Earlier this week, Hideki Matsuyama became the first Japanese golfer to win a golf major ever. It took great commitment, composure, and poise to achieve this win, and in a sense, those are the same skills required to excel in business and SEO.
In golf, you don’t simply swing your club and hope for a hole in one; you learn the techniques, you practice, and you never give up. When creating content, you don’t (you shouldn’t) just be adding copy to a page, and pressing publish.
As in golf, SEO is a long game—it’s a long-term play, but the investment is worth it. You must remain in control and poised to see through all the analytics and make sense of what it’s telling you. Three click-based signals, in particular, can help make sense of your SEO SERP ranking and how to improve it.
Read on to find out what they are.
Before we get into that, here’s a peek at what’s to come:
- Three click-based SEO signals
- Google’s got a bug, and it could be costing you traffic
- Trust, and social proof has been slept on in B2B marketing for too long
When’s the last time you bought a piece of marketing technology to make your life easier, only to spend more time fixing it than you bargained for? 😔
This is the same problem thousands of marketers deal with when they choose to adopt automation before strategy.
Kanaar Bell, our account-based marketing manager, is here to help alleviate that problem with his latest blog on why you need to Stop Investing in MarTech Before Mapping Your Marketing Strategy.
Need To Know Click-Based SEO Signals
We can all agree that we don’t know exactly how Google ranks and values pages. But we do know that certain features matter, like backlinks, keywords, and UX.
The real question is: To what extent do these features matter, and how much do page interactions play a role?
To match the search query to search results, we can assume that Google looks to interaction data to see which links are gaining the most engagement. AKA, which links are proven to be the most relevant and attractive to the searcher.
To ensure no SEO’s can game the system, Google will never confirm nor deny the role of engagements or any other feature of their ranking algorithm, for that matter.
However, Moz has been keeping tabs on Google and noticed a patent filed back in 2019 around modifying search result ranking based on implicit user feedback. There is no way of knowing how Google is using this technology, but the patent backs some best practices Moz has been preaching.
They call it: The three tenets of click-based engagement metrics for SEO: First, Long, and Last.
1. Be The First Click
What’s the point of focusing on SEO if your goal isn’t generating click-throughs and site traffic?
Visibility is great, but traffic is better!
Having a high CTR and being that first click from the SERP will give your page greater credibility in the algorithm’s mind. People are clicking your link more than the rest, so your content must be the best 🤷.
2. Earn Long Clicks
Google goes further than relying on CTR alone. It takes into consideration “long clicks”; clicks resulting in more time spent on the page.
Even further, Google looks at the ratio of long clicks to overall clicks, weighted on a per-query basis.
Just like bounce rates, long clicks need to be interpreted and put into perspective. Google can and does recognize the range of times spent on a page required to satisfy a search.
3. Be The Last Click
Speaking of bounce rate, having a low bounce rate will benefit your page’s value because it indicates that the page satisfied the query.
Being the last click from Google indicates that you solved the query! You won the gold in meeting searcher intent, and Google will reward you for it.
For further detail on optimizing your pages to satisfy each tenet above, check out Moz’s breakdown of the three click-based signals.
Overall, we may never know for sure what makes Google happy. But we know that Google likes to make users happy, and when you create content that satisfies that, Google will be satisfied with you.
Everything known about SEO stems from educated guesses, and there’s little we have control over, but we can improve our SEO by improving the click behaviours we can influence.
- Be the first click, keep users the longest, and be the last click.
- An algorithm isn’t able to understand preferences without relying on click-based signals.
- Hacking Google’s algorithm isn’t possible, but improving UX and satisfying users are SEO best practices.
It’s Not You – It’s Google
On April 12, John Mueller addressed a bug Google has been dealing with related to a soft 404 error which is hindering site traffic.
Here’s some technical background:
- Server response code 200 indicates that the page a visitor is looking for does exist.
- Server response code 404 indicates that the server connection was made, but the server couldn’t find the requested website. Effectively the page doesn’t exist.
- A soft 404 response code indicates a problem with the page, and Google treats it as if it doesn’t exist.
Two situations cause a page to result in a soft 404:
- It can occur when the server returns a 200 response code for a page that should be returning a 404 response code due to little to no content existing.
- It can occur during a redirect from a deleted page to an entirely different page.
So what’s the problem?
Well, Google updated a part of their algorithm that selects which pages should result in a soft 404. That update affected desktop rankings for innocent pages that should happily result in a 202 response code.
Google’s update is causing perfectly good pages to “disappear” from desktop SERPs, and it’s causing sites to lose traffic at no fault of their own.
Surely they will have this fixed soon. In the meantime, if you are noticing desktop ranks falling with no apparent reason as to why, without an effect on mobile searches, you can chalk that up to Google’s bug.
- Mobile search results are not being affected by this but.
- There is no estimated time for this problem to be remedied, but we can assume Google is working on a fix.
- If you’re experiencing pages falling in desktop ranks that have no reason to be dropping, it may be a result of this Google bug.
The Importance of Building Trust
You wouldn’t enter a relationship with someone you can’t trust. So why would you enter a business relationship with a brand you can’t trust?
Trust is imperative in all aspects of life, both personal and professional. Building a trustworthy brand is often underestimated in B2B marketing and the role it plays in the customer’s journey.
Every interaction between your brand and audience impacts the level of trust in the relationship, either strengthening or weakening it.
For example, when your brand gets press for hiring a great new CFO — your trust levels rise, but when your brand is getting press for poor employment practices — your trust levels fall.
Although brands can’t control the press and the many ways news can be manipulated, they can build trust through controlled content.
Bill.com is an excellent example for how to engage in controlled trust-building.
Its website features integration partners and logos of businesses that use Bill.com, including some of the world’s top accounting firms. Bill.com generates trust by association with these already well-know, trusted brands.
By building trust and supplying quality service, Bill.com has achieved a market cap of $10.38B and was called the Boring Bookkeeper of FinTech by Forbes.
To discover ways your brand can build trust based on how Bill.com excelled at generating trust, check out Ross’s essay on using social proof to establish trust with millions of visitors.
- Business partnerships will fail without trust.
- Trust drives sales and the creation of long-lasting relationships.
- There are many ways to build trust with your audience, outside of the press, that you can control.
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK:
💰 In a $19.7B deal, Microsoft purchased speech-tech giant Nuance to improve Microsoft’s cloud, AI and healthcare businesses.
🦓 The Zebra has become Austin’s newest unicorn as the insurance comparison company raised $150M in Series D funding.
🛒 Working to offset shoppers’ carbon emissions through a browser extension, EcoCart raised $3M in funding from Base10 Partners.
BRAIN FOOD OF THE WEEK:
As a kid, I loved playing with and collecting Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. At the time, there was nothing better than the feeling of ripping open the foil packaging and finding a rare card!
So although I don’t follow baseball nor care about their collector cards, I get the hype around the drops and the desire to—collect them all 😉.
And this year, Topps baseball card collection got exponentially more interesting. There will be no foil package ripping because the collection is being released through NFTs. On April 20th, the MLB-approved collector cards will be dropped, and I guarantee they will be sold out faster than you can say, Derek Sanderson Jeter.
As fascinating as NFTs are, that isn’t the most exciting part of this release. There are B2B lessons to take away from this, from embracing the product drop to running competitions; culture can change our marketing approach.
TWITTER THREAD OF THE WEEK:
WHAT WE’RE WIRED INTO THIS WEEK 🎧:
Originally sent out, by me Cali B, on Thursday, April 15, 2021.
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