Expanded text ads - Google AdWords

on Friday 29 July 2016
Expanded text ads are the next generation of text ads, designed for a mobile-first world with both users and advertisers in mind. Expanded text ads give advertisers additional control over their messaging, and provide users with more information before they click your ad. Like text ads, expanded text ads are available on both the Google Search Network and the Google Display Network, and are supported by all the AdWords tools that currently support text ads. Ad extensions (both automatic and manual) are fully compatible with expanded text ads too.

This guide explains what expanded text ads are and how they differ from standard text ads. It also recommends ways to create new text ads in the expanded text ads format.

Image Courtesy : Google.com

Your new Display URL

  • Two headline fields (up to 30 characters each)
  • A single, expanded description field (up to 80 characters)
  • A Display URL that uses your Final URL's domain
  • Two optional ”Path” fields, used in the ad’s Display URL (up to 15 characters each)

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With expanded text ads, you no longer need to enter a Display URL that matches your Final URL domain. Instead, AdWords will take the domain from your Final URL and show it as your ad’s Display URL. For example, if your Final URL is www.example.com/outdoor/hiking/shoes, your ad’s Display URL will show as www.example.com.

Expanded text ads also introduces two optional “Path” fields, which can hold up to 15 characters. They are part of your Display URL, and are placed after your website’s domain. So if your final URL is www.example.com/outdoor/hiking/shoes, you might want your path text to be Hiking and Shoes so your ad’s display URL is www.example.com/Hiking/Shoes.

We recommend using path text to give people reading your ads a better sense of where they'll land on your website. The text that you put in the path fields doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your website’s URL, but it should be related to the content on your landing page. Find out more

Transitioning to expanded text ads

Right now, AdWords supports the creation of both expanded text ads and standard text ads in both the new and previous versions of AdWords. When you create a new ad, you will be defaulted to expanded text ads. To switch back to standard text ads, click the Switch back to standard text ad link above the “Final URL” field. 

Starting 26 October 2016, AdWords will no longer support the creation or editing of standard text ads. New text ads generated after that date should use the expanded text ad format. Existing standard text ads will continue to serve past 26 October 2016.

After this date, you will only be able to create and edit expanded text ads. However, existing standard text ads will continue to serve alongside expanded text ads.

AdWords tools that support experimenting with different ad text, like campaign drafts and experiments, are fully compatible with expanded text ads. We recommend trying out different variations on your expanded text ads to see which perform best for your business. When you create a new expanded text ad, we also recommend waiting for the ad to be approved before pausing your standard text ad. Create expanded text ads

Using bulk editing

Making bulk changes to expanded text ads is very similar to making bulk changes to standard text ads. You can multi-select ads and pause, enable, or remove them via the Edit menu. You can also use “Change ads” in the “Edit” menu to edit multiple text edits at once.

Bulk upload also supports expanded text ads, though with additional column headers that aren’t available for standard text ads. You can make changes to both standard and expanded text ads within the same Bulk upload spreadsheet. Get Started 

Using AdWords Editor

You can also create and edit expanded text ads in bulk using AdWords Editor. AdWords Editor supports expanded text ads in Version 11.5. Find out more

Make the most of expanded text ads

Expanded text ads share a number of the best practices that you’re already familiar with for standard text ads. But with almost 50% more ad text available and an additional headline, expanded text ads provide more opportunity for you to connect with users and drive more, qualified clicks to your website. 
  • Rethink the messaging of your ad. It can be tempting, but don’t simply add a second headline to your existing ads. Consider the entire message that you want to present, taking into account all parts of your new ad.
  • Take advantage of your character limits. Expanded headline fields increase the clickable space of your ads, and allow you to communicate more with someone who’s searching before they decide whether to click through to your website.
  • Focus on optimising your headlines. People are most likely to read the headline of your ad. When viewed on the search results page, your ad’s headline fields are combined using a hyphen, “-”. On mobile, the headline may wrap beyond the first line. Consider the different ways in which your headline may display when writing your ad to make sure that your ad is compelling and easy to read on different devices.
  • Use ad extensions. Including information below your ad, such as additional deep links into your website or your business location, has been shown to increase your ad’s performance. Get Started

Six SEO Tips & Rules for 2016

The rules for effective SEO have shifted seismically over the past few years. Experts offer tips on the current state of SEO and how you can use it to maximize your investment in content in 2016.

