Daily Archives: November 1, 2021

SEO for Brand Reputation Management: In Search SEO Podcast

By | November 1, 2021

Don’t forget, you can keep up with the In Search SEO Podcast by subscribing on iTunes or by following the podcast on SoundCloud!

Summary of Episode 49: How to Leverage SEO for Online Reputation Management 

The great Ari Roth of Five Blocks joins us to talk about crafting your online reputation from an SEO perspective!

  • How to maintain control of your brand’s narrative using Search
  • Using the SERP to manifest your brand positively
  • Handling inaccuracies that impact your brand’s identity when they appear within a Google property

Plus, is Google evil? The Wall Street Journal seemingly thinks so! We pick apart their article and the industry’s peculiar response to it!

Is Google Evil? When SEO Conspiracies Go too Far [00:03:13 – 00:17:35] 

During episode 48 of the podcast, Mordy said he will talk about the Wall Street Journal’s take on Google, but as time went on he felt like covering it in-depth would be old news. That was until Barry Schwartz went ahead and wrote what Mordy thought was an objectively wonderful rebuttal of the Wall Street Journal’s take on SEO… and all hell broke loose.

So let’s get into some of the things the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) proposed to be Google truth:

Google favors big brands because they buy ads

Manual changes made by Googlers is some sort of editing free for all

The blacklisting of sites actually happens

Here are Mordy’s issues with the piece itself: First, they mention their research consists of 17 searches. Really? According to Mordy, he did 1700 searches last week! (An obvious, yet oddly believable, exaggeration.) Secondly, there’s a whole bunch of complaining in the piece about Google editing out offensive nonsense in the Autocomplete and how Google creates manual adjustments to the search results, etc. As Mordy put it on Twitter, “I don’t get their point on “censorship”: If your 11-year old kid searched from Biden or Trump for a project, would you want them to see “is a moron, is a putz…” despite your political leanings wouldn’t you want your 11-year old to see facts?” Do you really want kids seeing totally inappropriate things in the Autocomplete?

Moving on to Google’s supposed big brand preference…. The WSJ claimed that eBay suffers and Amazon wins on the SERP because Amazon spends more on ads. First off, Mordy remembers a study he did on a Google update at the behest of some people in e-commerce to see what sites were impacted and in that study, eBay won big and Amazon lost some nice rankings.

But what really is killing Mordy is the Amazon thing. Do you know how much Google invests in its SERP features and Google Shopping just to grab a user and pull them away from Amazon? Does the WSJ actually believe that Google will purposely give Amazon better rankings? Amazon is Google’s biggest threat! Google literally revamped its product Knowledge Panel into a commerce supercenter just to get folks to consider its own Shopping programs over Amazon!

What’s really confusing to Mordy is the supposed injustice when preferring a big brand. Fun fact, everyone loves big brands! When you need a heart transplant do you go to some mom and pop hospital or one of the top hospitals in the country? Mordy’s wife had her thyroid removed due to thyroid cancer at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore! And you know what Mordy didn’t say? “Well, I might seem biased towards big brands so I’ll take my wife to a no-name hospital.”

Think of any store chain. Mordy remembers as a kid there was this chain called Midas where you got your muffler and your brakes fixed and people liked going there because they trusted them. They would say to themselves, “It’s a brand, they won’t cheat me. They have no reason to. They’re a big brand. They’re reputable.”

So when the writers of the WSJ prefer a big brand in their personal life, no problemo, but when Google does it, oh no! They can’t do that. Google can’t view big brands as being authoritative. Google should say no to CNN, no to ABC News, no to CBS… Google should instead favor the Middle-of-Nowhere Times over the NY Times because Google must be fair and unbiased. Of course, the WSJ, being a major publication (aka a big brand) would not like that very much!

And if all this wasn’t enough, Barry Schwartz, the darling of the SEO world, the only good human being left among us, wrote a very well done rebuttal…and the SEO world lost its mind with it. There was nonsense out there like, “Isn’t Danny Sullivan a part-owner of Search Engine Land and he works for Google? Therefore, Barry your piece is a lie!” Even if it’s true that Danny Sullivan still has a stake in SEL… it’s Barry Schwartz we’re talking about. Do you really think they bought Barry off, compromised his integrity, and forced him to put out a sham?

The best were the folks who were like, “Yeah what the WSJ said was true. Evil empire this, evil empire that.” What was true was the WSJ didn’t say anything of substance, they just made a ton of accusations based on some things some people who we don’t know said. And that was Barry’s point. He was like, “Okay, you can think it’s true, but my point is that the WSJ has no proof.”

At most the WSJ piece should have been an editorial, at most… They were just throwing stuff out and not backing it up!

And this is what really got Mordy. Mordy has been very critical of Google at times. That said, there are SEO conspiracy theories and sometimes they make a lot of sense…. like Google using bounce rates to evaluate a site is something that Mordy can see being true even though Google flat out denies it. You can think he’s nuts and that’s fine… but that’s one thing. To say that Google is this dark entity of pure evil is something else entirely.

And after the reaction to Barry’s article, these theories really came out. Mordy saw how many SEOs believe this kind of stuff. This is too much, it goes too far, and it’s a skewed view of reality. Believing this can hurt your SEO practice because you’re disconnected from what Google does and really wants to do and that 100% impacts you as an SEO. It’s not just your theoretical opinion, it plays itself out in the underpinnings of how you approach SEO.

For Mordy, this is getting too much and he asks everyone to please take a piece of reality and chew on it. Google is a corporation with corruption like any and every corporation. At the same time, Google is a corporation that does a lot of good for its consumers like any other corporation. End of story.

Tackling Brand Reputation on the SERP: A Conversation with Ari Roth [00:17:52 – 01:10:14]


[This is a general summary of the interview and not a word for word transcript. You can listen to the podcast for the full interview.]

Mordy: Welcome to another In Search SEO podcast interview session. Joining us now is a self-described search enthusiast, the director of Search Strategy at Five Blocks. As featured on SERoundtable.com, here’s Ari Roth!


Ari: Thank you for having me, Mordy. It’s an honor to be here. I was just listening to your last podcast with Michelle Robbins and I feel like I have major imposter syndrome.

M: This is actually great follow-through as on last week’s podcast we spoke about reputation management, not from an SEO perspective and this week we’ll do it from an SEO perspective.

Before we get going, what is Five Blocks?

