Influencers in today’s SEO

30-second summary:

With search getting more sophisticated there will be a strong relation between user signals and influencersGoogle’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) and the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model will impact search intent and influence a business’ search visibilityIntellifluence’s CEO, Joe Sinkwitz explains key concepts surrounding the impact of influencers on website rankings in modern SEO

One new to SEO might assume that the only role influencers play when it comes to ranking is in the form of bloggers providing reviews and links via guest blogging. However, if we were to segment search into simplistic buckets of links, content, and the cumulative user signals associated with how a visitor interacts with links and content, the future role of influencers is going to skew far more towards the user signals bucket.

Historically, influencers have been viewed as a paid social channel add-on for B2C and D2C companies, only more recently taken seriously for their ability to influence B2B purchases. Their use cases are far more versatile than the initial assumptions and preconceived notions related to value, with expected compensation ranges to match that versatility based on audience sizes and channel selection. As an SEO, it is easy to understand how influencers that maintain blogs in your niche would be useful when undergoing a PR-driven outreach campaign for link purposes. To understand how influencers can affect the outcome of a site’s rankings external to the links generated, it’s important first to understand a few key concepts.

Content created in partnership with Intellifluence.

Targeted peer personas

Within the realm of content marketing, a marketer would seek to develop out personas in order to properly structure content with the appropriate hooks and value propositions. For ease in understanding how to create a sample buyer persona, consider the following process:

Provided you’re not operating on a brand new site, look into your previous 100 customers – if you have enough data, you can be more granular and select out your most ideal customers.Based on the buyer contact’s email, use a tool such as Clearbit to generate a list of their social media accounts. Keep in mind that where they maintain social accounts is just as important as to their level of usage and subject matters.Who do these customers aspire to be? Are they constantly seeking out solutions? Whom do they follow to get these solutions? A quick hack in this is to sort their followers by audience size as authoritative influencers tend to have a larger following than most of their industry peers.Digging further, who influences those subject matter experts? Which sources do they consume?Who are your ideal customer’s peers? On one hand, you’ll likely have some of that data immediately when analyzing the audience data. If you do not, LinkedIn Sales Navigator makes segmentation rather simple based on their filters and query refinements, allowing you to select extremely similar individuals to your targets.Repeat the above process as necessary to generate a large enough dataset that you can apply pivots on in a worksheet, in order to determine buyer persona commonalities.

Once targeted personas are created based on those characteristic commonalities, we can use them in order to positively impact those user signals. Here are a few oversimplified pieces for the sake of brevity.

Navigational queries

Through multiple experiments, we know that spikes in navigational queries can have a spillover effect on rankings for non-navigational queries. As Google is introducing Multitask Unified Model (MUM) to make sense of complex queries, the more positive effects we as SEOs can provide on showing that these navigational queries also have informational and transactional signals associated with them, the better the intent and therefore search the ordering will be on the coveted transactional terms.

How does this work with targeted peer personas? It can be as easy as hiring influencers that exist frequently enough in the sum audience data to your targets to share out useful information related to your product or service, specifically writing out the brand name. Each time we’ve run campaigns of this type, the navigational queries spike. This alone is very useful, but there’s more power to these peer influencers.

Repeat dwell

Having a user specifically search for your brand and click the result is a fantastic first step. What could be better? Repeatedly visiting and spending time on-site. I recognize that we’re simplifying here but structuring a campaign with peers that follows the model of Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) allows you to introduce the brand name for navigational queries then pepper the targeted audience via those peer influencers with interesting facts and use cases.

In this phase of the campaign, the direct links from social posts could be used as we can all probably agree that our Chrome and Android data is being used to continually refine future searches. The goal of this phase is to drive repeat usage of the site. Some commercial activity may very well take place, which is a bonus, but not the KPI.

Influencers in today's SEO - Finding influencers

Query satisfaction

The final phase of the AIDA model moves from desire to action, and our goal is to turn our navigational queries into transactional rankings. Translated to how MUM might perceive this, a user that seeks out a result navigationally, returns to the result from another channel, and then comes back with a transactional query modifier is likely satisfied with the query result and thus that website should be shown more frequently.

How does that work with the influencers? The third style of posts from the peer influencers to your buyer personas can again return to mentioning your brand name and including a specific value proposition to generate that action. It could be a coupon code, a time-specific call-to-action for a deal, a giveaway, or any combination of the sort. By now focusing on a specific transactional modifier with your brand name, a percentage of those blended queries will occur, resulting in action being taken, which is the definition of query satisfaction. You’ll have successfully used influencers to influence how Google perceives the site for future transactional queries.

Joe Sinkwitz is CEO at Intellifluence.

