Apr. 13, 2015 | by Modestos Siotos 10 things you may not know about Google’s mobile-friendly update

The clock is ticking down before Google’s much anticipated ‘mobile-friendly’ algorithm update that will reward mobile-friendly pages with higher search rankings and push down those that do not qualify gets rolled out.

The below ten points have all been confirmed by Google’s representatives in various ways including official announcements, presentations, hangouts as well as Q&A sessions in recent SEO conferences such as SMX West and Brighton SEO. Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, shed some more light on the forthcoming Google update during a Q&A session at Brighton SEO. Some of the points he shared appear to have been publicly announced for the first time.

  1. It will start on April 21st and may take up to a week until it is completely rolled out.
  2. It won’t affect tablet, nor desktop performance –  just mobile.
  3. 70% of pages on the web are currently mobile friendly. This means that the update will affect the only the remaining 30%, yet it is expected to have a bigger impact than Penguin and Panda combined.
  4. A page is either mobile-friendly or not – there is no degree of mobile-friendliness on a given page.
  5. Pagespeed won’t be a ranking factor for the first release of the mobile-friendly update.
  6. Local listings will not be affected. Businesses appearing in Google pack results that do not have a mobile-friendly site will not see their pack results impacted.
  7. The algorithm will run at real-time. This means that as soon as a page becomes mobile-friendly it will benefit from the algorithm.
  8. Having a responsive website does not guarantee mobile-friendliness, unless it is correctly implemented. Other set-ups such as parallel or adaptive mobile sites can be equally considered as mobile-friendly.
  9. There are two ways to find out whether a page is mobile-friendly or not. Google’s mobile-friendly test and mobile usability report in webmaster tools.
  10. In order for Google to label a page as mobile-friendly you need to make sure that:
    • Page content isn’t built on flash or other inaccessible to search engines technologies.
    • The viewport hasn’t been set to a fixed width.
    • The meta viewport tag viewport is properly configured so browsers can scale to each different device.
    • No horizontal scrolling is required to view the content. This means that images also need to scale.
    • Font size isn’t too small so it can be easily read without zooming in.
    • Touch elements such as buttons and navigational links aren’t too close so users do not accidentally tap on other elements.

Bonus: Garry also said that Google are currently experimenting with a separate mobile index. However, separating the mobile results from the desktop ones is very challenging and this change, if it is to go ahead, will take quite some time before it gets implemented.

Here is an example of a page that isn’t mobile-friendly using Google’s mobile-friendly test tool:


Apr. 07, 2015 | by Rosie Vero Working as Marketing Assistant at iCrossing UK

This week I arrive at the one month mark since starting as Marketing Assistant at iCrossing, which seems a pretty good time to reflect on my journey so far. It feels like a lot has happened in the short time since I graduated from Bournemouth University towards the end of last year. I’d already decided that I wanted to work in digital during my yearlong placement in digital music PR where I gained an insight into how diverse, changeable and exciting the industry is. It wasn’t long before I was on the iCrossing website, applying for the job that was to be my first step onto the old career ladder.

In my first week I undertook two induction days which kick-started the settling in process for me. Although I’m based in London, the induction days were held in Brighton so it was nice to get a feel for the other office. We were also provided with a brief insight into the different activities that go on companywide. After all there are a lot of different things going on; not just in terms of services, but also the company has a great social culture and there are a lot of clubs and events to be aware of. Over all the two days were a great ice breaker, and due to the fluidity of staff between the London and Brighton office it meant that when I got to London, there were a few familiar faces (always nice on an otherwise daunting day).

instaSo since then, I’ve been working on a few really varied projects. I’ve been getting the hang of technical things like uploading posts to the company blog and editing the website. I’ve been running the Instagram account too, capturing the aforementioned social aspect of the company. People are starting to use the company hashtags and getting more involved which makes it a lot of fun. Alongside that, I’ve also been carrying out quite a comprehensive competitor analysis, which has been really interesting. It’s really rewarding to know that I’m doing things that are really worthwhile and will ultimately place us as a more competitive agency.

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Apr. 02, 2015 | by Sam Vining A closer look at Yandex’s market share in Russia

After publishing our search engine market share infographic for 2015 earlier this week, representatives from Yandex got in touch and offered an alternative view of the Russian market.

Where Statcounter has Google as the dominant player in Russia – with a market share of 53% vs. Yandex at 38% – local site has these figures reversed, with Yandex driving the greater share of users’ search visits.

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Mar. 31, 2015 | by Sam Vining Search engine infographic 2015: The countries that stand between Google and total world domination

Google has over 90% of the Search Engine market in the vast majority of countries around the world. But what about those where it doesn’t quite have this kind of stronghold? In our latest Search Engine infographic we take a closer look at the countries where Google doesn’t have over 90% and for comparison, have detailed Google’s market share in the largest economies in Europe, the BRIC countries and in Australia as well.

SearchEngine_infographic_2015-v04.07- 600px


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Mar. 23, 2015 | by James Mortimer Nine moments that put Twitter on the map

It may seem hard to believe but Twitter turned nine years old this weekend (21st March). The micro blogging network changed how the world communicates, how brands interact with customers and how news is broken around the world.

And to mark the occasion, here are Twitter’s nine biggest moments:

Twitter’s IPO – In November 2013 Twitter went public with their long awaited IPO. The stock opened at $26 a share and currently trade at around $45 although there is still much debate between investment analysts about how successful the IPO actually was.

Obama’s Twitter Town Hall – Twitter and live politics now go hand in hand but Obama was one of the first world leaders to use the platform to interact with voters on a mass scale with his Town Hall event. The hashtag #AskObama received 110,000 mentions.

