As an agency or business, understanding your audiences is crucial for driving meaningful results. By collecting and analysing insights into your website visitors, you can make informed decisions to optimise your digital marketing campaigns. With Universal Analytics sunsetting at the end of June, it is important for you to understand audiences within GA4 and how you can unlock powerful insights that can benefit you.
What are the audiences in GA4?
Audiences let you split your users into ways that are the most important for your business. They are made from groups of people that share common characteristics or behaviours that are based on data collected by GA4 from your website or app. These audiences can then be used for targeting and observation within Google Ads.
What are the differences between Universal Analytics and GA4?
GA4 doesn’t collect the same data as Universal Analytics did. GA4 can now track users across different devices, domains, and apps. These audiences can create a more holistic view of your users’ behaviours and interests compared to previous Universal Analytics. It goes beyond traditional demographic targeting and uses machine learning to enable you to create more sophisticated and dynamic audience segments based on a wide range of user behaviours and attributes.
How do GA4 audiences work?
GA4 audiences are created based on events and parameters that you define within your GA4 property. Events are actions that users take on your website or app, such as page views, clicks, conversions, and others. Parameters are additional pieces of information associated with events, such as the user’s location, device type, or referral source. GA4 uses these events and parameters to build a profile of your users, allowing you to create highly targeted and personalised audience segments.
Creating Audiences in GA4
To create an audience:
➡️Navigate to “admin > audiences” to set up a new audience in GA4.
➡️You can go on to create an audience from GA4’s suggested audiences.
➡️Or start from scratch and create a custom audience using your own conditions.
Transferring audiences from Universal Analytics.
If you already have audiences set up within a Universal Analytics account you can easily transfer these over to GA4 using the GA4 Migrator for Google Analytics. However, not all Universal Analytics audiences are supported within GA4 so you may not be able to transfer them all.
This involves a few steps:
➡️Step 1: Install GA4 Migrator for Google Analytics.
➡️Step 2: Create a new blank Google Sheets (type sheets.new in the search bar for a shortcut).
➡️Step 3: Open ‘Extensions’ on the menu bar and GA4 Migrator for Google Analytics will appear. Hover over this and select the option to Migration audience definitions to GA4.
➡️Step 4: Follow the instructions to import audience definitions from your Universal Property and migrate to GA4 property.
Best Practices for GA4 audiences:
Now that you have a better understanding of GA4 audiences and how they work, you can use these to help optimise your campaigns. Here are some tips for best practices:
⚡Take advantage of the built-in audiences: Start with the built-in audiences that GA4 has to offer. These will automatically generate audience segments based on user behaviour. These include purchasers, non-purchasers, recently active users and more. This is a fast way you can gain insights into your user base and tailor your marketing messages accordingly.
⚡Define custom audiences: Creating custom audiences allows you to define audience segments that are specific to your business goals. You can create custom audiences based on a wide range of parameters, such as demographics, interests, behaviours, and more. Explore the different options available to you to create audiences that are more valuable for your business.
⚡Analyse and optimise your audiences: GA4 has powerful reporting capabilities that allow you to measure the performance of your audiences. You can track specific key metrics to determine the effectiveness of your audience segments. This will allow you to make data-driven decisions to refine your audience segments, achieve audiences that are no longer relevant to you, create new audiences, or adjust your strategy for better results.
⚡Ensure data privacy compliance: It is vital that you are collecting and using data in compliance with relevant data privacy laws and regulations, such as GDPR rules and regulations. Make sure to review and follow any updates to Google’s data usage policies and guidelines to ensure that you are using your audiences correctly. This includes obtaining user consent where necessary and providing transparency on data collection and usage.
To conclude, GA4 audiences are a powerful tool that can help you create highly targeted and personalised marketing campaigns. By leveraging the data collected from your website or app, you can create audience segments based on user behaviours, demographics and interests that will be valuable for your business. Audiences allow you to deliver relevant and tailored messages to our users that can be used within your Google Ads campaigns for better targeting and observation.
We’re delighted to announce that our Director Amanda Walls will be speaking at the April Brighton SEO event in front of an audience of thousands talking everything SEO & Digital PR.
Amanda will be speaking on the Wednesday afternoon at the Online PR Show with her talk discussing “Using Digital PR To Enhance Your EEAT Signals” – a great talk for anyone looking to use digital PR to enhance their overall SEO – or for anyone who particularly works in a YMYL industry, where this is held to an even higher standard – to get a better understanding of how they can utilise digital PR in this way.
The talk will have:
💥 Lots of great Case Studies which show how digital PR can help boost your SEO
💥 Great ideas on how to think outside of the box when it comes to newsjacking & thought leadership
💥Insight into why digital PR matters for EEAT
💥 Ideas on how to get journalists to come to you!
So if that sounds of interest get yourself booked on or check the talk out online when an online version of the conference day is released the week after.
If you have an ecommerce store, then chances are that SEO will be close to the top of your priority list. After all, getting traffic – and more importantly, high intent traffic to your website plays an important role in driving sales and the success of your store.
Tackling SEO for ecommerce websites, particularly those with thousands of individual products can be a challenge especially when you add in elements like filters, faceted navigation and infinite scroll – so if you are looking to put your best foot forward and get ahead of your ecommerce SEO, we’ve put together a handy checklist for you below to help you improve your SEO performance and drive those all important sales to your website.
