Google MUM Algorithm Update

Google MUM Algorithm Update

The latest major update to the Google algorithm is known as Google MUM – and the Woya search engine gurus help explain the basics of what it is, what it does, and how businesses should update their practices to facilitate it.

What are Algorithm Updates?

What’s referred to as ‘the algorithm’ behind Google is actually its programming; a complex system of numerous algorithms and ranking factors to deliver webpages ranked by relevance on their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This behind-the-scenes programming decides what is displayed where on its indices and how that ranking is arrived upon. The ongoing aim of Google (and indeed, of other search engines) is to provide the most appropriate results to a query input – and the algorithm works to do just that.

Algorithm updates are tweaks and changes made to this programming in order to improve and enhance it. Many of these changes are minor and don’t have a huge impact on rankings or how businesses should approach improving theirs but some are more major and can have tangible outcomes. Although not confirmed, it is believed that minor algorithm updates happen almost daily; with larger changes made only once every few months.

What is Google MUM?

The MUM algorithm is the latest major update to Googles programming and is an abbreviation for Multitask Uniform Model.

MUM is a multi-modal algorithm designed to provide answers to complex search queries by concurrently assessing and drawing upon information across multi-language text, images, video and audio content. It is by far the most clever and comprehensive AI algorithm the search engine (or indeed, any search engine) has ever used and will replace its current algorithm, BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), which was equally considered a state-of-the-art program when it was introduced.

BERT was the first transformer-based machine learning technique for natural language processing aimed at improving search results based on human-input queries. The MUM algorithm takes this technology to a new level – it is believed to be 1,000 times more powerful!

How will Google MUM Change Results for those Using the Search Engine?

Google MUM will transform the relevant search engine results provided to those with more complex queries than a standard keyword or phrase being input.

Using the T5 text-to-text framework, it doesn’t just understand the language being used in the query, but also generates it. Trained in 75 languages at its inception and able to enact multiple tasks at once, its knowledge is comprehensive and it draws upon multi-modal sources to learn.

For example, if a user asks Google about having visited one travel destination and looking for information to compare it to another one, chances are they would need to carry out several searches to find the exact information they require. Instead, with the Google MUM algorithm, the programming will understand the need for comparison and can draw upon other related material: such as weather forecasts, differing travel modes, reviews on places to visit, the items you may need to buy, linguistic differences, visa details, and even medical information for travellers. This will all be presented in one place rather than the user having to make several queries.

How can Businesses Optimise for Google MUM?

The Google MUM algorithm follows the broader trend of internet users accessing content through multiple forms of media and no longer just relying on text and the written word. By accessing and understanding different modes of media, the MUM algorithm’s introduction encourages marketers to create content across varying media types and to properly optimise each so that it’s understood as relevant by the search engine.

No longer will text filled with keywords or phrases be the most reliable source of appropriateness but such benefit can be reaped from the likes of imagery, video and audio files too.

Blogging, thought piece writing and comprehensive website copy will remain important but should be complemented by infographics, photography, tutorial videos and audio books, podcasts and ‘quick listen’ files for a full-service multi-modal digital brand presence. All bases must be covered.

Businesses must ensure that their content marketing strategies are set and solid but also that they don’t miss out detail in the pieces produced. The labelling and positioning of audio and video files must be accurate, all content must be coordinated across varying platforms and imagery must have proper alt-tagging and captions. The ability for businesses to link supporting documentation into their blogs or other written content will now be critical for SEO; gaining the attention of the MUM algorithm and of more customers as a result.

Eventually, as the MUM algorithm fully embeds and consumers realise the amount of information they’re able to gain from a single query, it may even become a competitor toward other brand presence online. For example, there may be little need for users to visit a brand’s social media profile to find all the info they need – as it instead could all be presented on a single search engine results page (SERP).

This enhancement of the search engine could reinforce the need for a cohesive brand presence on a website without the reliance of dumping every piece of available content or dataset on to a social media page for replication purposes. Mums are great, and the Google MUM algorithm is set to be just as helpful as the parents we know and love.

