Nothing stands still in SEO, it’s constantly shifting, to be able to adjust and move with it, I feel like you have to keep your finger on the pulse.
I manage this by running my own tests and reading news and articles from other SEOs, who I feel know what they are talking about. Here are some of the articles that I found valuable or at least worth talking about over the last couple of weeks.
If you have an opinion, feel free to share it!
Does More Keyword Traffic Mean More Sales?
With client SEO, keyword traffic is critical but it’s pretty much out of your control. Sure you can make some decisions on which search terms to target but if your client is an accountant in Dallas, you have to go after the keywords that are going to get your client new business. It’s more a case of doing the best you can with what you have.
However, with affiliate SEO it’s a completely different ball game. You get to decide on the niche and a large part of that decision is based on keyword traffic. It has to be big enough to be worth your time whilst being realistic (whatever that means).
The problem with keyword traffic is it is not linear. Not completely. It doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand that the more traffic a keyword has the more sales you’ll make. There are a lot of variables.
Ahrefs used their access to some serious data to run a test with 100k search queries to test the question.
So yeah, the graph shows there IS a correlation, it’s a good rule of thumb to work to, but there are plenty of exceptions to the rule too. It doesn’t always bare true.
For a start, which source do you rely on to get your data from? Because the results are vastly different when it comes to traffic, depending on the tool you use. Look at the table below. It’s as much as 5 x different, probably more with other search terms.
There’s more to the problem than knowing which data to believe. It’s a bit of a minefield.
Ahrefs do a good job in walking you through the other issues. This is really valuable to SEOs that run affiliate sites or are thinking about it. Definitely worth checking out.
Do You Have Omitted Results?
Most people will not have to suffer this headache of having their website or blog show up in the omitted results. But it’s something you need to be aware of, and you should have an idea what to do if omitted at any point in the future. At The Search Initiative we’ve created our own SOPs to deal with omitted results.
To my understanding, there are 2 main reasons why you might find that you have pages being omitted from the search results.
The first is not a biggie. If Google finds pages with similar content on your site, they might decide that it’s so similar they’ll omit one of them from the search results. Not a major catastrophe because you should already be ranking with the other page, that’s the point.
You might be looking to dominate a search term with multiple pages rankings. If that’s the case, you need to ensure that Google sees each page as unique or the shit is going to hit the fan.
That is more than just a slight rewrite and different tags, Google is a lot smarter at understanding content now. You need to offer something different.
The second issue is normally an issue that newer sites might suffer from. A site that isn’t ranking for keywords yet.
You are trying to get your site moving and you find out that your pages are being omitted. Ouch.
The reason is very similar to the first.
Google has decided that your pages are not really offering much different than pages that already exist on more established sites.
So the fix is simple to do, you need to create some great, original content. Promote it a bit with some content marketing and link building, show Google that people are loving the content and it should be problem solved.
There’s also some technical onsite SEO you can do that will help, and equally, there are things you should definitely not do!
Turning Something Old Into Something New
Interesting test by Niche Pursuits here, where they look at the effects of refreshing some old content.
With Google constantly re-evaluating the value of your content, site-wide, if you haven’t done the same yet, it’s probably about the time that you take a look at what you’ve got and how you might be able to refresh it. Niche Pursuits went through that process at the beginning of the new year and were astonished by the size and speed of the results.
Doubling the content in terms of wordage had a 120% increase in traffic on one page and 150% on another. That’s a #trafficboner right there.
There are plenty of reasons why updating your content will have you smiling when you check your rankings. For a start, having more detailed, in-depth content really should be what’s ranking first in Google because it’s giving the searchers the best possible experience.
It’s not rocket science, giving Google what they say they want
Improving content to improve bounce rate and time on site helps. You get to rethink keyword targeting too whilst you are at it. You also get to refresh the publish date. Google loves fresh content because searchers love it.
That’s some of the reasons why updating your content might put you on Google’s good side, the article on Niche Pursuits offers a load of information about how you go about refreshing your content to make it as Google friendly as possible.
Tapping Into Your Competitor’s Links
Offsite SEO is essentially simple. Take a look at your competitors, what they’re doing, and all things being equal, if you get better value links in larger quantities, you’ll outrank them.
It all starts with competitor analysis because whether they know what they’re doing or it’s just random luck they appear to be making Google happy enough to put them to the top of the rankings. Either way, if you can mimic and be better than your competitor, you’re on your way to the top of the search results.
The first step is to understand who you are competitors are.
You have to get your head around the idea that you’ve 2 different types of competitor. The first is a competitor at domain level which are competing with you on a host of different keywords. Then you’ll have competitors at a page level too.
Once you’ve defined who your competitors are, there are different strategies you can use to use that data to find link opportunities and Ahrefs will walk you through 7 of them in this article. I’m talking about actionable info that can make an impact on your rankings..
