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Artificial Intelligence and Search Engines. Part One: Changing the Way We Search

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Artificial Intelligence and Search Engines. Part One: Changing the Way We Search

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  • Jillian Briggs
  • July 17, 2018 07:44:00 PM

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The Artemis Marketing blog is an excellent resource for news, information and advice on the world of Search Engine Optimisation and digital marketing. Whether you’re a seasoned SEO expert or looking for tips on the basics of SEO, the Artemis Marketing blog has what you are looking for. The blog is regularly updated by the expert SEO team at Artemis with features, news and more.

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    The Value of Quality Content in Improving Rankings 

    Content should be an integral element of any SEO strategy – they are very much connected, and one complements the other. High-quality content is a ... The post The Value of Quality Content in Improving Rankings  appeared first on Artemis...

    The Value inQuality ContentContent should be an integral element of any SEO strategy – they are very much connected, and one complements the other. High-quality content is a key driver of increased traffic and better search rankings. Without it, you cannot realise the full potential of your SEO strategy.  

    Google rewards quality content, and search rankings are no longer limited to just the keywords you use. Your website content is assessed by how relevant it is to the user’s query and a host of other parameters, from author expertise to freshness signals. Striving for quality can help you tick off these core metrics and have a positive effect on your rankings.  

    Here we have two examples of how we have enhanced the content on our clients’ sites to make the content more valuable to users. 

    Introducing high-quality pages to the site 

    The challenge 

    Our client, a luxury swimming pool company, had existing content throughout their site, both on product pages and on their blog. But many of these pages only had minimal written content which did not go into enough detail to be valuable to the user.  

    What we did 

    As always, we audited the pages to identify opportunities for on-page improvements, such as developing internal linking campaigns and targeted on-page optimisation to help navigate users to priority pages for the client. Despite this, in isolation, these techniques were not having the desired impact, and we knew why: the current content on the site simply wasn’t good enough to fulfil Google’s requirements.  

    We assessed the site for the key pages that would have the biggest impact and looked at ways we could enhance the content, whether that was expanding the existing content or rewriting the page to make it more relevant to the users’ search queries.  

    These pages were thoroughly researched to create useful, informative content that targeted important product pages on the site, with relevant search terms to answer the questions customers were asking.  

    The outcome 

    Our client saw a significant improvement in the performance of their core pages, with an increase in traffic and ranking positions. Expanding the core product pages to make them more informative, focusing on the types of questions potential customers may have, helped us to build authority for the client in the eyes of Google.  

    We made sure that the content on the site was audience-centric and followed Google’s recommendations for high-quality pages to showcase the clients’ expertise in the industry which, in turn, increased their site performance and rankings. 

    Removing low-quality pages 

    The challenge 

    When one of our clients, a luxury estate agent firm, came on board with Artemis, they had a bloated site with lots of duplicate content and numerous low-quality pages. Since link value is shared across the site, these low-quality pages were diluting the overall authority of other pages on the site and impacting rankings in the process.  

    What we did 

    Website bloat (when websites have excessive low-value pages with poorly written content) slows the site down and impacts the number of pages search engines crawl and index. This can result in undesirable pages being included in the search results or important pages being excluded. 

    To combat the issue, we conducted a sitewide audit of all pages to identify those low-traffic pages that were not performing well. These pages were deleted and, where appropriate, redirected to make way for higher-quality pages that would add value to the site.  

    Once we knew that the low-performing pages had been removed, we focused on adding bespoke, unique content to area pages. We chose the areas that would be the most useful to potential clients looking to move to the area that our client specialises in.  

    The aim here was to ensure that all content throughout the site added real value for the user, which in turn would help to establish our client as an authority on the subject and build trust.  Keeping the pages on the site curated helps direct search engines to the URLs we want visitors to find. 

    The outcome 

    Removing insignificant and low-performing pages from the site helped to drive more traffic to the pages that were valuable to prospective clients. We wanted to ensure that the client’s site was a useful resource for visitors.  

    This audit helped to ensure that every page on the site was relevant, and identified opportunities to rank higher by publishing new, informative content so that our client could stay on top of Google’s algorithm updates.  

    At Artemis, we have extensive experience helping our clients improve their rankings and online visibility, whether through on-page optimisation, content audits, developing high quality content or a combination of trusted techniques. If you’d like to benefit from a bespoke SEO strategy, why not contact our team today to discuss?  

    The post The Value of Quality Content in Improving Rankings  appeared first on Artemis Marketing.


