My Five #330

A search engine heavy MyFive this week including news that Ahrefs is taking on Google, plus great tips from Moz and brilliant marketing from Marmite.

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Five things worth sharing from the last week or so, brought to you by a different member of the Browser Media team every Friday.

This week’s My Five is by Joe.

1. Ahrefs to compete with Google

Pretty big news from Ahrefs this week when they announced that they are “working on a general purpose search engine to compete with Google”.

Why on Earth would you take on Google?

Ahrefs believes that users’ concerns about privacy is a massive problem that could potentially topple Google. They are also suggesting that they are not going to pocket the potentially massive profits, but share them with content publishers.

There is no doubt that this is a massively ambitious project. Ahrefs has a lot of experience in crawling and is obviously very familiar with the mechanics of search and search engine users’ requirements, but will they succeed where so many others have failed?

One to watch…

2. Steal from Google and Facebook

Whilst Ahrefs sets out to steal market share from Google, a certain Evaldas Rimassauskas of Lithuania has owned up to stealing $99m from Facebook and $23m from Google over a two year period.

I know that we shouldn’t be celebrating criminal activity, but we all love a good Robin Hood story and we can just pretend it is some of the taxes that they haven’t paid.

It looks as though he could be staring at bars for the next thirty years, but it also looks as though he may have a nice little $73m stash to enjoy in his retirement as he has only agreed to forfeit $50m.

A lesson to us all – make sure you make sure the invoices you are paying are actually genuine.

3. Google update

Google rolled out a core algorithm update in the middle of this month.

I am pleased to say that we have seen largely very positive results. As one of our team put it, “it looks as though this one actually rewards good SEO”.

It has been interesting to read reports that are starting to be published around the globe.

Search Engine Land paints a fairly compelling picture that the March 2019 update reverses some of the patterns seen in the ‘medic’ update in August 2018.

Search Engine Roundtable is not so convinced, claiming that only 60% of sites hit in the medic update had seen any recovery in this last update.

Searchmetrics has a good post that also points to a reversal of the medic update, but emphasises the importance of building trust in your brand and how user signals are becoming more important.

If the truth is told, which is the Browser Media way, these updates are no longer as seismic as the Google Dances of many, many moons ago.

Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms to try to identify the best quality sites. It is getting much rarer to see massive changes, despite the hype, but there is constant volatility and you should not panic if you see a drop in rankings.

Focus on creating the best site in your sector and publish content that you know your users will love.

4. Recruiting an SEO manager

It is no secret that (good) SEO talent is a bit of a rarity.

Whilst there is a never ending flow of people who will tell you that they are SEO gurus, it is very difficult to find genuinely talented individuals and this is arguably the greatest challenge for any SEO team, be it in-house or an agency team.

I really enjoyed reading the excellent post on Moz this week about creating an interview test for a potential SEO manager.

As is so often the case on the Moz blog, there is a lot of very helpful / actionable advice on offer and I think that the proposed ‘quiz’ would most certainly help identify whether someone is up to the job of an SEO manager.

A personal highlight is the Venn diagram showing the skills that you need to be good at SEO. Being able to offer a mix of technical, content, and analytical skills is no mean feat and is why brilliant SEO bods are like a needle in a haystack.

If you are one of those needles, we would love to hear from you.

5. Brilliant marketing

I love it when companies seize the opportunity to create marketing that responds to the news agenda.

Whilst I am sick to death of Brexit (sorry – I really didn’t want to mention the B word, but this is worth it), I laughed out loud at the brilliant Marmite ad on their Facebook page yesterday:


A brilliant piece of marketing.

The comment feed is worth a read too :-)

Have a great weekend, folks.

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