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Cannibalization’s Good Twin (SEO Study)

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Cannibalization's Good Twin (SEO Study)

At Ahrefs.com we’ve got 9.7k cases of multiple rankings. It’s when a site ranks for a keyword with more than one page.

Now, classic SEO theory says that if you rank with more than one page for a keyword, it’s a cannibalization issue, and you should fix it.

But when I spent a day carefully reviewing a sample of 80 keywords with multiple rankings, I found only one case that needed action.

So if all other cases were not bad, maybe they were actually good? Moreover, maybe you should target keywords with more than one page to squeeze out more traffic from a keyword?

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Keyword cannibalization: bad multiple rankings

Keyword cannibalization is when a search engine constantly exchanges ranking between multiple pages or when multiple pages rank simultaneously for the same keyword but are similar enough to be consolidated.

How cannibalization looks on a position history chart. How cannibalization looks on a position history chart.

These cases need fixing because Google will display only one page at a time or you could get more traffic by rolling content under one page.

Example: “seo case studies” 

For the keywords “seo case studies” and “seo case study”, we saw a group of blog posts constantly exchanging rankings in the SERPs.

Although each case study had a different URL, the phrase “case study” in each title and URL may have triggered cannibalization.

Position history for "seo case studies".Position history for "seo case studies".

This meant that whenever we published a new case study, the old one was dropped from the SERPs and substituted with the new one.

We fixed the issue by creating a bare-bones pillar page with internal links to all of our case studies. Google ranked the pillar page as the main result with a selection of case studies as site links.

As a result of consolidating, we rank better with one page than we ever did with several. We almost instantly ranked in the top 10 and have remained in the top 3, most of the time giving way only to Google’s page on the same topic. Some of the case studies even ranked as site links to the pillar page.

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Position history after creating a pillar page. Position history after creating a pillar page.

Example: “broken link building” 

For this keyword, we used to have two guides. As you can see below, these rankings didn’t swap, they ranked simultaneously in the top 10 for a long time.

Position history for "broken link building".Position history for "broken link building".

However, we managed to improve that result with a new guide that consolidated information from the old guides — this is the long pink line you can see in the chart below.

Position history for "broken link building" - after consolidating. Position history for "broken link building" - after consolidating.

So, this was a case of cannibalization because these pages were close enough in terms of content. In such cases, consolidating content can bring better results.

Keyword diversification: good multiple rankings

Keyword diversification is when two or more pages rank for the same keyword simultaneously, and there is likely no benefit in consolidating.

How diversification looks on a position history chart. How diversification looks on a position history chart.

There’s nothing to be fixed here. If Google ranked your site more than once, the system rewarded your content.

Example: “keyword rankings” 

For this keyword, we rank with:

  • A glossary article ranking in the featured snippet.
  • A landing page for a tool at #4 .
SERP overview for "keyword rankings".SERP overview for "keyword rankings".

Do the pages swap rankings? No, they’ve been ranking simultaneously for over half a year.

Position history for "keyword rankings".Position history for "keyword rankings".

Is there any benefit to consolidating? Unlikely. This way, we serve two kinds of intent: we cater to people who want to get a definition of the term as well as those who want to check their keyword rankings.

Example: “SEO audit” 

For this keyword, we rank with:

  • A blog article at #4.
  • A landing page for a tool at #7.
SERP overview for "seo audit".SERP overview for "seo audit".

None of the pages swap rankings.

Position history for "seo audit". Position history for "seo audit".

Consolidating them would make no sense because we would need to choose between catering to searchers who want a tool and those who want a guide.

Why rank once when you can rank twice, right?

Sure, if you rank two times in the top 10, you get traffic from both positions (as shown in traffic uplift in the table below). This may seem like an absolute gain in traffic, but it’s a bit tricky. In practice, the new traffic may not be worth it, and you’re also risking pushing down another valuable page.

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Let me illustrate this. I took a bunch of keywords where we ranked with 2 URLs in the top ten (otherwise, we’d hardly get any traffic) and looked at the click distribution.

