Core Web Vitals are slightly delayed

May 26, 2021

Google had planned to roll out its new Core Web Vitals ranking criteria this month. (We went into detail in a previous newsletter).

But now Google has decided to delay the rollout to mid-June, gradually, completing the rollout in August. So you’ve got a little more time to get the optimization process underway.

In anticipation of the rollout, they’ve released a new Page Experience report, designed to give you a more nuanced view of page performance across your site.

You’ll need to set up Google Search Console to use the report. If you haven’t used Google Search Console, it’s well worth your time to get it set up. Very, very well worth your time.

Search Console will give you access to tons of Google’s internal information about your site, including whether Google views it as a good experience for users, how much you’re showing up in (not just getting traffic from) search, and much more.

Ask your dev team how they’re preparing for this page experience shift. Send them a link to the Page Experience report and ask them if it’s pointing out any unforeseen avenues for optimization.

Why keywords need a relevance metric

May 10, 2021
📗 Field Note

This question has popped up a few times this month. Maybe you’ve been asking it too.

Can I build a keyword strategy on search volume and competition metrics alone?

Determining the relevance of a topic to your brand is a core marketing skill, and it’s overshadowed these days by big data metrics like search volume and competition.

All of them are important – but they should all work together.

You might ultimately choose a keyword that’s easy to win and has high volume even if it’s not the most relevant. Sometimes this makes sense. But if you’re not tracking relevance every time, you’re setting yourself up to chase keywords that won’t ever convert because your brand doesn’t speak to them.

Track volume, competition, relevance for any keyword, and weight each metric accordingly in your calculations. We give you more detail on how to do it in our keyword strategy guide.

Goodbye, third-party cookies

May 10, 2021
🕵🏻‍♂️ Journal

Third-party cookies are going away. Safari and Firefox have already blocked these entirely, while Chrome is planning to next year.

Does this matter?

Let’s start by recapping what cookies are: Little bits of tracking info that your browser stores on behalf of sites you visit.

Cookies can be useful. One might store your username for a “Remember me” login box. But it might also store your demographic data for ads.

Third-party cookies take this one step further, storing data from sites you didn’t visit (at least, not directly). They have all the charm of a love note from someone you’ve never met.

So what does it mean that they’re going away?

  • It will become a little harder to target ads, and they may get more expensive, too. That means organic channels (like organic search) will become more important.
  • Getting your audience onto channels you control – like your email list – will become more important too.
  • And in general, content marketing will play a bigger role in lead generation as paid search tactics become more convoluted.

This is good for privacy, too, right?

It’s not bad. But the ad industry is way too big to not track you. So what we’re entering into now is not a golden era of user privacy, but an arms race between advertising technology vendors and users – with Google kind of playing both sides.

Does GPT-3 write everything for everyone forever now?

April 22, 2021
📗 Field Note

Lots of marketing folks are singing the praises of A.I. copywriting tools like GPT-3. The copy it generates isn’t flawless. But it does occasionally pass the Turing test, and it’s improving rapidly.

Does this mean that copywriters and content marketers should be gearing up for a war against the machines?

Maybe? But more likely, smart content people will use tools like GPT-3 as levers, to automate away hard and boring stuff (like the first, not very good, draft) and focus their efforts where they can really deliver value.

You might want to start studying up on what it’ll be like to have an AI in your toolbox. This piece on the SEMrush blog is a good place to start.

Also, we experimented with A.I. video creation and the results were… fun.

Core Web Vitals is kind of important

April 5, 2021

In about a month, Google is scheduled to roll out new ranking criteria: page experience signals.

Basically, Google will be measuring your page’s speed and design consistency in more specific ways. It’s a technical issue that can have a big effect on how well your content performs.

What should you do?

For starters, type your domain into this new tool, and see how you score. If things are red, notify your web dev – they’re the person who will fix it.

(Or hit reply in this email if you want to talk more about it with us).