SEO is an important tool for digital marketing and will transform a business’ success online. Its potential is not to be underestimated, and neither should the ongoing effort and work required. Woya Digital are an expert SEO team who understand the evolving needs of successful SEO. Get in touch with us to discuss your online business growth.

Blog Structure for Success

Blog Structure for Success

Many businesses reap the benefits of posting regular blogs to their website in order to keep a library of relevant brand content available online for their customers; both potential and existing. Routine blogging is also important to support SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) rankings and website performance as well as position a business as a thought leader, providing valuable resources for those looking for related information and data.

Yet posting blogs regularly can quickly become something done ‘just for the sake of it’ and this attitude can rapidly deteriorate the quality and usability of the content as the focus wanders and it’s no longer deemed a top business priority. However, there are some easy steps that can be followed with blogging to ensure the copy is of high quality, it’s useful for those reading it and that there will be benefit to the organisation from it being posted.

Follow our recommended tips below to ensure you’re applying a blog structure for success, every time.

1. Establish Your Goals

It’s important to keep a blogging schedule regular so that readers are able to return to up-to-date appropriate content.

Establish what is to be achieved through the publication of the blog and what benefit it presents to the reader. Who are the audience? What’s important to them? What question or problem does this blog answer or resolve for them? Once a piece’s purpose has been identified, it can be written in a way that encompasses its derived value.

2. Create a Catchy Title

The targeted SEO keyword or phrase should be included in the title for SEO purposes – and the title itself should be descriptive and catchy. No one likes a purely clickbait title that bears no resemblance to the content within (and indeed, search engines will only punish a website for it) but the title should give the reader a reason to click through.

Keep a title short and direct – and don’t be afraid to us it to post a question. You can revisit the answer to that question and others related to it within the body text.

3. Hook Readers in with a Great Introduction

Once the title has achieved the click through, content has a very limited time to capture the reader enough to encourage full readership – so the introduction must hook readers in, fast. A short introduction to let users know what the blog will cover reinforces that what they’ve clicked through to is in fact what was advertised, and that they have value to gain from reading it.

Ideally, sentence structure in an introduction should be short and concise; encouraging the desire for more information to be gleaned from further interaction.

4. Break the Blog Structure into Sections

A huge block text is unappealing to the eye and will immediately put a potential reader off as too wieldy and difficult to absorb. Instead, blogs should be broken into smaller sections with relevant sub-headings; allowing for skim-reading as well as easier comprehension of the piece in its entirety.

Sub-headings provide further SEO benefits and should include keywords or phrases where possible.

Each section should be no more than a few paragraphs so if it does require longer or more technical explanations, create further sub-sections to make the article even further comprehensive. Don’t allow blog sections to run so long they lose focus on the topic – this will just encourage the reader to stop and leave.

5. Include Internal and External Links

There are benefits to including both internal and external linking within blogs, with both playing a role in SEO. Internal links to other resources on the same domain encourage further browsing and more time on the organisation’s website; and can be optimised to best include a desired call to action or user journey.

External links are often avoided as people don’t wish to direct readers away from their site – yet they hold powerful SEO value. Linking to reputable sources with a high Domain Authority (DA) is positive as it demonstrates to search engines that the business is dedicated to providing quality content for its users.

Always designate external links to open in a new tab or window, keeping the original website open elsewhere on the browser, and as not to encourage readers away from the original blog.

6. Draw a Strong Conclusion

No blog should finish abruptly and instead should draw a proper conclusion that summarises the main points of the article. If there is no clear ‘one way or another’ conclusion, businesses may wish to mention the topic’s questionable or controversial nature, or end with a bullet-pointed list of relevant considerations.

7. Mention your Business

Blogs on a business’ website are not only read by existing site users or those who are already familiar with the organisation, and this should be taken into account.

A small paragraph about the business should, therefore, be included – ideally with internal links around the site for further information. Ideally this should be included organically within the content or as a standalone explanatory portion after the conclusion.

8. Add Sharing Buttons

Giving readers the opportunity to share blog content with friends, colleagues and social media connections is a simple but valuable addition.

Adding sharing buttons at the top or the bottom of the pages can be done through the inclusion of a basic widget or coding – and the more content is shared, the higher the traffic will be, the more value will be demonstrated to search engines and the more likely the content is to ‘go viral’.

