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4 min read

Impression Picks – Digital marketing roundup June 2024

Welcome to June’s edition and the final edition of Impression Picks. We hope you have enjoyed us exploring a wide range of topics each month! This digital marketing roundup serves as some food for thought, brought to you by Impression’s experts and the wider marketing community. Each month, we will highlight an interesting article, share a helpful insight and explore a campaign that’s caught our attention.

SEOs: Google won’t comment on a potentially massive leak of its search algorithm documentation

If the US vs Google anti-trust trial taught us SEOs anything, it was that the search engine hasn’t always told us the truth. And the recent leak of an internal document only added to this doubt. Although the document didn’t provide much context into what it contained, it did give us some insights into how the algorithm might work (heavy emphasis on the might).

Over 2,500 pages of internal documentation were leaked. Here are some key takeaways:

Homepage PageRank and Trust

Your homepage plays a pivotal role in the customer journey. A poorly designed homepage can not only increase the bounce rate and reduce conversions, but it can negatively impact your brand and customer’s perceptions of you. It is no wonder then, that according to these leaked documents, Google measures factors like ‘homepage PageRank’ and ‘Homepage Trust’. While the exact influence of these factors is unclear, it would be logical if they influenced rankings as your homepage is a gateway to your website and brand.

As an SEO, we consistently emphasise the importance of building a site people trust and view as authoritative. This leak not only reinforces this but also highlights the need for organisations to adopt a multichannel approach. In addition to SEO, organisations need to use other channels such as PR and social media to build a strong reputation that goes beyond Google.

Site Authority

Although Google has repeatedly denied using Domain Authority as a ranking factor, many have suspected otherwise. It turns out, we might be right as they measure something called ‘SiteAuthority’ which explains why larger, more established sites often dominate SERPs. 

Once again, this underscores the importance of a multi-channel approach. SEO alone is beneficial, but its effectiveness is amplified when supported by other channels like PR and PPC to boost visibility. Without this established credibility and reputation, smaller organisations may not see the complete benefits of SEO compared to larger sites.

The role of E-E-A-T

Despite listing over 2,000 modules, this document made little reference to E-E-A-T, something which is quite a contentious subject in the SEO community. However, it does note that Google stores the document authors and treats them as entities, suggesting the potential value in establishing author profiles for online visibility. While the impact of E-E-A-T is inconclusive, as marketers it’s good practice to follow these principles to show there are knowledge and trustworthy individuals behind the brand.

These insights show how complex Google’s ranking systems are and the importance of interpreting their information carefully. Don’t just take everything at face value—experiment to see what works best for your website.

For a quick overview of the document, I’d recommend reading this article that draws up various sources. Yet for a more detailed review of the leak, read this article by Mike King.

Article reviewed by: Emma Robinson

PPC: Take advantage of additional insights with SA360 & U-Variables

U-Variables are an additional conversion segment you can add to your campaigns in SA360 that opens up a whole new world of insights for your campaigns.

Let’s start off with what a U-Variable is. It’s a custom Floodlight variable in SA360 that allows you to collect more information about your conversions allowing deeper analysis/insight into your campaign’s activity.

There are a few examples of typical pieces of information that advertisers tend to track such as user locations, product names and destination locations depending on the industry vertical and what advertisers/clients deem important.

For our client in the commercial aviation industry, we have been able to implement a custom Floodlight variable that pulls in the destination a customer has booked, allowing us to see the true destination of a user. Previously we captured conversions with a bog standard conversion goal which only measured revenue value as a variable.

This is helpful in adding additional insight to reporting in terms of what routes have sold best across certain campaigns, but more significantly, it allows us to gain more visibility in terms of what Pmax is contributing towards, given its ‘black box’ nature.

Historically within SA360, there has been the option to optimise towards U-Variables allowing bid strategies to focus on specific conversions, however, this option appears to have been removed when the new SA360 platform was launched a few months ago.

In order to get custom Floodlight variables set up in your SA360 account there is some tagging wizardry needed in regards to adding the custom variable to your floodlight tags or event snippets on your site, something we at Impression can help support you in!

Insight provided by: Salik Chaudry