The post Influencers in today’s SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Four ways to improve page speed and master Core Web Vitals

30-second summary:

Websites that rank well on Google tend to have a higher Core Web Vitals scoreThere are three core web vitals that make up the majority of the site’s overall page speed scorePrioritizing user experience in web design and marketing campaigns could give you a competitive edgeThis comprehensive guide prepares you for the rollout of the new Google Search algorithm update

Google’s latest major update to its search algorithm focuses greatly on the user experience through a new set of ranking factors metrics, called Core Web Vitals. Early results from Core Web Vital audits reveal that the average website performs below these new standards. Searchmetrics’ research revealed that, on average, sites could reduce page load time by nearly one second by removing unused JavaScript.

This provides an amazing opportunity to outperform other websites by boosting your own page rankings.

Here is everything you need to know about Core Web Vitals plus four simple steps to improve your metrics.

Content created in partnership with Searchmetrics.

What are the Core Web Vitals metrics?

Core Web Vitals are an extension of Google’s page experience signals that include mobile-friendliness and HTTPs. The three Core Web Vitals metrics measure loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability, which Google views as providing an accurate depiction of a real-world, user experience.

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures the loading time of the largest image or text block visible within the user’s viewpoint.First Input Delay (FID) measures the interactivity on the page by calculating the time from when a user first interacts with the site to the time when the browser responds to that interaction.Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) refers to how much the content shifts during page rendering.

How to check your page speed insights

There are many online tools that check your page ranking score, including PageSpeed Insights, Chrome User Experience Report, Lighthouse Audit, and Search Console. These sites measure page speed in various elements and display the results using a traffic light system. PageSpeed Insights provides a breakdown of the results and highlights areas of improvement.

What does “good” performance mean in numbers?

To provide a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading. Pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds and maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Websites, like Wikipedia, have the highest page speed score due to a lightweight approach to web design, using mainly text and optimized images. Websites that rely heavily on video content and images are slower to load and make for a poor user experience. Therefore, there is a balance to strike between design and user experience.

See where your site ranks. Visit PageSpeed Insights and enter your URL. Note: The top number is your Lighthouse score, also referred to as PageSpeed score, measuring from zero to 100. While it’s a good general benchmark for the performance of your site. It’s not entirely related to the three Core Web Vitals metrics, which should be viewed as an analysis of LCP, FID, and CLS.

How to improve your page speed

Passing is considered getting a “good” score in all three areas. Making small changes can improve the page speed score by as little as one second, which can shift the site from a “poor” or “needs improvement” score in LCP to a “good” one. Reducing load time will make users happier and increase traffic to the site.

Tom Wells, creative marketing expert at Searchmetrics, says,

“Anything that’s not needed on a website shouldn’t be there.”

Putting it simply, identifying and removing elements that are not used or have a substantive purpose could improve the site’s page speed score.

1. Oversized images

Poorly optimized images are one of the main causes affecting a site’s LCP score as this is usually the largest element to load. Ecommerce businesses and those who rely heavily on images may have poorer LCP scores due to the page rendering of multiple high-resolution images.

Optimizing these assets by using responsive design or next-gen image formatting such as WebP, JPEG 2000 and JPEG XR can improve the score by cutting down rendering time. Often, images can be condensed to a much smaller size without affecting the quality of the image. Free resources like Squoosh can do this for you.

2. Dynamic content and ads

Loading ads on a web page is one of the main causes of a bad CLS score. This can be down to elements on the page shifting to accommodate dynamic ads, which makes for a poor user experience.

Using a smart implementation method such as allocating size attributes or CSS aspect ratio boxes for all ads, videos, and image elements is one way to reduce content shifting. Some companies may use a plugin or coding at the top of the website to place the ads. However, this could lead to a slower website, impacting the user experience negatively and indirectly affecting rankings.

Also, never insert content on top of existing content, except in response to specific user interactions as this ensures any layout shift that occurs. For example, when you click a CTA button and a form appears is an exception.

3. Plugin-centric web economy

Plugins can act like “plaster over the cracks” to solve website problems, says Wells. Despite creating a temporary fix, it can slow down and hinder web performance as all the code needs to load before the user is able to fully interact with the webpage.

Using plugins can increase server request counts and increase javascript execution time. All these factors can lower the site’s FID score.

“Often we look for advanced fixes and solutions but sometimes it’s as simple as deleting what’s not needed,” says Wells.

Therefore, removing some plugins, especially unused ones, can improve the reactivity and speed of the website.

4. Too much code

Google advises focusing on the overall website performance.

“It’s critical for responsive and well-scored websites to be as lightweight as possible,”

says Wells.

“The more things that a server has to load, the slower that load time is going to be overall.”

While unused CSS and JavaScript may not directly impact the page speed score, it can still impact the site’s load times, create code bloat, and negatively impact user experience.

When should I start?

Google’s rollout of the new algorithm began in mid-June, so it’s worth getting a start on reviewing how well your site scores on pages speed tests. Websites that rank well tend to have higher Core Web Vitals scores and this trend is set to continue as Google places greater emphasis on user experience.

Want more Core Web Vital insights? Read Searchmetrics’ Google Core Web Vitals Study April 2021.

