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AdWords conversion tracking is dead. No, Google haven’t removed it from AdWords, nor are they phasing it out. Yet.

But if you’re using conversion tracking as your sole gauge of success, you’re doing it wrong!

Why? Because AdWords conversion tracking is a highly inaccurate indicator; but not a reliable metric.

The entire system is based on a cookie, and that cookie might not be present at the time of the conversion. A missing cookie does not mean the conversion was not a direct result of your AdWords efforts. It just means the cookie was not found at the time of the conversion and there are many reasons why this might happen. Someone deleted it, a different device was used, a different user was involved, someone ate the cookie (just kidding) and so on.

Even if you’re able to see some recorded conversions, you can’t accurately use that data. It’s impossible to say how representative the data truly is. Were you able to track 100% or 10% of your AdWords conversions?

No one wants to waste money on AdWords. It is however important to understand the limitations of the current tracking system.

Ask yourself: what can we track?

We all want to know if visitors are arriving on our websites and purchasing our products and services, however we just can’t see this with any level of accuracy.

What we can see is if visitors were engaged with our site. In most situations, someone who arrives and is not interested won’t venture any further. They will leave the website. With AdWords, we want to reduce the number of visitors who aren’t interested and increase those who are.

This can be accomplished by combining the following three systems: Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and AdWords conversion tracking

How to set up page engagement tracking:

This tutorial will assume that you have already set up the Google Tag Manager across your entire website. For instructions, please visit the Google Tag Manager website.

I like the Google Tag Manager because it makes my life easier. You add a small bit of code to your website much like you do with Google Analytics. Then the Google Tag Manager will dynamically inject tracking codes into your site based on the conditions that you set. With the Google Tag Manager, you no longer need to tag all your pages with AdWords, Analytics or third party tracking codes. You simply log into a web interface and configure your tracking tags as you see fit.

Step 1: Set up a new type of conversion from within Google AdWords.

Page engagement tracking step 1

I would recommend that you set the count to “unique conversions” because the initial page engagement is most important; not all subsequent page engagements.

The conversion window should also be set to “1 week” because page engagement is about that initial visit to the site just after the ad click.

Complete the conversion set up process and save the actual code that Google generate within a text file. You’ll need to reference some of the values in a later step.

Step 2: Listen for page engagement with the Google Tag Manager.

With the Google Tag Manager, you can set up event listeners that can be used to trigger this new page engagement conversion. Currently, the Google Tag Manager offers 6 different event listeners:

  • Click Listener
  • Form Submit Listener
  • Link Click Listener
  • Timer Listener
  • History Listener
  • JavaScript Error Listener

For this tutorial, I am only going to configure page engagement tracking on the Link Click Listener, however other types of events could be used for triggering page engagement conversions as well.

Set up a new tag within the Google Tag Manager called “Link Click Listener”:

Page engagement tracking step 2

The Link Click Listener tag will trigger an event each time a link is clicked.

Step 3: Set up a page engagement rule specific for AdWords traffic:

Page engagement tracking step 3

I only want to track page engagement if the visitor arrived from an AdWords ad and then clicked on a link within the landing page. To accomplish this, I need to create a rule.

The first part of the rule identifies whether or not the user is from AdWords by the gclid= parameter. This parameter is present when using AdWords auto-tagging. By default, most AdWords accounts have it enabled. You can easily be confirm this by following the instructions on this page.

The second part of the rule determines if the event was a link click. Please note the text case within “gtm.linkClick”. It’s important.

Step 4: This is where you tie everything together. Setting up the actual AdWords page engagement tag:

Page engagement-tracking step 4

When setting up this particular tag, you will need to reference the conversion code that Google generated in step 1. In it, you’ll need to pull out the Conversion ID and the Conversion Label and then enter them into this tag.

You then need to select the firing rule for this tag which is the rule you set up in step 3.

I also added a zero for the conversion value because I don’t want these types of conversions to interfere with any possible sales conversion tracking that I may have set up.

Step 5: You must test!

Testing to see if this works could not be easier. From within the Google Tag Manager interface, Google provide an easy to use debugging system. By clicking on the Preview button, you’ll be able to debug what you just configured without actually making it live on your website.

I highly recommend that you test this within each of the major web browsers – Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Step 6: Last but not least, you need to make it live.

Once you have thoroughly tested your new page engagement tracking system, press the Publish button to make it live.

