tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/seo Latest SEO content from Econsultancy 2016-12-09T11:03:00+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68593 2016-12-09T11:03:00+00:00 2016-12-09T11:03:00+00:00 It’s the little things: Google advancements in 2016 Tom Bailey <p>You may or may not have noticed them but they’ve changed how marketers, brands and ultimately users interact with the search giant.</p> <p>For example, earlier this year Google veered course from how it has historically served desktop ads. <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67695-new-data-reveals-impact-of-google-s-right-hand-ad-changes/">Right-hand ads were removed</a> and a fourth ad slot was added above the organic search results.</p> <p>This change aligned mobile and desktop search results, and was widely touted as Google’s acknowledgement that mobile search — not desktop — is the key to the company’s continued growth and success. In fact, 2016 was the first time we noticed mobile ad spend through our platform outstrip that on desktop.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2019/rhs_ads-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="311"></p> <p>By analysing our Marin Global Online Advertising Index, which tracks over $8bn of global ad spend, we saw little change in competition for positions one to three, as cost per clicks (CPCs) on these top positions declined marginally for the period.</p> <p>The slight dip in CPCs could be attributed to the increase in the likelihood that someone will click on these top positions without the distraction of ads on the right rail. Meanwhile, click-through rates (CTRs) for positions one and two were largely flat, while the CTR for three and four increased by a huge 10% and 13%, respectively.</p> <p>While the removal of the right-hand ad has prompted a noticeable shift in the way consumers interact with adverts, especially those with a strong product-market fit, the shift in the colour of ad text from yellow to a more muted green slipped under most people’s radar.</p> <p>At the time, Google said the change of colour did not alter CTRs, however an experiment over the summer by Mark Irvine, a senior data scientist at WordStream, proved that ads with the new green text were experiencing a much better click through rate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2020/green_urls-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="117"></p> <p>The green ads are more subtle; part of Google’s on-going efforts to make the search-to-click journey as smooth as possible. Probably its most successful attempt at this in 2016 has been <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68490-google-s-accelerated-mobile-pages-12-pros-and-cons/">Accelerated Mobile Pages</a>.</p> <p>There are now 600m AMP on 700,000 domains and a whole roster of media publications and retailers – from the Washington Post to eBay - have seen an increase in the number of people visiting their sites via mobile devices.</p> <p>Just two weeks after AMP's anniversary, Google has announced its plans to go further and actually start to index search results for mobile separately from desktop, making the mobile experience super fast for users.</p> <p>It makes absolute sense to show mobile users tailored results and if it speeds load time up again as well then all the better for brands; recent research reveals 53% of consumers will choose to never visit an ecommerce page again if the page loads slowly the first time on their mobile device.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2021/acp-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="470" height="235"> </p> <p>And the future is mobile-first too. Google plans to soon introduce an extension which will allow consumers to text brands through ads in search results pages. This could be a real win-win for both consumers and brands.</p> <p>The option to text is bound to be popular with people who increasingly prefer to auto-communicate with companies to book hotel rooms, dentist appointments and even flights.</p> <p>While it does open up another channel through which brands will need to manage communication, it also means more consumers are likely to notice and click on the ads the function is attached to. Apparently Auto General has already been trialling the function and seen a huge 80% increase in conversions.</p> <p>Finally, 2016 was the first year we saw ad spend on mobile outstrip that on desktop. It was a great moment because it demonstrated that brands were starting to mirror their spend to how consumer’s are actually behaving.</p> <p>Couple this shift in priority with the innovations in the mobile space by Google and the rocky terrain of the customer journey starts to look a bit more traversable. </p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these posts:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68592-what-were-the-biggest-seo-trends-of-2016/"><em>What were the biggest SEO trends of 2016?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68594-seo-trends-in-2017-what-do-the-experts-predict/"><em>SEO trends in 2017: What do the experts predict?</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68594 2016-12-07T14:00:00+00:00 2016-12-07T14:00:00+00:00 SEO trends in 2017: What do the experts predict? Ben Davis <p>Thanks to everyone who contributed to this article. In no particular order, they are:</p> <ul> <li>Andrew Girdwood, head of media technology, Signal.</li> <li>Max Holloway, senior search manager, Pi Datametrics.</li> <li>Glynn Davies, head of search strategy, Pi Datametrics.</li> <li>Will Critchlow, founder &amp; CEO, Distilled.</li> <li>Ruth Attwood, SEO consultant, 4Ps Marketing.</li> <li>Felice Ayling, SEO and Social Director, Jellyfish.</li> </ul> <p>And for more on this topic check out these resources from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">Search Marketing Training Courses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/">SEO – Digital Marketing Template Files</a></li> </ul> <p>Now, on with the trends.</p> <h3>New search considerations </h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><strong>Andrew Girdwood, Signal:</strong></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Remember trying to pin down the Year of Mobile? I can’t but help wondering whether 2017 will be a candidate for the Year of Everything Else. </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">What do I mean by that? This year I’ve encouraged clients to think about how <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68046-five-pioneering-examples-of-how-brands-are-using-chatbots/">chatbots</a> work, when they suggest search results and how to optimise for those search terms.  I think we’ll see more of that in 2017.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">I’ve helped brands think about how their <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68499-the-problem-with-voice-user-interfaces-like-amazon-alexa/">Alexa</a> recipes might be found. That’s another form of search engine optimization; just as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65980-app-store-optimisation-aso-for-google-play-and-apple-app-store/">App Store optimisation</a> is for mobile apps.