Many of you will have heard about Google’s decision to terminate exact match (at the same time as telling us that it’s for our own good). It’s a clear move to grab some more advertising dollars, and the news has been met with fury by SEM experts. Most two-year-old kids know that there is a semantic difference between singular and plural forms — and anyone with the slightest command of the English language will know that there is a difference between [photographer] and [photography]. While a professional photographer might want to spend money on [photographer], they probably wouldn’t want to appear for [photography] as this is more likely to be a search for photos that users can download. Instead of signing the petition on change.org asking Google to reverse this change, we’ve just written a script to automatically make exact match, well…exact. The AdWords script runs search term reports and adds “close variant” terms as exact … [Read more...] about An AdWords Script To Make Exact Match, Well…Exact
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There are a lot of tools that track keyword rankings, and you may already be using one. These days, it’s insufficient to merely track keyword rankings within the “10 blue links,” as you are only capturing part of the story when it comes to your site’s SEO performance. Over the last several years, Google has enhanced the SERPs (search engine results pages) significantly and it will continue to do so as time goes on. These Google SERP enhancements, which are also known as “SERP features” in the industry, not only include the now-ubiquitous answer boxes which answer a query directly in the SERPs, but also encompass a wide range of enhancements such as: local map packs, breadcrumbs, video thumbnails, image and news results, reviews and featured snippets. This has changed the game for many online marketers. Ranking above your competitor is no longer a guaranteed win if that competitor has an answer box that gets a lot of click-throughs and you … [Read more...] about How to get a bird’s-eye view of the Google SERPs
Not long ago, it was possible (and easy) to get nearly any page ranked for nearly any keyword by throwing enough exact-match anchor text backlinks at it. Starting with Panda 3.3 and continuing with Panda 3.4 and Google Penguin, that “Golden Age” of SEO has disappeared, and new-age SEO link building has changed dramatically as a result. But regardless of what era of SEO we find ourselves in, businesses have the same needs: to achieve top rankings for relevant keywords in the search engines in order to drive targeted website traffic and sales. Before Panda 3.3, the process of getting ranked for all your niche’s keywords looked something like this: So, in this post-Penguin era of SEO, how do businesses achieve rankings for each of their target keywords? First, let’s take a look at an example. Crackerize.com is a lyrics website where users can read and write rap lyrics translated into “proper” English. I’ve identified 27 keywords for which it … [Read more...] about How to Get Ranked for All Your Niche’s Keywords
Search engines no longer depend on matching keywords on web pages. The most recent changes involve a move toward understanding concepts. Thus, SEO strategies that begin with keyword research are ranking strategies for algorithms that no longer exist. This article will show how far away from keywords search engines have gone and how that has impacted longstanding SEO practices. I will then show how User Experience Marketing fits into a more realistic SEO strategy that adapts to modern search engine algorithms. No Strings Attached In 2012, Google announced a move away from strings and toward understanding things was at the heart of the Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph itself was intended to improve the “next generation” of search. That next generation of search was introduced in 2013 with the Hummingbird update. Consequently, top ranked websites don’t always feature the keywords used to find them. If keywords matter less and concepts matter more, this must certainly … [Read more...] about How to Rank Better with User Experience Marketing
Why weren’t these awesome additions announced in a great, big, shiny way? No idea, but it’s clear Google was looking to bring some sexy back to keyword planning with these new features. And did they ever. Last year, enhanced campaigns brought us bid multipliers. This enabled marketers to applying bid strategies based on the context (i.e., the location, time and device) of any given search, in a way that was easy and didn’t require creating dozens of campaigns. You could decide to bid up or down searches coming from mobile devices, depending on the value of mobile to your business. But how would you go about setting all those new bid multipliers?! I asked Google last year if there were any new tools or strategies to help set all these new awesome bid multipliers and unfortunately, the answer was no. Now, they seem to have addressed this rather large issue with some powerful changes to the keyword planner tool. This article will show you three ways to use the new … [Read more...] about 3 Ways Google’s New Keyword Planner Brings Sexy Back to AdWords
