Archives for April 2017 | Aqueous Digital

Archive for “April, 2017”

Pinterest look to introduce advertising through ‘Promoted Pins’

Pinterest advertisers could start paying for promoted pins as early as the end of this month, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, following experiments with Promoted Pins which started last October.

Invite to pinSimilar to Twitter, Google and Facebook, Pinterest will look to make use of native advertising, looking to display their ads with the same look and feel as organic pins with the exception of a ‘Promoted Pin’ tag. This feature will allow advertisers to reach users outside of their own followers, on a platform with over 70 million active users.

Some big brands have already had a chance to test the visual-driven ads, including high-end hotel chain Four Seasons, who created a pin promoting a $70,000 hotel package complete with a private jet trip to Bora Bora; which was re-pinned more than 9,000 times with the company receiving over 500 requests for a brochure.

Similarly to Google’s advertising platform, Pinterest will be offering the choice of CPM (cost per thousand impressions) or CPC (cost per click) adverts, depending whether the advertiser is looking for branding or performance based campaigns.

With Pinterest already having numerous beneficial features available for e-commerce marketers, including pricing on product pins and the free price drop alert, the question is will Pinterest be able to entice companies into paying for additional exposure?

Hopefully they will have learnt a thing or two from Facebook and won’t be making the same mistakes, such as demoting organic posts in order to encourage people to use paid advertising.

Pinterest is a great platform with a huge active user base and we have no doubt that introducing advertising is a smart move, we just hope they do it right! We wouldn’t want to see their reputation heading in the same direction as Facebook…

Voice search and SEO

Is Voice Search a Game Changer for Digital Marketing?

As we become increasingly comfortable with speaking to our electronic devices the number of people using voice search is growing.  This shift in the way people search means businesses and websites need to adapt their online strategy in order to stay ahead of the game and thrive.

Just as you thought you were getting to grips with how to optimise your website for typed search engine queries, technology advances and gives you a new dimension to learn about!

According to a survey by Comscore, 40% of adults now use voice search once per day.  If your business hasn’t started to at least consider how to optimise your website for voice search then you could be at risk of getting left behind.


What is voice search?

Voice search is a basic form of AI, you probably know it best as Siri on the iPhone, Alexa on Amazon’s Echo, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s own voice search feature.


Voice search and SEOHow is voice search changing digital marketing and SEO?

First of all, it’s important to understand that voice search is not taking over from typed search, so don’t panic, all previous digital marketing and SEO work undertaken is still relevant!

In order to adapt for voice search businesses need to add a new dimension to their strategy rather than changing anything existing.

Voice search requires a different SEO approach to typed searches as users deliver their queries in a different way.

Think about what you may type to search for a hairdresser versus what you might say via voice search.

For the majority of people a typed search will be 2-3 words long, written in ‘computer speak’ and narrowed down to just a few essential keywords.  Whereas when we use voice search we expect the technology to be able to understand full sentences, so we tend to talk as though speaking to another human being.


Common features of voice searches

  • Longer query length
  • Generally these are question searches
  • We ask as though speaking to another human
  • More frequently performed on mobile devices
  • Queries often have greater intent
  • Often used when speed is of the essence
  • More likely to be used for local-based queries


How to adapt online for voice search

Eager to get your business’ online presence optimised for voice search? We’ve come up with a few tips on what to consider and changes to implement to keep your business one step ahead when it comes to voice search.


Research, research, research!

Keyword/phrase research for voice search is essential.  Find out what questions people are asking on voice search in order to discover your business.  Once you’ve got some idea on what kind of phrases and questions are being used, identify which ones are your highest value questions.

Remember that generally people using voice search tend to use more specific search queries that are capable of revealing their level of intent a lot more accurately than with text search.


Update content accordingly/create new content

Once you’ve identified which voice search queries people are using to find your website you can begin to tweak existing content or create new high quality content around these questions and queries.


Adjust bids

Of course if you’re able to identify the highest value queries and long-tail key phrases, then it makes financial sense to adjust your bids on any Adwords campaigns that you may have running to reflect your findings.


Update local business listings and ads

Due to the speedy nature of voice search, a high percentage of searches performed this way are local searches, meaning that local businesses that adapt will reap the rewards and have the advantage over competitors who are slower to adapt.

People performing local searches on the move often want quick answers with minimal actions before a decision is reached.

This is why local voice searches often trigger business listings/ads in search results, making it essential to keep business listings up to date.  Local voice searches often have high intent, resulting in searchers bypassing business websites and instead taking action directly from the search results by using the ‘call now’ or ‘book now’ call to action buttons.


