Daily Archives: October 23, 2021

The Art of Repurposing Your Google Reviews: SEO Podcast

By | October 23, 2021


You can keep up with the In Search SEO Podcast by subscribing on iTunes or by following the podcast on SoundCloud!

Novel Ways to Repurpose Your Google Reviews & Beyond: Summary of Episode 85 

GatherUp CEO Aaron Weiche joins the podcast to share novel ways you can repurpose online reviews!

  • How to repurpose your reviews in ways you never thought of
  • How to get smart with repurposing the right reviews at the right time
  • Where you should be showcasing your Google reviews and how to do it

Plus, why the age-old advice of writing content for Featured Snippets might not be the best idea.

Segments:



When Writing for Featured Snippets Makes No Sense [03:48 – 19:33]

How to Repurpose Online Reviews: A Conversation with Aaron Weiche [19:33 – 46:39]

SEO News [47:06 – 50:52]

Featuring:



Mordy Oberstein (Host)

Sapir Karabello (Co-Host)

Aaron Weiche of GatherUp (Special Guest)

Resources:



GatherUp Social Sharing Tool

Jason Barnard Reputation Management Courses

The Hands-On Guide to Winning Featured Snippets (Part 1)

The Hands-On Guide to Winning Featured Snippets (Part 2)

News:



New TikTok Video Carousel

New AdSense Reports

Search Console Showing Featured Snippet Performance Data

When Writing for Featured Snippets Makes No Sense [03:48 – 19:33]

If there is one central topic in SEO it is Featured Snippets and writing content to capture the Featured Snippet spot. And Mordy believes that writing content for the specific purpose of capturing a Featured Snippet might be killing your content. Crazy, right? Well, let’s run this through. If you were asked what to do to target and win a Featured Snippet, in terms of the writing process, what would you say you should do? How do you write for Featured Snippets?

  1. Write content that answers questions
  2. Write answers that have a lot of details – good quality (not thin content)
  3. Utilize headers
  4. Create lists

So let’s put this to the test. Follow that advice and try writing an article that answers why string theory and quantum physics do not align? Too hard? There’s the problem! All of the above is great advice when applied to top-level content and to basic topical material, but you can’t follow that advice for deeper topics, it doesn’t work.

True “deep” content can’t be written this way, it’s not possible. Part of that stems from our idea of “deep, authoritative, nuanced content” and what is truly “deep, authoritative, nuanced content.” We as SEOs use the term “deep content” for an average web page or for an average simple topic but applying that same standard to say academic content, you’ll find that it is totally not deep and authoritative in relation to academic content. So it’s important to realize high-quality content is relative to the topic or question being asked.

Simply put, you have to be careful with the idea of writing for Featured Snippets. You have to think about if that process works for the type of content you’re writing because it might not.

Here’s a quick example. Mordy ran a search for how to teach kids to read and he got a list Featured Snippet from readingeggs.com that said:

Here are 10 simple steps to teach your child to read at home:



  1. Use songs and nursery rhymes to build phonemic awareness. …
  2. Make simple word cards at home. …
  3. Engage your child in a print-rich environment. …
  4. Play word games at home or in the car. …
  5. Understand the core skills involved in teaching kids to read. …
  6. Play with letter magnets.

As you would expect, each one of these list items represents an H3. Let’s read through the entire content under one of the H3s here:

1. Use songs and nursery rhymes to build phonemic awareness

Children’s songs and nursery rhymes aren’t just a lot of fun—the rhyme and rhythm help kids to hear the sounds and syllables in words, which helps them learn to read. A good way to build phonemic awareness (one of the most important skills in learning to read) is to clap rhythmically together and recite songs in unison. This playful and bonding activity is a fantastic way for kids to implicitly develop the literacy skills that will set them up for reading success.

It’s good content, right? Clearly, they followed all of the above advice. They answered a question, offered details, it’s high-quality, etc., but let’s dive deeper. The paragraph here mentioned phonemic awareness. Phonemes are the sounds that make one word distinct from the next. Now let’s say you did a search for the role of phonemic awareness in learning to read. You get a Featured Snippet that reads: Phonemic awareness teaches students to both hear and manipulate sounds, and to understand that spoken words are made up of sequences of speech sounds. Through my research, I learned that students who were able to identify phonemes rapidly were able to read more fluently because of this rapid processing.

The role of phonemic awareness in the reading process. There are pages and pages of research on it. It’s not the kind of thing you can answer with a nice paragraph under an H3 and in this case, Google takes this from a blog, not a very long blog, but a very detailed-oriented research-based blog from scholastic.com. One read of this blog, and it’s very clear that none of the typical Featured Snippet writing advice is applicable. And Mordy can even prove that Google agrees with him.

Google knows it can hone in on the headings and the format of content when it comes to choosing a URL for a Featured Snippet for some types of content and for some types of queries. Google also knows that in many cases it can’t, which is why it uses BERT to help pull content out for a Featured Snippet. BERT’s advantage isn’t where you have a clear set of H3s that tell you about the steps of teaching a kid to read. Not that it doesn’t help, but that’s not where BERT shines. It shines where that structure doesn’t exist, where it has to pull an answer out from a less structured environment. This applies to a topic matter that is a bit deeper and where the structure we advocate for when writing for a Featured Snippet doesn’t and can’t exist. Google gets it. They need a device like BERT to help in these cases so maybe we should get it too.

How to Repurpose Online Reviews: A Conversation with Aaron Weiche [19:33 – 46:39] 

Mordy: This is another In Search SEO podcast interview session. Joining us today is a fellow podcaster. He’s literally traveled all over the US speaking about local SEO. He’s spoken to jacuzzi dealers and propane leaders. He knows everything about local SEO and then some. He’s here to help your business harness the power of reviews. He is Aaron Weiche.

Welcome!

Aaron: Thanks for having me on.

M: My pleasure. So you’re the CEO of GatherUp, which we’ll talk about in a second. But what really struck out to me is that you’re a Twins fan.

A: I am. I’m a born and raised Minnesotan. Some of the best years of Twins baseball was ‘87 and ‘91 when they were in the World Championships. I got to go to some of the World Series games. I **** and currently miss Major League Baseball and watching Twins baseball while I work every *****.

M: Yeah, I share that bond with you being a Twins fan. While you were going to the games and watching Kirby Puckett hit home runs, I was going to the games as a Yankee fan throwing batteries at Kirby Puckett. Not literally, figuratively. Well, though, people were actually throwing batteries, but that’s New York for you.

So tell us about GatherUp.

A: GatherUp for most people would qualify as a reputation management solution. We help customers gather, manage, and market their customers’ experience, which most often translates into reviews. At the end of the day, what we really want to do is help a business listen to their customers. We’re a little bit more on the customer experience side of things. We see it as it doesn’t matter where your customer posts it, you need to understand what your customer thinks about your business. But it obviously publicly translates really well into Google reviews, Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, and things like that.

We give businesses the tools to inquire to those customers and find out exactly what they’re thinking and capture customer experience data like Net Promoter Score, review ratings, survey questions, content on how they felt, and make it easy for that customer to go and leave a review at a third party site.

M: Yeah, you should totally check out GatherUp because literally some of the biggest names in local SEO are part of the GatherUp team like Mike Blumenthal, for example. How is that by the way, working with Mike?

A: I would sum it up as I’m blessed to work with Mike. We’ve had a friendship for over 10 years now between conference speaking, we’re part of Local University, and now getting a chance to work together. I **** the man dearly and he has elevated my lines of thinking so many times. He thinks and sees things on a different level and it’s very rewarding and very eye-opening to spend so much time with him.

