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How to Choose your Search Engine and other SEO Stats


A few months ago, Aaron Wall from SEOBook made a survey about the behavior and the knowledge of the US internet users toward the search engine and especially toward Google.

Among the various topics he analyzed, you find out how people choose their search engine, how many they use, what they do if they don’t find satisfying results, what they think of Google and what they know about SEO and Internet.

Usage of Search Engine

Here’s the first surprise: even though it’s quite logical that the users choose the most relevant search engine, it appears that women are more likely to use the default. The younger (18-24) are also easier to influence with advertising.

Primary Choice of Search Engine

Primary Choice Search Engine by Age

This is a very important if you’re advertising a very precise group of people depending on their age and gender. But you should not forget that almost half of them use more than one search engine.

User Behavior on the Search Engine

What if they don’t find what they were looking for on the first page? Apparently, 56% of them would make a new search request and the rest would go on the second page. The split is fairly consistent among men and women. But if your website is SEO-friendly, there is no way it can happen, right? Else… you know what to do!

What if they don't find a satisfying result

Google Policy

Apparently, the fact that Google promotes preferentially its own listings on its SERPs is not appreciated by its users as 3 in 4 people believe that a search engine is supposed to be objective.

Google+ listings

What about the paid results?

65% thinks it’s often disappointing. However more than half of the 25-34 people think it’s ok as long as they’re relevant. Once again, you should know who you’re targeting.

Paid Search

Paid Search by Age

And Google+ influenced results?

It must be very hard for Google since 65% haven’t noticed the difference. The others either think it’s better or worse. Don’t worry, Google is investing a lot of money to improve its social network that now have more than 110 millions of users. If you haven't started your Google+ page, see why you should start being active on Google+.

Google+ influenced results

How aware are the consumer of common SEO/SEM term

They were asked about 5 words and the result is... *drum roll* : Pay Per Click wins!
It does mean something very important: They would think more of SEM than SEO. So if they were to communicate about it on the internet, they’d prefer Adwords. This also means that Google and the other Search Engine did great marketing their Paid results and this can only benefit them!

Awareness on SEO/SEM terms

Don’t forget :

It is an American survey so don’t try to use it on any other markets, that could be lethal for your company: I’m obviously thinking about China which is a very different country for search engine since Chinese Internet users mainly search on Baidu as shown in our infographic about Internet in China

How Facebook Intends to Get Back on its Feet

facebook logo

How's Facebook Doing?

Not so great obviously! So far, the stock exchange hasn’t been so nice to the American company. The share price went from 38$ down to 20$ since its entry in the market. However, it hasn’t planned to let it go. Even though the net result is less good than last year, it remains close to what was expected and we can see a raise of the benefits compared to last year.

Recently, Facebook has done a few modifications on its website that has now more than 950 millions of users. The company of Mark Zuckerberg introduced a new feature that allows the advertiser to promote their page newest status to more fans than it’s usually done.

More recently the social network announced the launching of a new possibility for companies to advertise on its website. First, they will add new options for the facebook pages to target their fans more precisely.  There will also be the release of a new feature very similar to Google Adwords, that would allow the advertiser to sponsor the keywords. The advertiser would buy keywords paid on PPC but since they can only redirect to a facebook page, they won’t be able to buy just any word.

On a SMM point of view, this is a really great opportunity to have better results with your Facebook company page. The ROI will increase dramatically. But keep in mind that you have to make sure this is really the kind of advertisements your company needs and that it is part of a marketing plan you’ve established before. If any doubt, you should contact our web marketing agency!

Will this New Marketing Feature be Efficient?

If Facebook manages to success as well as Google did, that would probably put them back on tracks.

However, you must keep in mind that Facebook’s users are often dissatisfied with the advertisements they found too often on the website. According to a survey of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook would be, amongst all the social networks, the one that users are the less satisfied with. Let’s hope that this new kind of advertisement won’t be too intrusive for the user.

Anyway, this might be the hand Facebook needed to be back on the market for good, considering the number of users (that has decreased by 4,8% during the past 6 months according to Nielsen) as well as the price of its shares. Maybe they will even catch up on Google shares that are valued at 641$ by the time I write this article.

Anything else we Should Know about the American Social Network?

Latest rumor would be that Facebook’d like to be a new actor in the mobile phone’s market.
So far, it has been denied. But you know what they say: Rumors always have a part of truth.

