Start November on the right foot with our latest roundup. We’ve got the guides, case studies, and news items you need to hold your competitive edge.
First, you’ll pick up some new tricks from the guides. You’ll get a comprehensive understanding of topical authority, learn how to apply semantic SEO to different niches, and how to measure the marketing channels that are hardest to measure.
After that, you can reinforce your hunches with some new data from the case studies. They’ll give you new insights on whether author authority is a ranking factor and what pages are most likely to get “zero clicks”.
At the end, you’ll get the latest news. You’ll want to know the latest about the final Spam Update of October, Google’s latest API features, and a new feature called “site names”.
What Is Topical Authority In SEO & How To Build It
In a piece hosted by Ahrefs, Jake Sheridan takes you through the steps of ranking for all of the important keywords in your niche using topical authority.
He helpfully introduces the concept for those who need a refresher. Topical authority is what you have when your website becomes the go-to source for a given topic. This is often done by covering the topic so comprehensively (and well) that users don’t need to go anywhere else.
As an example of why this matters, Jake shows you fresh SERPs for “mountain bike gifts”. Despite a difference of potentially billions in traffic and sales, Amazon is currently losing this SERP to a small (DR 23) site that only talks about mountain biking.
That, and stunning results like this, should excite anyone with a small site who is facing down a big competitor.
The catch, as Jake points out, is that Google provides almost no information about how it is measured or how it is weighted compared to other factors. However, he has some ideas.
Jake takes you through the steps you can follow to get an approximation of where you stand and start improving. Among other tips, he recommends that you focus on topic-based research and develop clusters (which he fully explains).
Check out the full guide to learn more about the potential of topical authority and putting it to use. In the next guide, you’ll learn about the potential of semantic SEO and some niches that can really benefit from it.
How To Apply Semantic SEO To Different Niches
Claire Brain of Moz wants you to know how to apply semantic SEO. She argues that it can be applied effectively to nearly every niche.
First, she gives you a refresher on what semantic search is and how it works. Semantics are the meanings of language and the study of how those meanings change in different contexts. Naturally, search engines want to understand this so they can deliver the most relevant results.
As she covers in the piece, optimizing for semantic search has many benefits. It can deliver a better experience for users and can provide them with more consistent results across different devices.
After that, she gets into the meat of the topic, teaching you how to apply this SEO concept across a range of different niches. She provides you with instructions for applying semantic SEO to:
- B2B service and Creative Industries
- Home & DIY
Each of these sections is detailed, with niche-specific advice and different tactics depending on how users are likely to respond. Understanding what users want can be a real challenge sometimes, but our final guide has some advice for getting even the most evasive data.
How To Measure “Hard-To-Measure” Marketing Channels
Rand Fishkin brings you this fresh look at how to find out where you stand with your marketing channels when the data simply isn’t provided for you.
He starts with a good explanation of how we got here. As we began to be able to access reams of data from almost every ad marketing campaign, social profile, or website, marketers increasingly grew paranoid about the channels that weren’t as forthcoming.
For example, Rand explains how hard it is to prove visitors come from real-world signage, or even channels like podcasts. Without that data, marketers were reluctant to budget. That meant losing out on some opportunities.
Rand provides some examples of difficult-to-measure channels, including:
- Content marketing (rarely converts on visit #1, and cookie tracking has gotten worse)
- Organic social media
- Press releases and press earning
- Co-marketing with partners
He then follows up and advises how these channels can be measured through unconventional signals. For example, he recommends steps like tracking your brand instead of the product name.
People hearing about you for the first time from non-internet are likely to Google your company first. He also recommends that you take tracking “unattributed” traffic seriously and watch the trends for proof that you’ve earned some prominence.
He further expands this into an in-depth plan that could be used by marketers or site owners to take advantage of this data.
Check out the Rand article for some great infographics that simplify everything he’s laid out for you. That closes the guides for the month. In the first case study, you’ll learn whether author authority can be considered a ranking factor.
Is Author Authority A Google Ranking Factor?
Miranda Miller brings you this in-depth look at whether author authority exists as a ranking factor. As she points out, credibility is already vital to users, and search engines have every incentive to be able to deliver accurate, useful information to searchers.
However, that doesn’t mean Google is giving boosts to authoritative authors, or if it is, that those systems are complete and functional. Absent any statement from Google, we’ll have to rely on evidence, and Miranda has collected that for you.
First, she introduces you to some important patents that were filed in the early 2000s, she also provides a string of conference speeches, white papers, and other documents on the subject from when Google was first trying to develop this capacity.
She points out that Google was filing patents to identify the authors of unlabeled content as recently as 2020. She also shows you that the Search Quality Rater Guidelines state that a low content creator score can cause an overall low-quality score.
So, is she convinced that Author Authority is a ranking factor? Not completely. She gives her final verdict as “unclear”. As she points out, readers care about good quality regardless of how Google feels, and that’s enough to take authorship seriously.
For the next study, you’ll learn the results of the latest “zero-clicks” research.
Marcus Tober of Semrush brings you this latest analysis of the zero-click phenomenon. As he reminds you, “zero clicks” refers to the trend of searchers simply not clicking any link in their search results.
This may happen because users don’t like the results or because they simply get the answer without clicking. The Semrush team used data from their own tool to anonymously sample 20,000 users for a deeper look into this trend.
Marcus observed and organized five clicking behaviors to see when the users applied each one. His team measured:
- Clicks on organic results
- Clicks on ads
- Clicks on Google features/related searches
- Not clicking on any results/keyword change with new search
Among the test group, 25%+ of searches ended in no clicks. The users chose organic clicks nearly half the time, and other types of clicks took up the other roughly 25%.
Marcus considered the zero-click rate to be surprisingly high. Nearly 30% of people were refining or replacing their original search. He further breaks down the results across different types of searchers (PC vs. mobile).
The whole case study contains some compelling data that may be useful for those who are dealing with this problem in their SERPs or just want to understand where the future or search might go.
Let’s close with the latest news. First, Google’s latest spam update is complete.
Google October 2022 Spam Update Completed In ~42 Hours
Barry Schwartz brings you this look at the latest spam update that was completed in record time. The whole update (launched on October 19th) was already completed by the 21st.
For comparison, the previous update in 2021 took 8 days to complete. However, Barry notes that some updates were done even faster—some as quickly as 24 hours.
Barry dives a little deeper into what it might mean that the update was resolved so quickly. For example, he notes that there were few complaints among SEOs about this update compared to others. That may suggest it was a very light touch in the first place.
At the end of the article, you’ll be provided with a quick rundown of the update and what happened if you haven’t had a chance to catch up. This includes the targets, penalties, global coverage, and other facts (when available) about the update.
Check out the full article for a breezy breakdown of what happened. You’ll also find some links to the other spam updates if you want to compare them or examine how the impact has changed.
For the final news item of the month, Google has introduced the interesting feature of “site names”.
Introducing Site Names On Google Search
Google brings you this new update that allows sites to set a name that appears in search results. The name (when added) will appear in bold text above each URL on SERPs. This offers an important opportunity to stand out in results.
So far, the feature has been added for mobile search results for the languages of English, French, and several others. Google has already announced that new languages will be added over the next few months as the features roll out.
The release includes some useful advice for implementing the new names. Full documentation has been made available that covers how site names are created by Google (when you don’t create them yourself), how to add them with structured data, and some general troubleshooting tips.
As Google can add names on its own, you may want to check SERPs for your own websites to confirm whether or not you have a name listed already. Google recommends that you review the documentation for favicons for more information about the best practices and rules of using these labels.
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