Link Building for SEO: Which Strategies Work in 2020 (and Which Don’t)

My Post (25)If you want to rank a website on Google in 2020, you can’t ignore the importance of link building and the need to put together a solid strategy that will help you earn high-quality links. In fact, links remain one of the top three most important ranking factors out there.

That said, whether you are a total SEO beginner and are learning how to build links for the first time or have been doing it for years and just want to find new tactics that still work, there are literally dozens of approaches you can take.

In this guide, you will learn how to build links with strategies and tactics that are still effective and that will help you to earn those top-ranking positions, as well as knowing those that will see you wasting time and resources and that could potentially have a negative impact on your organic visibility.

We will share quick win tactics alongside those that need a little more time and planning, but that can truly help you to get those ‘can’t buy’ links.

If you want to learn how to build better links than your competitors, then read on…

What is Link Building?

Link building is a key part of any successful SEO strategy that involves getting other websites to link to yours — a simple hyperlink from one site to another. It is also agreed by many that it is one of the hardest parts of ranking a website, whilst one of the most rewarding when you get it right.

Not familiar with how links work?

When website A links to website B, it s a strong hint to Google’s algorithm that it deserves to rank higher for relevant keywords, and you might hear these referred to as inbound links, backlinks, external links, or, quite simply, just links.

You can think of links from other websites like votes.

The more high quality links that point to your website (and form part of your backlink profile), the higher you should rank on Google, and, therefore, the higher level of organic traffic you should receive.

However, links aren’t all created equal, and some can even cause your website to decrease in visibility, something that we will cover shortly.

There are many different tactics that you can use to build links, some easier to execute than others, and knowing where to get started can sometimes be difficult, especially when you are aware that some can do more harm than good.

Why is Link Building Important For SEO?

Link building takes time and effort. There is no hiding from that fact.

It is also hard to get right, meaning that those who can successfully execute tactics to build better links than their competitors typically see significant growth in organic traffic and revenue.

And that is why you need to understand why links are so important and should account for a considerable portion of your SEO campaigns’ resources.

We delved deep into the importance of link building for SEO in our guide to backlinks, which you should check out for a detailed introduction to the what and the why behind this key pillar of any successful campaign.

However, the main reasons why you need to make sure you are placing a strong focus on link building as an SEO are:

  • You will rank higher on Google and other search engines.
  • Google will find new pages on your site faster.
  • You’ll enjoy increased credibility and trustworthiness as a business.
  • You could benefit from targeted referral traffic.

You can’t ignore link building, and you need to make sure you are rolling out tactics that give you a competitive advantage, something that we will show you how to do in this guide.

What Are the Key Elements of a Successful Link Building Strategy?

There is more to link building than it may seem, and not just in terms of the complexity of those tactics that deliver the best results and impact.

When planning a link building strategy, you need to remember that not all links are equal and that there are key elements that drive forward success.

You shouldn’t be building links blindly.

By that, we mean that you need to know what a great link looks like for you and fully understand that the more effort you put into getting the right links, the better impact you will see.

Here are some of the key components that you need to focus on that make up a great link building strategy to help you understand what a great link profile looks like.

1. Contextual Links

Links on a page that are more likely to be clicked are typically those that hold the most value and can have the biggest impact on rankings and the way that Google measures the value of a link is with PageRank, and its ‘reasonable surfer model‘ parent indicates that different features associated with links change how this flows.
Bill Slawski explains this as:

If a link is in the main content area of a page, uses a font and color that might make it stand out, and uses text that may make it something likely that someone might click upon it, then it could pass along a fair amount of PageRank. On the other hand, if it combines features that make it less likely to be clicked upon, such as being in the footer of a page, in the same color text as the rest of the text on that page, and the same font type, and uses anchor text that doesn’t interest people, it may not pass along a lot of PageRank.

— Bill Slawski

Contextual links, those placed in the body of a web page’s content as opposed to the footer or sidebar, as an example, are typically higher quality links and are key to a successful strategy.