Here are the top things that you need to review to ensure that your ecommerce website has the best possible chance at SEO performance:
Crawl & Indexation
Effective crawl and indexation is one of the most important elements of an ecommerce SEO strategy as if your website or its content isn’t in Google’s index then it won’t be found by users who are searching. Ensuring that your website is indexed and then checking that Google can effectively crawl your pages is important to ensuring that your content is available to Google and has the best possible chance of returning in the search results. To help with this you can use the following:
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a really effective way to check on the indexation of your website and it has a super easy to use interface which can show you how your website is being indexed in the eyes of Google.
The “Page indexing” functionality shows how many pages are indexed and any potential indexation issues for the website, this can include pages which are excluded by “noindex” tags, pages which are canonicalised any other potential indexation issues.
The report can be a great way of understanding any potential indexation issues or evaluating why pages haven’t appeared within Google’s index – in particular, the “Crawled – currently not indexed” column highlights pages which Google has accessed but not indexed as it has chosen to exclude these pages from the index – this is often valuable insight for an ecommerce store as in many cases product variations such as colours, flavours, sizes etc… can be seen as duplication so by reviewing this you can identify the best way to index this content.
Log File Analysis
Log File Analysis is a great way to evaluate how Google is actually crawling your website and to identify any potential pain points or areas that Google can’t crawl (alternately also looking at which pages Google is crawling too frequently) – it can also help you identify if you have any orphaned content or content which has become unlinked from your main website and could therefore be problematic.
To do a thorough log file analysis we recommend at least 2-4 weeks of log files and to do them over several months to really understand how Google is crawling your website. Spider data is useful, but log files will really allow you to see what’s going on.
In addition to log file analysis we’d also recommend undertaking a crawl analysis to evaluate how Google is crawling and indexing the website through an external tool such as Screaming Frog. By undertaking crawl analysis you can emulate the Google crawl, understanding how it reaches different pages and also the internal link value and structure of these pages – this approach can also help to identify any dead ends or issues where the Googlebot might not be able to get through.
Crawl analysis through a tool like Screaming Frog will help you to understand how effectively your website is being crawled and if there are any potential crawl issues which could be hampering your website from being effectively indexed and returned within the search results. It can also give you a good insight into the website’s crawl behaviours and if there’s any updates that you need to make to the internal linking to help improve the crawl path.
2. Page Titles & Headings
Page titles and headings are a hugely important part of your on-site SEO as they play an important role in signposting what content is on your website and what the content is about – think of them as a synopsis of the page. If you are trying to rank for “SEO agency” on Google then having a page title “SEO agency” with the heading “SEO agency” will definitely help to showcase to Google that that page exists on your website.
Page titles and headings should be clear and only focus on 1-2 keywords max – and there’s no harm in creating new pages for products that have reasonable search volume – in fact this is a great approach, especially when it comes to having a super-targeted page for specific categories or products. Undertaking fresh keyword research to identify where there is the opportunity to target new pages, and also undertaking research to evaluate if you are targeting the right keywords (i.e. should it be a cashmere “hat” or “beanie” based on product and search volume) will allow you to maximise the reach of your website and also ensure that you are gaining as much visibility as possible for your brand.
3. Page Copy
Page copy is incredibly important as it tells Google and the user about your products, brands or even your services. Ensure your copy is unique but also make it as helpful as possible – put yourselves in the shoes of the user to understand what it is that the user is looking for – have you answered their questions? Have you given them the chance to compare products? Have you given a guide to help them buy a particular product? These are all questions that the user will likely have so ensure that you are on hand to help them out.
As Google says in section 3.2 of the Page Quality Rater Guidelines, the “quality of the MC (main content) is one of the most important considerations for PQ (page quality) rating. Put simply, content is king and the quality of the content that you are putting onto your website, in addition to the reputation of the writer and the website that it’s published on, all play a key role in ensuring that your website is seen as trustworthy in Google’s eyes.
Google recently updated its Page Quality Rater Guidance to introduce the concept of E-E-A-T and at the centre of it all, was trust. Well-written content which is factually accurate and links out to good sources is a key component of trust on a website, so take the time to invest in creating effective content which is well-researched and factually backed, to ensure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of adhering to strong on-page E-E-A-T.
4. About Us / Clear & Satisying Website Information
In the Page Quality Rater Guidelines one of the things that Google encourages raters to do is to look at a company’s “About Us” page to find out more about the company and the people who are behind the content on the website. Customer service is also an important aspect – particularly for an ecommerce website – and when it talks about “clear & satisfying website information” that means ensuring that a user can contact you if they need to – do you have a clear way for users to contact you? (either through a clear Contact Us page on the website or through a phone number in the top right hand corner) – are they able to get in touch if they need help or to return a product? Being able to offer effective customer service plays an important element in the trust of an ecommerce store, so ensuring that you offer “clear and satisfying website information” isn’t important only to Google, but also to your users.
5. Returns & Shipping Information
Which brings me onto the next point about returns and shipping information. While this is a staple on many ecommerce websites, ensuring that your returns & shipping information is clear and easily digestible is an important part of giving the user what they need.
Do you offer international shipping? Let your users know. What is your returns process like? By showcasing the information to Google and users you are not only giving them the “helpful” information that they need, you are also helping to build trust in your brand. Make sure this information is displayed clearly and easily accessible from both the main navigation of your website and also on specific product pages – pop outs can also help to detract users away from their user journey and this can also play an important role in boosting conversion rate.
6. Internal Linking
In our opinion one of the most under-rated SEO optimisation opportunities, internal linking, plays a key role in telling Google about your most important pages and ensuring that the Googlebot can effectively crawl through your pages, in addition to linking your content together semantically so that Google can understand what your pages are about and any supplementary content that you might have around them.
