Few things can cause such a stir in the SEO world as a significant change in Google rankings, not least because such changes are so unusual. However, this is exactly what many commentators are reporting to have happened on 1st or 2nd September 2016. But what exactly has happened, and what does it mean for SEO professionals and businesses that rely heavily on their online traffic?
Was there a Google update?
While Google has not commented definitively, many experts are convinced that two different updates took place around the date in question.
The most significant was thought to be around core web search. A number of threads sprang into life on Twitter and other fora discussing significant changes in ranking, with sites seeing shifts of more than 100 places up or down from specific keyword searches.
The second issue was around local Google rankings, where similar SEO discussions reported the biggest change to local rankings that had been seen in a long time.
Google has not confirmed that any update took place at all, and this in itself is causing further debate within the general search community. What is certain is that something caused some significant changes to rankings and that it was seen across all industries and verticals.
Or was it something else? Ask Google!
If it was not an update, then what else could have caused this phenomenon?
Three days after all the excitement, Google reported that a system error dropped all Search Analytics data from 01 September to 06 September. But while some experts were still forming the words “That explains it!” others were quick to point out that this issue could not be related to the fluctuations in rankings.
Google also confirmed categorically that the rumoured update was not Penguin related. Google’s John Mueller stated on both YouTube and Twitter that Google is constantly updating, but that in terms of any update on 1st or 2nd September, Penguin could definitely be “ruled out” – the penguin is sleeping!
How much does it matter anyway?
While the updates, non-updates or system errors have provided plenty of fuel for speculation, some in the community feel that the whole thing is a non-issue.
Marketing professional and online commentator Larry Madill noted that the majority of Search Engine Results Page (SERP) results that he monitors returned close to their previous positions after a few days.
He felt that the incident followed a familiar pattern that he had seen many times before following an update (whether acknowledged as such or not). The phenomenon he reported was that the SERPS “get tossed around for about four days then slowly go back to normal.”
Bizarrely, Madill noted that it was the larger names in retail that took the biggest hits from the phenomenon, with companies such as Home Depot and Amazon losing several places on two significant SERPs.
This has led to some giving the phenomenon the nickname “The Big Brand Update.”
The only thing that is known for certain is that chatter was still rife long after the effects had all but disappeared.
Do you feel as though you’ve maxed out your local lead potential and hit a wall in your sales? Unless you have been living in a cave, you are aware that technology, and digital marketing in particular, are the keys to business growth in the 21st century.
The problem for many business owners is the rate at which technology and marketing trends change, and the befuddling number of digital marketing options (how many social networks are there?!). Just sorting through it all can feel like a second job.
To help you out, we have put together a list of a few proven ways to expand your business outside of your local sector, and attract new customers.
Put Yourself Out There
The next time you attend an outdoor event in the heat of summer, say a 4th of July Parade, you will probably notice that the kids selling water are doing big business. This is because they are putting themselves in front of people who need their service.
Nowadays, the people who need your product or service are looking online. A 2015 study revealed that 57% of consumers take recommendations found on social media into consideration before purchasing a product or service.
Start out by using just one or two social media sites, say Facebook and Twitter, and post about new products, sales, job openings and your participation in community or charity events. Be sure to pay attention to what your customers are saying on social media about the offerings in your industry- this can point you towards innovations that will put you ahead of the curve.
Writing a blog is another great way to keep the conversation going. You may think that you don’t have time to write a blog for your business, but by utilizing content generation tools and services, you can publish content that will generate leads and establish you as an authority in your field.
It is now more important than ever to make sure that you are staying up with the technological advancements in your field. By combining your natural creativity and entrepreneurship with these changes in the active field, you can discover new ways to develop your products and market the outcome.
This results in much more attention from your customers in addition to an improved return on your investment. When your clients see that you are ahead of the curve and frequently innovating, they will want to learn more about your business and how they can become a part of it.
