April 22

The Weekly Briefing: Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference

Account Manager Reed Langton-Yanowitz and SEM Specialist Tory Vang brought a subtle – but powerful – change to SERPs…
Just last month Google surprised the SEM community with a new AdWords (removal of the right rail ads, just to refresh your brain) format on desktop. This week, SEMs and searchers alike are noticing another change – the “Ad” icon next to ads has changed from yellow to green, making the ads look even more like their organic results counterparts.

So far, it appears that this modification is simply being tested. No official reason has been given as to why Google would make the change, but the most speculated motive (of course) is to camouflage paid search results with organic search results. Regardless, we are seeing paid results appear more like organic ones. How much longer will it be required for ads to actually look like ads?
SEO Copywriter Jared Townsend shared the results of an extensive search engine ranking factors study…
A conglomerate of search engine specialists got together an analyzed one million Google search results in order to find correlations between rank and contributing factor. As you can imagine, all that crunched-data revealed some interesting results. Here are the highlights.

  • The number of linking domains to a page, as well as a website’s overall link authority, heavily influenced Google’s ranking factor. This just goes to show – offsite SEO still absolutely matters.
  • Focused content performed better than general overviews, which partially explains why the average Google first page result was just shy of 1900 words. If your content has at least one hero image – even better.
  • User experience got a ranking factor shout out with a noticeable correlation between site speed and SERP result. Site security (HTTP vs. HTTPS), low bounce rates, and relevant content also appeared to boost a page’s rank.

Content Marketing Strategist Angela Sanders explained what “they” don’t tell you about SEO…
Search Engine Land columnist and digital specialist Matthew Barby gave a little background about what actually happens when implementing an SEO campaign. After all, “SEO is tough” – and he’s completely right. Since Google confirmed their top three ranking factors – links, content, and RankBrain – SEOs often find themselves cemented to those aspects search engine optimization. Yes, they are important, but other, non-Google(?!?) factors “they” don’t tell you about SEO are at work as well.

“Without doubt, the biggest cause of failure with SEO campaigns is the assumption that simply creating great content will get you results. Yes, your content needs to be great…resonate with your buyer persona…be aligned with the keywords you want to rank for…but if you don’t have great promotion, too, then that content will end up gathering dust.”

As much as we rely on algorithms and technical aspects of website, it is important to remember that we have a job to do as well when it comes to increasing awareness for websites and content ourselves. After all, if a (SEO site)tree (appears)falls in the (Internet)forest, and no one is there to (promote)hear it – will it still make a (website rank better)sound?