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Faceboo LikesIn the next few weeks, you are likely to lose at least a couple likes on your Facebook Page. It isn’t a sign people are losing interest in your brand however. Facebook has just announced they will stop including likes from memorialized and voluntarily deactivated accounts in the totals for likes on Pages.

The company issued the warning in a blog post yesterday, saying the move will help give businesses more accurate information about the people following their Page and improve ad targeting efficiency.

As the post explains:

Over the coming weeks, Page admins should expect to see a small dip in their number of Page likes as a result of this update. It’s important to remember, though, that these removed likes represent people who were already inactive on Facebook.

According to Facebook, Page owners should not expect big drops. The average Pages should only lose a few followers, but any Pages who have paid for Likes or used other artificial means of inflating their total may see substantially larger losses.

Facebook is also warning Page administrators with an alert within Insights:

The release of Google My Business was intended to make it easier for businesses to maintain a consistent appearance across all of Google’s services, but one feature was seriously lacking. While Google My Business allowed businesses to upload an image to their profile, the companies still had difficulty controlling which images would be used in various listings.

That is a serious problem when you are trying to establish a consistent brand presence online.

Screen-Shot-2015-02-23-at-2.24.26-PM-515x600

Today, Google announced a major update to Google my Business that finally gives companies some agency in their appearance across Google’s platform. As the announcement explains:

Starting today, you can tell us which image you’d like to appear when customers search for your business on Google. Just log in to Google My Business on the web or in the Android or iOS apps, and visit the Photos section. While you’re there, you can also give your business a fresh look online by updating your profile, logo and cover photos.

Google My Business Photos

The upgrade unifies Google’s three interfaces for images into one simple interface. There is no longer any guesswork in making sure your brand is always presented how you want it on the search engine.

Google Help Files explains the best practices for uploading photos for your business:

Your photos will look best on Google if they meet the following standards:

  • Format: JPG, PNG, TIFF, BMP
  • Size: Between 10KB and 5MB
  • Minimum resolution: 250px on the longest side for profile & logo photos; 720px on the longest side for other business photos
  • Aspect ratio: The longer dimension of the photo should be no more than four times the shorter dimension. Landscape photos look better than portrait photos on Google products. Panoramic photos may use different aspect ratios.
  • Quality: The photo should be in focus, well-lit, have no photoshop alterations, and no excessive use of filters. The image should represent reality.

Google is in the process of rolling out a new hacked page classifier which puts a notice below sites in the search listings believed to have malicious code or other hacking issues. The only problem is, many webmasters are reporting getting labeled as hacked incorrectly.

Yesterday, Google’s John Mueller acknowledged that a small number of sites are being mislabeled in the search results, which is obviously discouraging to anyone considering clicking on the link.

You can tell if your site is affected by simply searching for your site on Google and seeing if a small blue text appears below the title tag reading “This site may be hacked.” If you don’t see it, you’re in the clear. On the other hand, if you’re seeing that line it means your site has either been mislabeled or really has been hacked.

Mueller suggests having someone experienced in working with hacked sites to review your site to ensure there are no problems. If they give your site a clean bill of health, you will have to notify Google.

This Site May be Hacked

The search engine says to fill out this form if you believe your site is mislabeled as hacked. Once it is submitted, someone at Google will review it and remove the label if they also find no issues. There is no indication how long it will take Google to review your site and remove the label, especially with the number of sites reporting the problem.

For more information on resolving issues with hacked sites, see Google’s best practices.

facebookadvertising

Facebook is usually rather tight lipped about how it measures the impact and views for ads on their site, but today the social media giant offered some rare insight by saying the company doesn’t believe advertisers should be charged unless ads are seen by real people.

This might seem like common sense, but it is actually common for online advertising services to measure impressions based on how many ads are ‘served’, not how many are ‘viewed’.

Ads are counted as being ‘served’ so long as the ad renders anywhere on pages that are opened, even if the ad ends up never actually appearing on the screen. On the other hand, ‘viewed’ impressions only counts if they are displayed on the screen.

The metric isn’t perfect. There is no fool-proof way to ensure someone scrolling down a page will actually glance at an ad, as most Facebook users can tell you. Still, Facebook’s method of measuring impressions seems to be a more accurate and fair way of counting ad views than is typically used.

Facebook explains why it counts viewed vs served ad impressions in their blog post on the subject:

“At Facebook, we agree that viewed impressions are a better way to measure ad delivery. The reason is simple: if an ad is viewed it has a greater chance to drive value for an advertiser. That’s why we use viewed impressions to measure ad delivery across desktop and mobile.”

The company hopes to expand this measuring method to organic posts on the site in the next few months.

Google-Webmaster-Tools-LogoGoogle Webmaster Tools is usually the best friend for any webmaster trying to keep informed, but users have noticed the normally up-to-date service has not been updated in over a week.

The problem was noted by Search Engine Land last week and has been the main topic of conversation on the Webmaster Tools forums all weekend, but so far Google has no response.

The closest thing we have to a response comes from forum user ‘Kai Z’, who wrote “Known issue. […] Give it a few days to update/ return”. Normally forum posts like this wouldn’t carry much weight but it seems notable that Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller marked this response as ‘best answer’. Naturally this has caused quite a bit of speculation but could potentially be meaningless.

