It’s the first Search Marketing Roundup of 2019, welcome back to all. I hope you’ve had a prosperous start to the year, and kept just a few of your resolutions. Let’s explore some of the updates from the search marketing industry in January 2019.
Ranking study by Stone Temple Consulting shows backlinks are still important
A 2019 version of Stone Temple’s annual backlink study has shown a very significant correlation between backlinks and ranking position in Google SERPs.
For the 27k search query set that was included in the latest study, the results showed a very powerful correlation between backlinks and ranking position.
The correlation between different types of search queries (e.g. commercial or informational) in relation to ranking position was analysed in the study; three results demonstrated that informational queries are slightly more correlated with rankings than commercial queries.
The conclusion of the new study across different industries and query types was that number of backlinks remains highly correlated with ranking.
Reputation is becoming a major ranking factor in SEO
There have been a number of recent ‘Core’ algorithm updates over the past 12 months, and these have coincided with Google publishing their Quality Rating Guidelines.
Chris Silver Smith points out in SEL that all of these recent Google updates indicate that you can see improving SEO performance as managing the ‘reputation’ of your website or brand as outlined in the Google Quality Rating Guidelines.
Many SEOs have cited those ‘quality factors’ included in the Google Quality Rating Guidelines have become increasingly important in the SERPs in terms of their weighting.
You should therefore pay extra attention to your website or company’s digital performance across those ‘quality factors’ that define an online ‘reputation’.
Google gives glimpse of how they manage their 7,000 internal websites
Google shared their own internal SEO efforts for the 7,000 websites they manage.
The study demonstrates three key insights into effective tactics for SEO from Google’s website management:
- Small iterative changes make a significant impact
- Don’t fear change, and be prepared to make changes
- Consolidate website content
Google showcased how making numerous iterative changes can have a significant impact on organic visibility. The chart below illustrates the changes Google made and their impact on organic visibility. These changes related to GMB marketing, adding canonicals, adding hreflang to XML and improving Metadata. You can see that each iterative change increased organic visibility.
Google also demonstrated to webmasters that by making significant technical changes, you can deliver large increases in organic impressions. Following the fixing of AMP errors, the Think with Google site increased in impressions by 200%.
There is much chatter in the SEO community over recent years about consolidation of website content, and Google reinforced this by stated they found a “large number” of near duplicate sites across their properties.
For the Google Retail website, they consolidated six historic websites into “one great website” which lead to them doubling CTA click-through rate and a resulted in an organic traffic increase of 64%.
Agencies survey predict search and social media spends will increase
The media spending on search and social platforms is set to increase in 2019 – concentrated among a few familiar platforms – according to Marketing Land’s Digital Agency Survey 2019.
The study found that Google, YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, Amazon and LinkedIn will be receiving the largest investment of ad spend revenues.
Facebook is the platform with a nuanced split in terms of predicted spend. This is to due with the public data privacy issues, transparency and ad measurement troubles. It has failed to really dampen investment overall however, with the 17% predicting cuts in Facebook spend planning to invest in alternative marketing channels.
LinkedIn and Amazon are increasing in ad spend share of investment, as 52% forecasting a higher spend on LinkedIn and 60.5% forecasting a higher spend on Amazon.
It appears there are difficulties and challenges ahead for ‘second-tier’ platforms such as Bing, eBay, Twitter and Spotify. As the planned increase in investment for those ‘second-tier platforms’ is much lower than other top five platforms.
Smaller platforms will likely being to focus on advertising and overall monetisation, including Quota and Reddit – so these may offer attractive opportunities for advertisers and marketers in 2019 to experiment.
Neil Patel releases ‘the ultimate SEO tool: Ubersuggest 3.0’
Neil Patel has launched Ubersuggest 3.0 which now allows for domain analysis by entering a domain into the tool.
This functionality enables users to research the following:
- Organic traffic volume in the Traffic Analyser Overview.
- Top SEO pages – this function lists the most popular pages for a given domain based on their estimated organic visits. You can also select ‘View All’ to research which keywords those pages rank for.
- Top Keywords – after inputting a domain into Ubersuggest 3.0, you are able to review the top keywords for organic and paid.
Neil has apologised that there are still some bugs within the reports, but I’m certainly a big fan of these new useful features. Keep them coming Neil!
7 things you might not know about GMB categories revealed
Joy Hawkins revealed on Search Engine Land a number insights into Google My Business categories and their positive impact in the Local Search landscape.
Google My Business categories are within the top three ranking factors for Local Search, and therefore are very important for consideration. Joy outlines the following things about GMB that people are not always aware of:
- Google is often changing the names of the GMB categories. So don’t always think it’s a new category added.
- Google is continuously removing categories and adding new ones.
- You can get a first mover advantage by capitalising on a new category when it’s added. Google are always adding new categories.
- Categories have different names in different countries.
- The categories seen in the Google search results may not appear in the same way as in Google My Business.
- Testing has shown that category dilution is a myth, and instead you can benefit from listing in numerous categories.
- However, the primary category does hold more significant ranking power.
Google will now start making ad account changes if you don’t opt out
Google ad reps will now begin to implement ad account changes if advertisers do not opt out.
“We’ll focus on your campaigns, so you can focus on your business” is the headline of the email communications from Google Ads in January.
Google has been introducing a greater degree of automation to many areas of Google Ads campaign creation and management – including Local Campaigns, Smart Campaigns and Ads Added By Google. It is likely that the ‘human’ changes made by Google ad reps will be informed by their machine-powered recommendations engine.
The benefits apparently include:
- Restructuring of your ad groups
- Modifying your keywords
- Adjusting bids
- Updating ad creatives
Thanks for reading our first Search Marketing Roundup of 2019, we’ll see you again next month.