Peak Ace on Air #42: Organic Search April 2021 Update
April is behind us and it means it’s time to recap what has happened in the world of organic search. Google announced they’d be postponing their May Core Web Vitals update, but we won’t really be talking about that in this episode. Instead we’ll be covering content A/B testing, keyword mapping and SEO-split testing.
Google’s program for reporting indexing issues
Last year, Google piloted a program enabling people to report urgent website bugs and other issues at the click of a button. Now, the forces behind Google tweeted their plans to use this for indexing issues as well. They also offer some more troubleshooting tips in the Twitter thread, as is common practice for Google on Twitter. Bastian wondered (and I’m sure he’s not alone): does Google really receive every one of these reports and are they all relevant? Do people just push the button when they encounter any type of issue on Search Control? Or did Google anticipate this and included a clever pre-filtering element or machine learning to get through this? We shall see.
Keyword mapping cheatsheet
A known figure in the SEO world, Aleyda Solis had created a massive guide about all things keyword mapping. From finding sites with missing keywords, to map-rich pages and pages without keywords, among others. One can map sections, pages and transactional keywords from more informational ones. She also includes a Google Sheet in the article, something she often does with her different checklists.
Content mapping is a huge topic not only in SEO but also in content marketing. Optimising pages and websites shouldn’t be based on single keywords but on topics or keyword clusters.
Mapping existing content on a website is often a massive task, but it’s highly important. Bastian and Domi talked about the importance of having an overview of all your content, including stuff in the pipeline. It all comes down to the user intent, which unfortunately is not always clear, not even for Google.
How to perform an SEO audit with Sitebulb
More guides, this time for the SEOs out there. Olga Zarzeczna from Seosly created a guide on how to do an SEO audit with Sitebulb. And she guarantees you can also manage the audit in less than an hour. The guide is a bit generic but also very hands-on. If you are new to the topic, looking for inspiration on SEO audits or you don’t or can’t invest much in an SEO platform, this guide is a good place to start.
Three vital click-based signals for SEO
The SEO community debates a lot. That’s because often, there are no certain, correct answers to Google-related questions. One on these topics is how Google uses engagement signals to rank websites. In his article Cyrus Shephard from Moz goes through his theory of how Google uses these signals by concentrating on click-based signals. Most specifically, how to rank better by getting more first clicks (traffic and CTR), long clicks (longer time spent on site) and last clicks (user satisfaction).
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to this debate, as different websites need to use different metrics for their success. Long times spent on site or the bounce rate might not be feasible goals for heavily transactional sites. So that’s why we appreciated Shephard’s approach with this article and recommend you check it out.
SEO split-testing lessons
The folks at SearchPilot conducted a content split-test that gathered interesting results. The team took a piece of content and carried out a series of A/B tests with different variants to figure out what works. This is a good reminder for website content writers that the job is not finished once the content is written. You have created a basis from which to start collecting data, in order to A/B test and optimise the content’s performance.
Cumulative layout shift (CLS) de-bugging
For those of us (like myself) who aren’t familiar with CLS, it is a Core Web Vitals metric that measures content stability on a website. And as moving content is annoying to the user, the metric should be as low as possible. It can however be hard to pinpoint what exactly needs to be fixed. An ex-Google turned technical SEO consultant Fili Wiese built a de-bugging tool for cumulative layout shifts to help visualise how content is shifting on the website and what can be done about it. Wiese also explains some of the common causes for CLSs, so even people new to the topic can take advantage of the tool.
Advanced core web vitals: A technical SEO guide
We said we wouldn’t mention the Google update BUT we didn’t say we wouldn’t mention Core Web Vitals at all. And we had to, because Jamie Indigo from Search Engine Journal created a very thorough guide to all things Core Web Vitals alongside practical examples. Website performance issues are often dependent on the website structure, CMS and other elements which are specific for that website only. This guide from Jamie is seriously informative and definitely worth a read.
Top-five crawl insights on GSC
Google introduced changes to the Search Console crawl report, which we’ve covered in previous episodes. Search Engine Journal have also been busy looking into the topic, and presented the top five crawl insights from the Google Search Console. They explain how websites get crawled and break down the five top insights nicely.
Perfecting on-page SEO for e-commerce product pages
Our friends at aira in the UK also put together a cheatsheet, about SEOing e-commerce product pages. Thanks to we-all-know-what, there’s been a surge of online shopping and therefore also a need for helpful, e-commerce-related content. The piece from aira divides a common e-commerce product page down to its different elements and explains briefly how these different elements have an impact on on-page SEO. The visitor can then move on to read more about the different sections. Again a very nice piece for all of you who have just recently dipped your toes into the waters of e-commerce.
The key moment in a site migration process we almost always miss
We’ve had an episode dedicated to site migration best practices and fatal errors already, but this piece from Chris Green is still worth mentioning. Alongside the advice he also threw in some case studies from Sistrix. The examples show how the traffic should look when a migration has gone well, and what can happen when it hasn’t. The companies are rather UK-based, but you do get the idea.
Green also presents something we haven’t seen before: a potential migration loss calculator. With it you can put in some data from your Google Analytics and calculate a rough estimation of how much organic revenue you could potentially lose because of a site migration causing a traffic drop.
This cost calculation is of course very simplified as there are so many factors impacting how much a site’s traffic can drop. But the approach is very nice.
And that’s a wrap on April 2021! Next week we will have our own Charlotte Byrne from the paid search and social team as a guest, to talk about her recent ad copy talk at SMX Create. You can already get a taste of what’s to come from the recap post, and ask Charlotte your own questions during the episode!