    SEO Insights: December 2022 Report

    Happy New Year! As we commence the new year, it’s a great time to look ahead at what 2023 may have in store for us ... The post SEO Insights: December 2022 Report appeared first on Artemis Marketing.

    SEO Insights Dec 22

    Happy New Year!

    As we commence the new year, it’s a great time to look ahead at what 2023 may have in store for us from an SEO perspective.

    A quick look back at 2022

    There were two stand out moments in 2022. Firstly, Google launched a series of significant updates, such as core, spam, product reviews and helpful content updates, alongside smaller updates, and general changes to the user interface.

    Some of the updates, such as the core and spam ones, were noticeably impactful as Google continues to try and improve the quality of the search results.

    Secondly, last year saw the huge rise and interest in AI tools such as GPT-3, ChatGPT, Dall-E and many others. These tools can quickly and easily create content and images. This now presents a new ‘spam’ problem for Google as well as possibly even forcing Google to reconsider its business model. Who doesn’t want quick, easy answers and helpful advice on tap? The AI tools deliver this, although they are far from perfect yet.

    So, whilst we saw Google increasingly tackle spam, at the same time we have probably seen the beginning of a disruptor in the search market.

    Looking ahead

    Ever since Google launched in 1998, and its usage exploded in 2000, it has had to fight spammers who understood the fundamentals of its unique PageRank algorithm and realised the benefits and opportunities that Google traffic could deliver.

    Since its inception, content spam and link spam have been at the forefront of Google’s Web Spam team. There are many other types of spam, such as cloaking, hidden content, fake reviews, and much more, but possibly the greatest challenge that has now presented itself is the use of AI generated content on websites.

    The rise of the robots

    Google does not want to show AI content in the search results, it doesn’t know if it’s accurate or trustworthy. The problem is that it’s often very difficult to tell if it’s been written by a human or a machine; it is very good a lot of the time. And it’s just going to get even better over time!

    This has presented Google with a new challenge, and one which initially seems difficult to address. However, one thing is for sure, Google engineers will already have been working on this for some time, and with the recent spam updates we have seen some websites, with excessive AI generated traffic, lose all traffic overnight.

    Additionally, Google is unlikely to directly compete with the AI tools in the way that they respond to prompts. Google’s current business model requires a search page with a list of results. This is how it generates its vast revenues.

    However, what we may start to see is that queries may be answered in more depth with a larger focused on featured snippets, which is the top results which Google will often highlight as the result which answers the user’s question.

    Featured snippets are going to be even more beneficial and lucrative in 2023.

    Is AI content ethical?

    There is a level of discord amongst the search community online, and content writers in general about AI tools as they are essentially using other people’s content, re-wording it and creating new content with no accreditation to the original source or sources.

    It seems somewhat unethical to do this. It’s a form of plagiarism in an AI world. AI tools are not going to go away, but there will be an increased level of frustration from website owners and content writers who have put in a huge amount of time to create the content for their website, only for an AI to take it and ‘spin’ it into a new version.

    Authorship and expertise

    This is the area where we see the most change coming in 2023, both to improve the quality of search results and to tackle the issue of AI generated content.

    Google’s quality rating guidelines have always focused on the need for websites to have E-A-T:

    • Expertise
    • Authoritativeness
    • Trustworthiness

    However, in December, Google added another ‘E’ which stands for experience. So, the acronym is now E-E-A-T.

    Google is looking to understand and reward content created by people who know their subject matter, that are known in their field, that have a level of trust and authority to support that.

    • Who are you?
    • Why should I trust you?
    • What makes you an expert in this field?
    • Have you actually tried the products that you are talking about?

    These are just some of the questions that content creators and business owners need to be asking themselves and prioritising these signals on their websites.

    The internet has grown to nearly 2 billion websites and counting. There’s a lot of noise out there. To stand out and be heard, the focus has to be on ensuring that Google can trust who you are and that you know what you are talking about. Be open and transparent, make the team in your business one of the main features of your website.

    This is one of the key ways that Google will tackle the AI content issues in 2023 and going forward.

    Accelerated changes

    We are now entering a new phase where everything is changing very quickly in search. From an SEO point of view, it’s important to be prepared and be well positioned for when these updates to search take effect.

    At Artemis, we spend a significant proportion of our revenue on R&D in order to be well prepared and set up for each new phase in search. We apply this to our clients’ website so that they are always in the best position to take advantage of the changes as they happen.

    We will have to accelerate the implementation of new ideas to websites in 2023; it’s going to be a busy one!