Internal linking is important to creating content clusters and pillar posts which help to group together your content themes – allowing Google to see that you have a depth of knowledge and trust about a particular topic when it comes to ranking you for it. Additionally, given that ecommerce websites often contain such a large amount of pages, internal linking can help to indicate which of these pages are most important, so if you are selling garden benches for example, linking different content such as bench buying guides, product launches and brand information into your key garden benches page, plays an important role in helping you to showcase your expertise around garden benches.
You can utilise Screaming Frog and other tools to help you gather a list of pages where there are internal linking opportunities – often blog content or category pages where you mention particular products, brands or categories but don’t link – and utilise this to pull together a linking strategy to help boost your internal navigation and link signals.
7. Schema Mark-up
Another invaluable SEO technique for ecommerce stores is the use and implementation of Schema and structured data mark-up, particularly product mark-up across products that are for sale in your store. The utilisation of schema helps Google to understand what is on your page and the implementation of key schema such as product mark-up and FAQ mark-up can also help you to pull key information about your products and services through to the search results.
FAQ schema is one of the most popular types of schema implementation and involves marking up questions or FAQ content on your pages. Including FAQs across category and product pages is a great way to give users additional information about your product or category range while also providing effective “helpful content”, by marking these up with FAQs you can also give Google the opportunity to present them within the search results as such:
By allowing you to see the FAQs within the search result you can get an understanding of the level of experience of a particular brand and their expertise.
Product schema is another great option if you are an ecommerce store or if you are selling a product online and in addition to giving valuable information to the user, this can also help to advise Google around important information pertaining to your products, this can include:
By implementing schema correctly, Google can pull this information through into the SERPs which can allow it to be displayed effectively and help to encourage users through to your website – especially if you are competitively priced and they have a price in mind.
Schema implementation can be relatively straightforward but it plays an important role in helping Google and users to understand more about your website and can be a real value add.
9. Site Speed
Site speed plays an important role in your user experience and as such it plays a very important role and how effective the SEO on your website is. Google has for many years spoken about how important site speed is and in many cases it used to be true that if a website took over three seconds to load 50% of users would leave, this obviously isn’t ideal if you’re looking to attract and retain users on your website.
If you aren’t sure how your site speed currently performs then you can use the Google page speed insights tool to really understand how your website stacks up and a number of different speed metrics. The pagespeed insights tool also explains how your website performs on the core web vitals test, this is an important metric to Google and they have an algorithm update which specifically looks at how well websites perform against the core web vitals – we’ll talk about this a little bit more in next section.
Ultimately site speed plays a key role in user satisfaction so it’s important that you try and make your website as fast as possible so you’re delivering a good user experience as well as adhering to Google’s guidelines.
10. Core Web Vitals
Core web vitals playing important role in understanding how Google sees your website from a user experience perspective. There are three key considerations – LCP – that is how long it takes the largest element on your website to load CLS – that is looking at any images or areas of content on the website which is subject to shift when the user moves throughout the page and FID – that’s looking at how long it takes for the website to load from the first point of load.
A number of years ago Google introduced an algorithm update which was designed to ensure that websites performed well on the core web vitals test. The main purpose behind this algorithm was to encourage webmasters to create websites that drove a good user experience, had decent page speed and also ensured that when a user moved throughout the website the experience was seamless.
Although initially the majority of websites failed the core web vitals test, we are starting to see more and more websites take this seriously and as such, a higher percentage of websites pass this test than ever before. As a result, if you are building a new e-commerce store or you’re simply looking to upgrade your existing e-commerce store, then looking into core web vitals and how you can optimise to pass this test is an important SEO consideration
11. Image SEO
Image SEO is an important but often overlooked facet of effective SEO performance. This involves looking at the imagery in on your website and understanding how we could optimise this to appear within the Google image search and can be particularly useful if the product that you’re selling is driven by great image or if users are often searching for images on your website subject or topic.
To optimise for image SEO, one of the most important elements is the image alt text, this piece of code that often sits behind the image is the one descriptor that enables you to tell Google what that image is about. remember Google doesn’t always understand what an image is so we need to tell it in plain text form. The image alt text is a great way to tell Google what the image is about so make sure that you make your alt text as keyword rich and clear and concise as possible.
Another way that you can improve your Image SEO is through the naming of the images that you upload to your website. This doesn’t often have a huge impact but it can add to your Image SEO optimisation. As a result, when you’re uploading an image to the website we do recommend that you name the image with a keyword friendly format that again is clearly descriptive in plain text form of what is inside the image.
Sitemaps play an important role in helping Google to understand the structure of our website which can be very important when it comes to delivering an effective crawl. By creating an XML sitemap we are able to submit the sitemap to Google Search console and have Google effectively crawl the sitemap that we have created.
Submitting an XML sitemap to Google can also help us to identify where there are pages within the sitemap that haven’t been indexed or even pages in the sitemap which shouldn’t be indexed – this is really valuable in enabling us to give Google a really effective crawl and making sure that we maximise our crawl budget.
A sitemap will usually be created dynamically by the webmaster or the website itself and if you have an e-commerce store where you are frequently changing products or products might be going in and out stock, we would recommend setting up a dynamic type which refreshes at midnight each day, to ensure that the information that you’re sending to Google is relevant and correct.
The robots.txt file on a website is one of the most important files that you can have to give guidance to Google and how you want it to crawl your website. within this file you can give guidance to the Googlebot to understand how it needs to crawl your website, this can include files and folders that you would like it to avoid crawling, or it can include areas of the website that you would like to block from the crawl altogether.
