What will you find in our February 2022 edition?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Koozai study of SEO experts reveals 2022’s most underrated ranking factors
Google confirm their largest local algorithm update in 5 Years
Google announces Search Console URL Inspection Tool API
Paid Media (PPC & Paid Social)
Smart Shopping and Local campaigns to be transitioned to Performance Max
Google tests bulleted lists in ads
Facebook shifts to short-form TikTok style videos
Digital PR, Link Building & Content Marketing
Nearly half of SEOs would buy spammy backlinks this year, finds poll
Content Strategy: Surprising new stat shows why you shouldn’t just follow the data
Link Building: Google say reciprocal links aren’t always bad
When it comes to SEO and driving traffic to your website, we all know that there are a huge number of variables that go into ensuring that your website can rank as highly as possible in search engines. In fact, Google states that it uses over 200 ranking factors in total to help it determine which results to serve for key terms! All of this can make knowing exactly where to aim your SEO strategy and resources a seemingly impossible task if you’re not an SEO specialist and don’t have your ear to the ground.
Given this, we decided to ask our SEO experts and a select panel of eight industry leading SEOs for their thoughts on what their experience reveals to be the most underrated SEO ranking factors in 2022. Internal linking, trending content and topical authority were firm favourites. Read more about our study to find out which SEO ranking factors to look out for this year.
In recent weeks Google announced one of the largest updates in the local search algorithm for over 5 years. Titled the ‘Vicinity Update’, local businesses saw an increased volatility within the local map pack on Google search. In this update, proximity has become an even more influential ranking factor which means that the closer the business is to the searcher, the higher they are likely to show in the map pack search results.
If you’re a local business looking to rank higher in local search, you may find that now more than ever before you’ll struggle to show up for searches if your business is not in a central location which is associated with a higher search volume. To combat this, make sure that your GMB profile carefully targets all the associated territories or areas that your business serves.
In many cases, it can be better to use a ‘service area’ instead of a singular location as you may show for searches within a larger proximity. If all else fails and you’re really struggling to gain traction in a new service area, town or city, you may need to consider opening a new GMB location in the centre of your target location.
On January 31st, Google announced the launch of their new Google Search Console API, which will allow certain tools to access even more data and insights about the URLs within their tool.
SEO tools, such as Screaming Frog, will soon be able to pull through even more information from GSC, which will help webmasters and businesses get a better understanding of the pages on their site.
SEO tools will now be able to pull through data points such as:
We can’t wait for Screaming Frog to update their software so that we can see these insights whenever we crawl a website, ready for us to do a full technical website audit and SEO analysis.
Google Ads will automatically transition existing Smart Shopping campaigns into Performance Max campaigns between July and September 2022. Local campaigns will automatically be transitioned between August and September 2022. The company will also launch a “one-click” self-service tool in Google Ads for advertisers that would like to transition specific Smart Shopping or Local campaigns ahead of the dates mentioned above.
This is a significant change to how Smart Shopping and Local campaigns work. Advertisers that don’t want to transition those campaigns over to Performance Max should begin exploring other options, as these campaign types (as we know them) will disappear by the end of September.
Performance Max Campaigns enable advertisers to access all of Google Ads’ inventory in a single campaign. This includes Search, Display and YouTube. We set the goal, define the assets and allow Google to use machine learning and automation to get the best results. We’d recommend testing Performance Max Campaigns before the switch over to see how they work for you. It is recommended that you run these alongside existing campaigns before switching over completely.
A new ad format has been spotted which uses bullet points instead of usual descriptions. This has currently been confirmed as an experiment that Google is running. Within ads, a bulleted list may be used to showcase unique selling points, product features or additional CTAs. The more relevant information you’re able to pack into an ad, the more likely it is that the ad will drive engagement — bullet lists can help keep that information scannable for potential customers.
Whilst most of us won’t be able to test this yet, it is something that may be rolled out in the coming months. We’re not sure if this will be a separate ad format, or whether it will use existing RSAs to formulate the bullet points, but it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled to see if you spot any ads appearing like this.
Facebook is altering the type of content available on the platform to match the likes of TikTok videos and other short-form video content. This plan is aimed at regaining momentum after the platform experienced a loss of daily active users. “From the third quarter to the fourth quarter of 2021, almost half a million people stopped logging into Facebook every day.”
By changing the style of content available to match the likes of TikTok, Facebook is aiming to keep users on the platform with similar content and features. This isn’t the first time that Facebook has done this as many of their current features were inspired by other social media platforms.
While this doesn’t come as a surprise, we do think that in many ways that this could boost the style of content available to businesses that haven’t yet made a jump to TikTok. This might also add an extra layer to Facebook ads, with the potential to promote reel ads and TikTok style content in a much easier way.
Nearly half (47%) of SEOs plan to directly buy backlinks in 2022, according to a new poll of SEOs and marketers on Twitter reported in SEO Roundtable. Directly purchasing backlinks from companies (rather than ‘earning them’ through digital PR or content marketing) is a practice closely associated with spammy link building techniques.
Google has a specific guideline against paid links and has stated that: “Buying or selling links that pass PageRank is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results”. The result of the poll is surprising, given that purchasing spammy backlinks is a risky practice that in some cased could even be harmful for a website.
Luckily, links can be earned through digital PR efforts and Google’s John Mueller has also confirmed that links earned through quality digital PR campaigns are not counted as spammy link building practices, saying: “It’s (digital PR) just as critical as tech SEO, probably more so in many cases.”
When it comes to creating content that gets lots of organic traffic from search engines, marketers often (rightly) turn to platforms like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush for insights and to source historic data on keywords and their search volumes.
However a new stat released by Google this month suggests that while using historic search data is often a reliable way of predicting seasonal trends in what audiences search for, it isn’t infallible or conclusive. According to the leading search engine, a whopping 15% of Google searches each day are totally new and have never been searched before. When you consider how many days there are in a year, that’s an awful lot of new searches! And if that number wasn’t massive enough, it is also worth baring in mind that Google don’t release all of their keyword data – meaning that if you rely only on historic search data for your content strategy you’re only optimising your website for one piece of the pie. With online content, news and trends developing faster than ever, now is the time to think about how you can add content that jumps on trending news to your content strategy to help you reach a wider audience.
A link exchange, where two sites agree to link to each other in an attempt to manipulate search rankings, is strictly prohibited. However, Google’s own John Mueller stated that reciprocal linking (when two websites both link to one another) is a perfectly natural occurrence on the web and shouldn’t be avoided for fears of it being an unnatural linking practice.
This is particularly true for local businesses who often mention other nearby businesses to recommend their services, talk about a local event or they may even mention an article that they’ve been featured in for the local newspaper.
Our advice is this; you’ll know if it feels natural to link to a piece of content that is also linking to your site. If it’s a product supplier, partner company, local business or even a relevant industry news site that you’re linking back to, the chances are that this is a perfectly natural link. As always with SEO, it depends to what extent you’re doing this. Try to keep it to a minimum where possible but don’t feel you need to avoid it if it would have been otherwise natural to do so.
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:
Happy Birthday to Koozai! We are delighted to announce that it was 16 years ago this week that our Founder, Ben Norman, first set up a digital marketing agency that would go on to become Koozai. In that time there have been numerous highs and lows, including two recessions, numerous changes in the business, and a global pandemic. However, the brand Koozai remains strong and 16 years on we are prouder than ever of our achievements, our fantastic team, and the brilliant work that they do for our clients.
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