  • Traffic uplift — the traffic we gained via ranking another page in top 10 (traffic to new page/traffic to old page).
  • Traffic share of the old page — traffic share of the page that ranked first for the keyword.
  • Traffic share of the new page — traffic share of the page that came later, i.e., the page that created diversification.
Keyword Traffic uplift Traffic share of the old page Traffic share of the new page
keyword search 1.94% 98.10% 1.90%
seo audit 37.74% 72.60% 27.40%
free seo tools 296.13% 25.24% 74.76%
affiliate marketing for beginners 6.63% 93.78% 6.22%
free keyword research tool 677.69% 12.86% 87.14%
keyword rankings 60.71% 62.22% 37.78%
how to become an affiliate marketer 2.39% 97.67% 2.33%
keyword difficulty 9233.33% 1.07% 98.93%

As you can see, pages that come later to the SERPs do not always get a bigger traffic share. Just by looking at this small sample, we can see that there are at least three possible scenarios:

  • The new page can outrank the old page, either by jumping into a higher position than the original page or pushing the old page lower. More traffic will go to the new page, and in some cases (because that also depends on the CTR), you will gain significantly more traffic.
  • The new page will outrank the old, but will get lower CTR, and less traffic. This is what happened in the case of “keyword rankings” — the featured snippet with a definition of a term ranked higher than a landing page with the free tool but got fewer clicks.
  • The new page won’t outrank the old page or will rank in site links. Then your diversification efforts will add a few percent of new traffic at best.

Keep in mind that:

  • All newly added pages ranked for their unique set of keywords, bringing in additional traffic not listed above.
  • We’re only talking about the quantity of traffic here. How qualified that traffic was is a different story.

First off, it’s not something you can fully control. In our case, most of those instances were accidents — Google’s hard-coded propensity to rank some sites multiple times on the same SERP.

But let’s say you see this great opportunity to rank twice in the top 10. It’s definitely possible, but again, a bit tricky. Based on my observations:

  1. The disparity in clicks between two ranking pages can be significant. Oftentimes, introducing a second page might result in only a marginal increase in traffic while potentially reducing clicks on the originally ranking page.
  2. It’s more challenging than the good ol’ one-keyword-one-page tactic because the odds are against you since the site diversity update.
  3. You may need more expensive types of content than what you already have ranking. For instance, a free tool that serves the intent better than an article that already ranks.
  4. Maintaining top organic rankings for two pages is more difficult than sustaining a single high-ranking spot. In the case of ahrefs.com, situations where a second page maintains a long stable position in the top 10 are rare (see image below).
Position history with volatile multiple rankings. Position history with volatile multiple rankings.

Most looked like this or worse — ranking and then dropping for months only to reappear for some reason.

Position history with even more volatile multiple rankings. Position history with even more volatile multiple rankings.

Another thing you might try is to double dip in a keyword by ranking videos for keywords with video SERP features or create a hub of definition pages (like our glossary) to rank for featured snippets that require a definition.

But there’s a hack for diversification, too: buy or launch another website.

Google may claim that they are very cautious about ranking the same site twice, but that does not seem to apply to the same business.

To illustrate, when our competitor acquired a popular SEO blog, Google didn’t care about the connection. It has been treating them as two different sites despite being the same business. As a result of diversification, that play allowed them to “double dip” on 8700 keywords ranking in the top 10.

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Content gap analysis from Ahrefs. Content gap analysis from Ahrefs.

Naturally, they’re not the only example. Glen Allsopp does a fantastic job at following the works of media giants who diversified so well that they literally dominated the SERPs within their niches.

Obviously, more popular keywords will have enough volume to distribute considerable traffic across the top 10. However, that traffic will largely depend on the CTRs, and these are different for each keyword.

If you’re using Ahrefs, open the Traffic share by page report in Keywords Explorer and you’ll get an estimation of how much traffic you can get from each position in the SERPs.

Traffic share by page report in Ahrefs. Traffic share by page report in Ahrefs.

This should give you a good idea of whether taking another position is worth the fight.

Going further, I checked if the metrics and characteristics below had any relation to keyword diversification.

No keyword is too popular for diversification

The median search volume for cannibalized keywords is virtually the same as for our single rankings (50 vs. 40), so we can infer that search volume doesn’t play a determining role.

Distribution of keyword volumes and median for single rankings and multiple rankings. Distribution of keyword volumes and median for single rankings and multiple rankings.