    We wish all of our clients a very prosperous 2023! Exciting times ahead.

    The post SEO Insights: December 2022 Report appeared first on Artemis Marketing.


    SEO Insights: November 2022 Report

    Is Google search getting worse? Are the results not as good as they should be, or possibly, worse than before? This is a discussion which ... The post SEO Insights: November 2022 Report appeared first on Artemis Marketing.

    SEO Insights November 2022 Report featured image

    Is Google search getting worse? Are the results not as good as they should be, or possibly, worse than before?

    This is a discussion which has been doing the rounds recently and it has been brought on by a couple of sources.

    A recent study by SEMRush found that “almost 30% of people are either refining or extending their queries in some way”. This is potentially highlighting the problem that the results are simply not good enough based on the user’s initial search query. Users are finding that they are having to search again to find the results that they are looking for.

    In fact, Google has even recently introduced new “refine this search” and “broaden this search” as additional options in the search results:

    Google SERPs - Refine and Broaden this search options

    Is Google seeing that users are sometimes struggling to find what they are looking for, or are users simply interacting with the vast number of query refinement options and additional features in the search results?

    Either way, something appears broken here.

    Is the Internet the problem?

    Perhaps the problem is not Google, but instead the problem is that the Internet, which is unregulated, has exponentially expanded since its inception and with it has deteriorated in terms of the quality of the content available to index by search engines.

    This is what Marissa Mayer, ex-Googler and ex-CEO of Yahoo, stated in a recent podcast.

    “I do think the quality of the Internet has taken a hit. When I started at Google, there were about 30 million web pages, so crawling them all and indexing them all was relatively straightforward. It sounds like a lot, but it’s small. Today, I think there was one point where Google had seen more than a trillion URLs.”

    Marissa’s argument is that Google is just a view of the web and that the real question is, why is the web getting worse?

    There are many reasons that can be attributed to the web getting worse, but primarily it’s because there is an economic incentive for the publication of content, for traffic and sales. With potential high financial rewards from high traffic, this has led to a plethora of users around the world creating huge amounts of content with a view to attaining high search engine rankings which is then beneficially monetised.

    The Internet is getting flooded with low-quality “made for SEO” content.

    This problem is potentially only getting worse with time.

    Marissa also suggested in the podcast that the reason for Google displaying “Featured snippets”, which appear at the top of the search results and answer the question the user is searching for, is because Google may be hesitant to send users to websites.

    “I think that Google is more hesitant to send users out into the web. And to me, you know, that points to a natural tension where they’re saying, ‘Wait, we see that the web sometimes isn’t a great experience for our searchers to continue onto. We’re keeping them on our page.’”

    The internet has changed and evolved considerably over the years, and maybe this is just one of the ways that Google is tackling the issue of low-quality content and websites.

    Are the Google updates helping?

    The rate and frequency of known Google algorithm updates has certainly increased in recent years, and this reflects the enormous effort now required to ensure that the search results remain relevant, useful and spam-free…although they don’t always work as desired.

    Spam updates, core updates, helpful content updates, product review updates; these are all on the official list of updates for 2022. Some have proved to be quite significant, such as the core updates, which are aimed at improving the overall quality and relevance of the search results.

    The Helpful Content Update, released in August, didn’t appear to have much of an impact on the search results, but it’s expected to have an increased effect over time. It’s designed to continuously learn and improve. It’s likely that one of the areas that it will be focused on is AI (artificial intelligence) generated content, which is fast becoming the new headache for Google.

    AI generated content, without editorial input, is not yet of a high enough quality that it should merit a place in the search results.

    In a recent Google Office Hours video, Google search quality engineer, Duy Nguyen, was asked about the use of AI to plagiarise content, modify it and outrank other sites in the search results.

    “Google has many algorithms to go after such behaviours and demote sites scraping content from other sites.”

    However, there is still a long way to go before Google is truly able to detect content that has been generated using AI. Even during the latest spam updates, many websites with AI content were still ranking fine.

    It’s only a matter of time, but we can expect some updates soon as Google continues to better understand and get on top of this new problem.

    Let’s not add to the problem

    Unfortunately, there is too much poor-quality content and poor user experiences on the web today, and the problem is only getting worse. Google, and other search engines, will have to continuously adapt their algorithms to fight increased spam and new threats to the search results such as AI generated content.

    There is only one way to stand out above this noise and that’s by focusing on the user, having great quality editorial content and a clean link profile. As Google tackles all forms of web spam, the fundamentals of a good website should always prevail.