A: Five Blocks is an online reputation management (ORM) agency. It’s based in the US, but we have an office in the Jerusalem area. That’s the basics and I’ll go into more detail later on.

M: Awesome. Help us all get on the same page… what does reputation management from an SEO perspective mean?

A: The basic background is when a client comes to us when they feel they’re being unfairly misrepresented in the search results. For a regular SEO client, you will want to rank your site for a wide range of keywords related to your business/field. In reputation management, we’re looking at a whole bunch of sites from social media to profiles on business websites to rank for a much smaller and more focused set of keywords. The most common types of keywords would be the company or brand names, but even product names or *** button political issues are cases where people will hire us to get what they believe is a more accurate story.

M: At the end of the day, what does a good chunk of brand reputation look like once when it’s set up?

A: I think there’s a difference between perception and reality. ORM should relate to getting an accurate story out there and having that reflected online. Ultimately, though, you’ll look around and see things that don’t align with a certain brand. You could build this amazing brand and one thing might happen that gets you in *** water and that one thing sort of defines how they’re viewed at least in the lens of Google Search.

Where we come in is we try to use these SEO principles at a more holistic level by understanding which features Google wants to show and how it all works together to paint a picture that creates a more accurate story.

The “snake oil” equivalent of ORM uses these huge networks of churn and burn which they build up with a blog network (PBNs). They create nearly identical vanilla content across all of these sites and are all of them are interlinking between each other to use the dependence of linking in Google’s algorithm to trick Google. We don’t do that because 1) It’s immoral and 2) While it may solve the current issue, after a few months you’ll notice something is off. The search results should look natural. You shouldn’t be seeing the same article over and over again across multiple websites that no one has heard in your search results. We try to work within the sites you expect to see when a brand like yours is searched for and use those to paint the picture that clients are looking for.

We call our solution “intelligent” ORM because we have to work with the client in various departments to make sure that all the pieces are working together and all the different properties that Google naturally wants to show are working together in the right way.

M: When I think of a brand, I think of a ton of SERP Features on the SERP. When it comes to ORM, how do you leverage SERP Features to do that?

A: It depends on the SERP Feature. For instance, one of the most common features of a brand is the Twitter box. If there’s a Twitter account with whatever you’re searching for and they’ve been tweeting lately, then those tweets will show up in the search results. You just have to remember that if you retweet something without commenting, your tweet will not appear in the Twitter box.

M: And the Twitter box is really important because 1) it’s your own content and you control the narrative and 2) if there is something negative on the page that Twitter box might be what pushes it off to page two.

A: Right, and that’s more true for Twitter than other results because even if Google associates a Twitter account with a specific entity you’re searching for, if they haven’t tweeted recently their Twitter account might not show up. The only way it shows up is in the Twitter box. It’s something so simple yet has such a great impact.

M: I want to talk to you about schema markup. What markups do you prefer and do you not prefer or not recommend?

A: I don’t see any drawbacks from schema as long as you’re doing it right. In terms of what’s the most effective, there has been a lot of chatter in the community about the FAQ markup. We’re certainly on that bandwagon while it works. I don’t think though that the way SEOs are using FAQ markup is going to continue to work. If you look at the guidelines you see it’s really meant for FAQ pages as opposed to popping some FAQs at the bottom of the page. At the end of the day, we have to leverage the current features we can offer to our clients and therefore we are using it as part of our larger toolset.

M: Yeah, I think Google knows what’s going on, but they’d rather have the FAQ with “off-center” content rather than not having it at all. And once they get enough content where there’s a FAQ in every SERP, then they’ll start weeding them out.

A: I agree and just like the Twitter box you have to know how these features work. You have to know that FAQ markup only works on page one. If you have a page ranking on page two it won’t do anything until it climbs to page one. They’re limiting the number of sites to do this to three a page so they’re incentivizing you to be one of the early adopters. There have been tests that have shown that if you have FAQ markup and product markup on a page that Google will choose between the two.

We have done our own tests through the lens of ORM and I’m excited to hear your thoughts. First, our internal technology is called Impact. It shows us all of the locations and terms we’re researching every single day and it shows us the entire search page from one day next to the other. It shows us a whole set of patterns that we can leverage to guide strategy for the client. What we noticed when implementing the FAQ that the FAQ markup is itself considered an organic result in terms of the number of results on the page. The same thing goes with Twitter.

We also have a working hypothesis that Google is actively filtering out FAQ markup on site home pages. A colleague tested this on a sandbox site we use. He implemented the markup correctly, Google validated the markup, but it didn’t show up live in the search. He then changed the homepage URL to be sitename.com/home and all of a sudden it showed up.

M: That makes sense. It’s a little egregious because everyone knows there isn’t an FAQ on the homepage.

A: Particularly with these SERP features, you have to be up to **** on what’s going in the SEO world and people like Barry Schwartz, Dr. Pete Meyers, Marie Haynes, are all examples of must-follow on Twitter. Once you know what’s going on you have the ability to test it on your own, see what works and what doesn’t either in a sandbox site or with clients who are a bit more adventurous to try new things. Either way, you’re testing and learning. Within our industry, the big key is to share your research and we all get better because of it.

M: You should also follow Valentin Pletzer because he’s a tremendous resource in finding new tests to the SERP.

We have to discuss the Knowledge Panel. If you’re a brand/corporation, what do you need to show up in the Knowledge Panel?

A: I think you’re alluding to this article I wrote about Knowledge Panel identity theft where I did a test and claimed a Knowledge Panel of a playwright also named Ari Roth and long story short I was given access to the Knowledge Panel. I was not aiming at anything nefarious with the Knowledge Panel, I just wanted to prove a point as a curious SEO practitioner. In fact, after I wrote the blog post someone at Google must have read it and removed my access to the Knowledge Panel. In short, any brand/corporation needs to claim these Knowledge Panels for themselves before someone else takes it from them.

M: Obviously, to create a Knowledge Panel you need a Wikipedia page. What else do you need to get the Knowledge Panel?

A: Wikipedia is the silver bullet when it comes to Knowledge Panels. Other solutions are not as reliable. In the old days, there was a site called Freebase where it was like Wikipedia where you were guaranteed to get into the Knowledge Panel. These days it’s either Wikipedia or pray.

