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What You Need To Know

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What You Need To Know

We all go through painstaking efforts to improve page speed, in the hopes of benefitting from a ranking boost.

Google is said to prioritize speed when it comes to ranking search results, giving fast sites an advantage over sites that take longer to load.

So can a page’s loading time impact its SEO?

If it can, how strong of a signal is it?

We’ll answer those questions as we investigate the claims around page speed as a Google ranking factor.

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The Claim: Page Speed Is A Ranking Factor

Pages that meet a certain threshold for speed are said to benefit from a ranking boost in Google’s search results.

Speed is measured by the time it takes for a page to load after a user clicks on the link on a search engine results page (SERP) – especially now with Core Web Vitals evaluating loading, interactivity, and visual stability.

Google offers a tool called PageSpeed Insights for measuring loading time, which further fuels the claims that speed is a ranking factor.

These claims also stem from the knowledge that Google aims to serve pages that provide a superior user experience.

That makes it easy to believe faster pages have an advantage in search.

It’s more pleasing to have a page load instantly after clicking on it – that was the whole idea behind AMP.

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A SERP full of lightning-fast links sounds like a satisfying solution, but it has the potential to exclude more relevant pages that take longer to load.

That’s where the argument that page speed is a ranking factor starts to fall apart.

Google says time and again that relevance is the number one ranking factor.

If fast pages were automatically boosted, they could be served ahead of content that provides a better answer to the user’s query.

This would be a disservice to searchers, as it sacrifices quality at the expense of speed.

In short, there are claims for and against page speed as a ranking factor.

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The weight of this supposed signal is hotly debated within the SEO industry.

Let’s look at the evidence in the next section and clear up a few misunderstandings.

The Evidence For Page Speed As A Ranking Factor

Speed has been a Google ranking factor from as far back as 2010.

An April 2010 announcement confirms Google’s search algorithm would start taking speed into account when ranking search results:

“Like us, our users place a lot of value in speed – that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.”

This update applied to desktop search results, and what’s considered fast on desktop may load comparatively slow on a mobile device.

To be sure, mobile searchers were still getting served frustratingly slow pages – that is, until nearly a decade later.

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In July 2018, Google made page speed a ranking factor for mobile search results.

A company announcement states:

“Users want to find answers to their questions quickly and data shows that people really care about how quickly their pages load. The Search team announced speed would be a ranking signal for desktop searches in 2010 and as of this month (July 2018), page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.”

Google continues to take page speed into account when serving search results, though the company confirms the original signal was replaced by the page experience signal.

Google’s John Mueller states on Twitter:

“We try to avoid unnecessary duplication in our code, so I would assume [the page experience update] replaces the previous speed ranking factors.”

For more on how Google’s page experience update evaluates speed, see our chapter on Core Web Vitals.

Page Speed As A Ranking Factor: Our Verdict

 

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Page speed is a confirmed ranking factor for Google’s search results.

The speed that needs to be met to benefit from this ranking signal is constantly changing.

Currently, it can be met by achieving Google’s minimum thresholds for Core Web Vitals.

It bears repeating that speed doesn’t carry as much weight as the relevance of a page.

So keep that in mind when deciding where to devote SEO resources.

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Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal




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YouTube Challenges TikTok Duets With “Collab” For Shorts

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YouTube Challenges TikTok Duets With "Collab" For Shorts

YouTube has launched a new “Collab” feature for its short-form video product Shorts, allowing creators to remix and respond to existing YouTube videos and Shorts in a split-screen format.

The full rollout on Android and iOS marks an update that could change how content is made and distributed on the platform.

Collaborative Creativity Unleashed

With Collab, Shorts creators can now record their short videos alongside a video of their choosing from YouTube’s catalog up to 60 seconds long.

The new tool provides options for different side-by-side layouts, picture-in-picture, and green screen effects – opening up creative possibilities for reacting to, collaborating with, and repurposing content.

How Does ‘Collab’ Work?

To use the Collab feature, follow these steps:

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  1. Navigate to the video’s watch page they wish to remix.
  2. Click the ‘Remix’ icon and select ‘Collab.’
  3. Choose a segment up to 60 seconds from the video to sample.
  4. Select from various layout options that align with their creative vision.
  5. Record their Short alongside the original video, which will play simultaneously.

A New Avenue for Marketers

The new ‘Collab’ feature displays the original video and user-created content side-by-side, enabling users to craft responses, duets, and new interpretations of existing videos.

This functionality allows digital marketers to leverage user-generated content to reinforce brand messaging.

