SEO Correlation Studies / Cookie-less Tracking / Keyword Rankings / Future of Search Agencies

With a renewed controversy in digital marketing circles about SEO correlation studies I decided to weigh in on the topic in a new post for State of Digital. My views on these correlation studies are that they’re useful, if viewed in their proper context:

State of Digital: SEO Correlation Studies – Are We Looking At Them Wrong?

“The exact causal relationship between social shares and high rankings is likely a very complex and muddled process, relying on many different interconnected factors. Instead of attempting to dissect these in detail – and risking making our in-depth research obsolete the next time Google releases an update or rolls out something like the Transition Rank patent – we should instead see the correlation studies like prediction signals.”

As online privacy remains a controversial issue, the use of browser cookies to track people’s online behaviour is ever more suspect. Anticipating this, Google is rumoured to be working on a new cookie-less tracking technology that might just change the online advertising ecosystem:

State of Digital: Google Working on Cookie-less Tracking Technology?

“Currently the cookie technology is a standard defined by the Internet Engineering Task Force, which is part of ISOC – a non-profit organization ‘dedicated to ensuring the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of people throughout the world.’ Ideally a next-gen cookie-less tracking technology would be an open standard as well, based on consensual agreement from a trusted international organisation like ISOC or the W3C, and not founded on commercial principles that benefit a single company.”

The veracity of keyword rankings as a SEO metric continues to be disputed by many a self-styled ‘inbound marketer’. But I’m quite a big fan of keyword rankings, and in a new post for State of Digital I explain why:

State of Digital: Why Keyword Rankings Still Matter

“There is no single key SEO metric – instead we need to look at the bigger picture, and report on a whole range of KPIs that indicate progress. To dismiss rankings outright because they’re not the single key metric to measure SEO success by is patently ridiculous. I sincerely believe rankings should be one of SEO’s core KPIs, because rankings matter. Rankings are accountable, rankings give you a strong indication of where you stand in relation to your competitors, and rankings over time are a powerful indicator of success or failure.”

Danny Denhard, one of the UK SEO industry’s shining lights, compiled a post on Medium about the future of search agencies; what’s going to change, what will stay the same, and how agencies will need to adapt. Amidst a host of expert industry contributors such as Kelvin Newman, Paddy Moogan, and Dan Sharp, input from yours truly also found its way in to Danny’s compilation:

Medium: The Evolution of The Search Agency

“Our biggest challenge as an industry will be to resist the push towards advertising from the big digital platforms (Google, Facebook, Twitter) and to keep clients — and ourselves — focused on the ‘earned’ traffic channels that I feel deliver the most value. Clients will be subjected to powerful propaganda from the big platforms to use their advertising channels, and it’ll be a struggle to keep client budgets focused on those earned media areas like SEO that we know yield much better results.”

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