Seven Days in Search – SEO Digest – 27th February – 6th March 2017

Seven Days in Search - 2017SEO News

SEO is a fast-moving discipline at times, but even when there aren’t rumblings from Google and SERP-watchers about algorithm changes and penalties, there are always snippets of insight that highlight how the world of search is evolving on a weekly basis – hence this regular feature.

Last week’s Seven Days in Search roundup is here.

Here’s the Blueclaw roundup of the three top stories of the previous Seven Days in Search:

The Guardian revisits Google’s inaccuracies in rich snippets

Google fake news Guardian

Last week we talked about the Google Featured Snippets function and how they’ve let down the search engine once again but this week The Guardian have muscled into the coverage.

The paper has focused on the accusations that Google have been promoting and spreading ‘fake news’.

Google Home was considered to be the key offender. Criticism has been levelled at  the smart speaker device for reading information from search engine results page Featured Snippets as fact, without differentiating based on the reliability of the source. The saving grace is that it Google Home does at least read out the name of the website it is using as a source, allowing listeners to make up their own mind about the accuracy of the information.

The Guardian have reiterated the potential damage that can be caused by the falsehoods being spread though this is focused around the effect on readers than the potential effect on relevance and reliability of the search engine itself. Google responded to The Guardian and commented that they remove any Featured Snippets that violate their policies quickly and apologised for any offence they may have caused.

The article comes on the same day an in-depth feature about the way big data is being used to manipulate us and alter the way in which we vote was published. The opinion piece discusses data mined from Facebook and the consequent profiling and targeting to users psychological profiles. It’s a must read for anyone delving deeper into data and considering the long term repercussions of data manipulation for political gain.

One of the big lessons from all this is to not underestimate the power of Featured Snippets – making your website content snippet-worthy means you can crop up in some unexpected places, and attract new levels of traffic if search engines feel that you are providing the best answers to customer questions.

State of Digital Marketing in 2017 Revealed

A survey has revealed that while 47% of respondents say that a full SEO site audit should be undertaken every six months, only 43% of professionals always audit a new website. We’re in the minority of agencies who insist on detailed audits whenever we welcome a new client but it’s clear that not the majority of companies are not benefiting from a data-driven approach to their web performance.

SEJ report social image

Copyright Search Engine Journal (snippet from full infographic which can be viewed here)

Social metrics is a topic I’ve considered in terms of influencers on the blog recently and in terms of effectiveness of campaigns, those surveyed by Search Engine Journal highlighted that their top 3 metrics are Engagement (comments, likes, upvotes etc), Conversions and Traffic – no surprise there!

On the other hand, it was interesting to read that 46% of respondents feel businesses can still be effective on social without a budget – though we’d caution that some companies may feel their reach to be greater than it actually is. The rush for social media platforms to monetise means that opportunities to win ‘free’ results from social are diminishing unless supported by a smart strategy.

The survey throws us a number of questions for me – if over half of digital marketing practitioners aren’t conducting audits to understand their clients and their industries, how informed are their strategies? Similarly, as social media platforms increasingly turn to algorithmic timelines and push their ad capabilities, are fellow marketers stubbornly sticking to unpaid strategies which is reducing their access to deeper analytics/beta versions of platform upgrades?

DMOZ is laid to rest

dmoz

The towel has been thrown in and DMOZ will close as of 14th March 2017.

The announcement was revealed on the homepage of DMOZ (screenshot above) and it has been noted that it will live on in the NOODP meta tag (this tag was used by publishers to tell Google and other search engines not to describe their pages in the way they were described in the Open Directory descriptions). As the site becomes inactive, the tag will also become redundant but it is expected to continue lurking the web for a few years to come.

The value of DMOZ in recent years has been debated and while some will not miss the open directory, others will be watching with interest to see if it affects their website/client SERP results.

That’s all for this week but keep an eye on the Blueclaw blog for more SEO (and PPC, content marketing, PR and social..) insight!

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