Six 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.

Oh you’ve been away all week? Right, okay. Well sit down. We have some news.

Google’s been making some changes…

Google kills its Right Hand Side Ads

The inescapable news this week is of course Google AdWords removing all the ads from the right hand of its SERPs.

Now instead of seeing PPC listings, you’ll either see an odd blank space, or Product Listing Ads, or the standard Knowledge Graph for Ryan Gosling (or insert your current crush here – mine’s still Ryan Gosling).

london hotel Google Search with right hand side ads

The ramifications for the change are myriad, but the biggest change for user and marketer alike is the increase in PPC ads at the top of the SERP from three possible links to four.

new york flights Google Search

And speaking of Google…

Google launches Accelerated Mobile Pages

Although we had been expecting the launch of AMP – Google’s open source initiative which aims to improve the performance of the mobile web – around now anyway, Google began rolling out AMP at the beginning of this week (Tues 23 Feb).

As expected, pages enabled with AMP carry a symbol on their mobile search results to tell users they are faster loading pages. And you can probably be certain that this is a positive ranking factor.

amp pages symbol

There’s lots more information on Google’s AMP project here.

And speaking of Google AGAIN…

Google to close its financial comparison service

For some people this may be the biggest (positive) change of the week. Google is to shut down Google Compare from March 23 in both the UK and US.

Google compare serps

As Graham Charlton reports, “On the face of it, this news will have competitor comparison sites jumping for joy, as Google Compare constituted a major threat to their own business models.”

A spokesperson from Google stated it has decided to focus more intently on AdWords and other future innovations, which will “enable us to provide fresh, comprehensive answers to Google users, and to provide our financial services partners with the best return on investment.”

Facebook rolls out new Like buttons

In non-Google news, Facebook has added to your arsenal of social interactions with a variety of facial expressions and emojis.

They’re called Reactions.


I still don’t have them yet and I’ve got a LOT of anger built up about it and when I eventually get them EVERY SINGLE ONE OF MY FRIENDS is getting the furious face.

Outgoing links probably good for your sites SEO

Reboot recently carried out a study to prove somewhat definitively whether or not the strength of a site’s outgoing links has an effect on ranking.

The good news is that yes it does.

Reboot created 10 new websites each targeting the same keyword, only half of which included links to high authority sites and after five months it was concluded that, “Outgoing relevant links to authoritative sites are considered in the algorithms and do have a positive impact on rankings.”


For a complete guide to the research and lots more well-explained graphs such as the one above, visit the study and be safe in the knowledge that linking to bigger sites will definitely not do you any harm in search.

Call your mum

Finally, Bing has released a few search insights in time for Mother’s Day, revealing that more than half of Mother’s Day retail searches are set to be made from a mobile device.

  • Over 60% of searches are expected to be made on the move via mobile, with search volumes set to increase by five times between 7am-9am on the day itself.
  • Women take the lead in searching for gifts, making up over two thirds (67%) of all searches.
  • Searches will increase by up to four times in the 48 hours leading up to Mother’s Day.

I’m merely including this to remind you that Mother’s Day is 6th March, so you have more than a week to buy a card. You’re welcome.

Related reading

range of amps
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