Google has been in the headlines after organisations including the British Government, Channel 4, The Guardian and the BBC started pulling their Google ads on YouTube. This is following a recent investigation by The Times which found adverts from major brands appearing alongside content from supporters of extremist groups. In addition to the unwanted associations, the YouTube adverts were estimated to be making the publishers around £6 per 1,000 views, leading to claims that top brands are “funding” extremist groups by unknowingly advertising on their videos.
This is following more than 1000 advertisers, including Kelloggs, BMW, Visa, T-Mobile, Nordstrom and Lufthansa pulling advertising out of Breitbart, the right wing news site.
Is My Business Affected By This?
If you are using Google AdWords, then the answer is very likely yes. By default, Google ads will not just show in Google search results, but in Google Partner sites including YouTube and millions of other sites who display Google ads in return for commission.
What Can Be Done?
Crescent Digital take the reputation of our clients & of ourselves extremely seriously and have placed a temporary block on our clients’ YouTube advertising, pending reassurances from Google. Additionally, we have temporarily placed a restriction on showing our clients ads on all video sharing platforms and sites showing right wing, left wing and religious topics.
How To Exclude AdWords Placements By Domain
Sites can be excluded from placements by domain name. Campaign Negative Placement lists can be created & maintained in the shared library for each account.
In the shared library, create the Campaign Negative Placement list, add keywords and apply to campaigns where placements are used.
These lists cannot be shared from a MCC agency account for several client accounts. For this reason, Campaign Negative Placement lists are likely to be difficult to maintain, particularly with managing several client accounts, hence why topic exclusions are also recommended.
How To Exclude Placements by Topic
In the AdWords campaign, select placements -> targeting:
Select Add Campaign Exclusions -> Topics
Search and Select Topics to Exclude:
Click close & save.
How To Exclude Video Sharing Placements
In the AdWords campaign, select placements -> targeting:
Select Site Category Options and exclude Video-Sharing Sites
Steve Baker, Founder, Certified Google Partner & Chartered Institute of Marketing Accredited Digital Marketing Specialist.
As a graduate software engineer, I started operating as a professional web designer in 2000, working on projects such as Brittany Ferries and Team Philips
. I am also a Google Certified partner
, accredited by the CIM
and formally approved as a service provider for the UKTI
for International Digital Marketing
.I specialise in offering a complete service in order to generate more clients to help your business grow:
- SEO (search engine optimisation) of websites.
- PPC (pay per click) marketing campaigns such as Google AdWords
- Social Media campaigns such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook
- Email campaigns
- CRM tools in order to provide the systems for your sales staff to convert more leads.
If your business would like to attract more clients and grow, please get in touch
- I'd love to chat.
As I child, I can remember being marched into the shops for new shoes and trousers before the end of the school holidays.
But British retail is changing. We are more likely to buy our kids school trousers, bags and shoes out of season during the sales, holding onto them hoping that the kids will grow into them just as the new term starts.
Is The Retail Sector in Decline?
The Body Shop is an example of how a once popular retailer has gone into decline in recent years. The Body Shop’s most recent sales results were down 4% on the same period last year, but it’s not alone. Shoppers are no longer following traditional buying patterns. Twenty years ago, we bought winter clothes in the autumn, summer clothes in spring, and Christmas goods in November and December. Now, we wait for goods to be discounted in sales and buy things at random times of the year. Unfortunately, many retailers have failed to keep up with modern shopping trends. They continue to buy in stock according to seasonal cycles and have suffered greatly as a result.
The Rise & Rise of Online Shopping
There are many reasons why the British retail sector is struggling, but online shopping is a significant factor. In the footwear sector, online sales now account for 25% of all sales. Shoppers are no longer walking into stores to buy footwear. Instead, they browse online collections.
Evolving technology plays a part, with online access easier than ever thanks to faster internet connections and the proliferation of online shopping portals. Shoppers can order a pair of shoes from Amazon and enjoy next day delivery using the Prime service. The other factor is choice.
Many high street retailers are locked into traditional seasonal buying patterns. In winter, they stock boots, and in summer, sandals. However, consumers don’t always want boots in winter and sandals in summer. They take winter sunshine holidays and ski breaks in spring, so they want choice. Online retailers offer a much wider range of products because their overheads are low. It’s a win-win situation for consumers, and a mortal blow for high street retailers.