Due to increasingly streamlined technology, business owners can look forward to optimizing their operations and reducing the need for micromanagement. This frees up your time and allows you to focus on other aspects of your business.
Solutions like demographic trackers and SEO tools like Moz can allow business owners to stay ahead of the competition, especially if they are based in a particularly competitive field. Through these technological solutions, you can take a look at the statistics that matter the most.
You can see how successful your products and services are with a target audience, and you can run product tests more efficiently to determine how successful your products are.
Consider employing a content team to help you keep up on new mediums (apps, social media etc.) that may be beneficial for your business. With a content team, you can expect to keep up with your customers on a much more personal basis, especially when you are advertising for new services or specific discounts and deal plans.
Utilizing the most intuitive small business software available for your industry can make it easier for you to keep up with these mediums as well. Many software programs include mailing list options and all-in-one updaters that can allow you to upload content simultaneously across multiple platforms.
The Big Picture
While every business owner starts out focusing on their local prospects, it is crucial to begin expansion at the appropriate stages to improve brand awareness. A creative look at the latest technological solutions can be invaluable in helping new business owners expand and fine-tune their business plan.
Keyword Explorer Launched For SEO Experts
Moz has launched a new tool called Keyword Explorer which is designed to simplify and improve the method of researching keywords for a successful SEO campaign.
Great news for the world of SEO as Moz has launched a new keyword research tool known as Keyword Explorer or KWE. Keywords are the foundation stones that the SEO industry is built upon so it is exciting to have a new comprehensive overview of the best keywords to use to enhance the position of a site in SERPs.
Although there are other keyword services being utilised within the industry, the new offering from Moz is already standing out as a particularly superior style of tool. It contains many unique features such as metrics and advanced functionality which exist to add value to the keyword gathering process whilst saving precious time for SEO consultants.
Spans The Entire Keyword Research Process
Keyword research is one of the most important phases in any SEO campiagn. Explorer has been designed to assist you throughout your entire keyword journey. It begins with the discovery stage of offering keyword ideas and then takes you through various steps such as getting metrics, building a list, keyword filtering and easy prioritisation of keywords you wish to target.
Reliable Volume Score
The inbuilt volume score is one of KWE’s greatest features and goes beyond what Adwords currently reports. By using a volume bucket methodology, Moz receives anonymised clickstream data from around 1 million real searches in the US and then manages to predict the search volume of a particular keyword. This approach provides keyword reports with a 95% accuracy rate. Google’s own keyword planner has attracted much criticism for being inaccurate as it is based on rounded averages.
Opportunity, Importance And Potential Metrics
On top of the typical volume and difficulty metrics that are featured in other keyword tools, KWE also provides information on three other essential pieces of information in keyword metrics – opportunity, importance and potential. ‘Opportunity’ delivers an estimate on the click-through-rate (CTR) of the organic results in search. ‘Importance’ is a variable which allows users to mark how vital a particular keyword is to the strength of their own campaign. The ability to track a combination of all the metrics in order to create a keyword prioritisation list is known as ‘Potential’.
In the past, SEOs relied on the manual recruitment of keywords from a wide variety of sources including Keyword Planner data, Google Suggest and Related Searches. KWE makes all of these available in its tool as well as topic-modelling ideas, keywords from the clickstream data and alternative keywords related to existing ranking pages.
Ease Of Import And Export
KWE is built with SEOs in mind. It realises that people have their own research methods and therefore supports easy import and export functionality. If an SEO consultant already has a keyword list, then they can upload it into Keyword Explorer to obtain metrics. Alternatively power users can use the KWE metrics process but then export the data to Excel if they have specific niche analysis that they want to perform outside of the platform.
Keyword Explorer is currently available as a freemium model – you can execute two free searches per day without logging in, up to five if you have a community account with Moz and unlimited if you hold a Pro Subscriber account.
KWE will give SEOs the edge in gaining an advantage over the competition in SERPs. Make sure you hire an SEO firm who always utilises the best and most innovative tools on the market to ensure incredible results for your brand.