What will you find in December’s edition?
New Comparison Data Lands in Keyword Planner
Questions Raised on Click Through Rates in Search Rankings
Yet Another New Name for Google My Business
What Google’s Infinite Scroll on Mobile Means for Your Paid Ads
Microsoft Advertising Aligns with Google on Expanded Text Ads
Google Pushes Back FloC testing to Q1 2022
PR & Content Marketing
Revealed: Quick Edit Which Can Improve Your Content’s SEO
Backlink Relevancy Proves Key in Driving SEO Performance
Google Releases Advice on Video Placements
We are delighted to see that new Google is expanding its Keyword Planner tool! In addition to the existing data on search volumes, search trends and recommendations, they are including three new data points. This includes a new year-on-year comparison in search trends, a three month change feature (which compares data to the two months prior) and a three month trending feature (a useful snapshot of whether search trends have been going up or down). Although small, these changes provide greater functionality in accessing search trends, which will ultimately lead to better decisions around onsite content.
We can’t yet see these features in action here in the UK, however they’re already being tested in the US, so it is only a matter of time before it makes its way across the pond. You can read more at Search Engine Land.
There has always been a fierce debate on how important click-through-rates (CTRs) are in search rankings, and now Google’s John Mueller has waded in to confirm that CTRs do not drive rankings in the way that many believe. Mueller commented further on CTR within the context of click bait articles, saying that “If CTR were what drove search rankings, the results would be all click-bait.” – a valid point!
Obviously there are lots of factors at play here, but evidently some marketers have tended to inflate the importance of CTR as a ranking factor. While still an important metric, the intervention means that we can safely place a little less importance on this within our SEO strategies for now. It is important to note however that Mueller is talking about CTR in relation to Organic search here and not Paid listings. We’ll leave the CTR on paid ads for another day! You can read more at Search Engine Roundtable.
Google My Business listings have gone through numerous iterations – Google place, Google Local, Google Business Profile, to name by a few. In an effort to consolidate the listings with search and map features, Google My Business is being renamed again to ‘Google Business Profile’. Regardless of the name, the features for now will be similar, but the My Business app will be phased out in 2022. There won’t be anything that users have to do and all login and management details will remain the same, but it does open the way for a few more features in the future, including messaging and calls through Google Search and easier claiming methods.
Google has announced that mobile users will now be presented with a continuous scroll in search results. This means that instead of coming upon a “See More” button after about ten results, searchers will be able to continue scrolling through approximately four pages of search results before seeing the “See More” link. But with Paid ads usually appearing at the top and bottom of the search results, this change raises questions about what will happen to their Google Ads on mobile devices.
According to Mohamed Farid, Product Manager at Google Ads, this change “does not affect how the ad auction works or the way Ad Rank is calculated.”. But there may be some changes in metrics. For now, this is only impacting English queries in the US, but Google does plan to roll this out to other countries and languages next year. When that happens, we are likely to see ads remain at the top of the page and ads distributed throughout the new page type on mobile instead of at the bottom of the page. These changes may have a knock-on effect on impressions and Google experts are predicting a potential reductions in CTR. While we don’t recommend making any immediate alternations to your Paid media strategy, it is advised to monitor performance in case any metrics changes – particularly the percentage of total impressions in top vs other placements. You can read more at Search Engine Land.
Beginning in June 30, 2022, responsive search ads (RSAs) will be the only search ad type that can be created or edited in standard search campaigns, Microsoft Advertising announced in its October product updates. From this date, advertisers will only be able to create or edit RSAs in standard search campaigns. Existing expanded text ads (ETAs) will continue to serve, but advertisers will not be able to edit or add them. This move brings Microsoft Advertising in line with Google Ads, which announced in August that it would sunset ETAs on the same date.