Welcome to conversion tracking in 2014.


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You may already be aware that Google sent enormous waves around the SEO world yesterday with their announcement that HTTPS is to be considered a ranking signal:

There’s a lot of speculation on the impact and significance of this, so rather than you having to wade through the details, here’s my take on the matter.

Don’t panic.

There is nothing that has to be done immediately. No-one is going to be penalised for not having SSL.

The current impact is minimal.

In Google’s words “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal—affecting fewer than 1% of global queries, and carrying less weight than other signals such as high-quality content—while we give webmasters time to switch to HTTPS. But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.

Google have also said that they will provide detailed best practices over the coming weeks. I’ll let you know when they are published. For now they give this advice:

– Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
– Use 2048-bit key certificates
– Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
– Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
– Check out our Site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
– Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
– Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag

There’s also some useful advice here.

The bottom line is that it will probably be a good idea to make the move over to HTTPS at some point, but there’s no need to drop everything and start implementing this today.

In the interest of learning more on the practicalities that are involved, we’re currently in the process of moving our own website over to SSL. Watch this space.

In the meantime if you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to send them my way.

PS: Don’t you love the fact that Google’s blog post isn’t on a secure server?


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Nobody ever skips brushing their teeth. It just doesn’t happen. I myself have had long journeys crossing far too many time zones, where I’ve staggered into bed without showering or even washing my face, but my teeth always get brushed. Always. It doesn’t matter how exhausted, hungover, sick, miserable or tight for time you may be; you always brush your teeth.

The reasons for doing so aren’t as obvious as they may first appear. After all when you stumble into your Shanghai hotel room at who-knows-what time in the morning, having not slept for the past 36 hours, your teeth will survive that one brief night without being brushed. They’re most likely coated with 36 hours of plaque anyway, so six more hours isn’t going to make much of a difference.

And the only person who’s going to have to deal with the odour in the morning when you wake up will be you. And let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how well you brush before collapsing onto the mattress, the wakeup experience will not be minty and refreshing.

So why do we do it? It can’t just be routine – I shower every day, but after that particular flight was too tired to care. It can’t be social pressure, because no-one else was going to cotton on to my filthy plaque-heavy secret.

We do it partly because we’re conditioned to – because every single day of our childhood and adult life begins and ends with cleaning our teeth. It’s probably also because it’s impossible to hide when you haven’t done it – if we meet at a conference you won’t be able to notice if I skipped a shower, but you’ll certainly notice if my breath smells like a dead badger.

In addition, once we lose our baby teeth, what grows in their place has to last us the rest of our lives. Fillings don’t repair teeth, they simply contain the damage. When one of our teeth cracks, breaks or dies, we replace bits of them with artificial substitutes, but the tooth itself is gone forever.

We also do it because at some point we’ve all been in the Dentist’s chair for something more than a checkup. And with the exception of my Father * no-one likes having their teeth worked on. It’s time-consuming, costly, unpleasant and invariably hurts like hell.

Each time I’ve had a filling, I’ve been particularly diligent about cleaning and flossing my teeth for weeks afterwards. After a particularly bad experience (an abscess I had springs to mind) that must-do-better factor lasted for literally months before slowly being eroded by time.

So what does this have to do with Google?

Well as a general rule, there are four types of people who devote sufficient time, energy and general resources to their SEO.

People who like SEO.

People who realise the full potential of SEO.

People paid to be responsible for SEO.

People who’ve been hit by a penalty.

The first two types probably account for less than 0.1% of all the people doing SEO, so we can safely ignore them for the inspired and genius oddballs that they are.

Of the people who are paid to handle SEO, assuming that a sufficient amount of their time is allocated (in other words it’s not just one of their 250+ “general marketing things” that they do), the person who ultimately pays them to do their job will most likely fall into the fourth and by far most popular category. Someone who has either been hit by a penalty themselves, or knows someone else who has had the pleasure.

In other words that person has had their full-blown kick-in-the-balls mother of all SEO abscesses, and they want to do all they can to make sure it never happens again.

When I first started speaking at conferences about SEO (running Office 97 on a Windows 98 laptop) I used to point out that despite people’s fears of being punished by the search engines (Google had company back then), the chance of this happening to them was incredibly small.

