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  SEO Newsletter | Vol 132 | April 28, 2015 This Month's News

The Comprehensive Mobile-Friendly SEO Guide for Business Owners Post-April 21st #Mobilegeddon

Author: Kristi Kellogg

We’re one week out from Google’s latest major algorithm update. If you are a hands-on small business owner managing your own digital marketing, this article is your go-to guide for dealing with the aftermath of Google’s April 21st update. It’s time to dive into data and plan ahead — because even if the mobile-friendly update boosted your mobile traffic, we know search engine optimization is never complete.

mobile friendly seo guide

Read on for our mobile-friendly SEO recommendations to improve your website’s appearance in mobile search results, including:

  • How to create a baseline report that shows you how your mobile search traffic was affected by the update
  • The importance of a mobile-friendly label and other annotations that stand out on mobile search results pages
  • A brand new opportunity to customize your breadcrumb URLs in Google mobile SERPs

Read More

  Back to Basics

Tips for Getting the Most out of Call-Only Ads in Google AdWords

Author: Jack Van Leeuwen

In February, Google made it easier for advertisers to engage smartphone users with a new ad type: call-only ads. Although call-only campaigns are fairly new to Google AdWords, there are certain steps you can take to get the most out of them. If your business can leverage phone calls into leads and sales, read these optimization tips for AdWords setup and reporting to help you get the most from call-only ads. You'll learn:

  • How to set the length of time for conversion, count and conversion window that is right for your business
  • How to structure call-only campaigns within your AdWords account to allow for more granular control over keywords and bidding
  • Where to find data that allows for enhanced reporting of your call-only ads

Read More


We're Hiring Top Search Marketing Talent


bruceclay-michaelshore-squareWe are on the hunt for talented, energetic and experienced marketing professionals to become valuable members of our consulting team. Candidates interested in positions working out of our main offices in Southern California should have at least four years of experience.

Please apply on LinkedIn: senior SEO analyst and senior SEM analyst.


Hot Topic


Nicknamed "Mobilegeddon" in the media, Google’s algorithm update that adds mobile-friendliness to the list of mobile search ranking signals began rolling out worldwide on April 21st. SEOs, who were watching and waiting to see the impact on mobile search results, did not detect much change for the first couple of days, though some tests picked up early signs. But this was not a "non-event," as some scoffed. On April 24, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller explained that the update could take up to a week and a half; it was "completely live" in some of Google’s many data centers but still rolling out to others.

A week since the update began, here’s what we know:

  • Mobile rankings have shifted significantly. Non-mobile-friendly pages have not just slipped a few spots, but dropped an entire page down the Google mobile search results. Mobile SERPs now look a lot different from their desktop/web counterparts.
  • Winners so far include TV Tropes, JCPenney, Entertainment Tonight, and Wired. We’re pleased to report that’s Search Queries report in Google Webmaster Tools shows that our impressions from mobile search have nearly doubled since April 21.
  • Losers include,, NBC Sports, Vogue, Rotten Tomatoes, and Bloomberg Business.
  • Google reports there were 4.7 percent more mobile-friendly websites on April 21st than there were when Google made its unprecedented pre-update announcement less than two months earlier. If nothing else, Google’s strategy to motivate webmasters to go mobile-friendly is working.

Late to the party? If you’re still working on making your pages mobile-friendly, there’s good news. You don’t have to wait for a future algorithm update to qualify your pages. Whenever the search engine crawls your site, it re-evaluates whether each page is mobile-friendly or not. The mobile-friendliness test is on a per-page, not per-site, basis. So as soon as your pages are ready, you can join the mobile-friendly ranking benefit party. See our feature article for help making your site mobile-friendly.


Education Matters


Mobile Marketing: What’s the Opportunity?

What are you doing to strengthen your reach to your mobile consumers? This month’s issue has guides for improving the mobile-friendliness of your paid and organic search marketing efforts. If you’re curious about why everyone has mobile marketing on the mind these days, here’s a look at some hard data that proves the value of mobile SEM and why it’s here to stay.

Consumers and Businesses Are Shopping on Mobile Devices

A growing number of consumers and businesses use mobile devices to research and purchase products.

