Digital State Cheshire

After the Google bombshell of last week – with Google pulling the plug on the practical implications of its authorship experiment – this week is, understandably I guess, a little more sedate.  To revisit the topic – briefly (and not even trying to answer them!) but, overall, the waters were calmer and in the continued absence of a Penguin update, the announcements from Google were generally helpful and practical.

Highlights were the rollout of new Callout Extensions within Adwords – another useful tool for our PPC team, albeit not a game-changer (here’s a quick primer on what they are and how you can incorporate them effectively).

There was an acknowledgement from Google (as alluded to in the article above) that the work on the Penguin algorithm is not complete with clarification that they’re working to get closer to real-time refreshes of it, so that work carried out to rectify sites can be incorporated more quickly.

There was also a new version of the Adwords Editor released.  Whilst the upgrades incorporated into this are all very important and much appreciated, the main reason I highlight this is as a general clarion call for all PPC managers to download this highly under-rated tool.  It simplifies processes and speeds up management immeasurably and I, for one, could not imagine running a suite of PPC accounts without it.


Otherwise, the biggest news of the week was the annual SearchMetrics report being released.  At DSM we are big fans of the team at SearchMetrics – they are amazingly intelligent people and their annual report is a bible to pretty much everyone we know in the industry; a rigorous, scientifically legitimate analysis of the mechanics of SEO and the foundations of a large proportion of how we design our methodology.

Traditionally, the SearchMetrics report is a big advocate of the primacy of inbound link profiles.  And whilst 2014 is not exactly rejecting this, it is fair to say that there is a sea-change in the way it is articulating its findings. The increase in the importance of content-based factors – particularly length of text and word text – is pronounced and it is this that SearchMetrics has stressed in the precis along with the growth in importance of user signals (bounce rate, CTR and time-on-site, for example) which we have been strong advocates of for several years.  For a quick breakdown, the report itself has a summary and Barry Schwartz runs the rule over it here.

Practical advice.

With regards to some practical advice, I’ve seen a couple of articles which I wanted to draw attention to.  Not because they necessarily say anything new or ground-breaking but because they so clearly cut to the crux of two big areas in pragmatic search marketing – negative SEO (and how to combat it) and link-building tactics that are generally deemed “bad” in 2014 but are, if done with an eye for quality and detail, still very productive.

And Finally.

Lastly, following up on part one last week, here’s the second part on Search Engine Land’s expert insights into the future of SEO.  The stand out quote for me is “Search will be omnipresent, and Google will be trying to predict what interests you — and what questions you have – before you even think of them”.  Not so much a practical advice but a clear understanding of how the ante will rise in terms of search marketing – that is, in terms of how to help clients get to the front of the queue.