Wikipedia is its own ball game. To throw in a shameless plug, we have a free beta tool called Wiki Alerts where you sign up, you tell it which Wiki pages you want to track and it will send you email updates telling you any time a page you care about is edited. It’s totally free. It pulls the Wikipedia API every six minutes so at most you’re six minutes behind. If there’s evidence of vandalism you can detect it. Because Wikipedia has such a robust imprint in search and even in Wikipedia it has its own community who are constantly on Wikipedia, that’s something that’s a big part of your online reputation that you should care about.

You need to be familiar with how Wikipedia works. Companies themselves are discouraged from editing their own pages because of conflict of interest (COI). There are a couple of solutions. One is you can openly declare your conflict of interest and say that even though I have a conflict of interest I believe that A, B, and C should be changed to improve the page within the context of the product and make the page more encyclopedic and accurate in nature. And even if you have a COI, you can minimally revert overt vandalism. In any case, you should tread carefully and make sure you’re in accordance with the guidelines and best practices of each platform.

M: Would you consider Wikipedia to be the basis of creating an entity understanding and doing solid brand reputation management for SEO?

A: It’s definitely a big piece. What we found is that if you’re searching for a big company or person and they have a Wikipedia page, the Knowledge Panel will most certainly show up with a snippet from Wikipedia and also in the standard organic results it’s almost a lock that it appears on page one.

M: Right, and it’s another way to get things off the page.

A: There are other ways as well. Wikidata is a Wikipedia sister site that took the mantle from Freebase and is another feeder of the Knowledge Graph. For businesses, Bloomberg has a business database that feeds rather prominently. Schema organization markup doesn’t have a clear way it shows in search, but I think explicitly communicating certain aspects of your business to Google is something that can help create a well-rounded entity.

M: I’m curious to know how good is Google at accurately understanding entities?

A: On the whole or with specific misinformation.

M: Both.

A: Okay, on the whole, I think they’re pretty good at reflecting what the media and other people say. I don’t mean to attack the media. There’s this idea these days of fake news. For me, I don’t think the media is this sinister cabal that is intentionally distorting the facts to the masses for their personal gain, but the fact is I have seen the media make statements that are false and these statements become facts in the public eye especially through platforms like Wikipedia who view these news media sites as their best possible sources of information.

One example I had was a founder of a company who is no longer the CEO and isn’t part of the day-to-day business, something happened to him, and all of a sudden he’s being referred to as the CEO. That mistake could cause misinformation in different Google features.

You have to know how these features work, if there’s a place in these systems to correct misinformation manually when the algorithm gets something wrong, and be able to leverage those and submit that feedback to Google.

M: How do you that though at scale? For a small company a mistake could be fixed, but with a company with multiple locations, languages, and sub-sites, how do you go about doing that at scale?

A: As I said, our focus is much more narrow in terms of the search terms that we’re trying to impact. If someone is searching for ‘Wal-Mart’ and they find the wrong CEO information, hopefully whoever that is has taken our recommendation and taken their Knowledge Panel and then they have a more direct connection to Google notifying them of misinformation.

I think Danny Sullivan released a whole blog post with the different courses of action that are available when you come across problems in different Google features. There are special buttons for the Knowledge Panel, there are feedback buttons to report rich snippet spam, and in Wikipedia you can revert incorrect edits.

[Editor’s Note: I was doing SEO research and was looking at the Knowledge Panel of Dennis James, one of the original hosts of The Price is Right, but his profile picture was of a bodybuilder with the same name. I notified Google of this mistake in the Feedback tool and less than a week later the profile picture was changed to the correct Dennis James.]

M: Danny Sullivan is actually a great resource if you have a problem. I was doing my own research on voice search and for the query “the best generals ever” Hitler showed up. As a descendant of Holocaust survivors that didn’t sit well with me so I showed it to Danny and he fixed it.

A: Absolutely. I think there’s a problem in general with SEOs who deem Google as evil and they don’t want to tell Google their strategy lest one of their tactics be a fallow of Google’s guidelines and then Google will slap them down so they’re hesitant on asking Google. There are also legal agreements, especially in the reputation management industry. If it came out that a company with a bad reputation was working with a specific firm that would be very bad to come out and there are strict non-confidentiality agreements. I personally can’t leverage Danny as much as I would like to, but I have noticed that in certain instances where something egregious is going on not related to a client, he’s very helpful to pushing it to the relevant teams at Google and getting it fixed more quickly than it generally would.

M: Okay, we talked about how to deal with Wikipedia and the Knowledge Panel, things that are relatively easy to control, but how do you deal with reputation attacks that are not within your locus of control (i.e., a review site)?

A: First of all, I wouldn’t necessarily agree that review sites aren’t in your control as there are always things you can do. This isn’t our main focus, but there are companies out there that deal with negative review attacks. We definitely have seen on a case by case basis success on getting negative reviews removed. It is important to know the guidelines for these review sites including Google who has reviews in the Local Panel.

For example, at this point, I know Yelp’s guidelines like the back of my hand. I also know that if the client tried removing it first they could actually hamper us because on Yelp they don’t re-review things. If you appealed once and Yelp’s team decides that you didn’t make the case sufficiently and the review deserves to stay, then if I try going to appeal I will get a notice that Yelp has already reviewed this and found that it’s within our guidelines. I’d say don’t act unless you really know what you’re doing or if you’re really confident to succeed. You should definitely talk to the professionals.

For other review sites, there are limits to what people can say. There are all sorts of laws related to defamation and all that. In certain circumstances, you’ll have to talk to attorneys or PR professionals to the risks and benefits in pursuing legal action to take that information down. In almost all situations there is something you can do, it’s just a matter of if it’s worthwhile and a good idea for your overall brand to pursue that action.

M: What are the things that SEOs need to consider that’s not related to the content of the page or related to a SERP feature so when they do rank on the SERP they show up with a positive brand sentiment.

A: I think in general what we try to do is integrate with all of our client’s teams. Meaning, we don’t have one contact at these huge companies. You have a communication team, a brand team, and a press or media team, etc. and all of these teams have to work together and what the other teams are responsible for. As you talked about last week, the best way to have a good online reputation is to do cool and awesome stuff offline which should find its way online. But having professionals who know how the online landscape works and how to push it into the right channels is something that’s valuable and can get those efforts more exposure than they would on their own. We will have conversations with 20 people in the room from totally different teams making sure everyone’s on the same page so they’ll get the maximum bang for their buck.

M: Before we move on to the end, where do SEOs drop the ball when dealing with online reputation?

