Search Engine Marketing

Are You Amped about AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages for Lawyers

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, have recently been gaining a lot of attention, even though they were first announced in 2015 and were implemented in 2016. We’ve been receiving lots of questions about the value of AMP, especially when it comes to the search results. So far, we have been able to identify some positive features and a few drawbacks to these pages.

For those of you are interested in, here’s what we’ve gathered so far.

What is AMP?

AMP is an open source project that is a subset of HTML, the markup language and specifications for making websites. AMP has restrictions on the type of HTML tags website creators use that allow a mobile web page to load faster. It also includes a proprietary version of JavaScript, which also puts limits on functionality in favor of speed. It was initially engineered by Google, and therefore is obviously of import to SEOs. This is a continuation of Google’s push for more mobile-friendly web design.

The standard was first announced in 2015, began appearing in mobile search results last February, and was rolled out onto Google’s global mobile search results last September. Because AMP is a mobile standard, it only appears on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-scale devices. It has no bearing on search results on PCs and laptops.

Benefits of AMP

The goal of AMP is to provide speed to mobile webpages, and that’s where it shines. Page speed is a very minor factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it’s incredibly important to mobile web users. As more people are searching via mobile platforms, the value of page speed becomes clear. If a webpage takes more than a few moments to load, many people simply hit their back button and go to the next one, which may load faster.

AMP pages have been receiving favorable treatment on search results pages, and even get a nifty lightning bolt icon next to their listings that indicates their AMP status, as shown below.
Accelerated Mobile Pages

As a result of their zippy load times, which are essentially instantaneous, visitors may be less likely to bounce off of AMP pages, which can have an indirect effect on rankings as well.

Drawbacks of AMP

For all of these benefits, it’s hard to imagine why we may be hesitant to add AMP to sites.

Many of our clients have some form of live chat on their sites. Because AMP pages are using a barebones version of HTML that severely restricts the types of elements that can be included in favor of reduced page load times, the JavaScript that chat systems (like Ngage Live Chat for attorneys) is built in won’t work in some cases. This can have a very real impact on lead-capture systems that may outweigh the load speed improvements AMP may provide.

AMP pages are also stored on Google’s servers rather than your site. Any AMP page that appears in a search result is essentially a copy of that page that exists on Google’s servers rather than your web host’s. While this isn’t a problem per se, it does transfer a lot of control to Google, since it makes your visitors Google’s visitors. This also has the added problem of making it difficult to share AMP links, because the URLs for the links are obscured.

Final Thoughts

AMP can be a great option if your website delivers only text and images, or if you want to keep things relatively simple. With that in mind, sites like that would load quickly anyway, though the boost AMP’s framework provides is welcome. A simple plugin for those using WordPress sites (like we do) makes creating AMP pages even simpler. The issue is that if you want to create a rich experience on your site, AMP’s restrictions and limitations can make delivering that kind of content impossible.

To discuss whether including AMP on your site would be worthwhile, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.


From Page Rank to Author Rank: the Changing Landscape of SEO

author-rank2At the annual Search Engine Strategies conference in London last week, Searchmetrics founder Marcus Tober lead a session on “Meaningful SEO Metrics.” In the presentation, Tober tackled a variety of topics including the move from page rank to author rank in the future of SEO.

The presentation began with Tober explaining the importance of the “SEO visibility” metric. He said that the cumulative number of all relevant keyword rankings for a market reveal important trends. The ranking on single keywords is worth less, according to Tober, because of personalization, localization, and search history. Analyzing SEO strategies with this broader scope will allow businesses to see trends that are independent from seasonal effects or traffic spikes based on independent events.

One of the most notable moments in the presentation was when Tober directly disputed a statement made by Google Engineer Matt Cutts. When asked if Google +1’s affect a website’s ranking, Cutts answered “Not really.” Cutts claimed there was no “direct effect” on rankings from +1’s, but said Google does “have an authorship proposal.”

According to Tober, Cutts was not telling the whole truth. Tober excitedly told the audience that +1’s do indeed influence search. He explained that several experiments conducted over the last year in Searchmetrics Labs found that Google+ triggers instant indexation. He claimed that based on analysis with different unique postings, “URLs with a +1 are being indexed instantly and rank for the title as well as some longtail queries.”

These findings, Tober said, illustrate the move from Page Rank to Author Rank in SEO. He quoted Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt saying “Within search results, information tied to a verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top (verified) results.” Tober continued to say “the true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

Tober concluded the presentation by reminding SEOs to focus on the big picture and not get bogged down studying one metric. He recommended that marketers measure activity and outcomes saying, “understand how the business makes money, build a simple model, and remember that the best metrics guide behavior.”

Internally at the search engine guys we have been watching this closely… since May of 2012 Google+ profiles, circles and +1 (as well as other social media profiles which may factor into the author-rank equation) have become increasingly important to our SEO strategies. Please contact us to schedule a call with a web strategist if you have questions about SEO, author rank and how to prepare your website to “weather the storm” as Google continues to shift from page rank to author-rank.


Google to overtake Facebook in Display Advertising

According to research firm eMarketer, Google is likely to exceed Facebook in selling online display ads in the United States.  Google is expected to have a 15.4% share of the U.S. market. eMarketer said  Google is projected to make $2.31 billion in revenue from online display ads. These are more profitable than the text-based ads that appear next to search results and account for the bulk of Google’s revenue.

