This month, we thought we’d bring you a quick round-up of a couple of the bigger things happening in the worlds of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay per Click (PPC).

Search giant Google began testing a new ‘Ad’ label at the start of the year, and this is now to get a global roll-out, as reported at the end of last month.Google changes how Ads are viewed in searches

The original green ad label, launched less than a year ago, is being replaced with a white one using green text. This is the latest stage in a journey that has seen the Ad labels go from being overbearingly garish to this latest, subtle camouflage in just two years.

Immediate reaction? That there’s a seamless fit with the rest of the paid placement, reducing the contrast with the organic search results. (Although Google denies this.)

But why is the search engine doing this now, will it even be noticed, and what affect will it have?

Google’s official line is that it wants to streamline how many colours are on its results pages, especially for mobile devices. The company said: “The new label is easier to read so makes our results page earlier to read.”

The change is probably best viewed as part of a broader trend towards a ‘mobile-first’ approach, and in the context of the removal of right-hand side ads and expanded text ads.

Against a backdrop of intense competition within the search industry, and the rise of ad blockers, Google is clearly keen to attract more paid clicks by paying close attention to detail.

In other developments, emoji have recently been spotted in Google AdWords ads titles, fuelling speculation that it may soon be possible for all advertisers to use them. But, so far, only limited instances of the emoji have been spotted, for example in an ad for a German car manufacturer.

Already, emoji had previously been popping up in snippets of search results. But it is expected that there will be limits on their appearance in organic search queries, and only allowed where genuinely relevant.

Insiders are predicting that the new functionality will extend to paid search.

At least theoretically, the right use of emoji could boost Click-through Rate (CTR) and, ultimately, Quality Score. It could be attention-grabbing and creative.  So get practicing your smiley face!

Assuming that this gets rolled out beyond small tests, advertisers would be able to use emoji within the ad text creation field within AdWords.

While waiting for official Google confirmation, it may be worth considering how you could potentially best make use of emoji ahead of the expected announcement. And we’d be glad to discuss this with you.

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