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Move on from these nine fundamental content marketing myths

January 18, 2023 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Content does not equal authority: Creating content doesn’t automatically makes you an authority
  • Automation is good but don’t hinder creativity and expertise with smart AI tools
  • Not all of your content is going to rank or go viral, but will help you understand and strategize according to your target audience

Are you happy with how your content marketing strategy performs?

Chances are, you are (or your marketing team is) doing it wrong, and, from experience, those mistakes are often fundamental.

Content marketing is more than content that ranks – it’s the most effective way to promote your brand.

However there are too many myths that prevent your content marketing strategy from working.

Here are the most common ones:

Producing content makes me an authority

It is still surprisingly a widespread phenomenon: Someone publishes their first article and expects to wake up famous.

Just because you produce content it doesn’t make you an authority on your industry.

To do that, you have to regularly produce top content and be cited by other authorities as a reliable source. It’s not the fact of content, it’s the type of content.

A blog is enough

Having a blog is a good first step in content marketing.

But too many companies start blogs just because their competitors did.

If there is no planning or strategy, there’s no point in having a blog. Think of your blog as a pillar of your content marketing strategy. It’s a core platform for publishing original content to show thought leadership and build authority.

But just like building a house, your strategy needs other pillars, or it will collapse. Assuming your blog is all you need is a mistake.

The first question to ask yourself prior to starting a blog is “why?” Define your goals, and go from there. Plan content using keyword research and analysis, include your customer support to better understand your customers’ needs, using surveying, etc. Blogging involves a lot of planning.

More is more

If you’re seeing the benefit of producing a single piece of content, how much more attention would you get if you produced dozens really quickly?

It’s a risky strategy because you could overwhelm your audience with too much stuff. And if you’re so focused on quantity that you forget about quality, the content will actually HURT your reputation and rankings (Google is now insisting on helpful content which means content quality is crucial).

A better option? Produce well researched and authoritative content at regular intervals to boost your reputation and increase conversions. If you can, delegate content creation to your team members. You’ll be surprised how much talent you already have in your company.

Don’t publish more content than you have time to promote.

Automation can’t hurt me

Don’t get me wrong here: Some forms of automation are helpful and sometimes even necessary. You cannot succeed in email marketing without using automation to personalize it. Likewise, web analytics reporting and monitoring usually involves some level of automation.

Automation is dangerous when you start automating human interactions or creative processes. Yes, artificial intelligence can now automate your content creation but it is detectable (and probably soon punishable).

Over scheduling and over-automating can definitely hurt as well. Sure, it makes sense to schedule content for the times when you’re not available, but showing up and being there to talk is what builds the relationship.

Unless you’re already a mega-brand, if every tweet or share is automated, you’ll see the results in lower engagement.

If something works, why change it

Content marketing is one the fastest-moving marketing channels. What worked yesterday may actually hurt you today.

Too many businesses hang on to their old marketing tactics for too long. Yes, a decade ago a 300-word mediocre article could very well rank if you buy a couple of backlinks to it, but those days are long gone and both of these tactics may actually get your site flagged and filtered today.

Keep educating yourself, discovering new tactics and monitoring what is no longer acceptable. When it comes to corporate and brand-driven blogging, building trust is much more important than quick wins.

Content marketing is about advertising

Content does not translate into relentless promotion of your products and services.

Content marketing should provide something useful to the people who grab your content.

Don’t worry; you are allowed to use the soft sell, for instance in white papers where you identify a problem and show how your product can solve it.

In other words, you can create a conversion funnel from your content, but it is going to be a longer funnel from your commercial landing page. Instead of selling something right away, you’ll probably need to give away some downloadable content or entice your reader to become your subscriber.

Content marketing is about link building

Content marketing is about providing great content that builds authority and helps customers make favorable decisions about your brand, product or services.

Of course, if you create great content, then other people will think it’s worth talking about and link back to your site. Focus on creating content with depth, interest and relevance to users and you’ll get authority, search engine prominence and backlinks.

Content only succeeds if it goes viral

Everyone dreams of creating a piece of viral content, but don’t worry if you can’t. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t mean your content marketing campaign is a failure.

Measure your success in the amount of attention you get for your products and services and brand.

As long as you are reaching those goals, then your content marketing campaign is a success. Virality, if it happens, is just a fringe benefit.

Content marketing is easy

This is the biggest myth of all.

Sure, if you equate content marketing with just blogging or just doing social media, you might think it’s easy to do. But it’s not. Successful content marketing means thinking about content types and goals so you get the most benefit from your efforts.

It’s not easy, but that’s why the rewards are so large for the people who understand it and do it right.


Ann Smarty is the Founder of Viral Content Bee, Brand and Community manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Move on from these nine fundamental content marketing myths appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Three must-have GA4 SEO reports you can build in under 30 minutes

January 13, 2023 No Comments

Three must-have GA4 SEO reports you can build in under 30 minutes

30-second summary:

  • If conveying the value to C-suite wasn’t challenging enough, SEOs are now having to deal with the GA4 shift
  • Does your SEO reporting take hours or days? Is it too detailed, or not detailed enough?
  • Buy back some time for a cuppa and a catch-up, use this super-detailed guide that will save you hours and get you the most effective GA4 reports

Have you experienced this… desperately trying to find where your favorite GA3 reports are hiding inside the new Google Analytics 4 (GA4)?

The process can feel daunting for all teams–including SEO teams looking to trace the impact of their search engine optimization efforts on the website’s overall performance. That is because many GA3 (also known as Universal Analytics) reports are either difficult to locate or need to be custom-built from scratch inside the new GA4.

That’s where these three reports come in!

Here are the three GA4 SEO “P” reports we will be creating together in GA4

1. SEO Pages report

Which of our web pages are successfully ranking in the search engines and generating the most traffic, conversions, and sales for the business? With this report, you can instantly pinpoint the pages that need more “SEO” optimization so you can increase your website’s traffic, conversions, and sales.

2. SEO Profiles report

What locations, interests, age groups, and other characteristics define our SEO audience? With this report, you can confidently define or redefine your ideal customer–so you can attract more of them.

3. SEO Paths report

How do our organic search traffic visitors navigate our website? What is their most common path to conversion? With this report, you can quickly discover and remove any roadblocks that are preventing your visitors from converting into leads and customers.

So we’re all on the same page: Throughout this article, I will use the phrases SEO traffic, organic search traffic, and organic traffic synonymously. They all mean people who typed a query into Google, looked through the unpaid (non-ad) search results, and then clicked through to your website.

