New wine into old wineskins and an endless relationship drama are what kept us busy last month. Meanwhile, in the Far East, a new player is gaining ground on the search engine stage. Find out who it is – and much more – in the SEO News for December.
1) YouTube data now available in Google Trends
Happily, belittled by SEO experts as a child’s plaything, Google Trends has been an extremely popular tool for many years, used to easily analyse the search market. In addition, the company from Mountain View likes to use its trend feature as a PR vehicle for clickable headlines (“The most important search terms of 2017”). Since the end of November, however, even experienced SEO experts have found it useful to look at the web tool, which quickly and simply provides a comparative overview of search demand and its development over time for up to 125 keywords simultaneously. While the data used to be based solely on Google’s web search, the results can now be filtered by Google’s news, shopping and images categories. What’s more, the search volumes from Google’s YouTube video portal can also be displayed separately. Particularly in times when moving image content is becoming increasingly important, Google provides a reliable source for preparatory market analysis and monitoring.
2) The pivotal question: Is social media important for SEO?
You might think this question is as old as humanity itself. This cannot be true, of course, as humanity is much older than Facebook, StudiVZ and Myspace together. Nevertheless, since the rise (and fall) of social media portals and apps, the search scene has been wondering: Do I really need this to do my SEO job right? To put it bluntly, social media content is not a direct ranking factor in the same way as backlinks, for example. This already inhibits the limited visibility of many posts and likes for search engines behind the login barriers of social media applications. But when viewed from a distance, it becomes clear that Social and Search pay for the same goals: both want to attract the attention of users, satisfy their need for information or entertainment and anchor a product or service as a brand in the collective consciousness of Internet users on the intricate paths of the user journeys. The paths can cross at different points, for example in the search hits of social media content on search engines. Even though it is hardly possible to verify a measurable connection, the realisation is obvious that Social and Search are brothers in spirit who can strengthen each other.
3) Top ranking factors of 2018 according to SEMrush
Now is the time for SEO experts to reflect on the achievements of the fading year and ask themselves what they might be up against in 2018. We started to look forward to the coming year in the last SEO News. A new study of the popular analysis tool SEMrush has now examined more than 600,000 keywords with the help of a self-learning algorithm and has compiled the 17 most important ranking factors. Not surprisingly, direct user signals are at the top of the ranking, such as the amount of direct traffic to a page, the time spent on the page and the bounce rate. Interestingly, the often disregarded off-page factors were considered relatively important by SEMrush. The classic factors such as referring domains, backlinks or IP circles are still ahead of content factors such as text length, metadata or rich media integration. This means that the findings of the study at least partly contradict the publicly announced position of the major search engines such as Google and Bing. Every search engine practitioner should definitely take a look at the study – if the holiday season permits.
4) Tencent floats Chinese search engine subsidiary on the stock exchange
Whether the future will be built in China may only be answered with certainty in a few years’ time. However, the fact is that China is rapidly on its way to becoming a new centre for technological development. The Chinese technology giant Tencent is the company behind the successful chat apps WeChat and QQ. Its search engine Sogou (literally: Search Dog) has been around since 2004, but was not able to escape the field of defeated competitors behind the industry giant Baidu. This is now set to change with the help of fresh money from an IPO and massive investments in artificial intelligence. According to the wishes of the parent company, Sogou users will also be able to search English-language websites within China’s legal boundaries. Tencent also wants to use its immense data pool from WeChat to raise the recognition of natural language and user intentions to a new level. Whether a new Google of Asia will emerge here remains to be seen.