Google algorithms are the key to every single search — expedited, run, & executed every second. These algorithms are complex systems used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible query results.
The search engine uses algorithms and numerous ranking factors to deliver web pages, ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Google possesses a long history of famous and functional algorithm updates, search index changes, and refreshes.
In its early years, Google only made a handful of updates to its algorithms. Now, Google makes thousands of changes every year. Most of these updates are so slight that they go completely unnoticed. However, on occasion, the search engine rolls out major algorithmic updates that significantly impact the SERPs.
At Agency Partner Interactive, we leverage your brand through precision digital marketing and help you take full advantage of Google’s core updates. We are not your average digital agency. We work to understand your business and leverage technology and marketing solutions to generate revenue and increase profits. To do this, we don’t hire just anyone.
Like Silicon Valley’s most impressive tech firms, we take ownership in everything we do, and our fully distributed business model enables us to offer the absolute best digital marketers, software developers, and designers on Earth.
To top it off, our clients enjoy an average 40 to 60% reduction in their cost of investment without any compromises, and our SEO digital marketing experts provide the key insights, core web-vitals, search index changes, and Search Engine Optimization while catering to Google search visibility seamlessly.
Google’s core updates, 2017 to present.
As far back as 2017, Google has started to refer to bigger updates as Google core updates. Since then, there is even less transparency about what those updates are and which parts of the search they are intended to improve. SEOs would often track post-update ranking shifts and figure out what exactly had changed, but there is rarely a conclusive observation. Google core updates are likely just improvements on previous Google updates or perhaps bundles of smaller updates tied together.
Since the effects of Google core updates are often unknown, one thing you can do is track SERP history for the keywords you are targeting. Once the update happens, you can check which of your competitors have moved up or down in rankings and make an educated guess about the contributing factors.
To start tracking your SERP history, launch Rank Tracker, Target Keywords > Rank Tracking > SERP Analysis, and click Record SERP data. The tool will start tracking the top 30 SERP positions for each of your keywords.
Understanding the BERT update.
Hazards: Poorly written content, lack of focus & lack of context.
This Google algorithm update uses natural language processing technology to understand search queries better, interpret text, identify entities and relationships between entities. We’ve seen Panda, Hummingbird, and RankBrain updates move away from keywords, and the BERT update is the culmination of this effort — it allows Google to understand much more nuance in both queries and search results.
We’ve finally lived to see the day when Google is actually rewarding good writing. Like never before, it is important to strive for a meaningful copy. It means you should go easy on fluff words and adopt an expository style of writing.
It is also a good idea to do entity research when creating copy — including relevant entities helps create a context for your content. We at Agency Partner Interactive provide you the level-playing field you need to advance your digital website and brand through good SEO content and marketing.
Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “Google: Algorithm Updates 2021” instead. Using the power of Artificial Intelligence, we turned this blog into a video for you. Check it out below!
New Law Sets Disastrous Precedent: Big Tech Must Pay for News Content in Australia
How This May Impact Online Marketing In The United States
In an effort to curb the dominance of big tech, Australia is the first mover in passing a law that will make Google Search and the Facebook News Feed pay for news content that is featured on their platforms. The Australian Parliament recently passed a law called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. That’s a long name so… let’s just call it the “News Media Bargaining Code” for purposes of this blog.
Like legislators and small businesses in the United States, Australia has been at odds with Big Tech since last year and beyond. From discussions of online censorship and how these companies compete under century-old antitrust laws, there is wide acceptance of the fact that Big Tech has become too powerful. However, to date, little has been done by regulators and in the courts to make things more competitive for small businesses.
In July of 2020, after a year of investigation, the US House Judiciary Committee called Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple to a salvo of antitrust hearings that teed up lawsuits filed by the DOJ and FTC. Concurrently, Australian lawmakers had been fielding several years’ worth of complaints from news publishers about Facebook and Google’s roles to decimate their abilities to do business effectively.
In a nutshell, the ad platforms that support Facebook and Google and how these companies control clicks and impressions to specific content were crippling to news publishers.
Investigations into the online dominance of these tech firms have been ongoing.
Leading up to the passing of this new law, in Australia, an investigation found that in 2018,for every $100 Australian Dollars (about $78 USD) invested by Australian advertisers, about A$49 of those dollars went to Google and A$24 to Facebook. That’s a huge cut of the overall ad budget — and that’s just data coming in from Australia!
While the passing of this new law is designed to be a remedy to this, the world will now look to Australia as a test case for how similar regulations may be mandated in the United States and beyond.
What is Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code?
This new law, or “code,” fundamentally changes the relationships between news publishers and big tech outlets by ensuring that news companies earn money for use of their content.