Step 1: Create your SEO Pages report

One of the time-saving beauties of Google Analytics 4 is the Explore feature which allows us to create fully custom reports from scratch. We will use this feature to create our SEO Pages report. Quick note: Google has announced a new landing page report in GA4 that you can use to build this report as well. For now, let’s keep going with the quick and easy steps outlined in this article.

  1. Click Explore. Click Explore in the left menu
  2. Click Blank. On the next screen, click Blank
IMPORTANT: Don’t see it? If you do not see the option to click Blank, your access to GA4 is set too low. You need to ask your GA4 administrator to upgrade your access so you can create reports. Once you’ve done that, come back and continue the steps.

 

  1. Name exploration. Under “Variables” change the Untitled exploration to SEO Pages. You have now named your report.
  2. Create Organic Search segment. Click the + sign next to “SEGMENTS” > User segment > At the top, change the segment name from “Untitled segment” to “Organic Search Traffic” > Add new condition > search for and click on First user medium > click Add Filter > select contains > type and select organic > Apply. You have just created a segment (or filter) that automatically only displays information about your organic search traffic in the report you’re about to create.
  3. We’re going to bulk-add: Now that you have created your organic search traffic segment, it’s time to build a custom report, then apply your segment to it. In the coming steps, we will bulk-add all the metrics and all the dimensions we will need for all three SEO “P” reports.
  4. Add Landing Page dimension. Click the + sign next to DIMENSIONS > in the search box, type landing page and when it appears, check the Landing Page + query string box.
  5. Add additional dimensions. Repeat the previous steps by searching for and checking the checkboxes of the following dimensions:
    1. Device category
    2. Browser
    3. Country
    4. City
    5. Type “demographic” and check all the demographic dimensions you want to report on, such as Age, Gender, and Interests. Note: For these selections to report any data, you will need to enable the Google Signals functionality in GA4 which you can do by opening another tab and going to Admin > Data Settings > Data Collection > Get Started > Continue > Activate. Be sure to read Google’s policy to ensure that it complies with your organization’s privacy requirements If not, skip this bullet.
  6. Import all dimensions at once. After the final dimension’s checkbox has been checked, click the Import button to bulk-import all of the dimensions into your exploration report.
  7. Add Entrances metric. Click the + sign next to METRICS > in the search box, type entrances and when it appears, check the Entrances box.
  8. Add additional metrics. Repeat the previous steps by searching for and checking the checkboxes of the following metrics:
    1. Entrances
    2. Views
    3. Views per user
    4. Engagement rate
    5. Bounce rate
    6. Conversions
    7. Session conversion rate
    8. User conversion rate
    9. New users
    10. Returning users
    11. Total users
    12. eCommerce revenue (if you have an eCommerce website)
    13. Optional step: Add other metrics–If you prefer to use different metrics than the ones listed above, GA4 makes it very easy to do so. Just leave the search box blank and use the “All” column to expand and add additional metrics you’re interested in. Hovering over a metric shows a definition of the metric, which is very helpful. You are free to do this now, or later. For now, let’s keep going.
  9. Import all metrics at once. After the final metric’s checkbox has been checked, click the Import button to bulk-import all of the metrics into your exploration report.
  10. Name the report. Rename the Free form report to Landing pages by clicking and typing over it.
  11. Add dimension to the report row. Double-click the “Landing page + query string” item under DIMENSIONS > this will add it to the “ROWS” section under the “Tab Setting” section.
  12. Add metrics to the report column. One by one, Double-click the following items under METRICS and they will be added to the columns of the report we are building: Entrances, Views, Views per user, Conversions, Session conversion rate, User conversion rate.
  13. Change cell type. Under the “Tab Setting” section, scroll down and change the Cell type to Heat map.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Pages report.

How to read your SEO Pages report

What the SEO Pages report tells you

Because the SEO Pages report uses the Organic Search Traffic segment that we created, here’s what the report tells you: The pages of your website that are responsible for generating the most organic search traffic, conversions, and sales to your business. (You can change the time frame on the left to adjust to different periods.)

Now what? 

Are these the pages you expected? Any pages glaringly missing from the report? This report helps you quickly pinpoint the pages that need more “SEO” optimization.

How? Because if you notice that key pages of your website–perhaps your core product pages, your main service pages, the big blog post your team spent weeks on, etc.–are missing from or are near the bottom of the SEO Pages report, this means those key pages are likely not ranking well in the search engines when your prospects are “googling.”

This tells you that it’s time to optimize these pages so they can start generating more traffic, conversions, and sales for the business. If you’re not sure how to optimize your web pages, see SEO Sprints on SprintMarketer.com.

Bonus Tip: Sorting

If you want to sort the report by another metric other than Entrances–for example, conversions–simply drag that metric to the top of the “VALUES” list under “Tab Settings.” In doing so, you will be able to quickly report on which pages of your site are responsible for generating the most conversions from SEO traffic.

Step 2: Create your SEO Profiles report

Because we’ve already created the SEO Pages report, we will use a shortcut to create the SEO Profiles report. Let’s dive in.

  1. Click Explore. Click Explore in the left menu.
  2. Duplicate the SEO Pages report. On the next screen, find your SEO Pages report > click the 3 dots to the right of your SEO Pages report > select Duplicate.
    GA4 SEO reports - SEO Pages
IMPORTANT: Don’t see it? If you do not see the option to click Duplicate, your access to GA4 is set too low. You need to ask your GA4 administrator to upgrade your access so you can create reports. Once you’ve done that, come back and continue the steps.

 