Today it’s a different story. Bearing in mind that we’re a very small company  and we only ever take on a very small number of SEO clients, I have consulted, advised and handled twelve businesses slapped by Google since December last year.

Trust me. You do not want to be in the position of having your wrist slapped by one of Google’s updates. When it happens it can be anywhere from problematic to devastating. Every business needs to do what they can to avoid being hit by one of Google’s ferocious updates.

So what can you do about it?

In much the same way that we look after our teeth on an ongoing and regular basis, your SEO needs to be treated as a vital task, and regular time has to be set aside for it. A small investment in time each week can identify and resolve issues before Google become aware of them.

I can’t stress this strongly enough. SEO can no longer be considered an afterthought. It’s mission critical.

Not sure where to start?

An SEO overview that will take you 90 seconds.

Google Webmaster Tools can alert you to some issues before they get out of hand – site messages, HTML improvement & security issues could be a good start.

LinkResearchTools can find and deal with all sorts of problematic links. A one month subscription could be money well spent.

ScreamingFrog can crawl your website and find more on-site issues and problems than you thought existed.

Moz and RavenTools offer very reasonably-priced options, and both will provide you with a lot of direction in terms of what needs to be done.

The bottom line is that the specifics of what you do aren’t as important as doing something, on a regular basis. Anything is better than nothing. 

Don’t leave SEO on your to-do list, give it the time and attention needed to make sure that the next penalty won’t decimate your website traffic.

* My Dad is the only person I know of who finds going to the dentist relaxing, to the point where he has actually fallen asleep.

Please note: This isn’t a thinly-veiled sales pitch. We’re not looking to take on any more SEO work at the present time.


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Most AdWords accounts use some form of conversion tracking as a metric of success, yet this model is flawed to the point of being meaningless.

I’m not going to go into the specifics of why there may be a disconnect between the ad click and the conversion here, but if you want details read Tracking your AdWords return on investment.

I will, however, show an example that illustrates why conversion tracking is meaningless.

The story of Misguided.

We’ll consider the case of Misguided, a company who sell an online solution for tracking productivity. They’ve been using AdWords for many years, and consider it an important part of their overall marketing strategy. Their AdWords account is managed by an inept ad agency, who’ve assigned Fritter to handle their work.

When Fritter began managing their AdWords, he setup conversion tracking to record anyone who creates an account as a conversion.

So a person searches for a productivity solution, clicks on Misguided’s ad, and has a cookie dropped on their system. Assuming they like what they see, they then open an account and, this is recorded as a conversion.

One of their main campaigns (main #1) rather conveniently receives a round 100 conversions a week.

Fritter thinks he’s quite the AdWords expert, and thanks to reading Tracking your AdWords return on investment, knows that 100 conversions a week won’t be all the conversions, but he uses this data as a useful metric.

So if rc is recorded conversions, nc is non-recorded conversions, and ac is actual conversions:

rc + nc = ac

Fritter hasn’t quite understood the implications of this though, and doesn’t understand that nc may actually be more significant than rc. This is a fundamental mistake on his part.

In the main #1 campaign, for example, even though Fritter has no way of knowing this, there are twice as many non-recorded conversions as there are recorded.

In other words:

100 recorded conversions + 200 non-recorded conversions = 300 actual conversions.

Fritter has been trying to optimise this campaign, and in doing so has disabled a large number of countries that were generating a lot of clicks but absolutely no sales. The result of that is that the campaign is now spending more of its budget in the United States.

One of the implications of this is that there are now a greater proportion of searchers using mobile devices and tablets. As a direct consequence, the number of disconnects in the conversion tracking process has increased.

This results in AdWords reporting 75 recorded conversions a week, instead of the previous 100.

Making a big mistake.

However what Fritter can’t see is that although there are less recorded conversions, there are more non-recorded conversions than before:

75 recorded conversions + 275 non-recorded conversions = 350 actual conversions.

Again, Fritter can’t see this. So what does he do? He forgets the significance of the non-recorded conversions, is swayed by the apparent decline in conversions, and cuts the budget to that campaign.

Fritter can’t know that he’s cutting the budget to the most profitable campaign in the account, mainly because he’s being deceived by the perception of accuracy.

In a sense, you could argue that Google make the misinterpretation easy. The screenshot below shows a total of 11 performance-related metrics. Five of them (highlighted in red) are as good as meaningless.

