Five of the most interesting SEM news stories of the week


Welcome to our weekly round-up of all the latest news and research from around the world of search marketing and beyond.

This week: Pandas, Periscopes and Paid search.

Google integrates Panda into the core ranking algorithm

As our own Chris Lake reported this week, there has been a new roll-out of Panda, and “it’s a biggie.” Google has made Panda part of its core ranking algorithm, meaning that it will be paying more attention to site quality signals than ever before. 

There’s loads more information in the above linked post, but one of the most interesting bits is Google’s comment that, “content owners shouldn’t ask how many visitors they had on a specific day, but rather how many visitors they helped.”

Panda update leads to search gains and losses for online publishers

According to a new analysis by Searchmetrics, this week’s Google search algorithm update has meant big changes in how websites currently rank.

There have been visibility gains and losses for many sites, including,,, and, for both desktop and mobile device results.

One of the biggest losers is The Atlantic, with old URLs that ranked for brand keywords and entities dropping in the SERPs.


Google outpacing Facebook in spend growth

According to IgnitionOne’s Q4 2015 Digital Marketing Report (registration required), Google is winning the battle against Facebook in terms of throwing money around the internet.

Between November 26th – December 31st, Google surpassed Facebook in growth and conversions, seeing an increase of 37% in programmatic display advertising spend and a 34% increase in conversions. Facebook saw an increase of 22% in growth and 17% in conversions. 

The cost of Facebook ads experienced a drop, with eCPMs down -6% YoY. Whereas Google saw an eCPM growth of 16%. The report suggests this is largely down to fewer (but larger) ads being shown to users. 


US display ad spend will overtake search ad spend in 2016

As we reported this week, digital display ad spend will surpass search ad spend in the US for the first time ever in 2016.

eMarketer has revealed that the categories of video, sponsorships, rich media and “banners and other” will account for the largest share of digital ad spending (47.9% – worth $32.17 billion)

  • Within the display category, one in five dollars budgeted will go to “banners and other”
  • Video will command 14.3% of ad spend, up from 12.8% in 2015
  • Rich media and video will also see spending growth, with 36.4% and 28.5% respectively.

Twitter to show live Periscope videos directly in your timeline

After last week’s episode where Twitter mooted a lengthening of the tweet character length, this week on the series known as ’Twitter makes increasingly terrible decisions’, the flak-taking social channel will bring live, auto-playing Periscope videos to your timeline.

Until now, Periscope could only be accessed through a separate app, but as of this week, users of Twitter’s iOS app can enjoy non-stop live-streaming action when they least expect/want it. 


Looking good!


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