SEO Updates 22nd Feb 2020
1. A Script to prevent Phrase and Broad Match Modifier Keywords from being triggered for Close Variants
We don’t like to say it, but Google seems to be in a quest to make all keyword types look the same, and getting them triggered for almost all the searches.
Yeah… that’s true. We have always loved Google for its attention to details but, this time around the Search Engine has done all that can prove our perception of it wrong.
What’s the Matter?
Starting in 2014, Google made a series of ‘small’ changes to the exact match type. Google added plurals, misspellings and stemmings in the kitty of all match types in 2014.
2017 saw them make more changes, and function words and word order took a backseat when deciding whether a search term triggers your keyword.
Not content yet, the Search God went on to allow ‘same meaning’ searches for the so called ‘exact match’ leaving us wondering what remained ‘exact’ about the match type.
And guess what? Google is now messing up phrase and BMM keyword types along the same lines.
What does it mean for your Paid Campaigns?
To laymen, semantics rarely matter in search terms. But, only a seasoned professional running Adwords campaigns can tell the difference it makes to run ads for ‘KL SEO Agency’, ‘SEO Agencies KL’, and ‘SEO Agency KL’.
PPC professionals optimize campaigns regularly based on the detailed insights they receive from running ads for different keywords.
This however will get difficult now in view of the changes that cause BMM to become as good as a broad match.
But, thanks to a new script there is still ‘some’ hope on the horizon!
The New Script
This new script helps to work around the new set of changes though with its set of limitations.
The script allows PPC experts to maintain the funneling system to some extent. It draws data from the search terms report and applies phrase match negatives to give you a more filtered set of keywords to trigger your ads at.
But, Why is the Script only ‘some’ Hope?
- The script is not a pre-emptive one. It draws from the search terms report and therefore works in hind-sight.
Thus your ads will continue to trigger till the script does not run.
This means that there will always be a day’s lag as the report is available only a day later.
- The script runs for a maximum length of 30 mins. So, it may time out if you have a large account. It is therefore advisable to run it in batches in such cases.
You can find more information here on how to set this script up and the syntax.
2. Have an International Website? Here’s how to Optimally Use Hreflang
In a Reddit response to a query by a webmaster managing an international site, John Mueller clarified the Do’s and Don’ts of using Hreflang.
Here are the most important takeaways from the response.
Only Create Pages that are Necessary
While it is easy to get carried away for international site owners and fall into the temptation to create pages for each geography/country, Mueller said that it is highly recommended to avoid this pitfall and limit the number of pages.
Having only the most crucial pages already cuts down the effort of implementing hreflang on all pages.
Focus on Pages with Wrong Traffic
Implement Hreflang on pages that are receiving traffic from the wrong geography is important rather than on all pages.
While it is easy to simply ‘implement hreflang on all pages’, a bit of effort in identifying the right pages and then implementing it would be the right approach.
3. John Mueller decides to take Action against Deceitful Link Building Tactics
Responding to complaints brought to light by SEOs on Twitter, John Mueller has sought help from the community to dig deeper and take action against spammy link building activities being adopted by some of the site owners.
How it all Started
In a bid to earn inbound links, an individual has approached site owners claiming credit for the images they used on their site.
Of course, the image had nothing to do with this person and the arm twisting was brought to light by a Twitter user – Aleyda Solis.
Apparently, she was not the only one Mr. Spammy Links approached. Many other site owners replied to the tweet sharing similar woes.
John Mueller wants to Dig Deeper
The issue soon caught the attention of the veteran Googler, who has requested the SEO community to share more info about this tactic. What remains to be seen is how John or Google handles this spammer. After all, from the past reports, we have known John to pay back spammers in double the measure.