05 Dec 2015

Ante Up – Microsoft Goes “All In on Search”: Weekly Forum Roundup

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundupHere’s hoping you had a happy turkey day! I’m sure by now that your refrigerator is cleared of leftovers, right? We took a break last week, so this week we’re rounding up two weeks in one!

In our title story, Microsoft has announced big plans for Bing in the future. We’ll also visit search competitor Yandex and touch on some new features they introduced to their webmasters last week.

In other news, Amazon is touting the benefits of social logins, WebmasterWorld explores bounce rate, CTR, and page views, and Ryanair announced that they’ll be suing Google.

Let’s dive in!

Social Logins May Help Reduce Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment is a major issue for many ecommerce site operators. Amazon identified the log-in process as one area that could be causing it. If users can’t remember their passwords and are required to log in to complete their order, they’ll naturally abandon their carts. To smooth the process out, Amazon experimented with allowing users to log in with their social media accounts to complete orders.

Conversions apparently increased by as much as 50%. Now, I know what you’re thinking – wouldn’t the obvious solution be to change things so that users don’t have to log in at all? Well…maybe. Users on WebmasterWorld had the same thought. User Marshall writes,

“IMHO, making users login to make a purchase is a short cut to abandonment. If I have to create an account to buy something, I shop some place else.”

User keyplyr pointed out that using social media accounts could lead to more breaches of security. And others wonder if Amazon is really the best site to be emulating – its size and brand recognition may put it in a whole other category from smaller businesses.

Microsoft: We’re Going All In On Search

Microsoft recently said that Bing is “at the center of Microsoft’s consumer monetization strategy.” Surprised? You shouldn’t be! It’s been a good year for Bing – they’re profitable, their results are being served by AOL, and Bing Ads is gaining an edge. Users on SEO Chat are cautious to optimistic about Bing’s future.

“Bing is #2, I always pay attention to #2. Never put all your eggs in one basket.,” writes user Test-ok.

User SEO_AM writes that while they distrust Google, they’ve seen some results in Bing.

“What is interesting is that although we have done basically ZERO SEO work on the site and NO chasing of backlinks…Bing still places many of our money keywords on the first page of their search results. This causes me to conclude that Google is still dishonest when evaluating where to place commercial sites…”

Fathom is cautious though –

“Bing is a consolation prize for being a lousy DIY SEO. IMHO.” What do you think?

Manual Actions on a Subdomain May Not Impact the Rest of the Site

John Mueller replied to a webmaster with a dev site as their subdomain recently. The webmaster had received a penalty on the subdomain after a hack, which went unnoticed for a long time.

Mueller assured him that, “If the manual action was specific to the subdomain, then that wouldn’t…have an effect on the rest of your site.” Click above for more details on Threadwatch!

A Common Problem With Following Marketing Advice

Users on Cre8asiteforums were discussing an article by Ian Lurie last week. In it, Lurie laments the drive to focus on “survivors” when sharing marketing advice, and recommends that people pay attention to failures, too. Both, Lurie argues, present a learning opportunity.

“Test a lot. Collect lots of ‘passive’ data, too…Question why something worked and dig well past the data.”

User earlpearl writes,

“You learn a lot from things that don’t work. I suppose marketers don’t ‘market’ them. Remember them. Learn from them and don’t repeat them.”

What have you learned from your failures and successes?

Click-through Rate, Pageviews, and Time on Site

“It’s pretty well accepted that how the user interacts with your page will impact how Google will rank your page in the future,” writes user KevinC.

The how and the what are less certain – but users on WebmasterWorld are happy to discuss and share evidence. Bounce rates alone probably do not impact a page, writes user aakk9999:

“I have a page with a very very high bounce rate (because of the nature of information it provides), but it did not harm the site.”

Martinibuster refutes the idea that this concept is proven:

“The herd is wrong on that point. All the so-called ‘experiments’ are flawed.”

But it’s more complicated than that, too. Give this thread a read for a nuanced, pragmatic approach to reading data about user interaction.

Yandex Notifies Webmasters of Guideline Violations, Introduces “I Fixed It” Button

Violated Yandex’s guidelines? Well, they’ll be sending you a short message now! And when you’ve fixed your site and are back in compliance, they’ve also got a handy button in place for you to notify them. It can be clicked once a month and will trigger Yandex to schedule a review.

If only Google or Bing had such things, eh?

“I love the idea of the ‘I fixed it’ button: Google has something to learn from! They could limit how often webmasters can click it to avoid false alerts but otherwise a very cool feature!” writes Ann Smarty. What do you think?

Ryanair To Sue Google Over Misleading Adverts

Ryanair has been battling misleading advertisements on Google for some time now. The problem is that a site exists that uses Ryanair’s branding and has the word “Ryanair” in its URL. They advertise lower fares… but the flights don’t really exist. Ryanair has requested Google to look into the issue and stop serving the ads, but with no results.

Now they’ll be suing. User superclown2 writes,

“If this company are really passing themselves off as Ryanair then this is a criminal offense. If Google assists them to do so then this is, inter alia, another potential criminal matter.”

Wikipedia Got Whacked?

Back in March, rumors indicated that Wikipedia might have lost their advantage in Google.

Many wondered why, or if this was even true. On Cre8asiteforums, users also debated the ethics of Wikipedia and Google being such close bedfellows. A user wrote to Wikipedia about it last week – you can read their response in this thread!

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