Category Archives: google

Google goes mobile first

Google Goes Mobile-First

By | google | No Comments

Intrusive interstitial penalties, mobile-first indexing and SEO, oh my!

We’re officially one week into Google’s mobile-first indexing and intrusive interstitial penalties. How are we all feeling? A little overwhelmed, panic, maybe a bit of anxiety? First, I just need everyone to CALM DOWN. January 10th came and then it went, and most of us went on with business as usual. So what really did happen and what should companies prepare for?  

Here’s what we need to recognize, good people of the business world, these are moblie times and if you want to keep up then you’ve got get on board. In this day and age it’s all about the consumer and giving them the best experience possible. I’m going to explain a little more about what Google is talking about when they say intrusive interstitial and mobile-first indexing. Then I’m going to give you a few tips and options for moving forward. Don’t worry, we will get through this.

Mobile-First Indexing

The stat is out and it looks like 75% of searches in 2017 will be done through a mobile device. That’s huge, so huge that Google is reconfiguring the way they index and rank pages. Here was the issue- more people are searching through mobile devices, but Google’s ranking systems were looking primarily at the desktop version of a pages content. This process would cause issues if the mobile site was lacking content from the desktop version because the search algorithms weren’t evaluating the actual page being seen my mobile users. In other words, mobile users were getting jipped.

Google to the rescue! The search engine giant, obviously, wasn’t going to sit back and let this continue to happen. So, towards the end of last year they started making changes, testing new algorithms in small batches and ultimately rolling out their mobile-first index. Check out their full explanation here.

Intrusive Interstitials- Please use responsibly

Tweet us if you’ve seen this image:

Google's example of interstitials that will be affected

Image via

It’s literally been in every article I’ve come across that covers the Google updates. Since I don’t want to disappoint or cause any confusion I’m going to use it too, thanks Google! The image above shows the three intrusive interstitials that have been labeled as creating poor user experience for the reader. An interstitial is a pop-up ad that requires a reader to close out the ad before they can access the information. The reasoning is sound- while the content is available for Google to index it, it’s obstructed by the interstitials, causing a poor experience for the viewer. Visitors to the site are frustrated because they are unable to seamlessly access the content they’d expected to find after clicking on the link.

With more and more individuals utilizing their mobile device to consume content, interstitials on smaller screens can be problematic. Which brings us to the penalty portion, if viewers can not easily access content on your site you will be penalized for this and your mobile search results may not rank as high.   

Now that I’ve showed you what you will be penalized for, let me also show you what is still acceptable:

Google's example of interstitials that won't be affected

Image via

All of my friends who need to confirm the usage of cookies and verify ages, you’re safe. Also, as long as you’re reasonable with your pop-ups Google won’t ding you. Keep the banner ads small so that the content is still accessible and you should be just fine.

It’s not magic, it’s just best practices

I’ve said it once already and I’ll say it again, these are mobile times. How are you making the transition a seamless experience for the visitors to your site? Here are a few tips around keeping your rankings high and those penalties low.

  • First, I want to note that this only affects mobile searches. Your desktop rankings will remain the same.
  • Is your site responsive or a dynamic serving site where the content is comparable across desktop and mobile? If so, you shouldn’t have to do anything.
  • If your desktop and mobile site differs, you’ll want to start making some changes sooner rather than later.
  • Are your pages relevant to the search terms used to get readers there? Avoid clickbait at all times, it’s just bad form.
  • How are your page load times? What about those bounce rates? Slow page load = high bounce rates. High bounce rates = poor rankings. It’s all coming full circle.
  • If you’re uncertain if your site is mobile friendly or not you can always utilize Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

Ultimately the main goal here is to make finding content easier for users and since the majority of users are on mobile that’s where the focus has shifted. Only time will really tell how this will affect all of us, but if you play by Google’s rules you’re as good as gold. Still concerned? Reach out with any questions, we’d be happy to help. 