Additionally, ‘Collab’ has the potential to boost engagement with branded videos and inspire creative marketing campaigns that incorporate audience participation as a core element.

YouTube vs TikTok: The Remix Battle

The launch of Collab comes as YouTube aims to further compete with rivals like TikTok in the exploding short-form video space.

TikTok pioneered features like Duets, where users can split the screen with another video and film themselves reacting to it. Collab provides YouTube creators with similar reactive and collaborative options natively within YouTube’s ecosystem.

Both platforms now offer tools that enable users to build upon others’ content, fostering a culture of collaboration and iterative creativity. However, YouTube’s vast repository of long-form content combined with Shorts could provide a unique edge in the diversity of content available for remixing.

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Final Thoughts

For digital marketers and creators, Collab represents an engaging new format on YouTube for responding to trending content, viral sounds and moments, and participating in meme culture. The tool makes repurposing audio and video clips even easier. Marketers may find collaborative Shorts are a way to join larger conversations and engage desired audiences.

TikTok pioneered short-form video remixing online, but YouTube has the advantages of a vast video library and powerful search functionality. These provide opportunities for YouTube’s new Collab feature to enable derivative creativity. Like other Shorts tools, Collab seeks to match TikTok’s capabilities and give YouTube creators every option to achieve success on the platform.


FAQ

What is YouTube’s new “Collab” feature for Shorts, and how does it expand creative options for creators?

YouTube’s recently introduced “Collab” feature for Shorts is an innovative function that permits creators to engage with and remix existing YouTube videos and Shorts. This tool enhances interactive creativity by allowing for:

  • Recording short videos alongside a selected video from YouTube’s vast catalog for up to 60 seconds.
  • Employing various layout options such as side-by-side, picture-in-picture, and green screen effects.
  • Enabling creators to react to, collaborate with, or repurpose content fosters a dynamic content creation environment.

 

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How might digital marketers harness the “Collab” feature in their YouTube marketing strategies?

The “Collab” feature offers digital marketers a dynamic tool to amplify their YouTube marketing efforts by:

  • Creating opportunities to engage with user-generated content and incorporate it into brand messaging.
  • Encouraging community engagement through interactive and co-creative campaigns involving audience participation.
  • Using the feature to respond to trends may lead to higher engagement rates and foster a participatory brand culture.

 

What competitive edge does YouTube gain over TikTok with the launch of the “Collab” feature?

With the launch of “Collab,” YouTube has positioned itself to be more competitive with TikTok by:

  • Introducing a feature that parallels TikTok’s popular Duets, allowing users to create content in a collaborative split-screen format.
  • Leveraging its extensive library of long-form content to provide creators with a broader range of content to remix, surpassing the variety available on TikTok.
  • Combining its powerful search functionality and the new feature to attract creators looking to engage with and contribute to trending topics and cultural memes.
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Featured Image: Prathmesh T/Shutterstock

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10 Completely Free SEO Training Courses

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10 Completely Free SEO Training Courses

Learning SEO doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of quality free SEO courses teaching everything from the basics to keyword research to link building.

Here are ten that won’t cost a dime.

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 2 hours

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Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner

Link: SEO Course for Beginners

What you’ll learn

  • The fundamentals of what search engine optimization is and how it works
  • Why SEO is important
  • How to do keyword research
  • How to optimize web pages for search engines
  • Beginner-friendly link building strategies to get backlinks to your site
  • Technical SEO best practices for beginners

This comprehensive course is ours and covers the fundamentals of SEO, including keyword research, on-page SEO, technical SEO, and link building.

SEO Certification Course by HubSpotSEO Certification Course by HubSpot

Course provider: HubSpot

Duration: 3 hours 51 minutes

Instructor(s): Rachel Sheldon, Matthew Howells-Barby

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Level: Beginner

Link: SEO Certification Course

What you’ll learn

  • How to evaluate and improve your website’s SEO
  • How to build backlinks to your website at scale to increase your website’s visibility in organic search
  • How to use insights from keyword research and reporting to improve your search performance

HubSpot’s SEO Training Course is tailored for marketers, content creators, and anyone looking to enhance their website’s visibility. Through practical lessons and real-world examples, the course participants will learn how to build a robust SEO strategy, analyze their website’s performance, and adapt to the changing algorithms of search engines.