    At Artemis, we have always believed in ensuring our clients’ websites continue to work for them over the long term. We don’t take short-cuts, we don’t use “quick wins” and we don’t do spam. Our focus is, and has always been, on making Google’s job easier. We provide a great reason to Google to rank our clients’ website through great content and high-quality natural backlinks.

    We don’t want to be a part of the headache!

    The post SEO Insights: November 2022 Report appeared first on Artemis Marketing.


    How to Get More Reviews for Your Local Business and Drive More Sales

    When was the last time you bought something without looking at a review first? Yes, reviews play a crucial role in turning leads on your ... The post How to Get More Reviews for Your Local Business and Drive More Sales appeared first on Artemis...

    When was the last time you bought something without looking at a review first? Yes, reviews play a crucial role in turning leads on your site into sales.

    Reviews are the lifeblood of local businesses – your perception in the community is important. Getting more reviews from local customers on your site has the benefit of driving more interest in your business and often results in extra sales.

    Research has shown that 77% of people ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read reviews when choosing which local business to use. What’s more, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they would a personal recommendation from a friend. It’s not surprising, then, that online reviews are a hugely influential factor in the consumer buying process.

    In this blog, we share some tips on how to get more reviews for your site.

    hand gives five stars rating as product feedback with tablet computer

    Integrate reviews throughout your site

    If you want to get reviews on your site, you need to make sure that customers can see existing reviews first. It puts them in the right mindset to eventually come around to leaving a review and shows them that you take their review seriously.

    Putting reviews front and centre proves to your customers that your business is a trusted one, making it easier for customers to make the decision to buy.

    Follow up with your customers

    Perhaps the most important way to get customer reviews is also the simplest – ask for them!

    When you get an order or once you have provided your service, send a follow-up email to your customer asking them if they would be willing to leave a review. This can either be to go directly on your site, or it could be for an outside review site like Google Business Profile.

    In an ideal scenario, the page that they need to fill in would be just a single click away. Don’t overcomplicate things – make it easy and more customers will be likely to provide you with a review.

    Incentivise reviews from repeat customers

    Perhaps the most important group to prioritise getting reviews from is that of repeat customers. If they are a returning customer, this more than likely means that they were pleased with your service the first time around and have come back for more. What’s more, trust and rapport are often built over time, and it is with repeat customers that you are most likely to have established this. By asking them for reviews, you can maximise the possibility of receiving a positive account.

    Respond to your reviews

    It is a great idea to respond to any reviews you get. Whether positive or negative, customers like to see that you have acknowledged their thoughts. In some cases, negative reviews can be turned into positive ones if you are able to provide great customer service in response to the review.

    At Artemis, we specialise in high-quality local SEO work and getting more reviews for your business is only a small part of it. If you are interested in working with us, get in contact with our experienced team today.

    The post How to Get More Reviews for Your Local Business and Drive More Sales appeared first on Artemis Marketing.


    SEO Insights: October 2022 Report

    Tackling web spam, refreshed guidelines for site owners, and new search features. October was certainly a busy month for Google as it continues to take ... The post SEO Insights: October 2022 Report appeared first on Artemis Marketing.

    SEO Insights October 2022 Report image

    Tackling web spam, refreshed guidelines for site owners, and new search features. October was certainly a busy month for Google as it continues to take action on low-quality websites to ensure that it delivers quality, relevant results to its users. Here we explore exactly what these updates were and how they impacted websites.

    Refreshed guidelines for site owners

    During 2002, Google launched a set of guidelines for site owners called “Webmaster Guidelines”. Webmaster Guidelines provided an overview of best practices for building and optimising a website, from Google’s point of view. On 13th October, Google announced they were releasing a significantly refreshed version of Webmaster Guidelines with the new name “Google Search Essentials”.

    The change of name has come about because the word “webmaster” is now outdated and rarely used. With this change also came a major refresh in the guidelines themselves, which are now broken down into three sections:

    • Technical requirements
    • Key best practices
    • Spam policies

    If you’re familiar with the original Webmaster Guidelines, there won’t be much that’s new to you. But it’s still worth understanding what Google expects from websites in order to be featured in the search results.

    You can read the new guidelines here: Google Search Essentials.

    Google releases October 2022 spam update

    On the 19th October, Google announced the release of the October 2022 spam update.

    The rollout of the update was completed in less than 48 hours, which is very quick for a major update release. The previous spam update, released in November 2021, took eight days to roll out. This is a global update that impacts all regions and languages.

