This month's Searchlite intro written by SEO Manager, Abby Reimer
Ah, the first signs of spring are upon us. The dirt-soaked blocks of ice have melted, the days are getting longer and grass is starting to grow.
And speaking of growing... we wanted to officially announce our four newest team members. You read that right - four!
On the paid search team, we have Jaron Balgaard joining us as a Paid Media Manager. Jaron enjoys long-distance running (he's run 6 marathons!) and spending time with his wife and adorable new baby, Julian.
On the SEO team, we have Kelsie Gerovac coming in as an SEO Analyst. Kelsie has the cutest rescue pup named Indiana, and a fun fact is she was on a water ski show team in high school. Here's a pic of all of us from last week's outdoor team hangout. You can't tell, but we are smiling. 🙂
We also have our very first SEO Interns coming aboard: Skye Sonnega and Erica Teixeira (today is their first day!). As it's day #1, we still have a lot to learn about them, but look out for some fun facts about the two newest team members on LinkedIn in the near future.
Moving on to this week's newsletter content, we have updates on Google's latest paid search updates, a sneak peek into AirBnb's very successful content strategy, and more. Check it out:
by Barry Schwartz, Search Engine Roundtable
- Some PPC specialists recently spotted a new match type in Google Ads. The keyword type, called “Smart Matching,” caught some people by surprise.
- We don’t know if or when it will hit the platform, it hints at the future of automation on the platform.
- Marketers who want to stay ahead of the curve should start measuring everything they can on their own properties now.
Why it Matters:
The last two years have seen sustained efforts to prune back search term visibility and to expand the scope of traditional keyword matches. Broad match modified terms are phasing out, exact match variants are getting more common, and phrase match is getting broader.
A smart match keyword type seems like the natural next step for a platform that wants to give as much autonomy to its own algorithm as possible. Coupled with automated bid strategies, a “smart” keyword would open the firehose for the algorithms to learn with fewer inputs from advertisers, which could have huge industry-wide implications.
Our expectation is that smart matching -- or some equivalently broad, dynamic match type -- will show its face again in the near future. Whether that means Google continues to sunset traditional matches is up in the air. But it’s unlikely we see any reversal to a true exact match soon. Fully “smart” strategies are coming, so we shouldn’t fight it. We’re just going to need to know how to use them as best we can.
by Ross Simmonds, Foundation
- SEO Moats increase your SERP dominance, meaning your brand is able to target and win on a wide variety of niche search terms associated with the target market.
- Delivering content in an easily accessible way through clean URL structure and total SERP domination increases authority and can help users trust and find content from your brand more frequently.
- "The riches are in the niches" - When looking at search volume, we often disregard low or no volume terms. When we instead write content that targets these terms for authority purposes, it increases our trust and helps answer questions for people who do search these.
Why it Matters:
Creating content that covers a wide variety of topics through top of funnel, low - high volume terms will inevitably lead to increased authority and increased visibility for sites in a variety of spaces. Airbnb, for instance, has a great set up for content moats, where the wildcard is about location.
This helps users find Airbnb's in their specific city, even when the terms related to their city don't have high search volume. As a result, we trust Airbnb with providing accurate, up to date information about vacation rentals.
by Mike King, iPullRank
- Even though mobile-first indexing has been around for quite a while, Mike King and the team at iPullRank find that not all sites have gotten on board. They pulled 5.3 million URLs and found that 84% of pages are NOT serving the same word count on mobile as they are on desktop.
Why it Matters:
Google representatives have recently indicated that they will move to mobile-only indexing in March 2021. Sites with mobile-desktop discrepancies could see some performance decreases as a result.
Fortunately, Mike offers a free tool called Parito that allows you to check if your pages are showing the same content on mobile vs. desktop, so you can have some peace of mind (or start making some changes).
Caroline Gilbert, Siege Media
- Using some simple math, you can get a rough estimate of how much content you’ll need to publish based on your organic traffic goals.
- Using business goals and the available data, marketers should push through “it depends” to provide more useful prescriptions, even if they’re only rough estimates.
Why it Matters:
As an industry, we talk a lot about what kinds of content to publish but very little about how much of it we need to publish. It’s a shame because publishing volume is an extremely important part of the content equation.
While we can never have a precise answer to the question of “How much content do we need to publish?”, we can certainly do better than stopping at “It depends.” The folks at Siege Media help us get closer to a useful answer by providing a simple equation: (monthly organic traffic goal) / (current monthly organic traffic / # of pages) = total pages you’ll need to reach your goal. After that, subtract your current pages from the total and you’ll have your target number.
Of course, this is just a starting point and you’ll likely need to adjust course as you go. But the overall point remains that we can and should use business goals and the available data - not just best practices - to calibrate our efforts.
by Kate Kaye, Digiday
- Google will not continue to support targeting based on user-level behavioral signals gathered across the web once third-party cookies have been phased out.
- The changes will go into effect within the next two years, when Google is set to officially stop recognizing third-party cookies. From what we know, advertisers will still be able to target ads based on aggregated, cohort data through FLoC.
Why It Matters:
We’ve seen this coming. First-party audiences, customer lists, and cohorts are going to be the way targeting evolves in the next two years. This deals the biggest blow to behavior-focused prospecting efforts, which might be shot-gunning ads to a flurry of audiences. Remarketing to customer lists, or your owned audiences, will likely be less affected.
Marketers who want to stay ahead of the curve should start measuring everything they can on their own properties now. This data, these customer lists, will be critical for your success in the future.
These changes will dip performance in accounts. We lose granularity when we aggregate data; there will be more noise. Have the conversation with clients and internal teams, and be prepared for some turbulence in the quarters ahead.
Other Interesting Stories:
Free Tool of the Month: