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One of the oldest features of Search Console was the Content Keywords list, which was a feature from the very first version of Webmaster Tools in 1997. This week we learned that Google has decided to scrap it – the change went almost entirely unnoticed.
The Content Keywords report from WMT / Search Console showed webmasters how Google understands a website, based on the frequency of different keywords. The report was very basic, just offering a list of keywords (not keyword phrases) that are assumed to be most important, based on the frequency of use.
However, Google has decided that the content keywords report is no longer of any use – at least, that is what we must surmise based on its removal.
This is not the first time Google has taken keyword data away from webmasters. A few years ago Google removed keyword search data from Google Analytics, much to the horror of SEOs all over the world. Suddenly, webmasters could not see which search terms people were using to find their website – one of the most important SEO metrics was deleted.
Fetch and Render
Of course, there is no reason to feel panic over this news. Google provides far more useful tools in Search Console than content keyword data. One of the more useful tools in understanding how Google views a website is the fetch and render tool. This provides you with invaluable information on how Google sees your website, and when combined with search analytics, you will better understand what people are using your site for, and how Google ranks it accordingly.
Google does still display a lot of keyword information though. In Search Console, for example, you can still see data on which search terms your website shows in search for. This is arguably far more useful that simply showing which terms people visit from, because by knowing the average position in search and click through rate, you can work to optimise pages to perform better. Without this data, you cannot know how big the potential market is, and therefore will never know how far to take your optimisation efforts.
Content is Still King
There is no doubt that content is still king for Google. When it comes to page analyses, the content on the page literally everything. Google has made this clear, and explains it simply as: “The words on your pages, the keywords if you will, are still important for Google’s (and your users’) understanding of your pages. While our systems have gotten better, they can’t read your mind: be clear about what your site is about, and what you’d like to be found for.”
The way Google ranks websites has changed immeasurably over the past 20 years so it stands to reason that it will update its own search tools to reflect this. Google still provides a wealth of data in Search Console and Google Analytics, which can be used effectively to rank websites better. If you need some help understanding your Search Console data or optimising your SEO campaign, contact Freelance SEO Essex today.
Just a few years ago, a talk by Dave Naylor at BrightonSEO discussed that while mobile was growing quickly, it had not broken into the ecommerce market. Last weekend this all changed – mobile has finally come of age.
Back in 2013, people used mobiles to find products and to read reviews, but very rarely would sales be completed. Electronic carts and payment systems were just too cumbersome for mobile purchases, so a majority of users would do their research on mobile from the comfort of their sofa or while on the daily commute, and then make the purchase once they had access to a desktop PC. This year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw a significant increase in the number of shopping cart checkouts completed on mobile devices.
There are three main reasons why we are finally seeing the shift to mobile for ecommerce. First, web developers are now putting mobile user experience (UX) first when it comes to building ecommerce sites, and the message is finally spreading that you can shop on mobile. Second, people are more mobile-aware; a few years ago many shoppers were still a little wary of using their mobile for retail purchases. Finally, desktop ownership is in decline – many people simply have no choice but to use their mobile phone or tablet to make a purchase.
In fact, talking of tablets, this is also another factor – tablet ownership has risen dramatically also, along with the screen size of mobile phones, which makes navigating around websites much easier.
This weekend highlighted another interesting change in user behaviour. First, overall it seems that footfall has fallen as more people are opting to shop online. Black Friday has become rather notorious, with reports of violence in some shops as bargain hunters literally fight over the best deals.
In America, for the first time it seems that more people shopped online over the Thanksgiving holiday than in-shop, with around 109 million online shoppers compared to 99 million hitting the stores (data: National Retail Federation survey).
This change is thought to also be partly due to the fact that many retailers are starting their sale periods earlier, and shoppers also know now that many of the deals on offer will remain until Christmas.
