure that “If you’re an IT manager, you should be able to fix everything that runs on electricity.” Well, that’s not how it works!
9. ”Content Is Easy”
Sorry, it’s not. Unless all you need is to fill in some white space with text and stuff it with keywords.
Time and again, I hear clients saying they can handle content by themselves. I no longer go into raptures of delight when clients say they have a “good copywriter or writer on their staff.” Rarely, if ever, do those writers have a good understanding of SEO.
Whenever I’ve relied on these “inside experts,” I’ve been disappointed and ended up having to teach them how to do what’s needed. That also cuts into my SEO budget, wasting time that’s better spent on other SEO tasks. Does this sound familiar?
10. Getting Paid Per Link
When the SEO discussion turns to link building, the issue of buying links crops up. In the aftermath of Google’s Penguin update, it’s weird to even hear that businesses dare buy links from people offering “pay per link” deals.
This is risky, and I always turn down such requests from clients. But, some still go ahead with shady or black-hat link building techniques, and then blame SEO consultants when the ax falls on their business’ head.
So there. These are my pet peeves about being an SEO consultant. I’m sure there are many others you’ve faced in your career. Please go on and share them in the comments below. Let’s get some discussion going on these vexing problems and talk about how to solve them.
SEOs are a unique bunch, in case you haven’t noticed. We have real OCD tendencies (and, for some us, it’s full-blown OCD), we just know better than you (about everything), we are intensely, over-the-top goal driven beings, we are scientists-in-a-vacuum, we are data-miners and data-hogs, we are behavioral futurists, and we make the web a better place for you and yours (for a price).
As a caveat, the good ones are like that. It’s hard definitely being an SEO, as so eloquently pointed out by Portent’s own George Freitag in “Why Web Professionals Hate SEOs”. George, as a fellow SEO, you know that we are equal-opportunity haters on every other web professional too. They may hate us, but we hate them equally as much. And, really, turnabout is fair play.
After all, if designers and developers had their way, the web would be nothing but a bunch of huge, sexy images with millions of nested DIVs blended with functionality so overwhelming and powerful that it would virtually alienate anyone over the age of 35. No one would ever use the web, but the artists would have their canvas, right?
As a writer myself (by education and training), I’m all for “Ars Gratia Artis”, but that’s successful with consumers about 0% of the time. And, I won’t make excuses for Crap Hat SEOs; they’ve read three blog posts and follow “only the best search professionals on Twitter”.
Unfortunately, it’s simply comes with the territory of a profession that expanded exponentially over the last half-decade. Professional SEOs will always be lumped in with them and have to fight their battles and over-reaches.
The Brave New World Isn’t So Brave. Or New.
Google’s Panda and Penguin didn’t change the game. It just made the rules a lot more evident to those who thought there were no rules. Those SEOs who knew the score long before Google had to put down a heavy hand, have come through unscathed nearly 2 years later.
Designers and developers just kept on polluting the web with “beautiful, functional” brand sites. But, when the Piper comes calling, and accounts are stake, it is really strange how those same developers and designers suddenly are “eager” to work with SEOs.
SEO is the Thing
Unless you’re Coca-Cola or another one of the Fortune 50, unbranded search is how people are going to find you. Sorry, but them’s the facts.
So, while designers and developers have thousands of things to contemplate (how to make the brand logo “pop” or make a cart add products), SEOs are contemplating the strategy and schema, from content to information architecture to technical foundation to link graphs and the multitude of things each encapsulates.
Each and every one of those things matter in the quest for findability. Is there any sense in making a brand logo visible if no one is going to be there to see it? Or, a cart that will make you a ham sandwich after you finish the purchase, if no one is there to use it? Instead of treating SEOs as a nuisance and as someone who’s only trying to impede your progress, you might actually find that we can make your job easier in the end.
Jack of All, Master of None
The countless duplicate pages you’re making every single time a user uses your product filters, or how you wrapped all those reviews in an I-Frame instead of attempting to take the extra hour or two to use the API, or that mistake you made by mistyping the page name and just created a new one. Yeah, I found that too.
Those things have a big effect on a site authority and trust. Also, don’t let the fact that I can’t create a CSS sprite on my own, fool you into thinking I don’t know how to create a cascading style sheet and know how they work.
SEOs (the good ones) know enough to intervene when it looks like a disaster-in-the-making and will end up as a dumpster-fire for search in two months. You may not care, but just remember, we’re ones that are accountable for “success” at the end of the day. You know, the “hard metrics” that clients need before renewing an engagement.
Here again, the professional SEOs know exactly what we are asking for when we ask for it. Most will actually hate asking you do it because we know how much time is involved and the rework we’re causing. But, in the end, we’re helping you to build a better site for the consumer and site that gets found in the SERPs.
We Don’t Know The Entire Algorithm, But We Know Enough
My guess is that not even Matt Cutts is clued into the ENTIRE Google algorithm, and that guy is the Head of Search Spam at Google and (un)official Google-SEO spokesman.
Being a jackass and claiming that I don’t know the entire algorithm simply tells me you’re a defensive person (and possibly a lazy one too). We know enough factors of the algorithm, and whether they have a positive or negative effect, on a website that the changes we ask for have a purpose.
If not knowing the entire algorithm is cause for loss of credibility for an SEO in the eyes of a designer, then that can be transposed to a designer not have full knowledge of Nielsen’s Heuristics Evaluation. Moreover, I’ve never heard anyone say, “Cause’ the algorithm, dude!” Just doesn’t happen. And, if it does happen, point in the direction of said person(s), we’ll have a chat.
SEOs will fully explain these things to you if you have the time. Seriously. Ask a question about why or how this is going to affect the website or search engine indexation. Any SEO (the good ones) will be more than happy to walk you through why it matters and why it should be the way we need it.
How Designers, Developers, and Copywriters Can Ease the Pain
Short of locking you in a room and playing professor for a few days straight, the best way, as George points out, is to communicate. That word makes it sound easy and effortless, but it’s anything but. When you’re under deadlines and shuffling between projects, ain’t nobody got time for that.
The real key is to sit down next to that SEO (that’s right, put down the email and step away) and let them walk you through it. Sure, it’s 10-20 minutes out of your day, but when you can see it from their point of view as they walk through your code or design, it breaks down barriers that email can’t. It’s that human element. It may not solve the issue, but it will help both parties gain a healthy respect for one another.
And, that’s first step to compromise. SEOs, as much as we know we need it our way because it’s right, we have to be willing to step down off the soapbox. You have to be willing to capitulate some things in order to get the bigger win for search. You may not be able to get that direct 301 you need on duplicate content, but with communication, explanation, compromise, you can convince that developer to work in a rel=canonical.
SEOs need to be able to compromise, just as developers, designers, and copywriters need to be able to learn to compromise. Because at the end of day, it’s about creating wins for the client not for own egos.
Written by Anthony Verre
Hate Web Professionals (Mostly)