9. Add an Image

Including photos, infographics or other imagery throughout blog text content not only helps break up the aesthetic of a chunky piece to read but also holds SEO benefits. Research shows that social media users are much more likely to click through on a post with an image than one that is text only, and indeed, social media algorithms are more likely to display it.

Contrary to what some may think, blogging is still a powerful and very important part of any business marketing and growth strategy.  At Woya Digital we can help with all your digital marketing needs, including setting up a blogging strategy that really works to boost your business. Contact us today to chat through your content and digital marketing strategy.

Google SEO Ranking Factors

Google SEO Ranking Factors

Search engines present what they deem to be relevant search results to users looking up various keywords and phrases, and to do this, their automated algorithm programs ‘crawl’ web content continuously.

These crawls pull up a variety of data and intelligence on websites, using this information to understand what a site is about, who its relevant for and what it offers. The elements of a website that are scanned and used by the search engine algorithms to determine where and how to rank them are known as SEO ranking factors.

It’s not known exactly how many webpages or websites are crawled by Google’s systems daily, but we do know that hundreds of billions of pages are scanned continuously; primarily based on previous searches made by search engine users. The crawlers work through site maps, paying attention to the usability and performance of the site overall, links to and from it, changes made to pages it has crawled before, and the content on the site itself.

Each of these SEO ranking factors are taken into account and this helps the system decide where to display a website on relevant SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

What are Google’s SEO Ranking Factors?

There is a common misconception that the only influence on search engine ranking is the written content within a website – and this has resulted in lots of websites being full of content that is stuffed with as many keywords and phrases as possible.

While this was effective in the early days of SEO, technology has moved on vastly since and this activity is now penalised by Google. There are now over 200 SEO ranking factors for Google alone.

Google’s SEO ranking factors change continuously and the algorithm changes and tweaks daily; so it’s nigh-on impossible to hit exactly the right spot for top organic SEO ranking all of the time. The 200+ SEO ranking factors that Google currently refers to includes, by is by no means limited to:

  • Domain factors – security, keywords in domain, domain history, geographic registration
  • Page-level factors – keyword usage, tags and meta data, content, page load speeds, image optimisation, responsiveness
  • Site-level factors – site architecture, site uptime, site navigation, Core Web Vitals
  • Backlink factors – links to and from the site and the authenticity of the sites linking
  • User interaction – user behaviour, content interaction, traffic, bookmarks
  • Algorithm rules – geo-targeting, safe search, shopping results, YouTube results, local results
  • Brand signals – branded text, branded searches, linked social media accounts
  • On-site webspam – pop-ups and ads, poor quality content, hidden links, on-site spamming
  • Off-site webspam – site hacking, unnatural links, fake links, fake likes, spam traffic.

This variety in ranking factors highlights just how much ongoing work there is to be done to demonstrate to Google how useful and genuine a business’ website is.

Ranking Factors for other search engines

Google has by far the highest market share of search engines. However, there are audiences using search engines other than just Google.

SEO ranking factors aren’t made entirely public for all search engines, but all of the algorithms operate along roughly the same lines. There are some differences that should be noted, though, including:

  • Bing have commented publicly that social media is a very influential factor in their SEO
  • Yahoo relies heavily on Bing’s search algorithm and so optimising for Bing will too optimise for Bing
  • DuckDuckGo does not track users and so results are never based on search history
  • Baidu hugely favours domains registered in China
  • Amazon essentially relies entirely on keywords.

Generally speaking, it is best to follow all of the principles of Google SEO in order to rank on other search engines too.

The Importance of Optimising SEO Ranking Factors

Google is an increasingly competitive search engine with 8.5 billion searches carried out daily, so there’s no shortage of traffic. If businesses are to gain competitive advantage over competitors, they must focus on SEO to ensure that they rank higher, are more likely to be found online.

The Most Important SEO Ranking Factors for Google

Not all SEO ranking factors are equal. Although there is no complete transparency over which are exactly the most influential in ranking score, the most important factors are more user-focused than content-focused.

