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What Are SEO Anomalies? A Search Marketer’s Guide

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You know that feeling: you have a hunch that things are out of place. Something’s wrong. Do you know what it is? Your #1 competitor just stole your most profitable SERPs!

What if you could know when SEO changes happen on the fly? Better yet, what if you could see opportunities when they’re right under your nose?

You know what I’m talking about. That keyword or topic idea that got away. It happens every time.

These are called SEO anomalies. A.K.A strange occurrences and opportunities that happen related to your search marketing.

Few marketers have the tools or time to pay attention to them, too. This is your opportunity to climb up the SERP ladder while others fall off.

301 Agency Leaders spill the beans on the mistake-prone Digital Marketing Industry.

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What are SEO anomalies?

Let’s do a refresher real quick.

AI (Machine learning) learns how a business operates and anomaly detection reports spikes (or dips) that deviate from the norm.

Here is a simplified diagram.

In particular, a SEO anomaly would be a ranking that jumped (or dipped) more than expected or a particular keyword is generating a surprising amount of traffic.

The cause of the anomaly could be keyword-related, from metadata, due to page speed or backlinks—the list of possibilities goes on and on.

Read our blog post on Anomaly Detection Advantages and Disadvantages for Marketers to learn more about anomaly detection in general.

How to use SEO anomalies to boost SERP performance

Search marketers leverage anomalies to outrank competitors, boost traffic, and polish their strategies. But, all of this has probably left you with the question “How do I find anomalies, to begin with?”

The answer: use artificial intelligence software powered by anomaly detection like Morphio. 

Morphio integrates with Google Analytics and Google Search Console to study your business. You will be alerted in real time of SEO opportunities or red flags like lost ranking positions. 

Take action sooner than later. The process becomes automated, instead of chugging coffee and staring at traditional SEO tools for hours every day.

With that explanation out of the way, let’s get into the meat and potatoes of today’s article: learning how to identify and use anomalies in SEO.

Backlink anomalies

Backlink anomalies are unexpected links or backlinks that make a larger SEO impact than planned. 

You may expect several exact-match anchor text links to boost rankings, but a single one does, for example. Instead of spending more time on the original link campaign, search marketers move their focus elsewhere to hack growth.

Seeing as link popularity remains as one of the top three Google ranking factors, keeping on top of your link profile is still as important as ever.

Nonetheless, most of us are still using stone-age techniques and processes to measure links. Sure, they work. But we need to modernize to maximize efficiency and the use of our time.

Search anomalies help marketers do so in a couple of ways: understanding the highest quality backlink sources and which strategies to double-down on.

You may discover that guest posting on high domain authority websites is moving the needle more and requires less time than broken backlink building or general outreach, for example. 

Digging deeper, certain publications—based on their authority and topical relevancy—boost SEO more than others. A marketer could then build more links from that referring domain and nurture the relationship with its webmaster.

Ultimately identifying link anomalies helps a marketer enhance their SEO and save time. Win-win!

Keyword anomalies

Keyword research is the backbone of good SEO. It’s a lengthy process, too. We’ve all experienced keyword anomalies at some point or another. 

You know, those terms that suddenly drive a wave of traffic without a moment’s notice. Or, the keywords you didn’t target but rank on the first page.

Using SEO anomaly detection software will help those moments become predictable and measurable versus a surprise. 

This provides search marketers insight into what keyword trends and types of search terms tend to drive the most traffic. No more guessing or being in the dark!

There are three types of keywords to keep in mind when analyzing anomalies:

  1. Informational: Users are seeking information or an answer to a question. These are typically targeted in tutorials, guides, and similar blog posts. “How to do SEO” would be an informational keyword.
  2. Transactional: Search terms that include words like “Affordable,” “Best,” or compare two products imply the user is interested in buying something. Lists, reviews, and comparison articles target these.
  3. Navigational: Brand names and branded terms are used to find a specific business through search engines.

How should you implement all of this? Firstly, search marketers may discover that certain types of keywords generate the most traffic or KPIs like conversions and leads.

They then produce more content focused on the successful search terms that move the needle versus ones that collect dust. 

Secondly, certain keywords could be driving plenty of traffic but not converting. This could mean that on-page SEO is fantastic, but the buyer persona it attracts isn’t relevant.

In that case, a search marketer addresses their keyword selection and target audience to continually refine search results.

Content anomalies

Content marketing is a game of experimenting and testing. Certain topics and styles of content will outperform others. It’s a matter of finding which resonates with your audience the most and maximizes engagement.

Take Airstream, the travel company, for example. They needed a way to generate more leads at scale as they grew. So, the brand opted for content marketing to attract and delight customers.

The 78% increase in leads (Amazing, right?) came from conducting tests and experiments. These ultimately allowed Airstream to find winning combinations of content types that appealed to customers in every stage of the buyer’s journey.

However, it doesn’t have to be done by hand. Content anomalies do it while you kick your feet up.

Content anomalies are topics or individual pieces of content that smash KPIs. Leads, traffic, social shares, and other metrics get blown out of the park. This makes you raise the question “Why?” to replicate findings for future success.

Once you have found a piece of content that has abnormal behavior, guage aspects like:

  • Word count: Was the article a short form of long-form piece of content?
  • Type of content: Was the article a comparison, review, infographic, list, etc?
  • On-page SEO: Did this article have anything special in terms of on-page SEO? The keyword density, linking, and fine details may have been more fine-tuned than other content. 
  • Writing style: Did the tone of voice or personality differ from the norm? Readers may enjoy that style of writing more than others.

Note any of these patterns or others and apply them to future content to boost rankings, inbound links, and ROI.

Competitors have anomalies, too

SEO anomalies don’t only apply to your business. They apply to competitors, too. 

Anomaly detection can be used to be alerted when competitors’ website content, metadata, and SERPs jump up or down. 

This lets you strike at the perfect moment when competitors have a chink in their armor. Deconstruct their strategies and keywords to outrank them and stay a step ahead.

In particular, this data is used to produce similar (But better) types of content and sharpen keyword targeting. It’s also effective for benchmarking competitor’s practices like title tags, meta descriptions, etc. What are they doing and how can you do it better?

The best part? All of this is achieved by plugging a competitor’s URL into anomaly software for the platform to analyze. It’s all done on your behalf—you simply collect the data and optimize it.

Conclusion

SEO anomalies are everywhere. It’s essentially Google telling you “Here’s what you’re doing right and here’s what you’re doing wrong.” 

Anomalies can appear in backlink profiles, rankings, keyword selection, and content. But, you have to be able to find the anomalies in the first place. 

That’s where Morphio comes into the picture. Most businesses aren’t taking advantage of anomalies because they don’t have the tools or know-how.

Don’t be one of them anymore. Try Morphio today for free and see first-hand how you can #HelpYourHumans with AI.

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