Last week we gave quite a lot of focus to content development in the Weekly Digest as it’s clear that the heart of all attempts to improve a site’s authority (and, by extension, its effectiveness in its market) is the demonstration of credibility, knowledge and experience – predominantly through the development of high quality content.
The underlying message of this (for us anyway) is that one needs to take an objective stance of your marketing activity. Moreover, digital marketing is subject to the same demands as its broader sibling and, as such, needs to be treated less as a technical exercise and more as a standard marketing endeavour. In this spirit, Shawn Segundo made some very valid points on Hubspot on Wednesday about the need to think for humans before you think for search engines. When all is said and done, Google’s algorithmic sophistication is such that good marketing from a human perspective is indistinguishable from good marketing from a search engine’s perspective – you simply need to be aware of the additional tools at your disposal that you need to be employing effectively to ensure that your digital authority development is not under-appreciated.
As such, the other pillars of search marketing are not to be ignored. On the contrary, as we highlighted a fortnight ago, we’ve seen Matt Cutts explicitly state that link equity is still central to Google’s algorithm; and the need to provide an effective, engaging user experience on a site is more important than ever as systems, browsers and particularly devices become more varied and more endemic in popular usage.
Before we look at some extremely good advice on link-building in the modern industry environment, Matt this week made a very interesting clarification that is worth digesting in some detail. Popularity (that is, traffic, essentially) is not the same as Authority (as articulated by PageRank). Authority reflects how relevant a site is for key terms and this calculation still relies, to an extent, on the anchor text of good quality inbound links. Link-building as ever continues to drive much of the industry activity.
However, this point is not to be taken out of context – on the Whiteboard Friday over at Moz today, Cyrus provided some excellent advice on link-building where it’s clear that for quality, for longevity and for self-preservation, “link-building” should become “link-earning” – and that comes through appropriate and relevant sourcing (and outsourcing) along with an appreciation of content development (and social media engagement) to underpin the argument of authority. And to underline the point, SEJ had an even more practical post on the matter earlier in the week (warning: check the date of the post before choking on your coffee).
Of course the fact that popularity is not synonymous with authority does not mean it’s not a significant factor. As we touched on last week, the need to address landing page optimisation has never been greater. However, often it’s more than just the CRO that needs to be considered, it’s the thinking behind the optimisation that needs to be clarified. As Larry Kim deconstructs here, there are many ways to derail a page’s effectiveness even before you consider A/B testing.
And even once you’ve started the process and clarified your marketing needs, you can still end up making rookie mistakes in your CRO – here are five big trip hazards you need to avoid when you start the multi-variate work.
And lastly, don’t forget that Google rolled out its Universal Analytics this week. If you’ve not been engaging with this, please do – it’s very useful indeed.
Have a great weekend everybody!
What are the biggest challenges you face in search marketing? Please feel free to comment below – or via our social media – and tell us if there’s anything you’d like us to discuss.