This particular file is very valuable for e-commerce stores who may have a filtering system in place such as faceted navigation – in this instance Google will naturally crawl every link that is created and that could be thousands and thousands of variations of a product such as size, colour, shape etc… and this could lead to a significant waste and crawl budget and it may also mean that Google doesn’t reach the most important pages on your website as frequently as it should. In this instance we would recommend implementing a robots.txt file to ensure that Google is crawling the right areas of your website and to prevent it from wasting crawl budget in areas that you would prefer it to avoid.
14. Product Information
Your product information pages are some of the most important pages that you’ll have on an e-commerce website. these pages give your users the information that they need to understand what type of product you’re selling, what the particular features of that product are and also important elements like what that product is made of and what size it is available in.
It’s important to be clear and concise with your product information and to make sure that you make as much information available as possible to the user to help them to make an informed decision. At the end of the day we want the user to purchase the products when they are on our website, rather than going to a competitor, so it’s important that we are giving them all of the information that they need to make an informed purchase.
Where possible try and make your product descriptions unique as this can help to add value to the user and avoid the duplication of many other retailers who will be selling the same products. Although we do understand that in many instances it’s difficult to do this and in some cases you will need to use the manufacturer’s copy on your website. If this is the case then try to add a unique element to your website in another way, this could be looking at implementing FAQs or pulling in some USPs of using your shop against a competitor.
We mentioned FAQs in the last point as one of the most important ways to add unique content onto your website, but more than this they have the ability to answer your user’s questions and easily match your user purpose and intent, this is an important element in Google’s quality rater guidelines and something that you should be looking to add to your e-commerce store.
If you aren’t sure where to start with FAQs then looking at the types of questions that people are searching for using keyword research tools to understand conversational queries is a great place to start. In addition, you could look at the people also ask section at the bottom of the Google Search results to get an idea of what other users have been searching for related to your specific product or category group.
Once you have an idea of the questions that people are asking, you can then start to generate great copy that answers those questions directly and put it into faq format to fit into the website. We also recommend implementing FAQ schema which can help Google to understand that your content is in FAQ format and also that it’s answering a user’s question which is always super valuable to the content of the page.
16. Clear Titles & Headings
Clear targeting plays an important role in helping Google to understand what your e-commerce pages are about, this means ensuring that all product and category pages are clearly labeled with clear titles and clear headings telling the user what is on that page. We generally recommend that you only focus each page with one or two maximum keywords to ensure that those pages are seen as super relevant for that term and additionally this helps Google to understand that you are relevant for that term and may help you to perform better in the search results.
If you aren’t sure where to start with titles and headings then undertaking keyword research to understand what uses are searching for and the types of search volumes around those keywords can help you to choose the right keyword for that page. In many instances we see the e-commerce pages are set up to target the wrong keyword and in this instance they could be missing out on a great deal of opportunity. An example of this could be targeting a cashmere sweaters page with the keyword cashmere knitwear – on review we might find the cashmere sweaters has a higher search volume than cashmere knitwear, but as we have chosen to target it with the latter we are missing out on the opportunity to capitalise on that search volume. This is a great example of a situation where looking at how we are targeting the page and page title is important to ensure that we’re maximising the visibility for our website.
17. Product Information
Most e-commerce stores will have a mega nav or a main menu with very clean navigation and this allows Google to understand what the main pages on that website are and when it usually lands on the homepage, it helps to direct Google through the website to ensure that it lands on some of the most important pages on the site first.
This is one of the main reasons why having a good main navigation is so important – and much time and detail should be put into researching the right pages to go into the navigation, to ensure that you’re really maximising the opportunity here both from the user and an internal link equity perspective.
If you aren’t sure where to start with evaluating your navigation and your crawl, then a great place to start is with a log file analysis. Log file analysis allows you to understand how Google is crawling through your website and to identify which pages are most frequently called and which pages perhaps aren’t getting much of a visit at all. Once you’ve undertaken a log analysis you can have a really good idea of where you might need to improve the internal navigation of your website. If some of the most important pages aren’t being reached very frequently or there are a number of pages which are being repeatedly crawled perhaps indicating that Google is stuck on those pages, then updating your main navigation will help to ensure that Google can continue one it’s way and that the appropriate pages on your website are getting indexed as they should be.
18. Internal Linking
Internal linking plays a very important role in allowing Google to move through your website. Connecting your pages together and allowing the Googlebot to move effectively throughout the website without getting stuck in a particular area or without missing out on key pages plays an important role in ensuring that your website is effectively crawled and indexed giving it the best possible chance to return well within the search results. Internal linking also helps Google to understand what the most important pages on your website are, and building an effective internal linking structure can help to send positive page signals to ensure that Google understands which pages they need to consider as most significant on your website.
Last but not least we have the concept of expertise authority and trust, these words are perhaps some of the most mentioned words when we talk about SEO and the three of the most important elements when it comes to Google evaluating how your website performs in the search results. Google has told us time and time again how important it is for websites to showcase expertise, authority and trust through everything that they do both on-site and off-site and it’s no different for e-commerce stores which are often held to a higher standard due to the transactional nature of the website.
E-A-T can come in a number of different formats and there’s a number of things that you can do on your website to really push and exude these key signals, but in general on e-commerce stores there’s two areas that we focus on the most, these are the About Us page and the Contact Us page – as they both showcase important information to the user and to Google regarding who is behind the website and how they can be contacted if an issue arises.