  1. Rename the duplicated report. A new report will appear and it will be named “Copy of SEO Pages” > click the 3 dots to the right of that report > select Rename > change the name to “SEO Profiles” > Submit.
  2. Create your Device category report to profile the devices your SEO traffic uses to access your website.
    1. Open the report. Click on the name of your SEO Profiles report to open it > now it’s time to modify our dimensions so you only see the dimensions that give you insight into the “profiles” of your SEO visitors.
    2. Remove old dimension. Under the “Tab Settings” column, hover over the Landing page + query string dimension located under “ROWS” > then click on the X to remove it from the list of dimensions. This will make your report “disappear” because there is no dimension selected, but not to worry–we will bring it back right away.
    3. Add new dimension. Double-click the Device category dimension. This will move the Device category dimension under “ROWS” in the “Tab Settings” column. Voila, your report has now reappeared.
      GA4 SEO reports - adding new dimensions
    4. Rename your table. Now that your Device category report has been created, you need to change the name of the table from Landing pages > Click on the words Landing pages > type “Device” > click Enter on your keyboard.
    5. Sorting. I prefer to sort this report by Total users so I can know the device preference of my individual users–this way, I’m not sorting by Views, Entrances, Sessions, or other metrics that may be inflated by a small number of users who visit frequently. To sort the report by Total users, simply drag the Total users metric to the top of the “VALUES” list under “Tab Settings.”
    6. You’ve created valuable data. Your new Device category report gives you insight into the profile of your SEO traffic by telling you their preferred devices (mobile, desktop, tablet, etc.). This is helpful in case your website experience is faulty or glitchy on certain devices, in which case if that device shows up near the top of your report, it should be a priority to fix those issues.
  3. Create your Browser report to profile the browsers your SEO traffic uses to access your website.
    1. Duplicate. Creating this report will be a breeze because you only need to duplicate the previous report and make some quick changes. Click on the arrow next to “Device” > select Duplicate
    2. Rename table. A new table will appear. Let’s rename it > Click on the words Device in the new table > type “Browser” > click Enter on your keyboard.
    3. Remove old dimension. Under the “Tab Settings” column, hover over the Device category dimension located under “ROWS” > then click on the X to remove it from the list of dimensions. This will make your report “disappear” because there is no dimension selected, but not to worry–we will bring it back right away.
    4. Add new dimension. Double-click the Browser dimension. This will move the Browser dimension under “ROWS” in the “Tab Settings” column. Voila, your report has now reappeared.
    5. Sorting. Make sure your table is sorted by Total users. If not, here’s how: To sort the report by Total users, simply drag the Total users metric to the top of the “VALUES” list under “Tab Settings.”
    6. You’ve created valuable data. Your new Browser report gives you insight into the profile of your SEO traffic by telling you their preferred browsers. This is helpful in case your website experience is faulty or glitchy on certain browsers, in which case if that browser shows up near the top of your report, it should be a priority to fix those issues.
  4. Create your additional profile reports. Follow the steps in bullet 5 to create tables for all the additional dimensions such as City, Country, Age, Gender, Interest, and any other dimensions you may have added in Step 3 when you created your SEO Pages report.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Profiles report.

How to read your SEO Profiles report

What the SEO Profiles report tells you

Each tab of your new SEO Profiles report provides an insight into your SEO audience. For example, you know their device preferences, their browser preferences, their ages, their interests, their top locations, and more. (You can change the time frame on the left to adjust to different periods.)

Now what? 

With this information, you can confidently define or redefine who your ideal customer is and use this invaluable information to:

  • Rework the wording your use on your website so it’s more effective for this group
  • Redefine the audiences you’re using for your ads (if you’re running ads)
  • Update the wording you use in your offline messages to align with your audience and more.

Understanding who your audience is and speaking their language is a marketing superpower that can create emotional connections between you and your potential customers, and drive up conversions and sales.

Step 3: Create your SEO Paths report

IMPORTANT: Do you have events set up? This SEO Paths report requires that you have added events and conversions to your GA4 property. For example, have you configured your “purchase” or “lead” events so GA4 knows how to spot your conversions? If not, search for articles on this site, or see Analytics (GA4) Sprints on SprintMarketer.com.

 

In this step, we will build two powerful reports. The first one is your Traffic Flow report which tells you how all SEO visitors navigate your website, and the second is your Conversion Flow report which tells you how your *SEO visitors who converted into leads or sales* navigated your website.

Ready? Let’s go.

  1. Click Explore. Click Explore in the left menu.
  2. Duplicate the SEO Pages report. On the next screen, find your SEO Pages report > click the 3 dots to the right of your SEO Pages report > select Duplicate.
IMPORTANT: Don’t see it? If you do not see the option to click Duplicate, your access to GA4 is set too low. You need to ask your GA4 administrator to upgrade your access so you can create reports. Once you’ve done that, come back and continue the steps.

 

  1. Rename the duplicated report. A new report will appear and it will be named “Copy of SEO Pages” > click the 3 dots to the right of that report > select Rename > change the name to “SEO Paths ” > Submit.
  2. Open the report. Click on the name of your SEO Paths report to open it > now it’s time to modify your report. Let’s dive in.
  3. Start new report. Click the + sign next to the Landing Pages report > Select Path exploration.

  4. Click Start over. Click Start over to clear everything in the existing report.
  5. Delete old report. Click on the old Landing Pages report > click on the arrow next to its name < select Delete.
  6. Rename report. Let’s give your report a more intuitive name. Click on the words Path exploration in the report > type Traffic Flow > click Enter on your keyboard.
  7. Add new dimension. Double-click the Device category dimension. This will move the Device category dimension under “ROWS” in the “Tab Settings” column.
  8. Apply segment. Double-click the Organic Search Traffic segment to apply it to the new report (since we started over).
  9. Remove old metrics. Under the “Tab Settings” column, hover over Event count located under “METRICS” > then click on the X to remove it from the report.
  10. Add new metric. Double-click the Total users metric. This will move the Total users metric under “METRICS” in the “Tab Settings” column and apply it to your report.
  11. Build your Traffic Flow report. This report shows how your SEO visitors navigated your site once they landed on it. This is a fantastic report for confirming whether the path you think people should take is indeed the path they are taking.
    1. Set Starting Point. Let’s begin by telling this report what we consider a starting point for traffic to our website. Click Drop or select node inside the Starting Point text on the report > select Event name > select session_start

    2. Rename steps. Click on the dropdown menu under STEP +1 > select Page title and screen name. This will expose the names of the pages that your visitors visit during their session. The bigger groupings represent the most visited pages.
    3. Reading this report. For example, in the screenshot below, I can see that, for the date range selected, after leaving the Google Online Store, the majority of the SEO visitors navigated to the Home page followed by the Men’s / Unisex Apparel page, followed by several other pages. I now know that people go back to the home page when I don’t expect them to–which could indicate that the calls-to-action on the Google Online Store page may not be clear.
    4. Add more paths. (1) Double-click any blue bar to expose additional visitor paths and see how your visitors navigated from one page to another. (2) Hover your mouse over any blue bar to see that page’s visitor breakdown by Device category. See the screenshot below.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Traffic Flow report.

  1. Build your Conversion Flow report. This report is a superb companion to the Traffic Flow report because it shows how users who converted navigated your site before they converted. This is a fantastic report for verifying if the funnel you think people should take is indeed the funnel they are taking.
    1. Duplicate. Click the arrow next to the Traffic Flow report > Duplicate > Rename the new report Conversion Flow > click Start over to clear the existing report. It’s now time to quickly create your Conversion Flow report.
    2. Set Ending Point. Let’s begin by telling this report what we consider to be an ending point (conversion event). Click Drop or select node inside the Ending Point text on the report > select Event name > search for and choose the event that represents the conversion you’ve set up for your website, for example, purchase, generate_lead, or etc.

