Digital Marketing News Round Up: Google Antitrust Investigation, Quick View Testing, Image Search Traffic Drop and Bing Adds Pinterest Button to Image Search

Written by Intern - 22 Apr 2013

This week’s big news comes thanks to an antitrust investigation into Google’s dominance of the market by European regulators, leading to a change in the search results. You’ll also find some vital nuggets on new ways to view websites on smartphones as well as changes to both Google and Bing Image Search. So, without further ado, let this week’s Digital Marketing News Round Up commence.

Google vs. Europe: antitrust investigation leads to changes to Google’s SERPs

Last week, Google agreed to change its search results after an antitrust investigation into whether it abuses its dominance of online search within Europe. The antitrust enquiry focused on “whether Google unfairly took advantage of its market dominance by favouring links to its own services.

Although Google will not have to change the algorithm that produces its search results, it has said it would "make users clearly aware" that it was promoting links to its own sites by using special labelling, and in some cases show links from rival search engines.

However, the agreement doesn't apply to some of Google's specialised search sites such as Google Shopping and Google Flight Search. These services differ from the likes of Google+ Local and Google News in that those participating in them, including rival specialised search sites, must pay Google up front in order to be listed in the search results.

The settlement will be legally binding for five years and Google could face a fine of up to 10% of its global annual sales if it is not followed.

Google Quick View testing on mobiles

Google is testing a new way to view websites on smartphones. The ’Quick View’ button in mobile search will instantly bring up a lightweight and possibly mobile-optimised version of the website. This method has previously been used on PDFs within Google. Although currently limited to Wikipedia only, if put into place it could lead to a better search experience for smartphone users.

The main issue as far as the industry is concerned is whether or not people landing on a site through the Quick View button would count as an actual site visitor. However, as with so many recent developments in the search landscape, it emphasises the importance of making your site accessible to those using a mobile, whether that’s through a mobile-specific site version or responsive web design.

Google Image Search traffic drop

Since Google updated their image search back in late January, sites have seen an average 63% drop in traffic from images, according to a study by Define Media Group. This is due to the end of ’phantom visits’, where websites would gain a visit when a user clicks on an image without actually going on or engaging with the site.

Although overall traffic numbers will likely have fallen in recent months, the overall quality in traffic from Image Search should have remained fairly consistent. Traffic coming from image search is now likely to be only from users who are interested in actually visiting a website rather than simply stealing its pictures. This should naturally result in an increase in such metrics as average visit duration as well as a lower bounce rate.

Bing adds Pinterest button to image search

Bing has introduced a Pin It button on every image that appears within its image search, providing yet another signal of Bing’s intent to become more integrated with social media. There’s no need to install another bookmarklet to your browser, and Pinning straight from Bing image search allows you to easily link to the original content: “Bing automatically links and gives proper attribution to the original, high-resolution source, saving you the hassle of tracking it down yourself.”

Although US-only at the moment, we can expect a worldwide rollout soon thanks to the growing popularity of Pinterest.

And that’s the end of this week’s Digital Marketing News Round Up. Let us know your take on the latest digital marketing news by leaving your comments below, and don’t forget to check back the same time next week for the latest instalment.