Your About Us page should do what it says on the tin and that is it should tell people about you, it should tell people about your brand, your background, your expertise and why they can trust to make a purchase from you. This is also a place to talk about any achievements, awards, accreditations or other recommendations that you’ve had that can help to add to that trust side of the business. It’s also nice to include a meet the team page so that people can understand the names and faces behind the brand that they are purchasing from.
Your Contact Us page is also important – this provides your customers with the ability to connect with you if there’s a problem with the order or if they need to ask a question and this plays an important role in matching user purpose and intent and allowing the users to make an informed decision before they make their purchase. It gives them peace of mind if they do make the purchase and there’s an issue with it that they are able to resolve it quickly and easily so having a clearly visible contact us page with a number of ways to communicate with you effectively is always a bonus here. From an SEO perspective this is a big tick in both the authority and the trust boxes as it helps to build trust with the user knowing that they can communicate with you if there is an issue.
SEO is hugely important for e-commerce websites but in order to get the most out of your website it’s important to follow the right guidance and to understand what you need to do to get the most out of the search engine results. So if you are working with an e-commerce store or if you’re planning to launch one in the near future, take time to invest in understanding how you can get SEO to work for you and it will pay off in the long run.Iif you’d like to know more about how we can help you with your SEO for an e-commerce store then please get in touch!
Here at Cedarwood we love a bit of interior design and are over the moon to welcome on board one of our latest Digital PR clients: Bobbi Beck. Bobbi Beck are sustainable wallpaper brand who create beautifully designed wallpapers which are eco-friendly and made right here in the UK!
The wallpaper brand focuses on producing premium wallpapers without causing any harm to the planet and every roll is crafted and packed by hand from their dedicated design and print studio based in Cornwall.
We will be working closely with them to deliver a high growth Digital PR strategy designed to gain valuable coverage for the brand and also drive some high quality links back into the website to boost SEO performance.
Jason Arrowsmith, CEO & Digital Director at Bobbi Beck said:
“After shortlisting and speaking to 5 agencies, we chose to bring Cedarwood on board as our chosen Digital PR partner. They stood out because of their complete transparency and because of their flexible approach to strategy. They took the time to listen to our requirements and goals, and presented a strategy that really aligned with those.
We’re looking forward to working together and driving great results!“
Amanda Walls, Director at Cedarwood Digital said:
“We are delighted to be working with the team at Bobbi Beck. Their ethos, approach to the environment and just beautiful designs make for a really great product that we are looking forward to working with.
Our dedicated Digital PR service and experience in the sector means that we’re well-placed to land some great coverage and content for the brand which will help to deliver great results “
To find out more about our Digital PR service head to our dedicated Digital PR page here
Last Thursday the team headed down to MissingLink LIVE – a great free event hosted by JBH and Prowly – which brings marketers together with some great guest speakers to discuss the latest industry trends.
It was one of the first face to face events that had been held in Manchester since the lockdown so we were certainly happy to be out and about again and it was great to see such a strong turnout as people were keen to head back into the networking space.
On the night there were a number of topics covered from using Digital PR to drive trust and debunking the myths of personal branding through to understanding the value of SEO.
Our Director, Amanda Walls spoke about the recent Quality Rater Guideline updates for Google and what that means for marketers – she looked specifically at websites that fall into the Your Money Your Life category and how they can improve their websites and the way they present content to adhere to the higher page quality standards.
The night was a great success with lots of pizza eaten and wine drunk, but it was also a great opportunity to gather some key takeaways from a very valuable knowledge sharing evening.
Here are our five key takeaways from the session:
That SEO drives long term value and often people give up before they start to realise what that value actually is – a lot of businesses get impatient if they don’t see results from SEO quickly so they pack it in, but in reality they are only just getting started and could in fact be turning away their most valuable source of revenue before they have even got started
“What is common knowledge to you, is a game changer to someone else” – this was a great quote from Philip Ossai – we often under value our own knowledge because we are constantly surrounded by people in our industry, but as a result of this we forget how valuable it can be to people who don’t do our job day in day out, and how much others can gain just through sharing this knowledge
Reputation matters – whether it’s on-site or off-site, Google and users are looking for information about your reputation as a key trust signal. Sometimes we spend so much time looking only on-site that we forget to look off-site and understand what our potential customers (and Google) are reading about us
Build expertise through your links – look at factors such as relevancy, credentials of the article author and the relevancy of the publication to the topic and client that you’re covering. Rebecca used a great example of placing a healthcare client in Men’s Health Magazine, in the healthcare section by the healthcare editor – the value of quality links such as these is high in that they add those key E-A-T signals that we are often looking for
In person training sessions are BACK! This was probably one of the biggest takeaways and in this industry there is no substitute for in person learning from other industry experts.
Speakers L-R (Rebecca Moss, Amanda Walls, Philip Ossai and Andy Holland)
We thoroughly enjoyed the evening and look forward to the next one!
We’re absolutely delighted to announce that we have been nominated for two awards at the UK Ecommerce Awards 2022 for:
📍UK Ecommerce Small Agency Of The Year
📍Ecommerce Search Campaign Of The Year (With Hayes Garden World)
After winning Small Ecommerce Agency Of The Year at last year’s awards we are absolutely delighted to have been nominated again, especially for awards which are so well recognised within the UK Ecommerce community.
The last 12 months has been a period of significant growth across the business but particularly within our Ecommerce clients, not only have we grown accounts with our existing clients, but we have brought on a range of new ecommerce clients during the year selling a range of products from vapes to desks to jewellery to furniture.