    3. Rename steps. Click on the dropdown menu under STEP +1 > select Page title and screen name. This will expose the names of the pages that your visitors visit during their session. The bigger groupings represent the most visited pages.
    4. Reading this report. For example, in the screenshot below, I can see that, for the date range selected, the weakest link in the checkout process is from the Shopping Cart to the Checkout. Now I know that we need to get better at encouraging people to check out once they’ve added items to their cart.
    5. Add more paths as needed. (1) Double-click any blue bar to expose additional visitor paths and see how your visitors navigated from one page to another.(2) Hover your mouse over any blue bar to see that page’s visitor breakdown by Device category. See the screenshot below.

Congratulations! You have successfully created your SEO Conversion Flow report.

How to read your SEO Paths report

What the SEO Paths report tells you

With your Traffic Flow report, you can now observe exactly how your SEO visitors experience your website and make fixes where unexpected behavior might be occurring.

With your Conversion Flow report, you can now observe the most common steps your SEO visitors take while converting into leads or customers–and you can use this knowledge to make fixes where unexpected behavior might be occurring.

Now what? 

How do our organic search traffic visitors navigate our website? What is their most common path to conversion?

Maybe you need to add a call-to-action on one of your drop-off pages, so visitors know exactly what their next step should be.

Maybe you need to add an upsell to your checkout process so you can increase your transaction value.

Maybe you need to remove or completely rework a certain page because it’s proving to have the highest drop-off rate in the funnel.

Understanding and removing roadblocks from your users’ experience is a powerful marketing technique that can help you generate more conversions and sales from your existing traffic without having to generate new traffic.

Let’s summarize

Google Analytics 4 can feel daunting for all marketers, and SEOs are no exception. But with these quick and mighty GA4 SEO “P” reports, those of us who manage search engine optimization campaigns can easily monitor and communicate the impact of organic search traffic on the business.

Bonus: Sharing your GA4 SEO reports

When you first create an exploration, only you can see it. Would it be valuable for you to share your 3 reports with other members of your team? If so, this bonus is for you.

Sharing your Explore reports

  1. Click on the report you want to share
  2. In the upper right, click Share exploration
  3. That’s it. Anyone who has a Viewer role (or higher) in your GA4 property will be able to see your report when they log in and go to Explore.
  4. If you’re not sure how to create Viewers or any other roles inside GA4, it’s very easy. Just go to Admin > click Access Management in the Account or Property column > Assign roles to new or existing members. If you get stuck here, check out this access management article from Google.

Exporting your Explore reports

  1. In the upper right, click Export data.
  2. Select the export format:
  • Google Sheets
  • TSV (tab-separated values)
  • CSV (comma-separated values)
  • PDF
  • PDF (all tabs)

When you export to Sheets, TSV, or CSV formats, all the data available in the selected visualization is exported. This may be more data than is currently displayed. When you export to PDF, only the data currently displayed in the visualization is saved.

Happy SEO GA4 reporting!


Mary Owusu is CEO at Sprint Marketer, Professor of Digital Marketing & Analytics, President-Elect at the Digital Analytics Association Board. Mary is also an ATHENA Award Winner and FOUR Under 40 Emerging Leaders (AMA).

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Three must-have GA4 SEO reports you can build in under 30 minutes appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The Search Engine Watch Top 5!

December 27, 2022 No Comments

First, congratulations on surviving 2022, you’ve done great! 2022 was surprising, unique, and a challenging mix of several global events that kept us on our toes as consumers, brands, and search marketing professionals. The recession, great resignation, a war, FIFA finale, and several silent battles we all fought by ourselves.

As we recap the year gone by, let’s look at the world through the lens of search, SEO, analytics, and content creation.

Source

2022 has been about…

  • Looking at your consumers as human beings and not just data sets
  • Understanding how your target consumers perceive the world and how they experience life in a digital age
  • Tailoring and testing your strategies to meet consumers in their moment of need – all without losing budget (or your sanity!)
  • Finding most-effective tools, technologies, and talent to navigate business uncertainty

We present to you the #SEWTop5

A countdown of editor’s picks that the Search Engine Watch community loved and found great value in!

#5. Understanding the three awareness stages of your online audience

Businesses often forget that success metrics aren’t just numbers – they are living, breathing people who are driven by behavior and emotions. As customer journeys continued to remain complex and multifaceted, businesses competed to ensure they were at the finish line when prospects were ready to convert.

Add People’s Content Operations Lead, Jack Bird created a guide on harnessing a content strategy that caters to consumers and their journeys. He detailed the three key awareness stages of online traffic, what type of content fits these stages, and how to audit your existing content.

#4. A must-have web accessibility checklist for digital marketers

Did you know, 98% of US-based websites aren’t accessible? This year web accessibility moved out of the shadows and took center stage as one of Google’s search ranking factors – making the topic itself more accessible to discussions. Marketers could no longer ignore this critical aspect, because –

Stellar user experience >> Positive brand perception >> Greater appeal to value-driven consumers = Good for business

Web design and marketing specialist, Atul Jindal created a must-have web accessibility checklist for digital marketers. It went beyond dispelling “what is web accessibility?” and spoke about its benefits and action points on “how to make your website accessible?”.

#3. Google Analytics 4: drawbacks and limitations—is it worth sticking around?

On July 1, 2023, Universal Analytics properties stopped processing new hits, forcing users to switch to its successor, Google Analytics 4. This transition demanded SEOs and marketers to have a steep learning curve and adaptability since the shift meant losing some historic data.

This article dove into the issues with Google Analytics 4 from a user perspective and a privacy and compliance standpoint. Objective, hard-hitting observations helped inform SEOs and marketers’ decisions before switching platforms.

#2. The not-so-SEO checklist for 2022

While most of the internet focused on “what to do”, we took an offbeat path of “what not to do” that will help your SEO succeed from the get-go.

Best-selling author and SEW Advisory Board Member, Kristopher (Kris) Jones dispelled some major myths surrounding Core Web Vitals (CWV) and Google’s bigger, mainstream 2021 updates.

As an especially interesting, strategy-focused read, this was one SEOs could not miss before designing their 2022 strategy.

#1. Seven Google alerts SEOs need to stay on top of everything!