  • In 2014, the scales tipped — Americans access the Internet on mobile devices more than on desktop and laptop computers. (comScore, June 2014)
  • 54 percent of Internet users say it’s easier to spot the information they want on mobile-friendly websites. (ExactTarget 2014 Mobile Behavior Report)
  • 37 percent are more likely to buy a product on a mobile-friendly site, while 27 percent leave the site if it’s not mobile optimized. (ExactTarget 2014 Mobile Behavior Report)
  • In the B2C space: 81 percent of US mobile owners used mobile devices to research retail products before going into the store and 19 percent used their devices while in the store. (NinthDecimal Audience Insights Report Q2 2014)
  • B2B marketers should know: 77 percent of executives research a product or service for their business on their smartphone; 93 percent of those executives later converted on a desktop or laptop. (IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014)

Your Competition Is Doing Mobile SEO

Businesses are putting in place a mobile-friendly site and mobile-aware advertising strategy to better serve consumers who want to learn more about products and buy them using their smart phones and tablets.

  • 45 percent of U.S. businesses have implemented some type of mobile marketing campaign, with mobile websites (70 percent), mobile applications (55 percent), and QR codes (49 percent) being the most commonly used techniques. (StrongMail Mobile Marketing Survey 2012)
  • Ad budgets are shifting to mobile; 41 percent of the print advertising budget will be reapportioned for mobile ad spending this year. (eMarketer, July 2014)
  • Mobile advertising more than doubled year-over-year, from $3.4 billion in 2012 to $7.1 billion in 2013. (IAB 2014 Internet Advertising Revenue Report)

Learn Mobile Optimization in SEO Training

Integrate a mobile approach into your online marketing strategy to reach your customers where they’re looking for you. Bruce Clay, Inc.’s SEO training course covers how to tailor your site for mobile searchers. The Standard and Advanced SEOToolSet Training courses transfer critical mobile marketing knowledge to you and your team regarding: mobile design considerations, content that targets your customers on the go, and all-important technical SEO implementations for page speed and website development. Sign up for the next SEO training course taking place in Simi Valley, CA, May 11–15, or Bruce Clay’s one-day SEO workshop at SMX Advanced in Seattle, WA, on June 4 (code SMXA15BRUCECLAY gets you 10 percent off!).




Incisive Media’s Interactive Marketing group, which includes Search Engine Watch, SES and ClickZ, has been acquired by Blenheim Chalcot, a London-based company with 30+ businesses in a variety of industries. Blenheim Chalcot co-founder Charles Mindenhall said, "We are looking forward to continuing to grow and develop these great businesses, serving the digital marketing community worldwide."

LinkedIn announced it is acquiring, a leading online learning company, for approximately $1.5 billion in cash and stock. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner called the two companies "highly aligned" because "both companies seek to help professionals be better at what they do."

The Department of Homeland Security announced plans to open a satellite office in Silicon Valley. According to the USA Today article, the move is a "peace offering" to the tech community that is angered by reports of digital government surveillance as well as an effort to reach out to top Silicon Valley tech talent to influence or recruit them.

Renowned marketer and entrepreneur Neil Patel and partner Hiten Shah officially left KISSmetrics, the company they founded in 2008. Patel said that they will be focusing on their more profitable companies, Hello Bar and Crazy Egg, and plan to release "new marketing software" through Quick Sprout in the next three to six months.

Klout’s co-founder and CEO, Joe Fernandez, stepped down from running the social influence measurement company, which for over a year has been owned by Lithium Technologies. Fernandez reportedly plans to pursue other start-up projects.

Melissa Fach joined Pubcon as its social community manager. She is well known in the digital marketing industry as a blogger, the founder of SEO Aware, former Search Engine Journal managing editor and Moz community associate.

Snapchat has hired Peter Hamby, a political reporter formerly with CNN, as its first head of news.

Ruth Porat will shortly join Google as its new CFO, after being CFO of Morgan Stanley since 1987. Porat replaces retiring CFO Patrick Pichette, who has agreed to stay and help with the transition. Pichette ended his last quarterly earnings call for the company with thanks to shareholders and some personal parting words: "I'm going to grab my backpack and set off into the world." He invited anyone who spots him to stop and say hello.