The new

Evolution Of Google

By | google | No Comments

A few weeks ago, Google made the announcement of Alphabet. And marketers began to question what this meant for the future of digital. But, this was just a slight shift to the ever changing Google. Google, a few days ago, announced the change in their logo.

As Google stated, “This isn’t the first time we’ve changed our look and it probably won’t be the last, but we think today’s update is a great reflection of all the ways Google works for you across Search, Maps, Gmail, Chrome and many others.”

After browsing the internet, I came across this youtube video “Google, evolved” — It’s crazy to think of how much Google has already changed, and where it may end up in the next few years, months, even weeks. Google, not just for marketers but most web users, is the answer to all things. We tell people to “Google it” when looking for an answer, we use ads to market products we know people are looking for, to find directions, or even expanding on reviews we’ve received as a business.


With all the updates, Google constantly makes to its search engine (which makes SEO experts scramble), and new extensions it releases for AdWords, it’s definitely the forefront of all marketers minds. We know that Google will continue to dominate the market, but how will it continue to evolve?

The team at Digital Operative is always keeping up on Google trends and awaiting any and all Google updates. Drop us a line, if you want help with your SEO or Paid media marketing efforts.

Alphabet (1)

A Is For… Alphabet

By | google, search engine optimization | No Comments

Since it became public in 2004, Google has remained on the cutting edge in its industry. By first revolutionizing how internet searches are done, then by introducing countless products such as Google Maps and Google Apps, Google has undoubtedly “changed the game” when it comes to all things tech and digital. Therefore, it was huge news when the tech giant announced this week that it would be restructuring its business and would now be a business subsidiary under a holding company called “Alphabet”.

When a company as influential as Google makes an announcement like this, it is inevitable that businesses everywhere will be wondering how this restructuring will affect them. So how does this affect us as digital marketers?

Image via:

Image via:

What Is Alphabet?

First off, it is important to clarify what exactly Alphabet is. Basically, Google renamed itself “Alphabet” and created a subsidiary business called “Google.” It seems that Google will continue to be the same brand we all know and love, running products we are familiar with including Search, Android, Maps, YouTube, and Google Apps. Alphabet will also be the holding company to many other companies such as Calico and and Google X. Each business will have its own CEO and they will all report to the Alphabet CEO, (former Google CEO) Larry Page. Google’s new CEO is Sundar Pichai, who joined the Google team in 2004.

Alphabet was created to both satisfy investors and add more transparency to Google business. This new structure will separate Google’s “side projects” from Search, which generates 90% of Google’s profits from advertising. As a result, investors will have a better understanding of how Google’s “side projects” are performing and will allow Google to focus more energy into Search. And it seems that investors are happy. Alphabet shares are up 4% since the announcement.

Image via:

Image via:

What Does This Mean For Digital Marketers?

This announcement had digital marketers everywhere worried about how this would change the future digital landscape. And we are happy to tell you that there is nothing to worry about! Right now, it seems that Search is stable and we shouldn’t see any huge shifts in the digital world. However, it’s important to remember that Google is notorious for constantly changing and improving, and we should expect the same from Alphabet.

Not only do digital marketers have nothing to worry about in the short-term, but this new structure could actually improve Search in the long-term! The separation of companies, each with its own CEO, will probably result in Search getting even more attention than it is now. After all, the organizational restructuring was designed to improve efficiency and accountability. Search has always been a core focus for Google and it is highly possible that it was even one of the driving forces behind the organization’s restructuring.  As a result, SEO specialists and digital marketers may see an improvement in their user experience as Google becomes more responsive and adaptive.

Image via

Image via

All in all, the future looks positive for digital marketers after Google’s “Alphabet” announcement. We encourage you to check out Alphabet’s new site at and drop us a line if you need any help with your search engine optimization needs!

Mobilegeddon (1)

#MOBILEgeddon Begins Today and You Need Tips

By | agency life, design, google | No Comments

I picked the best day to start writing again.