Marketers are beefing up their investments in content, but to leverage those investments, they’ll also have to put some time and effort into learning the new rules for SEO. The days of driving traffic to your site by packing headlines with keywords are long gone, experts say, and the new SEO strategy revolves around another big-money marketing focus: experience.

“Historically, the recommendations around SEO have been … to focus on keywords,” says Martin Laetsch, director of online marketing , Ore.-based marketing automation company . “The reality is search engines are getting much smarter. The content creator is having a lot less control over how their pages are showing up and what words they’re showing up for.”

According to an August 2015 study on the future of SEO by Moz Inc.,a Seattle-based SEO consulting company, the most important factors for SEO impact next year will be mobile-friendliness, which will increase in impact by 88%; analysis of a page’s perceived value (up 81%); usage data such as dwell time (up 67%); and readability and design (up 67%). SEO factors that the study reported will decrease in impact are the effectiveness of paid links (down 55%) and the influence of anchor text (down 49%).

Here, experts offer six tips on how to use SEO to maximize your content marketing investments.

Intention is everything

You no longer need an exact keyword to offer a relevant search result, says Cyrus Shepard, director of audience development at Moz. “In the old days, it was about getting the click. Now search engines are seeing how people are interacting with your website: Are they going back and clicking on results, or are they finding the answers they’re looking for when they’re on your site? Today it’s about the post-click activity. Not only do you have to get the clicks, but you have to satisfy user intent.”

Keywords aren’t the be-all and end-all

Including keywords in headlines is becoming less important, Shepard says. “Google has gotten better about interpreting meaning. It used to be that if you wanted to rank for ‘best restaurants,’ you had to say ‘best restaurants’ three or four times. It’s still helpful to mention ‘best restaurants,’ but the semantic meaning is becoming much more important. Now you can just talk about great dining experiences, and the search engines will pick up on it.”

Adds Laetsch: “Historically, we wanted to get a keyword in the body copy or in the meta description. Now that’s all gone out the window. As the search engines get smarter, they start to think about other words that you expect to be in that article, what will signal that this is an authoritative article on the topic. If you were writing an article about the Apple Watch, you might have the words ‘Apple,’ ‘iPhone,’ ‘Watch,’ ‘apps’ and ‘time.’ If those are in the body copy, it sends signals to the search engines that this is a pretty good article.” 

Seventy-five percent of search queries are between three and five words long, so you should write headlines accordingly, he adds. “The search engines are figuring out that if people search for the word ‘marketing,’ or any one- or two-word query, they don’t get the results they want. To get quality results that are most likely to answer their question, they have to go to three-, four- or five-word queries. As content creators, when you’re thinking about optimization, you have to think about that.”

Focus on the user experience

Thus, original content is becoming more important than ever, “The more original content that you can produce - whether it’s an image or a video, or long-form content, anything you can put together that’s going to justify someone wanting to read it or share it—the better.”

While articles with a “top five” list format often are clickable, Create an editorial calendar to appeal to your customers’ interests, Your content has to be original and targeted to your audience. If you curate content, take a paragraph from another article or site, and give them full credit and add an attribution, but add a paragraph or two in your own voice: ‘Here’s why I think it’s relevant.’ You’re adding a journalistic voice and making it your own.”

Size matters

Longer articles, between 1,200 to 1,500 words, perform better in search, on average, Laetsch says. “It’s significantly different than it was two or three years ago, when 300 words was a pretty long page. Longer articles are getting more traffic, and they’re ranking higher in SEO, especially for competitive terms. The changes that Google is making, and the reason they’re making these changes, is to make sure they’re sending traffic to pages that delight humans.” He suggests breaking up long-form content with subheads, bullet points and images throughout the copy to make it easy for readers to more quickly scan and digest it.

Longer articles perform better in search results because there are more words and images to rank on the page, Shepard says. “People are sharing longer articles on social media more, and linking to them and citing them more. Shorter articles do well sometimes, but on average, longer articles tend to perform better.”