We as SEOs and marketers often forget that while we focus on consumers and clients, we too are humans – with limited energy (we mean coffee supply), 24 hours (wish we had more), and sleep deprivation (yes we mean sleep deprivation). As burnout crept in and to-do lists climbed, our very own Ann Smarty shared seven Google alerts that aimed at making life easier for SEOs.

These smart ways helped the community get ahead of competition, prevent a reputation crisis, fix a traffic drop, and do much more (without getting overwhelmed).

We hope you enjoyed this! Thank you for being valuable supporters throughout our journey.

Team Search Engine Watch wishes everyone a happy new year! Keep spreading the love and SEO wisdom.

Via GIPHY

*Ranked on target audience engagement, time on page, and bounce rate.


Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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The post The Search Engine Watch Top 5! appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

December 15, 2022 No Comments

2023, the year of SEO why brands are leaning in and how to prepare

30-second summary:

  • As marketing budgets inevitably tighten, the demand for cost-effective and dependable channels such as SEO continues to increase
  • Some of the critical updates and algorithm changes in 2022 give marketers a heads-up on where to focus in 2023
  • SEO and content marketers need to create better processes and work in tandem to achieve business goals
  • The days of set-and-forget SEO are over, organizations must utilize SEO in multiple ways

With marketing budgets under more scrutiny than ever, savvy organizations are looking towards SEO for sustained growth. Incorporating organic search into the digital strategy offers rich rewards – both in terms of cost efficiency and improved brand equity – that can contribute to an entire organization. As such, marketers have embraced this approach to maximize returns on marketing and technology expenditure.

In this article, I explain why SEO is so hot, what has changed in 2022, and what to capitalize on in 2023.

According to research from Gartner, CEOs are doubling down on digital investment strategies as they maximize their marketing ROI. However, Google recently reported that ad spending is down.

At the same time, in a recent survey of over 1000 enterprise marketers, over 90% of marketers are planning to place a greater emphasis on SEO in 2023.

Why organizations will lean into SEO in 2023

As marketing budgets inevitably tighten, the demand for cost-effective and dependable channels continues to increase — drawing much-deserved SEO attention from company leaders. In particular, they are finding that SEO insights give them a comprehensive view of consumer trends in times of volatility. It’s this invaluable knowledge that organizational and departmental heads know can help them drive their decisions today and tomorrow.

After two decades of sustained growth, search remains an essential channel despite marketplace volatility. It is a testament to the importance and effectiveness of search for connecting businesses with their target audiences.

Concerning enterprise organizations, some key benefit factors leading to the lean into SEO include:

  1. SEO is a high-yield channel and is not impacted by market conditions
  2. Organizations can benefit from long-term SEO incremental value
  3. Only SEO can provide real-time insights into both market demand and customer intent
  4. SEO insights drive sales, product, digital, and media initiatives across organizations
  5. Organizations benefit from brand equity due to SEO presence on the SERPs
  6. In tandem, SEO and PPC (together) give more control over the customer experience

SEO is rapidly becoming the key to unlocking a connection between businesses and customers. Organizations can get ahead of their prospects’ needs by understanding what they are looking for, why it matters to them, and how optimized content can best meet those requirements when needed most.

The focus on the (human) consumer and their experiences is something that Google focused heavily on in 2022. Some of the critical updates and algorithmic changes give marketers a heads-up on where to focus in 2023.

Learn from 2022 to prepare for 2023

2022 has been an eventful year for organic search, with several significant updates impacting how SEO and marketing teams should focus and operate.

Below are a few key areas where Google has indicated where SEO, content, technical and online marketers need to change – adapt and become agile – and where to prioritize their focus in 2023.

The Page Experience Update and Core Web Vitals was rolled out (mobile and desktop) to ensure users receive results that load quickly and render within a certain time threshold.

Read more on SEW: Mobile-first and Core Web Vitals: Page Experiences

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023 all organizations must ensure their website’s technical performance creates an optimal user experience
  • This involves examining the page loading speed, browser response time, and content stability during loading for a seamless customer journey
  • Leveraging a tailored blend of data-led insights, content, and technical expertise in 2023 will help you create powerful user experiences. Google puts great emphasis on optimizing results and prioritizing accurate, reliable information – from page speed through to navigation capabilities Ensure you combine data-science techniques with best (white-hat) SEO best practices.
  • By focusing both on website functionality and providing engaging, relevant content – marketing teams can plan for success in the current – and any – economic climate

Google’s Product Algorithm Update was released to help users make informed decisions. This was in the form of a refreshed set of instructions and updates based on the annual performance of product reviews. It was designed to empower users with access to accurate information that will enable them to make sound product purchasing choices.

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023 make it your goal to create a world-class experience for consumers, helping them find what they need quickly and easily. Aim to make the process of looking for items simpler than ever before – empowering people who search with an effortless journey directly from search results into their shopping carts!
  • If your selling products, demonstrate your professional abilities by providing well-founded advice and showcasing why you are the go-to expert on a subject
  • Back up any product recommendations with reliable data to provide assurance of authenticity

Multisearch was announced in April to enable searches using images and text. Powered by Google Lens, it allows people to use mobile cameras or photos to search relevant images and text to find the most relevant results they need. Connecting words & visuals to create an exciting array of possibilities for consumers.

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023 expect more advancements in Google’s AI development and MUM
  • Balance the content you create, and find an image-to-text ratio to provide the accurate answers users now want and expect
  • Focus on mobile optimization of images and expect this type of functionality to become a new norm in 2023

Google’s Helpful Content Update was announced and recently rolled out to ensure users receive the most useful search results.

Future focus for 2023

  • In 2023, content creators and website owners must develop unique materials tailored specifically toward human end-users instead of robots or spiders
  • For instance, when collecting customer reviews on products sold online – be sure requests inquire about specific details so reviewers can demonstrate intimate knowledge in their feedback
  • Similarly, blog posts covering events or news should include fresh perspectives not found elsewhere by readers searching through Google’s services
  • Today’s algorithms are much more sophisticated, and they identify content that does not satisfy the reader – in some cases, content that has been “spun up” by automated tools.

SEO and content marketers need to get better together.

Read more on Helpful Content here

Googles Search On event

At Google’s Search On event, they revealed some innovative developments that will revolutionize how we search online. For example, visual search results will provide an interactive and engaging experience with graphic cards of imagery directly integrated into every search result.

Additionally, users can also look forward to a new auto-complete feature for their searches as well as more tailored multi-search options designed for them to find meaningful answers quickly.

Googles Spam Update to help direct customers towards content with real purpose. As part of this effort, the search giant is improving the quality of results and expanding into new formats and mediums for delivering helpful information.