With new and emerging technologies like Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home becoming more popular and wearables like smart watches now being released by popular brands like Michael Kors, speaking to our devices is becoming more and more commonplace.

Businesses with their finger on the pulse should begin adapting their online strategy now if they haven’t already in order to stay ahead of competitors and save themselves a bigger job down the line.


Need some help or advice with optimising your online presence for voice search? Get in touch with our team of experts here at Aqueous Digital by giving us a call on 0800 285 1424.

Google 2017 algorithm changes - Aqueous Digital Services

Google’s FRED Update: What? Why? And how to recover

Google’s latest algorithm update which first hit on March 8th has been causing waves in the SEO world as some websites reported almost a complete loss of organic traffic overnight.

The update hasn’t been bad news for everyone as some savvy webmasters have reported positive results since this date, but for many affected this has been the most devastating update of the year so far.

We’ve taken a look at what we know so far about the Fred update, who has been affected and what steps you can take to recover if you’ve suffered a drop in ranking.


8th March – Fred update is rolled out

It first became apparent that something big had occurred on 8th March.  Unsurprisingly Google responded vaguely to accusations of an update, leaving it unconfirmed at this point.

The update was quickly christened ‘Fred’ after Google’s Gary Illyes recent joke that all new updates should be named ‘Fred’.



What we knew one week on

After about a week and some intensive investigation from SEO professionals and webmasters worldwide, it became evident that this new update was another attempt to improve the quality of search results.  Sites negatively affected by the update tended to have low quality content and a lot of ads or affiliate links featured on-page.

Many of the websites hit were non-specialist blogs covering a wide range of topics that appeared to have been created with the sole purpose of creating backlinks or generating income through ads without offering much in the way of valuable or unique content to users.



Many of these websites have been affected quite dramatically. According to the guys at Search Engine Roundtable, after they reviewed a number of websites that were hit by the update, most of them had experienced at least a 50% drop in organic traffic overnight – with some seeing up to a 90% drop!


23rd March – Google confirm update

It wasn’t until March 23rd that Google openly acknowledged the update. First Google’s Gary Illyes stated during the AMA with Google session at SMX West that sites suffering from the update were rightfully hit as they were going against Google’s webmaster guidelines.

Later that same day John Mueller from Google said during a Webmaster Google Hangout that the update was to hit sites that weren’t following webmaster guidelines, and that websites affected must have content quality issues that need to resolving.



What can you do to recover a website affected by the Fred update?

If you think that your website has been affected then the first thing to do is make sure that you fully understand the Fred update and revisit Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

At Aqueous we have identified a few of the key areas that most affected sites could do with brushing up and improving in order to conform to Google’s guidelines and improve their content and regain their rankings.


Reduce the number of ads

Although there is no set number of how many ads is too many, we would advise webmasters to review their website and ask themselves honestly whether the ads featured are intrusive.  If more than one ad can be seem at a time on any one page or piece of content then it’s probably too many.  Remember that your website should appear user-friendly and attractive and professional to look at, not ad heavy.


Write specific not generic content

Anyone can write generic content, but not everyone can write unique content.  With so many people writing shallow generic content, a lot of content on the internet becomes samey and so loses its value.  Remember that Google values unique, relevant and high quality content, so instead of writing shallow articles on broad topics try to drill down into a specific angle or aspect of a topic to make your content different and interesting.


Make sure content provides users with value

Don’t blindly write a piece of content because the title has sprung to mind, think carefully about whether the content will provide readers with value.  Think about who your audience is and what pain points they’re looking for solutions to in order to create content for real people rather than for search engines.


Reduce backlinks (quality over quantity)

Google have been making it clear that ‘black hat’ SEO techniques involving ‘spammy’ backlinks are bad and will be penalised for almost a decade now, so there’s no excuse to still be featuring them on your website!  If your website has forced or artificial links pointing to it then you need to work with the Webmaster who owns the website that they feature on to get them removed.  Equally if your website features a lot of these kind of irrelevant links to other websites then you need to be removing them and reviewing your content.


Ensure keywords are included naturally

Make sure you’ve not gone over the top with keywords in your content.  Instead, write well researched and valuable content with the reader in mind.  Good quality content should naturally use synonyms and be keyword rich, there should not be any need for unnatural keyword stuffing.



Have you seen any changes to your website’s ranking over the last couple of months? If so tweet us @AqueousDigital.

Need some help recovering your rankings? Get in touch with our SEO team by giving us a call on 0800 285 1424.