Perpetual Sales Damage Consumer Trust
Discounting used to be a way of getting rid of excess stock, often at the end of a season when new stock was on the way and retailers needed to clear their shelves. Now, customers are more often than not waiting for goods to be reduced before they buy. Discounting has become the norm and every shop on the high street has some kind of sale running every day of the week. This has become more acute since the growth in the UK of Black Friday which has now expanded to cover the whole of November in some sectors. Experts believe regular discounting has led to a dilution of trust between customer and retailer. In other words, we tend to assume goods are overpriced, so we refuse to pay full ticket value.
British retailers also face another challenge with the weaker pound. If retailers pass on their increased costs to consumers, will they continue to buy?
How Should Retailers Adapt?
Many shoppers are waiting for prices to be discounted before they purchase. Cheap credit and low incentives to save have allowed shoppers the flexibility to buy months in advance of their actual needs during sales promotions.
The aim is to run regular attractive promotions to keep shoppers engaged outside of the Black Friday and Holiday sales stampedes. The challenge is maintaining profitability during the twin evils of weakened sterling and downward price pressures. Our suggestions for achieving this follow:
- Hidden tiered pricing (this is a personal favourite). Kellogg’s Cornflakes are an established premium brand. Rather than weaken the brand with discounting, they traditionally prefer to run ‘cut out and keep’ coupons. Time-strapped professionals are less likely to pay attention to this whilst checking out in Waitrose or Sainsbury’s. However, Kellogg’s believe that price conscious consumers are also more likely to have more time on their hands (I can clearly remember my Nan doing this) and will therefore take the time to cut out & use promotion codes. Marks & Spencer’s are still a premium brand. However, a quick Google will show you discount codes seeded across voucher and savings websites, many of which do actually work.
- Prepare a calendar of promotions to run each month. We regularly see client website data suggesting visitors are bouncing straight back out of offers webpages when no promotions are running. The key is to not destroy your margins by straight discounting but by offering bundled promotions – take a hit on certain items in order to maintain an overall healthy profit.
- Keep a close eye on the competition’s pricing. There are several internet based services which will alert you of a price drop by your competitors so that you can react if necessary as this will directly impact your sales.
I was scrolling through Twitter the other day when a noticed that a good friend had tweeted a picture of a ‘footnote’ that he’d found in a brand new book. For those of you that don’t know, a footnote is that handy reference number that authors use to direct readers to the bottom of the page for an explanation. However, this footnote was very different to anything else that I’d seen before because it simply said … ‘Google it’.
The image on Twitter was perfectly accompanied by the line ‘a footnote for our times’ and that’s true, it really sums up how we all operate. We tend to Google absolutely everything these days including ‘what purpose do X Factor winners have’, ‘what does Daisy Duke looks like now’ and ‘when was the last time a club like Leicester won the league’ … all valuable stuff, well sort of.
Sarcasm aside, from a commercial point of view it’s actually hugely important, especially when you consider that an estimated 64% of people Google something before they purchase it and that’s regardless of whether it’s either an ‘on’ or ‘offline’ transaction. The simple fact is, if you can’t be found after a visit to Google then you might as well turn the lights off, flip the open sign to closed and pull the shutters down.
There are lots of very obvious reasons why Google has become such an important part of our lives but here are our favourites:
1) It’s become a very personalised and highly specific way of sourcing information. Ploughing through brochures searching for relevant information is largely a defunct practice now.
2) It saves time and is more efficient. Could you imagine reaching for the Encyclopedia Britannica every time you wanted to know something, only to find that it’s not actually in any of the 24 volumes that you own.
3) The sheer volume of information that’s there. Asked yourself if you’ve ever Google’d something and found that no results have been returned.
4) The development of personalised technology. This has been massive for Google as people don’t even need to fire up the desktop to find something out. We all carry the internet in our pocket which means we’re never that far from Google.
5) Peer to peer recommendation. This is the case more than ever before as ‘bloggers recommend’ and ‘reviewers suggest’ to the extend that this information has become more important than the official commentary that we were used to.
Even doctors aren’t immune to the power of Google. Every GP in the country is familiar with the phrase ‘Doctor Google will see you now’ and it’s a worrying trend which is leading to the increase of self-diagnosis. It proves that Google has an undoubted level of the power that has the ability to redefine businesses in either a positive or even a negative way so be careful, Google is a tricky beast.
