Google are showing that they might be getting back to basics, by focusing on improvements to Adwords and Analytics, as well as good news about Chrome. It comes amidst comments from Google that Google + may turn more into a product that supports their different services, rather than a standalone social network (the latter part is my own interpretation) and random moves such as opening a shop and promoting Will.I.Am on their homepage. It shows that they may have gone far enough with the gimmicks and are now focusing on the products that made them great in the first place, and that they might be switching focus to ensure these products continue to get better and don't risk getting swallowed up by other competitors. It's been a busy few days for Google, without any particularly splashy headlines.
Change in the Adwords algorithm
It's something that comes along every now and again, which means that PPC marketers need to change focus slightly and Google have just released a new change to Adwords. Following a test period in select countries, they are now rolling out the update which will see more importance placed on keywords and landing pages. It is a a move closer to focusing on relevant content overall which will help to contribute to a more positive user experience on adwords. The onus now is on the advertiser to create rich, quality content on the landing url of a Google Ad, in order to keep their quality score up and their cost per click down.
This is crucial for Google to focus on as above anything they have to continue to offer a positive and quality user experience via search - both organic and paid - as it's what they stand on.
Chrome second most popular browser?
Google recently made an update to Chrome to improve the security features, getting in on a very hot topic right now : online privacy. Things seem to be going well for Chrome overall, as Stat Counter have predicted that by December this year, Chrome will edge past Mozilla Firefox to become the second most popular browser, after Internet Explorer. If this is to come true, it would represent a huge growth period for Chrome - by far the newest to the market out of the top 3, yet close to sitting in second position. It will still have a long way to go to topple Explorer, which in September held 40% market share compared to Chrome's 23.6% but if they continue to focus on it, it could topple Explorer in a couple of years.
Google Analytics SEO Reports
Last week they announced the launch of real-time analytics and now Google have released a further update to Analytics, that will see improved reporting through the site. If you have a Webmaster account, you can now get hold of an SEO report through your Google Analtyics. According to Google, this report will feature : Queries (click data on the top 1,000 queries to your site) ; Landing Pages (click data on the top 1,000 landing pages daily) and Geographical summary (click data split down by country). The reports will help site owners manage their SEO effectively, as Google is giving you a greater insight into the traffic to your site, search queries and how the traffic is performing. While the information was previously available through Webmaster Tools, Google has effectively merged this with Analytics, to make life a lot easier.
The need for focus
In the week that's seen Google announce their first retail outlet in the world, it's evident that they need to get back to focusing on the basics. This might work to get them headlines, but things are far from rosy at Google, as they have recently been downgraded from 'buy' to 'hold' on the stock market, by an analyst. Jordan Rohan cites increased competition from Facebook as the reason for this, but perhaps more worryingly for Google that slowed down growth in search engine advertisting is also a contributing factor. If Google neglect search or Adwords - the pillars of the entire company - then they risk losing it all. There are still huge gaps in the market for a new, social search experience that Google may be best positioned to take advantage, if they can focus on it for long enough...