2. A High Percentage of ‘Followed’ Links

Not all links pass PageRank and impact a site’s rankings.

Links can have different attributes applied, with the main ones you need to know to be nofollow, sponsored, and UGC links.

Links that have a rel=”nofollow” attribute give a hint that Google should not crawl them and that they should not associate the two sites from a ranking perspective.

Rel=”sponsored” attributes indicate that a link has been paid for (and therefore should not pass PageRank).

Rel=”UGC” showcases links that come from user-generated content such as forums and comments and indicates that these links are not editorially placed and may be manipulative.

If a link is referred to as a ‘followed’ link (or sometimes, a ‘dofollow’ link – even though this is technically not the right terminology), it means that there are no attributes in place that prevent PageRank from being passed and a great link profile should contain a high percentage of these, so long as they come from quality sources.

3. Editorially Placed Links

Editorially placed links are simply those that exist because a third-party has taken the decision to add a link from their website to yours, rather than because of payment, some other incentive, or that you were the one responsible for placing it and did so to increase your rankings.

The most effective links are editorially placed, and Google themselves highlight in their guidelines that links that don’t fall under this categorization can be deemed unnatural. – Read more

3 Connections Between Paid Search and CRO

My Post (1).pngWhile being with Hanapin (now Brainlabs!) for five and a half years, I can honestly say that I love my career. Recently, I began a transition between roles within the company going from a Paid Search Account Manager to a CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) Manager. This was brought on by really gaining an understanding of the connection between Paid Search and CRO and wanting to focus more on the CRO side of things after the paid click happens. With that being said, it’s been such a great experience being able to dive into my new role with the knowledge I have gained over the last 5 and a half years.

In this post, I want to walk through three valuable connections between the two roles. They truly go hand-and-hand and when utilizing both, you can have a solid strategy and really make the most of the user experience from the initial search to the time a user completes a purchase or fills out a lead form on your site.

Let’s jump right into it!

Congruency is Key

This has been the most apparent during my transition and something that may be apparent to those who have no experience in CRO or in Paid Search. From the time a user first interacts with your brand (first impression, if you will) to the moment they make the decision to purchase or submit a form, you should be speaking the same language throughout the path. If not, it can quickly lead to confusion, hesitation, and ultimately, users bouncing. Take the following two examples;

Example 1:

ad congruency example 1

Example 2:

ad congruency example 2

In both examples, I’m sure you can decide which user experience makes more sense. The second.

The goal is to ensure that what the user searches for is mimicked in the ad copy and also the landing page. This ensures that the user is met with exactly what they need, eliminating any additional steps.

Audiences Matter

There is also a valuable connection between paid search audiences and CRO. Understanding the audience that’s being sent to a website gives insight into how a site would be best structured and how it should function to meet that audience’s needs. If you have an apartment complex that rents to those who are 65 or older, your site needs to align with that. If a paid search landing page for that apartment complex focuses on workout facilities, party rooms, and transportation to the nearest college, it’s not speaking to the audience. However, if the landing page lists amenities like elevators, a lounge, handicap accessibility, and so forth, you have a better chance of connecting with the audience. – Read more

WordPress SEO Checklist: 20 Tips to Improve Your Rankings

My Post (7).pngOne of the reasons you have chosen WordPress as your website’s CMS might be because you have read that it is SEO-friendly out of the box. In fact, you only have to check out WordPress’ own list of ‘powerful features’ on their homepage to see that they are proud that the platform is SEO-friendly:

But that doesn’t mean that simply launching a WordPress website is enough to rank at the top of the search engines. You still need to understand the right SEO tactics to use and how to implement these, but the good news is that WordPress makes this easy to do and makes it easier for beginners to grow their traffic from Google.

The platform has many features that adhere to SEO best practices to make your life easier, meaning you can focus your efforts on the tasks which make a real difference to your rankings and organic visibility.