Making search engines work for you and your business is important, in fact it’s vital and if you ever need any help on how your business is defined by Google then talk to us at Crescent Digital. We’re a Google badged Partner agency and if you’re not sure what that actually means then can we suggest that you … well I think you know what to do.
I don’t know about you, but on the very odd occasion that I go shopping in Plymouth, I tend to venture in to Drake Circus Shopping Centre and very quickly I find myself lost in the collection of over 60 shops in one smallish space. Unless you’re a seasoned professional, it can be tricky to know where certain shops are and as a result, it’s actually quite hard to find the very thing you went in for in the first place.
Now you’re probably thinking what’s this got to do with Crescent Digital? And you’re right, the truth is, not a lot … in isolation. However it becomes infinitely more interesting when you start making comparisons.
Now imagine something like Drake Circus just a bit bigger than their 60 shops. Then when you have that fixed in your mind, think even bigger than that and just keep going. Keep going until to get to over 3 million shops and that ladies and gentlemen is size of the well-known shopping centre called The Internet.
The point I’m making is that the internet is massive and if you’re not careful you’ll undoubtedly get lost. The reason that’s important is because if you own one of the 3 million e-commerce websites, then the least you should be doing is signposting people to your specific site. If you’re not, you’re merely making up the numbers and the chances of anyone finding you are very slim indeed.
There’s a whole long list of advice that people will give you when starting up a business and probably the most overuse phrase is ‘get yourself a website’. Now, that in its own right is decent enough advice but I’d extend that slightly and suggest something wider still to say ‘once you have your website, think about how you’re going to drive people to it’.
As we all know from our own internet browsing, Google is the ‘main man’ on this sort of thing and the truth it’s not a quick and easy fix for anyone just to make it work for you.
Our advice is talk to a professional who can actually help and what we mean by that is talk to us here at Crescent Digital. Not only are we a Google Certified Partner, but we’re specialists in SEO, Adwords & Google Shopping which in simple terms means that we’ll get the orders flowing and make your phone ring.
We don’t mean to brag but a client approached us recently and was concerned about an escalating AdWords bill, coupled with a decrease in sales (the very worse kind of problem). We did what we do best and hey presto their e-commerce revenue was up nearly 40% and their AdWords bill was down 33% (the very best kind of solution) … now who wouldn’t want that.
So if you are interested in having a chat about how we can help, please feel free to give us a call … you certainly wouldn’t be wasting our time, in fact you’d be doing us a favour as we’d do anything to avoid going shopping again.
At Crescent Digital, we are regularly called in to perform website audits following a drop in visitors. Over the past 18 months, we have seen more sites moving towards using HTTPS encryption following Google’s announcement of using HTTPS as a ranking signal (1).
However, when adopting HTTPS incorrectly, you will likely see your search traffic suffer.
Clients are absolutely correct to adopt https for their websites as although the ranking increase may be relatively minor, the reassurance to clients that your website is safe and secure will help increase engagement.
Why Mixing Your HTTP & HTTPS is a Bad Thing To Do
Google & other search engines see www, non-www, http & https versions of websites as separate sites each with its own trust & authority.
According to Google (2), technically all of the following urls and domains are different:
Your website’s domain will have earned trust & authority which will directly affect where it appears within the organic search results. However, your new https prefixed domain will likely have none, meaning a big drop in search engine trust, authority, rankings and ultimately traffic following the change. In addition, the search engines will not know which version of your site to show in the results when users are searching because they will be seen as duplicates.
What To Do
Having established that Google sees www, non-www, http & https versions of websites as separate domains, diluting any search authority, it is critical to configure your site correctly and there are several critical factors configurations to consider:
- Set-up permanent redirects to redirect any visitors and search engine spiders towards your one preferred domain.
- Set-up permanent redirects to redirect any old pages (particularly those with a large volume of links & social shares) to the corresponding pages on the new domain / site. This will likely be achieved using the htaccess file if using Apache web server.
- Configure Google Search Console in order to set your preferred domain.
What Not To Do
Please do not use the URL Removal Tool to remove old web pages or domains as you can end up removing your whole domain for 6 months. With redirections configured correctly, the search engines will understand and within time start to show the appropriate results.
HTTPS as a ranking signal https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html
Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO – https://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-url-canonicalization/