Misleading conversion data

I’m not suggesting that you pay no attention to reported conversions, as under certain circumstances this information can be quite useful.

But don’t rely on it, and don’t use it as the basis of making decisions on running the account.

The obvious question now is what should you use to determine the success of your AdWords account. The next post will deal with that issue, and give you all the answers you need to make meaningful and accurate decisions.

For now:

Don’t Fritter your account budget with Misguided goals. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.)


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Have you ever used a technique for years, only to find out that it blows people away? For SEO purposes I use a very quick and simple system to find the right keywords, that factors in how popular a keyword is with the level of competition. It only takes a few minutes and helps you tap into the gold that lies buried  in the rubble that Google give you.

I really recommend that you watch this video. If you choose the wrong keywords for your SEO efforts, not only are you wasting your time, but you’re also missing out on a lot of people who want to buy what you sell.

The text below is a transcript of the video – at risk of sounding like an SEO, it is good for Google’s spiders…

Choosing the right keywords

Hello SEO people! One of the challenges that we face when we’re grappling with SEO for our businesses is choosing the right keywords. Without going too deeply into it the problem is we want to target keywords that are obviously relevant to our business, that a lot of people are searching for, and that there aren’t too many other websites competing with.

So, how do you strike that balance? How do you choose keywords that are relevant, sought after, and not too competitive? The good news is it’s really easy. The even better news is I’m going to show you how to do it.

Tools: AdWords account and Excel

The two things that you’re going to need to carry out this remarkably effective method of keyword research is first of all Microsoft Excel, which I assume that you have, and an AdWords account. If you don’t have an AdWords account (I’m baffled) but get one because they’re very useful. The other you need is Google’s keyword tool that they’re now calling the keyword planner. So go to Google and search for “keyword planner”, and if you’re not logged into your AdWords account you’ll then be gently prompted to do so and we’re going to click this first option – search for new keyword and ad group ideas. So for the sake of an example we’re going to imagine you’re selling high quality dog food, it’s as good example as any.

So for the product, or service, we’re going to enter exactly that. Keep an eye on the targeting options over here, right now it set as all locations, or languages. Sometimes it defaults to your local version, so for instance if you’re based in the U.K. you might see Google U.K., it’s worth checking on that. So put your keyword in there, I recommend one main keyword initially, and then click on get ideas. Once the data starts to come in we’re not interested in this tab; the ad group ideas, but we are interested in the tab next to it; the keyword ideas.

This is what you typically see – that Google gives you 801 keywords, 800 of them are related and associated keywords, and the one is your original. You can see there’s a lot of information here, but it’s not in a particularly good format, it’s not very easy to read, and actually Google are giving you more information than it at first appears. So what we’re going to do is download this spreadsheet, click on the download button, save it as an Excel .csv file, click on download, get the prompt, save the file, and then we open it.

Export the data

And when you open the spreadsheet it’s going to look a little bit like this. Now, it’s a whole lot of different information here, let’s just open up the column so you can see everything. We’re not interested in most of these. We’re not interested in the ad group. We’re not interested in the currency. We are interested in the average monthly searches and the competition. We’re not interested in any of the other columns to the right, so you can get rid of all those. So what we have here, let me just tidy this up, sorry, I’m a little anal with these things.

What we have here are Google’s suggestions for keywords that they feel are relevant to that initial keyword that you put in. So we’ve got the keyword, for instance; high quality dog food, we’ve got an indication of the average monthly searches, and we’ve got competition . . . bear in mind this is ad data. This is primarily, in fact totally, based on out data, but it doesn’t matter. I’d rather get some data from the source than no data. So we’ve got the keyword, high quality dog food, we’ve got the average monthly searches, and we’ve got competition. So the dilemma that some SEOs have is which is more important?

We obviously want to be targeting keywords that have a lot of searches, in other words we don’t want pages set up to target keywords that one or two people are searching for every month. However, we also want to factor in how many people we’re competing with, how do we do it? And the answer is we use both. We set up a fourth column in D that I call KPI, it’s a little tongue in cheek, keyword performance indicator, and all I do is apply a very simple formula. So put equals to tell Excel it’s a formula, and what I do is I’m taking the monthly searches, see, if I click on it, it shows it’s B2 squared, so B2 multiplied by itself, and then divided by the competition.

