In the Google webmaster office hours session August 7th, John Mueller was asked about heading tags, and seemed to re-confirm their importance. When asked about whether a page could still rank for a keyword that appeared in the H2 tag rather than the H1 tag, Mueller responded: “So, headings on a page help us to better understand the content on the page… Headings on the page are not the only ranking factor that we have”.
We’ve found this to be an interesting response, given that Mueller indirectly called heading tags a ‘ranking factor’ and something which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows amongst the SEO community. Given that heading tags are generally one of the places where most SEOs try to use the main keywords, or variations of the main keyword, this likely won’t change ways of working for many. It does, however, give us a little reassurance that heading tags are worth paying attention to – one to look out for in existing content and when creating new pieces.
Core Web Vitals and Rankings
Core web vitals are three metrics recently introduced by Google which relate to the ‘page experience’ users can expect on any given URL. Just as a little reminder, the three metrics are:
LCP – The speed at which the largest element on the page loads
FID – The speed at which the page responds to the first user interaction
CLS – The degree to which elements on the page move around as it loads
Although these metrics aren’t due to become ranking factors until 2021, stats on all three are available now via Search Console and browser plugins, so you can get a jump on the competition and start optimising these three metrics – what are you waiting for?
If you’re not already convinced to make a start, Screaming Frog used these stats to conduct a study of 2,500 keywords and 20,000 URLs, and found that just 12% of mobile and 13% of desktop results passed the minimum Core Web Vitals thresholds, so optimising early could put your brand leaps ahead.
Google Indexing Glitch
On August 10th-11th, Google suffered a huge indexing glitch that affected search results all over the world.
John Mueller confirmed on the 11th that it was indeed a glitch, and not an algorithm update. This means that, if you saw a dip in visibility, impressions or clicks around these dates, don’t resort to immediate panic, as it’s most likely due to this glitch.
SEO takeaway tips
SEO Tip #1: Use an H1 tag to sum up the main theme of your page, perhaps using the main target keyword (or a variation), then use H2s, H3s to break up the content, again using variations of the main keyword if relevant.
SEO Tip #2: Pay attention to your LCP, FID and CLS scores in Search Console, and work with your developers to optimise them so they all pass the minimum thresholds in time for when they become formal ranking factors.
Moving onto Paid Media updates…
Advertisers to absorb Google’s digital services taxes in UK, Austria, Turkey
Google has notified advertisers of new fees coming for ads that run in the UK, Turkey or Austria, whereby the company is passing on the new digital services taxes (DST) in these three countries. This means that you will be charged an additional 2% on top of advertising budgets when running ads in the UK, and an additional 5% if running ads in Austria and Turkey.
The tax is aimed at collecting revenues from digital companies with at least £500 million in global revenue and £25 million in U.K. revenue, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook. So, if you are advertising on channels such as Amazon and Facebook too, you can expect to see a similar text applied on your media spend.
What is Koozai’s point of view?
The DST was introduced for multi-million or even billion-pound companies to contribute a larger proportion of corporation tax. Although now, it seems as though Google will be passing this bill to advertisers, taking 2-5% of their advertising budget to cover DST. This is incredibly frustrating for advertisers as less will be spent on advertising and a proportion of their budget will be used to foot the tax bill.
Unfortunately, this also causes a headache for budgeting, as this 2% will need to be accounted for in forecasts and proposed budgets. It’s also important to evaluate your CPA and ROAS figures now as this currently doesn’t include the 2% tax but moving forward these figures will increase.
Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy
Something else to look out for is that Google has begun alerting advertisers that it will soon stop showing search queries that triggered their ads when there isn’t ‘significant’ data.
The notice states: “We are updating the search terms report to only include terms that were searched by a significant number of users. As a result, you may see fewer terms in your report going forward”.
What is Koozai’s point of view?
We’ve always had access to search term data for queries that have led to at least one click. This move suggests that we may lose visibility of some of the search queries if Google deems them to be ‘insignificant’. This is very vague, but our understanding of it is that not all search queries will appear when running search query reports, making management of the account more difficult. We’ll no longer be able to decide if a search term should be added as a negative keyword in all cases, because some of these queries will be hidden. This impacts the efficiency and performance of an account and unfortunately will lead to a higher % of media spend wastage.
More on this story is likely to be announced in the coming weeks, so we’re hoping to get a better idea of what this looks like moving forward.
Paid Media takeaway tips
PPC tip #1: Plan ahead for your budgets. Work out what the 2% DST will be on top of your budget and decide if you need to reduce your monthly spend to accommodate the tax. Also, decide if your CPA/ROAS targets will need to be changed to allow for the increase in spend caused by the tax.
PPC Tip #2: Although we’re still not entirely sure what this is going to look like or how we’re going to manage this update, if search query visibility is lost, it may encourage PPC managers to use fewer BMM, phrase and broad match keywords and rely more on exact match. However, we’ll need to see how this update looks in the coming weeks and months.
Our Content Marketing segment…
We’ve always got some new blog content to cast your eyes over. Our Koozians have been busy typing away to put content together so you have a great source of information for any SEO, Paid, Content and PR queries and questions. So far in September, we’ve published the following:
Remember to keep checking back as multiple new posts go out each month.
Takeaway content tip: Does each piece of blog content you’re creating have a clear purpose and goal? Keep search intent and trends at the forefront of your mind when thinking about content creation to help you spend your time more wisely.
NEW digital marketing courses to help you smash your goals
We’ve recently launched a collection of comprehensive training courses which are instantly accessible online. Whether you want to brush up on paid social, digital PR or more, you can receive in-depth digital marketing training from the comfort of your home office. Check out our courses to start your journey today.
Getting creative & client wins
We were delighted to receive this fantastic review from Srixon Sports recently…
We love this Harry Potter-themed Facebook ad for telecoms provider Onecom. Why not change things up a bit to get your audience’s attention?