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Mar. 13, 2015 | by Bill Connolly Global digital trends: The growth of mobile

The Global View

This year we have introduced The Global View – a series of Connect posts that will give you a quick snapshot of the big issues influencing digital marketing around the world, as seen by the different offices in the iCrossing network

This issue Bill Connolly our Content Marketing Manager State side is taking a closer look at what’s going on with mobile advertising right now.


(c) Johan Larsson

One of the biggest benefits to being a global organization is that we can share insights with colleagues from around the world. In the ever-changing realm of digital, brands must consider how advertising and consumer trends differ across various regions. To help facilitate that conversation, we are introducing a short blog series where iCrossing experts from around the world will offer their perspectives on a given topic. In this, our first installment, we take a look at mobile technology through the regional lens’ of the United States, the UK, and Germany.

US retailers integrating mobile with brick-and-mortar locations

Mobile has been a consideration for retailers in the form of online purchasing for a while. However, one of the largest 2015 mobile trends will be its use as a way to pay for purchases made in store. Apple Pay and the iPhone 6 are leading the way in this ecosystem, with a growing base of participating retailers like Whole Foods recognizing the payment method for consumers. In fact, Apple Pay supports credit cards that represent 90% of the credit card purchase volume in the US and can be used at 220,000 outlets. According to Engadget, Apple Pay is also helping pave the way for other tap-to-pay services like Google and Softcard, simply by raising awareness about the potential for the technology.

Another way that retailers are beginning to engage consumers through mobile is by using location-based capabilities. Geo-fencing allows marketers to send messages directly to a mobile device when the device (and by default, its user) enter into a defined geographical area. Of course, the technology has a long way to go, and most companies have yet to integrate it with their CRM systems. Enabling geo-fencing, however, has an enormous amount of potential for brands to capture busy consumers in the moment when they are near a store. Some popular solutions in this space include iBeacon, Google Now and Neer, among others.

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Mar. 12, 2015 | by Ricardo Rodriguez Boost your content’s SEO value using amplification

Amplification – or the practise of increasing a piece of content’s reach  – has always, and continues to be, an intrinsic part of the online marketing mix, but it is often an overlooked part of content strategy.

Why should I consider amplification?

Amplification can drive those all-important user & social signals that are becoming increasingly important to natural search visibility, leading to an increase in traffic, conversions and, importantly, revenue.

When should I consider amplification?

While typically, the actual implementation of amplifying tactics should come after the release of a piece of content or the launch of a campaign, it is important that amplification is part of the initial activity planning. The fact is, while your content may be seriously engaging, this does not necessarily guarantee it will be shared far and wide, or even be seen, in the first place. Plan your amplification as part of the activity as a whole; not as an afterthought.
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Mar. 06, 2015 | by Rosie Shimell International Women’s Day: Making it happen at iCrossing

This Sunday is International Women’s Day, and the theme for 2015 is ‘Make it Happen'; a powerful motif that asks us not only to celebrate the achievements of women but also to effect change by taking action.

Working in the digital sector, I was pleased to read in the Guardian this week that the UK has more Inspiring Women in technology leadership positions than any other of our European counterparts. However, we still have a long way to go if we are to improve upon the poor representation of women within STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) employers; the campaign group WISE notes this as being an abysmal 13%. And as Marketing highlighted recently, the situation is getting worse. So what can we do to help? Perhaps most importantly we need to persuade businesses to rethink the ways in which we work. The advancement in technology has made it easier than ever to work from anywhere, at any time. Why, therefore, don’t businesses take advantage of this more? Why not expand the talent pool by allowing those who need to, to work flexibly? This affects us all and is not just confined to mums; according to Working Families 60% of employees will become carers. The traditional ‘9-5 in office’ mentality needs to change if businesses want to attract and retain the best.
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Mar. 05, 2015 | by James Allen Will “mobile friendly” affect tablet search results?

Recently the Webmaster Central blog stated that on April 21st, Google will be expanding its use of ‘mobile friendliness‘ as a ranking signal. Google have directed webmasters to their Mobile Friendly Test tool and many have also been using PageSpeed Insights to drill down further into how their site might perform on a slower mobile-network connection (when compared with fibreoptic cable, etc).

Some people have been asking whether mobile friendly signals and site speed will also be important for Google’s tablet results. Information on Google’s tablet-specific results format (when set against mobile or desktop) seems to have arisen in 2011, first on Search Engine Land.

Since tablets have their own uniquely formatted Google search results, will sites which rank negatively on mobile (due to poor site speed or a lack of mobile-friendly design) also perform poorly on tablets?

There’s an awful lot to get one’s head around here. The short answer is: possibly
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Mar. 04, 2015 | by Nick Groark HTML5’s new semantic tags – what’s the SEO value?

SEO may have evolved dramatically over the years, but one constant throughout has been Google’s mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a result, Google have been constantly striving to improve their algorithm. The more advanced the algorithm becomes, the better equipped it is to serve user requests. This ensures the search engine is a better product, consolidating Google’s market share.

Fulfilling this mission has been the driving force behind the algorithm updates, which were so keenly felt with the release of the Florida Update in 2003 and then the May Day Update in 2010. However; this was nothing compared to the shockwaves caused by the first iterations of Google Panda and Penguin, first introduced in February 2011 and April 2012 respectively.

It is this concept of striving to provide high quality content and websites to users that has got me thinking about the future of SEO.

At a fundamental level HTML is the bedrock of SEO, links are the driving force, but HTML is the foundation. Getting your site right from a technical stand point in the beginning is a crucial part of any campaign and Google stress this in their guidelines:

Make your site easily accessible

Making your site more accessible seems a no brainer. It makes sense to create website content that is accessible from a technical standpoint; content should be correctly tagged and have a clear internal linking structure, as well as a defined page hierarchy and architecture.
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