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">All these new ‘search’ considerations, landscapes and audiences will be things to think about in 2017. We might get fed up of people talking about Voice.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ROYrLax6ggg/Vzx3fKq_mjI/AAAAAAAASUo/M5hptuwxzqYuhcyB1jcYcbwSA0nHiiN0wCLcB/s640/3-Gbot_animation_v4-GIF_abbrev%2B%25281%2529.gif" alt="google assistant" width="300"> </p> <h3>Mobile growth and semantic strings</h3> <p><strong>Max Holloway, Pi Datametrics:</strong></p> <p>Mobile will continue to gain dominance across the search market and I think will consistently have higher search volume than desktop next year.</p> <p>In SEO we will see a bigger push towards <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/user-experience-and-interaction-design-for-mobile-and-web/">mobile-first design</a> and copy aimed at targeting semantic strings.</p> <p>We conducted an experiment earlier this year of 2.8m search results which showed that only 35% of pages had a traditional keyword ranking i.e. "London tailors" and its semantic cousin "Where can I find a tailor in London" within 20 positions of each other.</p> <p>This shows us that there is still a lot of work for both search engines to improve their understanding of user input and search marketers to optimise their content for semantic strings to ensure that the correct and best content is being shown to users.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2072/Screen_Shot_2016-12-05_at_11.05.37.png" alt="local search" width="600" height="363"></p> <h3>Artificial intelligence (&amp; voice)</h3> <p><strong>Will Critchlow, Distilled:</strong></p> <p>I think that machine learning will continue to have a massive impact - in ways both visible and invisible.</p> <p>The rate of progress with tasks previously only humans could do (like image recognition) and even those that humans aren't great at (like lip-reading) is astonishing.</p> <p>I definitely buy into the thesis that some of the cutting back of the crazier Google projects is because Sundar is doubling down on artificial intelligence / machine learning as the future and culling projects that don't fit that model and vision.</p> <p>We've been experimenting with doing our own little bit to combat machine learning with machine learning, and I'd be excited to see more intelligence built into the tools that marketers have available.</p> <p>As a result of the machine learning explosion, voice search in particular is going to continue to improve, and I think we'll be seeing a lot more of that through 2017. <a href="https://moz.com/blog/how-to-rank-on-google-home">Dr. Pete's post</a> is a must-read on that subject.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2074/listening.png" alt="voice search" width="400"></p> <h3>Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)</h3> <p><strong>Ruth Attwood, 4Ps Marketing:</strong></p> <p>For 2017 the only thing I’m reasonably confident of is that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68490-google-s-accelerated-mobile-pages-12-pros-and-cons/">AMP</a> is going to get bigger before it goes away.</p> <p>Google is pushing it immensely hard and it seems to be only a matter of time before it extends to full capability deployment in new verticals like ecommerce.</p> <p>This will be particularly interesting as and when the mobile-first organic index gets rolled out, as despite Google’s claims that they’re aiming for a “low delta” I suspect that non-responsive sites are going to see some big shifts in visibility if they don’t get their content and markup synced up.</p> <p><strong>Andrew Girdwood, Signal:</strong></p> <p>AMP (and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67544-facebook-to-open-up-instant-articles-what-publishers-need-to-know/">Instant Articles</a>) are interesting. I wonder if Google will continue to tweak how it copes when a brand has both an indexable app and AMP content; it seems likely, especially as app builders get better about considering SEO factors.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2290/IMG_2621.PNG" alt="amp" width="300"></p> <h3>A change in SEO procurement</h3> <p><strong>Andrew Girdwood, Signal:</strong></p> <p>I predict there will be a glut of experienced SEOs who get to say, ‘Look, I think my track record proves I, and my agency, can keep up with algorithm changes.’</p> <p>This means some of the procurement focus might shift towards areas like delivery techniques, creative ability, transparent costs and access to technology when it comes to SEO pitches.</p> <h3>Mistrust in advertising leads to organic focus </h3> <p><strong>Glynn Davies, Pi Datametrics:</strong></p> <p>In 2017, growing concern for paid channels’ performance (due to click fraud, misreporting, ad blocking, etc.) may lead to more emphasis on organic in digital strategy.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/8322/Screen_Shot_2015-10-23_at_12.04.40.png" alt="ad blocker" width="500"></p> <h3>SEO closer aligned to business strategy</h3> <p><strong>Felice Ayling, Jellyfish:</strong></p> <p>Moving into 2017, traditional SEO performance will become almost inseparable from the overarching business strategy. SEO is no longer a channel that can be isolated in its implementation.</p> <p>Areas such as your customer service record, competitive position, price points and service offerings will continue having a greater impact on the overall performance of your digital assets.</p> <p>With this in mind, the role of content within SEO will once again grow and rich media such as video, interactive assets and graphics will continue to contribute to search campaigns in capturing the interest and interaction of users.</p> <p>Successful campaigns will be the ones that blend brand awareness, creativity and innovative marketing with technical excellence to give users a high quality, relevant and increasingly personalized experience. </p> <h3>Progressive web apps (PWAs) </h3> <p><strong>Glynn Davies, Pi Datametrics:</strong></p> <p>Growth in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68601-what-are-progressive-web-apps-pwas/">PWAs</a> may bring content out of the mobile app ecosystem and back to the web, providing both new opportunities and challenges for SEO.</p> <h3>Growth in experiential marketing (and VR?)</h3> <p><strong>Felice Ayling, Jellyfish:</strong></p> <p>If content was king in 2015/16 then experience will rule in 2017, meaning that it’s no longer just about serving the right content at the right time on the right channel, but also delivering the best possible experience to your customers.</p> <p>Whether it’s in-app uses of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67834-why-virtual-reality-is-the-ultimate-storytelling-tool-for-marketers/">VR</a> to bring together a variety of content assets, or immersive video that the user controls, the role of SEO and improved organic performance will rely on its ability to utilise new technologies.