This means that big tech outlets must pre-negotiate and agree on payment terms for content that will be featured in Google search results and Facebook shares, among other uses. News content that is not already coming from an approved publisher will not be allowed on the platforms.
In respect of heated debates surrounding Section 230 in the United States, digital marketers have discussed how Facebook and Google adjust their search algorithms to increase or decrease the engagement and visibility that specific publishers enjoy from one day to the next.
It is important to note that big tech companies own the rights to their proprietary search algorithms, and it is within their rights, as private companies, to make unilateral decisions to adjust these algorithms.
At issue is that many of these adjustments have been made in ways that publishers claim are unfair or anti-competitive. With this new law in effect, any major algorithm changes must also include a 28 days notice before the adjustment.
How News Sites Make Money Elsewhere
In most countries, such as in the United States, news publishers earn revenue by displaying ads within their news content, from sponsorships and subscriptions, and from clicks to their website where banner ads are shown.
A high volume of clicks and organic traffic originates from Google and Facebook. This happens when users share links, make comments on original posts, and when advertising dollars are invested into boosting the number of impressions that a particular story can gain.
Publishers with greater visibility attract more site traffic, which equates to greater advertising revenue. In practice, this means that Facebook and Google can unilaterally make decisions that strongly impact the ability of publishers, such as news organizations, to maintain a feasible business model centered around ad revenue.
Claims of bias as to which sites are given preference and which are not is fuel to the fire that Australia is working to extinguish.
What Facebook Has To Say About This
At first, Facebook fought against the imposition of this law by blocking all news content from its platform across all Australian users.
You (publisher) need us more than we (Facebook) need you.
Facebook measures that news content equates to just about 4% of the total content that users are exposed to within its News Feeds.
In large, this is because Facebook’s algorithm deemphasized the importance of news posts and added favor to activity from friends and family. For early Facebook users, this probably felt a bit like a throwback to the mid-2000s when the platform was truly designed to amplify conversations between friends and not 3rd-degree connections.
Facebook argued that social media allows publishers to gain the attention of users that are on their platforms for a purpose other than a news update. In 2020, publishers gained over 5 billion free referral clicks to their websites.
Because of this, there is an argument that Facebook, as is, helps small news publishers more than it hurts them. After significant negotiations with Australian regulators, the company ultimately agreed to work according to the new law.
How This Impacts Small Businesses and News Publishers
Did we mention that this new law requires big tech outlets to pre-negotiate payment terms with their news publishers? News Corp already has a multi-year agreement in place with Google and they’re extremely happy about it. We should be asking ourselves: “why are they so happy about it?”
…the new law will shrink the market by reducing the number of publishers that are able to compete for user engagement.
There is a chance that other big media companies will be strongly in favor of this because the new law will shrink the market by reducing the number of publishers that are able to compete for user engagement.
A law like the News Media Bargaining Code means that big tech can now pick and choose who to do business with.
Prior to the law’s passing, complaints were that big tech was already making decisions about which publishers to censor and boost via changes to their algorithm.
With this new law in effect, this takes control over publishers a step further and requires that news companies jump through additional hurdles to gain visibility. Leadership at big tech companies is now able to decide who is and is not on the “approved publisher” list and the public should be extremely wary of this.
The Presumed Impact On Free Press and Potential Impacts In The US
On one hand, action by Australian regulators validates a strong, global desire to curb big tech’s power. On the other, it points to a lack of understanding of how lawmakers should remedy concerns related to online censorship and competition.
As well-intended as this new mandate may be, the implications of a less diverse, less numerous source of news content may equate to a less free press and diminished free speech. A 2019 Pew survey found that 43% of Americans get their news from Facebook. Considering that Facebook has over 223 million US users, this issue is critical to the future of public access to a free press.
Business and political leaders in the US have to recognize that a shortcoming to this law is that it does not provide clear guidance on the definition of news content. So in practice, who will make that decision before approaching the negotiating table? Big tech has already indicated that it will take a broad definition to respect the law as drafted, but how will this actually play out? As is, un-elected leaders within big tech companies and/or politically motivated decision-makers will be tasked with oversight. This is not a pathway toward a free and vibrant press.
The Remedy Is In The Future of Section 230 and Antitrust Reform
Today, there is bipartisan support for antitrust reform from politicians such as Senators Klobuchar and Hawley, elected leaders who typically disagree with one another.
instead of testing Australia’s attempt to curb giants like Google and Facebook, the US should look to the Aussies as a test case while furthering the discussions related to Section 230 reform and updates to outdated antitrust regulations. The world will observe Australia as the first mover.
However, the expectation is that this new law will inevitably harm small publishers, and it will shrink the market, reducing competition and limiting the diversity of news sources that online users were able to access in 2020.