So we’ve got average monthly searches times monthly searches divided by competition, and we get that figure there. Now, you’ll see why in just a moment, I’m going to tidy this up by right clicking here. I’m going to tell Excel here that this is a number (with no decimal places) for ease of reading we’ll use the thousand separator, the comma. What I’m then going to do is copy that formula all the way down by double-clicking that little square, and I get this, let’s open it up a little bit. What we have here is a very simple formula for factoring in monthly searches and competition, and in a way here, the higher the figure, the higher the KPI, the better in terms of the most searches and the least competition.

So I’m going to hit windows control shift L, and then go and sort down from the largest to the smallest, and then we’re getting this. Let’s delete that first irrelevant one, and we have some that look like this. Now, this is where you have to be a little bit careful, we don’t need to work all the way through all 800 entries, don’t worry about that! But we want to find the best keywords that are right at the top. So just take a moment to remind yourself what we’re doing here; we’re choosing the keywords that have a healthy volume of monthly searches with a reasonable level of competition.

Cleaning up

So the process is we start to work our way down the list and get rid of the keywords that are not relevant. So for instance, dog food is definitely too general, pet supplies too general, and so on. You yourself will be able to pick out the correct keywords for your products, because obviously you know your keywords, you know your products, you know who you’re targeting and so on. You want a really good match here. You don’t want keywords that are loosely related to what you sell, you want keywords that are very, very closely bound to what you sell; that’s a really important point.

So what we have here, take this first example on the second row, best dog food, this is according to the model that we’ve used here, the best keyword. Yes, the competition is high, competition is graded from a zero all the way up to 1, so a .99 is very, very high competition, 0.01 is a very low level of competition. So we do have a high level of competition here, however the reason why this phrase “best dog foods” is in first place is because of the number of monthly searches.

So using this formula there’s a kind of trade off, a kind of balance, between searches and competition, but we see the score is considerably higher. This is a considerably more valuable keyword than number two in the list, which is the “science diet”. Again, this is all dependent on what it is that you’re selling. These keywords have to be a really good perfect fit. If they are, then you’ve just found the perfect way to strike the right balance between number of searches and the level of competition. Go out there and conquer.


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After an insanely busy six months of work, our SEO Demystified course is now live.

We’re running a 25% discount on the pricing – but only for the first 48 hours.

At the time of writing this post we’re down to 1 day 20 hours. So what are you waiting for?

It’s a great course and comes with an unconditional 30 day money back guarantee. So you have nothing to lose and so very much to gain.


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SEO has somehow become the exercise equivalent of the online business. Young startups can worry about it later, and many middle-aged companies know they should be doing it, but somehow don’t get round to it. Until, that is, something terrible happens to them.

SEO email

This is the point that many businesses finally get around to taking their SEO seriously. When something like this happens it can be devastating. I’ve seen it countless times.

Yet it’s so incredibly easy to avoid.

You don’t need to invest massive amounts of time. You don’t need to sign-up for expensive tools and services. You don’t need to yuckify your website content to please Google’s spiders. And you don’t need to employ risky strategies that have the potential to hurt you.

If you set aside five minutes and 53 seconds today, you’ll be in a far better position than you were when you started reading this post.

Step 1: 90 second SEO health-check.

Time required: 4 minutes 23 seconds.

2 minutes 53 seconds to watch the 90 second SEO overview video – no additional tools required.

90 seconds to check your website.

Step 2: Google Webmaster Tools HTML check.

Time required: 45 seconds.

Go to your Google Webmaster Tools account and check the recommended HTML improvements here:

Google Webmaster Tools

 

Step 3: Google Webmaster Tools crawl errors.

Time required: 1 minute.

Go to your Google Webmaster Tools account and check your crawl errors here:

Google Webmaster Tools crawl errors

 

Step 4: Check your links.

Time required: 45 seconds.

Go to Ahrefs Site Explorer & Backlink Checker – no account or signup required.

Put in your domain and see how the results compare with what you expect to see.

If you carry out all of the above steps and don’t hit any serious problems, you can at least know there are no SEO fires to put out right now.

This doesn’t mean that you should continue to neglect your SEO, unless you want to be sending me one of those emails at some point in the future. Like your health, you may get away with neglecting it for some time, but sooner or later the day will come when it catches up with you. And when it does, preventative steps will no longer be an option.

In a few days we’ll launching a course that will demystify SEO, and show you precisely how to use it in your company, without having to invest large amounts of time.

