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Google’s Digital Marketing Certificate Recommends Keyword Density Percentages

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Google's Digital Marketing Certificate Recommends Keyword Density Percentages

Someone from the SEO community called attention to a section in Google’s new digital marketing training course that recommends writing at least 300 words of content, advised specific areas of a web page for seeding keywords and recommended a keyword density for target keywords of under 2%.

Some in the digital marketing community called Google out on Twitter about the misinformation and Google’s Danny Sullivan responded.

Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Certificate

Google launched the Digital Marketing & E-commerce Certificate on May 2, 2022. The purpose of the training course and certificate is to help job seekers find jobs in digital marketing.

The training course is endorsed by the American Association of Reklam Agencies as well as by the American Reklam Federation.

Google’s digital marketing course promises to teach the following skills:

  • “Developing digital marketing and e-commerce strategies
  • Attracting and engaging customers through digital marketing channels like search, social media, and email
  • Measuring marketing analytics and sharing insights
  • Building e-commerce stores, analyzing e-commerce performance, and growing customer loyalty”

The stated goal of the program is to teach unskilled workers how to become proficient for entry-level digital marketing jobs.

But how can the graduates of the program have proficiency if what they learned is incorrect?

Google Training Course Recommends a Keyword Density

In a section of the course called Foundations of Digital Marketing, under Week 3 of the course, there is a section called Keyword Research and Keyword Stuffing.

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In this particular section Google’s training material specifies a maximum keyword density for target keyword phrases.

Keyword density is a measurement of how often a keyword appears on a web page, expressed as a percentage.

The keyword density measurement tells you that a keyword appeared X% times on a web page.

The original old-time search engine algorithms used to rely on keyword densities as a way to identify what a page is about. The more often a keyword appeared on the page the likelier that the page was about that keyword phrase.

But search engines have moved on from that method of ranking keywords.

Or have they?

Google’s own training course makes a startling statement about keyword density by recommending an actual keyword density limit.

The course states:

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“Keep your keyword density below an industry standard of 2%.

This means that 2% of the words on the webpage or fewer should be target keywords.”

Write a Minimum of 300 Words

The other eyebrow-raising recommendation is a minimum word count for web pages that stresses that the more words on a page the likelier that page will be ranked by Google.

The training course recommends:

“Write more than 300 words on your webpage.

Your webpage is more likely to be ranked higher in search engine result pages if you write a higher volume of quality content.”

Where to Put Your Keywords

The document also advises exact locations where keywords should be placed:

“Your keywords should be used only once in the following places on each page within your website: page title, subheading, first paragraph, and body conclusion.”

Google Made a Mistake?

The training course was written by Google and it is not supposed to include confidential information.

The announcement of the digital marketing certificate includes a statement that all of the information in the course is available in Google’s search documentation.

“This program contains no confidential information. All Google Search features taught are publicly available, you can learn more in official Google Search documentation.”

It’s clear that the recommendations about word count and keyword densities did not originate in Google’s public documentation.

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One also has to wonder how the recommendation for where to seed keywords within a web page came from, too.

The mistake brings into question how reliable this course is if such an obvious mistake like this could make it to the live version of the course.

Google Acknowledges Bad Information in Digital Marketing Training Course

Search marketer Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) pointed out the error on twitter.

He also tweeted that this was an SEO myth and expressed dismay that an entry level course on digital marketing would teach misinformation to the students.

Danny Sullivan clarified that the team that developed the training course is not connected with the Search team and pledged to pass the feedback along.

Danny tweeted:

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Search Misinformation

There is a lot of misinformation surrounding digital marketing. Finding sökmarknadsföring myths within Google’s own digital marketing training course is unexpected.

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SEO

Tips To Improve Your Relationship

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Tips To Improve Your Relationship

Historically, the tension between chief financial officers (CFOs) and marketing heads has often resulted from misalignment around long-term vs. short-term goals.

While CFOs are required to submit quarterly financial reports to shareholders, marketers are more often fixed on long-term objectives, such as brand value – which can be abstract.

Thankfully, the role of the CFO has evolved over the past few years, as most CFOs are no longer business hall monitors concerned with cost-cutting and oversight.

Rather, many CFOs now actively participate in organizational growth strategies designed to counteract losses in any economic environment.

Ideally, this shared goal should naturally align with many marketers’ objectives and create synergy down the road.

However, many organizations struggle to create proper symmetry between C-suite executives and keep data in silos.

What’s more, I’ve dealt with many CFOs in the past who simply didn’t understand the merits of SEO and how it differed from traditional marketing.

