Google’s making a list and checking it twice.
They are going to rank those who are naughty and nice.
On December 3, Google’s Danny Sullivan announced that Google would be rolling out a core algorithm update that day.
As most of us were still living on leftover turkey, the SEO professionals of the world kept one eye on their rankings and organic traffic.
In every core update, there are winners and losers.
Right now, there are some SEO pros that view Google as a jolly elf with a twinkling smile and a white beard, dispensing gifts that bring joy to everyone.
Other SEO pros are staring at the lump of coal in their stocking, cataloging every SEO action they took over the past year to decipher why they ended up on the naughty list.
The standard advice given to SEO professionals who are negatively affected by algorithm updates is to “just make your site better.”
This advice is useless to the business owner that watches his revenue drop like a reindeer-less sleigh.
And in the midst of a global pandemic, with no Rudolph to guide your way through the uncharted territories of a core algorithm update, even the winners of the latest ranking shifts are questioning Google.
Was the timing of the latest update a shot at SEO pros, or just an ill-timed gesture that wasn’t given much thought?
For Christmas next year I’d like to ask that Google hold off on any major algorithm updates until January – preferably the second week of January.
You see, when there is an update, regardless of whether my sites win or lose, my team and I have to spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out what happened.
In the real world, just “making the site better” isn’t practical advice.
And yes Google, I realize that your updates don’t revolve around the SEO world.
But give us a break.
Most of work very hard to give you what you want as far as the way sites are built and the content to serve your searchers all year long.
Maybe next year you could give us a break during the holidays and not give us a ton of extra work during what is already one of the busiest times of the year.
What Do SEO Professionals Want for Christmas?
So Google – and also Bing – are you listening?
Are the rankings out there glistening?
Most of us in the SEO community aren’t looking for the latest gadget or instructions on how to do our job.
I could probably say, without a doubt, that most of us would like to get back something we had long ago.
I’m talking about data.
Namely, keyword data in analytics.
It’s been more than 7 years since you took away our favorite toy.
We’ve made do with other data, and until recently we were able to get some keyword data from paid search.
But you had to take that away as well.
Just like any parent, when we asked why you took it away, the answer was “it’s for your own good.”
Something about privacy, that didn’t make sense to most of us.
Google to SEO Professionals: ‘Because I Said So’
Look, I’ve told my kids “because I said so” more times than I care to admit.
But usually, it’s either because I don’t think they will understand my reasoning – or I really don’t have a good reason (just don’t tell them that).
We really don’t care why search engines took keyword data away.
Maybe you could give it back to us?
We’ll be good.
Heck, I know many of us that would pay for that data.
Here’s where I give my best “Christmas Story” style plea – but I don’t want a Red Rider BB gun.
I want my keyword data back.
If you give us our keyword data back, we can help you by making better, more focused websites.
If I know which keywords are triggering visits to which pages, I can make those pages better for your searchers.
If you really want to give those that query a better experience, let us help you.
We can help you if you give us the data we need to make our sites better.
After all, making sites better – isn’t that the advice you give us every time you hit the button on your latest core update?
Heck, I’ll even take just the paid search data back.
We were able to use that data to help approximate things, and while it doesn’t always translate over perfectly to the organic side of the house, we can at least make some pretty good guesses.
Better guesses than we can make now.
I can only imagine the celebrations in the SEO world if Google were to give us back our keyword data.
It would be just like that one time in Whoville when the Grinch brought back Christmas.
Could this be the Christmas when Google’s heart grows three sizes?
Some Other Stuff You Could Get us
So, if you get us our keyword data back, I don’t need anything else for Christmas.
But just in case, here are a few things I’d love to see.
- Could we get an indication of when you consider something thin content? Thin content is a pretty subjective thing. Maybe something like the Page Speed Indicator that gives the content a score based on a specific query?
- I’d also love to see historical rankings for specific keywords. I know there are tools that can give me this – but getting that data from Google and Bing would be so much better than a third-party Santa stuffing our stockings with cheap knock-offs.
- I’d also like to see some sort of “nofollow” type link classification for links that are garnered with charitable donations. By creating this classification – and giving these links ample credit – you could create a great new revenue stream for non-profits all over the world. I know that the “sponsored” link classification technically works for this – but if we had a separate classification for charitable donations that passed even more credit from that link we could raise literally hundreds of millions of dollars for very deserving charities.
All I want for Christmas is my keyword data back.
Dear Google, I promise I’ve been good.
Here’s to hoping we are on the nice list this year.
- Holiday SEO & Marketing Strategy: Win More Traffic, Rankings & Sales
- 18 Safe Ways to Prepare & Optimize Your Website for the Holidays
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Featured image by author, December 2020