Some early observations on the Google December core update

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Google’s December 2020 Core update was a big one according to many of the data providers. Our job, day in and day out, is to analyze Google updates and determine what the commonalities are so that we can advise our clients on how to improve their websites. Now that the core update is done rolling out , as of December 16, 2020 and while we do not have the December core update figured out completely, we thought we would pass on some interesting observations that we have made so far. What is a core update? Google makes changes to their search algorithms on a daily basis. A few times a year, they release significant changes to their core search algorithms and systems that are much more noticeable. In Google’s own words , core updates are, “designed to ensure that overall, [Google is] delivering on [their] mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.” If your website’s traffic has declined following a Google core update, most likely Google’s algorithms have determined that there are other pages on the web that are more relevant and helpful than yours. It can be frustrating to SEO’s to not know how Google does this. Google’s documentation on How Search Works describes the steps taken to return relevant results to searchers: 1. Organize the content on the web : As Google crawls the web, they organize pages in an index. They take note of key signals on each page such as which keywords are on the page, how up to date the page is, and more. 2. Determine the meaning of the searcher’s query : In order to understand which pages to recommend to a searcher, Google needs to understand the meaning of each query. Algorithms determine whether a query is looking for fresh, new content or not. Some words in a query may be easy for Google to decipher. Google’s algorithms can now do a good job at understanding whether a searcher is looking for a single, distinct answer in which Google could present them a fact from the Knowledge graph, or perhaps they are doing research where they would like to read more thorough information and peruse Google’s organic results. 3. Determining which pages are the most helpful to return: Once Google understands the intent behind a query, their goal is to return web pages that are the most helpful to answer this …

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How Does Latent Semantic Indexing Affect SEO

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In SEO, you’ll hear plenty about keywords and how they affect your content rankings. But you don’t hear so much about Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) and the influence it may have on SEO. If you’re not familiar with the term, Webopedia.com defines LSI as an “algorithm used by search engines to determine what a page is about outside of specifically matching a search query text.” More clarification on this is below. When used effectively, LSI can give your rankings a significant boost—and using it in your content may be easier than it sounds. Let’s get started by explaining what LSI keywords are and why they’re important. What are LSI Keywords? Put simply, LSI keywords are terms semantically related to your subject . Each LSI keyword, groups of words, or phrase you use is relevant to the main keyword you’re targeting. But, they’re not always synonyms—LSI also searches for ideas commonly …

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Identifying Advanced GSC Search Performance Patterns (and What to Do About Them)

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Posted by izzismith Google Search Console is by far the most used device in the SEO’s toolkit. Not only does it provide us with the closest understanding we can have of Googlebot’s behavior and perception of our domain properties (in terms of indexability, site usability, and more), but it also allows us to assess the search KPIs that we work so rigorously to improve. GSC is free, secure, easy to implement, and it’s home to the purest form of your search performance KPI data. Sounds perfect, right? However, the lack of capability for analyzing those KPIs on larger scales means we can often miss crucial points that indicate our pages’ true performance. Being limited to 1,000 rows of data per request and restricted filtering makes data refinement and growth discovery tedious (or close to impossible). SEOs love Google Search Console — it has the perfect data — but sadly, it’s …

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Fifteen Years Is a Long Time in SEO

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Posted by willcritchlow I’ve been in an introspective mood lately. Earlier this year (15 years after starting Distilled in 2005), we spun out a new company called SearchPilot to focus on our SEO A/B testing and meta-CMS technology (previously known as Distilled ODN), and merged the consulting and conferences part of the business with Brainlabs . I’m now CEO of SearchPilot (which is primarily owned by the shareholders of Distilled), and am also SEO Partner at Brainlabs, so… I’m sorry everyone, but I’m very much staying in the SEO industry. As such, it feels a bit like the end of a chapter for me rather than the end of the book, but it has still had me looking back over what’s changed and what hasn’t over the last 15 years I’ve been in the industry. I can’t lay claim to being one of the first generation of SEO experts, but …

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Google goes dark theme and passage ranking sees the light: Friday’s daily brief

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Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily. Good morning, Marketers, SEOs and PPCs or whatever titles you may have today. I mean, we all know we are tasked with a lot and sometimes it involves not just us fixing title tags or doing keyword research but other times it involves coding, graphic design and even a little tax law. We do it all. Okay, enough about professional titles… Today’s theme of the newsletter is, “Is that new?” As some of you may know, people ask me countless times a day, “Is this new?” The thing is, Google is always testing new interfaces, new designs, new features and releasing tweaks and changes to its …

