Welcome to The Search Marketing Roundup for June 2016, read on below for an update on the latest news in the search industry.
Google is now using it’s RankBrain machine learning system to process every search query handled by it’s search engine
Steven Levy’s Backchannel story on the How Google is Remaking itself as a “machine learning first company” revealed that RankBrain has the capability to analyse every query that the search engine processes. This is a major development as previously Google had stated in October that RankBrain was mainly involved in processing a large amount of the 15 percent of searches that it had never seen before.
RankBrain understands the relevancy between search queries, and works to provide better search results by analysing the previous user data from related search queries. This helps Google to process searches it hasn’t encountered before. For example, a searcher inputs “best mens barbers in London” into Google, then RankBrain may use the larger set of user data from the query “best London barbers” when processing the order of the search results.
RankBrain is ranking factor, but is does not possess a “ranking score” like page speed, Penguin or Panda
RankBrain – Google’s AI based query interpretation – is the third strongest ranking factor used in Google search. However at SMX Advanced, Gary Illyes stated that you cannot optimise for RankBrain.
Gary elaborated by saying that unlike other ranking signals such as page speed, Panda, Penguin – your website or webpage is not assigned a RankBrain score.
Source: Search Engine Roundtable
The importance of micro-moments: The mobile customer journey
Search Engine Land Columnist Jim Yu explained the importance of mobile micro-moments in reaction to the massive shift in consumer behaviour, which has led to more Google searches now taking place on mobile devices than desktop computers worldwide.
Consumers can now use their mobile devices instantly to address their needs. These micro-moments can be classified as one of the following:
When consumers have a need or want that needs addressing in the moment, it results in them being more receptive to marketing messages. Search marketers must consider this when optimising and designing their mobile content.
Search marketers must identify customer intent using search data and address these micro-moments with content optimised for an exceptional mobile experience.
Jim Yu concludes that by using the micro-moments framework, brands can understand the online customer journey from search discovery intent to purchase intent. The introduction of AMP means that marketers need to be on top of mobile content delivery to capture the attention of consumers as they move from moment to moment.
Source: Search Engine Land
Ahrefs’ On Page SEO in 2016: A (2M Keyword) Data Driven Analysis
Ahrefs produced a study into the correlation between different on-page SEO factors and search ranking position across 2M keywords. As Ahrefs rightly point out, correlation is not causation – but the study was intriguing nevertheless. Below you can find the key takeaways as we see them:
- Focus on satisfying user intent of the keyword search with high-quality hyper relevant content.
- Age of page is the strongest on-page correlation with high rankings. Reinforces strategy of optimising/enhancing old content to satisfy wider user intent of relevant search query.
- Longer form content correlates with higher ranking positions. But don’t post unnecessarily long content.
- Greater % of ranking results don’t include searched keyword in title, but normally placed once within first 100 words.
- Produce engaging page titles which include the target keyword in first word(s). Don’t be afraid to use available characters for differentiation, rather than keyword variation stuffing.
- Link signals are still strongest correlation with top ranking positions. (Off-page)
- Hyper relevant content with some backlinks can outperform pages with greater number backlinks pages that are broader and less relevant.
Matt Umbro offers advice for advertisers when preparing for Adwords’ expanded text ads
Matt Umbro provided advice for advertisers who want to ensure they are ready for Google’s Adwords changes later this year – primarily focusing on expanded text ads.
Google announced that they will be releasing expanded text ads for Adwords later this year, which has got a lot of people excited at the new possibilities. It would be wise to start planning for this change from the 25-35-35 character format as early as possible.
Matt Umbro suggested creating an excel spreadsheet with the following columns for planning ahead of the expanded text ads launch:
- Ad State (active or paused)
- Customer ID
- Ad Group
- Headline 1
- Headline 2
- URL Path 1 (if applicable)
- URL Path 2 (if applicable)
- Final URL
- Mobile Final URL (if applicable)
- Tracking Template (if applicable)
- Custom Parameter (if applicable)
If you already have beta access to expanded ads in Adwords, then begin implementing expanded text ads in the campaigns which currently receive the highest volume of search traffic.
A useful tool for testing expanded text ads is Karooya, which offers previews of ads on multiple devices. You can take screenshots and send the links to your colleagues or clients whilst planning your Adwords strategy.