</p> <p>Combined with the increased power of 5G next year, the mobile experience will potentially change the way we interact with brands, share content, shop or travel.</p> <p>VR provides the biggest opportunities to brands that can connect physical assets with the online experience – virtual stores you can walk around, test driving a new car, walk around a hotel room before you book, the possibilities are endless.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68592 2016-12-05T10:30:00+00:00 2016-12-05T10:30:00+00:00 What were the biggest SEO trends of 2016? Ben Davis <p>Here's what happened in 2016, and for more on this topic check out these resources from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">Search Marketing Training Courses</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/">SEO – Digital Marketing Template Files</a></li> </ul> <h3>Site performance &amp; AMP</h3> <h4 style="font-weight: normal;"><strong>Felice Ayling, SEO and social director, Jellyfish:</strong></h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The biggest buzz of 2016 was of course caused by the roll out of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68490-google-s-accelerated-mobile-pages-12-pros-and-cons/">Google AMP</a>, which promised to deliver faster page load speeds on mobile sites that were heavy on content.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">While we’ve seen relatively slow adoption due to early issues around compatibility, those that have implemented AMP have seen improvements in their mobile performance including lower bounce rates, increased organic visibility and improved user experience.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">AMP will no doubt continue to be a core theme for 2017 while more brands look to utilise this technology to improve their mobile experience.</p> <h4 style="font-weight: normal;"> <strong>Ruth Attwood, </strong><strong>SEO consultant, 4Ps Marketing:</strong> </h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;">One thing I’ve noticed with quite a few clients this year is the (very welcome!) development of marketing teams starting to take a real interest in their site’s performance in terms of UX.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68441-site-speed-for-seo-why-it-s-about-more-than-just-loading-times/">Site speed</a>, especially, has far too often in the past been written off as “a problem for the IT/web guys” so I’m glad to start finally seeing some decline in this siloed thinking.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Google AMP</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2290/IMG_2621.PNG" alt="google amp" width="280"></p> <h3>Personal assistants &amp; always-on search </h3> <h4 style="font-weight: normal;"><strong>Ruth Attwood, 4Ps:</strong></h4> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The mainstream launches of the “home PA” systems like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68499-the-problem-with-voice-user-interfaces-like-amazon-alexa/">Amazon Alexa</a> and Google home are going to get very interesting.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">This idea of bringing search into an always-on state is a natural evolution of device proliferation but I’ll be watching very curiously to see how it starts to shake up user interaction with digital, especially buying patterns.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">I’m waiting for Microsoft to show their hand in this arena too – thanks to Bing’s integration with Windows they’ve been moving more assertively into the “put the search capability where the users are already” methodology for longer, so that could get interesting.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1265/echo-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="alexa" width="470" height="180"></p> <h3>Google 'cards' &amp; expansion of Schema</h3> <h4><strong>Andrew Girdwood, head of media technology, Signal:</strong></h4> <p>The continued advancement of cards in search result pages was of great interest to me this year.</p> <p>This is more than ‘just Knowledge Graph’ and includes the return of real-time Twitter cards, experimental Google+ and Local updates. This is an important trend as cards lead on to Google Now and Google Now becomes Google Home.</p> <p><em>(Ed: Note that Google has recently started showing cards to compare products in search results, as the search engine gets better at understanding user queries.)</em></p> <p>A related point is the expansion of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64778-what-is-schema-markup-and-why-should-you-be-using-it/">Schema</a> and its ability to influence search.</p> <p>I spent more time this year helping plan website build projects that would produce as many SEO assets for a brand as possible and getting the Schema right was a reoccurring part of that.</p> <p><strong>Felice Ayling, Jellyfish:</strong></p> <p>While changes in paid ads have brought new challenges for brands, so the changes in organic results have brought greater opportunities.</p> <p>Improvements to Google’s Knowledge Graph, increased visibility in search results pages through Schema markup and increased social indexation have all offered brands the opportunity to make their organic listings stand out and own the search landscape for brand terms.</p> <p><em>Product comparison with Google cards. Screenshot <a href="http://venturebeat.com/2016/11/29/google-now-shows-a-card-to-compare-products-in-search-results/">via Venturebeat</a></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2032/vb_google.png" alt="google cards" width="615"></p> <h3>Algorithmic changes &amp; mobile-first indexing</h3> <h4><strong>Andrew Girdwood, Signal:</strong></h4> <p>I think Bing and Google both made nice algorithmic improvements this year. I’m generally happy with the quality of the search results.</p> <p>Don’t get me wrong; as an SEO I can point to some howlers out there and there was a time when international English language results started to creep into Google.co.uk.</p> <p>As a whole, though, I think Google’s direction towards mobile and other devices is the right thing to do. </p> <h4> <strong>Max Holloway</strong><strong>, senior search manager, Pi Datametrics:</strong> </h4> <p>We've seen a couple of major algorithm updates this year with Possum and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68337-the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-penguin-4-0/">Penguin</a> becoming part of the main algorithm (instead of a filter applied periodically).</p> <p>Possum also indicates to us that the face of page one of Google is rapidly and continuously changing.</p> <p>#1 on Google (when talking about traditional rankings) doesn't mean the same thing now that it used to and we're having to adapt our SEO strategies and ranking software to reflect that.