Ecommerce has grown significantly since lockdown and we’ve been working closely with our clients old and new to keep them at the forefront of the user search, through both SEO and PPC, to ensure that they are maximising their visibility and increasing their sales.
We look forward to attending the ceremony in November and you can find a full list of all the agencies nominated here
In August, Google updated its Page Quality Rater Guidelines. This is something it does from time to time to reinforce the key principles it looks for when evaluating the quality of a page. In SEO circles, these Quality Rater Guidelines are somewhat of a bible. Although most SEOs won’t have read them from start to finish (there’s over 300 pages!) many will take excerpts from them as a way of trying to understand what Google is looking for. They can then use this information to determine how they should present their websites to make them more ‘SEO-friendly’.
In recent years, a number of key concepts have come out of the Quality Rater Guidelines, with perhaps the most significant one being the concept of E-A-T or Expertise, Authority and Trust. While the principle of this has been around for years, it’s only in the last few that SEOs have started to look towards it as a way of ‘optimising’ a website and putting it as a key focus for their SEO campaigns. The little known sibling of E-A-T is the acronym Y-M-Y-L, otherwise known as Your Money or Your Life. There is far less conversation about YMYL but, in many cases, it is significantly, if not more, important than the concept of E-A-T. In this blog we are going to look at what YMYL is and how you can apply the principles to your website to benefit your SEO.
What Is Your Money Your Life?
Let’s start with a simple definition and understanding of what YMYL is and how it applies to websites. The concept of Your Money or Your Life was defined by Google to highlight websites which fall into a specific category; that is, websites which impact either your money or your life. As these websites and the topics within them could have a substantial impact on a person, their pages, and the website as a whole, are held to a much higher standard within the Quality Rater Guidelines. If there is an issue with any of the content on a YMYL website, it can have a significant and detrimental impact on an individual.
With the recent update to the guidelines Google has aimed to simplify what it designates as a YMYL website. They have supplied the following guidance and examples, and whilst there are no hard and fast rules, this information helps to demonstrate what might fall into the YMYL category and what might not:
As you can see from the guidance, YMYL really refers to websites which give information that could impact an individual’s money or life. Therefore, if your website or one of your clients’ websites fall into this category, then you need to get to grips with the Quality Rater Guidelines and start understanding what YMYL is really all about.
So How Do I Optimise For YMYL?
Optimising your website for YMYL focuses around creating great quality, trustworthy content. This content should show Google that your website is a trustworthy place for users to come for information, and to convert and potentially engage in your services or buy your product. There are a number of factors that come into play when it comes to optimising for this, and we will go through them in the guide, but one of the best places to start is to look frankly at your website and ask these questions:
Does my website answer or fulfil the user’s purpose?
Do I have well-written authoritative content on my website?
Is it clear who has written my content and what their expertise is?
You can conceptualise these questions into three key areas:
By taking the above approach we can see three key consistent themes across YMYL:
Have we matched User Intent? Are we giving clear information and expertise early on in the piece, and are we also giving reassurance of expertise throughout the content
Does the website have a clearly defined purpose? Can users reach what they need to and is the content up to date?
Who has created the content and what are their credentials? What is their reputation and the reputation of the website as a whole?
With these concepts and ideas in mind you can set about creating a practical SEO strategy with these key themes at the forefront.
Google backs up this approach in section 3.1 of the Google Quality Rater Guidelines. This outlines the most important information that Page Quality Raters should be looking for in this category:
On-Page SEO For YMYL
On-page SEO is a great place to start on your path to YMYL greatness and is also one of the most important areas when it comes to sending the right signals to Google. It is a key area where Google will be looking for you to showcase your expertise and trust, as on-site content is likely where users will start to get an understanding of your brand. Effective on-page SEO is a mix of content with a solid structure that has been created with the user in mind. It is not written for search engines. So, it’s important to remember throughout your on-page optimisation that you are writing to gain the trust of the user and, as a result of this, Google will look to trust your website too.
Matching User Intent
Matching user intent and purpose is a key element of the YMYL concept. While this is also a part of E-A-T, its role in showcasing a website’s trust and being able to answer the users’ questions confidently is very important here. Definitions and FAQs, alongside a clear and concise demonstration of your expertise, will go a long way to matching user intent. To bolster this you should create a website which is easy to navigate and makes it clear how users can contact you should they need more information.
When creating your key pages, such as product or category landing pages, always keep user intent in mind. This can guide how you lay out your content and in which order. It’s worth remembering that users don’t always scroll to the bottom of your page and so Google might not either. Therefore, ensure that you are matching as much user intent and relevancy as you can at the top of the page, to maximise the benefit.
We’ve recently done a project with one of our legal clients on matching user intent. As a client that sits firmly within the YMYL category we know it is important that they demonstrate to Google that their site is a trusted source able to answer user queries. In this case, it was something as simple as identifying that high performing competitors had a clear definition at the start of their content and were, therefore, directly answering the user’s query. We were then able to optimise our content accordingly.
Authoring Your Content
A key concept of YMYL has always been about who has authored your content. In the most recent update, Google has gone even further to highlight how important the concept of authorship is and, additionally, the reputation of the author. This is a clear signal to show how trustworthy a piece of content or a page is
Authoring content became popular in the SEO community after the Medic update, where we saw a good uplift for content which was well authored by experts. Google now stipulates clearly within the Quality Rater Guidelines that it wants to understand not only who the expert is that has written the content, but also their credentials. Google wants to know what makes this person an expert in the field and do they have the level of trust and expertise to be giving out this information?