Google prioritises site security, responsiveness and its overall customer experience as a very important SEO ranking factor. This also includes the crawlability of sites – because if it can’t be ‘crawled’, it can’t be assessed for ranking in SERPs.

Content does form an important part of SEO, and Google now considers high quality content more eminent than the presence of relevant keywords and phrases; although they too do influence.

SEO management involves a careful and curated balance of all elements of a website in order to provide the best and most relevant user experience possible – and this acts as an extension of the brand’s overall customer experience. This makes good business sense and cannot be underestimated in its contribution to the overarching brand perception.

The Importance of SEO Keywords

The Importance of SEO Keywords

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of improving the quality of a website to make it rank higher in search engines, and be found by those searching particular terms or keywords. The higher the ranking on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), the more likely users are to see and click onto the website.

The first step in the SEO optimisation process is to ensure that SEO keywords are used sufficiently and appropriately. But what are these keywords, how can you identify the relevant ones for your business and how should they be used?

What are SEO Keywords?

SEO keywords are words and terms users type into a search engine as a search enquiry. These same keywords in website content help the algorithm programs behind search engines understand the theme or topic of the website: which they can then match up with the same enquiries being typed in by users to display the most appropriate search engine results.

In more traditional terms, keywords are the index terms of the internet. Index terms are the theme or essence of a topic in a document, making up a controlled vocabulary for use in bibliographic records. Libraries and informational retrieval services collect, organise and disseminate documents in this way – and the use of SEO keywords is simply the same practice, but digitally.

Why are Keywords important?

Search engines have become a way of life for all of us and to ‘Google’ something has entered the everyday lexicon. With over 8.5 billion searches on Google daily (and plenty others on other search engines), businesses need to ensure that they’re present and prominent in search engine results to gain and maintain competitive advantage.

Many people default to an online search when looking for a product, service, experience or brand – making it a crucial marketing tool. There are few very businesses who will never be searched for online and so it’s critical to show up as a solution where customers are seeking one.

Different types of SEO Keywords

While the use of such themes online is usually referred to as keywords, there are a variety of different types of vocabulary used and they’re often not just single words. There are four types of intentional SEO keywords; that is, those defined by the intent behind the searching of them. These are:

    • Informational keywords – used to find the answer to a specific question or general information
    • Navigational keywords – used to find a specific webpage or website
    • Commercial keywords – used to investigate brands, products or services
    • Transactional keywords – used to complete an action of purchase.

For the words or phrases themselves, there are eight different types of SEO keywords:

    • Short-tail SEO keywords – keywords made up of three words or less. The most popular type of keywords by search volume but also the most competitive
    • Long-tail SEO keywords – keywords made up of more than three words. More specific searches than short-tail, but less popular by volume and less competitive
    • Fresh SEO keywords – a short-term and current keyword or phrase; that is, something that will be searched for a lot at a certain time (ie. For a news story or film release), but then will drop in searches sharply thereafter
    • Long-term evergreen SEO keywords – keywords that are relevant all the time. Search volume may fluctuate but not extremely
    • Product defining SEO keywords – keywords that explain and describe products
    • Customer-defining SEO keywords – keywords that reflect the person searching them
    • Geo-targeting SEO keywords – keywords that specify a geographical location
    • LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) SEO keywords – thematic keywords that are closely related to the main keyword used.

All SEO keywords need to be used and targeted adequately and appropriately to best ‘tap in’ to the search engine’s programming and rank well in results.

Finding the right Keywords for your business

It is imperative that businesses research properly into the keywords relevant for their brand, products and services in order to ensure that what they’re presenting matches up with what real customers are searching for.

This is achieved through the specific practice of SEO keyword research, which investigates and establishes exactly what is being searched and by whom.

There are a variety of keyword research tools available but their relevance and focus differs. Moz Keyword Explorer is considered a good ‘all-rounder’, and Semrush is favoured by SEO professionals. RankIQ focuses more on providing SEO-driven content and Jaaxy is a specialist service for affiliate marketers. Keyword Surfer is a newer tool that works as a browser extension for non-SEO professionals.

Keyword research needn’t be a lengthy process but it should be done properly to avoid the onward SEO strategy presenting incorrectly and resulting in little to no benefit. It is always best to consult with professionals before embarking on an SEO strategy to ensure that the keyword research has been done accurately and will inform the work positively.