</p> <h4><strong>Glynn Davies, head of search strategy, Pi Datametrics:</strong></h4> <p>The move towards mobile-first indexing in Google presents potential technical challenges for sites with substantially different mobile and desktop configurations. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9642/penguin.jpg" alt="penguin" width="450"></p> <h3>Paid ad changes affect SEO </h3> <h4><strong>Felice Ayling, Jellyfish:</strong></h4> <p>Changes to the paid search landscape have impacted SEO this year.</p> <p>Fewer sponsored links have led to greater competition for the available paid spots, leading to higher costs. As a result, we’ve seen an increased focus by brands on the top organic listings.</p> <p>We’ve noticed a real shift in the type of work our clients are focusing on with a move away from keyword-focused optimisation towards a content and engagement strategy that delivers longer-term benefits.</p> <h4><strong>Glynn Davies, Head of Search Strategy</strong></h4> <p>AdWords has restricted availability of keyword data for non-advertisers. Will there be further restrictions on availability of data, and how will this impact planning and measurement for SEO?</p> <h3>SEO becomes big business</h3> <h4><strong>Max Holloway, Pi Datametrics:</strong></h4> <p>SEO is continuing to gain credence among the broader business communities; in industries which have previously been very slow to adapt and adopt such as law, finance and logistics.</p> <p>Huge companies are opening up their budgets to digital marketing in all forms and I genuinely think the SEO industry has never been in such a dominant position.</p> <p>Along with the above, there are a number of companies (many which should know better) that are still taking huge risks with their websites.</p> <p>Specifically in website migrations, we've seen far too many companies this year get a migration wrong and lose all of their visibility.</p> <p>Large high street banks who would know the risks involved in, say, a database migration, and would pay upwards of £1,000,000 just for a consultation on that move, do not have the same caution and planning for a website migration.</p> <p>Looking forward to next year I think we will have our work cut out as these hulking companies start to take SEO more seriously, in educating them and helping them in achieving brilliance online.</p> <h3>Tag Manager and Analytics improvements</h3> <h4><strong>Andrew Girdwood, Signal:</strong></h4> <p>I think Google Tag Manager and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/google-analytics/">Analytics</a> have come on in leaps and bounds. It’s easier for SEOs to integrate their analytics with other marketing efforts and report across channels.</p> <p>Tag Manager, in particular, matured significantly and is now much better at coping with multiple users.</p> <h3>SEO split testing</h3> <h4><strong>Will Critchlow, founder and CEO, Distilled:</strong></h4> <p>For me, the highlight of anything we weren't involved in was probably seeing more public announcements of <a href="https://codeascraft.com/2016/10/25/seo-title-tag-optimization/">agile tech companies split testing for SEO</a>.</p> <p>I believe that this kind of capability is the future of on-site SEO and it's pretty exciting to see that validated in the marketplace by the bigger tech companies building the ability to test in this way into their own tech stacks.</p> <p>We're putting our money right where our mouths are on this trend - we launched <a href="https://www.distilledodn.com/">our platform</a> to paying customers this year (we <a href="https://www.distilled.net/resources/announcing-our-optimization-delivery-network/">announced it</a> right at the back end of 2015) and it'll end the year by passing 1bn requests served per month.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3112 2016-12-02T05:34:05+00:00 2016-12-02T05:34:05+00:00 Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Marketing - Singapore <p><strong style="color: #000000;">Learn the Best Practices of SEO Marketing From UK's Top Digital Marketing Research &amp; Training Company!</strong></p> <p>This intensive 2-day course enables you to plan and build an organic search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The right SEO strategy brings the right kind of visitors to your website, boosts online conversions and helps you stand out in the fiercely competitive online space. The course also gives you the latest updates on the increasingly tricky nature of SEO as search engine continuously innovates and online competition heats up.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-11-23T09:45:00+00:00 2016-11-23T09:45:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68441 2016-10-27T11:46:54+01:00 2016-10-27T11:46:54+01:00 Site speed for SEO: Why it's about more than just loading times Chris Smith <p>Being new to SEO, I had many questions, but as this was one of the first things I was told, I thought it would be best to take a keen interest in it, and try to understand exactly how your site speed effects performance.</p> <p>Cue my head exploding.</p> <p>Yes, site speed can be a difficult thing for a newbie to get to grips with, especially when you consider every possible factor – images, style-sheets, flash, scripts – the list goes on and on.</p> <p>As my knowledge of site speed grew, I began to understand that it’s more than just how fast your pages load.</p> <p>We know that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/usability-and-user-experience-digital-marketing-template-files">user experience</a> is a ranking factor. How fast (and well) a page loads will come under this, but I think we need to stretch site speed a little further than this.</p> <p>I realised that yes, there are a number of practices you can follow to make sure your site loads as quickly as possible for the user, but how they interact with your site once the page has loaded is just as important – perhaps even more significant.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0803/Pagespeed_insights.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>On site content, another <a href="http://searchengineland.com/now-know-googles-top-three-search-ranking-factors-245882">confirmed ranking factor</a>, is the best example of this.</p> <p>Yes, you can have a page that loads in less than a second, and checks off all of the boxes in Google’s <a href="https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/">PageSpeed Tools</a>, and is technically the best damn page out there, but if you’re presenting the wrong content, then what’s the point?</p> <p>If you’re ranking for a query along the lines of ‘Who is the all-time top goal scorer in the MLS?’, and your returned page is a three-hour read on the history of soccer (or football, as we call it here in the UK) with one sentence on who the top goal scorer is near then end, then you’re not really providing great user experience, which we’ve already established as an important ranking factor.</p> <p>It’s California’s own Landon Donovan, by the way.