The outage seems to line up with a similar issue in Google Analytics. Many users reported data in analytics was missing for Monday February 9, but Google that problem received a prompt response from Google on its product forums: “We’re sorry for our unusually bad case of the Mondays. We’ve fixed the issue and no data was lost. Analytics users should start seeing any missed [data] soon.”

Most likely the problem will be resolved fairly quickly, but the lack of transparency from Google on what is causing the lack of updating has caused some concern within the SEO community.

Online ads on Google’s AdWords network are a great way to reach a larger audience interested in your services, but breaking the rules can have harsh consequences. Google removed over 524 million “bad ads” from its ad network last year, and 214,000 of those advertisers are entirely banned from the service due to their bad behavior according to a recent announcement from Google.

“While this represents a tiny fraction of the total ads on our platform — the vast majority of advertisers follow our policies and act responsibly — we continue to remain vigilant to protect users against bad advertising practices,” Vikaram Gupta, director of ads engineering at Google, wrote Tuesday in the post.

The latest data shows several improvements from past years, such as a distinct drop in banned advertises for promoting counterfeit goods, but Google says it is a “constantly evolving fight” and the war against bad ads is far from over.

The announcement highlighted several of the “bad ads” trends that dominated 2014, including more than 43 million ads trying to trick users into clicking, over 4.3 million ads containing copyright infringement issues, and over 9.6 million ads containing healthcare-related violations.

The following infographic breaks down Google’s efforts to weed out bad advertising last year:

Google_BadAds_Infographic_Feb02-Final

For years, Google has had a strong hold on the search industry, maintaining over a 75% market share for the desktop search market. If recent months are any indication however, that grip appears to be loosening.

According to the latest data from StatCounter, Google’s desktop search market share dipped below 75% for the first time since July 2008, continuing a downward trend that started in November.

US Search Share Jan

In November, Mozilla replaced Google with Yahoo as the default search engine on its Firefox web browser. Initially Google didn’t seem to be concerned, but a three month drop in search share seems to be finally getting their attention.

In mid-January Firefox users who visited the Google homepage were greeted with a banner encouraging them to set the search engine as their default. At the same time, Google also began tweeting instructions for how to replace the search engine.

US Search Share Jan Firefox

Since the five-year agreement was made between Yahoo and Mozilla, Yahoo has been consistently gaining ground, already replacing Bing as the second most popular desktop search engine. In total, Yahoo has nearly tripled its share of the desktop search market on Firefox, climbing to over 28% from less than 10% in November.

In the long run, it is still unclear whether Yahoo is going to be able to continue its ascent. While the changes are substantial, Firefox is also the least popular major desktop browser available. The change is search share is also limited to desktop, suggesting users aren’t so much choosing a new search engine but accepting what they are being given.

Despite these challenges, Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, says Yahoo is already beating the odds:

“Some analysts expected Yahoo to fall in January as a result of Firefox users switching back to Google. In fact Yahoo has increased US search share by half a percentage point. It will be fascinating to see if these gains continue.”

It will be interesting to see if the trend continues and how Google might try to persuade more users to actively choose their search engine over the default.

fbadsFacebook is making it a lot easier to measure the amount of new business you get from ads on the social media site, according to a new announcement from the company.

 

Facebook has always made it easy to see how your ads are performing in terms of clicks and views, but gauging actual sales from ads hasn’t been so easy. Now, a mew metric called ‘conversion lift measurement’, Facebook claims they can accurately measure the amount of business attributed to ads.

Here’s how conversion lift is measured:

  • When a Facebook campaign begins, two groups are created. One is a random test group of people that see the ads in the campaign, and the other is a control group of people that don’t see the ads.
  • Advertisers share conversion data with Facebook throughout the campaign. Facebook determines additional lift generated from the campaign by comparing conversions in the test and control groups.
  • Any increase in sales in the test group is the result of a ‘conversion lift’ provided by the Facebook ads.

The best part of online advertisement is being able to track nearly every aspect of your advertisement’s performance, but there are still gaps where marketers have had to rely on faith and intuition. Thanks to conversion lift measurement, there’s now one less blind spot.

Over the past year, more than a few people have predicted the death of Facebook. They cite the shrinking number of teens signing up for the social site and the increasing difficulty for brands to get organic exposure as proof the end is near. But, a new report from Shareaholic show Facebook is still going strong.

Facebook has consistently been the leader in social referral traffic for years, and their share of traffic referrals is only growing especially during the last quarter of 2014. In fact, Shareaholic’s data suggests Facebook may be responsible for nearly a quarter of all traffic online.

Social-Media-Traffic-Referrals-Report-Q4-2014-graph

The most popular social media site reached over 25% of the total share of visits to Shareaholic’s network through October and December, however it fell to 24.64% in December. Overall the site gained 2.27 percent since the third quarter.

The report confirms Pinterest’s popularity, as the data showed the site in second place. Still, even Pinterest can’t compete with Facebook’s share of traffic referrals. Pinterest’s share was only 5.06%, nearly five times less than Facebook.