PPC and SEO: Benefits of a Collaborative Approach


First, let us present the independent merits of Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, also commonly referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM) or paid search. Whether you use Baidu Advertising, Google AdWords and/or Bing adCenter to run your PPC campaigns, each platform essentially has the same primary benefits:

·        instant visibility within the SERPs (unlike SEO)

·        flexibility

·        high level of control

·        pay per click model (minimal wasted media spend)

Aside from all of these benefits, having a PPC campaign is a great way to gain more insight to ultimately boost SEO performance. The search industry is now realizing that collaboration between SEO and PPC professionals is a key factor of successful search marketing.


Reason 1: Discovering new keyword opportunities

When optimizing for organic search, we generally target one primary keyword and another secondary keyword per page. This means that the total number of keywords we can target is limited to the amount of content on the site. In contrast, with PPC we can target thousands of keywords which give us an extraordinary amount of data to play with, including important metrics such as conversion rate. Keywords which convert well in a paid search campaign are also likely to convert well in organic search.


Reason 2: Filling content gaps

Search engines have made a number of updates to their algorithms with the aim of providing their users with “fresh” content. Creating and adding good content to your website on a regular basis is more important than ever, however you may be at a loss as to what content you should write about. Creating more content that you think your users will find useful is fine, but wouldn’t it be better to create a content plan that is backed up by data? Identify your potential new content topics, create ad groups based on those topics and add them to your PPC campaign. Once you have enough data, compare the KPIs of each ad group to determine which content gaps you should fill.


Reason 3: Increasing traffic exponentially

Many people believe that if they already rank well for a given keyword in the organic search results, there is no need to target the same keyword in a PPC campaign. After all, clicks from organic search results are free, right?

With experience in both paid and organic search, we know that when you simultaneously target the same keywords via both channels, an exponentially larger amount of traffic will be generated… here’s why. If your website is organically ranked at #1 on Google but has no PPC presence, you are giving competitors an opportunity to steal your traffic via PPC ads, which often appear above the organic search results.


Reason 4: Increasing CTR from organic search

The copy used in PPC text ads is arguably the most vital element which affects the Click-Through Rate (CTR). In SEO, we know that the page title and meta description are visible to human users within the SERPs; they should always be created with this in mind. Although the meta description is not used by major search engines to determine ranking any longer, a well-written meta description can be the difference between someone visiting your site and someone visiting a competitors’ site. From analyzing PPC ad copy, it is possible to discover which words and calls to action perform best; you can then use your findings to optimize the meta description and increase CTR from organic search.


At THEM, our international team consists of experienced SEO and PPC specialists who can plan and execute campaigns in a number of different languages including English, French, Mandarin Chinese and Russian. Get in touch today to find out how we can give your search marketing activity a boost.

Google Quality Score: It’s Also a Lot about Money!


As you know, we manage a lot of campaigns in many different languages. Therefore, we wanted to conduct a study of quality scores to determine how to decrease the cost of acquisitions for our clients. We already knew that price is part of the adwords algorithm. However, what we didn’t know was that it had such a huge impact on the quality score.

Rlevancy to the users?

What is the relevancy of this to the users? Well, it matters, but not as much as you might think. What matters more is . . . the number of people searching for the keywords. The more the query is searched for, the more chances your quality score will be low!

Why is it that way? Simply put, the lower the quality score, the more you, as advertisers, have to pay to be there.

Example of how it works

Let’s use an example to see how this works. Say you sell a product “productname”  that is searched for a lot online. You can clean your landing page and make your product super relevant (you have to do that), but still your quality score will rarely hit 10. Because then you could attract a lot of traffic (remember it’s searched for a lot) for only the minimum amount of money.

Besides, other websites may be willing to pay that price for the same query, which would allow Google to make a lot more money.

Let’s assume that “productname” is searched for 100,000 times a day. If you score a 10, you could pay as little as $0.06 a click. If you have a CTR of 5%, you would pay Google 100,000 x 5% x $0.06 = $300 daily. This means $9,000 per month.
If they give you a quality score of 5, you would have to pay, for example $0.5 on the same query. You would give Google 100,000 x 5% x $0.5 = $2,500 daily. This comes out to $75,000 per month.

So, for very obvious reasons ($), Google makes it harder to get a good quality score for the most popular queries on their search.


