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All posts by Matthew Ncube

Matthew Ncube is a paid search rockstar living and working in London. He ploughs his trade by day managing global PPC accounts and thus sadly has a knack for quality scores, pivot tables and vlookups. A mathematician, hooked on trend data, he has been a Hitwise Power User for as long as he can remember. He’s very good at rambling on about the nifty habits and fads society finds itself hooked on. His curiosity on search trends includes politics, snow storms, cupcakes and missing teaspoons. He also prides himself as a keen gastronomist and is on a campaign to be one of London’s Qype Ninjas.
  • Keeping up with Google’s Panda

    Google has been making significant updates lately. Google Panda 2.3 Update is now live as part of a commitment to “return high-quality sites to Google users”. Judging by comments on forums such as Webmasterworld, keeping tabs on this is very tricky business. The initial premise was to weed out so-called “content farms” and other low quality sites from the SERPs. Along with some high profile casualties, a significant number of sites have been experiencing a massive drop in their rankings and consequently traffic. A couple of months ago Google stated that 12 percent of search results were to be affected...

  • Three changes to Google ads you should be aware of

    While Google Instant Preview pretty much stole the show this month, it wasn't the only development in the wonderful world of search. Here’s a brief look at three subtle changes to text ads that occurred in November, which may affect user behaviour and ultimately click through rates from the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Sponsored Links are now Ads Sponsored Links have now been labelled as Ads. This change came into effect during November after testing was reported in October. It is a minor text change which may have been made to accommodate the richer ad formats and extensions which...

  • Facebakers: Everything you ever wanted to know about Facebook

    Friends have been found, photos uploaded and tagged, gaming has gone social, status updates are now second nature and a movie, The Social Network, has been made. Keeping up with Facebook, its growth and the ways in which people are using it can be quite daunting task. But help is at hand. A nifty site called Facebakers allows you to explore the various metrics of the social networking giant. The site has been around for about a year now, but this week it launched a new look packed full of new features. You can benchmark metrics from the previous...

  • Use Google’s Broad Match Modifier for improved search results

    Innovation seems to be happening continuously at Google, which results in better and better tools for people working with the web. A classic case in point is the Adwords targeting feature called Broad Match Modifier (BMM) which was introduced to the UK and Canada in May, and then rolled out worldwide in July 2010. Basically, as Google explains it, what the BMM does is give you "greater reach with your keywords than phrase match, and more control than broad match". There are four existing keyword match types in Adwords: Broad Match, Phrase Match, Exact Match and Negative Match. A good...

  • Google Instant could mean profound changes for SEO

    Google made some big announcements yesterday, most notably the ability to search as you type, aptly called Google Instant Search. Currently available in the USA, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Russia, older browsers and users who are not signed will not see the auto results. In essence, Google is turning search into an AJAX application much like Gmail. What it comes down to is the appearance of search results before you finish...

  • How to create a marketing campaign using YouTube

    YouTube continues to grow at an astonishing pace, with 24 hours of video uploaded every single minute. As an acquisition and branding channel, placing ads on YouTube has become a simple, yet sophisticated way of reaching potential customers. With a global audience now exceeding 400 million people and a massive diversity of available content, it’s important for marketers to know how to place ads on videos which are relevant to your brand. Google recently released a Beta version of their Video Targeting Tool which makes integration with Google Adwords easier for analysis and reporting – much like how keyword campaigns...

  • A few World Cup search insights: Is it vuvuzela or “Uwe Seeler”?

    By the time the 2010 FIFA World Cup draws to a close in the second week of July, its legacy on South Africa, the African continent, and the rest of world will begin to unravel. Billions of dollars have been ploughed into infrastructure and development programmes leading up to this moment (all detailed briefly here.) But outside of the action-packed stadia and away from the drama-filled football pitches, a few interesting things are happening in search trending. Here’s the low-down on some of the big trends so far... The Vuvuzela This will probably be South Africa’s biggest export to football fans...

  • Mind your Google language

    While we carry on in our Anglophone world, assuming that English is the general lingua franca of the world wide web, it’s worth pointing out that English accounts for just under 28% in terms of usage in the web as of December 2009. Search interest in “translate” related keywords continues to grow and Google wants to break the language barrier. This is how they are doing it. Google Translate: Now on 57 languages as of this month and counting, Google Translate seeks to help us move seamlessly between Urdu and Swahili with little effort. Enter text, a webpage URL, or upload...

  • How Google search is evolving right now

    When Universal Search was introduced three years ago it was cool, and now it just got better. Google’s "new spring look", unveiled this month, promises to increase the power of search by organising the results using a left hand panel. In Google’s own words, it's “contextually relevant navigation”. This pulls together the genius behind Universal Search, Search Options and Google Squared. Nice, but it kind of looks like Microsoft's Bing. Some of us are already getting this blend of content from images, maps, books, video, and news into our web results, and the walls that traditionally separated our various search properties...