</p> <p>Now, if the above scenario really is happening (or something similar) then it’s not going to be long before search engines take notice.</p> <p>Your bounce rates will increase, users time spent on your page will be very low, and people won’t interact or share your page – it’s bad news.</p> <p>Whilst search engines might not use data straight from analytics, they’re smart enough to recognise a poor page when they see one.</p> <p>If your page isn’t useful to the users, then it’s not useful to search engines.</p> <p>Technological advancements have not only changed how we access the internet, but also how we interact with it. The more options we have for finding online content, the less time we spend looking at it, seemingly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0804/computer_screen.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>Generation Z spend up to 25% less time on your online content, and <a href="http://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2015/6/11/15-mind-blowing-stats-about-generation-z.html">according to CMO.com</a>, by 2020 this generation will make up 40% of your market. That’s a drop in market-share that you shouldn’t ignore.</p> <p>People are becoming quicker, so to speak. They’re always in a rush, they’ve always got something to do.</p> <p>They don’t have time for the aforementioned three-hour read on the history of soccer, especially when what they were looking for could have been presented in less than a paragraph.</p> <p>This fickle generation needs instantaneous assurance that they’ve come to the right place.</p> <p>So, what can you do? What are the biggest ways of improving your site’s speed, and your visitors’ recognition of it being exactly what they are looking for?</p> <p>Below is a selection of both technical actions and content advice that can help you on your endeavours.</p> <h3>Using the right images</h3> <p>Now, this might seem very obvious and some might reply “yeah, we always use our own images” or “we always credit our image sources correctly.”</p> <p>This is great, but there’s a little more that you need to think about.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0805/images.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>Both image size and image formats can make a difference to your page load times.</p> <p>If you’re using a picture that can only be viewed at a maximum of 500x500 pixels, then don’t upload the picture as a 1000x1000 pixel image. That’s just giving your page more to think about, when it really doesn’t have to.</p> <p>Additionally, look at the type of picture you’re uploading. Is it a bright, vibrant and colourful picture? If it is, use a JPEG.</p> <p>If it’s more saturated, black and white, or even transparent, use a PNG.</p> <p>Image formats are better suited to <a href="http://1stwebdesigner.com/image-file-types/">specific picture types</a>, and this can again make a small but noticeable difference.</p> <h3>Redundant scripts and code</h3> <p>If you’re an internet user, there’s a fair chance that you’ve visited The Oatmeal’s website.</p> <p>There’s also a fair chance that you’re aware of the pterodactyl that lives in the site's <a>source code</a>. Pretty cool, huh?</p> <p>Well, as cool as it is, this will be slowing down the page load time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0806/code.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>Okay, it’s not a lot of code, so it won’t be slowing down the loading time by much, but it acts as an example of the point I’m trying to make.</p> <p>If your site doesn’t need it to function, then it shouldn't be there. It’s as simple as that.</p> <p>Style and layout sheets also fall in the same category. These need to process before the page can be rendered. If you’ve got redundant sheets on your page, then this will also be slowing down your load time.</p> <p>You can <a href="https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/service/InlineSmallResources">inline small resources</a>, if applicable of course, and this can shave off some time. But, the important thing to remember here is that if something can be minimized or cut down, then do it!</p> <h3>Understand your audience</h3> <p>Now, you’ve looked at the technical aspects of your site speed, what’s actually presented on the pages should be your priority.</p> <p>You can have a page that loads super-fast, but if it isn’t useful to the user, then they’re going straight back out of there.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0807/Users.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>A mistake that a lot of content creators make, is that they write content that they think is going to do well in the rankings. This isn’t necessarily good practice.</p> <p>People are writing content that they think the search engines want to see, when what they should be doing is writing for their audience. Knowing your audience inside out will help you do this effectively.</p> <p>Web psychologist Nathalie Nahai is a staunch supporter of this, and has much to say on the case.</p> <p><a href="http://cmxhub.com/web-psychologist-nathalie-nahai-shares-the-secrets-of-online-persuasion/">Nahai states</a> that “to succeed online you have to understand and leverage the hidden psychology of your users.”</p> <p>While this might sound obvious, it’s a really good point to make as if you don’t truly understand your users, then they’re not going to be interested in what you have to say.</p> <p>If you do have a proper understanding, then you won’t have to worry about trying to write for your audience.</p> <p>It will just come out naturally, and that is exactly what search engines want.</p> <h3>Present the right information</h3> <p>As previously mentioned, users are becoming less engaged with online content, hence they’re spending less time looking at it.</p> <p>This is usually caused by poor content targeting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0808/user_2.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>While we can say that users are more ‘fast paced’ than ever before, this doesn’t mean that your content needs to be fast as well.</p> <p>It’s the quickness of the user recognising its usefulness that is essential.</p> <p>While we have talked about not presenting a three-hour read for certain queries, that’s not to say you should avoid in-depth content.</p> <p>If the subject calls for a three-hour read, then definitely do that. But, if it calls for something snappier that is easy to digest, then create the appropriate content.</p> <p>Can you present your information in a user-friendly table instead? Would a user benefit from a list of bullet points?</p> <p>It’s about presenting the content in a way that the user needs it, not what you think looks best.</p> <h3>Putting it all together</h3> <p>Everything discussed above can find its way into all aspects of SEO.</p> <p>The ‘fast content’ idea is definitely taking off in mobile with the introduction of <a href="http://www.eqtr.com/blog/2016/04/how-will-accelerated-mobile-pages-affect-your-business/">Accelerated Mobile Pages</a> project, for example.