In some industries, there’s a noticeable summer slowdown. Everything gets a little quieter, more people have their out of office switched on and nothing much happens ahead of September and that rush of activity provoked by the ‘back to school’ feeling.

Not so in search marketing.

As we reach the end of the month, we’re here to look back on some of the biggest stories and launches that emerged this month, helping you stay firmly on track and ready to leverage every opportunity and nugget of information that comes your way.

Google’s John Mueller recommends focus on targeted search terms

In his regular SEO Office Hours show, Google’s John Mueller has recommended focusing on targeted search terms with a clear intent over high volume, generic terms.

Questioned by a publisher as to why a seemingly poor quality page was appearing in the top spot for the very general term ‘programming’, Mueller said that the search term was so ambiguous there could be no right or wrong in rankings. He advised, “My recommendation here is, especially if you’re starting out, don’t focus on queries like “programming.

“Instead, focus on something that is really strong, something that you can do really well, and something that doesn’t have as much competition or doesn’t have as much other content out there already.”

It’s worth remembering that Google has gone to great lengths to understand user intent within its algorithms, so focusing on a very targeted term means you’re more likely to rank better. This approach is also more likely to see your content giving the search user the information they actually wanted, making it a more valuable strategy than targeting very general, high volume terms with much weaker intent.

Research shows best tactics for local search success

A comprehensive piece of research carried out in the USA has revealed which strategies can increase local search performance. Milestone Internet selected 500 local businesses and performed a deep dive into 3 million sessions, and 176 million page views between January 2020 and June 2021.

It concluded that location-based businesses received around 10% of their traffic from referral sources. That traffic was found to be of a good quality overall and typically generated higher engagement levels than other sources.

The report also suggests that local businesses get the best results when local SEO and organic SEO are deployed together to generate website traffic. They are described as “the most reliable, resilient and high-performing channels”. Traffic arriving on site from local search results was found to give the highest number of page views per session than other sources.

Other recommendations included fully optimising Google My Business listings, providing an optimal mobile search experience, optimising for voice search, offering FAQs and adding an event calendar.

YouTube says search results are changing

YouTube’s search results pages will undergo a refresh, with a more visual interface and changes to the type of content ranked. It will add automatic translations and integrate with Google search results when YouTube doesn’t have enough video content of its own to return for any given search query. Those results may include website links and other content types pulled in from Google SERPs.

LinkedIn rolls out ratings and reviews on user profiles

If you’re a service provider, your LinkedIn profile can now feature ratings and reviews on your user profile after the social network confirmed an update earlier this month.

To begin receiving reviews and ratings for your skills, you’ll need to have the LinkedIn services page enabled on your profile. You’ll then get an email from LinkedIn recommending you take a look at your reviews and begin sending out review invites to previous clients.

This feature is rolling out now but LinkedIn says reviews and ratings won’t be added to profiles in real time.

Facebook consulting with range of organisations to explore privacy-enhancing technology

If you’re a regular visitor to our blog, you’ll have seen our special feature series on the arrival of the cookieless world. This is an issue that is especially pertinent to advertisers and ad platforms like Facebook, due to the potential loss of user data that it represents. Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it had committed to working with a range of academics, global businesses and developers with the goal of improving tracking options while respecting new privacy-first norms.

Facebook says it is investing in three different types of technology; Multi-Party Computation, On-Device Learning, and Differential Privacy. These give advertisers more data and help them measure campaign performance without imparting sensitive personal data.

Author Rebecca

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