It probably comes as no surprise, but Google continuously updates all of their platforms from their search engine results page (SERP) to Adwords (SEM). What may come as a surprise is the almost sudden importance of a few of these prior updates!

While keeping up with Google’s updates might not be anyone’s definition of fun, these specific updates present excellent opportunities for an agency to give their customers’ digital marketing a big boost! To do this, all you need to do is take advantage of the changes. Simple right?

Ok, well…to help simplify this task, let’s take a look at three previous Google updates that are now of much greater significance and more importantly how you should leverage them to boost your client’s digital marketing impact.

1. HTTPS URLs and Page One Search Results

Moz reported secure websites (HTTPS) made up more than 50% of the page one search results. Only last year the number had been 30%. The trend has grown at a linear rate for a year now and it looks like HTTPS websites will make up nearly 70% by the end of 2017.

This is pretty dramatic growth for a Google initiative to give HTTPS sites rankings a boost that began in 2014. You might ask, is the growth a result of more companies going to HTTPS? Maybe. Google has said that while they thought about boosting HTTPS sites, they have no current plans to do so.

So, what should you tell your clients?

Well, knowing that HTTPS sites get a boost, advise clients to make the move. Google recommends moving to HTTPS to protect both the client site as well as a client’s users who visit and use the site. According to Google, the three main areas of protection are:

  1. Encryption—encrypting the exchanged data to keep it secure from eavesdroppers. That means that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can “listen” to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages, or steal their information.
  2. Data integrity—data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected.
  3. Authentication—proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits.

Google offers advice to webmasters on best practices when making the switch. For greater step-by-step detail as well as potential miss-steps and problems to look out for, check out this article by Searchengineland.

2. Get the ‘Best’ Reviews

In Q2 Google began to include ratings into local searches. A Searchengineland post notes the ratings filter appears for searches including the words “best” and other commonly used descriptors. Even “awesome,” “outstanding” and “great” caused the rating filter to appear in the snack pack.

A search that includes “best” prefilters businesses with 4.0+ ratings and highlights the quality ranking in red type on the search result. Other search terms bring up the rating as an optional filter but leave it in gray.

The appearance of ranking as a filter in the local snack pack demonstrates Google’s focus on quality. Right now, it appears the business with the highest ranking doesn’t always appear first in the results, but…based on Google’s commitment to constantly improve the user experience, don’t be surprised to see the quality factor become a bigger factor as Google hones the ranking and quality elements of its search results.

What should you do?

This makes online reviews and online review sites much more important to small, local businesses.  For better or worse, it looks like it’s time to integrate review management into the marketing plan as it appears rankings will continue to become an increasingly larger factor in search results.

3. Use Google’s Adwords Campaign-level Audiences

The Adwords update that allowed campaign-level audience lists was a big help when it came out in December 2016. They were easier to track with the biggest drawback being the tedious work needed to make sure every campaign had an audience attached.  

Now, the group over at Brainlab has come up with a script that uses one campaign as a template for all the other campaigns. It saves times and reduces the chance of error. Here’s how it works:

  1. Setup the audiences you want to target and the bid adjustments in one campaign.
  2. Run the script. It will copy the settings from the one to all the others.
  3. Run again if necessary. (It runs for 30 minutes, so if you have lots of campaigns or audiences, you might need to restart it until it’s all done.)

It’s a pretty cool time saver, but it does come with a couple of caveats. While it won’t remove current audiences, it might overwrite the bid modifier of a current campaign. It also requires you delete ad group-level audiences prior to running it.

Want to give the script a run?

Brainlab posted it in this Searchengineland article. You’ll find the script and other notes you’ll need to set it up and let it run.

Next Steps…

Google changes just keep on coming. This offers digital marketers who stay up to date a lot of opportunities to drive results and stay ahead of the competition. Check back to the Tango Code blog regularly for updates.

Have a question about something you’ve read or would like us to review? Drop us a note or schedule a call.