Get support with Keywords and SEO Services

Woya Digital are always on-hand to help support with SEO services. We carry out a thorough SEO keyword research process before making any recommendations and will establish the target audience and ideal persona with customers before any work is initiated.

Our team work on a continuous learning cycle to keep abreast of all the latest Google updates and algorithm changes. SEO can be a tricky discipline to master but we thrive on the challenge!

On-Page and Technical SEO

On-Page and Technical SEO

Google processes over 8.5 billion searches every day. The rise of the internet as an everyday consumer tool has impacted hugely on business practices for firms of all shapes, sizes and types, and SEO is just one discipline that most simply cannot afford to ignore.

SEO forms a full-time role and profession itself, but for those who don’t have the time to invest into both the learning and practice of it, it can be a very confusing area.

The Definition of SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation: the process of optimising a website so that the automated algorithms behind search engines are able to understand what they are, who they’re relevant for and where to feature them in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

The exact process of SEO is an ongoing one that is completed continuously in line with all new content published and the updates made to algorithms. For the most part, SEO refers to the optimisation of business web presence for Google’s systems (after all, in most areas of the world Google holds the highest market share for search engines by a long way) but its practices do hold benefits for other search engines, too. For the purposes of this article we will be focusing on SEO for Google.

Two of the main types of SEO activity are on-page SEO and technical SEO.

Does SEO change over time?

Absolutely! Google makes tweaks to its algorithm constantly – and although there are no set public details around every system change, experts estimate there to be between 500-600 changes a year; which is almost two a day. While many of these changes don’t make significant differences to the way businesses should approach SEO, some do.

The sheer volume of change involved in the way Google works is why so many organisations invest in either hiring a full-time SEO specialist or working with an expert external team.

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO, also sometimes called on-site SEO, is the optimisation of web content through the inclusion and correct usage of specific keywords and phrases. All written content on a web page is scanned regularly by Google and so is constantly monitored for relevance and authenticity. On-page SEO not only makes clear to Google what a website is about and who it’s relevant for, but also helps the algorithm decide where to rank it on SERPs compared to other similar sites – which are likely those of a business’ competitors.

What does On-Page SEO involve?

On-page SEO is primarily the creation of written content featuring the keywords and phrases searched by those relevant to the business, as well as the alignment of page-specific elements such as title tags, headings, content, and links internally and externally to the site.

On-page SEO used to be primarily achieved by the input of as many mentions of keywords as possible in a practice known as ‘keyword stuffing’. This was believed to demonstrate relevance to the algorithm and is still fairly widely practiced. This practice however is now detrimental to SEO performance – the system has evolved a long way since its origins and will websites will be penalised for keyword stuffing and for the production of inauthentic and inorganic content, rather than relevant, high-quality content.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the optimisation of technical aspects of a website in order to increase the ranking of its pages on SERPs. The elements to be optimised here are still technically ‘on-page’ such as the written content, but these are pillars that aren’t in word format that still contribute to search ranking.

Technical SEO is a fairly new discipline and something that unfortunately many businesses still miss the mark on. The usability of a website now forms a core part of Google’s ‘Web Vitals’ which form criteria a website must meet to rank highly.

What does Technical SEO involve?

The technical elements of a website that can be optimised permit a search engine to ‘crawl’ it faster and more easily, and present opportunities for easier access by users. This includes optimising site load speed, responsive in format to the device on which it is being viewed, that all site content is unique and not duplicated, that all links work and that the site is held securely without presenting any safety risks to users. All of these aspects affect the overall user experience of the site, and contribute just as much to the potential search engine rankings.

How to successfully integrate all areas of SEO into your business

SEO is an important tool for digital marketing and will transform a business’ success online. Its potential is not to be underestimated, and neither should the ongoing effort and work required.

Hiring a specialist SEO agency or expert is a prudent decision and different levels of involvement and activity can be managed depending on budget and the website scale. Woya Digital are an expert SEO team who understand the evolving needs of successful SEO. Get in touch with us to discuss your online business growth.