The post Four ways to improve page speed and master Core Web Vitals appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Will Google Remove a Google Maps Review After the Owner of the GMB Page Replied to It?

Yes, Google may remove Google Maps reviews that the owner/admin of a Google My Business page wrote a public reply to.   Responding to a review doesn’t seem to validate it in Google’s view, as in, “Well, if business owner replied to it, it must be legit.”  Your response to a review doesn’t fossilize that review for eternity.

Every now and then a client gets a bad review from a non-customer, a real customer with a bogus or irrelevant complaint, a slimy competitor, or another  questionable source, and the question I get is: “Should I report the review to Google or should I reply to it?”  If you’re wondering the same thing, I’d say you should do both.  Report the review and reply to it in a circumspect way (if you think you’re better off with a response up for all to see).

In the past I’ve suggested first trying to get a bogus or irrelevant review removed, and then replying to it only if Google doesn’t take it down (which is what happens more often than not).

But recently Google has removed a few reviews that (a) the owner of the Google My Business page replied to and that (b) I flagged for removal.  In those cases it took a couple of months, but it was still a good outcome.  Here’s an example of what that looks like when it works out.

WILL Google remove every review you report?    No – not even close.  What hurts your business doesn’t hurt Google’s business.   For the same reason that Google didn’t auto-filter the review right out of the chute, the chances are high that Google doesn’t consider the review unfair enough to remove it manually after your reporting it.

What does all of that boil down to?  Two things:

You can go ahead and flag reviews that you already replied to. Of course, one possible danger is that the reviewer writes you another, angrier (or more bogus) review on Google Maps or elsewhere (or both).  In general, I’d say that’s an acceptable risk. You can reply to damaging reviews even if you’ve already flagged them. You’re not making the review stick by responding to it. Does your response tip the scales at all, so that the review is more likely to stay put?  That I do not know.  I know only that Google may remove a review that’s been replied to.

How much success have you had any in getting Google to remove reviews of your business that you replied to?

How about reviews of other people’s GMB pages – reviews that they replied to and that you reported?

Any tips?

Leave a comment!

P.S. Do you know of anyone who’s already written on this (so I can give any due credit)?

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What is SEO optimization?

Off-Page SEO Strategy to Ensure Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO optimization

SEO optimization is a set of techniques and strategies that guide you in properly placing keywords and content on your site to achieve a high ranking in search engine results. Search engine optimization is one of the most important things to do in online marketing. A site’s ranking is determined by various factors such as the number of incoming links, internal linking structure, and the popularity of keywords used on the site. If any one of these factors is substandard, then the site’s ranking will also be substandard.


Search engine optimization aims at providing users with access to high-quality information on the specific topic they are searching for. It is not just about ranking high in Google, Yahoo, or MSN but satisfying the users’ need to find what they want quickly. SEO experts make use of different strategies such as onsite and offsite optimization to achieve top rankings. Onsite optimization deals with optimizing the content of the site.


This is the first step to achieve top search engine results. In SEO, onsite optimization means optimizing the entire site, including the title tags, Meta tags, keyword density content, and other aspects. By ranking well in onsite optimization, you can ensure that the visitors come to your website and enjoy an enjoyable browsing experience. You can use any number of SEO tools and software to help you monitor the progress of your campaign. Some of the popular SEO tools are the SEO Profiler, Keyword Suggestion Tool, Back Link Checker, Advanced Web Rankings Report, Press Release Service, etc.


Offsite SEO optimization includes onsite elements such as the internal link structure. This is necessary if you want to achieve top rankings in search engines like Google, MSN, and Yahoo. It will help if you keep your web pages updated, fresh and rich in content. The visibility factor of your website depends upon how valuable the information is for users. When they find useful information, they should visit your site, and this will help improve your page rankings and bring more visitors.


Search engine optimization can be divided into search engine optimization (SEO) and Digital Marketing. Search engine optimization aims at improving a site’s visibility in search engines by enhancing its ranking in listings. This is achieved by improving its external linking structure and content. Search engine marketing is used to promote products, brands, and services.


There are various methods to achieve visibility and improve rankings in search engines. These include using pay-per-click advertising, pay per impression advertising, paid inclusion, and other forms of digital marketing. But, these strategies are quite expensive, and not everyone can afford them. In this situation, there is another method that is cost-effective but not very popular. It is the use of responsive web design.


Before we talk about the importance of this strategy, let us see what search engines like in a site structure. They look for a good user experience, clean web architecture, relevant keywords, and proper navigation. Responsive web design enhances all these factors and helps improve the rank of a site. In fact, it is the most effective and affordable method of optimizing a website.


When a user enters a website address in the query box, the first thing that he/she notices is the source of the website. If it is an informative site, the user is more likely to stay for a while and digest it. But if it is a sales site, then a user is more likely to move on to the next site with the highest ranking. Hence, off-page optimization plays a significant role in ensuring higher rankings, more traffic, and more potential customers.