</p> <p>Even Facebook has introduced its <a href="https://instantarticles.fb.com/">Instant Articles</a> to compete. The social network recognised that this would be a great way to present content to their users, and acted on it accordingly.</p> <p>The axiom rings true - Fast content for fast users.</p> <p>Site speed can definitely make a difference to your revenue too. A few years ago, <a href="http://www.globaldots.com/how-website-speed-affects-conversion-rates/">Walmart</a> found that for every one second that its load time improved, it registered a 2% increase in conversions.</p> <p>Those numbers might not seem that impressive, but <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/the-silver-lining-in-walmarts-slowing-e-commerce-growth/">Walmart made $13.5bn in global online sales in 2015</a>, so a 2% increase in conversions equates to a lot of money.</p> <p>You might not see improvements on a scale that large, but you will see a difference. And your users will also notice it too.</p> <p>The above might seem straight-forward, and even rudimentary to many of you.</p> <p>However, something that I’ve found in my time in SEO is that quite often, we can forget the basics. There’s a desire out there to excite.</p> <p>Many feel that impressing and standing out from the crowd with something flashy and out-there is the most effective approach.</p> <p>You’ll get no argument from me that this isn’t a good attitude to have, but don’t forget the basics, and above all don’t forget the users.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/"><em>SEO – Digital Marketing Template Files</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>Search Marketing Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/934 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 Digital Marketing Template Files Econsultancy <h3>Overview</h3> <p><strong>Digital Marketing Template Files</strong></p> <p><strong>Authors:</strong></p> <ul> <li>James Gurd, Owner and Lead Consultant, <a title="Digital Juggler" href="http://digitaljuggler.com/">Digital Juggler</a> </li> <li>Ben Matthews, Director, <a title="Montfort" href="http://montfort.io/">Montfort</a> </li> <li>Ger Ashby, Head of Creative Services, <a title="Dotmailer" href="https://www.dotmailer.com/">Dotmailer</a> </li> <li><a title="Starcom Mediavest Group" href="http://smvgroup.com/">Starcom Mediavest Group</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/">Search Laboratory</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Files available:</strong> 10 file bundles, 50+ individual template files<br></p> <p><strong>File titles:</strong> See sample document for full breakdown of section and file information.</p> <h3>About these files</h3> <p>Need help with an area of digital marketing and don't know where to start? This pack of downloadable files contains best practice templates that you can use in your digital marketing activities. Feel free to adapt them to suit your needs.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jxKmQGxspc8?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Contents</h3> <p>In this release we have 10 template bundles containing over 50 individual template files for digital marketing projects.</p> <p><strong>Download separate file bundles below:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Affiliate Marketing</li> <li>Content Marketing</li> <li>Display Advertising </li> <li>Ecommerce Projects</li> <li>Email Marketing</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: PPC</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: SEO</li> <li>Social Media and Online PR</li> <li>Usability and User Experience</li> <li>Web Analytics</li> </ul> <p><strong>The template files bundle also includes a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/small-business-online-resource-manager/">Small Business Online Resource Manager</a> that </strong><strong>can help you effectively manage and own your online assets.</strong></p> <p><strong>There's a free guide which you can download to find out more about exactly what is included.</strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68432 2016-10-20T10:53:00+01:00 2016-10-20T10:53:00+01:00 Black Friday 2016: How are UK retailers optimising search landing pages? Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a closer look at the opportunity it presents, as well as how retailers can best capture consumer interest through organic search.</p> <h3>What happened last year?</h3> <p>Despite murmurings that consumers are becoming fed up of Black Friday madness – and some retailers like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67109-rei-opts-out-of-black-friday-sort-of/" target="_blank">Rei even taking a stance against</a> it - last year’s figures speak for themselves. </p> <p>While online searches in the UK were down, overall sales during the Black Friday period increased by an impressive 62%.</p> <p>Likewise, overall sales in the US increased by 14.3%, and ecommerce sales are predicted to grow by 17% this year.</p> <p>So, we can certainly see that Black Friday still presents a mammoth opportunity for retailers – the key is knowing how to seize it.</p> <h3>Identifying opportunities for organic search</h3> <p>The below chart, taken from a Black Friday report by <a href="https://www.pi-datametrics.com/insights/black-friday-2016-market-performance-report/" target="_blank">PI Datametrics</a>, highlights the most valuable search terms from November 2015.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0504/UK_organic_search.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="492"></p> <p>While ‘Black Friday’ has the biggest search volume, it is only the fourth most valuable in the list in terms of 'Organic Value'.</p> <p>Organic value is a benchmark created by Pi Datametrics. It's worked out as 'search volume X CPC X PPC competition' of a search term or group of search terms</p> <p>On the other hand, we can see phrases that include the word ‘deals’ have greater potential for conversion, proving that it is worth optimising keywords based on this trend.</p> <p>In fact, November is now the primary month for searches around ‘deals’, even overtaking words like ‘cheap’ when used in conjunction with products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0505/Cheap_and_Deal_searches.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="485"></p> <h3>A missed opportunity for the UK</h3> <p>Interestingly, PI Datametrics has reported how US brands are dominating UK search results, showing how UK retailers are failing to optimise as well as their American counterparts.</p> <p>For the term ‘Black Friday’, five out of the top 10 sites in Google UK are US-based, with Target appearing for a variety of terms including ‘best black Friday deals’ and ‘black Friday bargains’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0543/UK_black_friday_search_results.png" alt="" width="800" height="435"></p> <p>Again, this points to a need for greater optimisation, with many UK retailers failing to research crucial trends and keywords to give themselves an edge.