Our SEO Monthly Roundup for March 2018
Google's mobile-first indexing is rolling out
To briefly explain to anyone new to this, Google's mobile-first indexing uses the mobile version of a website's content for indexing and ranking. The rationale for this is simple: most Google users now access the search engine through a smartphone. Welcome to the modern age!
For clarity, Google will still only have one index. Google has not created a separate index for content it crawls using mobile-first indexing. So the one and only Google index has changed how it fetches content, preferring mobile over desktop for the first-time ever.
This is not website Armageddon. A lot of websites won't be affected. Mobile-first indexing is an important development, but, and this is the important part - sites that use a responsive design won't be subject to mobile-first indexing because their content is the same on desktop and mobile. Also not impacted are websites that only have a desktop version and canonical AMP pages.
The sites that will be affected by mobile-first indexing are those that use separate URLs for desktop and mobile users, and those that serve content dynamically based on device type. Those affected will want to heed Google's best practices.
Search Console is being used for notifications, so site owners know when mobile-first indexing has rolled out to their website.
What happens then is crawl rates from the Smartphone Googlebot will increase. Google says that sites subject to mobile-first indexing will see increased crawl rates from the Smartphone Googlebot, so it's a good time to check that robots.txt directives are appropriate for mobile sites and to ensure that there's enough capacity to handle higher crawler traffic.
The takeaway from this update is that it’s never been more important to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. After July, we can pretty much guarantee that mobile-friendly websites will be performing better for those who are searching on mobile than non-responsive, or mobile-unfriendly, websites.
Why GDPR is good for B2C relationships
First things foremost - don't worry! You should read this blog from our Managing Director about all the scaremongering going on and what you should be focusing on.
That aside, this does not detract from the fact that the introduction of GDPR is set to mark the most significant shift in how businesses collect, use and store consumer data in 20 years. The rules for targeting consumers based on third-party data are changing.
GDPR hasn't just come about randomly; it’s a response to consumers wanting more control and consciousness with their data. GDPR will inevitably refocus businesses on nurturing the users they have with an emphasis more on retention than and loyalty building.
It’s no longer about building the biggest database, it’s about serving engaged customers with content that is relevant, timely and welcomed.
Ultimately GDPR’s message to advertisers is this: know your customers better, be present, earn their data. It’s time to move from transactional to relatable.
A comparison of attribution models
First of all, what is Attribution - well, it's the process by which you apply the valuable interactions of website visitors to specific marketing channels involved in their journey through to conversion.
Google Analytics has this cool feature called Model Comparison Tool, where you can compare different attribution models and see how that impacts the valuation of your marketing channels.
It’s also possible to create custom attribution models. For example, the Linear model divides conversion credit evenly across touchpoints. So, in a conversion path with four interactions, each touchpoint would receive 25% credit. However, if you apply a credit adjustment of 2 to the Paid Search channel, and the third touchpoint in the path was Paid Search, credit would be applied as follows:
Regardless of the model you use, test your marketing campaigns by experimenting where you invest. Increase or decrease investment in a channel as guided by the different models, then measure your results before experimenting further.
By adopting this approach it's possible to identify the most successful marketing mix for your business that facilitates the most efficient growth.
Measuring branded vs unbranded
The key to success of any SEO project is increasing the volume and quality of organic traffic driven by non-branded keywords. Non-branded organic traffic is a search that does not include your brand term. These are prospects who are looking for your products or services, but may not already be aware of you.
Users searching for your brand already know who you are, and are simply using a search engine to access your website rather than arriving directly. In all honesty, this traffic should be considered direct.
Non-branded traffic represents users who had a need for a product or service, and through a search engine discovered your brand for the first time while seeking those products and services. This traffic is the lifeblood of SEO and revenue growth.
In order to create a successful SEO campaign, it’s critical to track non-branded traffic in Google Analytics and Search Console and adapt your marketing strategy according to your findings for target keywords.
Leveraging search intent on social
Marketers have started leveraging search intent by applying it to social marketing campaigns.
The theory goes when a consumer searches for a product or service on a search engine, they’re expressing intent to purchase. By taking that expressed intent and serving ads for those products/services on social networks to re-engage consumers, marketers increase the likelihood of consumers completing the transaction. There’s strong evidence that approach works.