In this post, we will cover:
- Changes by Google that have helped site owners
- Have an integrated SEO and PPC approach
- Is Domain Authority A Google Ranking Factor?
- What are the factors on which DA is based?
- What is the difference between Domain Authority(DA) and Page Authority(PA)?
- If a brand is searched more often does it increase visibility for its non-brand terms as well?
- SEO factors that often get overlooked but should not be neglected
- How can SEOs keep up with web 3.0?
Changes by Google that have helped site owners
The changing of the search pages themselves means that Google is starting to insert new information through knowledge panels, featured snippets, etc. have been going on for a long time. These changes have often received negative reactions.
Google is driving more users to the local panels. It is really hard to go to a local website. When you are driving and you are looking for a restaurant you do not want to see a local website. You want to know when the restaurant will be open, reserve a table with convenience, and not necessarily have to go to a local website.
Business owners may see a drop in traffic to their website but, with increased visibility in the local pack, there are more calls to your business or people requesting directions to walk through the door.
Have an integrated SEO and PPC approach
When Google changed its layout by removing ads from the right sidebar to four ads on top, the emphasis was to show ads on highly commercial intent queries. They removed ads from other queries which had a low commercial intent.
Hence, from an SEO perspective, it becomes more valuable to focus on keywords that are largely mid-funnel to higher up in the funnel. Telling your clients to focus on keywords with high commercial intent with content is not a great idea.
Google’s new features for broad queries such as carousels for best laptops or color options at the bottom of the page are a way to drive users to the bottom of the funnel. For instance, if you type the query laptop, it is hard to tell what you have in mind. Do you want to buy one or repair one, are you looking for what’s out there? But if you search for a laptop brand e.g. dell laptops and you are probably down the funnel. Taking this further, if you are looking for a specific laptop model e.g. dell Inspiron you are down the funnel. Google wants to take you to a point where the ads are more effective.
Therefore, you need to define a content strategy for different stages of the funnel. You can no longer have a one size fits all content creation approach.
Takeaway: Focus SEO efforts on top-middle funnel searches. Target bottom-funnel queries with PPC.
Is Domain Authority A Google Ranking Factor?
Domain authority (DA) is not a Google ranking factor. It is a metric defined by Moz to measure the untapped potential of a domain. It is a way to grade new pages. It is an indicator of where you are at and where you can compete, in a realistic way. It helps you understand how your website stands in the competitive landscape.
Google grades individual pages, not the overall domain. However, the pages are internally linked to each other. The domain is an interconnection of these individual pages. With the help of DA, there is more value given to a new page on a news publication website as compared to a new page on your personal blog.
DA should be used as a guide to evaluating the potential of a page. It should not be used as a measure to buy links rated for example DA 60, 70, etc. It is not a Google metric or ranking factor.
What are the factors on which DA is based?
There are a plethora of factors based on which domain authority (DA) is calculated. From a high-level perspective some of the most important factors behind DA are:
- The aggregate link equity profile of the overall website
- Website age
- As per the most recent iteration – links that generate traffic. This is an initiative to weed out link manipulation to some degree.
Takeaway: Focus on links that consistently bring qualified inbound traffic over time. Trying to buy links to manipulate the website DA is not the best use of your time and resources as DA is not a Google ranking factor.
What is the difference between Domain Authority(DA) and Page Authority(PA)?
Domain authority (DA) is an aggregate rating, across the whole domain. Page authority (PA) is the potential of an individual page. With DA you are graded against your real competitors in the ecosystem, not a business conglomerate that has a wide spectrum of offerings across various niches.
However, DA is not a number that Google uses or rewards you in any way so do not get hung up on it. It is simply a way of benchmarking, where you are at, and how your new content can perform. Since a new page does not have any ranking or page authority. It is like saying if you have a new page, what kind of shot do you have to rank it in search engines.
If a brand is searched more often does it increase visibility for its non-brand terms as well?
If your brand is well known in the offline world, it correlates to having a higher DA. If a user saw a TV commercial and then searched for the same brand online does get factored in the DA, although this is harder to track accurately and can be seen as something that will improve over time.
Similarly, today, brands that are mentioned on multiple websites but are not necessarily linked do not contribute to the overall link equity however, there have been speculations where having unlinked brand mentions would still add to the link equity of a domain.
Ultimately, Google is interested in your offline signals as well. This is also mentioned as a part of their quality rater guidelines. Hypothetically, if Amazon has the worst SEO in the world, but they were not ranking for the word Amazon, that would be a bad search result. Therefore, Google has to factor this in. However, Google keeps this in check by issuing penalties to avoid low relevancy search results.
Based on my personal experience – One of my clients had a multi-location business spread across the USA. Few locations participated in offline events, while others did not. Consequently, for the locations that participated in offline events, I noticed an increase in visibility in the local results as compared to the ones that did not do any offline promotion.
Did you notice – During and after the pandemic Google has changed. This is because user behavior during the pandemic has evolved. People spend a lot more time shopping online for instance, as compared to going to a local store. Google has added new features like curbside pickup and many more. This volatility is much more than any algorithm over the years. Therefore, Google does factor in offline signals as well.
Takeaway: Google takes into account your offline signals. Brand matters!
SEO factors that often get overlooked but should not be neglected
From a local SEO perspective, here are some of the most important factors to re-check that your competitors are likely to miss:
- Ensure your Google my business profile is complete – You cannot say, we do not want Google to have our confidential data. Provide accurate details. Fill in as much information as you can. This can be using various features like posts, photos, etc.
- Ensure your Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP), and overall messaging is consistent across various potential customer touchpoints.
- Mobile and local are inter-connected. Local websites should provide their website visitors with a good, fast user experience.
- Pick up the phone. If the phone number leads to voicemail or a wrong number, or if the interaction is too short e.g. within 5 seconds, Google will pick up this signal as not responsive and it could work against you by demoting your website visibility in search. Setup automated responses for offline or after business hours.
How can SEOs keep up with web 3.0?
As long as there are places to find things and people that want to find things and other people that want to be found there will be SEO in some shape or form. What it looks like and how it looks like will change.
As per SEO industry experts, it will no longer be limited to Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo. Depending on your business niche it may be more appropriate to focus on iTunes, AppStore, or Amazon. For example, if you are an author where you appear in Amazon search or in GoodReads is probably more valuable than where you appear on Google.
In my experience – For an e-commerce brand in the food and beverages space, we have focused only on Amazon search and ad campaigns and avoided optimizing Google product listing ads (PLAs). This approach has resulted in significant cost savings and increased profitability for my client even in a pandemic era.