    The update is designed to penalise websites using spam techniques that go against Google’s spam policies. Google will periodically refresh this update and it can, therefore, take many months for a website to recover if it has been impacted by the update.

    Initial observations have highlighted that many low-quality sites have been severely impacted by the update, so it appears to be having the expected effect. At the same time, it doesn’t appear to have impacted legitimate, and good quality websites, which is great news and something that hasn’t always been the case with aggressive Google updates.

    Introducing site names on Google Search

    Google also announced a change to how they show site names in the search results on mobile. The change has been made to make it easier to identify the website that’s associated with each result. You can indicate your preference for your website’s site name with structured data on the homepage, although Google will also try and determine what it is by itself if this mark-up isn’t available.

    As you can see below for a search for “Artemis Marketing”, rather than showing the title tag for the homepage, which is what it has generally always used, the search results now show “Artemis Marketing” as the page name:

    Site names on Google image

    This is unlikely to make much difference in terms of traffic and click throughs from search, but we will continue to monitor the effects of this change over the coming weeks.

    For any future Google announcements on algorithm updates or any helpful Google updates please keep a close eye on our blog or get in touch to speak with one of our SEO experts.

    The post SEO Insights: October 2022 Report appeared first on Artemis Marketing.


    5 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Local Search Rankings

    If you’re a small business, it can be hard to make people aware of your brand and services. How can you compete with larger businesses ... The post 5 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Local Search Rankings appeared first on Artemis...

    If you’re a small business, it can be hard to make people aware of your brand and services. How can you compete with larger businesses with a more established following and a larger marketing budget? The answer is with online marketing – more specifically, local SEO.

    What is local SEO?

    Local search is when a customer searches for a business, product or service within a specific location. For example, if you’re looking for a plumber, you’ll be seeking out local businesses who serve customers within a set radius. Likewise, if you search for ‘hairdressers near me’, the results will be tailored to your location.

    Local SEO is the process of optimising your online visibility, so you appear in these local search results. It’s beneficial because it builds trust and online visibility, but also brings more targeted traffic to your site which improves conversions.

    1. Create a Google Business Profile

    Your Google Business Profile is one of the most critical elements of any local SEO strategy, because it’s one of the top factors Google considers when ranking businesses in organic search listings. It’s free to create but highly effective, and you can include all the details of your business for customers, from your physical store address, opening hours and location on a map to your industry, contact details and photos of your business.

    2. Submit your business to local directories

     Listings can be linked back to your website, so they’re an effective way of driving more traffic. Providing your business details to local directories helps to create an identity for your business, which can improve your SEO significantly. Just make sure that the information you provide is consistent across all listings, and choose niche directories that will add real value to your company and send you the right type of referral traffic.

    3. Build citations

    Local citations are any mention of your business’ name, address or phone number online. They can appear in business directories or on social networks, but it is generally accepted that they’re a strong ranking factor for local SEO. Citations verify the existence of your business and build trust and legitimacy, and if Google finds the same information cropping up in different places online, it increases confidence that the business is genuine.

    4. Optimise your site for your target niche

    Writing for users, rather than search engines, enables you to create useful content around your target industry and focus. And by honing your focus on the local area, you’re more likely to attract a local crowd. From industry gatherings and news to trends and informational content, you can develop a reputation as an industry expert in your local area.

    The more content you create, the more opportunities you have to optimise those pages or blog posts for targeted terms. Every time you post a new piece of content to your site, make sure you’re including relevant keywords in the URL, title, body text and meta description to appeal to your local audience and Google.

    5. Create geo-targeted pages

     Creating location specific pages covering areas that you offer your services in can be a great way of providing your readers with your contact details, information about promotions and local services, and testimonials from other happy customers whilst increasing the visibility of your business in our local area. They serve to enhance your local SEO efforts and provide a great vehicle for location-based keywords and phrases. You might have a brick and mortar store you want to attract local traffic to, or maybe you’re a business with multiple locations – geo-targeted pages can be great in both cases for growing traffic and visibility.

    These are just a few of the ways you can grow your local search rankings and bring in targeted customers to your business. Bear in mind that your local SEO efforts can also span multiple locations, so make the most of your SEO efforts to build your online visibility in specific locations.

    We’re experts in local SEO and provide a wide range of services to help you build your business online. Get in touch with us today to find out more and develop your local SEO strategy.

    The post 5 Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Local Search Rankings appeared first on Artemis Marketing.


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