Not Just Shopping Cart Checkouts
However, mobile is not only having an impact on online purchases. While footfall is down overall, there has been an increase in “near me” searches. Media Post reported that online searches actually helped increase in-store visits by nearly two-thirds on Black Friday, as people searched Google for bargains that were near their location. While footfall was lower in many places compared to previous Black Fridays, Google reported that footfall was still 65% higher than on an average weekend day.
Shops know that even during the busiest shopping periods they need to find new ways to entice people into their stores. Using Google “near me” search optimisation will help deliver buying customers from the comfort of their sofas to the checkout desk. Location based search is still in its infancy, and following this news it is likely we’ll see more competition within this SEO niche over the next year.
One dilemma many businesses often face is whether or not to focus on their SEO campaign or their PPC campaign first. Both SEO and PPC have their advantages and disadvantages, and each company needs to have a digital marketing plan designed specifically to meet its own requirements. Sometimes this may involve one approach in isolation – however, there is a very strong case for investing in both from day one. We’ll look at the two different services individually and then explain why they are stronger together.
For businesses that want to hit the ground running, PPC is certainly the best option. A new business can start their online marketing push immediately after their website is launched simply by creating adverts on platforms such as AdWords, which will display ads in search and on the publisher network. A website does not even have to be indexed in Google to benefit from paid advertising, and the amount of traffic you can send to your website is only limited by your marketing budget.
SEO, on the other hand, is a longer-term strategy. It can take anywhere from a few months to several years to generate a significant level of organic traffic from the search engines. However, that being said, there are many advantages to starting your SEO efforts early, and although you will not dominate search immediately, there are always ways to get some quick, easy wins.
Let’s look at the main reasons to include both PPC advertising and organic optimisation techniques in a new digital marketing campaign.
Google displays a wide range of results on its pages now, so doing both SEO and PPC means that you can get double to exposure, as you will appear in both the organic and paid listings. Also, once you are listed on Google’s local business pages, you may appear three times in the top part of the search results.
As your campaign progresses and you start to rank organically for some of your keywords, you can start to focus your PPC campaign on the more competitive keywords.
Double the Keyword Data
Using PPC is a great way to learn what your market really wants. PPC will tell you which keywords are more likely to lead to a conversion, such as a purchase, and this provides your campaign with vital information. The more keyword data you have at your disposal, the more likely you will be to identify the most important terms for your market. Many SEO campaigns fail because too many resources are poured into keywords which are not actually very effective for the business. PPC advertising via a platform like Google AdWords will help you discover which search terms lead to the best conversion rates.
Optimising click through rates is an essential part of SEO, but it is very difficult to test page titles organically – you need a lot of data to determine which page titles are the most effective. With PPC, you can create adverts with varying titles and ad copy, and quickly identify which wordings having the highest click-through rates. Use this information to optimise your page titles so people are more likely to choose your business in the organic listings.
Discovering New Keywords
In much the same way that investing in PPC can help SEO, working on your SEO can also help your PPC efforts. By publishing a wide range of content on your topic, you may discover a keyword that is easy to rank for that converts really well for your business. Target this keyword within your PPC campaign, and you will get some relatively cheap traffic, as chances are most other competitors will not be bidding on the term.
Retarget Your Visitors
Retargeting (also known as remarketing) is a very powerful tool. With retargeting you are able to display adverts, using Google AdWords, to people who have already visited your website. Studies have shown that people rarely make a purchase the first time they visit a website – only around 2% of first time visitors will convert – so it is important to entice them back.
If you have ever feel that a website is ‘following you around’ online, this is retargeting in action. The big ecommerce sites do this really well – for example, if you look at some new furniture on Amazon, the chances are you’ll be seeing furniture adverts for many days to come.
Split Your Resources
Often, it is tempting to try to rank both organically and through paid advertising on all of your important keywords. But, if you do both SEO and PPC at the same time, you can effectively split your keywords into separate organic and paid campaigns. Rather than chasing the most expensive and competitive phrases with PPC, just do SEO. And if a term is extremely competitive in organic search, it may pay in the long-term to hold back on the SEO and spend more via PPC.
