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A review of the payday loans algorithm in 2019

August 2, 2019 No Comments

The payday loans industry continues to be a lucrative and popular sector in the UK.

With Google’s SERPs overwhelmed with black hat SEO and hacked sites, the search engine giant responded with a unique payday loans algorithm, which they have continued to develop and refine since 2013, as touched upon in the payday loans algorithm review from last year.

Never before had Google dedicated an entire algorithm to one particular product so openly, and at the time it was considered ground-breaking.

However, since my last piece, the industry has seen further challenges and changes and this has had a profound impact on the companies that rank and the type of search terms that we see.

Notably, the rise in compensation claims has seen the casualty of four of the UK’s largest lenders and this has opened up the market for other lenders and brokers to capture up to one million more leads that were previously unattainable. So getting to page one for “payday loans” is still very hot on the agenda for a lot of companies and new entrants.

Payday loans algorithm - Search in Google

How to rank for payday loans in 2019

Content

The use of fresh content is important, as it is for most industries and services. Specifically, for payday loans, the use of quality landing pages (rather than a homepage) is more effective to rank for key terms. Across the top 20 search positions, only three are using their homepage to rank, with 17 using devoted landing pages which either use /payday-loans/, /payday-loans-uk/ or /payday-loans-alternative/.

Whilst mentioning the use of alternatives was very popular last year, this is now only mentioned in two meta-titles across the top 20 positions.

No comparison tables

Similar to last year, there are still no comparison tables that are in the top search results, with the closest one on page three (all the lenders) and not even the dominant Money.co.uk featured anywhere in the top four pages. When compared to other products such as credit cards and car insurance, comparison tables are used in the majority of page one listings.

The lack of comparison tables is surprising, given the regulator’s encouragement for consumers to use more comparison sites in this space and for each lender, by law, to list at least one price comparison website (PCW) on their homepage.

Direct lenders still rule

With no comparison websites, the sites classed as ‘direct lenders’ continue to be the strongest ranking websites, hence many lenders are using this terminology in their meta-data, internal links, and content.

Google has clearly favored those sites with clear user intent and ability to find the product and apply for it in the same place, without having to leave. Direct lenders have used multiple calls-to-action on their landing pages and this is proving fruitful.

Links, links, and more links

The payday loans algorithm continues to be heavily influenced by the use of links and link manipulation. Many sites ranking in the top five and top 10 for payday loans continue to use PBN networks and buying links with a mix of the brand match and exact match to multiple landing pages. Topped off with a regular monthly disavow file, this seems to be working well and consistently for various lenders who continue to stay on page one for more than two years.

Elsewhere, some new entries have come into the market by taking older domains with strong backlinks and not necessarily ones that are loans or finance related. The likes of Omacl, New Horizons, and CUJ have made huge strides in the last 12 months, from being virtually unknown and leveraging strong links in education, science, and technology – suggesting that Google also rewards links from different industries.

Elsewhere, for many direct lenders, they have benefitted by buying and selling leads from lead generation brokers such as Quint and have subsequently gained links in privacy policies and terms and conditions (even though no link is necessarily required) from numerous sites. This has given several lenders a huge boost in rankings and a much stronger trust score than other types of links.

Is the market shifting towards bad credit terms?

The stricter requirements from the FCA has unsurprisingly led to fewer loans being funded and tougher circumstances for those with bad credit. This has increased the number of search volumes for bad credit terms, including bad credit loans (145,000 monthly searches) and other variations such as ‘payday loans for bad credit’ (40,500 monthly searches) and ‘payday loans no credit check’ (27,100 monthly searches) – in fact, some sites have been optimized specifically to target these terms such as bad credit site and payday bad credit.

Trust signals and user engagement

Whilst trust signals such as about us pages, FAQs, and contact pages will always be useful across SEO, Google may be giving weight to other features such as calculators, forms and basic information.

Referring to Wonga.com, the former market leader, they had been dominating the top three positions for payday loans for over five years, but since going into administration in November and removing its calculator and basic loan information, today it is not even only the first 10 pages of Google.

Manual changes by Google

Whilst only an urban myth, many SEO professionals will hint at the idea that Google is making manual changes and choosing to upgrade and demote various sites in the payday loans algorithm.

Following an algorithm change in March and June, we have seen some select sites gain huge improvements and some fall massively. This could just be the cyclical nature of algorithms and Google updates, or genuine attempts by Google to improve the quality of search results for potential payday loan customers.

Concluding points to rank for payday loans in 2019

  • Landing pages more successful than homepages
  • Comparison tables less successful than direct lenders
  • Links are hugely important. PBNs are successful and strong links from other industries, although they may be unrelated to loans and finance.
  • Bad credit terms are showing an increase in search volumes
  • Trust signals such as calculators and loan information are vital

Search results are cyclical and subject to algorithm updates.