Getty Images signed a partnership deal with Microsoft a day after dropping their copyright infringement lawsuit against Bing Images. The two companies plan to work together to "develop image-rich, compelling products and services for Microsoft products like Bing and Cortana."




Here is a roundup of Internet marketing conferences happening soon. For a schedule of events throughout 2015 across the globe, check out the Digital Marketing Conference Calendar brought to you by Bruce Clay, Inc. Click the image below to go to the full calendar.

digital marketing conference calendar

SEOToolSet Training kicks off in Southern California May 11–13 for Standard, May 14 and 15 for Advanced. More than 4,600 people worldwide have learned SEO through Bruce Clay’s renowned classroom-style SEO training course. Attendees get in-person, current SEO education and a full subscription to our new power tools, SEOToolSet 6. Want more info? See our Training page.

The SearchLove two-day conference happens in Boston on April 30 and May 1.

A regional digital marketing event, Digital Summit, comes to Atlanta, Georgia, on May 9 and 10.

Search Engine Journal’s one-day SEJ Summit comes to London on May 12. Anyone interested can request an invitation for free, thanks to host SearchMetrics.

The Social Tools Summit is scheduled for May 12 in Boston.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, the Digital Marketing for Business (DMFB) event happens May 12–14. Special for newsletter readers: Use the promotional code "BruceClay" and get a 20 percent discount on all tickets!

The Content Marketing Conference Las Vegas is set for May 12–14.

Las Vegas will also play host to ConversionConference, focused on CRO topics, May 12–14.

Copyblogger's content marketing summit Authority Rainmaker meets in Denver, Colorado, May 13–15.

"The event for modern marketing and media," ad:tech comes to San Francisco May 20 and 21.

Content strategists will gather at the Confab Central event in Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 20–22.

To celebrate its five-year anniversary, Yoast is hosting a one-day YoastCon on May 27 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

The ecommerce-industry event IRCE happens June 2–5 in Chicago.

eMetrics Summit Chicago happens June 8–11 and includes events on Predictive Analytics for Business and for Manufacturing.

​A coordinated global event focused on human connectivity, Social Media Week hits Los Angeles, Mexico City and Rome June 8–12.

Social Media Today’s Social Shake-Up conference comes to Atlanta, Georgia, June 9 and 10.

The MozCon search and marketing conference takes place July 13–15 in Seattle, Washington.

The premiere search industry conference SMX Advanced comes to Seattle, Washington, on June 2 and 3. Our team will be there! Bruce Clay is the official SEO training partner of Search Marketing Expo, so don’t miss the one-day Bruce Clay SEO Training Workshop on June 4. Tip: Newsletter subscribers, use the code SMXA15BRUCECLAY when signing up and save 10 percent on your registration.




In response to the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25, Facebook and Google have made emergency people finder tools available to help people track and find loved ones. Google’s Person Finder, which was first launched after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, collects reports via SMS (text messages) and makes the data available to the public. Facebook’s Safety Check lets people connect with friends who are in the affected area.

Apple set up a page on iTunes where anyone can donate money to aid victims of the Nepal earthquake. Apple has partnered with the American Red Cross to handle donations, with 100 percent going to the cause.

Moz published its 2014 Annual Report online, allowing everyone in the extended Moz community to read it. We commend Moz’s transparency as well as the company’s donation of $120,000 to charitable causes through the year.

The online crafter’s marketplace Etsy went public, finishing its IPO with $287 million raised and a valuation of $3.5 billion. The stock price immediately doubled, from $16 to $32 a share, when trading began. Admirably, the company set aside 5 percent of its pre-IPO stock for the site’s vendors and other individual investors to purchase, and devoted $300,000 of the proceeds to fund, a site dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship among women in disadvantaged countries.


Word on the Wire


Yahoo and Bing agreed to new terms for their Search Alliance agreement, which is midway through its 10-year contract period. Under the revised terms, either party may cancel the deal with just four months’ notice. In addition, Yahoo now has the flexibility to stop receiving organic and/or paid listings from Bing at any time, and its share of the revenue increases from 90 to 93 percent.