M: Mike is definitely an all-star. Today, we’re going to be talking about repurposing reviews today, which is a mind-blowing concept that I did not hear about until you brought it up to me. Please lay it out for us as you’re basically repurposing reviews like you would repurpose content.

A: Absolutely. The analogy I use to try to hit home with people is to consider it like the bookshelf you have in your house. You acquire books, you get them, you read them for the first time, then you put them on the shelf, and maybe all they do is gather dust. They now become like a visual part of the room but the content inside is never utilized ever again.

Reviews can be much the same way. Companies gather these reviews and they’re trying to bolster their quantity count and their star rating which I call scoreboard metrics because they’re there for everyone to see them. But I firmly believe and have been able to prove outright that these reviews are actually massive assets that you can utilize over and over again, especially within your own properties because they’re micro-stories of that customer working with you. They both provide you with content that’s strategically beneficial and tactically beneficial in SEO, but also bring along trust, conversions, and those types of elements.

What we’re going to talk about today is breaking that down and helping people get ideas on how to not let these reviews just sit in your Google My Business profile or on Facebook, how to extract them out of there, and put them to use within your own digital properties, social accounts, and things like that.

M: I really want to get into some examples with you. But before that, it’s a really fascinating concept. How did you come to think of it?

A: I guess it gets back to what we hit upon before where it’s more important what your customer says than where they post it. It was continually looking at how we’re going through all this effort just to get a customer to talk to you. And when they do, that’s gold. It’s this prized possession, especially when they give you more than just a rating or the words, “Thanks, it was great.” It’s when they go into detail about why they chose you, what stood out differently, or an employee that made a difference. These are things that as a business owner or as a marketer you want to shout from the mountaintops.

Instead of getting excited when we go from 42 to 43 Google reviews with another five-star rating, I look at how we take this wonderful thing that someone is talking about us and we get them to talk to more people over and over again. Then we place it in a way where it’s on tap when new prospects come our way or come across some of our digital properties. It’s looking at how to unlock the full potential of this thing that was hard to get and very valuable.

M: It almost sounds like it bothered you to get somebody to leave you a nice review and to then do nothing with it.

Let’s go into some of the examples of this. How do you do this? What have you done with this?

A: I basically broke it into five different ways to utilize those reviews. It is easiest in our world when we summarize things and put them into a concept. I’ve called it the FiveX review strategy. It’s looking at how do I take this review and get five times the value out of it, then for it to just sit there. At a high level, we can go into detail on some of these, but, for now, here’s a brief breakdown.

One is how do you use that summarization on your own site to greet any website visitor with how many customers have talked about us and here’s the level rating that they’re willing to give us.

The second is recency. Studies have shown over and over again that we live in a world of “What have you done for me lately” reviews. Studies have shown overwhelmingly that people care about reviews within the last 90 days or the last 30 days, far more than a review you earned five years ago. So find ways to display your reviews with recency at the top of it.

The third is reviews by location. If you are a location-based business or you have multi-locations, then one that I think is the biggest that has so much untapped potential is theme reviews or keyword reviews. The quick example is, say you’re an auto repair shop and you have a bunch of reviews mentioning your brake service. Well, likely on your webpage, you have a page dedicated to your brake service and you’re likely not segmenting any of those reviews and displaying dozens of reviews about your brake service on the brakes page. You’ve just set up one page with reviews. So if you have people talking about a specific keyword, a specific theme, a specific service type, or it could even be a specific employee, parsing those out and putting those on that page to add more content and to add trust to it is a huge untapped area.

Lastly, businesses are always scrapping for social media. Take those reviews and reuse them on social media. Especially when you consider a way that you can do it with removing the **** and the timestamp. So take that review you got from five years ago and share it on Twitter today. This is what the customer has to say about us, I don’t have to tell you that it’s from 2015. But the same things might still be true of your business. Dust off that book from five years ago and put it to use today. And guess what? Your tweet has a shelf life of 30 seconds, so you can go and use it again next week or next month and repeat a cycle with a number of those.

M: Let’s say you’re an auto dealer and you’re great at training brakes but suck at changing transmissions. You have wonderful reviews for brakes and you have horrible reviews for transmissions. Obviously, a weird case but this is just for argument’s sake. Do you post reviews on one page than not on the other one? I don’t want to post my transmission reviews because that would be stupid but, on the other hand, it would look weird that there’s only reviews on one page and not the other.

A: I think you can in situations like that because, if you look at the crossover, you have to ask yourself what is the likelihood that somebody is getting their breaks and transmission done at the same time and they’re cross-referencing both of those? Now, in a business where you are looking for bundled services that can be a little bit more difficult. Or, especially when you’re newer or you haven’t done as much with a strategy in reviews, you just don’t have enough reviews. You might have 80 reviews about your brake service, but only have two reviews that mention transmissions. There I would just cherry-pick and throw them on the page as a couple of testimonials or even just throw one testimonial on the page and make it much larger, as compared to utilizing something that might display 20-40 reviews that they can tear ourselves through.

M: So when you don’t have a lot of reviews, which I would imagine is true for a lot of businesses, especially if you’re starting out, and you post that you have a 4.8-star rating, then that user sees the review on the homepage, but then they go to your Local Panel on Google and notice that you only have two reviews. What then?

A: The biggest thing I would tell people is that reviews are a long term game. You want to look at this like exercise or working out and at least get off the couch and get going with it. Be wary of the thinking of needing steroids or whatever else. Too many people race to do that and there are consequences. I would go more from the standpoint of what we can implement so we can start asking our customers for how we did for you.

There are many ways to crawl, walk, and run through that scenario. Specifically, if you see you have a crazy low Google review count, you could research what personal relationships you have with customers where you could send them an email and say, “Hey, we’ve realized we need to show our customer experiences in a better light. You’ve been a customer of ours for four years. Here’s the link with where you could go write a Google review.” Do it as a personal reach out before you step into an automated piece of software to help do those kinds of things.

M: Jumping back to sharing reviews on social media, how do you set the right tone? I can imagine it’d be very easy for a business to go too far with that almost like you’re gloating by bloating. I would imagine that that’s not the right tone to take in most cases.

A: I follow the practice of humble bragging. We built a feature in GatherUp for social sharing that turns that review into an image. It overlays the text over a color background, a logo background, and a photo. Social media is a visual platform across Instagram, Google posts, Twitter, and Facebook. So we’re creating that image and then using the content in your post. What I usually like to do is call out whatever that user has talked about or said great things about and reinforce that that’s what’s really important to the core of your business. If they’re talking about the fact that the customer service here was excellent, then state that this is exactly what we strive for and we’d **** to deliver the same for you. Instead of saying, “Look at me, I’m number one,” it’s more that we’ve achieved this with this customer experience. This is what we want to do every time and this is what we want to do for you. That positioning where you get to reinforce what matters and also be very humble about it works extremely well.

M: Yeah, because it’s more about giving than taking in a lot of ways.

It sounds great but are there ever cases where you wouldn’t want to repurpose a review? Assuming that the review is good. Obviously, if it’s a bad review, don’t repurpose it.

A: I wouldn’t exactly even say that. Having some bad reviews out there humanizes the business. It shows that, yes, things can go wrong. We’re not perfect. What’s more important in those scenarios is that you’re showing that you’re listening and that you responded to that review. That shows the customer that if things don’t go perfect, we have a way to talk to this business, they’re actually listening, they’re willing to respond, and they care to make it right. I think in today’s world, that’s far more important than trying to sculpt a perfect review rating.