Daniel Tannenbaum is the CEO of Guarantor Loan Comparison.

The post A review of the payday loans algorithm in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


App revenue tops $39 billion in first half of 2019, up 15% from first half of last year

July 4, 2019 No Comments

App store spending is continuing to grow, although not as quickly as in years past. According to a new report from Sensor Tower, the iOS App Store and Google Play combined brought in $ 39.7 billion in worldwide app revenue in the first half of 2019 — that’s up 15.4% over the $ 34.4 billion seen during the first half of last year. However, at that time, the $ 34.4 billion was a 27.8% increase from 2017’s numbers, then a combined $ 26.9 billion across both stores.

Apple’s App Store continues to massively outpace Google Play on consumer spending, the report also found.

In the first half of 2019, global consumers spent $ 25.5 billion on the iOS App Store, up 13.2% year-over-year from the $ 22.6 billion spent in the first half of 2018. Last year, the growth in consumer spending was 26.8%, for comparison’s sake.

Still, Apple’s estimated $ 25.5 billion in the first half of 2019 is 80% higher than Google Play’s estimated gross revenue of $ 14.2 billion — the latter a 19.6% increase from the first half of 2018.

The major factor in the slowing growth is iOS in China, which contributed to the slowdown in total growth. However, Sensor Tower expects to see China returning to positive growth over the next 12 months, we’re told.

To a smaller extent, the downturn could be attributed to changes with one of the top-earning apps across both app stores: Netflix.

Last year, Netflix dropped in-app subscription sign-ups for Android users. Then, at the end of December 2018, it did so for iOS users, too. That doesn’t immediately drop its revenue to zero, of course — it will continue to generate revenue from existing subscribers. But the number will decline, especially as Netflix expands globally without an in-app purchase option, and as lapsed subscribers return to renew online with Netflix directly.

In the first half of 2019, Netflix was the second highest earning non-game app with consumer spending of $ 339 million, Sensor Tower estimates, down from $ 459 million in the first half of 2018. (We should point out the firm bases its estimates on a 70/30 split between Netflix and Apple’s App Store that drops to 85/15 after the first year. To account for the mix of old and new subscribers, Sensor Tower factors in a 25% cut. But Daring Fireball’s John Gruber claims Netflix had a special relationship with Apple where it had an 85/15 cut from year one.)

In any event, Netflix’s contribution to the app stores’ revenue is on the decline.

In the first half of last year, Netflix had been the No. 1 non-game app for revenue. This year, that spot went to Tinder, which pulled in an estimated $ 497 million across the iOS App Store and Google Play, combined. That’s up 32% over the first half of 2018.

1h 2019 app revenue worldwide

But Tinder’s dominance could be a trend that doesn’t last.

According to recent data from eMarketer, dating app audiences have been growing slower than expected, causing the analyst firm to revise its user estimates downward. It now expects that 25.1 million U.S. adults will use a dating app monthly this year, down from its previous forecast of 25.4 million. It also expects that only 21% of U.S. single adults will use a dating app at all in 2019, and that will only grow to 23% by 2023.

That means Tinder’s time at the top could be overrun by newcomers in later months, especially as new streaming services get off the ground (assuming they offer in-app subscriptions); if TikTok starts taking monetization seriously; or if any other large apps from China find global audiences outside of China’s third-party app stores.

For example, Tencent Video grossed $ 278 million globally in the first half of 2019, outside of the third-party Chinese Android app stores. That made it the third-largest non-game app by revenue. And Chinese video platform iQIYI and YouTube were the No. 4 and No. 5 top-grossing apps, respectively.

Meanwhile, iOS app installs actually declined in the first half of the year, following the first quarter that saw a decline in downloads, Q1 2019, attributed to the downturn in China.

The App Store in the first half of 2019 accounted for 14.8 billion of the total 56.7 billion app installs.

Google Play installs in the first half of the year grew 16.4% to 41.9 billion, or about 2.8 times greater than the iOS volume.

1h 2019 app downloads worldwide

The most downloaded apps in the first half of 2019 were the same as before: WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook led the top charts. But TikTok inched ahead of Instagram for the No. 4 spot, and it saw its installs grow around 28% to nearly 344 million worldwide.

In terms of mobile gaming specifically, spending was up 11.3% year-over-year in the first half of 2019, reaching $ 29.6 billion across the iOS App Store and Google Play. Thanks to the fallout of the game licensing freeze in China, App Store revenue growth for games was at $ 17.6 billion, or 7.8% year-over-year growth. Google Play game spending grew by 16.8% to $ 12 billion.

The top-grossing games, in order, were Tencent’s Honor of Kings, Fate/Grand Order, Monster Strike, Candy Crush Saga and PUBG Mobile.

1h 2019 game revenue worldwide

Meanwhile, the most downloaded games were Color Bump 3D, Garena Free Fire and PUBG Mobile.

