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Google is constantly making changes – both big and small – and the latest changes will affect how your site appears in the search results.

Yesterday Google announced it would be altering how URLs are shown on mobile search results. Well, altering isn’t the right word. More accurately, Google is completely removing URLs in favor of the “real world” name of the site.

Instead of showing the simple URL, the search engine will display the site’s location in a breadcrumbs-like format, as shown below:

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As Google explains in their announcement, the change intends to make searching easier for users.

“To help mobile searchers understand your website better when we show it in the mobile search results, today we’re updating the algorithms that display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites…”

The new style will be rolled out gradually and are exclusive to mobile search results. For now, the change will only be affecting the US, but will likely come to other countries in the near future.

If you want to keep control of how your site name is shown, there is a simple structured data markup set you can use.

Just use this structured data markup to tell Google’s algorithms exactly how you want your website name displayed.

YouTube has long been the number one platform for video advertisers despite some recent challenges from Facebook. The top YouTube ads for last month give a good indication why so many advertisers trust the platform to help them build their brands.

The top 10 YouTube ads in March generated more than 102 million views, led by the Ad Council’s anti-discrimination spot “Love Has No Labels.” The ad shot to the top of YouTube’s most popular ads after being posted on March 3. Since then, it has garnered over 50 million views on its own.

While it can be difficult to climb to the top of YouTube’s ad charts, anyone can see a surprising amount of success by sharing their content on the platform. Let these top ads from March 2015 inspire you, and maybe you’ll be at the top of the list in the not too distant future.

Top Ten YouTube Video Ads for March 2015

1. Ad Council: Love Has No Labels

2. Durex: #Connect

3. Samsung: Galaxy 6 Official Introduction

https://youtu.be/CnYtWWDor2s

4. Samsung: Galaxy 6 Design Story

https://youtu.be/raAoYFrIm0I

5. YouTube: Music Awards 2015

6. GEICO: Family – Unskippable

https://youtu.be/pvcj9xptNOQ

7. YouTube Spotlight: #DearMe – What Advice Would You Give Yourself?

8. GoPro: Didga the Skateboarding Cat

 9. Valspar Paint: Color for the Colorblind

 10. Clean & Clear: See the Real Me

https://youtu.be/vyNZXQ136oI

This year is already proving to be a big one for the mobile internet. In the past few months, mobile browsing has overtaken desktop browsing, Google has announced a huge “mobile-friendly” algorithm update, and smartphones are continuing to become even more prominent in American society.

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A new report from comScore shows just how common smartphones are in the US, and the numbers are staggering. By February of this year, over three-quarters of all American mobile subscribers now on smartphones, and predictions don’t show any sign of slowing down. By the end of the year, it is possible over 80% will own smartphones.

The findings of the study show some shakeups from previous reports, such as Samsung beginning to lose market share while LG is making gains.  Otherwise the findings are relatively flat from last year

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Greg Sterling took the time to graph the latest findings from comScore with those from the past three years, which gives a better perspective of how things have changed in that time. For example, Apple shows modest growth, while other smaller brands are losing share and Samsung shows stagnation.

 

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Along with the mobile penetration report, comScore also showed new data on the top apps from February 2014 to 2015. The list is largely similar with previous years, however Yahoo Stocks, Yahoo Weather, and the Weather Channel have been usurped by hot apps like Amazon, Google+, and Snapchat.

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Are we at peak Facebook? I hear that question all the time, with all sorts of statistics to suggest the social media giant is beginning to falter, but a new study by the Pew Research Center shows Facebook is standing strong.

The most commonly cited “sign” of Facebook’s demise is the falling rate of teens signing up for the service, but the new findings show Facebook is still the top social media platform for U.S. teens by a huge margin.

According to the Pew study, 71% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 17 use Facebook which is roughly equal to the percentage of U.S. adults using the service.

In fact, the biggest difference found between how teens use social media compared to their elders isn’t related to Facebook at all. The big differences is what other social media platforms they are using. Adults lean towards LinkedIn and Pinterest for their social networking, but teens are moving to more informal, content-based platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.

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Over 50% of the nationally representative sample of 1,060 individuals reported using Instagram, while 41% have adopted Snapchat. The only other platforms specifically included in the survey were Twitter (used by 33%), Google+ (33%), Vine (24%), and Tumblr (14%).

