SEO Is Not Dead

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You’ve heard the rumours. You’ve seen the think-pieces discussing a year-on-year drop in organic traffic and how native mobile-apps hoover up all ‘traditional’ searches. It all points to one thing, they claim – the end of Search Engine Optimisation.

If you work in digital marketing however, you know the truth: SEO is far from dead. Now, perhaps more than ever, the fundamental principles of search engine optimisation are crucial to any successful digital marketing strategy.

But how can we prove it?

At the end of February, one of Mackerel Media’s clients came to us with a problem. Despite being a well-know, large Scottish based firm, their organic search listings  weren’t appearing on the first page – what could we do to help them?

Now anybody will tell you that, unlike the relatively fast gains that can be made through PPC marketing, search engine optimisation is about playing the long game – but there can be some quick SEO fixes that can make a real difference in a reasonably short period of time.

Our initial investigation into the client’s website revealed, among other SEO quick-fixes, that most of the firm’s pages were missing H1 headings. The H1 heading element of a page has long been a stalwart of on-page search engine optimisation – but opinion has been divided over just how much influence it has on your final position on the SERP. However, with everything else seemingly set up correctly, the missing H1’s seemed a logical explanation for the underperforming pages. The next step was to get creative…

Working closely with the client, Mackerel Media was able to introduce around sixty new H1s to pages across the clients site – ranging from sector specific keywords to high volume sector terms, retroactively adding them to complement the existing site content. In total, all of the H1s were added in less than a day.

As a result, search positions have increased dramatically, with the number of our client’s pages ranking on the first page of Google up a massive 40.74% from last month. What’s more, the number of pages which now rank in first place for our client’s keywords has increased by 52.63%.

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In just one month, Mackerel Media’s client saw a 22.72% increase in total pages ranked simply thanks to some in-depth investigation and the introduction of H1 headings. If SEO truly is dead, then we’re yet to see any evidence.

And while this is a single example, it is far from an isolated case. Every day here at Mackerel Media we see the effects a well structured, planned and executed SEO strategy. Whether a site requires a technical overhaul, on-site content improvements or an off-site outreach programme – each change you make will have an effect on how Google, and ultimately the internet as a whole, will rank your page.

So next time somebody tells you SEO is dead, remember: the right changes can make a huge difference to where your site ranks amongst its competitors… who are almost certainly all making SEO improvements as well.

Google Analytics Launches Enhanced Link Attribution – Hurrah!

For many years now, one of the most commonly asked questions from our digital marketing clients is how they can figure out which links on a page their users clicked on. Google Analytics has hitherto provided a basic link analysis tool which allowed some measure of analysis, but it was always hobbled by its fundamental inability to tell the difference between multiple links to the same page. A recently announced feature is set to change that dramatically.

The problem starts when a web page has multiple links out to another page. For example, the ‘About Us’ page of a web site might have two links to the Home Page – one in the main navigation and another as part of the company’s logo. In fact, this is the case with the Mackerel Media web site – the right hand navigation links to ‘Home’ as does the logo in the top left of the page. As it stands, Google Analytics can’t tell which is which, and when it is reporting on link clicks, therefore marks them as being clicked on an equal number of times, which means (to the untrained observer) both links received the same number of clicks, or in total, double the real number of clicks.

We’ve previously plugged this gap by making use of other tools such as CrazyEgg, which produces excellent heatmaps showing you exactly where your users have clicked, even those who have clicked on something that isn’t a link.

Google Analytics will soon allow you to differentiate between links on a page, and (very interestingly) view clicks associated with triggering a javascript event such as the user clicking on a ‘search’ button.

The images below show the before and after measurements – you’ll see quite a difference in the percentages recorded, and you’ll also see links associated with the magnifying glass button, the javascript trigger.

Before

Before - inaccurate attribution

After - much more accurate attribution!

Taken as part of the huge variety of other changes happening with Google, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, this is another important signal to web site owners from the search giant about what they believe is important and – therefore – where we ought to focus our digital efforts. Or in other words, Google are saying very clearly “use the data to make your web site better!”

The feature is being rolled out across Analytics Accounts, so look out for it arriving in yours.