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For a long time search experts and content marketers have understood that search engines use the number and variety of backlinks to a page as a quality signal that has an impact on rankings.
So how important are they now?
You would expect Google to reward web pages that provide a better user experience with a ranking advantage. So which parts of user experience are most important?
In the run up to the 2016 US presidential election, how successfully are candidates using social media and online content to engage with voters?
The range of generic top-level domains (gTLDs) is expanding to include new options such as .Hotel, .RealEstate and .Berlin.
Will they help you rank higher in searches?
Everybody talks about the need to provide quality content on your site if you want to rank well in searches. But how do search engines identify quality content?
Successive Google algorithm updates (culminating in the recent Panda 4.1) aim to refine results so that they match the intent of the search query and deliver the most comprehensive, accessible and well-written answer.
There are major differences between the results that search engines deliver on phones and computers.
How can marketers structure their search strategy to maximise results?
Figures from 2013 found that nearly 20% of the average adult American’s daily media consumption was on mobile devices, a trend that is only accelerating.
Echoing this, search queries on mobile devices grew five-fold in the last two years, according to Google.
Many large brands are thought to have fallen victim to a Google penalty for infringing the search giant’s guidelines against web spam.
How can you tell if your site might be at risk?
The cool thing about search is the way it just keeps changing and growing, meaning website owners and marketers are constantly needing to adapt and exploit new opportunities to maximise their search presence.
Here are five noteworthy directions in which search is evolving that I think digital marketers need to be aware of.
Wikipedia has been one of the success stories of the internet, growing rapidly to become the de facto reference site for many people.
There are more than 4.4m pages in the English language edition alone, and it is still growing at the rate of 771 new pages every day.
How can its impact benefit digital marketers?
It would not be a big surprise if Google was using information from Google author profiles to influence how pages rank in searches., but as yet there is no evidence to show a correlation between author profiles and better ranking URLs.
Google’s authorship markup feature allows news, other online publications and blogs to use the rel="author" tag to connect their authors’ online articles to official author profiles on Google+.
The profiles include a profile photo, biography, information about their activity and followers on Google+ as well as links to other articles by the author.
Often when you perform a search, Google will incorporate current relevant news stories within the search engine results pages under the heading ‘News For’.
For sites that carry any sort of news, these news results are an excellent opportunity to increase search visibility and traffic.
Despite its relative youth, Google+ now has over 100 million signed up user accounts and many big brands have at least created a presence on the site.
But you might expect major media sites to be leading the way, given the potential to share content and drive traffic. So how well are national newspapers in the UK and US doing when it comes to Google+, and who’s leading the way?