The survey did find a slight schism between younger and older teens, but the split is less clear than most predict. Facebook is more popular with older teens, while less than half (44%) of the 13 year olds reported using the network. Household income also seems to be a factor in social media use, as 77% of teens from families earning less than $50,000 annually reported using Facebook, compared to 68% of families who earn more.

The findings of the survey also had some interesting facts for the other social media platforms. For example, Instagram is more popular with girls by a long shot. Over 60% of girls reported using the photo and video sharing site, while only 44% of boys claim to have signed up for the service.

Less surprising for anyone are the findings that teens are in fact very active on the internet; 92% report going online daily, and 24% said they are connected “almost constantly.”

More than half of the teens (56%) go online several times a day, while 12% report once-a-day use, and only 6% report weekly use of the internet. Also of little surprise is the news that smartphones are driving this rise in teen online engagement. Of the 73% of teenagers with access to mobile phones, 94% go online at least once a day.

Perhaps the biggest finding from the study is that while Facebook may be in the lead, it does not have the monopoly it once had. Only one in five of the teens who use social network say they only use a single platform. Of those, Facebook was the most common single choice with 66%, while 13% use Google+, 13% use Instagram, and 3% use Snapchat.

For the full Pew study, head to the Pew Center site.

GMB Put On Map

Google is doubling down on their efforts to bring local businesses around the world online with a new program called “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map.

The new program seeks to assist small businesses and local organizations from over 30,000 cities worldwide to set-up complete local listings on Google.

The search engine claims consumers are 38 percent more likely to visit and 29 more likely to consider purchasing from businesses with complete listings, yet a huge number of companies do not have local business listings on any search engine.

Dandelion Marketing

For the new initiative, Google is providing each participating city with a custom website where local businesses can see how they appear on Google Maps and in search results.

Google is also giving local business owners an easy-to-follow guide for getting their business listed with Google My Business, as well as a free website and domain name for a year through Google’s partner Startlogic.

The program is also encouraging consumers to get involved, by inviting consumers to create postcards in support of their favorite local businesses which can be shared on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, Google makes it clear these postcards won’t have any impact on search engine ranking.

“Sharing the postcards won’t make businesses appear higher in search, but will hopefully spur them to verify and start managing their business listing,” a Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch.

Google is also partnering with local organizations such as chambers of commerce and small business development centers to offer workshops aimed at teaching local businesses how to control the information listed about them on Google Search and Maps.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook unveiled several big upgrades to its current platform of products and services this week during its annual developer conference in San Francisco. The biggest announcement has been rumored for some weeks, but the social media giant also had a few other interesting changes hidden up its sleeve that will allow the platform to be more fully integrated with the rest of the internet.

Messenger is a Platform Now

Of course the big news from the conference is Facebook’s decision to officially launch Messenger as its own platform, which will allow developers to more freely integrate features from Messenger into other apps.

For example, Facebook demonstrated how users may be able to order from an online retailer, then change the order or shopping details later using the Messenger app. You can find out more details in the official announcement.

360-Degree Videos are coming

It was announced that spherical, 360-degree videos will be coming to Facebook at some point in the near future. These spherical videos will also be brought to the Oculus VR platform.

Embeddable Facebook Videos

Facebook is quite proud of the success of its video service and it is making it easier than ever to share videos you like from the site. Soon, videos uploaded to Facebook will be embeddable across the web. This provides clearer incentives for content creators to consider uploading videos directly to the social media site rather than through competitive platforms such as YouTube.

SmartphoneNot long ago Google announced its upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm change, but the search engine is making efforts to help webmasters prepare as well as possible. Google has been offering a steady stream of information helping webmasters avoid common mistakes while converting websites to mobile-friendly designs.

After answering questions over Twitter, Google also decided to directly ask webmasters what they were confused about and what problems they were encountering. Then, Google compiled the most common mistakes and shared them in a simple and easy to explore list.

According to Google, the most commonly mentioned mobile mistakes are:

  • Blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files: In order for Googlebot to see your site as a real user would, always allow access to these files in your site’s robots.txt.
  • Unplayable content: This consists of certain types of videos, or other content, that are not playable on mobile devices, such as license-constrained media or media that requires Flash.
  • Faulty redirects: If you have separate mobile URLs, you must redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the appropriate mobile URL.
  • Mobile-only 404s: Some sites serve content to desktop users accessing a URL but show an error page to mobile users. Instead, redirect mobile users to an equivalent mobile page to avoid 404s.
  • App download interstitials: This is when websites block the view of pages with a prompt to download the site’s native app. Instead, use a small HTML banner at the top of the page.
  • Irrelevant cross-links: This is when users are linked to desktop-optimized pages from the mobile version of the site, and vice versa. Check your links to make sure that they point to the correct equivalent page.
  • Slow mobile pages: In order to avoid user frustration, ensure your mobile pages load quickly. You can check your page speed with Google PageSpeed Insights.