A: I think people today don’t keep up with industry trends. Now for a shameless plug, for you, Mordy. I follow you on Twitter constantly. Even the SERP feature tools that Rank Ranger has just to know what’s going on day to day is very helpful. Doing the same thing every day without following the trends has diminishing returns as the landscape changes. You need to be on top of the technical best practices.

For instance, structured data, SERP features, but even using canonical URLs for your social media profiles. Facebook and LinkedIn are horrible at canonicalization. On LinkedIn, you can change your custom URL, but the old URL and new URL both exist and can be indexed separately because there’s no connection between the two. You need to make sure you’re sending a strong unified signal across all platforms.

Another thing people don’t consider enough is different stakeholders. People searching for Wal-Mart or K-Mart aren’t necessarily looking to buy. While shoppers are a major stakeholder, there are others who are maybe looking for a job or stock performance. You need to make sure you have content geared to all of these people. It goes with working in the algorithm as opposed to working against the algorithm. Google also understands that different stakeholders want to see different results and Google’s job is to give the best results to everyone who is searching. Otherwise, an engine like Bing or DuckDuckGo can come in and steal their users by giving better results.

Otherwise, work with the algorithm, give users what they want, but also keep up with the industry trends so you’re utilizing all the tools that Google gives you at your disposal.

M: Do you recommend following other search engines?

A: We do track Bing as well. For some clients who are concerned with other markets like China who use search engines like Baidu that we’ll track.

I think a big thing we didn’t talk about yet is Peer Analysis. If you’re K-Mart you need to look at what Wal-Mart is doing and vice versa. For our clients, we’ll look at 5 – 10 of their peers, add them to our tool, and you can see all of those peers next to the client. You can see what are the most common sites that appear for the peer search terms because those are probably your lowest hanging fruit and the best opportunities in terms of where you can have a more immediate impact for the client. For example, if you haven’t prioritized LinkedIn and your company’s LinkedIn page isn’t in the search results that is a huge deal that needs to be taken care of. One way we found that solves it is by removing duplicate content. For example, some companies for legal reasons have the same text on multiple site pages which can lead to duplicate content. Something so simple as to deduplicating the content on your LinkedIn Page can take your LinkedIn page from nowhere to be found to page one.

Optimize It or Disavow It

M: From a brand reputation perspective only…. Would you work on creating all sorts of schema markup so that when you rank organically your brand can really shine or would you focus on your Knowledge Panel which only presents itself within branded queries?

A: For the purposes of this game I would say the Knowledge Panel because it’s more frequently present and it likely has a more prominent presentation whereas schema can be on a result that is further down on the page.

In reality, I refuse to choose. The landscape is complicated. If you’re winning the SEO game, you’ll have beautiful rich snippets or leveraging the right SERP features, but you need to pay attention to your Knowledge Panel and SERP features. You might have some great schema, but if they start doing research and find one-star review and negative articles then that won’t go well for you.

From my experience, this is something that companies know they need to do. I think it’s crazy that it’s a huge black hole in a company’s marketing and branding toolset that they aren’t investing resources in tracking accurately what people are seeing in search every day in every market. Yes, in a crisis, you can see what’s going on, but for the everyday things, you need to see how you appear on search. You might not even know there’s a problem until you see there’s a negative review.

I think reputation management is generally viewed as a crisis response tool, but I think there’s tremendous value as viewing it as a more proactive brand building, brand monitoring, and brand reputation tool.

M: Thank you so much, Ari, for coming on!

A: Thanks for having me.

SEO News [01:11:40 – 01:14:55]

Bing Has Been Using BERT Too: Remember, BERT? Well BERT is not a Google-specific property. In fact, Bing says they’ve been using BERT as far back as April.

Google Testing Car Rental Price Compare Tool: Google was seen testing a Google ad that was, in fact, a tool to compare car rental prices!

Rich Answers on Google Mobile Have More Than Doubled Since 2018: A Perficient Digital study shows that image carousels are a major part of way more rich results showing on the SERP in 2019!

Google Adds Product Result Filters to Search Console Reports: Google has added the ability to see how your rich results that use product markup are performing on the SERP.

Google Possibly Competing in Bookings and Reservations: There are signs pointing towards Google possibly dropping its reservation partners and taking up the booking mantle themselves!

Fun SEO Send-Off Question [01:14:55 – 01:18:07]

If Google caught its child stealing cookies from the cookie jar, what would it do to this child? 

Sapir thinks of Google as the cool parent and wouldn’t punish the kids from taking cookies. Mordy had all sorts of cliches like Google giving the youngster a manual action penalty, taking away its rankings, kicking it out of its Featured Snippets, and whatever other SEO cliches you can think of.

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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Google Shares Tips For Optimizing Job Postings

By | November 1, 2021

Google says businesses are missing opportunities when it comes to optimizing job postings, and offers tips for how to improve them.

As we head further into the hottest hiring season on record, targeting qualified applicants can help you find the right person for the job while sifting through fewer CVs.

How can you do that?

By adding more information to the description field.

Businesses aren’t including nearly enough detail in that field, which could lead to a flood of applications from people who aren’t qualified for the job.

Moreover, businesses might be losing out on applications from people who are ideal for the position.


Continue Reading Below

Communicating exactly what you’re looking for as an employer is better for your business and better for job seekers.

They won’t waste their time applying for a job they’ll never get, and you won’t waste your time looking at submissions from people who don’t have the experience or credentials you’re looking for.

Here’s an easy way to improve your job postings and attract the right talent for the right positions.

How to Optimize Job Postings For Google Search

By making a few changes to the description field, businesses can immediately make their job postings more appealing.


Continue Reading Below

The description section of job postings in Google Search only includes text within the description property of the job posting structured data.

It does not include information about qualifications, skills, and benefits by default.

If you want that information in your job positing then you’ll have to write it into the description field.

Here’s a screenshot that shows what a complete description section should look like, according to Google.

The job posting below includes all relevant details a person needs to make an informed decision on whether they’d be interested in applying for the job.

google search job postingsScreenshot from developers.google.com/search/blog, November 2021.

A job posting like the one shown above can be created using Schema.org structured data markup.

While the structured data includes fields for qualifications, this vital info is not immediately visible to searchers.

The first thing a job hunter will see is the description section. From there they may decide to apply for the job or pass without looking into any further details.