Below, you will find our top WordPress SEO tips to help you optimize your website and enjoy SEO success. But just one quick word of warning first — these tips and tricks apply to those of you running self-hosted WordPress sites, not the hosted WordPress.com version of the platform.

What Is WordPress?

WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system, which runs 35% of the entire internet and powers many of the websites you likely browse every single day, including BBC America, Time.com, and TechCrunch. Even The Rolling Stones use WordPress for their official website. If it works for these global giants, you can see why it’s the go-to for many website developers.

WordPress started out as a blogging platform in 2003 but quickly pivoted to become a powerful and flexible solution to run entire websites, and in 2020, it is also capable of being used as an eCommerce solution.

But why did WordPress become so popular?

For many, it is because:

  • It s simple and easy to use. You don’t need to be a developer to launch a WordPress website, and it is extremely user-friendly, even for beginners.
  • It is flexible and adaptable. With literally thousands of themes available (including many free options), you can tailor WordPress to your needs, while also extending the core functionality with one of more than 55,000 plugins available. The platform can also host fully bespoke themes, if you are an experienced PHP developer, want to learn the language or choose to employ the services of a professional to turn a custom design into a stand-out site.
  • There is an amazing community. WordPress is open-source, and the community behind the platform is simply amazing. From support forums to easy-to-follow documentation, there is always help at hand, however simple or complex the issue may be.

Of course, it isn’t the right platform for everyone, and there are times when there may be other CMS options that are better suited to your individual needs. Commonly cited disadvantages and cons of WordPress usually relate to the need for frequent updates, potential vulnerabilities (if you are not keeping your site updated), and a little bit of a learning curve to launch bespoke themes. But for the most, it is an extremely powerful platform and one which also gives you great foundations for SEO success.  – Read more

How to Do an SEO Competitive Analysis

My Post (12).pngCompetitive analysis is something that all site owners should be doing, yet far too many are either not doing it all, or are doing it haphazardly. A thorough competitive analysis can be turned into your roadmap of what you need to do to improve your site to be as good as your competitors.

It can also be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both your site and your competitors’ sites for everything from SEO to search feature wins. Utilizing this information, you can discover the areas you are weak that you can improve upon them, as well as identifying the areas where your competitors are weak, and then capitalize on their weaknesses for your site and search performance.

Why Competitive Analysis is Important

With competitive analysis, you will be taking a step back and looking at the overall market area, where you stand, who the competitors are, and what the search landscape looks like for crucial keywords.

Even if you are already ranking at the top of the search results for all your most important keywords, there will always be another site that is trying to take over your rankings and capitalizing on your own site’s weaknesses.

Your Roadmap for Success

Competitive analysis can be used as a roadmap for what you need to do to improve your search rankings and the user experience for the visitors to your site. You will always discover things about what your competitors are doing that is superior to your own site, such as better search rankings. You might also discover they are doing better at specific aspects of the search results, such as dominating all the featured snippets or having an immense number of pages that show up in people also ask.

Even if you are ranking number one for what you think are your most important keywords, if they dominate in featured snippets, you are missing out on a considerable amount of potential traffic.

Page by Page Details

A proper analysis will give you the opportunity to look closer at what your competitors are doing on a page by page basis. This helps identify any potential gaps your site might have when compared to your competitors.

Perhaps you will discover they have a blog that is doing well with how to type articles that get lots of shares and links, something that is lacking on your site. Or you might discover that one competitor is getting a lot of traffic through videos they are creating and sharing, while your site is lacking in that department.

Who are the Actual Competitors?

When looking at competitive analysis, it is also important that you consider that your biggest competitor might be one you think of as smaller because they lack top rankings on the” money keywords.” Still, they could be cleaning up on the long tail. Or vice versa may be right.

If you focus solely on the money keywords, your competitive analysis could be very skewed.

The same is also true when it comes to going by your client’s word when it comes to who their biggest competitors are. Again, they often focus on the big money keywords and don’t realize that there may be a competitor they deem insignificant, but that is dominating segments of their market or the long tail. Unless you are doing competitive analysis for a local client, always do your research into exactly who their real competitors are.

