Google's Content Update, Negative Reviews, SEO Budgeting and More

Table of Contents

This month’s Searchlite intro was written by SEO Manager, Jess Girardi

Hello hello, wonderful search people, and WELCOME BACK to Searchlite!

This month was full of vacations for the team, with Uproerians traveling far and wide, getting that last summer vacation in before fall descends on Minnesota. Look how cute and summery we are!


We know this is your favorite industry newsletter because we condense the top stories of the month and give you the TL;DR, but did you know that we have an all-company meeting every month just to decide what goes in here? We all come to the table with the awesome articles everyone’s reading, and we discuss them, vote on which ones should be included, and carefully curate this list. So every piece in here is specifically selected, that’s why Searchlite is near and dear to our hearts.

Enough from me, let’s get to the good stuff! Happy reading!


What Percentage of Your Budget Should Go Toward SEO?

By Bruce Clay, Search Engine Land

Key Takeaways:

  • Growth in digital marketing spend is expected to top 16% in the coming year
  • Currently, SEO accounts for just a small (9.5%) of this marketing spend
  • Savvy businesses that recognize the value of SEO for new customer acquisition are recommended to allocate the greater of $8,000 or between 5-10% of monthly revenue toward SEO
  • Business revenue and competitive landscape are the two main considerations when determining how much to invest in SEO services

Why it Matters:

Most motivated business leaders are willing to invest what it takes to succeed in high-priority marketing channels but it’s often unclear how much is enough. In this article, Bruce Clay offers useful guidelines for how much businesses should plan to invest in SEO based on their revenue and the competitiveness of their industry.

Whether or not you agree with his numbers, it’s useful to think of SEO spending as a factor of both current revenue and how quickly you really want to beat your competitors.


Beyond Page Views: Evaluating Content Success

By Dana DiTomaso, Kick Point

Key Takeaways:

  • Content being seen is not the same as content being read. We’re all guilty of opening 1000 tabs at a time, promising we’ll read them, but days go by and they’re still sitting unread. How do you measure the success of your content without all of us who open the tab but never engage further? It’s more simple than you think.
  • Using custom tags in Google Tag Manager to capture browsing behavior is essential in cleaning your data and ensuring it’s ready for analysis. As Google Analytics counts all pageviews equally, you could be watering down your success.
  • Counting views/day is a great way to see the long-term success of a piece of content since publication, and this can be done in GA4 and GTM!
  • Micro-conversions like CTA impressions on your blog as well as newsletter subscriptions, scroll depth and next click are all great metrics to track in - you guessed it - GTM and GA4!

Why it Matters:

Gosh I love Dana DiTomaso. Dana covers not only the technical aspects of defining a page view in a measurement tool but also touches on browser behavior and the human element of search and content. Content is hyper-effective at conversion! If it’s read and consumed and thought about and compelling enough for a user to come back or convert on the spot. It’s important to track why users would come to a piece of content, how long they stayed, if they actually read it, and be able to report on that in a simple dashboard.

Most of the time as marketers, we defer to the sessions or pageviews metric to demonstrate success, but micro-conversions like CTA impressions and scroll depth is just as important, and may make targeting for SEM and paid social easier in the long run. In short, clean data = good data.


A PPC Guide to Privacy-Focused Audience Targeting

By Joseph Kerschbaum, Search Engine Land

Key Takeaways:

  • Third-party cookies & audiences will be supported through 2024, but it’s important to start building your audience strategy now.
  • Use tools like direct audience upload, customer match, and GA4 audiences to build a reserve of first-party, owned audience data for future ad targeting.
  • Stay up-to-date on developments in Google’s Privacy Sandbox. Tools like the Topics API and new versions of g-tag might play a big role in SEM in the future.

Why it Matters:

We’re losing third-party audiences eventually. What we have to replace them is unclear. The only thing we know for sure is that first-party, advertiser-owned audiences are gold. To avoid being blindsided by non-compliant audiences or a bunk pixel configuration, every advertiser should think about the audiences they use and how they collect that data. Every advertiser should build a first-party audience plan.

Conduct a survey of your current audiences. Write a list of each audience, note its source, how it’s collected, and whether that source will exist in the cookie-less future. Highlight third-party data, and take stock of where you need to build up your owned audiences. From there, you can see how exposed your current strategy is to risks from the cookie-less future.