You can ensure they have more information to base their decision on by adjusting your Schema markup as Google recommends.


Continue Reading Below

Other Ways To Market Your Job Postings

It’s not just Google that’s concerned with helping businesses find the employees they need, LinkedIn is deeply invested in it as well.

LinkedIn recently rolled out an update to company pages that includes new ways attract and keep top talent.

Businesses can highlight their policies on vaccines, remote working, and other things that are top of mind for workers right now.


Continue Reading Below

People want more than just a salary and benefits these days, they want a job that allows them to live a quality life outside of work too.

Source: Google Search Central

Featured Image: Tetiana Yurchenko/Shutterstock

Source link : Searchenginejournal.com

Holiday shopping SEO: Last-minute tips and techniques for e-commerce sites

By | November 1, 2021

This post first ran on Sept. 19, 2020 but was updated to include new information.

Before the holiday shopping season approaches, online retailers should be readying and refreshing content, category and product pages to maximize search visibility as interest surges, and auditing their sites to ensure a smooth user experience.

While there may only be a few weeks left before Black Friday, there is still plenty of time to implement the tips and techniques below to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the work your teams have already put in and that you’re not committing errors that could potentially hurt your business during this critical season.

Take advantage of free product listings

Google opened up its Shopping search results to unpaid, organic listings in April 2020, and Bing followed suit in August. Getting your products into these results can mean free exposure to the millions of people that use Google and Bing Shopping to look for holiday gifts.

Google’s organic Shopping listings as they appear on desktop.

To be eligible to show up in Shopping results, you’ll need to upload product feeds into Google and Microsoft Merchant Center, respectively. If you operate a physical store, there is a separate program in Google Merchant Center (GMC) called “Local surfaces across Google,” which can be used to show product availability in Google search, Google Images, Google Shopping, Google Maps and Google Lens.

Plus, on November 1, 2021, Bing implemented new shopping tabs to help customers find exactly what they’re looking for (and maybe some things they didn’t know they needed) in time for the holiday shopping season. “Shoppers can start their search when by browsing our Departments, with over 1,000 categories – such as Home Furnishings and Electronics – to choose from. These pages highlight trends, price drops, and coupons available in each department,” according to the announcement. Other tabs include Stores, Editors Picks, Deals, Trending Products, and Prices Drop.

Source: Microsoft Bing

RELATED: FAQ: All about Google Shopping and Surfaces across Google

Keep track of campaign performance. Tracking your campaigns can enable you to make more strategic decisions in the future. Unfortunately, reporting for these organic listings isn’t as sophisticated as paid campaigns.

Reporting was not available when Bing’s free product listings launched, but the company rolled out basic metrics (clicks and impressions) later last year.

In GMC, the Performance report shows clicks from Surfaces across Google. In Google Analytics, clicks from free Shopping listings are categorized as “google / organic” traffic, meaning that it’s not possible to tell how your organic Shopping listings are doing compared to your traditional organic search listings. As a workaround, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing offers a tagging process to track user behavior after the click.

Add structured data to signal relevance and inform shoppers

Product Schema. “Google has introduced countless new Shopping features directly in search results,” said Karen Bone, SEO director at digital marketing and SEO agency Ayima, pointing to structured data-powered features like product Knowledge Panels and the Popular Products carousel, and their prominence in search results pages. “Without incorporating your products to be featured, your classic ranking position may not be enough to drive traffic,” she said.

A standard search result listing (above) for a video game, compared to a listing for the same game that uses structured data (below) to make star rating, review and price information available in the search results. Source: Dave Davies.

“[Product Schema is] the easiest way to clarify to Google that you should rank for phrases like “buy X,” said Dave Davies, CEO at Beanstalk Internet Marketing, adding that this structured data type can help draw the attention of prospective customers and provide them with useful information to base their decisions off of, as well as potentially improve your click-through rates.

The Popular Products carousel. Mobile users may also encounter Google’s Popular Products carousel if they’re hunting for apparel and fashion products. This mobile result type enables users to filter through product categories, view different colors, read reviews and compare prices without having to click through to a retailer’s site (although they will have to click on a store link to complete the purchase).

Google Popular Products organic search results
The Popular Products carousel in Google mobile search results.

You can get your products into this carousel by marking them up with product Schema and/or submitting a product feed in Google Merchant Center. You can read more about the exact feed and Schema requirements, as well as how you can optimize for this feature, in our FAQ article on Google’s Popular Products.

Refresh and reposition your evergreen content

Keep your content working throughout the year. Evergreen content can be a resource for prospective customers year-round and continue to serve your business year after year. “Don’t create campaign pages for holiday and then retire them immediately after,” said Bone, recommending instead that merchants create evergreen content, such as gift guides, that they can link to internally throughout the year and feature more prominently towards the holidays shopping season. “Allow that content to gain links and work for you each year, rather than removing it and starting fresh year over year,” she said.

Accommodate the holiday consumer. Segmenting your queries and repositioning your evergreen content accordingly is crucial to its success during the holidays.

“Ask yourself, during the holidays, are the same people making the buying decisions?” said Davies, “A good example is video games: During much of the year, the primary buyer will be the player, but during the holidays, the stats reveal it’s an extremely popular gift.”

In this example, if you have content geared at ranking for queries related to “top games,” you’ll want to adjust the content for the holidays to address the questions of the new consumer (the gift purchaser). Shifting content this way will help you take advantage of existing rankings, Davies said.

“On these pages, you want to consider not the big pitch you can make to a consumer already salivating for the latest Call Of Duty, but rather the questions that their parents, relatives, etc. will have,” he said, “What is it rated? Why does it have that rating? What do other parents think? These types of questions.”

In addition to refreshing your content, you should also revise your descriptions, headlines and page titles; for example, a title such as “A Parent’s Guide to 2021’s Top Video Games” is more likely to attract clicks from parents than “2021’s Top Video Games.” Reworking your content with these factors in mind can help you attract more clicks during the holidays and convert the traffic you’re getting.

Create category and product pages specifically for holiday shoppers

Shoppers are likely to be searching for specific deals and you’ll want to ensure they can find yours as easily as possible. Extending your holiday shopping-focused optimizations to product and category pages will help you achieve this goal.

Create category pages that reflect how shoppers are searching. “Optimize your high-value category pages with the proper keywords for each holiday,” Jackson Lo, SEO lead, international growth at Shopify, said, “You can do this by updating your category title tags, meta descriptions and page content to include relevant keywords and products.”