Examine Organic Competitors for Specializations – Not Just General Terms

For example, Home Depot and Lowes were ranking number one and number two for a huge cross-section of keywords related to building supplies and home repairs. But for something more specialized, it turned out that entirely different competitors were ranking at the top for the searches around particular subsets of their products.

If you are not examining specific areas that could be dominated by lesser-known competitors, you could be missing out on a considerable amount of traffic and conversions. – Read more

SEO for Business: What Google Analytics Can Tell You

My Post - 2020-03-18T124254.139.pngIf you’re an individual or business looking to amplify your presence in the digital space, chances are you’ve looked into search engine optimization (SEO) as one of the first steps to drive more traffic to your business’ website. It’s important to produce content for the keywords which are related to your industry. For example, SimplyRest which is primarily a mattress guide website also continuously  produces quality sleep related content.

For any website whose goal is to rank, keywords are important – the more keywords you own or rank for organically, the better your scorecard will be. As a digital marketer, one of the best and easiest tools to navigate when improving SEO is Google Analytics. But how are you sure that you’re maximizing all of its features to give your business what it needs?

Search engine optimization is one part of improving your site’s traffic, but don’t ignore the numbers: data gives you a drilled down version of what matters beyond high-traffic words. It’s going to allow your marketing team to connect the dots and see where your users drop off, what organic search words bring the most traffic to your site, and even identifying which pages are actually hurting your rankings.

Here are 5 ways to maximize Google Analytics for your business:

If you want to see the whole picture, connect your Analytics account to Google Search Console.

Although GA gives you the basic data to work from such as how many users visit your site, the average time they spend on each page, and even where your readers are from, the Google Search Console together with Google Analytics takes your efforts a step higher.

It gives you information such as who is linking to your site, what technical errors you have to fix, and the juiciest parts of digital and content marketing, like what keywords people are using to find your content. Additionally, it also tells you what websites your target audience usually lands on, and where your content ranks on Google.

This gives you the ammo to identify opportunities for your business to rank organically. And your goal to rank on the first page of search engines will be that much easier to plan for. Think of it this way: GA gives you the numbers, but GSC gives you the skeleton for a great SEO strategy.

Measure organic keywords, but don’t forget to segment organic visitors and review the quality of your organic traffic.

One of the main things that SEO experts track is organic traffic.

This is done by setting up a custom dashboard in Google Analytics that will segment your organic visitors, and will show you only the important metrics for your business.

This means removing spam traffic that will skew your raw data such as fake referrers and crawlers. You also have ghost spam that comes from your direct traffic, so make sure you exclude traffic that doesn’t match your TLD.

It might seem like segmenting organic traffic is a lot of work, but it’s every SEO expert’s best friend. We know that it’s hard to consistently target a specific demographic, but in GA, you can filter through demographics, affinity segments, and in-market data that are used for ad targeting on Google AdWords.

Additionally, you can easily measure the quality of your organic traffic by going to Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels > Conversion rate column (for organic search). One of the first things to check is your engagement rate – if it’s low, you may be attracting the wrong audience, or your content isn’t working for your site visitors. – Read more

What is Anchor Text? Everything You Need to Know for SEO

My Post - 2020-03-17T184137.406.pngMost marketers know link building is one of the countless critical factors for boosting your search engine rankings in the eyes of the Google Gods.

However, the words you choose for linking out and into your site matter too – and quite a lot! Those words are called anchor text, and Google’s algorithms pay more attention to them than newbies (and even some marketing veterans) realize.

In the early days, you used to be able to game the Google system by keyword stuffing anchors. Well, Google noticed and now carefully watches not only which words you choose to link, but also how often you use them and the surrounding text.

Yes, the technical details are complicated, but the basics are easy enough for everyone to understand and apply.

By optimizing—but not over-optimizing—your anchor words and learning the best practices, you can fine-tune your SEO and watch your rankings climb. If you break the rules, Google can penalize your site. (Not good.)