This lead in online display ad marks a historic day for Google. This is the first time ever that it will be the leader in three different modes of online advertising: display ads, web-search ads, and mobile ads.

eMarketer calculates that Facebook will hold 14.4% of the market this year with $2.16 billion in U.S. revenue. Back in February, eMarketer predicted that Facebook would be on top with 16.8% of the market and Google with 16.5%.

 

 

(Graph from The Wall Street Journal)

eMarketer estimates that the display ad market to grow 21.5% to almost $15 billion in the U.S. this year, compared to last year’s $12.3 billion. Collectively, Google and Facebook will have nearly 30% of this year’s display ad revenue. In the year 2014, eMarketer predicts the two companies to have 37% of the market.

Google continues to make it easy for advertisers to use one source for all of their online marketing needs, via traditional desktop Adwords, Mobile adwords, display ads and re-marketing – both within their search network and on thousands of partner websites within Google’s content /display network.

Contact us at The Search Engine Guys if you would like to explore options for PPC advertising on Google’s network.


TSEG Contributes Small Business Tip for BusinessWeek.com

The Search Engine Guys were featured on BusinessWeek.com yesterday in the Small Business section. Every day, the publication’s web site features a tip for entrepreneurs on ways to improve how they do business. TSEG’s Joe Devine composed a tip about the benefits of search engine optimization and it was published on January 24, 2011.

Check it out here and please feel free to share with anyone you think may be interested:
Optimize Your Website for Search Engines


Austin Business Journal Introduces Cloud 8 Sixteen, Inc.

Cloud 8 Sixteen, Inc., which includes The Search Engine Guys, Ngage, Inc., and most recently, Big Momma Apps, was featured in the Austin Business Journal (ABJ) and its sister publication, ABJ Entrepreneur.

ABJ’s Christopher Calnan interviewed CEO Joe Devine, who shared news about the companies’ growth and how the Cloud Family of Businesses came to be.

The article was published in the print edition of the Austin Business Journal on January 7, 2010 and on its web site as premium content.

To read the full article on ABJ Entrepreneur, click here: Austin tech founders on Cloud 8.


Joe Devine Interviewed by Search Marketing Standard

TSEG’s CEO, Joe Devine, was interviewed by Search Marketing Standard, a quarterly magazine that covers the search marketing industry. According to its web site, each issue is read by 50,000 subscribers.

In his interview, Devine discusses best practices for Online Reputation Management and provides advice to companies who want to protect their brand’s image online.

To read the story in its entirety, click on the following link and flip to page 44: Online Reputation Management: An Interview with Joe Devine.


TSEG Featured on Popular Tech Site, Mashable

Today, The Search Engine Guys contributed a guest article to Mashable.com. The article discusses how SEO may be affected by the new “social search paradigm”, triggered by the Bing/Facebook partnership announcement from the last week.

To read the entire article, click here: http://mashable.com/2010/10/18/social-search-seo/

We are excited to be included on such a high-profile website and are happy to contribute to this ongoing discussion. Please check out the article and give us your thoughts!


TSEG featured in Austin publications

This past week, news of TSEG’s recent growth has reached two Austin publications, the Austin Business Journal and the Austin-American Statesman.

In the Austin Business Journal article, published on Monday, the reporter highlighted TSEG’s new real estate developments, an addition of 1,360 square feet to our S. Lamar office. The article points out that this change was made to accommodate rapid growth of the company. For the full article, click here: http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2010/08/23/daily6.html

This story was also posted to ABJ’s sister publication, ABJ Entrepreneur here: http://www.abjentrepreneur.com/news/2010/08/the_search_engine_guys_double_lamar_office.html

Today, the Austin-American Statesman highlighted two recent promotions at TSEG, Marcela Curran to Social Networking Director and Sean Hall to Content Director. This story ran on the publication’s web site, as well as in their print edition in the Business section. For the full article (and a large portrait of our very own Marcela Curran!), click here: http://www.statesman.com/business/up-the-ladder-877166.html

Keep your eyes open for more exciting news about TSEG in the future!


Google Rolls Out Local Paid Search

Google recently announced a new cog in its paid search advertising machine – sponsored local search listings. The new feature, aimed primarily at small, local businesses with limited advertising budgets, allows business owners to leverage their Google Local Business Search listings and show up in the coveted map results on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Some noteworthy features of this new program:

  • Businesses will be billed a flat monthly rate, so ongoing management is less necessary.
  • Businesses will be ranked based on category and physical proximity to the searcher.
  • Businesses will have the option of a built-in call tracking service.

Currently the program is only available in the San Francisco and San Diego. Whether local paid search prices are linked to AdWords pricing also remains to be seen.


Bing Slowly Growing in Market Share

The market share for search engine has been shifting lately as many of the large players in the search engine industry are attempting to refocus many of their key product offerings.  Microsoft's Bing search engine recently grew from 9 percent market share,  to now a market share of 10.7 percent.

Google grew nearly 3 percent in the same time period.  This places Google's search market share to almost 65%.  This dominant share has kept Google as the leader in the search engine industry.  

If you would like to know more about search engines and how they work, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955. 

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