Best Buy’s search listing reflects a specific, popular search query during Black Friday.

“For instance, ‘black friday deals on tvs’ is a very popular search term customers use during Black Friday,” he said, pointing to Best Buy’s category page that has been optimized for this specific intent.

Collaborate to avoid missed opportunities. As you create new product and/or category pages, work with your PR and social teams to help drive backlinks to those pages. “Often, marketing teams will create new campaign pages, without consulting SEO teams, and authority is diluted or lost,” said Bone, advising that if your business creates virtual flyers, ensure the links to those flyers are easily accessible. “These are often picked up by third-party sites and are a great source of backlinks and creating excitement to shop your deals,” she said.

Things that can hurt your visibility and sales during the holiday season

In addition to assessing what can be optimized during the lead-up to the holiday shopping season, your teams should also audit your site to ensure it works as intended and postpones any major projects until this crucial sales period is over.

Check for errors that may affect conversions. “For instance, check to make sure there aren’t any important pages blocked by robots.txt from being crawled or indexed, broken category or product URLs or slow-loading pages,” Lo said. Tackling these errors early on can lead to a better experience for your customers, which may translate to more sales.

Scrutinize your user experience. Auditing your user experience can help you keep visitors on the right path. For example, if you have a standalone FAQ page for a particular product category, shoppers can get sidetracked on a page that isn’t conversion-oriented, Davies said. “Answer that question front-and-center in the conversion journey,” he said; in this example, you can do so by moving the FAQ section into the category page.

Save site migrations and other major projects for later. A site migration is a significant undertaking, and certainly one that should be shelved until after the holidays. While they can be performed correctly, any number of mistakes, even as simple as communications oversights between SEOs and developers, can result in errors that can potentially and negatively impact your search visibility.

If a botched migration affects your site’s ability to process transactions, you’ll be spending precious time leading up to the holidays fixing it, which means fewer resources spent on optimizations and potentially lost customers. Even after a site has been migrated, rankings for important pages may fluctuate and search engines may have to index new URLs, so save site migrations and other projects that could affect your visibility and user experience for later.

About The Author

George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.

Source link : Searchengineland.com

SEO Content Quality (Good Content vs Bad Content)

By | November 1, 2021

How does Google differentiate between good and bad content? It’s a basic question, yet it’s a question that conjures up explanations that belong in 2010, not in the era of machine learning and deeper contextual understanding. So no, Google is not merely adding up all the backlinks a site has and deeming it quality content once a certain quantity of links has been accumulated. Rather, all things considered, Google is doing a very good job profiling content. That is, Google is quite adept and knowing what good content looks and sounds like and what bad content looks and sounds like within a specific vertical. 

Here’s how they do it! 

How Google Knows Good Content From Bad Content 

There are all sorts of theories out there about how Google knows when it’s looking at good content versus bad content. What these theories so often forget is the greatest resource available to Google. That, of course, is the amount of content at its disposal. Think about it for a second. Within any vertical, for any topic you can imagine, Google has an overabundance of content samples at its fingertips. Samples that it could use to get a sense of what good content looks and sounds like and what bad content looks and sounds like.

All Google would need is a baseline of sorts. A set of content within a specific vertical or for a specific topic that is known to be of excellent quality. With that, wouldn’t it be possible to compare any piece of content on a particular topic to that baseline? Surely, for the most part, such a comparison would be a good indicator if a given piece of quality passes muster? I mean, if only Google had a way of doing this at scale?! 

I’m, of course, being a bit facetious. Google indeed does have a way to exercise this ability at scale. In fact, what I have described above is a crude outline of how machine learning works and as we well know Google loves machine learning.

So in clear and simple terms:

How does Google know good content from bad? It takes highly authoritative content from highly authoritative sites from specific verticals and trains its machine learning properties to know what good content looks and sounds like for a given topic. That is, Google via machine learning compares its baseline, i.e., content it knows to be of quality, to content from across the web in order to determine what is quality and what is not. 

You could argue this is speculatory. To this I say two things: 

1) Occam’s Razor. We know Google uses machine learning to understand things from entities to intent. We know that it has the ability to compare and to qualify on a deep level. All I am suggesting is that Google is doing this at the content level itself. It’s not a big leap at all. 

2) I’m leading you on a bit (for the sake of making sure you have a foundational understanding that you can use to extend your SEO knowledge – so don’t be mad). John Mueller of Google was asked about this very topic. Here’s what John had to say:


“I don’t know. I probably would have to think about that a bit to see what would work well for me. I mean it is something where if you have an overview of the whole web or kind of a large part of the web and you see which type of content is reasonable for which types of content then that is something where you could potentially infer from that. Like for this particular topic, we need to cover these subtopics, we need to add this information, we need to add these images or fewer images on a page. That is something that perhaps you can look at something like that. I am sure our algorithms are quite a bit more complicated than that.” 

That pretty much sums it up. Don’t be distracted where he says, “We need to add these images or fewer images on a page.” That is certainly true. Imagine a recipe site, a lack of images or even a video would definitely be a red flag for the search engine. However, to me, the most important part of that statement is “… if you have an overview of the whole web… Like for this particular topic, we need to cover these subtopics.” He’s telling you Google has a good sense of how a topic should be covered and if it’s not covered appropriately. 

The problem is, I could talk about this until I’m blue in the face. It’s very ethereal. The concept could mean so many things. Thus, what I’d really like to do now that we have a conceptual understanding is to take a look at what profiling content may look like. 

A Hands-On Look at What Google’s Content Profiling Looks Like 


I’m a big believer in visual education. Seeing is believing, a picture is worth a thousand words… that sort of thing. If we’re going to take this concept of how Google profiles content and apply it practically, I think we need to form a more concretized notion of what Google sees among the vastness of its content library. That is, what is obvious and transparent to the search engine? What is possibly being picked up on and internalized by the search engine? Simply, what does content profiling look like so that we can make sure our content is sound?

Before I get going. You have to understand, I do not know what parameters Google has set up within its machine learning construct. All I can offer is a crude look at what is most obvious and unavoidable when profiling content. Still, from this, you should not only be able to more concretely understand what Google is doing but be able to walk away with a bit of a plan as to how to better approach content creation.   

Let’s get started, shall we? 