In April 2012, Google released one of its biggest algorithm changes to date. Penguin 1.0 targeted sites that featured questionable link profiles, low quality backlinks, and anchor text that was too keyword rich or overly optimized for a single term. As a result of the sweeping and significant impacts of Penguin 1.0, anticipation surrounded the release of Penguin 2.0, which officially rolled out May 22. While a lot of the specifics of the update are still shaking out, there’s a great deal of information already emerging. Here’s a closer look at what we know, how Penguin 2.0 is affecting sites, and what to do if your site has been impacted. The History of Penguin Google’s updates tend to be thematic. Each change to the search algorithm is done with a single goal in mind: to serve up better, more relevant search results to people using Google to find information. As you consider the internet, it’s easy to see why this is necessary. Webmasters and SEOs develop … [Read more...] about Google’s Penguin 2.0 Algorithm: The Definitive Guide
Google has unveiled the Knowledge Graph, which they’re calling the “first step in the next generation of search.” The initial release is gradually rolling out to U.S. English users and consists of three elements: Links to different sets of results based on contextual meanings for any given search term Topic summaries with key facts visible in the sidebar of the SERPs “Information boxes” that offer additional information in the SERPs sidebar based on popular related queries. Google simultaneously announced in a separate blog postthat Knowledge Graph for mobiles and tablets is in the works, with Android 2.2+ and iOS4+ versions rolling out right now. Segmented Results “Slices” The first feature in Google’s new Knowledge Graph gives users the option to choose from sets of results based on various meanings or interpretations of a query. In the announcement, Google uses the query “taj mahal” as an example to illustrate how people … [Read more...] about Google Launches Knowledge Graph, ‘First Step in Next Generation Search’
On July 24, news hit that Google had quietly made changes to its local ranking algorithm, dubbed “Pigeon” by Search Engine Land (SEL) in absence of an official name by Google. Google told SEL the update was for U.S. English queries and had deeper ties into its Web search capabilities, “including the hundreds of ranking signals they use in Web search along with search features such as Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms and more,” the report said. This would make local search more closely mimic traditional organic search rankings. But with Pigeon, the local 7-pack seems to have flown away for many queries. And some are debating whether this change is good or bad for local businesses. On one hand, it seems local directories like Yelp are winning so far, surfacing more in the results for local searches. From SmallBusinessTrends.com: In the past, when you would search for something local, you would get your carousel results and then a list of organic … [Read more...] about Is Google’s New Local Algorithm ‘Pigeon’ for the Birds?
Between the long-awaited rollout of Penguin 4.0, a strengthening of Google’s mobile-friendly ranking signal and the ‘Possum’ algorithm update impacting local search, 2016 was an interesting year for Google algorithm changes. And with an upcoming move to a mobile-first search index already on the cards, as well as a penalty for intrusive mobile interstitials coming into effect on the 10th, 2017 promises to be just as eventful. Looking back at 2016, which algorithm changes were the most impactful for marketers in the industry? And how can brands best prepare themselves for what might be around the corner? I spoke to Sastry Rachakonda and Ajay Rama of digital marketing agency iQuanti, along with Search Engine Watch’s regular mobile columnist Andy Favell, to get their thoughts on what’s to come in the search industry. The most impactful algorithm updates of 2016 “Mobile-first indexing is probably the most significant change that happened this … [Read more...] about Which Google algorithm changes impacted marketers most in 2016 – and what can we expect from 2017?
Google is undertaking the most radical change to its search results ever, introducing a “Universal Search” system that will blend listings from its news, video, images, local and book search engines among those it gathers from crawling web pages. The new system officially rolls out today for anyone using Google.com and searching in English. Not everyone will see it at first, but over the course of the next several days, Universal Search should be more, well, universal. A new navigational interface has also been unveiled for Google and is covered more in the companion piece to this article, Google’s New Navigational Links: An Illustrated Guide. The move potentially should be a huge boon for searchers, while search marketers who have paid attention to the importance of specialized or vertical search will see new opportunities. To fully explain the importance to both groups, I’m going to work step-by-step through the concept of vertical search engines, how … [Read more...] about Google Launches “Universal Search” & Blended Results