You can learn more from the complete guide here.

Firefox Yahoo

Google has been heavy-handed in trying to woo Firefox users back to their search engine since Yahoo became the default search engine for the browser. It also appears to be working.

ComScore released the latest US search market share numbers for February and it seems Yahoo is gradually losing the gains they have made since they made a deal to become the default search engine for the browser and Google is reaping the benefits.

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Since the switch over lost Google a small portion of users, Google has been practically begging users to make switch back. While there hasn’t been a mass exodus back to the motherland of Google, Yahoo is seemingly losing a slow but steady stream of users back to Google.

According to comScore’s report, Yahoo lost approximately 10 percent of its search volume from January to February, while Google recouped a tenth of a point along with Bing. This lines up with another recent report from StatCounter which also indicated a loss by Yahoo between January and February.

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From the time Yahoo became the primary search engine to January, Yahoo had gained 1.2 points. Now Yahoo is still above their previous levels, but it has list .2 percent of those gains. The question is whether the trend continues.

It is important to note comScore’s numbers don’t include data from mobile searches, where Google is even more dominant.

Instagram Banner

Is Facebook still the king of social media? In terms of sheer traffic Facebook may still have a sizable lead, but businesses are finding it may not be the best platform for their marketing. In fact, a report by L2 and Olapic shows brands are starting to invest more effort elsewhere.

Brands are now posting more content to Instagram than they are on Facebook, most likely due to the continuously declining organic reach for brands on the big F.

The signs of Facebook’s downfall as the primary place for social media marketing have been around for quite some time. As organic reach started to fall, brands began migrating to other social networks and cutting back on their organic efforts on the site in favor of paid advertising.

Facebook’s paid advertising platform allows brands to get even more reach than they had developed organically, but at the sake of organic reach. In comparison, Instagram is (for now) almost entirely based on organic content.

Instagram may not stay the most popular platform for branded content for long, either. The Facebook-owned social image sharing platform has already implemented some advertising options and have publicly announced plans to expand paid advertising on the site. Nonetheless, most brand activity on the site is currently organic.

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The L2 report found the 250 participating brands posted an average of 9.3 times per week on Instagram compared to 8.8 times on Facebook in Q4 of last year. Compared to the same time period in 2013, Facebook was down from 11.1 a week, while Instagram boosted itself by nearly two full posts a week.

Other notable findings from the report included:

  • The auto industry, led by luxury brands like BMX, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche, outperformed all categories (Beauty, Consumers Electronics, Travel, Watches & Jewelry, Fashion, Sportswear, Retail, Drinks) with a 1.52% per post engagement rate on Instagram. Drinks — Stella Artois, Jack Daniels, Belvedere, Pabst Blue Ribbon — was second at 1.32%.
  • Of the top 200 highest performing posts, 65% prominently featured a product, 43% included general lifestyle photography and 29% included a brand ambassador or other influencer.
  • Hyperlapse has lapsed with only 75 — or only 2.4% of brand videos posted since August — brand posts using the time-lapse video app. Brand Hyperlapse activity has fallen off steeply since September and the engagement rate on the videos is 0.69 percent, slightly less than conventional Instagram videos.
  • Photo posts drive higher engagement that video, 1.03% to 0.79%. Videos attract more comments, but photos draw significantly more likes.

web-design

Do you remember the very first time you ever got online? You might remember the lovely screeching tones of dial-up modems or possibly waiting ages for pages to load, but do you actually remember how the internet looked? (f you don’t, the web site for the movie Space Jam is the closest thing to hopping in a time machine you could ask for.

In an age when online style trends come and go with increasing frequency, it can be easy to forget just how far we’ve come. At the outset of the internet there was no “flat design” or “parallax scrolling.” There weren’t even any images!

In the 25 years since the launch of the World Wide Web we’ve come a long way. The way sites are designed and created has been altered completely to grant designers near infinite freedom with their own webpages, but time has also taught designers that less can be more.

In this infographic, AmeriCommerce explores the exciting history from 1990 to today. You’ll see all the old trends you used to love (and loathe), and you might even learn something new about the technological advances that have facilitated the advancement of the internet to where it is today.

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