This post will:

  • Explain what anchor text is
  • Go over all the anchor text best practices you should know
  • Explain how anchor words impact SEO
  • Provide a few tips for perfecting your anchor strategy
  • Offer examples of good and bad anchors

What is Anchor Text, and Why is it Important?

SEO is a complex matter that consists of a thousands of little details Anchor text is one of these details. Before starting to learn this theme I recommend you to read our master-guide – What is SEO.

An anchor is a text you click to move from one internet destination to another; it literally anchors two different locations on the internet together.

While anchors typically link webpages, they can also initiate downloads and link to documents like PDFs or files in Google Drive. That is why you should only click anchors from sites you trust, and hover over the link with your mouse – but don’t click! – to make sure the URL looks legitimate. – Read more

Top Three SEO Predictions For 2020

My Post - 2020-03-09T172614.995.pngWith more and more websites popping up (and with Google tweaking its algorithm constantly), the online landscape is getting much more competitive. I’m the founder of six businesses, all revolving around search engine optimization, and I believe that if you want to rank in 2020, you’ll have to be one step ahead of everyone else.

It’s a new year and a new decade — and that means it’s time to tackle search engine optimization (SEO) in a new way. Read on to learn more.

1. Authority is king.

Domain authority has always been a huge ranking factor, and it’s no different in 2020. What has changed, however, is how you earn it.

Links used to be the building blocks of a site’s authority. Collecting backlinks was the name of the game. The more backlinks you had, the higher your domain authority.

Does this still apply in 2020? Well, yes and no.

Links are still very important, but it’s more about trust signals and representing yourself as a brand.

If you want to compete with the big sites that dominate the search engine results page rankings, you’ll need to play like the big sites do — by creating amazing content and building up your brand.

So how do you demonstrate your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness?

First things first: Focus on creating accurate, relevant and interesting content within your field of expertise. Then, clean up your site by getting rid of thin content, broken links and other technical errors. Be transparent about who you are; set up “About Us” and “Contact Us” pages. Finally, build your credibility by getting off-site citations and backlinks from high-ranking or high-authority sites.

Focus on trust, and you will build up your domain authority naturally, organically and sustainably.

2. Organic search real estate will become smaller.

Remember when Google’s search engine results were populated by actual pages, and you had to climb your way up to #1 just to be seen? Today’s search engine results page couldn’t be more different, thanks to Google AdWords, quick answer boxes, knowledge panels and, of course, the coveted featured snippet.

This means that there’s less room for you to rank organically … but it also means that you have more ways to get noticed by searchers.

Featured snippets are a great way for you to outrank your competitors without actually having to reach the #1 rank. Snippets are placed at the top of the results page above the #1 result, which is  also called rank 0. – Read more

Google Says Keywords In Google My Business Descriptions Impacts Local Rankings; Local SEOs Say No

My Post - 2020-03-03T131505.112.pngHere is an interesting move by Google. Google updated its improve your local rankings help document to show an example of how keywords in your business description can help improve your local rankings. But local SEO experts say that is not how it works and keywords in the description have no impact.

Firstly @StefanSomborac spotted the original change in the document, which set off this whole thing. What was added?

For example, if someone who lives in Dublin, California is looking for a NY Pizza restaurant and you also own that business, it’d be easier for the customer to find your listing on Google if your description included, “Harry’s NY Pizza in Dublin, CA,” instead of only “Harry’s Pizza in CA.”

Google also previously had a line in there that read:

Think about the words customers would type to find your business, and make sure that your listing actually includes those keywords within it.

Google has removed that line about keywords.

Why? Well many local SEOs said it is not true. Keywords in business descriptions do not impact your local rankings.