Yahoo is reportedly negotiating to buy Foursquare for about $900 million.

Facebook Search was recently improved to allow you to search within posts shared by your friends and by people and pages you follow. The highly requested search-within-posts feature went live in December on Facebook's mobile and desktop websites (in U.S. English only) and iOS app, and is now available for Android devices.

Facebook wants major news publishers to host their news content within Facebook, rather than on their own websites. Under a proposed new model, publishers potentially gain a bigger audience at the expense of site traffic and the right to display their own ads within the content; on the other side of the equation, Facebook agrees to give a fixed percentage of its ad revenue to the publisher. Testing is set to begin within the next couple of months with expected initial partners The New York Times, National Geographic, and BuzzFeed. Some predict this change will hurt the publishing industry and degrade content marketing in the long run.

April 21st marked algorithm changes in Facebook, as well as in Google. Facebook’s updated News Feed algo favors content posted by personal profile pages of friends and reduces the visibility of brand page posts in people’s streams.

This week, Facebook added video chat to Messenger, pointing out that this feature works on any device.

Google announced a new lite version format for mobile search results on slower Internet connections. The more streamlined format, which excludes maps and simplifies answer boxes and other features, cannot be manually controlled and requires no changes to a user's settings.

In Google mobile search results, the way URLs are displayed has changed to show the name of the website and structure of the page’s URL using a breadcrumbs-like format, rather than showing the actual URL. Webmasters can use markup to influence Google’s display, as described in our report.

For app developers who have implemented it, App Indexing is now a ranking signal in Google results for all searches on Android devices, regardless of what apps the user has installed. Searchers may see an install button for an app if it is relevant to their search; clicking the button takes them to Google Play, where they can purchase the app. Previously, Google allowed that app deep links could appear in search results only if the app was installed on the searcher’s device.

Google launched its own wireless cell phone service called Fi (rhymes with "eye"), initially being positioned as a "small experiment." Individuals who have a Nexus phone can request an invitation to use the new service.

Google released a new app called Google Handwriting Input, which gives Android device users a way to enter text in any Android app by writing. The feature works with 82 languages and 20 scripts, using either printed or cursive letters.

Google announced its Digital News Initiative, a three-year partnership with eight major European news publications that includes providing 150 million euros ($163 million) for innovation projects benefiting the news industry.

The EU is expected to file formal antitrust charges against Google soon. Similar to the $3 billion Microsoft once had to pay for antitrust violations in Europe, the European Commission could decide to impose fines on Google in the billions of dollars. ​New developments this week: eBay CEO John Donahue unexpectedly gave support to Google's anti-monopoly defense by stating that the two companies are direct competitors in online shopping in Europe. Also, Reuters published a list of 19 complainants (including Microsoft, Yelp and Expedia) whose complaints purportedly led to the antitrust case against Google; European investigators have neither confirmed nor denied the ​sources.

Ahead of the European commission’s antitrust decision, France is voting on a bill of its own that would require Google to give the country’s national telecoms regulator access to its algorithms and the power to ensure search engine results are "fair and non-discriminatory." If the bill becomes law, any non-compliance would enable the French regulator to fine Google up to 10 percent of gross revenue.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Senate’s antitrust subcommittee has begun a preliminary inquiry into why the Federal Trade Commission dropped its antitrust probe into Google back in January 2013.

The live-streaming app Meerkat just launched a public beta version that works on Android phones, entering this new market ahead of rival Periscope, which is owned by Twitter.

Twitter announced a new Highlights feature, which sends users a simple summary once or twice daily of the "best" tweets for them via push notification.

AOL has launched ONE, a new consolidated platform where advertisers can manage all of their AOL ad buys across all channels (including TV, video and display).

Amazon Web Services just unveiled a machine learning API that developers can use to create apps or extract predictions based on data they input. Amazon Machine Learning is the latest competitor to enter this futuristic semantic search realm; Google, Microsoft and IBM have already launched similar APIs.

The Apple Watch became available for pre-order April 10. Within hours, all models were sold out online, with back orders expected to ship as late as June or July. Consumer shipments of the earliest pre-orders began last week.

Hot Topics





Word on the Wire





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