To me, it’s the reason why consumers actually seek third-party content and reviews. You will see an auto-suggest on Google of people typing in your brand name and the word ‘reviews.’ They want to skip past the content you’re writing because of course, you’re going to say that you’re great and awesome. They want to go to the public opinion of this business. So even as yourself, you’re going to come across far more authentic and trustworthy if you have those variations. By far the best organizations we work with embrace that. They say, “We’re going to show all of our reviews but we’re also going to respond to every bad experience that’s out there.”

I would say don’t shy away from it. If you have more bad reviews than good reviews, that’s a business problem. You need to fix something. I tell people all the time that I’d already be retired on my own private island somewhere if because we asked for reviews with a beautiful email or a text message, it turned a one-star experience into a five-star experience. That’s not what our tool does. All we do is capture exactly what happened with the business and the customer.

M: That’s a good point. When I look for reviews, particularly on Amazon, I’m looking for the bad reviews because I want to see how bad they are. If they shipped it in this box and the box is totally messed up I can live with that. So long as the product itself is fine.

A: And I do the same. Here’s the easiest way to put it. You want to see that the great things about the business are a trend and that happens every time. And you want to see that the bad things are one-offs. If everybody’s talking about the communication being terrible, you’re going to skip purchasing that product because you see that problem on repeat. That’s the same thing we’re looking for. I do the same if I go to buy a TV. If I see everyone saying the picture isn’t sharp, I’m on to the next TV because it’s consistently delivering that same fault.

M: I know this is an SEO podcast but I’m also aware there are other platforms that do exist aside from Google. Where do you prefer to pull your reviews from? Yelp, Amazon, Facebook, etc. or it doesn’t matter?

A: I’m going to start with one area where I think people completely overlook for a number of reasons because it doesn’t have the same *** appeal of someone else’s logo on it and that’s a first-party review. Overwhelmingly, the numbers are off the charts. On the low end, somewhere between four to ten times the amount of customers will give you a direct review over stating it publicly. We are not all wired to say, “Hey, world. I’m willing to stake my opinion on Google, Yelp, Facebook, or anything else.” I tell people, the bottom line, if you really want to hear from a lot of your customers, you’re going to want to ask them to directly give us a rating and give us your feedback. As an SEO, that’s just more content. Do you want one content writer writing for you or do you want 500 writing for you?

If you care about knowing more about that customer, you will make it so that they can talk to you. Talking publicly is a choice. It’s so foolish to say I only want to hear from you if you’re willing to say it here. After that, I would say Google reviews because of their massive visibility on search, the doorway they have, and everything else.

Next, I would say Facebook, which Facebook actually switched a couple of years ago from five stars to a yes or no recommendation. With COVID and everything going on, people having conversations about you is super important. Mentions are your best marketing right now. Facebook recommendations are highly elevated with more people on Facebook. They’re looking for ways to support businesses, to write reviews, and to write recommendations. And Facebook recommendations can be more of a conversation where it’s not just static. Here, anyone can chime in on the recommendation. They can second it, like it, share it, and do whatever they want.

After you get past that, then it is vertical sites. The biggest thing that I tell people to do is to take your brand name and type it in Google with the word ‘reviews.’ Any site that appears on that first page is a site that you should care to at least have a handful of reviews on.

M: I don’t think people do that enough.

A: No. And those are the sites that have enough authority to rank. It might be the BBB, it might be yp.com, etc. Depending upon the vertical, there are likely four or five sites that pop up for your business. Put the lion’s share of focus into the main ones, yourself, Facebook, Google, but definitely get a handful of positive ones at the other sites that appear there.

M: How do you do this at scale? I’m assuming that’s where you guys step in because it sounds like this can be completely overwhelming.

A: Yes. And this is so fun too. When you consider the flywheel of what you can build in this, this is what we’ve worked on automating and creating that efficiency inside of our products. At the very start, you’re automating requesting reviews. You’re either using an API or using Zapier (we have an app out in Zapier) and we’re connecting to your billing system, a POS, or a CRM. So we know a customer experience has happened and it’s automating sending the customer into our system. That’s automatically going out. We’re sending reminders, we’re capturing the feedback, getting the information, then we’re automatically monitoring reviews. So whether they talk to you directly or they leave a review at Facebook or Google, we’re capturing that and bringing that into our system.

Then we’re automatically segmenting them by location because that’s how the local world works. And our review widget will automatically stream those reviews up to your site. You can choose in your settings to show every review, just reviews from these sites, just reviews of this rating, etc. It’s a completely no-touch situation.

One of the things I really **** is we have a feature called auto-tagging. In the auto shop example, you can set up a keyword list and if they say brakes, then we can build out a list and we’ll tag everything with ‘brakes’ if they say brakes, brake pads, pads, rotors, or any of these 10 words will trigger this tag to be ‘breaks.’ Then we can build another widget called a tag widget and say anytime this tag fires, then send this review specifically to this page in this way.

When you see all that happen and you realize you can watch it like a TV show and you don’t have to do anything, it’s awesome. You’re just feeding hundreds of keywords on some amount of frequency automatically up to your website and up to pages.

Optimize It or Disavow It



M: If you had to repurpose a review, would you put it on some obscure piece of documentation or a totally irrelevant social media platform? Think Google Plus when that was still around.

A: I would choose an obscure piece of documentation because who knows when you can use that piece of documentation again, but for social shelf life, unless you have a massive audience, it’s just here and there. I’d take the documentation, and then I’d be thinking about how I can use this documentation more and to make it more valuable as evergreen content, instead of just a one and done.

M: That’s true. Documentation ranks really well for a lot of queries.

Aaron, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate it.

A: Thanks for having me.

SEO News [47:06 – 50:52]

New TikTok Video Carousel: Google is running a new video carousel as part of an organic result that shows a series of short video clips. In the case spotted, a result for a specific TikTok account showed a carousel of the creator’s video clips.

New AdSense Reports: Google is giving AdSense data a bit of an overhaul. The Adsense reports page is getting a more visual look to make data more accessible. The changes have already begun to be rolled out and will be finished in the coming week or two.

Search Console Showing Featured Snippet Performance Data: It seems Google is showing the scroll to text highlight parameters that it uses for Featured Snippet URLs inside of Search Console which means you might be able to identify Featured Snippet URLs with a bit more ease.

Tune in next Tuesday for a new episode of The In Search SEO Podcast.

About The Author

The In Search SEO Podcast

In Search is a weekly SEO podcast featuring some of the biggest names in the search marketing industry.

Tune in to hear pure SEO insights with a ton of personality!

New episodes are released each Tuesday!





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How Important Is Off-Page SEO? | Search Engine Marketing Consultant & Search Engine Optimization Services

By | October 23, 2021


Daniel P. Borbolla
Latest posts by Daniel P. Borbolla (see all)

Before diving in and performing off-page SEO on your website, let’s define what it is first. Off-page SEO involves performing actions that take place away from your website, which increase brand awareness, build trust, build authority, and drive traffic.

Two good off-page SEO examples involve using link building strategies to acquire backlinks and leveraging your social media and business directory profiles to drive engagement.

Building and acquiring backlinks is one of the most important ranking factors for Google, so we’ll briefly examine why off-page SEO is necessary, then go over a few techniques you can use to build up and fortify your website’s backlink profile.

On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO is where you optimize your website’s metadata, keywords, internal links, image alt text, and content to inform search engines that your site is relevant and useful for its users. In short, on-page SEO tells search crawlers what your site’s all about, while off-page SEO shows crawlers why your site is valuable and important.

While it may be true that off-page SEO is harder to manage compared to on-page, it’s still worth the effort to combine the two into an overall SEO strategy that effectively builds your online presence and improves your rankings over time.