We’ve got two-ish years to do this, but time moves fast in the Googleverse. Don’t drag your feet, moan, and procrastinate; it’s not performance max. This shift requires some up-front leg work, so it’s best to do it now and be ready for the day our third-party data dies.


Google’s ‘Helpful Content Update’ to Devalue ‘Search-Engine First’ Content and Evaluate Authentic, Expert Voices in Search

By Lily Ray, Amsive Digital

Key Takeaways:

  • This update will help Google distinguish content written for search engines from content that is helpful and meaningful for searchers.
  • The update is ‘site-wide.’ This means if one section of your site is deemed low quality, all pages, including high-quality ones, may experience drops in rankings.
  • Search engine-first content happens if you’re producing content on multiple different topics in hopes of its ranking. Ensure that your content is adding something unique and useful to the discourse, and includes valid expertise where applicable.

Why it Matters:

Over the years, Google has faced criticism for having content that feels “SEO first.” To real humans, this type of content can often feel inauthentic or spammy. Critics cite Google Trends data, which shows people are appending “Reddit” to the end of queries more than ever before. People want real and honest information, but Google’s algorithm has not always promoted that.

As SEOs, human-first content is not a groundbreaking concept (see E-A-T). However, as Google begins to think about SEO theory, it’s clearly something we’ll want to keep at the forefront of our content strategies.


3 Huge Reasons Why Negative Reviews Help SEO & Online Reputation Management

By ReviewInc

Key Takeaways:

  • As digital literacy increases, people are increasingly skeptical of companies with review profiles that look too good to be true. A more diverse (but still generally positive) set of reviews looks more believable and authentic.
  • Take the time to respond to a negative review personally, and not with a copy-and-paste prompt. This is a chance for your brand voice and values to shine through.
  • A negative review provides an opportunity to optimize your product or service to make it better for future customers, potentially saving you lots of money long term.

Why it Matters:

Whether you’re an e-commerce company or a local business with a Google Business Profile, odds are you take customer reviews of your products or services very seriously. However, when (and not if, because it happens) you get a negative review, see it as an opportunity. Taking the time to respond to and rectify a negative review speaks volumes more about your business than any vague platitude on your website about how great your product or service is.

Other Interesting Stories:

Found on Twitter:

Dave Sewich

Dave Sewich

Dave’s a Minnesota-based SEO who's worked in digital marketing since 2013. In his time at Uproer, he's had the opportunity to lead client engagements with a wide range of ecommerce and software companies. The experience he’s gained along the way has made him a trusted advisor to both clients and colleagues. In addition to SEO work, Dave’s actively involved in company operations.

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This month’s SearchLite intro was written by Content Manager, Skye Sonnega Hey everyone, We recently livened up this dull Minnesota winter with two fantastic additions to the Uproer team! Eric Davison joined as a Senior SEM Analyst, and Jenny Hudalla joined as a Content Specialist. These folks are bright, hardworking, Minnesota-local, and coming in

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Sr. Manager, SEO & Operations

Dave Sewich

Dave made an accidental foray into digital marketing after graduating from the University of Minnesota Duluth and hasn’t looked back. Having spent the first part of his marketing journey brand-side, he now works with the Uproer team to help clients realize their goals through the lens of search.

When not at work, you’ll find Dave staying active and living a healthy lifestyle, listening to podcasts, and enjoying live music. A Minnesotan born and raised, his favorite sport is hockey and he still finds time to skate once in a while.

Dave’s DiSC style is C. He enjoys getting things done deliberately and systematically without sacrificing speed and efficiency. When it comes to evaluating new ideas and plans, he prefers to take a logical approach, always sprinkling on a bit of healthy skepticism for good measure. At work, Dave’s happiest when he has a chance to dive deep into a single project for hours at a time. He loves contributing to Uproer and being a part of a supportive team but is most productive when working solo.

Founder & CEO

Griffin Roer

Griffin discovered SEO in 2012 during a self-taught web development course and hasn’t looked back. After years of working as an SEO consultant to some of the country’s largest retail and tech brands, Griffin pursued his entrepreneurial calling of starting an agency in May of 2017.

Outside of work, Griffin enjoys going to concerts and spending time with his wife, two kids, and four pets.

Griffin’s DiSC style is D. He’s driven to set and achieve goals quickly, which helps explain why he’s built his career in the fast-paced agency business. Griffin’s most valuable contributions to the workplace include his motivation to make progress, his tendency towards bold action, and his willingness to challenge assumptions.