A Content Profiling Case Study

To get started I’m going to compare various health sites… because everything authority these days relates to Your Money Your Life (YMYL) sites with the health sector sitting at the epicenter of this. Also, health content has its known authorities (i.e., WebMD and the like) which makes seeing the contrast between quality content and poor content a bit easier. 

Let’s start off with a keyword, see how some of the more authoritative sites treat the topic, how some of the worst-performing sites treat the topic, as well as some of the content that falls between the two extremes. 

To catch a glimpse of how a site treats/relates to a topic I utilized Google’s “Site” operator to see what content is the most relevant on the site for the keyword cancer and diet. When I started comparing the titles of the content I was shown for those sites that are authority superpowers versus those sites known to be problematic a clear contrast became evident. 

Before anything else, here is what the SERP for the keyword cancer and diet brought up: 

Diet & Cancer SERP

OK, now let me show you the contrast in content that I saw. 

Contrasting High Quality & Poor Quality Content  


It only makes sense to start with what good content looks like. For this, I’m going to use webmd.com as they not only are one of the most well-ranked sites but they in fact rank for this very query (albeit towards the bottom of page one). In either case, no one would call the site’s authority into question so they are a good place for us to start: 

Webmd.com Topic Titles

A quick look at the tone and overall construct of the site’s content points to the use of direct and undramatic language. The titles are without any emotionally coercive wording, there is nothing sensational within them, and they are entirely of a highly-informational tone. 

Let’s look at another authority that ranks on the SERP for this query, cancer.gov. For the record, cancer.gov is the site for the National Cancer Institute (US), is a part of the NIH, and as should be clear is an official part of the United States government. In our terms, cancer.gov is a super, super, super-authority and here is how they treat the topic of cancer and diet in their titles: 

Cancer.gov Topic Titles

The titles here range from research on the topic to how to go about your diet during cancer treatment. Again, straightforward informational titles free of click-baity sort of phraseology or anything that even hints at causing an emotional reaction on the part of the reader. 


Now let’s move on to those sites that Google does not trust. First up is draxe.com who originally fell under my radar when the Medic Update demolished their rankings. Subsequent core updates have also greatly hurt the site. Simply, this is a site that has a trust problem vis-a-vis the search engine. A look at the titles that appear for the keyword cancer and diet may help explain why: 

Draxe.com Content Titles

Think back to WebMD and the National Cancer Institute, there were no “top 5 cancer-killing foods.” Those sites preferred direct, to the point, information-driven titles. Not so here. The titles here, by the use of their “numbers,” sound more like a marketing article might sound (such as 10 Ways to Build Your Link Profile… sound familiar?). To put this bluntly, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the idea of relying on an article to teach me how to eat while undergoing cancer treatment when it sounds like another article filled with typical fluff. I’m pretty sure you aren’t either and I’m definitely sure Google is not as well. 

There’s clearly something other than the offering of pure information going on with these titles and their format clearly differs from how our super-authorities approached things.

To accentuate the difference between quality and crap within this vertical let’s move on to a site famous for its poor SERP performance. Mercola.com has been notorious for fairing quite poorly with the core updates. In fact, the title tag the good doctor uses for his home page takes a direct shot at Google’s algorithmic displeasure with his site: 

Mercola Homepage Title Tag

While I do not want to get into the reality of Mercola’s reliability in it of itself (I’m not a doctor, what do I know?), it is clear that Google is not “happy” with what it has found on the site. Which means this is the perfect site to look at for our purposes. 

Without for adieu, here’s what the ‘site operation’ gave me for the site using the keyword cancer and diet

Mercola.com Topic Titles

Before proceeding, I implore you to look back at the results produced for WebMD and the National Cancer Institute because the contrast is stark. The title of the first “Mercola” result tells it all. As opposed to being of a more serious and informational tone, we are treated to a linguistic gimmick reminiscent of an essay for 8th-grade science class. “Cancer’s Sweet Tooth,” aside from not telling me much, doesn’t scream authority and safety to me, and clearly it doesn’t to Google either. In truth, the second example is not much better with its use of the ever-cliche “Everything You Need to Know” – again, this could be the title of most articles found on a digital marketing site. Not to beat a dead horse, but the third result is equally horrific, “The Man Who Questions Chemotherapy” hardly sounds like an honest take of chemotherapy’s shortcomings and rings more like an unnuanced rant. 

Despite the urge to keep berating the title choices of this site, there’s no need to keep going with this. The contrast between a site like WebMD and mercola.com is about as self-evident of a truth as you’re going to find.  

If we can find clear and obvious disparities between an authoritative take on a health topic versus an unreliable take on the topic, surely Google with access to a wide sample of content and machine learning properties can do so and it does. That said, the gap between the good and the bad (and, of course, the ugly) is not always readily transparent. 

To see this we have to look no further than the Featured Snippet presented to us on the SERP for cancer & diet

Diet & Cancer Featured Snippet

The URL used for the zero-position box doesn’t come from WebMD or the National Cancer Institute, but from healthline.com which has had its share of ups and downs on the SERP. 

Healthline Visibility

The overall visibility of healthline.com has been subject to volatility that includes various ranking peaks and valleys 

Subjecting the site to the same “title analysis” as WebMD et al offers up a bit of a mixed bag: 

Heathline.com Topic Titles

While there are more straightforward and informational titles such as “Breast Cancer Diet: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid, and More” you also have your fluff with titles like “12 Beneficial Fruits to Eat During and After Cancer Treatment.”

It just goes to show you how complex, how nuanced, and how murky profiling a site’s content can be. It’s not all “WebMDs” and “Mercolas” – there are a lot of “in-betweens” at play… sites that are not super authoritative in their content format but at the same time are not over the top either. In other words, it’s complicated, which is why you need an advanced machine learning algorithm to profile content in earnest. Beyond that, there’s more to what makes a site rank than the above profiling process (so please don’t accuse me of saying that your content profile is the sole determinant of your rankings). All sorts of factors make their way into the ranking equation that puts a site like healthline.com above webmd.com. 

You, Your Site, and Your Content Profile: How to Take Action 


So we have a nice understanding of how Google can profile content within a vertical to determine its authoritativeness… how does that help me? Well, having a foundational understanding of what Google can and can’t do and why it does what it does is intrinsically valuable from where I sit. That said, I know the name of the game. If I don’t offer some actionable takeaways “I’ll get put in the back on the discount rack like another can of beans” to quote Billy Joel.