</p> <p>Meanwhile, US brands also appear to be making the most of data to re-target bargain-hungry consumers all year round.</p> <h3>The best UK perfomers</h3> <p>So, which brands are performing the best in terms of visibility in the UK?</p> <p>Undoubtedly, Argos is head and shoulders above the rest, with a 53% share of the most valuable search terms across positions 1 to 10. </p> <p>Likewise, it is also a consistent performer, ranking on page one for the term ‘Black Friday Deals’ all year round as opposed to during seasonal times only.</p> <p>One of the main reasons for this is that it has a well-optimised long-term landing page, enabling it to capitalise on search interest before and after the event.</p> <p>Moreover, this also allows it to build authority and consumer trust over time.</p> <p>Here’s a closer look at Argos, as well as a few other examples of good (and mediocre) landing pages.</p> <h4>Argos</h4> <p>With its long-term page, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67422-how-argos-models-ppc-on-tv-weather-seasonality/" target="_blank">Argos is a great example</a> of how to optimise for a seasonal event. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0496/Argos_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="599"></p> <p>As well as a prominent header, it also includes the repetiton of keywords combined with natural copy and useful information based around the event.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0498/Argos_black_friday_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <h4>Debenhams</h4> <p>Debenhams is another good example, capitalising on interest in this year's event as early as possible.</p> <p>While it's not the most attractive, it includes repetition of the core phrase, as well as keywords relating to Cyber Monday and Christmas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0500/Debenhams_Black_Friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <h4>Amazon</h4> <p>Amazon's landing page aims to take advantage of the user's interest in Black Friday by promoting current deals and discounts.</p> <p>It's a fairly dull page compared to the others on this list, but it includes similar information about why Black Friday and Cyber Monday exist.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0502/Black_Friday_Amazon.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="404"></p> <h4>Very</h4> <p>Very's landing page has a great design, and includes a few impressive stats from 2015. Will consumers find this data particularly interesting though?</p> <p>It could perhaps do with a more prominent mention of Black Friday 2016 to reassure customers that more deals are just round the corner.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0499/Very_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="759"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Finally, John Lewis raises the question of whether Black Friday should be based around big ticket items only.</p> <p>It is a well-optimised page, including informative content and regular mentions of Black Friday search terms.</p> <p>However, the URL comes under the 'electricals' category, meaning it shuts out interest relating to clothing and homeware.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0503/Black_Friday_John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="807"></p> <p>John Lewis traditionally puts a big focus on Christmas retail, and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67161-is-john-lewis-playing-with-fire-with-its-annual-christmas-advert/">its festive TV ads are always much-anticipated</a>.</p> <p>Equally slashing prices wouldn’t really fit with its brand image, so it could be that the retailer prefers to take a low key approach to Black Friday.</p> <h3>Key points</h3> <p>Brands that want to make the most of the organic search opportunity in the lead up to Black Friday should follow a few simple rules:</p> <ul> <li>Create an ever-green landing page and keep it updated.</li> <li>Focus on a variation of keywords including 'deals' and 'bargains' to capture year-round interest.</li> <li>Black Friday isn't prime time for every retailer - consider whether it is worth investing more in other seasonal events like Christmas or Halloween.</li> </ul> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy's range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">search marketing training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68397 2016-10-13T14:27:05+01:00 2016-10-13T14:27:05+01:00 If search marketers can't predict which pages will outrank each other, is SEO just a crapshoot? Patricio Robles <p>In the UK SERPs, respondents' accuracy in selecting the higher-ranked page was just 46%.</p> <p>It was higher in the US by about 10%, but for many search terms, accuracy was frequently in the 40% range.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0073/57ef16f0e9ee17.03715738.png" alt="" width="503" height="311"></p> <p>Since the survey included respondents with varying levels of SEO expertise, as well as laypeople, one might expect those with more knowledge to have better predictive capabilities.</p> <p>But that wasn't really the case.</p> <p>For example, for UK SERPs, while SEOs with three or more years of experience did perform better than laypeople and SEOs with under three years of experience, their accuracy was still equal to that of a coin-flip.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0072/57ef16f17489b5.52075022.png" alt="" width="469" height="290"></p> <p>What's more, those who indicated that they were "sure" or "fairly sure" about their predictions were less likely to accurately predict which page outranked another for a particular search phrase by nearly 4%, and only slightly more likely to outpredict those who guessed. </p> <h3>Blame the Penguin?</h3> <p>While these numbers will provide ammunition to SEO skeptics, and might even give companies some pause about their own SEO efforts, it's also reasonable to look at these numbers as evidence of just how complex Google's algorithm is to decipher today.</p> <p>Google's core algorithm now consists of over 200 unique signals that can affect rankings.</p> <p>And with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68337-the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-penguin-4-0/">Penguin 4.0</a>, Google has not only integrated one of its most important spam-detection algorithms into its core, it is refreshing Penguin's data in real-time, "so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page."</p> <p>That means SERPs can change very, very quickly, and frequently.</p> <p>Throw in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/5406-personalized-search-a-boon-to-multichannel-marketers/">personalized search</a> and it's really no surprise that even experienced SEOs can't accurately predict whether one page will outrank another.