Do You Need Off-Page SEO?

In short, yes. You need to perform off-page SEO actions to fully maximize your online visibility and prove to search engine crawlers that your website is trustworthy, authoritative, and reliable.

Google’s algorithm takes into account all types of off-page SEO reputation signals like:

  • Backlinks
  • Mentions on Social Media
  • Online Reviews
  • Recommendations from Experts & Authority News Sites
  • Relationships with Similar Websites in Your Industry/Niche

Increase Off-Page SEO with Backlinks

So, just how important are backlinks to your off-page SEO strategy? Well, consider for a moment that a website with a handful of high-quality links will usually outrank another site with several low-quality links.

Here are some effective backlink building techniques you can begin using on your website:

1.) Provide Quality Information. One of the best ways to obtain backlinks naturally is by publishing well-written, well-researched, and verifiable content. Make sure to include statistical data that can easily be cited and shared, and insert multimedia elements where necessary to keep readers engaged.

2.) Use Broken Content Building. Broken link building is an effective tactic that involves locating resources that are no longer live or contain broken links, then recreating that content, and asking site owners to replace those broken links with your newly-created resource.

3.) Use Longer-Form Content. Did you know that long-form content is favored in the search engines? Simply open up an incognito window and perform a Google search for your target keyword, then write down the word length for each of the first few blog results and create a quality piece of content with a higher word count.

4.) Use Guest Posting to Your Advantage. Writing content for your blog is a good start, but you’ll also want to create guest post content that gets published on popular, high-ranking websites and blogs. Not only will you get a backlink in return, but you’ll also get exposed to a whole new audience.

5.) Send Out a Press Release. While press releases don’t help your ranking in Google as they’re only syndicated for a limited amount of time, they do help you indirectly by getting picked up by other publications, which leads to more backlinks. Press releases also help refine your messaging and provides content for other marketing channels.

6.) Get in on a Roundup. A roundup post compiles the best of the best within a specific industry or niche. They usually provide information on the featured experts, or asks them to share their own insights on a specific topic.

These types of posts usually get a high amount of views and shares because they contain valuable information, and because they get shared on the other experts’ networks.

7.) Land an Interview. Getting interviewed on a podcast or in an article is similar to guest posting as you’ll be able to reach an entirely new audience, but without doing all the heavy lifting yourself. The interviewer will be responsible for preparing all the questions and conducting the actual interview, then editing, publishing and sharing it on their platform.

Also, if you’re featured on a podcast, chances are they’ll write an accompanying blog article and you’ll receive a backlink.

8.) Land Quality Partnerships. A partnership or endorsement from a larger brand will give you plenty of attention. Seek out relevant companies and ask what you can do to assist them (offer value upfront!).

9.) Create Shareable Content. While writing long-form blog posts is recommended, try creating other digital assets like charts, graphs, infographics, and other image-heavy visual content that can easily be shared by others. Keep in mind that people **** sharing visual content and you increase your online reach by showing up in visual search engines like Google Lens, TinEye and Bing Visual Search.

Conclusion

Both on-page and off-page SEO are vital pieces to your overall digital marketing strategy. Ignoring one or the other will often result in poor search rankings and untargeted site visits, which leads to a whole host of other problems like lower session times and higher bounce rates.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, start by focusing on your site’s backlink profile. As mentioned previously, Google and the other major search engines view this as a key ranking factor.

Finally, consider bolstering your off-page SEO efforts by creating high-quality written content and other digital assets that others can share on their networks.

We hope you learned something today about off-page SEO. Visit our blog for more articles and subscribe to learn more about search engine marketing!



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SEO UX Play: Information Architecture & Linking Hierarchy | TechnicalSEO.com

By | October 23, 2021


UX is not just about simplicity and design, it is how users experience a site.

Experiencing a site boils down to three things:

  • Getting to the site.
  • Exploring content.
  • Converting or satisfying a need.

In an organic search journey, this experience manifests through landing on a page from the SERP and clicking through internal links to find related content or convert.

It’s these interactions – the user’s interactions – that showcase just how important the user’s site experience is to SEO.

In an organic search journey, SEO and UX are intertwined through the information architecture and linking conventions used on the site.

So, how can you take SEO data points and turn them into insights that shape your UX?

Let’s explore how “Information Architecture” (the framework of your site) and “Linking Hierarchy” (your site’s pathways or web of links) can be used to create a user experience tailor-made for your user’s needs.

Read the full post on Search Engine Journal .



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How to Get Your Website on Google Search Using Search Console

By | October 23, 2021


Googlebot crawls websites using backlinks. If your website is linked to from elsewhere on the web then it will eventually be crawled and indexed on Google Search. However, it takes Google a while to crawl the web. The best (and quickest) way to add your website to Google is by using Google Search Console.

Google Search Console is a tool provided by Google to help webmasters manage the presence of their website on Google Search. It’s intuitive interface will help you get your website on Google Search in no time. Create a Google Search Console account to get started.

Adding your website to Google Search Console

Once you’ve created an account, log in and follow the steps below to add your website to Google Search Console.

1) Add Your Website Property

Click on the search bar in the top left hand corner of the screen and click “Add property”.

google search console add property
Property list in Google Search Console

 

Type your URL, including the protocol (i.e. https://) and click “CONTINUE”.

google search console add property url
Add site URL and create property in Google Search Console

 

2) Verify Your Website Property

The next step is to verify your website on Google Search Console. You can choose between 5 different verification methods:

TIP: If you’ve got Google Tag Manager or Google Analytics on your website then I’d recommend trying to verify with these first. If those don’t work then you have a few other options, but they make verification a little more difficult.

Here are the other options you have:

  • HTML Tag – If you’re able to edit the <head> section of your website, then choose the HTML tag verification option.
  • HTML File – Upload a HTML file to the root of your website via FTP or in your hosting admin area
  • Domain Name Provider – Copy and paste the TXT record provided into your DNS settings in your domain name provider admin area
Verification options in Google Search Console

Once ownership has been verified click “GO TO PROPERTY”.

Ownership verified in Google Search Console

3) Submit your website URLs to Google

Congratulations, your website is now verified in Google Search Console! The next step is to submit it to Google. There are a few ways you can do this:

1) Crawl your homepage URL

To crawl your homepage, type in your homepage URL in the search bar at the top of the Search Console interface, then hit enter and click “Request Indexing”. If Googlebot crawls your homepage then it can crawl the rest of your site, meaning your whole website should get crawled and indexed

google search console request indexing
URL is on Google message in Google Search Console

2) Submit your website sitemap.xml file

The sitemap.xml file does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a map of all the URLs on your website. This helps Google to understand website structure and helps your pages to get indexed quicker. To submit your sitemap.xml file you’ll need to locate it on your website. Once you’ve found it, click on “sitemaps” on the Search Console dashboard and enter its URL on the following page.

google search console submit sitemap
Enter Sitemap.xml field in Google Search Console

That’s it. Your website should be added to Google and should appear in the search results within a few days. If you’re still having problems with indexation then there could be more serious issues with your website. Get in touch if you want to get your website indexed and ranking on Google.



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What Makes Google so Good? A Thematic Analysis

By | October 23, 2021


**** them or hate them, Google is very good at what it does. While they certainly have their share of flops (G+), its main product, search, is head and shoulders above everyone else. The question is, why? Sure, I could go into all of the algorithmic underpinnings that make Google unique. We could go through a history of Google and how PageRank was entirely novel, and so forth. But instead of that, I’d like to take a more thematic look at everyone’s favorite search engine. Let’s pop the hood and take a deep look at Google’s traits and how that translates to it being the best search engine and more. 