  • Consider how these updates may affect your SEO strategies moving forward
  • Ensure you are balancing keywords and not keyword stuffing
  • Avoid thin content and focus on quality over quantity
  • Use AI correctly for insights and optimization, not article content creation

Conclusion

SEO teams are becoming indispensable for organizations looking to uncover fresh opportunities and build a durable business. Cost-efficient tactics not only save funds but add value across departments too.

In 2023 focus on the following;

  1. Utilizing SEO insights as a source of organization-wide business intelligence
  2. Ensure technical SEO best practices are used to ensure websites provide experiences consumers expect and automate research and site fixes when and where possible
  3. Focus on visual search and expect its importance to rise in 2023
  4. Balance your optimization of content with key Google E-A-T and Helpful content guidelines, do not over-optimize
  5. Leverage AI and automation to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks and scale
  6. Balance SEO and PPC and find synergies to adapt to changes in the market and with Google
  7. Become the consultant and business advisor organizations need in times of change

SEO is no longer viewed as a stand-alone task; it is an integral part of your overall marketing plan. It enhances and bolsters other strategies in place while providing maximum reach for your business goals in 2023.

Be prepared for change and be flexible and agile. Slacking regarding optimization in terms of user experience, technical issue resolution, and speed can see you left behind competitors who are continuing their efforts without pause.

The days of set-and-forget SEO are over. Be prepared as organization look to utilize SEO in multiple ways

Change will be the main constant in the economy, with organizations and SEO next year!


Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of BrightEdge, the leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform. Find him on Twitter @jimyu.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

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The post 2023, the year of SEO: why brands are leaning in and how to prepare appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Turning data into results with data-driven attribution

December 13, 2022 No Comments

Showcasing how Mercedes-Benz Germany increased performance with data-driven attribution, and introducing new ways to see success with this model.
Google Analytics Blog


How to use digital PR and cross-channel data to amplify organic growth

November 21, 2022 No Comments

How to use PR and cross-channel data to amplify organic growth

30-second summary:

  • With the right strategy, digital PR can help drive both brand awareness and organic performance
  • During an economic downturn, brand visibility is essential to maintain brand advocacy in the long-term
  • Brands that will come out on top are those that take a cross-channel approach to drive more ROI, using data from other channels to inform their approach

Despite being tempted to pull back on spending during a recession, I believe that it is critical that brands stay visible to maintain brand advocacy — and Digital PR is a great, low-cost way to do so.

Future front-runner brands will be those that adopt a cross-channel approach to drive more ROI, utilizing data from other channels to inform their approach and ensure it resonates with target audiences.

With the current economic climate, brands and businesses are understandably scrutinizing every cent, and will likely make cuts to marketing budgets across the globe. 

Businesses need to be realistic about their growth trajectory over the next few months and ensure every marketing dollar they invest is accounted for. While this may naturally lead to greater investment in performance channels, such as paid media, this will result in increased cost per click (CPCs). A way to still stay measurable but reduce costs is to get creative and focus energy on earning attention rather than continuing to pay for every click and impression.

As a result, I would argue that digital PR is one of the most important tools in your marketing toolkit, as, with the right strategy, it can drive both brand awareness and organic performance.

You’re missing a trick if you’re just using Digital PR to drive links

Digital PR is used to build high authority, and relevant links to key category pages to drive search performance through organic growth. A targeted strategy that aligns closely with SEO objectives will enable you to track ROI if you have the right measurement tools in place. This activity feeds into lower funnel marketing activity as it helps to harvest demand, as increased rankings capture better traffic and conversions. 

However, if you’re only using it for this purpose, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity further up the marketing funnel. 

Through securing brand-led, high-impact coverage on authoritative and influential publications, digital PR can also be used to drive search demand and upper-funnel brand awareness. This third-party validation is the perfect way to build salience, credibility, customer advocacy, and trust while simultaneously driving organic performance through high-quality links.

In order to achieve both brand and performance though, you need to be creating relevant and engaging content that your target audience wants to read and share. You shouldn’t be creating content ‘just for a link’ but taking into consideration wider business goals – and making sure you’re actually targeting press that your audience is reading.

In summary, digital PR shouldn’t just be an ‘intent-led’ marketing discipline to increase rankings. It’s a discipline that can both drive demand and awareness, whilst helping to capture intent-led traffic. 

Why brand visibility is even more important during a recession

Recessions are difficult and uncertain times, which is why it’s even more important to continue to build visibility and salience – as with tighter budgets, consumers are likely to become more selective and want to buy from brands that they trust that stay relevant to them.

We have seen in previous economic uncertainty brands that maintain their brand awareness and relevance, retain more market share, and are able to bounce back quicker. Mark Ritson’s marketing recession playbook provides further information and sources on this subject. 

In order to use digital PR to deliver true brand performance, you need to ensure you’re creating it based on as much cross-channel insight as possible.

Sharing cross-channel insight to deliver better ROI

While many marketers say they work ‘cross-channel,’ the reality is that many teams are still working in silos – especially across brand and performance teams.

To drive the best results, it is essential to break down silos and take data insights from each channel to develop one overarching strategy.

For example, to drive organic growth, while it’s critical to start with key SEO insight, search volumes, brand traffic, non-brand traffic, relevance, and the number of backlinks, you should be considering other channels to maximize performance. 

Another example would be that your PPC and paid search teams will have a lot of useful data that you can use to inform your organic strategy. Which are the keywords that are costing the most? You can tailor your efforts to improve organic rankings for these keywords, effectively allowing you to spend less on those terms. 

Your programmatic team will also have access to display placement reports which will provide insight into the publications and websites your in-market audience is visiting. This should then inform your target outreach list. From a paid social perspective, this team will have lots of useful information on what content performs the best providing valuable insight for your PR brainstorms.

Amplifying your Digital PR coverage further

You shouldn’t just be working with other channel teams to define your strategy, you need to work with them throughout the whole process, to amplify results. 

For instance, if you generate a truly fantastic piece of linking digital PR coverage, on a very credible publication. Whilst this will drive SEO performance and some brand awareness, in order to maximize the opportunity, and the valuable third-party validation, make it work even harder by amplifying through paid social.

Mini case study: Maryland cookies use PR to reach 5+ million people

Maryland came to us because they needed to align PR, programmatic, and paid social to drive mass awareness of their new Sugar-Free cookie and deliver an immediate surge in new customer sales. Through an integrated approach of PR, paid social, and programmatic, we reached 5.3 million people across all channels. View the case study here.