The Local Search Forums has tons of comments on this change. Ben Fisher said ” I can say, in our testing of 100’s of profiles, I have not seen the description impact ranking… at all. The description is great for the user though that reads them.” DJ Baxter added “Indeed, for Google to use that as a ranking factor would be to invite and encourage even more spam listings – like there isn’t enough of that already.” – Read more

Paid Media & Privacy: What’s Changing & What It Means for Marketers

My Post - 2020-02-17T185119.218.pngPrivacy. This is a word that’s likely to elicit different reactions from consumers versus those of us who work in marketing.

For marketers who live in Europe, the last eight years or so have been spent trying to wrap our heads around different pieces of privacy-focused legislation and how to best be compliant.

Our cousins in America have watched this process with feelings ranging from relief, to bemusement, to mild envy.

For all the change we’ve seen so far, 2020 is going to be the year where we see the biggest shifts yet.

It’s likely to have a profound impact on anyone who works in marketing, but particularly for those of us who work in paid media – regardless of which side of the Atlantic you live on.

So what’s going on?

Let’s take a quick look at what’s covered by GDPR and the upcoming e-Privacy Regulation, which affect Europe, but also take a look at the California Consumer Privacy Act and how this is likely to affect our industry.

Europe

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018. In a nutshell, it covers how we collect, store and use personal data.

If you’re a company based within the European Economic Area (covers slightly more countries than are in the European Union), or you’re based outside and the EEA and ever process the personal data of someone who lives in the EEA, then it applies to you.

It covers personally identifiable information – anything that relates to an identifiable individual and could be used to trace or distinguish them – such as:

  • Name.
  • Social security number.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Biometric data.
  • Education history.
  • Anything financial, medical or employment-based.

In the EU, it also includes your IP address.

As scary as GDPR been, there’s something even scarier on the horizon – the E-Privacy Regulation (ePR).

ePR is significantly more impactful when it comes to digital.

The last time regulation specific to the Internet was put in place, was 2003 and the online world has changed so much in the last 17 years.

ePR will apply to your business if you use online tracking tech, engage in electronic direct marketing, or provide online communication services.

It also expands the definition of PII to include anything that can identify an entity online – including cookies and metadata.

CCPA

The good news for those State-side is that the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is much closer in scope to GDPR than it is ePR (lotta Rs in that sentence) when it comes to what it counts as personal data.

It applies to your business if you’re based in California and meet at least one of the following:

  • Has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million.
  • Buys or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers or households.
  • Or earns more than half of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

If you’re one of the companies covered, here are some of the things you’ll have to do to comply (I cheated and copy-pasted this for legal ease!):

  • Implement processes to obtain parental or guardian consent for minors under 13 years and the affirmative consent of minors between 13 and 16 years to data sharing for purposes
  • “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on the home page of the website of the business, that will direct users to a web page enabling them, or someone they authorize, to opt out of the sale of the resident’s personal information
  • Designate methods for submitting data access requests, including, at a minimum, a toll-free telephone number
  • Update privacy policies with newly required information, including a description of California residents’ rights
  • Avoid requesting opt-in consent for 12 months after a California resident opts out

So, it’s similar to GDPR, but also more specific when it comes to handling the sale of data.

Check and see if it will apply to you and what work you’d need to do in order to become compliant.

What Does This Mean?

Ultimately, the key thing that both of these pieces of legislation covers are ways that we track users which aren’t personally identifiable.

GDPR in Europe generally applied to information that could be used to pinpoint someone based on their real-life identity – so anything that would help a company keep track of me, Arianne Donoghue.

What it didn’t cover, and is now going to be covered, is anything that tracks me as an entity online.

To many data and tracking services, I won’t be known by my real identity – but they’ll have a user ID that identifies this 35-44-year-old woman who lives in the north of England, loves cats, and spends far too long browsing Wholesome Memes on Reddit.

They’ll know almost everything about me – except who I actually am, but they don’t need to.

If you have a Google account it’s always worth taking a look at the Ads Preferences and information Google has stored on you. It highlights how well services are able to profile us without knowing who we are. – Read more

8 Things That Are Wrong with Google Search Today

My Post - 2020-02-17T183208.888

Regardless of what you do with your days and nights, you’d be hard-pressed to never have used Google at some point in your life.

