Five most interesting search marketing news stories of the week

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Look, I’ll level with you, I’ve pretty much just spent the week staring open mouthed at the internet while one more UK political crisis collapses into the next. You probably have too.

It may not have affected your work, but you’ve probably felt less of a need to bingewatch anything particularly dramatic on Netflix.

So basically this is all the latest search-related news that you may have missed over the last week, and frankly nobody would have blamed you if you had. Heck, Google could have announced a new line of sentient killer robots built suspiciously like Arnold Schwarzenneger and nobody would have noticed.

Well hey, let’s see what happens…

Facebook tightens its News Feed algorithm again, publishers feel the pinch

In what is the equivalent of a bank manager shouting at “lousy freeloaders” and emptying a bag of broken glass onto the ground to stop them from sleeping in the doorway, Facebook has strengthened its News Feed algorithm in order to show users fewer posts from publisher pages.

But, as this Buzzfeed article puts it so eloquently, it has been a public vote – and one against seeing more news.

Sure you can argue that Facebook is merely doing this to generate ad revenue from branded pages, but ultimately if its 1.65 billion users aren’t engaging directly with published news content, then it’s not doing Facebook any favours to keep it at the top of News Feeds.

Well that’s depressing. Don’t worry, there’s a 50 Cent Gif in a minute to cheer you up.

Google’s Keyword Planner tool became even more inaccurate

As Chris Lake reported this week, the numbers in Google Keyword Planner have always been somewhat vague, as they’re often rounded up and end with at least one zero.

Sadly these numbers will become even less precise in the very near future as Google has begun combining related terms, pooling them all together and reporting one larger number instead.

“You longer can you separate the data for keyword variants, such as plurals, acronyms, words with space, and words with punctuation. As such it would be easy to get a false impression of search volumes, unless you’re aware of the change”

50 cent pitching wildly

The most common backlinks are natural

In Glen Allsop’s recent analysis of 1,000 search results, he discovered which kinds of links are most valuable for high rankings.

Natural (or earned) links top the chart of most common backlinks:

prominent backlink types viperchill

The research also found that the volume of backlinks does not correlate with ranking, but the variety of linking domains and longer word counts do help.

Check out the complete research here: State of Link Building 2016.

Google’s local 3-pack may now include paid listings

As reported in SEJ this week, Google’s organic listings may begin showing ads for certain localised searches.

As SEJ lead news reporter Matt Southern suggests:

“The ramifications of this change mean that any business can become featured in the local pack just by paying their way to get there. That’s good news for advertisers, but could spell bad news for local businesses who have worked hard to earn a spot in the 3-pack.”

Goodbye crappy lyric sites, Google has taken over

If you’re a regular searcher of song lyrics, they will now be served directly on Google SERPs thanks to a multi-year deal between Google and Toronto-based lyric licensing company LyricFind.

It has already begun…

google song lyrics

Although Google horning in on anybody’s racket is normally something to be wary of, this is actually quite a good development, as lyrics websites are pretty awful and awash with horrible advertising.

Sadly it doesn’t have the lyrics to 2 Unlimited’s ‘No Limits’ yet, but that’s probably understandable.

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