Of course, it also depends on the competition, how much the others pay and so on and so forth. But one thing is sure, the more popular the query is, the harder it is for you to get a good quality score, regardless of the competition (and you ad and page quality).

Relevancy is at the heart of the Google search. Money seems to run deep in the heart of the adwords system. Now you know.

Google Unveils New Ad Placements


Google introduces new ad placements on Google search allowing ads to appear below search results.

The search company previously enabled advertisers to promote their ads to the top or side of the search results. Now their ads may appear below them. According to Google, this change will offer users a better experience.

For example, if you search "Kittens", below is how you will see the ads displayed by Google AdWords.

Google Side Ads

Ads appearing to the side of search results

Google Bottom Ads

Ads appearing below search results

As users usually scan the search engine results pages (SERPs) from top to bottom, displaying ads in their visualization flow should perform better. The tests that Google ran were actually successful since ads showing below the search results had a higher click-through rate (CTR) than side ads.

Google provides you with a Search Engine Marketing tool to check the performance of your ads, and notably the ones on top positions vs. other positions (side, bottom, etc.).

Having better CTRs is good for advertisers AND Google. As more people click the ads, it means more revenue for the search company. Google's advertising revenue account for more than 95% of the firm's overall revenue.

This announcement comes after Google revealed a new feature allowing users to understand why they see these ads, as well as after Google recently announced a major update in its search algorithm giving fresher results

Why These Ads on Google?


Google Adwords recently unveiled a new feature called “Why these ads?” that explains you why the displayed ads are shown to you on Google search results and Gmail, and gives you the choice to block the ones that you do not want to be displayed anymore.

Google Explains You Why

When you click the link that appears up to the ads, a new window expands to give you more details about the reasons why all the ads were shown to you.

For instance, if I search “Web Design China”, here is the Google results page with the "Why these ads?" links:

Why These Ads Links

If I click one of the links, here is what Google tells me:

Why These Ads?

Block Google Ads

Google now actually gives you the choice to block ads from specific advertisers or opt out of personalized ads. 

When you’re opt-in, you actually see personalized ads, supposed to be more relevant for you, as explained in the below video:

You can change your settings in the Ads Preferences Manager for search and Gmail (you must be signed in with your Google account to access the page).

Google Ads Preferences Manager

Impact on SEM

From a SEM point of view, it will be interesting to monitor how this change can impact Adwords performance on your PPC campaigns.

Actually, when users opt out of personalized ads on search and Gmail, advertisers can still reach them but their targeting may be less precise. 

However, if users decide to block ads, they will not see the ads anymore. Will this impact your Quality Score and Ad Rank? 

Google currently says that whatever the number of blocks you may have, there is no "direct" impact on your Quality Score and Ad Rank.

Google is Using You to Promote Your Competitors!


Do you know that Gmail uses your information to display ads promoting your competitors? I know that can sound weird but let me explain about what I discovered.

Gmail displays ads relevant to your interests

A prospect used his personal email address to send me a message. He was asking me for more information about our web design and SEO services. Nothing amazing here. Yet, when I read his message in my Gmail inbox, I saw ads related to LED companies.

OK, I know that the ads that appear next to my Gmail messages are related to my interests. Google uses a contextual advertising technology, so that these ads can be be relevant to my interests. The technology isn't only based on the information contained in the displayed message but also on any recent messages in my inbox. 
However, what is amazing here is that there wasn't any word about LED in the message, neither in any of my previous messages. So, why did Google show me ads about LEDs?
Gmail inbox screenshot

But Gmail promotes your competitors behind your back too

I actually figured out that my potential customer's company operates in the LED sector. Gmail knew his interests in LEDs and thought that I could be interested in LEDs too. In the end, Gmail was promoting LED companies which were actually his company's competitors!

Ok, now what if he was writing one of his prospects?

Well, his prospect would have the email, and next to it the competitors' ads! Isn't that crazy?! Google puts it that way : if you're interested in LED, and you write to someone, this someone could be interested in LED's too! yeah, sure that someone could click and give money to google adwords... But google use me to target my prospects and show them my competitors to increase his revenues !!

Does that mean that when I write people using my gmail to their gmail... google displays web design and seo ads? that could seriously piss me off... what about you?

What if I am using a Hotmail / Yahoo, or any other Email client?

Well, then Google cannot track me easily, and gmail will probably not show relevant ads when I write anyone. Which means that they cannot use me to take my prospects away anymore...

