This week: Google might remove the Content Keywords report from the Search Console, a new study confirms what we always suspected, and Bing’s share of the search market is growing.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Study Confirms Correlation Between Backlinks and Traffic
In what might be the most unsurprising development of the year, a new study has confirmed that there’s a positive correlation between a website’s traffic and the number of referring domains linking back to the site.
The research, conducted as a joint effort between Majestic and SimilarWeb, analyzed half a million backlinks from the top 100,000 sites on the web. Site traffic was broken down into the following categories:
- Overall traffic
- Organic search traffic
- PPC traffic
- Referrals traffic
- Social Media traffic
- IP Addresses
After crunching all the numbers, the researchers found that backlinks really do matter.
Here’s what Roy Hinkis of SimilarWeb had to say about the results: “The overall impression I’m left with is that backlinks still have a very high correlation to the amount of website traffic. However, it would be detrimental to your SEO efforts to assume this is the only avenue for link-building. Instead, you need to adopt a more holistic approach which takes in the valuable assets of IP addresses and EDU/GOV websites to gain an overall larger share of traffic.”
Google Confirms That New Title and Description Lengths Is Just a Test
Google is toying with us.
We reported in this space recently that the search giant has increased the lengths of the titles and descriptions that appear in the SERPs. As it turns out, those increased lengths are just part of a test.
Google’s John Mueller was asked recently about the new lengths. Here’s how he replied: “We’re always experimenting, so I’d have a tough time saying ‘new’ to any particular change.”
So, for now, it’s best to limit your titles to 50-60 characters and your meta descriptions to 150-160 characters.
Until Google makes up its mind, anyway.
Bing’s Share of the Search Market Is Growing Faster Than Google’s
comScore is reporting that Bing’s share of the search market grew more than Google’s in April.
In fact, Google lost market share last month.
Bing’s market share grew by .2% in April, while Google’s fell by .2%.
Now, Google’s share of the U.S. desktop search market stands at 63.8% versus 21.6% for Bing.
Why is Bing’s market share increasing while Google’s is dropping? It could have something to do with Windows 10, since Bing is integrated as a core part of that operating system.
Google Handles at Least 2 Trillion Searches Per Year
Google confirmed this week that it handles “trillions” of searches per year.
The search giant didn’t go into detail about how many trillions of searches it handles annually, but the fact that it said “trillions” as a plural is clear evidence that it handles at least two trillion searches every year.
Of course, it could also handle 999 trillion searches per year. We don’t know exactly how many trillions of searches it handles because the company won’t tell us.
That’s a big leap from 1999, when John Battelle wrote in his book, The Search, that Google performed one billion searches every year.
Survey: Search Marketer’s Average Pay up 16% Over the Past Three Years
SEMPO’s most recent salary survey has good news for search marketers: they’ve been getting a pay increase.
According to the survey, the average pay for search and digital marketing professional has increased 16% since 2013.
The organization polled nearly 600 professionals from the industry with a variety of questions that included salary and work-related topics. Results showed a growth in salaries for SEMs earning around $100,000 per year.
The survey also found that the number of entry-level digital marketers is on the decline.
Marc Engelsman is SEMPO’s vice president of research. He said the survey complements his organization’s annual State of Search survey.
“It provides a valuable perspective from a variety of angles on the people who work in our industry and the types of companies they work for,” he said.
Google May Sometimes Rank Content That Is Duplicate
As a digital marketer, you already know that duplicate content is the SEO-equivalent of a capital crime. That’s because duplicate content can sink a site in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, the reality is more nuanced that many SEOs might realize.
In a Google+ Google Hangout this week, John Mueller said that the search giant will, on some occasions, rank duplicate content across domains.
The specific example he offered was a product description copied and pasted into an eBay listing:
“[I]f you have your product description on your website, and someone copied the description and put it on eBay, then those pages, when you look at them overall, will be very different. And it won’t be the case that we’ll say, oh, some of this content is the same as here. Maybe we should fold them together. It’s more a matter of us looking at these pages and saying, oh, well, these are two unique pages, we’ll index them separately. But depending on what people are searching for, maybe it makes sense to show this one or that one.”
The Content Keywords Report in the Search Console Is Likely Going Away
Google will likely remove the Content Keywords report in the Google Search Console.
The reason? It creates confusion about how the company ranks pages.
Here’s what John Mueller had to say about it: “[F]rom my point of view, I kind of would like to turn that off because it does confuse people, like here. And it kind of almost suggests that the more often you include the same keywords on your page, the more likely it will be relevant in the search results, and that’s definitely not the case.”
He also said that anyone who wants to keep the Content Keywords report should let him know.