Strategically Speaking, What Makes Google So Good? (And the Lessons to be Learned) 

I spend a lot of time on the Google SERP and that can be both a good thing and a bad thing. It’s good because I get a front-row seat to what Google is doing. At the same time, it means getting too caught up in too many details. What I’d like to do here is to take a step back and instead of talking about how good Google’s results are or how good it is at connecting entities or how far it goes to target users I want to take a look at the meta strategies Google takes to advance its ‘search’ market share. 

What is Google thinking, what is Google’s approach to Search (and beyond), and how does that translate into market dominance? (And how can we incorporate it into our own planning?)

 

Above All Else, Google Understands Psychology 

 

Far and above anything else that Google does to position itself within the search engine market, Google understands psychology. It’s not always easy to see, but Google is masterful at understanding how the human mind works and what’s important to it. Where other search engines might get hung up on their technical ability or the fact that they offer peripheral features (such as privacy in the case of DuckDuckGo), Google targets the heart of the human mind. 

Have a look at this SERP: 

Michael Jordan SERP

What do you see here? As SEOs, we tend to see Google limiting traffic to our site hence our need to construct a new SERP strategy. However, the user sees a ton of information. As a user, I feel like if there’s anything to know about this entity, I can find it right here! 

This is not Google trying to offer the user an answer per se. I don’t think this paints a broad enough picture. As I’ve talked about before, the idea of Google offering answers as a way to keep the user on the SERP so as to drive ad clicks is a bit linear. It’s also out of character for Google, who very much plays the long game. 

Google understands that what drives a user back to its results over and over is authority. Google realizes it’s not selling information per se, but it’s selling authority. Google knows that a user will return to search another day if they view the search engine as an expert, as something authoritative, and as something trustworthy. (Sound familiar?) 

If you read my content regularly, I haven’t said anything new here. Yes, Google does something that I don’t think any other search engine does… it thinks about foundational psychology. So instead of worrying about relevancy and accuracy per se, it worries about authority (which is the parent concept of relevancy and so forth). 

But the brilliance of Google is not only in its ability to understand the basic nature of the searcher and their psychological demands. Google also displays a level of genius in how they build this perception. 

I’ve already spoken above about how offering direct information builds up an authority perception within the recesses of the user’s mind. But Google goes way beyond this. To establish an aura of authority, Google has done two other things that I think we should all incorporate into our own marketing strategy: 

1) Google positions itself as an authority in a visible way. 

2) Google creates a relationship of sorts with its users. 

What do I mean? 

Google Positions Itself as an Authority 

Google is very good at strategically sending the user the message that it is an authority of the highest caliber. That is, Google places itself in the position of authority and then flaunts it.

The clearest example of this is a Local Service Ad: 

Google Local Service Ad

Google is not placing that green guarantee-logo just to tell the user that the service has been vetted. Vetting a business? I mean, what an odd thing for a search engine to even do. However, if we look at it from the lens of Google trying to place itself in the position of authority, it’s brilliant! 

Whatever losses Google may suffer at the hands of guaranteeing shoddy work, it makes up in terms of perception as an authority. Why would I use Bing when I can use a search engine that simply oozes authority? 

I should point out, Google’s positioning of itself into the authority role so as to speak to user’s psychology is far more subliminal than its local service guarantees. Here, in the below Local Pack, Google is all but telling the user that they are more attuned to the actual hours of these listings than the listings themselves!

Local Pack Hours Correction

Google indicates that the hours presented by a specific listing may not be accurate as a result of COVID-19

By potentially correcting the listing’s own hours as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Google has again placed itself in the position of the authority. 

I mean, doesn’t Google telling you how busy a business is right now come off as a bit “Hey, we know everything!”? 

Popular Times - Local Panel

Google’s Popular Times feature showing how busy an establishment is in real-time 




In other words, Google doesn’t just put content on the SERP so as to create the perception that is an authority. It doesn’t just sit back and wait for “authority to happen” – which would be extremely effective on its own. Rather, Google looks for opportunities where it can paint itself as the authority. It does so latently and it does so manifestly. 

It’s a good lesson for us, particularly as it comes to our content strategy. Sure, traffic is great, but sometimes the content you write should be more focused on how it paints your brand than the number of users it brings in. 

Google Creates a Real Relationship with Its Users 

 

As part of its unparalleled ability to tap into user psychology, Google does an amazing job at creating a relationship with its users and in doing so reinforces the notion that they are the authority supreme! 

Have you ever wondered why Google makes so many small and what might seem like trivial updates to its SERP features? I mean take the dictionary box it offers. 

Does Google really need to add in a tool that shows you how to pronounce a word and then let you practice that word to make sure you say it correctly? Is that essential? Is that what a search engine should be focused on?

Google Pronunciation Box



A Google feature that teaches you word pronunciation and allows you to test your own verbalization of the word 

Does a search engine really need to help you learn English with the equivalent of flashcards on the SERP? 

Google Word Coach

 
I mean, Bing doesn’t: 

Bing Dictionary Box

And this is Google’s genius. It doesn’t just present information, it uses the information it presents to create a relationship. Whether it be a way to hone your language skills or reserve a table at your favorite restaurant, Google goes the extra mile to offer its users helpful innovations. 

While a certain update to a specific SERP feature might seem like overkill in isolation, from the perspective of creating a helpful relationship with the user, these minute details are incredibly important.  

To ****, I have never seen anything like Google’s travel site. You simply can’t find a travel booking site that not only offers so much information but that allows for so much user interaction and input. There are so many opportunities for users to input what’s important to them on the site. Forget the mere practical advantage to this, what message does this send to the user? Well, it tells the user that Google is ready to listen to them and as a result be able to help them. 

Google Travel Site Filters

Google offers the user an array of inputs when using the Google travel site 

That’s an incredibly powerful message that Google executes, not with words per se but with its UI and UX! That is, when Google designs something, it goes beyond asking itself what options the user wants but goes so far as to consider the message its functionality sends. That’s the difference-maker. 

To bring this all full circle, Google using its properties to a relationship/interaction with its users both fosters a sense of trust and again positions the search engine as an authority. By creating interaction, by offering the user Google supplied information aimed at making their lives better and easier, Google acts as a trusted partner that is bathed in authority. 

To me, offering users more opportunities to provide input on a page not only makes a page more interactive but provides the user with a sense of control and relationship between themselves and the interface. It’s something I think we could all do more of! 

Google Pivots Really Quickly 

 

Google is an incredibly large organism. It’s the kind of large-scale operation that you would think would be almost lethargic. However, Google has consistently shown that it can adjust to the world around it on a dime. This is an important commodity to a search engine that, as mentioned above, wants to come across as helpful, build relationships with its users, and most of all capitalize on authority. 

You don’t have to look far to see this in action. Each and every month Google makes dozens of adjustments to its SERP. That said, if you want to see a clinic on adopting to a user’s needs quickly, have a look at how Google responded to COVID-19.  

As the pandemic took hold of the world, Google quickly took to offer notification cards on applicable SERPS: 

Google COVID-19 Alert

Soon after releasing these cards onto the SERP, Google decided to go full-on data for COVID-19 queries: 

Google Coronavirus SERP

Parenthetically, nothing speaks to Google’s ability to come across as an authority than the incredible amount of data Google offers in the above. 

But it’s not even this massive source of information that I’m really referring to. As the pandemic evolved, Google quickly moved to adapt to the new nature of the pandemic. 

