As of Friday 19th February, you’ll have noticed that your Google search results look different. It’s the kind of change where you know something’s happened, but not quite sure what the implications are.
In a nutshell, Google has removed the right hand side (RHS) paid adverts. The change was made in one move and has affected paid advertising and organic search – businesses now investing in paid advertising are no longer competing for 11 lucrative result rankings, they are now competing for around seven spaces, a decrease of more than 36 per cent for top search rankings.
Why, oh why, Google?
With a rise in mobile search and the multiplatform generation, RHS ads have been getting lost in responsive design. This, along with a very low click-through-rate (CTR), means Google have been seeing less and less value in having these adverts.
What this means for your business
This will affect your ranking if this is where your paid activity was targeted. Whilst the CTR was low in terms of google search, those ads were still generating activity for companies – some of whom’s budget would only stretch to RHS ads.
From an SEO perspective, this also poses a concern because there will no longer be any organic presence above the fold. Google has built a beautiful and clever algorithm that decides what deserves to be at the top of the page, which now isn’t going to be relevant.
Why not give your site an audit?
An SEO audit is the best approach when reacting to Google’s changes. In order to decrease your AdWords costs and keep your traffic on a somewhat stable line, solid SEO ratings are a must.
Analysing how your current SEO is performing means you can make decisions on how best to improve your campaign and in turn, your organic search results. An audit is beneficial if your budget won’t allow for you to compete for those top three or four results.
If the above describes your business, we highly recommend a local SEO campaign to target your audience from a focussed approach. The benefit of this is that localised results tend to appear higher up the page than traditional organic results depending on location – Google still has your back in this sense.
What exactly is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit involves analysing SEO activity both on-site and off-site to ensure everything you have in place is working effectively. A thorough SEO audit involves:
- Running checks for broken links
Broken links ruin the website experience and cause a decrease in website traffic and increase in bounce and exit rates. Imagine your disappointment at following a link to something you’ve searched for and finding a 404 error page instead of what you wanted – sad faces all round.
- Review missing pages and redirects
Many broken links are caused by missing pages and incorrect redirects. Assessing these and rectifying them will improve your SEO performance.
- Review use of metadata and keywords
Metadata and keywords should be accurate, of an optimum length and relate directly to your content. Auditing these are beneficial to staying in Google’s good books.
- Analyse website copy efficiency and keyword density
Keyword “stuffing” is a Google cardinal sin, so you want to make sure that the copy you have on your website works for your business and does exactly what it needs to without being overbearing for search purposes.
- Check individual page rankings (and compare to similar pages on competitors’ websites)
SEO is more than just your overall search ranking on Google – individual pages count too, especially if your product or service is similar to other businesses. Good SEO on individual pages will push you higher up search rankings when prospects are searching for specific products and services.
- Refresh, update and improve content
An SEO audit is always a great opportunity to assess the effectiveness of your content, and whether or not some of it needs reworking. Keeping content fresh and following SEO trends is important to staying abreast of search rankings.
- Review the number and quality of inbound links
If the inbound link isn’t providing you with any website traffic, then the quality is poor and could be affecting your SEO rather than enhancing it. Furthermore, if the domain you are linked from has been marked as spam or low-ranking, you will need to remove those links so as not get your wrist slapped by Google
- Identify potential website partnerships
If reviewing and removing some of your current inbound links can help your SEO performance, so will establishing new partnerships for new inbound links to encourage more visitors by showing them what you have to offer
- Research where competitors are getting their links
If it’s working well for them, it might work well for you, as well as gaining insights as to where your target audience are visiting online.
- Identify relevant broken links on external websites and devise a plan on how to get those links to point to your pages.
Identifying broken links to other sites means a link to your site could replace them and boost your SEO.
We’ll audit, so you don’t have to!
Whilst SEO audits can be conducted personally, they are extremely time consuming and take a lot of manpower, so it’s usually best to bring in fresh eyes and outsource an SEO audit. Our SEO services include a full audit of your current campaigns and activity, resulting in our recommendations for forthcoming campaigns and an overhaul of your current SEO strategy.
Furthermore, in light of Google’s decision to revamp its search results, and how imperative it is to react in a timely manner, we are offering our SEO audit services at a fixed rate.
If your business has been affected by the changes or you are unaware of whether your SEO has been affected, don’t hesitate to contact us.