It’s reasonably priced, very practical, concise to watch, easy to implement and may prove to be a very smart use of your time.

Click here to be notified as soon as the course goes live. Oh and you’ll also receive a 25% discount as well.


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The following conversation contains scenes of SEO nudity, and may not be suitable for the easily offended, the SEO ignorant, or most CEOs. Reader discretion may be advised.

The names and personal details have been changed to protect the clueless.

MeansWell: “Okay, but this one, this one here, this is a really important keyword for us.”

Me: “Great, let me look into that.”

MeansWell: “Okay… but what’s to look into? It’s an important keyword. In fact it’s our most important keyword. We have to be in first place.”

Me: “That’s fine, but I’d like to research how many people may be searching for it, and also get a feel for who’s ranking above your company and why.”

MeansWell: “I can see who’s ranking above our company. I don’t care why, I just want them to be below us.”

Me: “What you see in your browser isn’t necessarily what most people will see when searching for this keyword. For a start you’re…”

MeansWell: “I don’t care about that. I care that whenever I search for this keyword I see Wikipedia in first place – they’re not selling this product, we are. And underneath Wikipedia I see [name of company who’ve been online and selling the product for 15 years]. I need to be on top of them.”

Me: “Let me look into it and get back to you with some solid numbers. I suspect there are…”

MeansWell: “Dave, you’re not hearing me. This is a really important keyword to rank for. We get this and we’re happy. Before Google took the keywords away [his words not mine] this was our main keyword. This one generated the traffic. This has to be our keyword.”

I can’t tell you how incredibly close this is to a real conversation I had only last week. Or how many variations of this conversation I’ve had over the last ten years or so.

I can, however, give you some sharp, pointy spears to throw at people next time you’re exposed to these arguments – even if they come from yourself.

Ranking position is subjective – what you see in your browser will depend on your geographical location, whether or not you’re logged in and your search history. Use a more reliable service such as Google Webmaster Tools or Moz. Bonus tips: (a) never forget what the word average means and (b) short-term fluctuations are common and to be expected.

Keywords that generate traffic are only half the story – there are also other keywords that you should be getting traffic for but you’re not. These of course will not show up as clicks. Bonus tip: impressions in your Google Webmaster Tools account may be enlightening.

What’s above you matters – if you’re consistently ranking in 2nd place for the name of a product you sell, and the number 1 spot is taken by Wikipedia, that’s okay. They don’t sell the product – you do. Bonus tip: setting a goal to out-rank your competition for specific keywords may be realistic. If the competition is Wikipedia this may be like trying to throw pebbles at the moon.

BIG TIP: Targeting the wrong keywords is one of the most common SEO mistake that I see. It’s impossible to guess the terms that people may use to try and find what you sell, and even a little surface scraping should produce some eye-opening facts. Data always wins over intuition and the obvious.

Todays SEO post was bought to you by years of frustration.


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I’m genuinely excited (and petrified) to be applying the final tweaks to our SEO course. We’ve been working on this for months, and even though I have no idea how many people will buy it, (a) I finally have a scalable product, (b) as fiercely critical as I am about my own work… I actually think this is rather good!

Registration will only be open for one week, but if you sign up here to be notified as soon as the course goes live, you’ll also receive a 25% discount.

The video below will give you a taste of what it’s all about and the feel of the course – turn up the volume, maximise the vid to full screen and enjoy!


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The anti-Google brigade seem to have missed Google’s greatest coup: not only knowing everything about us, but now even understanding our intentions better than we do ourselves.

For example when I search for Cloud Computing, of the nine standard results that Google show me, six are variations of “what is cloud computing“, even though I may have been looking for cloud computing companies, cloud computing providers, security, examples or more. This is very much Hummingbird in action.

And when I, as an SEO, set my page title and description to help Google and visitors alike understand the content of my page, Google may choose to display a title and/or description of their choosing, according to what they think the page may be about, and according to what they think the searcher may be looking for.

So we have search results that are tailored according to what Google decide I’m really looking for, and not to what I said I was looking for. And we have Google deciding what a page is really about, and not what the content creator says it is about.

Prior to this, some believed that Google knew more about a person than any other person. Today Google have cleared that final obstacle. The difference is enormous with potentially far-reaching consequences.

The old Google model

 

The new Google model

 


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