01 Apr 2016

The Healthy Skeptics and the AdWords Redesign: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundup-768x576Skepticism is a healthy thing to have in the SEO world. If there’s one thing I learned from Fathom, it’s that you should always be hunting for the truth with your own hands and eyes.

That’s not to say that you should never listen to anyone else…too much skepticism turns to paranoia. But this week, we’ve got some great threads with a healthy amount of skepticism in them. They’re simply dripping with juicy morsels and a sense of progress.

Let’s take a look!

E.U. Considering a Tax on Google Showing Snippets

Sound ridiculous, right? Well, the war between Google and the E.U. is being fought on many different fronts – some of them are bound to be strange and arcane. According to an article from Ars Technica, the tax

“…would require search engines and possibly others to pay for using short extracts to link to articles on other sites.”

WebmasterWorld user topr8 says that

“I should think it [has] nothing to do with snippets but more working out a way to try and tax Google and other big players.”

Another user, Andy Langton, provides some context:

“This is primarily targeting Google News. Spain already introduced a law, which is why Google closed Google News in Spain.”

Ahh, yes – you may remember that announcement as a blip on the news radar. Traffic to Spanish publishers fell through the floor and Google packed up its toys and went home.

Other WebmasterWorld users suspect the same thing will happen across the E.U. if this tax goes into effect. But big E.U. publishers are still eager to have it passed – perhaps as a way of absolutely crushing their smaller competitors.

Is A Higher Bounce Rate Inherently Bad?

As the admin of a forum myself, this is a topic that I find to be particularly fascinating! There are many blog posts and forum dwellers out there who say that you should strive for a high bounce rate – but the concept has never struck me as being black and white like that. Cre8asiteforums user Robert_Paulson writes,

“My hypothesis is that some sites…have pages that adequately answer a visitor’s question in a single page.”

User Black_Knight says that bounce rate is not always bad. In two specific cases that he outlines, bounce rate can be good. But otherwise, it is very often bad

“…because you are completely in the dark. You have no idea who they were, or what impression they took away.”

The solution is to gather more data – and you can do just that in this fascinating thread! One of the best I’ve read in a long time on the topic..

How SEO Best Practices Become Irrelevant

Remember our theme of healthy skepticism? Here’s a great thread all about it from WebmasterWorld. When you believe that the rules of SEO were set in stone decades ago, you lose your flexibility.

User martinibuster writes that

“SEO is very much like scripture. The original authors and reasons behind SEO Best Practices are buried in time. As one generation… handed down best practices to the next… these practices were accepted because they have always worked, yet without actually knowing how the best practices came about.”

In other words – we work with things that we blindly accept to be true. And in this masterfully written post, martinibuster will tell you why you should never do that.

As an example, there’s the idea that linking out to .gov and .edu sites is a good idea. But linking out to them in excess, and for the sole purpose of improving SEO, makes no sense.

“Link because it makes sense to link. Don’t write an article and drop a handful of links…because that is the definition of rote SEO.”

Due Diligence In Affiliate Promotion

If you’re promoting a product or creating affiliate pages, it stands to reason that you should be diligent. But how, asks Cre8asiteforums user Robert_Paulson, do you do your research?

Do you purchase and use the product yourself? How can that be a sustainable practice? User EGOL speaks about being frugal:

“I don’t spend a lot of money outside of work… I don’t spend much on clothes…But, if you take anything away from what I have written here [it] should be that I don’t hesitate to spend whatever it takes when publishing content.”

Here’s an excellent thread about managing money, producing quality, and being diligent!

Facebook Testing “Anti-Impersonation” Tool

Ever been impersonated on Facebook? If you’re like me, you never dreamed that it could happen. But it can and it does. Facebook is now developing a tool that will alert you when someone steals your name and face on their platform. WebmasterWorld user bill writes

“There’s an entire industry revolving around fake profiles.”

Part of the new tool will be asking users to identify themselves. Bill asks, is it possible that this tool’s structure indicates the scope of Facebook’s problem with fake profiles? What’s your experience?

AdWords is Getting a Redesign

For 15 years, the interface of AdWords has stood like a Sphinx in the sands…ancient and mysterious. Well, Google will be putting the nose back on that sphinx throughout 2016 and 2017.

The entire interface of AdWords is getting a cosmetic overhaul. Google says that all the functions and inner-workings will stay the same, though. It will just be easier to use.

Supposedly, they’ll be taking webmaster feedback into account and claim that the new Adwords “will be focused on marketers’ needs and objectives” instead of Google’s own products and features.

You can check out a discussion of the issue on WebmasterWorld as well, where users are somewhat skeptical of Big G’s intentions. User tangor wonders where additional data will be collected from and what it is.

“Will it impact users (bandwidth/privacy/etc)? This almost sounds like a let’s fix something that ain’t broke kind of thing….”

User shri says that nothing will fix AdWords for them:

“For me, no amount of redesigning will replace the trust I’ve lost in their ‘Quality Score’ and the 1000%+ increase in CPC over the years and precise geo ip targeting.”

Google Finally Reveals Top 3 Ranking Factors; Surprises No One

You’ll never believe what Google considers to be the top three ranking factors! Well, ok, you will. They are, in order,

“Links, Content, RankBrain.”

Hardly a shocker – but perhaps the details in this Threadwatch story will help you prove something to your clients!

Has Traffic Dropped Since The Removal of Sidebar Ads?

SEO Chat user JSTucker says that

“One of my clients has experienced a 24% drop in organic traffic over the last 28 days…[with] no obvious explanations.”

They’re an ecommerce business, so JSTucker wonders if the removal of sidebar ads could be part of the problem. A few days later, they report a sudden boost – wild fluctuations tend to spook us all.

Users in this thread are still investigating whether it’s a sidebar issue or just a normal part of advertising on Google. Have you seen any fluctuations?

Is Something Fishy Happening To Google SERPs?

Stay skeptical – but some users on WebmasterWorld are reporting weird activity in the SERPs lately. Searches seem to be returning extremely non-relevant results.

On March 28, WebmasterWorld admin engine wrote

“I ran some searches today and, wow, the SERPs look awful. So many non-relevant sites appearing. .ru, .com, .fr, appearing and none were what I was looking for.”

User aristotle speculates that it could be RankBrain:

“RankBrain is supposed to improve relevance, but it probably needs some time to self-learn from its mistakes. So the results might have to get worse before they get better.”

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