At Authority Builders we help with new link opportunities from real sites with genuine traffic and referring domains, so there is more than 1 way to approach outreach and get results, but as much as using ABC makes link building quick and effective, it would be a huge waste of an opportunity not to look at your competitors backlinks too because it’s a goldmine.
R.I.P SEO, long live SEO (again)?
Let’s not be melodramatic, SEO is not dead or even dying, but it is changing and it could be changing beyond all recognition. At least it might if one of the latest tests Google has run gets rolled out more widely.
From March 2018 Google started to remove search results on queries that Google feels they are able to answer themselves. At this point we are looking at time queries “Time in New York now” and calculations.
For a time Google was just showing their answer. Well… not strictly true, they still continued to show adverts too, so it’s just organic results they removed.
Google are quoted as saying it’s an experiment to speed up page load speeds to improve searcher experience.
If you follow this through, then it can be argued that Google becomes an answer engine more than a search engine, which would be a completely different model but the reality is, if you take Google at their word, this is only planned as a test, and it’s only being limited to searches such as time and calculations. But what if…
Sponsorship Links: Good, Bad or Just A Waste Of Time
You’ve heard of sponsorship link building or marketing, right? But have you really really heard of it?
Most people consider look at sponsorship marketing and think scholarship links from local edu sites. Back in the day, it was a sexy link to get, .edu sites offer plenty of authority and trust.
But in terms of local SEO, there’s so much more to sponsorship marketing than just the local university or college links.
There are a never-ending number of local events, you’ll get a link if they have a site, and you’ll get plenty of social traffic to the site, all organic and natural. Finally, you’ll have the branding value of being part of the community. There is the opportunity to be seen at events, have adverts and logos on promo materials. Have a stand or stall, get to speak. it’s endless.
It’s more than a link, it’s a whole marketing channel with the added benefit of having some SEO value. But when done from an SEO perspective you get to maximize that component of any sponsorship agreement. The link, the social media, the natural viral component, all local. But at the same time, you should get business too. It’s exposure and branding.
Moz does a good job and laying it out in more detail.
Do quotation marks or parentheses affect SEO?
Are you one of those writers who loves to use quotes or brackets?
But have you ever thought about it from an SEO perspective? Because brackets are stylistic as often as they are grammatical so could it really be that you’re damaging your SEO?
How does Google look at SEO (Search Engine Optimization) compared to SEO – Search Engine Optimization? What if it’s in the H1?
The answer appears to be that most of the time, it doesn’t matter. Parenthesis at least, and quotation marks are a little more complicated because the exact match search uses quotes marks but it doesn’t look it’s a major issue.
Not according to John Mu, from Google who joined a conversation on Twitter recently to confirm Google’s position. So feel free to use brackets and quote marks freely, it’s not going to negatively impact SEO.
Straight from the horse’s mouth:
“Today we’re announcing that after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, we’ve started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing.”
Just to be clear…
Until now Google has used the Desktop version for indexing, crawling and ranking. Not now. After 18 months of testing Google are putting the emphasis on mobile search and have decided to use it to rank first.
According to Google, there is no advantage in being mobile first, and at the end of the day content is still content.
Now it’s here, you want to be making sure you have great mobile page load speeds because although Google has not said anything more on that particular subject recently, it has to be an increasingly important component to mobile SEO. An easy fix too.
Read what Google has to say about going mobile first here.
Google moving to knowledge-based searches?
Since the beginning of Google, SEOs have been focused on keywords, built around string-based searches.Google managed to train people to search for things using keywords too, which made it really effective.
However, Google’s increased ability to understand content, has allowed them to start to move towards knowledge-based searches.
In other words,searchers are now able to ask more and more questions or speak more naturally.
“What is the name of the movie Where Jack Nicholson says here’s Johnny?”
Google can now analyze the search term to understand more accurately what the searcher is looking for resulting in a better and quicker experience.
Google filed a patent at the beginning of the year that suggests they are moving more and more into question-based queries:
“Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media, for generating an ontology of entity attributes. One of the methods includes extracting a plurality of attributes based upon a plurality of queries; and constructing an ontology based upon the plurality of attributes and a plurality of entity classes.”
The big question is, are you getting ahead of the curve with how you structure the content on your pages before it’s too late and you find yourself playing catch up?
Yes, there was another algo update! (So says Google)
At the beginning of the month, we started to notice an algo update, which has since been confirmed by Google as some general housekeeping, something they try to do a few times a year.
People speculate that the update was about tightening up on the SERPs, about boosting unrewarded sites more than dishing out penalties.
Search Engine Watch did some research and analysis in the search results and reported some major fluctuations, with some sites dropping out of the top 100 rankings before settling back down to somewhere near their original rankings, however across the board most saw a minor drop once they’d settled down.
So frustration rather than an epic meltdown.
Closer inspection saw that content that has good user intent was treated kindly by the update. There’s a none too subtle piece of advice straight from Google.