Optimize for mobile

More people are reading news on their smartphones, so it’s important to ensure that your content is searchable there, says Derek Edmond, managing partner and director of SEO and social media strategies at KoMarketing Associates, a Boston-based B-to-B SEO and social media marketing consultancy. “Making sure Google can understand the content that’s found within a mobile app, and leveraging the marketing of the app with respect to SEO, is an opportunity on the consumer and B-to-B marketing side.”

Use unique images

While images aren’t as big of a referral source in Google as they used to be, having unique images on your site is valuable, Shepard says. “The same image can show up in hundreds of places around the Web, but having unique content around those images is what makes it stand out. I’m not opposed to using stock images to illustrate a point, but any time you can create something that’s custom or use unique photography, that will pay off more in the long run.”

The most important SEO tip for 2016 is to focus on your audience, Shepard says. “In the past, it was about marketers trying to promote what they wanted people to see. Today it’s about delivering what people actually want to see that will give you an SEO ranking boost.”

Adds Laetsch: “The reason we’re doing optimization and want to show up in Google, Bing or Yahoo is not because we make money because we show up No. 1 or No. 2. The reason we want to rank well in the search engine is so that our audience, the people we’re trying to reach, have a great experience. It doesn’t matter how high you rank if your target audience goes to your site and they’re not happy.”

This article was originally published in the November 2015 issue of Marketing News.

White hat SEO

on Friday 15 July 2016
White Hat SEO refers to the usage of optimization strategies, techniques and tactics that focus on a human audience.To be more precise - a website that is optimized for search engines, yet focuses on relevancy and organic ranking is considered to be optimized using White Hat SEO practices. White Hat SEO / Ethical SEO. is more frequently used by those who intend to make a long-term investment on their website. Some examples of White Hat SEO techniques include using keywords and keyword analysis, backlinking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content for human readers.

These tactics stay within the bounds as defined by Google. Examples include:
  • Offering quality content and services
  • Using descriptive, keyword-rich meta tags
  • Making your site easy to navigate

Implement White Hat SEO Methods

Implementing White Hat SEO practices is the best way to create an ethical, sustainably successful website and business. 


Keywords still hold value but must be used correctly. Many SEO professionals don’t bother putting keywords in the Meta information as Google doesn’t look at them anymore.  See the video below for Google’s Matt Cutt’s reasoning on why keywords in meta information are more or less ignored by the search engine now:

Keyword ‘stuffing’ used to be a very common practice and was a black hat method intended to ensure that the word associated with a company was picked up. We’ve all seen those articles which are barely legible as every other word is a keyword. Many good SEO content writers now refuse to write content where a client may ask them for a keyword density of 7%, as it lessens the quality of the piece considerably.
However, keywords do still have their place for use with site content, including blogs, images and video and PPC/Adwords. These days, it’s better practice to use similar words throughout a piece of writing as well as the main keyword. Key phrases are also good practice and should be used. It’s also important that these are used in Titles and sub-headers as well as throughout the text.

Content – ascended from King

Have you heard the phrase ‘content is king’? This is no longer true, content is everything (well, pretty much). It’s no longer enough to stick a poorly written blog up once a month – or worse, use text spinners to rejig old content.

Content must be:

  • Original and not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others
  • Highly relevant and useful to your industry and audience
  • Very well written with good grammar and spelling
  • For image and video should include a title, ALT tag and description and if appropriate, give credit to original artist (if using creative commons licensed images for example)
  • Point to the source of research and quotes where applicable

Adding value to your audience

The best possible way you can perform best in the search is by giving value to your audience and preferably, your industry too.

Grey Hat SEO : Should You Use ?

on Thursday 14 July 2016
Gray Hat SEO is difficult to define. In the words of SEO Consultant, John Andrews, Gray Hat SEO is not something between Black Hat and White Hat, but rather "the practice of tactics/techniques which remain ill-defined by published material coming out of Google, and for which reasonable people could disagree on how the tactics support or contrast with the spirit of Google’s published guidelines."  But is what its name suggests .

It’s somewhere in the middle of white and black and if used by a professional, can still be effective. However, it’s safe to say that taking a grey hat approach is playing with fire if you’re not 100% sure of what you’re doing and since we’re predominantly content-led now, it’s not something is recommended.