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How People Use Google Search (New User Behavior Study)

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We analyzed 1,801 Google user behavior sessions to better understand how people interact with modern Google SERPs. Specifically, we investigated: How many people click on ads vs organic results Percentage of clicks go to local, video and Google Shopping Average search session length Number of users that make it to the bottom of the first page Lots more And now it’s time to share what we discovered. Here Are Our Some of Our Key Findings: 1. Google searchers use one of Google’s autocomplete suggestions 23% of the time. People that search for informational and local searches tended to click on an autocomplete suggestion more often than those searching with commercial queries. 2. 50% of Google users click on their result within 9 seconds of searching. And the average amount of time it takes a Google searcher to click on something is 14.6 seconds. 3. Only 9% of Google searchers make …

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Google’s May 2020 Core Update: What You Need to Know

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On May 4th, Google started to roll out a major update to its algorithm. They call it a “core” update because it’s a large change to their algorithm, which means it impacts a lot of sites. To give you an idea of how big the update is, just look at the image above. It’s from SEMrush Sensor , which monitors the movement of results on Google. The chart tracks Google on a daily basis and when it shows green or blue for the day, it means there isn’t much movement going on. But when things turn red, it means there is volatility in the rankings. Now the real question is, what happened to your traffic? If you already haven’t, you should go and check your rankings to see if they have gone up or down. If you aren’t tracking your rankings, you can set up a project on Ubersuggest for …

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We Analyzed 11.8 Million Google Search Results. Here’s What We Learned About SEO

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We recently analyzed 11.8 million Google search results to answer the question: Which factors correlate with first page search engine rankings? We looked at content. We looked at backlinks. We even looked at page speed. With the help of our data partner Ahrefs , we uncovered some interesting findings. And today I’m going to share what we found with you. Here is a Summary of Our Key Findings: 1. Our data shows that a site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher rankings. 2. Pages with lots of backlinks rank above pages that don’t have as many backlinks. In fact, the #1 result in Google has an average of 3.8x more backlinks than positions #2-#10. 3. Comprehensive content with a high “Content Grade” (via Clearscope ), significantly outperformed content that didn’t cover a topic in-depth. 4. We found no correlation between page loading speed …

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What the SERPs Will Look Like in 2021?

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Google continually updates its SERPs (search engine results pages). With the constant addition of new features, like passage indexing and mobile-first indexing, the SERPs of 2021 look far different than they did just a year or two ago. It makes sense—Google’s entire business model is based on providing users with the best possible experience. For marketers, though, it can be frustrating. Every year there are dozens of updates, new features, and updated strategies. How do you keep up? Preparation is the key to search engine success. Here’s what you need to know about SERPs in 2021. SERP Result Trends in 2021 According to Moz, Google updates its algorithm thousands of times a year . Most of the changes are small adjustments with no significant impact. However, you can expect at least a few of those updates to cause major SERP changes. What SERP result trends should you pay attention to …

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How to Write an SEO-Focused Content Brief Your Writers Will Love

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Posted by KameronJenkins Tell me if this sounds familiar: As an SEO Manager, you’re responsible for growing your company’s organic search traffic. You’re working with your dev team on some technical improvements, but you notice a big slice of the opportunity lies with content. Your company has a content team, but you notice they’re not using keyword research to inform their articles. You’ve tried to send them keyword ideas, but so far, they haven’t been receptive to your suggestions. Or how about this scenario? You’re a marketing director at a startup. You know that you need content, but don’t have the expertise or time to do it yourself, so you ask your network for recommendations and find yourself a freelance writer. The only problem is, you’re not always sure what to assign them. With little instruction to work off of, they produce content that misses the mark. The solution in …

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The Correlation Between Authoritative Links and Ranking [SEO Study]

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Posted by EricEnge Over the past five years, our team at Perficient has conducted continuous studies to evaluate the lasting impact of links on rankings. These studies consistently show that links matter as a ranking factor, but they also show that Google is dialing up their emphasis on the quality/authority of those links. We can say this because of the strong correlation our most recent studies show between the Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) of linking pages and the rankings of pages receiving the links. Each year, Moz has graciously provided us with access to their Link Explorer index, where we obtain the raw data to perform our analysis. In these studies, we perform Spearman Correlation analyses to show how the following variables correlate with ranking: Number of links to the ranking page DA of links to the ranking page PA of links to the ranking page Please …

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