Chances are, as we’re off and running in the year 2020, you’re using the “free” internet database and information machine on a weekly basis – most likely daily – and for good reason.

Google is an information powerhouse, serving up billions of searches a day and many-thousands of searches per second. It is second to none.

Its “hundreds of billions of webpages” that have been crawled and make up its always-expanding Search index are proof of that.

But for all its good, Google still gets plenty wrong every day.

Some problems are worse than others, depending on how often you use Google, how familiar you are with the search engines, and, basically, who you are.

A digital marketer is going to (typically) have a much more extensive understanding of how Google works than a middle-aged security guard, a stay-at-home mom, or even a police officer or a firefighter.

When considering the eight call-outs below, it is mostly considered from an everyday, average Google Search user.

That said, there will certainly be deeper explanations for seemingly basic concepts to show just how wrong Google has gotten it on several critical occasions.

1. Always Testing/Changing

Whether you’re an everyday user, sometimes user, or in-the-trenches search marketer, you most likely know Google doesn’t sit still.

The world-leading search engine makes hundreds of changes per year to its platform through thousands of updates that included more than 3,200 updates in 2018, a number that has increased each year for decades.

It has confused users, angered SEO professionals, and ultimately transformed the way nearly every human on Earth interacts with the World Wide Web.

Thus, there is likely never just one reason for any – or all – of the changes Google makes a year.

But, while many average users can easily illustrate examples of why they were ever displeased with a change Google made, there are plenty of times when those changes worked in favor of the user in terms of a better experience on the search engine.

As a search marketer, we not only appreciate many of the changes Google makes due to their impact on the overall search experience; we also appreciate these thousands of changes per year because it keeps us in demand and employs us – directly and indirectly – every day.

2. Glitchy, Like All Computer Programs

Like any technological entity, Google, too, endures glitches, bugs, broken parts, and pint-sized disasters.

In early April 2019, Google had to fix a technical issue that caused pages to be deindexed.

Later that same month, a Google issue caused the search engine to select unrelated canonical URLs that were sometimes reflected in the breadcrumb trails on mobile. In rare cases, this may have prevented proper indexing of content by Google.

The following month, Google announced it was experiencing indexing issues that lasted through much of a day.

While temporary, it was still a major issue that prevented new content from being indexed in search results and make those results far less useful than they typically are.

Search Engine Journal staff writer Roger Montti pointed out how even though “Google has suffered outages in the past, Google has not experienced so many outages in such a short period of time,” as it did in the first half of 2019, suggesting the series of problems could be tied to a larger issue like an infrastructure update.

In July, Google had to fix a bug that caused search results to not fully render for some people over a span of several days.

Then, in the following month, it fixed another a bug that prevented newly-published content from being indexed again (same issue as May).

And, just as recent as February 2020, Google experienced glitches with Google Search Console and Google Tag Manager that caused some sites to become unverified in Search Console.

Clearly, this isn’t a problem most Google users would even recognize, but it was another issue that had some sort of impact on search, its users, and Google.

3. Never 100% Accurate

No search engine is perfect.

But they have all been impressive at one point or another with the results they serve up, and Google is certainly no exception to that.

While it doesn’t need a specific name or entity title to get the answer you’re looking for, Google is able to connect the dots for people more often than not when delivering an answer with a limited amount of information for many informational-type searches.

Other, more-granular searches that are guided with specific details – like a person’s name – can result in a short, simple answer that usually becomes a featured snippet.

These answers are a work in progress – that is, building out the database tied to the entities referenced in those answers.

More often than not, featured snippet answers are correct, or at least mostly correct.

There are certainly times when the answers, or at least parts of the answers, are incorrect, though.

Like the example below (which is now fixed), Google referenced Ice Cube’s net worth, but then suggested some other similar searches, which include a photo of rapper Vanilla Ice as the representation for (a different) rapper, Ice-T. – Read more