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Stacey Cavagnetto

Kooznews: December 2020

8th Dec 2020 News, Industry News, News 6 minutes to read

What will you find in December’s edition?

SEO
Core Web Vitals Confirmation
GSC Crawl Report
Anchor Text
SEO takeaway tips
Paid Media
What to do if a competitor is running ads on your brand name
Google hiding search terms – a short analysis
Content Marketing
New content to get stuck into
Content takeaway tips
Getting creative & client wins: Red Funnel

Let’s talk SEO updates…

Core Web Vitals Confirmation

We’ve known about the existence of Core Web Vitals for some time now, but in November, Google confirmed that the three Core Web Vitals metrics would indeed form part of their ranking algorithm from May 2021.

If you need a little reminder, the three Core Web Vitals are:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – How quickly the largest element on the page loads
  • FID (First Input Delay) – How quickly the page responds to interaction (e.g. clicks)
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift) – How much the visual elements of the page ‘shift’ around during loading

The Core Web Vitals form part of the overall ‘page experience’ part of the algorithm, which also encompasses mobile-friendless and the presence of HTTPS.

Find out more information about Core Web Vitals here.

GSC Crawl Report

After years of putting up with the pretty spartan ‘Crawl Stats’ report from the old Webmaster Tools, Google has finally beefed up the crawl reporting in Search Console.

From November, you’ll be able to view crawl performance by day, and break the crawl stats down by response code, file type, bot type and what percentage of crawled URLs were newly discovered vs re-crawled.

Anchor Text

Anchor text has long been a bone of contention for many SEOs. Most people are aware of the risks with using keyword-rich anchor text in external links (and manually building external links full stop), but perhaps not aware of the potential benefits of leveraging internal links and anchor texts to drive topical relevance.

In a Google Search Central video, Jon Mueller appeared to confirm that anchor text is a ranking factor, and that sites with keyword rich anchor text links can be “problematic”.

 

SEO Tip #1: You can audit your Core Web Vitals using Search Console, Google Page Speed Insights, and Google Lighthouse

SEO Tip #2: This new GSC crawl report is hidden away within the settings section of Search Console if you’re struggling to find it!

SEO Tip #3: When auditing your backlinks, don’t just pay attention to the site they’re coming from, look at the anchor text as well. It might be wise to attempt to remove or disavow any links with keyword rich anchor texts.

What to do if a competitor is running ads on your brand name

A few months ago, we wrote about a situation where you search for your brand on Google and you find a competitor ad is appearing above or alongside yours. This is common practice in PPC but is still annoying when you find it happening.

 

On our blog, we wrote about some options that you have if you come across this situation.

Option 1: Do the same to them by bidding on their brand name. Although it’s worth noting that this could potentially start a bidding war and get very expensive.

Option 2: You do need to make sure that you’re bidding on your own brand name. You’ll have much better relevance so are likely to appear above them in the result page.

Option 3: Bid on your brand but increase bids. Because your relevance is much better, it will make it very expensive for your competitor(s) to continue bidding on your brand.

Koozai’s POV

You should always bid on your brand as a form of protection from potential competitors. If you do this and you still see a competitor’s ad above you in the results page, try increasing your brand bids. Because of quality score and relevance metrics, your ad will be rewarded with a better score, therefore an increase in bids won’t cost you the full amount, but will definitely impact the CPCs that your competitor pays for a click on their ad. Read more on our blog.

Google hiding search terms – a short analysis

Earlier in the year we were told that Google would start hiding some of the search query data that was previously visible in the search terms report section of Google Ads. Google said that they would stop showing us search terms that had been clicked but were not searched by a significant number of people. This was introduced in September and we now have a few months of data to check back to see what impact it has had. A full analysis of this will be posted to our blog later in December, but the initial results can be seen below.

We compared data from 3 months before and 3 months since the change and have found the following insights:

  • Between 24-54% of clicks are now being recorded as a hidden search term, as opposed to around 1-2% beforehand.
  • In one case we found that 68% of spend is being driven through hidden search terms. This means that we have lost visibility of £7 in every £10 spent.
  • In most cases though, the spend through hidden search terms is around the 40% mark. Still more than we would like.
  • As with the other metrics, conversions have also increased through hidden search terms, meaning that we have lost visibility on which searches are driving conversions.

Koozai’s POV

It seems as though Google is preparing us for keyword-less paid search. A move to machine learning and trusting the algorithm seems on the horizon as we lose visibility on how we typically run paid search accounts. A more in-depth analysis will be provided mid-December and next steps will be provided as an when more information comes out, so keep your eyes peeled on our blog.

Our Content Marketing segment…

We’ve always got some new blog content to cast your eyes over. Our Koozians have been busy putting blog content together so you have a great source of information for any SEO, Paid, Content or PR queries and questions. We’ve recently published the following:

Checking and fixing core web vitals with Google tools vs GT Metrix
How often should I manage and optimise my PPC accounts?
Keyword anchor text – good or bad?

Remember to keep checking back as multiple new posts go out each month.

Takeaway content tip: It’s a simple one this month – but don’t forget to get your content proofed by another set of eyes. It’s harder to spot our own mistakes, and you don’t want to publish content that’s littered with errors if you can help it. Research suggests that a single spelling mistake can cut online sales as much as in half (more info here), so don’t underestimate the power of proofreading!

Getting creative & client wins

We were delighted to work with Red Funnel on a stargazing guide PR project for the Isle of Wight, which was picked up by various publications including Country Living, Homes & Gardens, Family Traveller and multiple other local online papers. You can read the 2020 stargazing guide on the Red Funnel website.

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Stacey Parsons

Content Marketing Executive

You’ll find Stacey shooting hoops on the netball court, that is if she’s not binge watching something on Netflix. She likes to keep herself on her toes, whether it’s from 15 years of ballet, or terrifying herself with a horror movie. Not that any of that would keep her from sleeping; she relates strongly to the ever-drowsy Koala as she’s a big fan of snoozing.

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