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AdWords Callout Ad Extensions Roll Out, Offer More Text In Search Ads

Callout Extensions Google AdWords

Today, Google announced the roll out of callouts, a new ad extension in AdWords that allows advertisers to show off unique offers and benefits of their sites, products and services with an additional line of text in their ads.

Advertisers can use callouts to promote free shipping, around-the-clock customer service and price matching, as in the example above. Callouts can also promote deals, sales and other special or seasonal offers that will help make an ad stand out — and increase click-through rates.

Callouts appear below the standard ad copy and, importantly, can be displayed along with other ad formats like ratings, reviews and call extensions.

AdWords callout ad extensions launching

Similar to Sitelinks, Without Needing Links

There are many similarities between callouts and sitelinks. The major difference, of course, is that callouts aren’t actual links. The benefit here is that a separate landing page isn’t required. That offers a lot of flexibility in messaging and means any size site should be able to take advantage of callouts.

Like sitelinks, callouts can be set up and edited at the campaign or ad group level without having to create new ads and data is retained even after making edits. Though, one other difference from sitelinks is that callouts can also be set up at the account level.

Advertisers can customize callouts for mobile devices and schedule them by time of day and day of the week. And, also like sitelinks, the character limit for each is 25 and up to four can display.

Callouts reporting shows the number of clicks on an ad when callouts appear at the campaign, ad group and ad levels.

Getting Started

While you can set up a minimum of two callouts at each level from the Ad extensions tab, Google recommends stacking the deck and setting up four callouts at the account, campaign and ad group levels. This ensures as many callouts as possible are available to show with an ad. The most granular level callout will be shown.

Google says, “The order of your callouts, their length, and how they perform factor into how many callouts appear, and whether a callout will show for your ad.”

To get started, think about all the offers and services you provide that can set you apart from the competition, as well as ways callouts can augment your sitelink and broader ad format strategies.

Many advertisers will likely reevaluate their ad copy tests once callouts are up and running. If you’ve been testing unique selling propositions like “Free shipping” versus “Low price guarantee”, for example, you may find click-through rates are higher when those types of USPs are used in callouts and the extra ad copy space is used for a new call to action or more product description. There are sure to be lots of case studies coming out on this.

One other incentive to start using callouts: like other extensions and formats, they factor into Ad Rank. Callouts are rolling out into accounts over the next couple of weeks. For more, see the help center article.

Google News Publishers Can Switch To HTTPS

After learning about the Google SSL Algorithm that was launched yesterday morning, I was eager to test my own sites and see if migrating had an impact both in the short-term and long-term in a positive or negative way in Google’s rankings.Google News

I jumped at it with my corporate site and have seen no positive or negative signs yet. But I waited to do this site because it is syndicated by Google News and I thought changing the URL will have an impact on inclusion within Google News, thus removing me from the Google News index.

So I asked two different sources at Google about this, one through PR channels and our friend John Mueller, and both said there should be no difference in migrating a Google News syndicated site versus a normal site.

John Mueller wrote on Google+:

I checked with the News folks — HTTPS is fine for Google News, no need to even tell them about it. If you do end up noticing anything, that would (most likely) be a bug and something worth letting the Google News team know about. A bunch of sites are on HTTPS in Google News, it would be great to have more.

So in the next several days, I will migrate this site over and be the guinea pig for all the rest of you and let you know how it goes. The process thus far for us has been:

(1) Set up the SSL certificate
(2) Restrict HTTPS to my office IP so we can test
(3) Fix any mismatch content errors, mostly due to (a) images (b) embeds (c) social share icons and the like
(4) Test again
(5) Test again
(6) Test again
(7) Set up the proper 301 redirects
(8) Test again
(9) Update the sitemap files and XML feeds
(10) Test again
(11) Flip off the IP restriction and open it up to the world and GoogleBot
(12) Test again
(13) Try and fail to do site move in Google Webmaster Tools
(14) Track Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools data

That has been my process thus far and I will let you know how it goes for both a normal web site and a Google News syndicated web site.

Forum discussion at Google+.

Google AdWords Design Update

Google shared on Google+ that they have updated the design for the Google Adwords reporting interface ever so slightly.Google Adwords

I believe Google internally called this update, “Kennedy Phase 2” based on the image screen shot they shared being named that. The changes include:

  • The left-side navigation bar has been changed from white to gray, and the highlight color is now blue. This creates more distinction between the navigation tools and your campaign data, providing a streamlined navigation experience to help you find what you need quickly and easily.
  • All campaign type icons have been re-designed to help you more easily see the campaign types you’re looking for. You’ll notice more distinct icons for Search, Display, Search Network with Display Select, Shopping, and Video campaigns.
  • Radio buttons and check boxes have been refined to give a more consistent look and experience with other Google products you use.

Here is a screen shot showing you those changes.

Google AdWords Design Update - click for full size

Forum discussion at Google+.