As businesses began to shutter, Google updated Google My Business to allow for a temporarily closed status: 

Temporarily Closed Listing COVID-19

As takeout became the new norm, Google updated its Discover More Places carousel to always show cards for ‘Takeout’ and ‘Delivery’ first: 

Discover More Places Takeout Cards

As testing for the virus came more and more into focus, Google gave easy access to the protocols medical facilities initiated for in-person visits: 

COVID-19 in Local Panel

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point, Google pivots really quickly to meet user demand. In doing so, the search engine is able to fill its role as an authority and as a trusted source of pretty much everything. 

I think a lot of Google’s constant experimenting goes to the notion that the search engine is constantly trying to evolve, adapt, and meet user needs in new ways. This mindset allows it to pivot when the circumstances around it change drastically. 

Again, all of this does not go unnoticed by users and is a powerful reinforcement to Google’s quest to be a dominant knowledge authority. 

 

Google Is Opportunistic

 

The idea of Google being opportunistic is probably the most controversial trait the search engine incorporates into its approach to innovation. While there are some controversial topics to hit on when talking about Google’s “expansion,” I merely want to show what Google does without getting too lost in the more *** button issues. 

There is a myriad of examples to show how astute Google is in determining user needs and then moving aggressively to fill them. We can talk about how Google has turned its Local Panel into a booking center where you can make an appointment at a yoga studio, we can talk about how the Knowledge Panel includes every facet of information on everything from your pet to your favorite movie, but the two best examples I can think of are: 

 

1) Google’s travel site 

2) Google offering free shopping listings 

How Google Took The Travel World by Storm

 

I don’t want to go too far down this wormhole as I already spoke about Google’s travel site earlier in this post. That said, the way Google saw an opportunity and then seized it here is nothing short of amazing. 

Back in the fall of 2017, Google began to overhaul its hotel and flight features. In doing so the SERP became home to all sorts of pricing information and data, etc. It was totally novel in a lot of ways. What Google did was find the gap in what the traditional booking sites were offering (i.e., a lack of data and the like) so as to move quickly to fill that gap. 

Over the course of what would be the next two years, Google added all sorts of data, trends, and options to its features that supported travel bookings until it launched its own travel site in May of 2019. 

Now having a site of its own, Google went gaga with all sorts of options and filters that were supported by access to a prolific set of travel information. For example, Google will tell you the average temperature of a location during your planned visit, if hotels during that period are pricier than usual, and will even let you filter hotel results according to a specific neighborhood of a city. 

Google’s travel site offers an array of pertinent information such as the average temperature of a potential destination during each month of the year 

Here, Google saw an opportunity to offer a new way to explore travel plans and seized it with an aggressive series of updates that spanned the better part of two years! 

Google Offers Free Product Listings as COVID-19 Changes the Commerce Landscape 

 

To me, Google’s handling of COVID-19 on the SERP (and beyond) has been emblematic of its overall approach and strategy. One of the clearest examples of this was when Google opened up Google Shopping to free product listings. Google offering retailers the ability to list products free of charge was inevitable. For Google Shopping to compete with Amazon, Google was going to have to open its listings up. 

That said, Google’s timing here was testimony to its opportunistic nature. Once Google saw that the retail landscape had changed with COVID-19 and that online shopping was of even greater relevance, Google took the opportunity to bolster Google Shopping. 

Free Product Listings on Google Shopping

That is, just when more people than ever would be interested, almost desperate to get their products going online, Google announced it was opening up free Google Shopping listings in the US. Google, in the announcement, pretty much said as much. They indicated that free product listings were on the table prior to COVID-19 but the timetable to open up its shopping platform was pushed ahead to capitalize on the pandemics e-commerce impact. 

Aggressively Opportunistic Does Not Mean It’s Wrong 

Is Google’s opportunistic nature distasteful? If I had to answer that, I would say it often comes close, but no. With its shopping listings, Google had something it was working on (free product listings), it saw a new opportunity arise, and it grabbed it. There’s really nothing wrong here. In fact, it probably helped a lot of retailers. 

I think the instances of free product listings during COVID-19 and the Google travel site are prime examples of Google hunting opportunity aggressively without crossing any real lines. It was not like hotel sites or booking sites were offering the information that Google now does. It was not as if Google pushed its way into the travel market by pushing out other sites. Rather the opposite, Google saw other sites leaving a wide gap in what users really wanted so they simply filled the gap and did so in a highly energetic way. 

Google, quite often, is a case study in aggressively and relentlessly pursuing an opportunity without crossing any real lines (of course, there have been times where Google has perhaps taken things too far, but that’s for another time). For many marketers, Google is a good lesson is finding and taking the right opportunities in a highly energetic manner. 

Boundlessly Unafraid  

Astronaut over Gap

If I had to boil what Google does down into one underlying principle I would say the search engine is not afraid to go deep. Whether it’s a strategic analysis of user psychology or taking a two-year-long approach to seizing an opportunity in the travel market, Google is committed to going deep and going long. Google is very much an anomaly. It’s a tech giant acting like it’s Nike or Coca-Cola, with the latter brands being the pinnacle of tapping into the consumer’s mind. But that’s really Google’s underlying brilliance. It’s able to exist as a tech company and retain that identity all while behaving like how a retail company might be expected to.

It’s a wholly uncommon paradox that like it or not, leaves us with much to learn about our own marketing practices. 

About The Author

Mordy Oberstein

Mordy is the official liaison to the SEO community for Wix. Despite his numerous and far-reaching duties, Mordy still considers himself an SEO educator first and foremost. That’s why you’ll find him regularly releasing all sorts of original SEO research and analysis!



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Why Do You Need Reputation Marketing? | Search Engine Marketing Consultant & Search Engine Optimization Services

By | October 23, 2021


Daniel P. Borbolla
Latest posts by Daniel P. Borbolla (see all)

When you’re looking to purchase a local online service or product, what do you usually do? Well, if you’re like 90% of online consumers, you’ve likely performed online research and read some reviews before you were able to trust that business.

This is because prospects tend to trust customer reviews rather than information from skewed ads and so-called “expert opinions.”

In this article, we’ll briefly cover what Reputation Marketing is, and how it can assist you in turning everyday web searches into valuable leads for your business.

What is Company Reputation?

Several digital marketing agencies offer Reputation Management (i.e. Online Reputation Management) services, while others offer Reputation Marketing services. So, what’s the difference?

Reputation Management is the attempt to influence the public perception of a company by managing information like online content, reviews and social media interactions.

On the other hand, Reputation Marketing pairs Reputation Management alongside brand marketing to closely monitor what customers are saying and acquire additional reviews that they can then market to generate more sales.

What Can Affect Brand and Business Reputation?

The bottom line is that customer reviews affect how your business is perceived by the public. When this aspect of your online marketing approach is neglected, it’ll result in lost sales, higher customer acquisition costs, lower search engine/visitor trust and customer retention rates.

Here’s some eye-opening statistics taken directly from BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey:

  • 82% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses
  • The average consumer reads 10 reviews before they feel they can trust a business
  • Only 53% of people would consider using a business with less than a 4-star rating
  • The average consumer spends approximately 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision
  • 97% of consumers that read online reviews also observe how businesses’ respond to those reviews

How Google Reviews Impact Your Business Reputation

Receiving reviews from websites like Facebook and Yelp is important, but the most prominent review platform by far is Google as they’re the number one search engine year-over-year (and it’s no contest).

An expertly managed Google My Business (GMB) profile can help you:

1.) Establish Brand Identity. Making sure that your GMB profile is complete and displays customer reviews contributes greatly to your brand’s online development.

2.) Improve Search Visibility. Maintaining a fresh and steady flow of positive reviews and responding to each and every one of them signals to Google that your business is active and extremely responsive, which aids in increasing your local search ranking.