Image credits: Sensor Tower

Mobile – TechCrunch


Demo your startup at TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019

July 2, 2019 No Comments

Every year hundreds of startups launch with dreams of becoming the next enterprise software unicorn. And it’s no wonder, given the $ 500 billion market and the rate at which the enterprise giants snap up emerging players. If you’re the founder of an early-stage enterprise startup, join us for TC Sessions: Enterprise in San Francisco on September 5 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Even better, grab the opportunity by the horns and buy a Startup Demo Package. There is limited space available. This is your chance to plant your company in front of some of the most influential enterprise movers and shakers — we’re talking more than 1,000 attendees. Demo tables are reserved for startups with less than $ 3 million in funding and are available for $ 2,000, which includes four tickets to the event.

This day-long intensive event features speakers, panel discussions, demos, workshops and world-class networking. Get ready for a head-on, hype-free exploration of the considerable challenges enterprise companies face — regardless of their size.

TechCrunch editors will interview founders and leaders from both established and up-and-coming companies on topics ranging from intelligent marketing automation and the cloud to machine learning and AI. And they’ll question enterprise-focused VCs about where they’re directing their early, middle and late-stage investments.

The full roster of speakers is still to be announced, but here’s a quick hit of who you can expect at TC Sessions: Enterprise.

You’ll hear from Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, a company that’s changed the way developers work. Want to hear more about enterprise and the cloud? Snowflake’s co-founder and president of product, Benoit Dageville, will be on hand to talk about the company’s mission to bring the enterprise database to the cloud.

Have someone you want to hear from our stage? Submit your speaker suggestion here.

Pro Tip: For each TC Sessions: Enterprise ticket you buy, we’ll register you for a complimentary Expo Only pass to TechCrunch Disrupt SF on October 2-4.

TC Sessions: Enterprise takes place September 5 at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your early-stage enterprise startup in front of leading enterprise software founders, investors and technologists. Buy your Startup Demo Package today.

Looking for sponsorship opportunities? Contact our TechCrunch team to learn about the benefits associated with sponsoring TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Get your early-bird tickets to TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019

June 20, 2019 No Comments

In a world where the enterprise market hovers around $ 500 billion in annual sales, is it any wonder that hundreds of enterprise startups launch into that fiercely competitive arena every year? It’s a thrilling, roller-coaster ride that’s seen it all: serious success, wild wealth and rapid failure.

That’s why we’re excited to host our inaugural TC Sessions Enterprise 2019 event on September 5 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Like TechCrunch’s other TC Sessions, this day-long intensive goes deep on one specific topic. Early-bird tickets are on sale now for $ 395 — and we have special pricing for MBA students and groups, too. Buy your tickets now and save.

Bonus ROI: For every ticket you buy to TC Sessions: Enterprise, we’ll register you for a free Expo Only pass to TechCrunch Disrupt SF on October 2-4. Sweet!

Expect a full day of programming featuring the people making it happen in enterprise today. We’re talking founders and leaders from established and emerging companies, plus proven enterprise-focused VCs. Discussions led by TechCrunch’s editors, including Connie Loizos, Frederic Lardinois and Ron Miller, will explore machine learning and AI, intelligent marketing automation and the inevitability of the cloud. We’ll even touch on topics like quantum computing and blockchain.

Tired of the hype and curious about what it really takes to build a successful enterprise company? We’ve got you. You’ll hear from proven serial entrepreneurs who’ve been there, done that and what they might like to build next.

We’re building the agenda of speakers, panelists and demos, and we have a limited number of speaking opportunities available. If you have someone in mind, submit your recommendation here.

This event is perfect for enterprise-minded founders, investors, MBA students, engineers, CTOs and CIOs. If you need four or more tickets, take advantage of our group rate and save 15% over the early-bird price when you buy in bulk. Are you an MBA student? Save your dough — buy a student ticket for $ 245.

TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019 takes place September 5 in San Francisco. Join us for actionable insights and world-class networking. Buy your early-bird tickets today.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


The Top 25 Most Influential Experts of 2019

June 2, 2019 No Comments

It’s that time of year again! The time to release our newest edition of the Top 25 and honor some of the hardest workers in our tight-knit PPC community. Find out the 2019 Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in the world.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Snap appoints new execs as it aims to keep 2019 momentum

May 21, 2019 No Comments

Snap has another appointment in the apt saga of its ephemeral CFOs.

Four months after losing its CFO Tim Stone following a reported “personality clash” between Stone and CEO Evan Spiegel, Snap has promoted its VP of Finance Derek Andersen to the role, the company said Monday. Andersen is the company’s third CFO since March of 2017, when it went public.

Lara Sweet, who was serving as the company’s interim CFO as well as the chief accounting officer, will be stepping into a new role as chief people officer.

