SEO News: Panda, Penguin and Hackers, Oh My!

Hi I’m Paul Steinbrueck and welcome to OurChurch.Com’s monthly SEO Update for September 2015, keeping you up to date on what’s happening in the world of search and how it affects you.

The last month has been relatively quiet in terms of search marketing news, and all the news revolves around Google… except where it matters most.

1) Google Cuts the Local Pack to 3

For years Google has been integrating local search results in with the general results.  So, when you search Google for something it thinks is related to something in your local area, it embed a map and local listings into the search results.  We call this the “Local Pack”  For a while, Google included 10 listings in the Local Pack, then it was 7.  Now, Google is only showing 3 results.

How does this affect you?  If you’re a local business like a plumber or a local organization like a church or school, when people search for organizations like yours, you now have to be in the top 3 to appear on the map that’s displayed.

If your site was number 4-7 you’ve got some work to do or you’re going to end up with fewer visitors.

If you’re site is in the top 3, expect more competition as numbers 4-7 try to get into the top 3.


2) Google Tests Paid Local Results

Not only are there fewer listings being shown in the Local Pack, but now Google is testing paid listings in the local results.  Which will make it even more difficult to get local search traffic.


3) Google Shows More Text Ads in Mobile Search Results

If that wasn’t enough, Google also appears to have increased the number of text ads it displays at the top of its mobile search results from 2 to 3.

If you combine, all three of these news items, it’s obvious Google is reducing the visibility of organic or free local search listings and increasing the visibility of ads.  This is a trend we’ve seen for years as Google continues to try to increase its ad revenue.

What is the average website owner to do about this?

Well for years, we’ve talked about how search engine optimization has provided a great return on investment (or ROI).  These changes are forcing organizations to either work harder for better search rankings or pay for AdWords.

We encourage you to monitor your website visitors and conversions and the sources of those visitors and conversions.  If the trend seems to be down, consider stepping up your SEO or paid search campaigns.  (Or if you’re not doing either SEO or AdWords and have been relying on free traffic, it may be time to be more intentional about your search marketing)


4) Google Adds Tweets to Search Results

Several months ago Google and Twitter announced a new partnership.  Now Google has announced it is beyond the testing phase and is officially including tweets in its search results.  Similar to images, videos, local results, and shopping results, tweets are only shown in the search results for some searches, those Google deems relevant.  Google will continue to tweak which searches get tweets in the results, whose tweets get displayed and so forth.


5) Bing, Yahoo Gain Market Share

So far, Google has gotten all the headlines in this month’s update, but Bing & Yahoo gets the headline that perhaps matters most – market share.  ComScore released their search market share numbers for July.  Month to month changes in market share are so small that they seem meaningless, but over the last year, Google’s market share has dropped 3.7% from 67.6% to 64% while Bing has increased 1.1% from 19.2% to 20.3% and Yahoo increased 1.9% from 9.8% to 12.7%.

Clearly Google is still the dominant search engine, but combined with last month’s news that Bing will be supplying AOL’s search results and the expected gain in market share Bing is expected to get from its integration in Windows 10, it looks like the search marketing is becoming more competitive.

It also makes me wonder if Google’s continual effort to display more ads and less organic search results may be pushing people to try other search engines.


That is all for this month’s update.

Remember, we live in this internet age, so it’s important that you stay strong in the search engines so you can achieve your mission online.  We here at OurChurch.Com are here to help you do that, so if we can answer any questions for you or do anything else to help you improve your search engines and achieve your mission online, please give us a call or send us an email.

Thanks for watching!

13 Responses to “SEO News: Panda, Penguin and Hackers, Oh My!”

  1. Well! this is so much news of SEOs. You have done so much work on search engine ranking and ratings and their working. The thing is Google has always been the most favourite search engine of the world's majority population. Reasons can be Google is very intelligent or it's very customizable and the thing is Google is now a necessity. The search engine in so many parts of the world is just known as google. Nice blog. I enjoyed it.

  2. Regardless if Penguin, or other animal-named updates go real time, Google’s motives do not change — to deliver the most relevant results to each and every person who uses the search engine. In order to ensure SEOs and marketers play by the rules, Google has instituted severe repercussions, including real-time penalization.

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