We have seen in past campaigns that by utilizing PR content as part of your social ads, not only can they actually perform better than the ad creative, but they can also help to prevent ad fatigue and provide you with additional assets (that you don’t need to pay anything extra for!). 

Immediate steps to help your 2023 marketing plan

In order to be successful, it’s important to create a framework that helps to pull all channels together. 

At Journey Further we use the ‘4Ds’ – Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver. 

Discover

This phase involves asking all the channels to provide insight and data based on their recent campaigns and learnings to date. It is recommended to assign a client lead who can be tasked with pulling together a list of questions and a briefing document to ensure the discovery phase is as useful as possible. This will help identify where the biggest opportunities are across channels. 

Define

Agree on the best objective and goals based on the insight provided by all channels. Create an overarching strategy that will deliver against them and drive maximum ROI. 

Develop

Set a clear roadmap, with roles and responsibilities outlined across each channel. Whilst in the case of an organic growth strategy, SEO and PR will take the leading role, it’s important other channels are clear on the ways they can amplify the activity at each stage, and what learnings they can also gather from the activity to improve their own results in-channel. 

Deliver

Marketing activity is activated. If this is a digital PR campaign then influencer marketing and paid social tactics may be used for example, alongside outreach, to bolster the campaign and drive more buzz and engagement. 

Reporting on the right metrics

Another benefit of working cross-channel is that you will be able to report on many more metrics, giving a more holistic and accurate view of ROI. 

Creating a live, 24/7 reporting dashboard utilizing tools such as Data Studio will allow you and your team members to check in and monitor progress at all times. This will provide you with a continuous cycle of insight to allow you to continuously improve your marketing efforts and deliver one overarching strategy that enables you to remain visible while also driving performance.


Beth Nunnington is the VP of Digital PR and Content Marketing at Journey Further, leading Digital PR strategy for the world’s leading brands. Her work has been featured in The Drum, PR Moment, and Prolific North. Find Beth on Twitter @BethNunnington.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post How to use digital PR and cross-channel data to amplify organic growth appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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6 Reasons Why Your GA4 Reports Might Be Wrong

November 19, 2022 No Comments
  1. Missing Tags – This is the most common error of wrong data.  This generally happens when new pages are added or the existing pages are redesigned/recoded and the developer forgets to include the tags.  Make sure all of your pages are tagged with Google Analytics code.  You can use a tool like GAChecker, to verify if the Google Analytics tags are missing on any pages of your site.
  2. Mistagged Pages – Incorrect implementation or double tagging leads to wrong data in Google Analytics.  Double tagging results in increased page views and a low bounce rate. If your bounce rate is lower than 20% then that’s the first thing you should check.
  3. Location of GA Tags – Placing the tag towards the bottom of the page could result in no data, particularly for users with slow connections or pages that are slow to load.  This happens when a user tries to load a page and clicks on another link before the first page is loaded. Since the Google Analytics tag is towards the bottom of the page, it might not get a chance to execute.  To avoid this issue, put your Google Analytics JavaScript in the <head> section of the page.
  4. Incorrect Filters – Wrong Filters can mess up the data and distort the view.  Always create an unfiltered view so that you have the correct data to fall back on.
  5. Tags Not Firing Properly – This can happen when your page(s) have JavaScript errors.  A JavaScript error on any part of the page can result in an error in Google Analytics code. Verify the JavaScript on your site to make sure there are no errors.
  6. Sampling – Sampling happens on highly trafficked sites. Sampling in Google Analytics is the practice of selecting a subset of data from your traffic and reporting on the trends available in that sample set.  For most purposes, this might not be a non-issue however it can be of concern in eCommerce sites where sampling can (will) result in wrong sales figures.   You can get more information about GA sampling on “How Sampling Works“.

Posted in: Implementation

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Are these SEO rookie mistakes costing your search rankings?

November 18, 2022 No Comments

Are these SEO rookie mistakes costing your search rankings

30-second summary:

  • SEO has increasingly become a key area of practice for businesses to gain visibility, however, if done wrong can stagnate or even sabotage your online visibility
  • From optimizing your website for the wrong keywords to putting too many keywords in the meta keywords tag or creating lots of similar doorway pages
  • We have listed the most common SEO mistakes to avoid and be future-ready

Through SEO, marketers can improve their websites’ rankings in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and thus reach top results.

While doing SEO, however, there are some common SEO mistakes to keep away from. In case of committing any of these mistakes, marketers might end up harming their search ranking and reputation.

Below are seven of the common mistakes that you must avoid.

SEO Mistake #1: Optimizing your site for the wrong keywords

The first step in any search engine optimization campaign is to choose the right keywords for which you should optimize your site. If you initially choose the wrong keywords, all the time and effort that you devote to trying to get your site a high ranking will go down the drain. What good will the top rankings do if you choose keywords which no one searches for, or if you choose keywords which won’t bring in targeted traffic to your site?

The good news is that there are some warning signs that say you’re maybe optimizing for the wrong keywords. Amongst these, we find the following:

According to Neil Patel, an SEO expert, and co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar:

If you go about optimizing site content for every keyword you can think of, chances are, you won’t rank highly in search engine results pages.

Worse, you’ll experience a high bounce rate, because search engine users who eventually find your web site will leave without doing anything that you want them to do.

….In fact, not optimizing site content for the right keywords will cripple your search engine rankings.

SEO Mistake #2: Putting too many keywords in the meta keywords tag

We often see sites that have hundreds of keywords listed in the meta keywords tag, in the hope that will get a high ranking for those keywords.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Contrary to popular opinion, the meta keywords tag has almost completely lost its importance as far as search engine positioning is concerned. Google does not use keyword meta tags directly in its rankings.

Hence, just by listing keywords in the meta keywords tag, you will never be able to get a high ranking. Since there is no correlation between the keywords you stuff into a Meta tag and your search engine rank. To get a high ranking for those keywords, you need to naturally add the keywords to the actual body content on page.

SEO Mistake #3: Repeating the same keyword too many times

Another common mistake that people make is to endlessly repeat their target keywords in the body of their pages and in their meta keywords tags.

Because so many people have used this tactic in the past (and continue to use it), the search engines keep a sharp lookout for this and may penalize a site that repeats keywords in this fashion.

Sure, you do need to repeat the keywords a number of times. But, the way you place the keywords in your pages needs to make grammatical sense. Simply repeating the keywords endlessly no longer works. Furthermore, a particular keyword should not ideally be present more than thrice in your Meta Keywords tag.