Both SEO and PPC are essential tools in digital marketing, and both take years to master. Fortunately, we have over 25 years of combined experience in onsite SEO, external SEO and PPC, and are happy to help you with your next digital marketing campaign!
We all know that SEO isn’t cheap, particularly if you’re in a competitive industry. But you can make your money go further with our Black Friday promotion – and get your company’s marketing campaign in order ready for the New Year at the same time!
Here at Freelance SEO Essex, we’re offering NEW clients the chance to receive a 20% discount on their first invoice.
Here’s how the offer works:
- Contact us via phone or email quoting NOVEMBERSEO
- We’ll arrange an initial consultation to get a feel for your business and discuss your online marketing goals
- Our search consultants will then put together a full proposal that’s completely tailored to your needs
- If you choose to go ahead, you’ll receive 20% off your first invoice once we’ve agreed the terms of service
It’s really that simple. There’s no contract, no obligations, and you’ll receive a hefty discount on our fees (which are already very competitive, by the way).
This offer applies to our search engine optimisation, Google AdWords management and web design services; the discount will not be applied to content creation services.
You can take advantage of this promotion until 11.59pm on Wednesday 30th November 2016.
Please note that this promotion is open to NEW clients only. If you’re already with us, don’t worry – we’re planning a little treat for all of our loyal partners later in the year, so watch this space!
Get in touch with us today to get the ball rolling and claim the cheapest SEO service Essex has to offer!
Does social media engagement improve SEO? This is a question we’re often asked by new clients, and as there is so much misinformation on this topic we’d like to explain the relationship in today.
Before we risk spreading more myths and doubts about this connection, we must point out that no search engine currently uses social media signals to improve the organic search rankings for a website or page. All the major social media platforms have adopted the rel=”nofollow” tag on outbound links, which means that links from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will not improve your SEO. However, social media does have several important positive impacts on your long-term SEO goals. Let’s look at some of the benefits and how it can help with your SEO campaigns.
Social Share Delivers Direct Traffic
A good social strategy will not only deliver potential customers to your website, but also make the Internet community more aware of your brand. If you share great content on social, there is a good chance that it will be picked up and shared via forums and blogs, which will often result in a link that Google will use to rate your website. Also, if you share articles and social posts from related businesses, they may investigate your business and connect with you. Retweeting and sharing posts is a quick way to let other businesses know that you are active online.
Rank Your Social Media Profile
Although a social media profile will have no direct impact on your website, it can help your business by ranking for important keywords. This can be found in one of two ways: a busy Facebook page may appear in Google search; also, people search social media sites for information, and a good page will appear in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn searches for relevant keywords. All of this added exposure can result in your site being mentioned.
It is important that you make every effort to become an authoritative voice for your industry across social media so that if an important event happens locally, journalists may find your posts on the topic and come to you for more information. Some businesses make helping reporters a key part of their digital marketing strategy – there is now a website dedicated to this called HelpAReporter.com.
Winning External Links Is Easiest With Social Media
This follows on from building a good brand on social and becoming an authority. If you publish interesting, shareable, and engaging content on your social pages, there is a good chance that other websites will refer to it and link direct from their websites. Although most people will just re-share your social posts on their own profile pages, some people will use your links to craft their own report on a particular topic.
Local SEO uses Social Media
Some local portals have a direct impact on search. Sites such as Yelp are often the first to provide any substantial information on a new business, and as people search locally on Yelp, you can quickly connect with your local audience. Yelp is considered a social media platform, although it is really just a business directory with user reviews, events and short posts that provide the social element.
So, social media does not have any direct impact on SEO, but when it forms part of a long-term SEO strategy, it can certainly help you build trust in a new brand and connect with influential businesses and bloggers within your industry. Speak to our social media consultant today to learn how we can help your business become more social online.