Things That Hurt Website Rankings

Things That Hurt Website Rankings

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a digital discipline and an ever-evolving practice; forever at the mercy of Google’s daily changing algorithm and user’s shifting appetites and attitudes.

Ranking on Google isn’t a simple task nor is it a static one, and there are many reasons why a website may not appear as prominently on the search engine results pages (SERPs) as businesses may like.

If you find that your SEO efforts are letting you down and not working as well as you’d like, read on. There are many factors that impact website rankings on Google and not all of them are obvious.

Domain Authority

While it was for many years considered a vast disadvantage in SEO terms to buy a brand domain name and launch a new website, it is not necessarily the domain age that influences how Google ranks it in its listings; but rather, the authority.

When a new website launches, it will usually contain some relevant content but it is only over time that it accumulates a library of high-quality, appropriate content as well as backlinks from other websites. A website that is well populated with content and referred to (ie. linked to) by other sites is considered to have high authority by the Google algorithm.

This means that the search engine’s automated systems believe it to be a reliable source of information for its users and a trusted online presence. A domain with good authority will find itself with a higher ranking on Google than one without.

How to fix it

Domain authority takes time to build. Webmasters can improve their website’s authority through the continuous publishing of relevant, timely and high-quality content as well as through the build up of backlinks from other appropriate domains. This requires ongoing work as a cycle of improvement.

Unoptimised Site Technicalities

SEO is often misconceived as simply a case of publishing lots of written content with relevant keywords included, but ranking on Google now involves many more factors than just search terms.

On-site SEO is also required for a site to rank well, and this includes a whole host of technical aspects that sit ‘behind the scenes’ of a functional website. On-site SEO allows for the easy ‘crawl’ of the site by Google (that is, its automated programs to scan and compute it) as well as demonstrates how good a user experience the site provides.

On-site SEO includes relevant alt-text for images, working internal links between pages, fast page loading times and responsive display to the device on which it is being viewed. Ranking highly on Google highly is very difficult to achieve if a site hasn’t optimised its technicalities.

How to fix it

A ‘health check’ of a website can be undertaken to ensure that it is readable by Google’s bots and also that it works well for users. Every image should have appropriate alt-text, every page should load quickly, all links should work and every page should be created with responsive design to ensure correct formatting no matter the size of the screen being used. It is always worth consulting with a professional in regards to on-site SEO to ensure all aspects are covered.

Unoptimised Site Content

A primary factor influencing a site’s ranking on Google is its content. In order to decide how and where to list a website on its SERPs, Google must be able to understand the topic of the site and match this up with the search terms used by users to present them with the most relevant results.

If a site publishes content that is not clearly relevant to its business niche, is likely of too short a length to be helpful, or is of poor quality, it will not favour it.

How to fix it

Brands should look to position themselves as thought leaders in their fields with the continued publication of high-quality appropriate content. Thorough keyword research should be carried out to identify how users search for the brand, product/s and/or service/s, and content provided throughout, tailored to match.

Violation of Google Webmaster Guidelines

The Google Webmaster Guidelines are a set of rules that stipulate conditions to be met in order to be ranked on Google SERPs.

Many websites are inadvertently in breach of these guidelines because of the use of Black Hat SEO tactics. Black Hat SEO is the manipulation of search engine algorithms in order to rank higher than would otherwise be the case. This often includes the practice of ‘keyword stuffing’ (inclusion of multiple relevant terms even where the resulting text is nonsensical), paying for backlinks and/or paying for false traffic.

Violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines can result in a website being removed entirely from Google (being ‘no-indexed), being ranked lower down than usual or being blocked from buying paid ads on SERPs.

How to fix it

Once a site has been ‘no-indexed’ or identified as being in breach of Google Webmaster Guidelines, it can be extremely difficult to rectify the situation and prove to Google that it is deserving of new trust. It is always best where mistakes have been made or guidelines breached to consult with a professional in order to strategise how best to work with SEO moving forward.

Woya Digital have a whole team of SEO experts on-hand who can advise and devise plans for recovering from poor SEO performance to rebuild authority, trust and a positive professional reputation. No matter what has been done in the past we are confident that we can help rectify the situation.