3.) Increase Trust Factors. As your company builds momentum by receiving consistent positive feedback over time, you’ll find it gets easier to convince prospects to do business with you.

4.) Influence Consumer Decisions. Not only do reviews help build up trust, but how you choose to respond to those reviews will either leave a good lasting impression, or turn away potential business.

Conclusion

If you’re not investing time and energy into building your company’s online reputation, you’re essentially leaving it up to the reviewers to decide, and one negative review can cost you thousands in lost business opportunities!

In addition, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused major economic shifts due to social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Now more than ever, it’s vitally important for businesses to start investing in Reputation Marketing if they haven’t done so already.

For a limited time only, we’re offering Review Generation services at a discounted rate to help businesses affected by COVID, so reach out to us if you need assistance. And don’t forget to subscribe!
We hope you learned something today about Reputation Marketing. Visit our blog for more articles and subscribe to learn more about search engine marketing!



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A Month of Wild Rank Fluctuations: SERP News

By | October 23, 2021


I’m not one to quote (or even listen to) Katy Perry, but her “adage” of “you’re up then you’re down” is quite applicable to the rank fluctuations seen on the Google SERP in the recent past. There was some downright bizarre movement on the SERP in August… on multiple occasions… so I’ll dive into that! 

There have also been changes to how Google extends ‘Search Journeys’ (and how Google promotes its own shopping experience), the schema supported by Google, scroll to text highlights, etc. So I’ll be diving into that as well! 

This is the September 2020 edition of the SERP News! 

Quick Bursts of Rank Volatility Dominate the SERP 

Google updates are not an uncommon phenomenon. Your typical month sees about two instances of serious increases in rank volatility. So while confirmed core updates are pretty much a quarterly phenomenon (in general), unconfirmed updates happen all of the time. So why are the two updates that hit the SERP in August so special? Well, for starters, they were pretty serious, showing levels of volatility at certain moments that we don’t typically see with your run-of-the-mill unconfirmed update. 

Rank Fluctuations August 2020

The Rank Risk Index showing two sets of increased rank volatility circa mid-August 

The first significant update during August almost caused SEOs to have a total meltdown. On August 10th, there was a sudden increase in rank volatility. More than just an increase, SEOs the world over were reporting that a lot of their rankings were being totally wiped out. That sort of total obliteration is not par for the course, it’s not how updates usually impact rankings.                                     

 

Simply, something seemed amiss here. And indeed something was. By August 11th, folks were already seeing a strong reversal. As the day progressed, Google came out and confirmed the “update” as being a glitch! What was the glitch exactly? Not sure, Google didn’t really offer much by way of details but did say the issue was related to indexing

Just a few short days later, there was another massive set of ranking movements. Due to the proximity of the two updates, some suspected that this too was a “bug” especially considering how significant the rank fluctuations were (they were off the chart). However, the August 15th update was not a bug. It was a quick update and a quick reversal. 

As massive as the ranking gains/losses were, they were immediately reversed (as a whole). 

All-in-all, bug or no bug, this sort of massive movement followed by an immediate reversal… is a bit odd. To me, it almost feels like Google was testing something specific. That is, they tested whatever it was they wanted to test and then immediately returned the SERP to its previous state. That makes me think there is a big update on the way and before making that update the search engine wanted to see the impact of a specific alteration to the algorithm. 

==> Check out our guide to Rank Fluctuations

The SERP Roundup Covering August 2020 

August gave us some really interesting updates to the SERP along with a few tests of what might be coming down the pike. From upgraded ‘Activity Cards’ to Tik Tok carousels, here’s what Google changed on the SERP over the course of August 2020. 

Local Listings Hit Autocomplete as the Local Panel Sees Updates

Let’s start with a few changes to the world of ‘local’ on the SERP as Google made a few changes that impact the Local Knowledge Panel as local listings enter autocomplete. 

Local Listings Now Appear In Google’s Autocomplete

I’m a little surprised this did not get massive attention from the industry. Towards the end of August, it was discovered that Google had inserted local listings into autocomplete. Searchers running a local query may now see a specific listing in the autocomplete suggestions Google offers. 

Local Listing Autocomplete



A local car dealer showing within the autocomplete results

This can actually be a big deal as it circumvents the Local Pack. That is, it is now possible that the user will never see your listing in a Local Pack. Instead, they may see a business listing appear in the autocomplete and opt to view that listing before they ever execute the query. If the query is not executed, then the Local Pack that you might rank in won’t appear. 

How do you get your listing to be the listing Google shows in autocomplete? Good question. 

[As an aside, and since we’re on the topic of autocomplete, Google was seen testing ‘Related Search’ options within the autocomplete as well.]

Call Button Enters Desktop Local Panel 

Here’s an interesting one, Google has thrown the ‘Call’ button into the desktop version of the Local Knowledge Panel. The obvious question is, how does this work being the last time I checked you can’t make a phone call from a desktop computer? Well, Google offers you options. Clicking on the call button here brings up an option to send the business listing’s phone number to your connected cell phone (i.e., the phone that is part of your Google account) or to open Facetime! 

Like I said, it’s pretty interesting. 

New Map Added to the Local Panel 

The desktop Local Panel typically displays a map within the images that show at the top of the panel. For some reason, Google also seems to think users want to see a second ‘map instance.’ A lot of folks have been seeing Google show an independent map display towards the bottom of the Local Panel on desktop.

I’m not really sure why there needs to be a second map instance. Also, the map has no ‘heading’ above it and just sort of sits there floating in the ether that is the Knowledge Panel. That said, it looks to me like Google may have pulled this back. 

Google’s Activity Cards Get a Significant Upgrade 

 

Way back in early 2019, Google unveiled a way to pick up where you left off with what are known as Activity Cards. Imagine you were researching a pair of new shoes. With the cards you can easily reopen pages you looked at in a previous session or even see what searches you already ran on your quest for a new pair of kicks. 

Now, however, Google is using the cards to do more than help you pick up where you left off. An upgrade to the cards now gives them the power to offer you a product carousel related to a previous search as well as recipes related to recent activity along with job listings as well. 

Product Activity Cards



Activity Cards now produce a carousel of products related to previous searches (Image Source: Google Blog) 


Jobs and recipes notwithstanding, to me this is all about products. As I’ve been harping about ever since Google opened up Google Shopping to organic listings, the search engine has to find a way to move users from the main SERP to its shopping experience or run the risk of its open listing policy becoming irrelevant. 

Throwing a carousel of products at you based on your recent search activity is a way for Google to nudge you towards its shopping platform. It’s another way for Google to be able to place products in front of the user on the main SERP so that the user can access the ‘Google shopping experience’ without having to click on the Shopping tab specifically. 

PLA Images Changing with Hover 

Speaking of products, Google is testing a way to make its PLAs a bit more comprehensive by changing the image used in a given card upon being hovered over. I, as I imagine many shoppers do, take a hard look at the various images retailers offer before making an online purchase. The hover option being tested does just that right on the SERP. This, of course, makes having multiple high-quality images of your product even more important as they would now be part of the ‘click’ process and not just the conversion process. 

PLA Hover Over Image

A PLA card moving through a series of images upon being hovered over 

Google’s Home-Based Activity Feature 

Appropriate for the times, Google is running a feature that allows you to identify content that speaks to activities you can do at home (i.e., fitness activities you can do from home). When running a given search, Google may offer you video content, upcoming live streams, etc. related to the query in the context of it being done at home. Currently, Google says they are only presenting these options for fitness-related queries. The inclusion of home-related content is made possible by implementing the Home Activities schema markup.   