Snap has had a less cataclysmic 2019 in the public markets compared to its two previous calendar years. Snap has nearly doubled its share price since the year’s start, though the stock still sits just above where it was one year ago.


Social – TechCrunch


Kenshoo Trends Report – The state of search advertising in 2019

May 16, 2019 No Comments

Search advertising has seen consistent growth over the last year in all the key metrics among advertisers. Here’s everything you need to know.

It’s been a good year for paid search and anyone working in the industry. Benchmarking can help us understand where we are and what we should consider as success in our work. Kenshoo has released its Q1 2019 Quarterly Trends Report to look at the latest trends in social and search advertising. The results are very encouraging for search and we’re looking at the key stats here.

An increase in spending and impressions

Kenshoo's search volume report for Q1 2019

It’s interesting to see that there has been a drop from the last quarter both in the spending and the impressions in paid search. More specifically, there was a 16% decrease in spending and an 18% decrease in impressions. It’s not surprising though as Q4 is usually the busiest quarter of the year with the biggest spending at the end of year campaigns.

When it comes to the comparison from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019 from Kenshoo, there has been an 11% YoY increase in paid search spending and a 36% increase in the impressions.

This means that search marketers increased their budget from 2018 to 2019 while also seeing the appropriate success in the increase of impressions.

What does a drop in CTR and CPC mean?

Kenshoo's search trend report on quarterly and yearly CTR and CPC

According to Kenshoo’s report, there has been a 25% YoY decrease in click-through rate (CTR) and also an 11% YoY decrease in CPC.

The significant drop in CTR could possibly reflect the growing competition and increased spending and impressions. It would even possibly affect an advertiser’s quality score in ads. It should not be alarming though if we also consider the drop in cost per click.

The drop in the cost per click means that search marketers are seeing an improved return on investment in their campaigns.

A combined analysis of CPC and CTR in every campaign can help us understand the different ways we can measure success in search advertising and how each metric can help us improve our efficiency.

Mobile search ads are on the rise

Kenshoo's report on the quarterly mobile search trend

There is an increasing number of people relying on their smartphones when performing searches. Thus, it’s not a surprise that there has been an increased number of mobile searches from Q1 2018 to Q1 2019.

Mobile search ads are also increasing and they currently take 50% of search spending in Q1.

It is actually the third consecutive quarter that we see this balance between mobile and desktop search spending.

As for CPC, mobile CPCs are still lower than desktop being at $ 0.42 in Q1 2019. There has been a decrease of 12% from Q1 2018, which highlights the efficiency of mobile search ads.

Search marketers understand that we are heading towards a mobile-first world so there will be an even more increased focus on mobile search and finding solutions to create the most efficient ads.

Apple Search Ads saw a big growth

Kenshoo's report on the spending done on Apple Search Ads in Q3 and Q4 of 2018, and Q1 of 2019

Apple Search Ads can be very successful if you want to promote your app. A large number of people rely on search when looking for the right app. This means that search ads in the Apple Store can have a big impact on your app’s popularity.

Kenshoo introduced Apple Search Ads to their platform in Q3 2018 and since then they’ve seen a 90% increase in their spend from advertisers.

A combination of excitement but also the understanding that Apple search ads can make your app promotion easier and more effective led to this growth and it seems to be only the beginning.

Overview

What we can learn from Kenshoo’s Trends Report is that search advertising is evolving but it’s still at a very encouraging stage.

It’s important to keep track of the latest trends and what could potentially affect our success. For example, search marketers cannot ignore the rise of mobile consumption and how it affects the spending and the results on the search ads.

Also, the drop in CTR and CPC indicates a hidden opportunity that more advertisers could explore.

The growing interest in the search industry is going beyond Google. One of the latest growing trends has to do with Apple Search Ads and we are expecting to see more of them over the next quarters.

A good way to maintain your success in the search ad industry is to monitor and benchmark the rates that will bring you closer to understanding what’s perceived as success and what can be improved.

Look at the stats and the trends that are more relevant to your work and start exploring how you can improve your own ad success through them.

The post Kenshoo Trends Report – The state of search advertising in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


6 Best Sound Machines for 2019 (Best White Noise Machines)

May 12, 2019 No Comments

Our favorite white noise and sleep sound machines for babies, kids, and adults. Tested by WIRED’s Gear team.
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Successful Landing Page Components – 2019 PPC Hero Summit Recap

May 10, 2019 No Comments

You may be doing a phenomenal job capturing traffic, but a poor landing page experience will ensure you’re not capturing those leads. Check out this recap of our PPC Hero Summit session to learn about 5 components that will lead to a successful landing page.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Facebook F8 2019 Liveblog: All the News as It Happens

April 30, 2019 No Comments

When Facebook kicks off its annual developer conference with a keynote address on Tuesday morning, we’ll be liveblogging it right here.
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