As you all are preparing for Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update … you’re too late. It just started today. If your website is not mobile friendly, you’ve either scrambled over the past 2 months to be ready or you missed your launch date and now your boss is reading about the release across all mainstream media outlets like the following:

  • USAToday – ‘Mobilegeddon’ could be bad news for 40% of top websites – link
  • USAToday – 5 things to know about ‘Mobilegeddon’ – link
  • CNN Money – Google’s ‘Mobilegeddon’ – 5 Fast Facts – link
  • WSJ – Google’s `Mobilegeddon’ Could Affect Major Companies – link
  • SearchEngineLand – Mobilegeddon Is Today: Here’s How It’s Going With Rollout Of Google’s Mobile Friendly Update – link
  • Google (OFFICIAL) – Rolling out the mobile-friendly update – link

Assuming you clicked above and read all the news about Google’s mobile-friendly search algorithm update, here are some quick “What You Need to Knows” to share with your boss so you can get back on the path to greatness.

    1. It’s not a penalty, it’s all about prioritization – Google says, “We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.” That means your competitors’ mobile-friendly websites will get a lift in organic search results over yours.
    2. It’s a global application – Google states, “Affects search results in all languages globally.” That means those often neglected distributor websites or localized microsites you setup to show a “perceived international presence” need some attention now.
    3. It’s page-based so react iteratively if you have to – Google states, “Applies to individual pages, not entire websites.” That could mean rolling out a responsive or mobile-friendly homepage since most of your traffic may end up there. You still have time as Google says it will take a few weeks to roll out.
    4. Test out your website’s mobile-friendliness free – Google offers its own tool to help you here
    5. Get Responsive Web Design (RWD) Tips – Google offers a whole resource on where to start for converting that old website to the new and modern responsive web design methodology

Hopefully these three points help with your internal cause to go mobile-friendly, but again you had two months to prepare for this. This Google search algorithm update is more than just SEO, it touches your entire team across user experience, design and development. If you’re a retailer this change not only will affect your website traffic, but also your ecommerce revenue. Good luck and let’s raise our glasses to #MOBILEgeddon


Is Apple’s Spotlight Makeover A Sore Spot for Digital Marketers… And Google?

By | digital marketing, google, Search Engine Marketing | No Comments

Apple is clearly trying to break it’s addiction to Google products. After the Apple Maps debacle last year, it’s clear Apple is carving out a new battlefield in this war amongst tech giants–but this time it’s around search. This was one of the big takeaways from the WWDC conference on Monday–Apple is overhauling their operating system and taking center stage is ‘Search.’

Spotlight is now tied into the Safari browsing bar, when before it was Google. Spotlight isn’t hidden away in the top corner, it’s front and center on the screen with two simple keystrokes. As expected, Apple’s leaders got on stage to reveal all of this ‘awesome’ news and tout how they were the best.

But we’ve been down this road before. Apple announces a bunch of ‘awesome’ news, then the developers take it for a spin. Then the real world gets the software months later only to realize the use cases they presented on stage worked fine, but when you veer outside of those intended uses, things get dicey very quickly. This has been the case for many Apple software projects. Hello Siri… Or Apple Maps, or before it was iCloud, or a number of other false starts (If you’re going to be on the edge of innovation, this stuff is going to happen).

Personally, I think Apple learned it’s lesson with Maps. But I also know how big the team of geniuses working on Search is at Google. So there’s bound to be disappointment. And make no mistake, this battle over search in OS X will have a real impact on digital advertising dollars.

As Apple weens us off Google and the browser bar for every query, we could see AdWords share of impressions decline. As Apple appears to be posed to squeeze search sessions from Google, it’s clear Google will be responding in-kind.

We can expect more independence and less collaboration from Apple and Google, and as a digital marketer, I see that as a backward step for our industry. As an Apple fan, I’m disappointed too.