Agency Partner watches Google’s algorithm and the online market every day. As a digital agency, we know how much value these companies offer the market, but we also respect that with great power comes greater responsibility. If your business is looking to utilize the powers of big tech in an ethical, aggressive way, then the digital marketing team at Agency Partner should be your next call.
Expert Tips For Google Ads Pay Per Click Marketing
Leverage is the sweetest word in the language of business. With a 92% share of search engine traffic worldwide, Google certainly has traffic. And leverage.
Google’s primary source of income is advertising. And most of that advertising is based on pay-per-click or PPC ads based on keywords that advertiser bids on to secure traffic to their website.
If you search a term on Google, you get both organic results and paid results. The paid results are at the top of the page with “Ad” preceding the search result. The organic results follow based on SEO and Google rankings.
This discussion will focus on PPC ads on Google and a recent change by Google that has impacted the cost and effectiveness of PPC ads on Google.
On September 1, 2020, Google announced that the search terms report within Google Ads would show only search terms that reach a volume threshold. This reduced visibility into ad campaigns has caused immediate concern among advertisers and agencies, who rely on the report’s insights to optimize their Google Ads performance.
In simpler words, advertisers will have reduced visibility into which search queries trigger their ads, even if they incur a click orconversion. What gives?
Per Search Engine Land, Google is citing that this change is related to privacy, stating that with this update they are trying to, “maintain our standards of privacy & strengthen protections around user data.”
But what does “significant” mean? This measure is subjective and Google’s definition of “significant” may vary greatly from how an advertiser may measure that word. This ambiguity is one of those Google rules that advertisers have to live by and try to figure out. This change to Google search trends and Google keywords could mean a lot to marketers that depend on Google ads.
The search terms report is a feature within your Google Ads account that allows you to see precisely which search terms triggered your ads to appear, as well as how closely those terms relate to the keywords your ad is targeting.
This means you will no longer be able to use this report to see all of the search terms triggering your ads. In particular, you will not see the search terms that have lower volume. So, what’s the big deal about not being able to see lower volume Google search keywords? What it means is that your Google Ads can be significantly less targeted based on Google keywords!
Here’s how that seemingly small change has impacted Google search trends for PPC ads.
Before the update:
For every $100K you spent on Google search, you got search term data for $98,700 of it.
You got on your ads for every 100K clicks; you saw search term data for 98,300 of those clicks.
After the update:
For every $100K you spend on Google search, you get search term data for $71,000 of it.
For every 100K clicks you get to your ads, and you see search term data for 77,900 of those clicks.
Less visibility for advertisers means that Google can create a new market for lower volume search terms. Advertisers must re-evaluate their keyword strategy for PPC ads on Google. If they can’t find a way around the new rule, they may need to spend more to attain the same click volume before the change.
The resulting reduced visibility into search queries has many advertisers disconcerted, as this report was paramount to Google Ads optimization.
It inhibits small, proactive tweaks that can be made to plug what will amount to big leaks in spending.
It makes keyword mining more difficult and renders broad matches unusable.
It leads to lower bidding and reduced conversion rates.
It hinders the ability to create single keyword ad groups.
What does this mean for websites that depend on Google Ads for traffic?
Here are the keys to success that Agency Partner recommends to its clients.
Don’t lose sight of the value that all of your work to date has produced. Stay on strategy for the highest volume keywords.
Use the Bing search query report.
Even though Bing is a fraction of the size of Google in terms of the search share, Google and Bing use very similar technology. Test and explore Bing search trends and see if there is anything you can learn to improve Google results.
Launch Dynamic Search Ads to find new keywords
Dynamic Search Ads on Google could maximize your current landing pages and help consumers find you even if your original PPC keywords didn’t cover the keywords that helped your consumer find your site.
Use Smart Bidding to optimize for “hidden” search terms.
This is what Google wants, and it’s a way around this new policy.
Dynamic search ads are great at targeting your ads based on your landing pages’ context and can ultimately help reach audiences for search terms that you didn’t cover with your keywords.
Agency Partner has technologists that deal everyday with Google and its algorithms, rules, and policies. Our job is to help clients find ways to spend their advertising dollars most efficiently to maximize Google search visibility. Whether it is SEO on Google or Google Ads, we pride ourselves on knowing the latest trends on Google.
There will be more subtle Google changes in the future. They are rarely announced. The key is to be aware of the changes as soon as possible and respond to Google search trends as quickly as possible.
Agency Partner watches Google trends every day. It’s our reason for being. If we can’t bring value to our clients in “playing the game” with Google, we have no reason to be.
Not big on reading? That’s okay. Watch “Google Ads Decreases Search Terms Visibility” instead. Using the power of Artificial Intelligence, we turned this blog into a video for you. Check it out below!
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