Grey hat consists of :

  • Cloaking
  • Purchasing old domains
  • Duplicate content
  • Link buying
  • Social media automation
  • Purchasing followers

What does all this mean?

Some SEO companies use grey hat tactics, but the best ones don’t. The short-term advantage, much like black hat (and many of these tactics overlap into black hat) don’t make for a long-term business. Whilst grey hat might gain you some traffic initially, it won’t last, especially if you get caught out.

In essence, with modern content marketing and SEO, white hat wins out. The web is highly competitive, we all know that and so in order to ‘beat the system’, the best way is to work with it and invest in the future of your site.

Like anything in life, taking shortcuts to get you where you want to be right now is often the path to failure. Great SEO, good content and a well-planned out business, that’s what will give your site the competitive edge in the end.

Showcase Shopping Ads from Google: Major Change to PLAs for Broad Product queries

on Wednesday 13 July 2016
As sellers are starting to prep their holiday campaigns, Google announced several new updates to Shopping Campaigns on Tuesday (which also happens to be Amazon Prime Day), including a whole new look for generic product queries.

Showcase Shopping Ads for broad queries

The biggest announcement is a new ad format for broad, non-brand product searches like “women’s dresses” or “patio furniture”. Google says 40 percent of product queries are for these kinds of broad terms. Where in the past Google has often either not shown any product listing ads on broad queries or shown individual products (“patio furniture”, for example, might yield a mix of individual dining and lounge sets), going forward Google will show what it’s calling Showcase Shopping Ads. Ads appear with a main image and two smaller side images related to the product search. At the bottom of the ad is space for a promotional message or distance to the location for Local Inventory advertisers.

Google's "Showcase Shopping" ads, unveiled today to a small group of reporters in New York, are meant to help people find what they're looking for even when the search query they entered is quite vague. According to Google, more than 40 percent of shopping-related queries on Google are for broad terms, such as "summer dress," "women's athletic clothing," or "living room furniture."

With the new format, a retailer can choose to have a certain series of images appear in search results related to various search queries and keywords. If a user clicks an image, they'll be brought to another page with additional information about the products. According to Google, 44 percent of people mentioned using images to find ideas while shopping online, illustrating the role that images play in online shopping. Showcase Shopping ads will be available in the coming weeks to all merchants running campaigns in the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

"This is a different ad format for shopping that will put the retailer first and really help people explore and discover what they want to buy and where to buy it," said Jonathan Alferness, Google's vp of shopping and travel.

Mobile research and mobile shopping both continue to grow in prominence. According to Google, shopping and travel searches are up 30 percent year-over-year, and mobile search related to finding the "best" product has increased more than 50 percent.

Along with the Showcase Shopping ads, Google is also updating its TrueView ads. The format, which was first unveiled last spring, will soon allow marketers to include a banner companion next to a video ad so that users can scroll through product images and information while a video is playing. The latest updates will also let advertisers decide which products they want to highlight as a part of the campaign.

According to Alferness, the number of advertisers using the TrueView product has increased by 50 percent from January 2015 to January 2016, with one in three advertisers using the product on a weekly basis. While he wouldn't provide a benchmark for the growth, Alferness said Google is seeing "really, really great momentum."

"We're trying to find ways to better infuse the unique aspects of the retailer into the ad formats to really help that retailer come first to the consumer as a choice," he said.

Mobile is also playing an increasing role in travel research and booking. According to Google, visits to mobile travel sites comprised around 40 percent of all traffic to those websites during the first quarter of 2016. Mobile conversions have also grown, rising 10 percent. And now, nearly half of all referrals from Google Hotel Ads come from smartphones, growing nearly 2.4 times year-over-year. Brands like La Quinta are seeing mobile web traffic account for a third of all traffic to its website, with mobile bookings increasing by a factor of four in three years.

Because of this, Google is adding features related to booking hotels and flights. For example, through the company's Hotel Smart Filters, users will be able to filter based on prices, ratings or preferences like whether a hotel is "pet-friendly."

Google also is adding features related to finding deals to point out when a hotel's price is lower than normal or when a hotel is running a discounted rate. It's also adding tips for when prices are lower -much like it already does with flights.

Speaking of flights, price tracking also is getting an update and will now allow consumers to skip checking back all the time for the latest prices and instead opt in to track fares for specific routes and dates.