I made three marketing predictions for 2017 but if I could go back in time, I might add a fourth: The decline in traffic from organic social media will renew interest in SEO and organic search.
Social networks are deluged with content – more than any user can possibly consume. The standard solution has been to implement algorithms to sift through the content and show you only the best stuff. Whereas a few years ago, everyone saw anything a brand posted in chronological order, there’s a chance no one will see it today.
This conveniently aligns with the social networking monetization strategy – advertising. Sure, there are still a few fleeting ways to boost organic visibility, but as I wrote four years ago, the future of social media is paid.
Search engines like Google don’t have the same problem with the content deluge that social networks do. In fact, Google exists to index content in order to return content in response to queries. It wants more content, it needs more content because sorting content is its very purpose.
This is good for brands too because even when traffic from social media was good, most businesses still earned the vast majority of visitors from organic search. If I complete my prediction it would wind up looking something like this: in 2017, the social networking quest for ad revenue will compel marketers to get back to basics like improving search results.
And that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links [UML]. As always, below are three articles I’ve vetted and recommend for our perusal.
1) How long does it take to rank in search?
On the internet, age has an advantage over beauty. Older pages tend to rank better in Google searches than newer pages. That’s according to a study by the search tool vendor Ahrefs.
The firm says it crunched “petabytes” of data to determine – the average age of a page that ranks in the first 10 results for a particular keyword in Google is two or more years old (see chart nearby). Tim Soulo, who leads product and marketing for the company, wrote about the study in a piece titled: How long does it take to rank in Google?
“…we’ve shown that almost 95% of newly published pages don’t get to the Top10 within a year. And most of the ‘lucky’ ones, which do manage to get there, do it in about 2–6 months.”
Those “lucky” ones? It’s just 5.7% of the pages studied in the sample and as Mr. Soulo notes, it probably wasn’t luck those pages ranked so well — and so quickly.
Separately, how large is a petabyte of data? It’s about 13 years’ worth of HD video according to Gizmodo.
See these related posts:
Social Sharing Fills Different Needs than Search [UML]
Blogging vs. Press Releases vs. Coverage; [UML]
Quality Content: Devices, Sales and Crisis; [UML]
2) How long before new backlinks to boost search?
You work for a savvy organization that values PR and SEO and has them working together. The team is tracking backlinks as a metric and you’ve just earned a new link. How long will it be before you start seeing better search results?
That’s the question Kristina Kledzik tackled in contributed post for Moz titled How Long Does Link Building Take to Influence Rankings? She writes that new links don’t impact rankings immediately – it takes about 10 weeks (see image nearby). However, more links “do have a more immediate effect.”
“It seems that each link has a small to medium effect initially, but that effect increases over time. If you add a lot of links at once, you’re not only going to see faster results, you’re going to see much bigger results over time.”
Ms. Kledzik does offer some caveats around the sample size and other factors. So, while it’s not a gold standard – which probably doesn’t exist anyway – it’s a pretty good indication.
I’m reminded through contributions from Moz like this one as to why we can’t just be PR pros anymore.
3) What is a search marketing tactic you’ve forgotten?
It’s a good idea to log into the Google Search Console and review the reports Google offers at least once or twice a year. If you have a website of any age, chances are, you’ve added, removed and migrated pages over the years. That can often mean the valuable backlinks you’ve already earned, are broken.
That was my take away from a Search Engine Land article titled Missed link-building opportunities: Reclaiming broken links by Janet Driscoll Miller. She recommends sorting through the crawl errors Google shows in the console and establishing 301 redirects.
Now if you use WordPress, and phrases like “.htaccess file” make your eyes glaze over, there is a much easier way. There are many plugins you can use to establish 301 redirects just by cutting and pasting links.
A few years ago, Scott Benson, an SEO and former co-worker, who started his own SEO consulting firm, set me up with a plugin called Simple 301 Redirects, which I recommend.
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What do you think – will search earn renewed focus in 2017?
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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like:
How PR can Put the Search Back in SEO [UML]