Make sure customers find you online by Google SkillshopMake sure customers find you online by Google Skillshop

Course provider: Google

Duration: 3 hours

Instructor(s): Google

Level: Beginner

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Link: Make Sure Customers Find You Online

What you’ll learn

  • How to get started with search
  • How to make search work for you
  • How to get discovered with search
  • How to help people nearby find you online

This free course from Google Skillshop helps businesses discover ways to reach and connect with more customers online. It covers improving SEO and using online advertising (SEM) to boost sales and awareness.

Google SEO Fundamentals by UC Davis on CourseraGoogle SEO Fundamentals by UC Davis on Coursera

Course provider: University of California, Davis

Duration: 28 hours

Instructor(s): Rebekah May

Level: Beginner

Link: Google SEO Fundamentals

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What you’ll learn

  • How to complete a competitive analysis on a webpage
  • How to interpret brand recognition through social media
  • How to create sitemaps and robot.txt files, plan redirects, and manage site errors
  • How to use a variety of SEO tools to conduct an audience analysis and develop personas of your ideal buyer

Offered by the University of California, Davis, this course on Coursera delves into the fundamental aspects of SEO, including how search engines work and how to implement effective SEO strategies to attract more organic traffic.

However, due to its length (28 hours), it may not be the most suitable if you want to learn SEO fast.

SEO for Beginners Training by YoastSEO for Beginners Training by Yoast

Course provider: Yoast

Duration: 2 hours

Instructor(s): Joost de Valk

Level: Beginner

Link: SEO for Beginners Training

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What you’ll learn

  • What SEO is and what Google does
  • Tips for quick wins to improve your site
  • Insights into the content and technical side of SEO

This free course discusses what SEO is and how it works. Some of the important points from the course are how to use keywords to optimize your website, how to write content that Google likes, and how to make your website crawlable by search engines.

Keyword Research Course by AhrefsKeyword Research Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 2 hours

Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner

Link: Keyword Research Course

What you’ll learn

  • How to do keyword research and drive targeted traffic to your website

This is our specialized course that focuses specifically on keyword research. It covers topics such as how to choose keywords, how to analyze search intent, and how to find low-competition keywords.

Technical SEO Course by AhrefsTechnical SEO Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 1 hour 21 minutes

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Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Link: Technical SEO Course

What you’ll learn

  • The fundamentals of technical SEO
  • How to run a technical SEO audit
  • How to optimize your website’s technical SEO

Another specialized course from us, this course is designed for those looking to dive deeper into the technical side of SEO. It covers advanced topics such as site audits, page speed optimization, and how to resolve common technical issues that can impact search rankings.

Technical SEO Certification by Blue ArrayTechnical SEO Certification by Blue Array

Course provider: Blue Array

Duration: 7 hours

Instructor(s): Damion Edwards

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Level: Beginner to intermediate

Link: Technical SEO Certification

What you’ll learn

Aimed at professionals seeking to certify their expertise, this course covers a wide range of technical SEO topics, including crawling, indexing, ranking, and on-page optimization. From site architecture to schema markup, it equips learners with the skills to tackle technical challenges and improve website performance.

Local SEO Course by AhrefsLocal SEO Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 44 minutes

Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Beginner

Link: Local SEO Course

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What you’ll learn

  • How to do local SEO
  • How to do local keyword research
  • How to do local link building

Ideal for businesses targeting local customers, this course teaches the basics of optimizing for local search. It covers essential tactics for improving local visibility, such as Google Business Profile optimization and local keyword targeting.

Advanced Link Building Course by AhrefsAdvanced Link Building Course by Ahrefs

Course provider: Ahrefs

Duration: 1 hour 48 minutes

Instructor(s): Sam Oh

Level: Intermediate to advanced

Link: Advanced Link Building Course

What you’ll learn

  • How to find prospects with the “seed and lookalike” approach
  • How to validate link building campaigns with a “blitz list”
  • How to craft personalized and benefit-rich outreach emails
  • How to create, structure and manage a link building team
  • How to scale your link building operations

Focusing on one of the most challenging aspects of SEO, Sam shares his years of experience creating campaigns, sending outreach emails, and building teams. This is a must-finish course if you need help building and scaling your link building operations.

Final thoughts

The best way to learn SEO is to do.

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So, don’t just go through the courses, take notes, and leave it aside. You need to actually execute to find out what works and what doesn’t. Create a website, implement the ideas you’re learning, and see if you can get more organic traffic to it.

That’s how you become an SEO pro.