It’s not enough to just add a ‘Written By’ with the name and photo of your expert, you now need to qualify this expert. This could be with a short snippet or excerpt of information on the page, or a link through to an expert profile with further details and information. This expert profile could include qualifications, industry accreditations or the number of years’ experience. To further qualify this, external links pointing out to trusted websites, such as accreditation boards or websites where they have contributed expert opinion, allows Google to see from trusted third party sources that the person in question is an expert in the field.
By taking the time to build out author profiles, you’re not only showcasing to Google the level of expertise that your business has, you’re also showing it to your potential audience. This can be a significant benefit from a CRO perspective, in addition to boosting your YMYL signals.
Refreshing Your Content Regularly
Up-to-date content and statistics are a great way to showcase your expertise. If you have content on your website which is out of date, even by just a few years, this can cause issues from a YMYL perspective. Worse still is content that contains information that is now incorrect because it is so out of date.
It’s not practical to be consistently updating your content, especially if you have quite a large website. Refreshing key elements of it, including statistics, expert information, relevancy and commentary will go a long way to ensuring that the information on your website is fresh and correct. Auditing your content regularly to ensure that the data is up to date and adding in new external links to data sources (as they become relevant) is a great way to prevent your content from becoming outdated. Additionally, identifying your top 5-10 traffic pages & putting in place a plan to optimise these regularly is well worth it. If they are driving traffic they likely have rankings that you want to maintain. So, prioritising the update and refresh of content on these pages will go a long way to keeping you where you need to be.
Including External Links
Many people are reluctant to include external links across their website as they feel it sends their valuable ‘link equity’ to another website. While links do pass equity the amount is often nominal, and is far offset by the value of having your website point to other reputable websites and information sources. Linking out to external sources can help to back up your expertise and qualify a lot of what you are saying, as you are linking to sources that can verify the point you are making. As a result it can actually enhance the overall expertise and trust level of your website.
If you are externally linking to other websites, the only caveat is that you need to ensure that the content that you are linking out to is relevant, current and that it doesn’t end up as a broken link. A simple crawl which checks your external links is a great way to keep on top of this.
Digital PR For YMYL
Enhancing YMYL signals on the website doesn’t just stop at traditional on-site SEO and content. To give a proper level of authority and trust this should be extolled throughout the whole website and also the inbound link profile. Strong Digital PR should play an important role in amplifying these signals & helping to drive expertise-driven links into your website, while improving your overall website authority.
Although in many instances Digital PR is about driving high quality links, there are cases where agencies will build links for links sake and this doesn’t benefit anyone. It doesn’t benefit the reader as what they are reading about may be unrelated to your website and so there is low user intent. It also doesn’t benefit you, as the links that you are drawing to the website don’t have that all-important element of relevancy.
Digital PR for YMYL websites should look to really drive relevancy and expertise where it can. That means choosing topics which are closely linked to your website’s purpose, product or service. Then ensuring that any coverage or Digital PR, that you are putting out to garner links back to the website, are related to this.
In addition, you should be utilising your Digital PR where you can to extoll the virtues of your expertise. This can be done in a number of ways from thought leadership through to product-led campaigns. Whatever you choose, this strategy can be a very effective way to continue building those all-important off-site trust signals which Google really values.
If you’re looking for inspiration for Digital PR that fits well with YMYL, you’ll find some examples of recent expertise-led coverage that we’ve landed for our clients. These links are great value; not only because they are from trustworthy websites, but also because they showcase our client’s expertise on an external source, thus delivering great overall value to their campaigns.
Check out some of our most recent Thought Leadership campaigns for our client Hayes Garden World here:
Although technical SEO isn’t always seen as effective as on-site content or Digital PR for sending good YMYL signals to Google, it still has a role to play. Good technical SEO means Google can effectively and efficiently crawl your site, and clearly and easily recognise the trust signals. This ensures the reputation of your website remains strong.
Optimising your website technically for YMYL follows a lot of the traditional technical SEO elements, but with an emphasis on ensuring that what Google is seeing on your website reflects a good reputation and authority.
Schema Mark-Up is a really nice way to tell Google about factors which enhance your reputation, such as on-site FAQs or reviews. This can be a really nice way to help Google easily and concisely interpret your reputation information.
There is a wide range of Schema Mark-Up options that you can use to help Google understand your trust signals, from product and organisation information to reviews and FAQ mark-up. While each of these is valuable, we would recommend undertaking a schema audit to really understand what information you have available and how you can effectively mark-up.
Not sure where to start? If you’re new to Schema Mark-up and haven’t done it before, we’ve included below a couple of ideas to get you started:
FAQ Schema – This is a great way to showcase your expertise which is a key element of YMYL. Whether it’s product or information pages, FAQs are a great way to show that you are matching and answering user intent. Mark these up with some delicious FAQ Schema and show Google that your website knows what its talking about!
Review Schema – Product reviews? Business reviews? Trusted external third party reviews? Whatever you have you should be telling Google about it! External reviews are a really great way to validate the expertise and trust in your business so why not shout about them? If you display reviews on your website you can utilise Review Schema to mark these up and let Google know all about it.
If you’re not sure how to check the schema that is already in place on the website, or you want to audit it, then a great place to start is with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. By using the tool you can evaluate your existing Schema implementation, check that it’s all correctly implemented and identify areas where further schema can be placed.
Log File Analysis
Log File Analysis plays a key role in ensuring that your website is YMYL friendly. While traditional crawlers will help you to gather trends around how Google crawls your website, log file analysis will allow you to see how Google is actually crawling your website. This helps you to identify any issues or pain points which might not have been picked up by your regular crawler.