Google is in fact encouraging us to use their competitors' emails services ...


Why does Google do that?

For obvious reasons, to increase the number of clicks on the ads displayed within gmail and thus earn more money. Usually, when Google has to chose between increasing money AND user privacy/scandal, they chose the latter. May I remind you that they don't display ads on their homepage (well, actually they do for their own services and Chrome, but that's fine). I think it's a very stupid move from them... and I wouldn't be surprised to see them change their policy if there was a scandal. The thing is, very few people know about it, so there is no scandal... for now.

My advice would be then to not use your Gmail account for professional purposes, otherwise google could use you to promote your competitors behind your back!
Oh ! wait... do they do the same with Google APPS, that target mainly companies... maybe it's time to avoid Gmail...

Google AdWords changes its trademark policy in Europe


Google announced yesterday that it would change its policy allowing trademark owners to request the exclusive use of trademarked search keywords in its online advertising service Google AdWords

Already in place in Canada, Ireland, the UK, and the US, the new policy will be effective in Europe in September.

Google AdWords allows advertisers to use trademarked keywords

Under the previous system, brand owners could file a trademark complaint with Google that would ban third-party advertisers from using search trademarked keywords. 

However, the European Court of Justice ruled in March that allowing third parties to bid for trademarked keywords was within the bounds of intellectual property law. 

The brand owners will still have the right to file complaints with Google which will take the ads down if they agree that the origin of the goods is confusing like in the case of counterfeits.

More relevant results, more revenue

Google thinks that auctioning the trademarked keywords to multiple bidders allows the search engine's users to find more relevant results like reviews, second-hand sellers and retail locations.

It will also enable Google to boost its own earnings from online advertising which account for 97% of its overall revenues.

Google launches location-based mobile display ads


Google introduced AdWords location extensions that let advertisers put their businesses' location and phone number on a Google map ad for mobile websites and applications. The company is looking to target ads to smartphone users who often use Google Maps to get directions and find businesses.

Ads on Google Maps with location extensions

Google Maps users will see such ads surface as banner text ads with a business icon that expands to show the business location on a Google map along with the ad creative, click-to-call phone number and directions.

Click-to-call ads let advertisers add local business numbers alongside their destination URLs in mobile search ads. When smartphone users search for a local business from their mobile phone (such as Apple's iPhone and Android phones) and see ads that have these numbers, they may simply click the number to call the business.

While one may think that a Google ad that leverages user location would leverage the GPS capabilities of handsets as well as Google's location servers, Google will merely use IP addresses to determine users' locations.

Location extensions ads have greater ROIs

Business advertisers are actually not charged when users click to expand the map or get directions, advertisers are only charged when a user clicks to call the business or clicks to visit its website.

Click-through rates are also up 6% when Google provides a phone number and 8% when it offers a local address with ads.

Google AdWords remains incompatible with foreign URLs


Google AdWords will remain incompatible with foreign URLs in the short run according to Google AdWords team.

Google AdWords doesn't support foreign URLs

As you know, only latin characters are currently used in URLs. This restriction doesn't enable any URL to be written in Chinese, Japanese, Russian or Arabic for example.

The situation will change soon after Internet's chief domain name authority ICANN approved International Domain Names (IDNs). It means that websites will be able to have their URL using foreign characters.

For the time being, Google AdWords doesn't support IDNs. For instance, if you want to place an ad for domain names such as 中国.com, your ad will be considered as invalid.

Google AdWords isn't ready to list IDNs

When will Google allow IDNs to be listed in AdWords? The question has been asked to Google AdWords team on their forum. It took them a few months to reply but here is their response: Google Adwords has no plan to support foreign URLs in the "foreseeable future".

They explain that there is currently a very low demand for the ability to advertise on domains using foreign characters. Enabling IDNs avertising would require too many resources compared to the number of potential advertisers.

What's Google waiting for?

In the future, it's clear that online advertising will have to support foreign URLs. There is an inevitable language shift on the web: foreign languages like Chinese are going to be more and more spread over the Internet and URLs. Online advertising platforms would undoubtedly miss some business if they don't allow IDN's ad listing.

That's why Google's response is quite surprising to me. I can understand that Google isn't eager to invest plenty of resources right now in order to allow ad listing for international domain names. However, having no plan at all is something different.