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Google Answers A Crawl Budget Issue Question

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Google Answers A Crawl Budget Issue Question

Someone on Reddit posted a question about their “crawl budget” issue and asked if a large number of 301 redirects to 410 error responses were causing Googlebot to exhaust their crawl budget. Google’s John Mueller offered a reason to explain why the Redditor may be experiencing a lackluster crawl pattern and clarified a point about crawl budgets in general.

Crawl Budget

It’s a commonly accepted idea that Google has a crawl budget, an idea that SEOs invented to explain why some sites aren’t crawled enough. The idea is that every site is allotted a set number of crawls, a cap on how much crawling a site qualifies for.

It’s important to understand the background of the idea of the crawl budget because it helps understand what it really is. Google has long insisted that there is no one thing at Google that can be called a crawl budget, although how Google crawls a site can give an impression that there is a cap on crawling.

A top Google engineer (at the time) named Matt Cutts alluded to this fact about the crawl budget in a 2010 interview.

Matt answered a question about a Google crawl budget by first explaining that there was no crawl budget in the way that SEOs conceive of it:

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“The first thing is that there isn’t really such thing as an indexation cap. A lot of people were thinking that a domain would only get a certain number of pages indexed, and that’s not really the way that it works.

There is also not a hard limit on our crawl.”

In 2017 Google published a crawl budget explainer that brought together numerous crawling-related facts that together resemble what the SEO community was calling a crawl budget. This new explanation is more precise than the vague catch-all phrase “crawl budget” ever was (Google crawl budget document summarized here by Search Engine Journal).

The short list of the main points about a crawl budget are:

  • A crawl rate is the number of URLs Google can crawl based on the ability of the server to supply the requested URLs.
  • A shared server for example can host tens of thousands of websites, resulting in hundreds of thousands if not millions of URLs. So Google has to crawl servers based on the ability to comply with requests for pages.
  • Pages that are essentially duplicates of others (like faceted navigation) and other low-value pages can waste server resources, limiting the amount of pages that a server can give to Googlebot to crawl.
  • Pages that are lightweight are easier to crawl more of.
  • Soft 404 pages can cause Google to focus on those low-value pages instead of the pages that matter.
  • Inbound and internal link patterns can help influence which pages get crawled.

Reddit Question About Crawl Rate

The person on Reddit wanted to know if the perceived low value pages they were creating was influencing Google’s crawl budget. In short, a request for a non-secure URL of a page that no longer exists redirects to the secure version of the missing webpage which serves a 410 error response (it means the page is permanently gone).

It’s a legitimate question.

This is what they asked:

“I’m trying to make Googlebot forget to crawl some very-old non-HTTPS URLs, that are still being crawled after 6 years. And I placed a 410 response, in the HTTPS side, in such very-old URLs.

So Googlebot is finding a 301 redirect (from HTTP to HTTPS), and then a 410.

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http://example.com/old-url.php?id=xxxx -301-> https://example.com/old-url.php?id=xxxx (410 response)

Two questions. Is G**** happy with this 301+410?

I’m suffering ‘crawl budget’ issues, and I do not know if this two responses are exhausting Googlebot

Is the 410 effective? I mean, should I return the 410 directly, without a first 301?”

Google’s John Mueller answered:

G*?

301’s are fine, a 301/410 mix is fine.

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Crawl budget is really just a problem for massive sites ( https://developers.google.com/search/docs/crawling-indexing/large-site-managing-crawl-budget ). If you’re seeing issues there, and your site isn’t actually massive, then probably Google just doesn’t see much value in crawling more. That’s not a technical issue.”

Reasons For Not Getting Crawled Enough

Mueller responded that “probably” Google isn’t seeing the value in crawling more webpages. That means that the webpages could probably use a review to identify why Google might determine that those pages aren’t worth crawling.

Certain popular SEO tactics tend to create low-value webpages that lack originality. For example, a popular SEO practice is to review the top ranked webpages to understand what factors on those pages explain why those pages are ranking, then taking that information to improve their own pages by replicating what’s working in the search results.

That sounds logical but it’s not creating something of value. If you think of it as a binary One and Zero choice, where zero is what’s already in the search results and One represents something original and different, the popular SEO tactic of emulating what’s already in the search results is doomed to create another Zero, a website that doesn’t offer anything more than what’s already in the SERPs.

Clearly there are technical issues that can affect the crawl rate such as the server health and other factors.

But in terms of what is understood as a crawl budget, that’s something that Google has long maintained is a consideration for massive sites and not for smaller to medium size websites.

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Read the Reddit discussion:

Is G**** happy with 301+410 responses for the same URL?

Featured Image by Shutterstock/ViDI Studio

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