</p> <h3>The future of SEO</h3> <p>And that really isn't what legitimate SEO is. Given the complexity of Google's algorithm today, an SEO's worth today comes down to two core capabilities: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Being able to identify and fix problems known to be detrimental to rankings.</strong> While it might be nearly impossible to predict exactly what will produce a top ranking for any specific search query, there are numerous well-established mistakes that, when present on a site, can harm rankings.</li> <li> <strong>Monitor and analyze data to suggest and implement improvements that might produce ranking improvements.</strong> There is no science for achieving top results, but a good SEO is capable of analyzing data and making changes over time designed to produce better results and respond to negative changes.</li> </ul> <p> In other words, companies should expect SEO to help them avoid the big no-nos and engage in educated, data-driven iterative experimentation to try to boost results.</p> <p><em>To learn more, check out these resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>Search marketing training courses.</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/"><em>Search Engine Marketing: SEO – Digital Marketing Template Files.</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68337 2016-09-28T11:21:30+01:00 2016-09-28T11:21:30+01:00 The 10 things you need to know about Google Penguin 4.0 Patricio Robles <p>Here are the top 10 things you need to know.</p> <h3>1. Penguin is all about spam</h3> <p>As a refresher, Google's Penguin algorithm is designed to identify spammy sites that slip through Google's other filters.</p> <p>It was first launched in 2012, and the last update was rolled out in October 2014.</p> <h3>2. It's real-time</h3> <p>As Gary Illyes of Google's Search Ranking Team explained:</p> <blockquote> <p>Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time.</p> <p>Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google's algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed.</p> <p>With this change, Penguin's data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. </p> </blockquote> <p>This is probably good news for sites that get hit by Penguin, as they won't need to wait for an update for the chance to make changes and recover.</p> <h3>3. It's granular</h3> <p>According to Illyes: "Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site."</p> <p>What does this mean in practical terms? That isn't so clear. </p> <p>Search Engine Land's Barry Schwartz asked Google for clarification, and based on the company's response, <a href="http://searchengineland.com/google-updates-penguin-says-now-real-time-part-core-algorithm-259302">says</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Our best interpretation... is that Penguin might impact specific pages on a site, or it might impact sections or wide swaths of a site, while other pages are fine.</p> </blockquote> <h3>4. It's in all languages and countries</h3> <p>Nobody escapes the Penguin.</p> <h3>5. It's part of the core Google algorithm now</h3> <p>Until now, Penguin has been its own entity.</p> <p>With Penguin 4.0, Google says that "Penguin is now part of our core algorithm," which it notes consists of more than 200 other unique signals that can affect rankings.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9642/penguin.jpg" alt="" width="670" height="440"></p> <h3>6. There will be no more announcements of Penguin updates</h3> <p>Now that it's part of the core algorithm and will work in real-time, Google says that it will no longer comment on future Penguin refreshes.</p> <h3>7. The effects probably won't be seen immediately</h3> <p>It's not known whether the new Penguin code has been rolled out to all of Google's data centers.</p> <p>But even if it has, it could take time before the effects are seen given that there are almost certainly many URLs that will need to be recrawled.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/dawnieando">@dawnieando</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rustybrick">@rustybrick</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes">@Marie_Haynes</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/dr_pete">@dr_pete</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu">@JohnMu</a> yup, that one</p> — Gary Illyes (@methode) <a href="https://twitter.com/methode/status/779320657762856961">September 23, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>8. It will be difficult to identify Penguin's fingerprints</h3> <p>Because of Penguin's real-time nature, it will be increasingly difficult to identify whether ranking changes can be attributed to Penguin refreshes.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/512banque">@512banque</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/methode">@methode</a> Given the way these things roll out, I'd say "good luck" -- I don't think that's easily possible, lots of things overlap</p> — John Mueller (@JohnMu) <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/780153459358203907">September 25, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>9. Google's old advice stays the same</h3> <p><a href="http://www.thesempost.com/google-launches-real-time-penguin-40/">According to</a> TheSEMPost's Jennifer Slegg, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the company has not changed its linking guidelines, and despite rumors to the contrary, has also not changed its recommendation for using disavows.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/glenngabe">@glenngabe</a> OK, clearer: no change on using the disavow file. Use it thoughtfully, as always.</p> — John Mueller (@JohnMu) <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/779304742929465344">September 23, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>10. Google still wants you to focus on content quality, not SEO</h3> <p>Google's Illyes closed the announcement of Penguin 4.0 with a reminder...</p> <blockquote> <p>The web has significantly changed over the years, but as we said in our original post, webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites.</p> </blockquote> <p>While this almost certainly won't put an end to the art and science we call SEO, updates like Penguin 4.0, coupled with the vast number of signals Google incorporates into its algorithm, mean that companies looking to earn and maintain top rankings can't ignore the forest for the trees.</p> <p>As TheSEMPost's Slegg notes, it's even possible that sites penalized by the last Penguin update two years ago that thought they cleaned up their act won't see the recovery they hoped for.</p> <p>As she observed: "A few years back, some ways of building links were seen as fine, while today they are definitely viewed as problematic.</p> <p>"And some of the sites that previously had high quality links two years ago could be a low quality site today, if the site was abandoned or the site changed owners." </p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, check out our international range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">SEO Training Courses</a>.</strong></em></p>