Advertise Your Website for Free

The internet was designed to be a free means of communication. As a result, there are a number of resources you can use to ‘advertise’ your business… for FREE! Listed below are some of the best ways to advertise your website online:

  1. Google Maps/Google Local: Create an account with Google and use Google Maps or Google Local to ensure that your business shows up in the search results on Google.com. When Google infuses these results on its page, it increases the value of its local search and Maps application.
  2. Yahoo! Local Listings: Despite Google being the reigning search engine, Yahoo! remains a popular option for its loyal users. Sign up on Yahoo! Local and grab all the free exposure your website can get!
  3. Local.com: Apart from Google and Yahoo!, local.com can help potential customers find you after you have signed up for a free listing.
  4. Craigslist: One of the most popular sites online, Craigslist allows you to post free classified ads, which would be visible for 45 days on a location chosen by you.
  5. Yellow Pages: Ensure that you are listed on the online version of the popular phone directory. A basic listing comes free of cost.
  6. Tell-A-Friend: As a personal referral from your visitors, ‘Tell-A-Friend’ is a great means to direct traffic to your website. This is most likely to result in conversions because visitors who are referred by a friend are more likely to buy!
  7. RSS Feeds: You can syndicate your site’s content with the help of RSS feeds. Once you have RSS on your website, you can submit your feeds to aggregator sites like FeedBoy, FeedBomb, FeedCat, Feedfury, Feedburner among others.
  8. Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon: You can bookmark your website and blogs at the various social bookmarking sites online. There are more than 400 free sites that you can sign up and submit your website at.
  9. Technorati: It is a leading blog search engine which collects, organizes and distributes the global online conversation. It also matches bloggers and social media creators with marketers who are interested in the discussion. All you need to do is sign up and claim your blog.
  10. Social Media: Social networking is a huge draw on the internet today. Millions of people around the world use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and a number of other such sites. These websites have options to create/join communities, post a link etc so you can use your profile to publicize your services
  11. Article Marketing: Informative articles are a great way to market your website. You can submit your articles [with a link-back to your website] at the various article submission directories.
  12. Yahoo! Groups: If you have a Yahoo! ID, you can go ahead and create a group in the niche that your site sits in. Ask your friends and colleagues to join the group and initiate discussions through groups so you can advertise your products and services.
  13. Video: Upload video testimonials from clients, video your business or the people that make it unique. YouTube and Vimeo are popular choices.
  14. Blogs: With the popularity of blogs rapidly increasing now is the time to jump on the wagon. This doesn’t mean you have to blog every day or even have every topic be ground-breaking. What it does mean is that you are getting the information out there to be found and linked to by potential clients. Over time, these links grow exponentially and soon, your site will have many inbound links to it.
  15. Internet TV and Radio: Be the star of your very own TV show or even promote your services using Internet Radio and get yourself front page listings on Google in less than 4 hours.
  16. Press Release Submissions: Writing and submitting press releases related to your business and service is an important aspect of online marketing campaigns today. With a little research you can find a number of websites which will accept press releases for free. You can also grade your press release for free at Press Release Grader
  17. Forum Marketing: Find relevant forums for your website, post your profile and questions or answer queries in the forum to generate traffic for your website.
  18. E-mail Marketing: E-mail marketing is one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools available to businesses today. Even small businesses are tapping into this incredible resource. There are a plethora of reasons to send out an eMail Newsletter, eVite or eMail Marketing campaign.
  19. E-mail Signatures: Don’t underestimate the significance of an e-mail signature. Ensure that your e-mail signature includes your contact details and your website details as well. You could even run a promotion through your email signature.
  20. Run a Contest: Run an interesting contest on your website with goodies to give away. Find out how you can get free TV and Radio publicity for your website and service through these contests too!

Google Disables Discussion Search

Yesterday, Google has completely removed the ability to use their discussion search filter. google discussion search GoneEarlier this year, Google removed the feature from their search filters but savvy searchers were able to access it via Chrome extension or by going to google.com/?tbm=dsc which would power the discussion filter.

Google completely disabled it so now you can no longer filter Google search results by discussion forums.

Many searchers are not happy with the disappearance of the feature.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Web Search Help.

Google Plus Drops Name Restrictions

Google announced last night on Google+ that they have removed their naming restrictions, preventing you from using nicknames and pseudonyms.

So if you wanted to use the name “rustybrick” because you didn’t want to use your real name, for privacy reasons, you can. If you wanted to use “GoogleGuy,” you could.

This was how things were back in the day, very few people 10 years ago used their real names. Everyone used nicknames within the social network or discussion forum they participated in. Now, it is less common.

Google+ is now allowing for it because, well, I guess they want to solve their YouTube comments problem. Here is the post:

Google plus

When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names.Over the years, as Google+ grew and its community became established, we steadily opened up this policy, from allowing +Page owners to use any name of their choosing to letting YouTube users bring their usernames into Google+. Today, we are taking the last step: there are no more restrictions on what name you can use.

We know you’ve been calling for this change for a while. We know that our names policy has been unclear, and this has led to some unnecessarily difficult experiences for some of our users. For this we apologize, and we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be. Thank you for expressing your opinions so passionately, and thanks for continuing to make Google+ the thoughtful community that it is.

So go get em!

Forum discussion at Google+ & WebmasterWorld.