What's New With Google Adwords and Analytics in 2016
November 15, 2016
With the year nearly coming to an end, (don't worry you still have time to get your Christmas shopping done, just remember to get me something too!) we wanted to take a look at some of the changes that have taken place. If you are looking for a technical overview with lots of math and fancy words, sadly I am not the engineering type but we are going to look at these changes and how the impact average mortals like you and I. Grab a warm beverage (it's cold out there) and sit back while we take a stroll through Google's latest updates to AdWords and Analytics.
Penguin 4.0 is Here to Stay
To get a better understanding of the changes at Google we need to take a look at the latest update which was Penguin 4.0. This update took nearly two years to roll out and at first glance it does not have a huge impact on rankings. While most rankings remained the same, the new update is going to become part of the core search algorithm. What does that mean to the average person, well if you want your website to rank well then you really need to follow the rules or Penguin will catch you (Sounds like something you would read in a Batman comic, but who reads those these days :D). Some of the things that the new Penguin update will focus on: Content has always been king but on-top of that it should be easily accessible so Google is now looking for websites that are mobile friendly. If the website is not mobile friendly since the majority of people out there access the Internet via their smart-phone then the website is going to have lower rankings. This should be a strong enough reason for website owners to start implementing mobile response elements. Mobile response elements (not an actual software) will detect whether the visitor is on a desktop or using their phone. The mobile friendly feature will give online retailers an edge since the visitor can simply "click" and buy with their phone without having to go home and log into their computer.
How Mobile has Impacted Analytics
It seems like the bulk of this conversation is going to be centered around "mobile" and you are right, it will. Something that Google has done with the way Analytics tracks performance is enhance the mobile reporting so that a webmaster can see how their visitors are interacting with the website and what type of devices they are using. After running a few reports it will become fairly clear to you that mobile is here to stay so as a website owner you either adapt or you lose market share.
Changes to AdWords and How it Impacts You
This update is a really important one that you have to pay close attention to because it is how Google makes their money and boy/girl do they know how to do that! The bidding system has changed so now as an advertiser you can bid on mobile advertisements, now at first glance you may wonder what is the big deal with that well we have to look at the opportunity to understand the impact. When a person goes to Google and does a search Google will look at over 150 different signals before giving the results and as we mentioned earlier one of the things Google looks for is mobile websites. If the person who is doing the search is using a mobile device then the website that is the most mobile friendly should rank higher than a similar website that is not mobile friendly. For advertisers if the majority of your customers are on mobile devices then it would stand to reason that you want your advertisements to appear prominently then you would place a premium for mobile advertisements and that is what Google is doing to boost earnings (clever monkeys).
What You Need to Consider Moving Forward
Since Google is the gatekeeper to the Internet at least to the average person we need to understand what they are doing so we can incorporate it into our own online marketing strategies (try saying that 3 times fast!). If you want your website to rank higher then you have to adopt the changes that Google is making and do it sooner rather than taking a wait and see approach. Start by looking at your website, try accessing it with a mobile device and ask yourself whether it looks good to you? Ask other people to, feedback is everything and there is no such thing as bad feedback provided you implement the useful parts and remove the parts that are not relevant. If your website is not mobile friendly then it would be a good idea to start taking steps to make it mobile friendly. There are plugins available if you are looking for a simple fix but another option is doing a redesign where you make the website very easy to navigate on a mobile device and desktop. It may sound hard and expensive but it does not take much effort and the net benefit is that your website is going to rank higher and get more traffic. Google is here to stay for quite some time and if we don't play by their rules then we will not be able to reach our full digital potential so now is a great time to begin adopting this new reality. The early bird or in this case the early adopter gets the traffic and that is something we all want and desperately need.