So, what do you think? Will Apple’s new version of Spotlight (and disavowing Google in the search bar) be to the delight or detriment of users? Or will users even notice a difference? I think advertisers will.


4 Essential Metrics in Google Analytics

By | analytics, ecommerce, google | No Comments

As digital marketers, we swear by tracking. And if you’re not tracking your web traffic, digital marketer or not, you should be. So, whether you’re a business owner who has experience with Google Analytics, or a young organization that is looking for some quick guidance, these four tips will put any user on the right track to success with Analytics.

1. Update your Tracking Code to Support Display Advertising

  • Gain access to demographic data such as age, gender and interests that are collected from DoubleClick.
  • Create remarketing lists that allow engagement with customized groups of previous visitors. Then you can deliver ads that are specific to that group.

For directions on how to update your tracking code, CLICK HERE.

2. Email or Newsletter Signups

  • Determine what sources or campaigns made your user decide to engage with your brand, and what exactly made them sign up.

HINT: Review your geography reports to see the states and cities of your signups.  This can help you identify your target market and consumer personas.

3. Top Landing Page Path

  • Know what path your visitors take from your top landing page. What do they read? What do they buy?

HINT: If your top landing pages have high bounce rates, consider redesigning them or even redirecting them to a more relevant page.

4) Campaign Tracking for Social Media

  • Attach UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes to your custom URL’s to track your Source, Medium and Campaign. For example, you can include the following items below and determine where your user came from, as well what campaign directed them to the assigned landing page.
    • Source: Facebook
    • Medium: Social
    • Campaign: Blog

HINT: Shorten the URL’s, then test them. Also, check real-time reports to make sure they work.

If you need help with your Google Analytics, don’t hesitate to contact us! Do you agree with our 4 essential metrics? What metrics are essential to your business’ success?



3 Google Analytics Features You Should Be Using – Part 3

By | analytics, google | One Comment

In our last two post about Google Analytics – we spoke on annotations and demographic reports. Today we are talking part three on auto-event tracking…..


In the past if you were looking to get more data about your web visitors, you’d probably have to implement Event tracking code. But now, updates made to Google Tag Manager (GTM) allows marketers to control this without assigning a task to a developer.


In case you don’t have GTM implemented, here are the steps that will get you started:

  1. Create Google Tag Manager account
  2. Create your first container
  3. Copy the container snippet code found in Users & Settings and implement it site wide
  4. Create a basic dataLayer with your first two tags
    • - Tag 1: Click Listener
    • New Tag > Tag Type > Event Listener – Click Listener > Rule: All Pages
    • - Tag 2: LinkClick Listener
    • New Tag > Tag Type > Event Listener – LinkClick Listener > Rule: All Pages
  5. Create a new Version and Publish

Rules in GTM depend on variables in the dataLayer. Google Tag Manager provides many by default but you’re able to create others as needed or as you customize your dataLayer.

How To Inspect Page Elements for Event Tracking

  1. Right click a page (in a Chrome browser) that has GTM installed on the page
  2. Visit the Console tab, click on an element that has a link and open it in a new tab (Command + Click on Mac) so that the page is still open
  3. Type in “dataLayer”, and hit Enter and select the Object farthest to the right. The variables (in purple) seen are a result of the linkClick listener tag and you’ll use these variables as macros, which are needed to create rules for event tracking
  4. Go back to GTM and create a new Tag
  5. Tag Type: Google Analytics and enter Web Property ID (UA-XXXXXXXX-X)
  6. Track Type: Event and fill out the fields manually or select a macro
  7. Add Firing Rule and ALWAYS put the click listener or link click listener first

Utilize these three features to continually learn more about your web traffic and get more answers for why things are happening instead of what. As our Web Analyst, Dan Greco states:

“A few years ago, web analytics was mostly for large companies. Now, more and more small and mid-size companies are realizing that data driven decision making can propel fast-track their growth. Web analytics is about understanding.  If you can understand what’s happening, what’s working, whats not working and why, positioning can be facilitated.