Log Analysis allows you to conduct a deep dive into the way that the Googlebot and other crawlers are moving through your website. This means you are able to analyse which pages are being most heavily crawled and, therefore, which pages Google is potentially looking towards to gain trust signals. It also points you towards any crawl errors, such as broken pages or redirects, which could be impacting crawl efficiency and wasting crawl budget. Crawl errors will send poor quality signals to Google which is, of course, something we are keen to avoid.
We often find during a log analysis that crawl budget is being wasted and if crawl budget spends too much time on pages which don’t add value to your website then it’s likely that Google starts to view your website as this as a whole, so it’s critical that every signal you send Google is a good one and analysing log analysis to see what signals you might be sending is a good place to start.
An effective Log Analysis should allow you to review the crawl across your website and make updates, so that you are left feeling confident about how the reputation of your website is shown to Google. You can even do it with as few as seven days log files. Get asking your server host for those log files and do some digging into that data to analyse how effectively Google is crawling your website!
YMYL is a key consideration for a lot of websites. Yet there are still people within SEO who focus on the pillars of Technical, Content & Links. They are potentially missing out on clearly defining the underlying principles within their strategy and understanding what Google is really looking for from a trust perspective.
Hopefully you have found the above useful. If you’d like to find out more about how you can utilise YMYL for SEO, or if you website falls into this category and you’d like some help optimising it for SEO, then get in touch!
With the first half of 2022 already drawing to a close, we thought we’d have a quick look back at five recent quick turnaround newsjacking campaigns which have delivered high-quality, relevant, super expertise driven links to our clients with very little prep or turnaround time.
Knowing how important our E-A-T signals are, particularly for some of our clients in Your Money Your Life verticals, building high quality, expertise-driven links is important to our client’s SEO success. Here we’ve rounded up a couple of examples from recent months where jumping on the latest trends has helped us to deliver solid links for clients with a quick turnaround time.
Cheapest Roast Dinner
Links: 112 / Average DR: 55
The Cheapest Roast Dinner campaign for our client Cash Lady was one of our favourites – a super simple campaign to carry out with a clearly defined purpose and an outcome which had a great hook for journalists and relevant at a time where the cost of living is increasing and general costs are going up. This campaign involved researching which supermarket offered the cheapest roast dinner, compiling the data together and then presenting it on our client’s website. We created some juicy angles around the data and seeded it out to our media lists.
The campaign was a great success placing well across a range of regional publications, in addition to a number of key dailies including The Daily Record, The Daily Star and Birmingham Live.
New Years’ Resolutions
Links: 23 / Average DR: 82
If you’re like us then the New Year is a great time for change and New Years Resolutions are one way to at least encourage yourself to change or improve something (or just give something up) from the year before – but we all know that these never last – so we looked into search data for one of our ecommerce clients MIST, to find out exactly how long people manage to hang onto those New Year Resolutions before they start slipping back in to their old habits.
The answer? Not very long – after reviewing and analysing search data it turns out that February 19th is usually the key date – less than two months after the resolutions have started! To reach this conclusion we analysed five years’ worth of search data and evaluated when specific keywords spiked that related to an ending of a specific resolution. With most resolutions revolving around health – it was easy to see when a spike in keywords such as “takeaway” rose that people were starting to give up on these habits…
Once we had the data we pulled together some great press release angles and sent it out to our media lists. A super quick piece to turnaround which landed over 23 links across some high tier publications including AOL and Yahoo!
Links: 29 / AverageDR: 70
As cases of childhood hepatitis rose towards the start of the year it was something that was trending broadly within the news. We worked closely with our medical negligence client Patient Claim Line to produce expert comments on how parents can help to identify if their child could potentially have meningitis and what to look for – as well as what to do if they find that they have suffered from misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis.
The piece was quickly picked up by mainstream media and landed 29 links with an average DR of 70.
Holiday Savings Tips
Links: 42 / AverageDR: 66
Brits love a summer holiday and as summer holiday season started to ramp up we saw that a lot of newspapers and publications were starting to publish savings tips and tricks which would be particularly effective in the current economic climate. With this in mind we teamed up with Instagram Mum Emma Stretton to deliver some great holiday savings tips at a time where everyone was looking to make their money go a little further.
Once we’d spoken to Emma we pulled this together in press release form with some great hooks for journalists and outreached it to our media list. The content landed really well with over 40 links generated on high quality publications including Wales Online, The Sun, MSN and the The Birmingham Mail.
Links: 15 / AverageDR: 74
As we approach summer, gardening has been a hot topic of discussion across a lot of news channels, working with our client Hayes Garden World we have jumped into numerous conversations and added our expertise to news jack and build high quality links into our client’s website. Topics that we have contributed to include: “How to fertilise without chemicals”, “Everything you need to know about planting trees”, “How to prevent weeds growing” and “Making the most of your garden in March”.
Our expert commentary and news jacking has been featured across a range of high profile publications including House Beautiful, Daily Express, The Mirror, Ideal Home and the Yorkshire Post.
Newsjacking is a great way to land solid links by jumping on a trending topic and it’s also a great way to push expertise driven links into your website, adding that all important E-A-T value! To find out more about our newsjacking service and Digital PR or how we could help to gain you brand coverage and valuable high quality links enquiry today!
SEO, PPC & Digital PR Agency
Experienced PPC, SEO & Digital PR agency. Get in touch today and find out what we can do for you and your business.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.