Google Home-Based Activity

Google’s new ‘Home-based activities’ feature (Image Source: SERoundtable.com) 

People Cards Come to the SERP 

Most folks don’t have their own Wikipedia page which makes triggering a Knowledge Panel in these cases quite a difficulty. However, that all may be a thing of the past. Google has rolled out the ability to create a personal knowledge card on the Indian SERP. Folks, once logged into Google, can opt to create a panel that would appear when a query for their name is run. The card currently allows users to share their occupations, social profiles, etc. 

I can’t see Google not going global with these cards. It seems to me that Google is aware that it is very adept at picking up distinct entities and creating a Knowledge Panel for them but lacks when the entity is not as well known. Google, in its quest to create the ultimate Knowledge Graph, hits a wall once the entity lacks distinct sources (i.e., Wikipedia). To extend the Knowledge Graph, Google is turning to user input. By doing as such it can continue to make new connections. For example, imagine two employees from the same company list their employer in the new People Cards. Google can then gain further insight into that company, and beyond. 

People Also Ask to the Right of the Organic Results 

For the past month or so I’ve been stuck in a test that has the People Also Ask (PAA) box appear to the right of the organic results. 

To me, having the PAA box here is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, having the box taken out of the main results column opens the SERP to additional organic results (as there is more space for them). On the other hand, seeing the PAA box appear independently makes the feature far more noticeable and thereby clickable. 

Scroll to Page Highlights from the Image SERP 

The scroll to text functionality (which includes text highlights) seen for some Featured Snippets has expanded to pages accessed via the Image SERP. It’s entirely bizarre as text highlights only make sense when the text highlighted corresponds to the query. When moving to a page via an image, what’s to say which snippet of text should be highlighted? I don’t get it. 

The Multiple Carousel News Box Makes a Desktop Appearance 

Google has been running multiple carousel News Boxes on mobile for some time now. The multi-carousel format is an interesting way to try to offer a well-rounded take on a news topic. Sometimes it works and sometimes the format is slightly off in the way it segments news topics. All-in-all, it is a very interesting feature that speaks to what Google can do when it comes to identifying topical relations.

The one consistent segment used in the multi-carousel News Box is the Also in the news carousel. As opposed to other carousels, this one is not a reflection of a sub-topic related to the news topics but is a collection of related content overall. It appears in every instance of the multi-carousel News Box on mobile.

The Also in the news carousel is now being tested on desktop. This comes as Google tested a second link within news cards last month meant to offer context to a news topic. The moral of the story is that Google wants to offer a more eclectic news experience and at some point in the relatively near future the news experience on the SERP will be dramatically different (in this author’s opinion). 

Google Adds Tik Tok Video Carousel to the SERP 

Tik Tok has made its way to the SERP in an all-new way with video carousels. Some Tik Tok profiles (represented as organic results) are now appearing with an accompanying video carousel. The carousel contains a series of clips created by the profile represented in the organic result. My life is now complete. 

Auto-Play Video Slider Spotted on the SERP 

Who doesn’t **** watching movie trailers? Who doesn’t like watching silent previews of one trailer after the next as the day withers away into nothingness? Well, now you can right from the SERP! 

Mobile Knowledge Panels for movies often contain video trailers. Now the SERP is automatically running a short preview of the multiple trailers shown in succession. In other words, when the silent preview of one trailer is done, the next video shown automatically starts its silent preview. 

Mobile Knowledge Panel Trailer Auto-Play

A movie trailer running through an auto-preview as a part of a set of automatically loading trailer previews

See Where to Watch Sports on the SERP 

Google’s ‘Sports Box’ is a prolific feature that contains everything from team standings to schedules and beyond. Now Google is using the SERP feature to help sports fans see where they can watch a given game. For example, when Googling a Major League Baseball team, Google will show you the upcoming games with each game’s ‘card’ indicating the available watching options. These options include TV scheduling and available streaming options. 

Google Watch Sports Live

Google showing places to watch live sports events via the Sports Answer Box 

Tell Google If You Are Feeling an Earthquake 

Last, but not least, Google is asking users if they’re currently experiencing an earthquake. If you are in an area that is undergoing an earthquake, Google may ask if you just felt shaking. The feature was spotted when someone who was experiencing an earthquake searched for ‘earthquake now.’ Personally, if I ever felt my house shake the last thing I would be doing is Googling ‘earthquake now,’ but that’s just me (though I guess it’s better than searching ‘earthquake now? run now?’). 

Google Earthquake Filter



A Google feature asking the user for input around experiencing an earthquake (Image Source: SERoundtable.com)

I assume Google is using the info inputted to help determine the overall radius of a given quake.  

A Layered and More Complex SERP 

 

Every once in a while, I like to take stock of the SERP and see where we stand. Looking back on the month and the SERP we saw, I think we live in a more layered and more complex SERP. This is not a new paradigm per se, but I do think we’ve reached a new layer of complexity. Take local listings in the autocorrect as an example. How does Google choose that one listing for a location? How does that impact Local Pack performance (as again, a listing in the autocorrect can bypass the Local Pack altogether)? Or take multiple image PLAs via the hover. The implementation of multiple product images now becomes a click issue. If users don’t like or don’t see multiple images on the hover, will they still click? To what extent do you need to think about how an image appears within a tiny PLA card versus how that same image appears on your product page per se? 

It’s complicated. It’s complicated because the SERP offers layers of access to sites, listings, products, images, etc. The SERP is more layered and therefore more complex than ever! 

About The Author

Mordy Oberstein

Mordy is the official liaison to the SEO community for Wix. Despite his numerous and far-reaching duties, Mordy still considers himself an SEO educator first and foremost. That’s why you’ll find him regularly releasing all sorts of original SEO research and analysis!





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Welcome To Merkle’s SEO Insights | TechnicalSEO.com

By | October 23, 2021


Merkle first launched TechnicalSEO.com in April of 2015. The site was created for Merkle SEOs as well as SEO industry members and clients as a resource to learn more about SEO, use handy tools to make our work easier and to see some of the cool things Merkle SEO had to offer.

Four years later, with the hard work of our Head of
Technical SEO, Max Prin and others, TechnicalSEO.com has been redesigned and
launched with several new features. Among these new features include access to
all the SEO tools people have
grown to **** and rely on, access to many of the presentations
Merkle members have delivered at industry conferences and a few new things we
are excited about.

With the launch of the new site we’ve added an SEO podcast, hosted by Alexis Sanders and featuring interviews with industry members from brands such as REI, Wayfair and Bing, to name a few.  Because you’re reading this, it’s probably obvious, but we’ve also launched a blog. The blog is a place for Merkle SEOs to share with the industry about trends, insights, what we see in the wild world of SEO and more.

As SEOs, we are all nerds at heart. We **** to discover, invent, test, retest and form validated conclusions in this fast-paced, ever-changing industry. What better place to share our thoughts and findings than with a blog.

You can find a number of articles already on the blog, which are articles members of our team have had published on industry publications. But going forward, you can expect to find blog posts that you will only be able to find on TechnicalSEO.com.

Having worked in the SEO industry since 1999, published almost 100 articles across the major publishers, and spoken at every major SEO conference multiple times, SEO has been a huge part of my life and my entire career. But this post feels different. This is the inaugural piece for the Merkle SEO blog with articles that will only be published here. There are many great voices and posts to come, sharing SEO insights with a Merkle SEO point of view, and from trusted industry clients and colleagues. Stay tuned. I’m excited for the new direction and vision that lies ahead.



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Compare Best Mortgage Rates in Canada

By | October 23, 2021

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By | October 23, 2021

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