SEO Mistake #4: Creating lots of similar doorway pages

Another myth prevalent among people is that since the algorithm of each search engine is different, they need to create different pages for different search engines. While this is great in theory, it is counter-productive in practice.

If you use this tactic, you will soon end up with hundreds of pages, which can quickly become an administrative nightmare. Also, just imagine the amount of time you will need to spend constantly updating the pages in response to the changes that the search engines make to their algorithms.

Furthermore, although the pages are meant for different engines, they will actually end up being pretty similar to each other. Search engines are often able to detect when a site has created similar pages and may penalize or even ban this site from their index.

According to Google,

“…they (Doorway Pages) can lead to multiple similar pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination. They can also lead users to intermediate pages that are not as useful as the final destination.”

Hence, instead of creating different pages for different search engines, create one page which is optimized for one keyword for all the search engines.

SEO Mistake #5: Using hidden text

Hidden text is text with the same color as the background color of your page. For example, if the background color of your page is white and you have added some white text to that page. That is considered a black-hat SEO practice.

Many webmasters, in order to get high rankings in the search engines, try to make their pages as keyword rich as possible. However, there is a limit to the number of keywords you can repeat on a page without making it sound odd to your human visitors.

Thus, in order to ensure that the human visitors to a page don’t perceive the text to be odd, but that the page is still keyword-rich, many webmasters add text (containing the keywords) with the same color as the background color. This ensures that while the search engines can see the keywords, human visitors cannot.

Search engines have long since caught up with this technique, and ignore or penalize pages that contain such text. They may also penalize the entire site if even one of the pages on that site contains such hidden text.

However, the problem with this is that search engines may often end up penalizing sites that did not intend to use hidden text.

For instance, suppose you have a page with a white background and a table on that page with a black background. Further, suppose that you have added some white text in that table. This text will, in fact, be visible to your human visitors, that is, this shouldn’t be called hidden text. However, search engines can interpret this to be hidden text because they may often ignore the fact that the background of the table is black.

In official guidance from Google, they state:

“Hiding text or links in your content to manipulate Google’s search rankings can be seen as deceptive and is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.”

Hence, in order to ensure that your site is not penalized because of this, you should go through all the pages in your site and see whether you have inadvertently made any such mistake.

SEO Mistake #6: Using page cloaking

Cloaking, which is against Google’s webmaster guidelines, is defined by Google as follows:

“Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to users and search engines. Serving up different results based on user agents may cause your site to be perceived as deceptive and removed from the Google index”

People generally use page cloaking for two reasons:

  1. To hide the source code of their search engine-optimized pages from their competitors
  2. To prevent human visitors from having to see a page that looks good to the search engines but does not necessarily look good to humans

The problem with this is that when a site uses cloaking, it prevents the search engines from being able to spider the same page that their users are going to see. And if the search engines can’t do this, they can no longer be confident of providing relevant results to their users. Thus, if a search engine discovers that a site has used cloaking, it will probably ban the site forever from their index.

Hence, our advice is that you should not even think about using cloaking in your site and if you are already doing any cloaking and getting away with it, I guess you may have to be on the lookout.

SEO Mistake #7: Devoting too much time to search engine positioning

Yes – we lied. There’s another common mistake that people make when it comes to search engine optimization – they spend too much time on it.

Sure, search engine placement is the most cost-effective way of driving traffic to your site and you do need to spend some time every day learning how the search engines work and optimizing your site for the search engines.

However, you must remember that search engine optimization is a means to an end for you – it’s not the end in itself. The end is to increase the sales of your products and services. Hence, apart from trying to improve your site’s position in the search engines, you also need to spend time on all the other factors which determine the success or the failure of your website – the quality of the products and services that you are offering, the quality of your content, and so on.

You may have excellent rankings in the search engines, but if the quality of your products and services is poor, or you’re not producing high-quality SEO content, those high rankings aren’t going to do much good.


Jacob McMillen is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Are these SEO rookie mistakes costing your search rankings? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How to Filter out Bots and Spiders from Google Analytics

November 15, 2022 No Comments

A common misconception is that Google Analytics or any other JavaScript-based Web Analytics solution filters out Spiders and Bots automatically.  This was true till few years ago because most of the spiders and bots were not capable of executing JavaScript and hence were never captured by JavaScript-based Web Analytics solutions. As shown in 4 reasons why your bounce rate might be wrong, these days bots and spiders can execute JavaScript and hence are showing up in your Web Analytics reports.

Google Analytics has released a new feature that will let you filter out known spiders and bots.  Here are few things to keep in mind

  1. The data will only filter spiders and bots from the day you enable this setting. It won’t be allied to the data already processed.
  2. Since this will filter out bots, you might notice a drop in your visits, page views etc.

Here are the steps to filter out Spiders and Bots

  1. Go to the Admin section of your Google Analytics report
  2. Click  “View” section and choose the right report view
  3. Click  on “ View Settings” (see image 1 below)
  4. Check the box under “Bot Filtering” which says “Exclude all hits from known bots and spiders” (see image 2 below)
  5. Click “Save” button at the bottom and you are done.

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How to Exclude Internal Traffic from Google Analytics when Internal IP Address is Dynamic

November 11, 2022 No Comments

Google Analytics has a build in filter that allows you to traffic from an IP address. It works fine when you have a static IP but when the IP is dynamic is does not work (If you are not familiar with how IP filtering works then I will write about it later). In this post I will explain how to exclude internal traffic using a method other than IP address

Use Custom Filter

Custom filter allows to exclude traffic by Cookie Content set via setVar.

To exclude traffic from dynamic IP addresses, you can use a JavaScript function to set a cookie on all internal computers and browsers. You’ll then need to create a filter to exclude any traffic that has that cookie set.

How to exclude traffic by cookie:

  1. Create a new page on your site that sets the Custom Variable (User Defined) value in a cookie. The way you do is as follows<body onLoad=”javascript: _gaq.push([‘_setVar’, ‘Exclude’]);”> – Note this code is in addition to your Google Analytics tracking code on your page
  2.  Let’s call this page do-not-track-me.html
  3.  Visit http://www.yourdomian.com/do-not-track-me.html page from all computers and browsers that you would like to exclude the traffic from i.e. all your internal computers and browsers. (Once set, you can check this value by looking at _utmv cookie on your computer)
  4. Create an Exclude filter to remove data from visitors with this customer variable value:

Filter Type: Custom filter > Exclude
Filter Field: User Defined
Filter Pattern: Exclude
Case Sensitive: No

Note: If at any point you override the cookie or delete the cookie, your traffic will no longer be excluded.

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