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August 28

The Weekly Briefing: Google Considers Video Ads in Results After Head Start by Competition

SEM Specialist Reed Langton-Yanowitz discussed a new advertising option Google is testing…

Google almost never lags behind the competition in regards to search engine options, but one of the few exceptions is in the area of advertising, specifically concerning promoted videos directly in search results. The tech giant doesn’t currently provide them, but it’s something they’re testing, according to a report from Search Engine Watch. Bing and Yahoo! (which is powered by Bing’s search algorithm) have already added advertising videos in their own searches, something previously reported on by Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post. Google currently offers video advertising, most prominently through YouTube. However, adding videos directly within search results simply makes too much sense for the company to pass up financially. It’s likely only a matter of time until we see them. The only question is, how will the Internet’s largest company pull it off without tarnishing the clean and to-the-point aesthetics its search results are currently known for?

SEO Copywriter Jared Townsend discussed Microsoft’s expansion of search capabilities on Android…

Windows Phone isn’t exactly taking off but thankfully for Microsoft, there’s a different avenue to take: Expand capabilities through Google’s mobile platform, Android. The company, which recently made Windows 10 available, has launched “Bing Snapshots” in beta for Android. Just like Google “Now On Tap,” the capability allows users to search by placing a focus on context. For example, a user scrolling through their Instagram feed might see that another user tagged a photo from “Costa Rica.” From there, the user could tap the phone’s home button in order to see more information on Costa Rica, i.e. providing general information on the country, ticket options to get there, along with an assortment of other options. For more on the feature, check out a video from Microsoft.

Web Developer Zac Forsman discussed the current state of website hacks…

Hackers have been anything but easy on websites, a notion backed by Google’s recently held #nohack week in which the search giant revealed a poll indicating that 36% of webmasters admitted to being hacked. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable noted in a report that he believed the number was actually “way higher,” something we’re going to say is a pretty good guess. Even more interesting, however, is that 66% of webmasters said they fixed the hacks themselves, while 11% said they worked with their web host to correct the problem. Meanwhile, a surprising 10% said they hadn’t yet fixed the problem at all.

SEM Specialist Andrew Vanderiet discussed Google’s integration of more social media within its search results…

Twitter isn’t going away anytime soon. If anything, it’s getting more airtime. For example, take Google’s latest move: Showing Twitter Tweets directly within search results. According to a report from Search Engine Land, the company is currently adding the feature for English desktop versions, something that arrives after Tweets were spotted in Google results via mobile back in May. There’s no known advertising motive behind the initiative, but it’s expected that Tweets in results will become more heavily catered to users’ direct search intentions as time progresses.

August 22

The Weekly Briefing: What’s Behind Wikipedia’s Slide?

Copywriter Jared Townsend discussed interesting traffic changes related to Wikipedia…

Traffic to popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia is down…drastically. The news was initially reported by SimilarWeb and, according to an article from Search Engine Journal, site visits to Wikipedia fell by a whopping 11% during a period spanning from May to July of this year. So what’s behind the drop? The online SEO community has been abuzz with speculation on what may have caused it. While some have guessed a manual penalty, it’s safer to assume that Google’s ever-increasing expansion of direct answers in search results is leading fewer visitors to actually click on Wikipedia links to find the information they’re looking for. (more…)

August 13

The Weekly Briefing: With “G” Covered, Google Looks to Span the Entire Alphabet

Content Marketing Strategist Angela Sanders and SEM Specialist Andrew Vanderiet discussed big changes at Google…

On Monday, Google sent shock waves through the online world, announcing a significant business reshuffling that will see the tech giant become a subsidiary of a newly created parent company called Alphabet. The move helps better organize Google as it continues to expand further outside the realm of search. Alphabet will be an umbrella for other Google-backed initiatives including Calico, an organization focused on aging and longevity research, and Google’s Life Sciences division, aimed at developing things like “glucose-sensing contact lens.” (more…)

August 11

SEO for Amazon: Optimizing Your Products to Rank Higher

Google may be the biggest name in all things search, but it doesn’t necessarily dominate online retail. In fact, the obvious award winner in that space goes to Amazon. In recent years, the site has opened its doors, making it easier than ever for everyday small businesses and individuals to use the powerful platform to sell their own products – whether through programs like Amazon Associates, Fulfillment by Amazon, or even Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon’s e-book-focused offering for self-published authors. (more…)

August 7

Online Sales Tax: Money, Monopoly, and What It Means for E-Commerce

The U.S. government’s, or at least one Congressman’s, latest effort to establish economic parity between online retailers and their physical counterparts takes form in the Remote Transactions Parity Act. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT 3rd District) introduced the bill back in June with the intent of requiring online businesses to charge sales tax on goods and services. The bill is meant to even the playing field between brick-and-mortar small businesses and larger online retailers, like Amazon and Ebay.

Currently, online stores only have to charge for sales tax if they have a physical presence in the state the customer is purchasing from. And while larger companies like Amazon and Ebay don’t prescribe to this rule since their business is entirely online, Amazon has started making sales tax agreements on a state-by-state basis. (more…)