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Unfortunately, for many agencies, this has caused their fair share of frustration when renewing clients and getting proper budget allocation for projects.

Therefore, educating CFOs and SEO pros about each other’s roles and processes is important to break the disconnect that prevents them from aligning around the same business goals and objectives.

The Importance Of CFO And SEO Alignment

According to a study by Deloitte, at least 73% of organizations that report C-suite alignment around marketing performance metrics received positive revenue growth in the past year.

The data shows that clear CFO and marketing alignment around goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and language leads to greater business growth.

As CFOs begin to prioritize long-term growth over cost-cutting, this creates an opportunity for SEO pros to educate them about their goals and strategies and plead their cases for higher budget allocation.

With this in mind, we need to identify obstacles that inhibit this natural pairing and explore ways to overcome these pitfalls for better symmetry.

How To Improve The Relationship Between SEO And CFO

Create A Shared Language

Som SEO pros, we understand that marketing offers better long-term stability to any organization over short-term, one-time sales.

However, qualitatively communicating brand value and loyalty to a CFO is like explaining how your favorite football team will win the Super Bowl next year.

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Without real numbers or a shared understanding of marketing performance metrics and terminology, CFOs cannot comprehend the SEO team’s objectives.

Further, it can be impossible for SEO pros to translate these strategies into results without tangible financial metrics to present to CFOs.

Ultimately, it’s up to the SEO team to educate CFOs about their strategies and how this benefits their business financially.

Otherwise, CFOs might be reluctant to pour money into campaigns that are abstract in their view.

SEO professionals need to find ways to translate broad metrics from customer acquisition and lead generation into value-based business impact.

For example, assigning values to leads and forecasting their revenue allows CFOs to plan budgets. SEO pros can also assign value to intangible assets like brand equity to better convey their value in terms CFOs understand.

Another way SEO pros need to educate CFOs is around budget processes.

For example, marketing budgets are often used throughout multiple campaigns, which amortize over time. However, this is not often reflected in profit and loss statements from CFOs.

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In this example, SEO pros must clearly outline these considerations to CFOs to avoid budget cuts because of unused or misallocated funds.

Nevertheless, if SEO pros and CFOs want to speak the same language, they must start tracking the same goals and KPIs.

Create Shared Goals

If you truly want to create alignment around shared goals and language, coordinate with your CFO by using the same metrics and KPIs to track performance data.

While marketers are free to get as granular as they wish, ultimately, it’s up to department heads to agree on a few key metrics.

For example, these key metrics can be translated directly into financial terms that create a shared language between SEOs and CFOs:

  • Return on investment (ROI): The overall profit generated from an SEO marketing campaign.
  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): The estimated net profit a customer will contribute throughout its relationship with a company. This roughly tells CFOs the values of a brand’s loyalty.
  • Conversion Rate: The number of people who visit a website and complete a sale. This number estimates the efficiency of a marketing campaign.

However, as CFOs look to extract more insights from data, adding quantitative value to KPIs will also greatly help both teams align on common goals – namely, long-term growth. These KPIs may include market penetration, lead acquisition, and brand exposure.

Connecting The Data

Unfortunately, one of the biggest stumbling blocks for CFOs and SEO pros is that financial officers often don’t view SEOs as the top money-makers in an organization.

Additionally, many CFOs simply don’t understand how SEO makes money or connects to their long-term goals.

Thankfully, analytics software has made it easier than ever to physically assign a quantitative value to campaigns that prove the marketing team’s value.

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For example, by assigning sales to individual marketing campaigns at the top of sales funnels, marketers can show how they physically add value to a business.

Further, to assist with communicating ROI to CFOs, marketers can incorporate dotted line reporting that shares the financial performance of the SEO team directly to the financial team.

Look At Campaigns As A Financial Portfolio

Finally, our focus tends to skew toward changing how CFOs think – not how we act or distribute information.

Since financial experts tend to think in investment terms, why not present marketing campaigns like an investment portfolio?

With this approach, SEO pros can tie individual campaigns to investments in a portfolio and report any profits and losses from each investment directly in a statement to CFOs.

SEO pros would also be wise to illustrate how these investments contribute to long-term financial goals and feed their business.

Again, most of these considerations hinge upon resolving differences in perspectives.

By assigning financial value to individual campaigns and metrics, SEO pros can better align around shared business goals and growth strategies that increase their business.

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And by proving the growth potential of the SEO team, they can acquire the necessary budget they need to perform their best and thus make the CFO look good.

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