Diversify but make sure to align with search intent

Theoretically, you could rank multiple pages either by aligning with search intents already present on the SERPs or creating something unique but extremely valuable.

If I had to answer this question having only our data, I’d say “follow the crowd”. As you will see in a bit, multiple rankings can happen both with keywords with a single dominant search intent as well as those with a more mixed intent but none of our pages broke outside of already existing types and formats of content.

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To illustrate my point, here’s a breakdown of the same top 10 keywords you saw earlier, but this time with a search intent analysis (using our 3C’s framework). In all cases, our ranking content aligns with the existing content types:

Keyword Content types in top 10 Content format (if article) in top 10 Our ranking content (on Dec 5, 2023)
keyword search Landing pages (free and premium tools) #8, #10 (both free tools)
seo audit 7 articles, 2 landing pages, Guides #5 (guide), #6 (landing page premium tool)
free seo tools 7 articles, 2 landing pages (free tools) Listicles #4 (listicle), #7 (free tools landing page)
affiliate marketing for beginners 9 blog posts Guides #3 with 3 site links (all guides)
free keyword research tool 8 landing pages, 2 articles Listicles #2 (listicle), #4 (free tool)
keyword rankings 7 articles, 2 landing pages (free tools) 5 guides, 1 definition post, 1 listicle #1 (article), #4 (free tool)
how to become an affiliate marketer Articles Guides #3 with 3 site links (all guides)
keyword difficulty 5 articles, 2 forum posts, 2 landing pages (free and premium tools) Guides #1 (free tool), #5 (guide)

So when there are only article ranking, your best chances might be by diversifying with articles. And if you see different types of pages ranking, say an article and a landing page, there’s a chance of ranking by creating both these types.

Tip

If you’re an Ahrefs user, there’s a nifty AI feature in Keywords Explorer and Site Explorer that estimates the traffic share to each type of intent in the top 10. Check it out.

AI feature in Ahrefs for identifying search intents. AI feature in Ahrefs for identifying search intents.

You don’t need less specific keywords to diversify

We’d expect long-tail keywords to have fewer multiple ranking instances (be it cannibalization or diversification) because the intent would be more defined from the query.

To measure this, I compared word count distribution in keywords with single rankings and multiple rankings using boxplots.

Distribution of word count in keywords and median for single rankings and multiple rankings. Distribution of word count in keywords and median for single rankings and multiple rankings.

As you can see, the boxplots are almost identical, so no correlation could be at play here.

However, an interesting takeaway here is that if we look at a histogram of word count frequency in the multiple URL data set, we see that most keywords occupied the 3–4 word count range. That indicates ranking multiple times for quite specific search queries is definitely possible.

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Word count histogram for multiple rankings. Word count histogram for multiple rankings.

Surprisingly, multiple rankings were more common for high KD keywords

I also wanted to see if it would be harder to get multiple rankings for keywords with high KD value (Ahrefs metric), i.e., keywords with SERPs dominated by pages with a strong backlink profile.

Again, I compared multiple rankings with single rankings.

Distribution of keyword difficulty and median for single rankings and multiple rankings. Distribution of keyword difficulty and median for single rankings and multiple rankings.

Here, we can see a clear difference. The median of multiple rankings is way higher than single rankings (64 vs. 37).

One thing is for sure with such a result—you can rank multiple times, even for highly competitive keywords.

Final thoughts

Let’s sum up.

Multiple rankings in Google create two effects: cannibalization and diversification.

This means that classic SEO theory is wrong—you don’t need to go and fix each keyword with multiple rankings.

This also means that you can potentially take advantage of Google’s propensity for multiple rankings and can get more traffic out of a keyword. That said, I’d consider it a pro move, which may have a high opportunity cost compared to targeting some other keyword with just one page. That’s because:

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  • The additional rankings may not last long.
  • You may “outrank yourself”, and the page you outrank will get fewer clicks.
  • You may need more expensive types of content than what you already have. For instance, a free tool that serves the intent better than an article that already ranks.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or comments, find me on X or LinkedIn.



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WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

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WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

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The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

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See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

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How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

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See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

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1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

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Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

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Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

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  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

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Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

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Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

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Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

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A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

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Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

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However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

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