This week, Zoe O’Neil writes about the changes affecting digital marketing right now – from Google updates to new keyword tools.

There’s been so much happening in digital marketing recently, and we know this can sometimes be hard to keep track of.

But that’s the thing about digital – it’s always changing. Always evolving. And we’re making sure we evolve with it.

How Google is changing

Penguin 2.1

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

Penguin and Panda are Google’s ongoing ‘webspam’ updates, affecting organic search.

These updates penalise sites for so-called unnatural links, as well as content issues like keyword stuffing and duplicate content.

Penguin is the more link-focussed of the two. And the latest update came into effect on Friday, October 4.

This is all part of Google’s drive to make search more relevant to users.

Hummingbird

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

If you haven’t heard of Hummingbird yet, here are the basics:

  • It’s a new Google Algorithm update.
  • It probably came into force around August 20.
  • It builds on old frameworks, like its Caffeine web indexing update from 2010.
  • It’s designed to make search results more relevant, and display information more clearly.
  • It’s not designed to punish sites for linking or content issues.

Around the time Hummingbird is presumed to have been launched, there was a high ‘turbulence’ in search results – and Google says it may affect around 90 per cent of searches.

For more information, read Jade Coleman’s blog on the update.

Keyword Planner

Source: Flickr

Source: Flickr

We’ve had plenty of time to get to grips with Keyword Planner, Google’s replacement for AdWords Keyword Tool.

Some of you have asked what we think of it. So, I’ll pass the torch to Joe Farley, our senior PPC account executive (and seasoned keyword researcher!).

Joe’s written an in-depth blog about his experiences with the new tool. But here’s a summary of the pros and cons he’s found:

The new tool brings together the old Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator. As a result, you now get daily estimates for clicks and costs whilst you’re still in the keyword research stage.

The Multiply Keyword Lists feature saves time by letting you concatenate lists of keywords, which means you can create hundreds of keyword variations in a fraction of the time it would take to do it manually.

However, you can now only get average monthly keyword volumes on exact match – so you can’t see how many searches an ad will show up for on broad match or phrase match.

Also, you can no longer split out searches by mobile and desktop devices – it brings all searches together into one monthly average.

All in all, we feel the new tool is slightly less streamlined than the old Keyword Planner, but we’re sure Google’s going to iron out some of the creases soon enough. There are some great new features, though, and the changes certainly aren’t going to affect the keyword research we carry out.

More digital marketing news

In February, Google began the UK rollout of Product Listing Ads on Google Shopping. Now, it’s time for the next phase – they’re going local. Check out paid search manager Alison Booth’s blog post on the changes.

ClickThrough news

Sam Thomas, paid search account manager, has gained the Google AdWords Advanced Display qualification. This is great news for Sam, but even better news for our paid search clients, as Sam can share her expertise in managing Google display campaigns for even better results.

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About the author:

Zoe Bates oversees the operation of client services and ensures we deliver outstanding work for clients through creativity, quality control and process improvement. Zoe’s vast background in search marketing includes managing paid search campaigns for First Choice and product manager and shareholder at Europe’s leading search marketing technology company, working with brands across global markets and tailoring search strategies across multiple countries.