I think the most challenging part for small and midsize businesses is finding the time or resources to do so. There’s no doubt its an investment, but it’s the first step in building a data-driven culture. It’s a step that, in my opinion, that will continue to pay dividends.”

With that being said – If you have any questions on Google Analytics don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

3 Google Analytics Features You Should Be Using – Part 2

By | analytics, google | One Comment

In our last post about Google Analytics – we spoke on annotations and why it’s a useful feature. Today we are talking part deux on demographic reports…..


By implementing a simple one line Google Analytics tracking code change, Google will aggregate your website visitors into what they estimate to be their interests, age and gender based on the sites they visit that are partnered with DoubleClick. The data is an essential component when A/B testing and optimizing digital experience offered by your site.

Best Practices:

You can use this data to answer questions like:

  • Does my mobile site cater to my target age group and gender?
  • How can I refine the content strategy of my blog to increase engagement?
  • What interest groups are buying which products?
  • What sources do the different age groups use to get to my site?
  • Who is most likely to purchase from my top SEO landing pages?

In short, demographic reports will help you delve further into the insights of those browsing your site. Stay tuned as part 3 will be posted tomorrow – but, in the meantime don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you need Google Analytics help!


3 Google Analytics Features You Should Be Using – Part 1

By | analytics, google | 2 Comments

With Google Analytics you can trace your consumers path and help improve their experience. There are numerous features you can use to help make your use of Google Analytics successful and today we are going to go over one of our favorite features….


Google Analytics is a great tool for explaining what’s happening on your site, but it’s rare that it’ll give you a reason why. However, if you’re looking to get the most of your data, learn more about your visitors, and optimize channel strategies this is a critical step.

One great place to start is by utilizing the annotations feature in Google Analytics. You can do so by double clicking on the date in any non-custom reporting graph.

You can also navigate to Admin > View > Annotations > + New Annotation. Using this way, you’re about to add annotations for future events.  Perfect for company announcements or industry events.

Best Practices:

It’s key to only annotate things that would move a needle one way or another in your reporting.  Some examples of impactful events may be pausing some PPCcampaigns, a product launch or stock outage, a magazine ad being published, getting retweeted by a celebrity, an appearance on local television, or the site goes down for a few hours.

If you’re utilizing several marketing channels, create annotations using the Medium before the details. When looking at a date range of annotations in the future, it’ll be easier on the eyes.

Stay tuned as we will post Parts 2 and 3 later this week – but, in the meantime don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you need Google Analytics help!

This post was written by our Web Analyst, Dan Greco – He’s not only great with analyzing data, but a rockstar on his guitar!


This Just In: Next steps for Google Shopping Campaigns

By | google | No Comments

Google Shopping Campaigns were made available to all Product Listing Ad (PLA) users in March and today Google released some additional insights into extra features:

Options to Create Shopping Campaigns: Creating shopping campaigns from scratch or using a PLA campaign to create similar product targets, negative keywords and more.This feature will be available in the next few days.

Bid Simulator: This has been in Beta for a while now, and today it has been rolled out to all shopping campaign users. With it you can estimate changes that could impact your impressions, clicks and most importantly costs.

Multiple Ad Groups: Advanced retailers are now able to create multiple ad groups in their shopping campaigns. This means you can further segment your product offerings.

The biggest news is that all PLA campaigns are coming to an end, as they are being forced into retirement. Google is getting rid of the PLA’s as the shopping campaigns are a more seamless approach.You will need to roll over all current PLAs into shopping campaigns by August 2014, otherwise Google will automatically roll over and update your old PLAs for you.

If you have any questions on your PLAs or shopping campaigns, don’t hesitate to drop us a line…after all, we are Google Partners and we know a thing or two about PLAs and
Google Shopping.

Like what you see? Contact us for a quote. Get Quote