Microsoft are following Google’s lead in depreciating expanded text ads (ETAs) and driving users to trust their machine learning when creating responsive search ads (RSAs). This is another move towards giving advertisers less control and having to trust the ad platforms to get the best results. The move from Microsoft also means that both Google and Microsoft Ads will use the same ad types, making it easier to run campaigns across both platforms. You can read more at Search Engine Land.
Google has indicated that they will push back FLoC testing from Q4 2021 (announced in July) to Q1 2022. Testing of FLEDGE, the company’s remarketing solution designed so that third parties cannot track user behaviour across sites, is being delayed to Q1 2022 as well. The “Discussion” period, originally set to end in Q3 2021, in which “technologies and their prototypes are discussed in forums such as GitHub or W3C groups,” has been extended through to the end of Q4 2021. This also has an impact on when testing is estimated to end, pushing that back from the end of Q2 to the end of Q3 2022. Additionally, testing for the APIs that fall under the “measure digital ads” category have also been delayed to Q1 2022.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a FLoC update so it’s not surprise that more time is needed to finalise the alternative to third party cookie tracking. It is likely to push back the deadline of the ‘phasing out’ of third party cookies until the new alternative has been tested properly. The Privacy Sandbox Timeline shows the transition period is set to start in Q4 2022, right up until the end of Q2 2023, so we have a long time to wait for this. It’s highly likely we’ll be talking about FLoC a lot more in the coming months. You can read more at Search Engine Land.
Google’s John Mueller has confirmed that the simple edit of bolding key pieces of text in onsite can be beneficial for a website’s onsite content. This is because it helps Google to better understand content when it crawls it. However, they also confirmed that the value of doing this is relative to the rest of the content on that page. So, for example, bolding text on content that is already sub optimal may not do much for your SEO.
This is an interesting quick tip which content marketers can add to their toolbox when creating content tailored for search engines. However, it is not a quick fix for poor content, and should be used as one of many tactics to help improve the quality of content and to help Google understand it. The quality and relevance of content is still key. You can read more at iloveseo.
A recent trend in the last 6 months has been the importance of relevancy when it comes to your website’s backlinks profile. For years, marketers have tried to get as many high domain authority backlinks to their site as possible – however some of the thinking here is starting to change.
At the beginning of the year, Google’s John Mueller claimed that the total number of backlinks is not relevant and suggested that one good link from a relevant website could have a greater SEO impact than lots of links. Since then, research and case studies have suggested that the relevancy of your backlink profile, rather than the number of backlinks, is the stronger predictor of SEO performance.
This is potentially quite significant, given that backlinks are a key ranking factor. What it means in practice is that the industry needs to think more about measuring link quality over quantity if it wants to drive better performance. This means more than just looking at the domain authority of a website when assessing how valuable a link from that site is. You also need to think about topical relevance of the site in relation to yours. For example, if you’re a construction company this means thinking about how to achieve links from other construction related websites and news pages.
This in itself is likely to be transformative for many campaigns and means that PRs will need to think more carefully about the types of PR stories they create.
Video has an important role when it comes to engaging audiences in content and on social media, but now Google has revealed a little more to update our understanding of how best to use video for search too.
Google has previously left us in the dark about many aspects of SEO and video, however the search engine has been increasingly open about what it deems to be best practice for various aspects of content. Now we have best practice recommendations for video content and the summary is “to give your videos maximum exposure, create a dedicated page for each video, where the video is the most prominent subject on the page.”
This makes sense, however it is good clarification for when videos are included on pages, or added as ‘additional’ content rather than the main event. If you don’t have this already then we suggest creating a library type area which can then be optimised through titles, meta data and structured data too. You can read more at Search Engine Journal.
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:
We are delighted to share the results of our recent digital PR campaign for our client in the construction industry. After mining data from the Office of National Statistics on plastic waste in the construction industry, we created a PR story which we timed for release in the run up to COP26. The result was a plethora of high domain authority backlinks and coverage, including in key target construction verticals such as Construction Index, Construction News, Premier Construction News, Electrical Times and PHIP – to name only a few!
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