That said, it should be obvious what you should be doing. You should be taking a look at the tone/format of your content relative to the tone/format of the content ranking at the top of the SERP. Are you using language that’s a bit too over the top or “markety” while most of the higher ranking sites go full-on informational? 

How do the top-ranking sites approach content for the topic at hand and how does that compare to your take on the topic? Because, clearly, whatever those sites are doing from a content perspective is working. I’m not advocating anything novel here… except that you should leave “keywords” and phraseology per se on the back burner for a moment and take a more inclusive and qualitative look at the top-ranking content on the SERP. This, of course, is not as concrete of a process and is far more abstract of a construct at the same time. That said, analyzing the “flavor” of the content Google prefers goes beyond one page or one piece of content instead of offering an approach to the vertical overall! 

A Bird’s-Eye View on Content 

NYC Bird's-Eye View

Knowing how Google goes about its quest for a better and more authoritative SERP puts you at a real advantage. Most folks still think about “SEO content” at a very granular level. However, as time has gone on Google repeatedly has shown it prefers to take a step back and work towards a basal understanding of content and so forth. At the risk of repeating what I’ve said in other blog posts and episodes of my podcast, the more abstract you get in approaching your site and its content the more aligned you are to how Google itself approaches the web. The more aligned you are to Google the more likely you are to rank well on the SERP. 

Simply, it pays to get a bit more abstract in your content analysis and content creation practices. Profiling your content approach to what already works on the SERP is a great (and easy) place to start!  


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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Sarah Bird, CEO of Moz, leaving Moz after 14 years

By | November 1, 2021

Sarah Bird, the CEO of Moz, said that it is “time for me to move on and make space for new voices, new leaders,” on the company blog. After 14 yeas with the company, almost 8 of those years as the CEO of Moz, and the previous years as Moz’s President and COO, she is leaving the company.

Sarah Bird took over as the CEO in January 2014, after Rand Fishkin, the co-founder, stepped down from that role. Rand Fishkin explained that Sarah Bird was the President and COO of the company and was taking over as the CEO then. She has been with the company for 6 years and has been acting in many ways as the company’s CEO, prior to her taking on that role. In 2017, Rand Fishkin left day-to-day operations of the company.

Moz has been through many ups and downs over the years but most recently in June of this year, just about five months ago, Moz was acquired by iContact. While Sarah Bird did not specifically say much about the reason she is leaving outside of saying “I’m going to take the winter off to reflect, rest, and cherish my loved ones. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know it will be a grand adventure.” One can guess that she accomplished her goal of getting Moz acquired and is now moving on to a new role.

We wish Sarah Bird much luck with her next adventure and we wish Moz and its employees much success with its new leadership, which has yet to be disclosed.

Sarah Bird said “I feel good knowing that I’m leaving Moz, and all of you, in good hands.”

Why we care. Moz is one of the more reputable toolsets in the industry, we hope to see future leaders in the search community represent the company going forward.

For members of the search community at Moz, many of whom have been featured here or at SMX, we hope the future has exciting things in store for you at Moz.

About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.

Source link : Searchengineland.com

SEO Year in Review 2019: In Search SEO Podcast

By | November 1, 2021

Don’t forget, you can keep up with the In Search SEO Podcast by subscribing on iTunes or by following the podcast on SoundCloud!

Summary of Episode 50: Looking Back at SEO in 2019

Ross Tavendale of Type A Media joins us to reflect back on the major trends in SEO brought to us in 2019!

  • Where we’re at with links, nofollow hints, news links, spammy links, and the future of links
  • Featured Snippet clicks, no clicks, more clicks – everything clicks in 2019 and how to move forward
  • The role of the Quality Raters Guidelines, links, and technical SEO in ranking now and going forward

Plus, what you can learn from Google when designing and creating content for your site!

A Site Design Lesson from Google Itself! [00:04:27 – 00:17:56]

Did you know that Expedia’s stock crashed hard on November 7th and as of the recording this podcast it has not recovered?

And this connects to SEO how?

Well, there’s a lot of speculation that the stock loss is due to Expedia losing out to Google’s travel properties.

Now, you might think this is due to whatever travel features Google shows on the SERP, but no, it’s because Google has this pretty comprehensive travel site.

In fact, local SEO expert and friend of the In Search SEO Podcast, Sergey Alakov, discovered all-new filters within the hotel section of Google’s travel site. There are three new filters on Google’s travel site called, ‘Where to stay,’ ‘When to visit,’ and ‘What you’ll pay.’ With the filters users can find the top areas to stay in a city, the cost of hotels in that area, when a city is more and less popular with tourists, and the weather during each month of the year as well as the cost of hotels in the location per star rating.

That’s a lot of information (as expected of Google) which is easy to access, easy to digest, and just easy in every way imaginable. Congrats, Google, it looks like you won. We could just sit here and complain about what Google did here or we could take what Google did here and steal it for ourselves!

I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience, but when Mordy writes web pages (not blogs), he always feels like the format and the method of information dissemination just doesn’t click no matter what elements he uses. It’s like there’s a piece missing and Google may have found that piece and filled it in for us. That is, maybe the way we think of a webpage, its UI and UX, are outdated and Google discovered a new take that makes a lot more sense.

Let’s try to spell out what Google has done with their travel site and why Mordy thinks we should learn from it.

Here’s why Google’s travel site offers a superior user experience: 

1. It offers information right off the bat. All you have to do is enter the city and boom…tons of information, well-organized snippets, and boxes that lead to deeper content. Contrast this to sites like Skyscanner where you first have to enter data into a slew of fields to get access to information. To get tons of insights and info right off the bat and then use filters to narrow it down is better than being forced to first narrow down your search to get the same info.

It’s the same with the college feature Google has on mobile. You get a list of unfiltered colleges with a bit of info right away.

What Google’s doing here is showing you information, telling you we are the authority, we have the information which then makes you more willing to fill out some additional fields to get more information.

2. Let’s say you don’t have a site that’s a search tool. Let’s say you offer accounting software. What can we take from Google’s travel site in this case?

First, let’s think about how we generally structure the user experience on these kinds of sites. Usually, you go to the home page, you see a header, some snippets of content and corresponding CTAs to go deeper. It’s not exciting, it’s not dynamic.

What does Google do in the hotel market? They don’t start selling hotels. They don’t describe the nature of the site or its products in detail. Isn’t that weird? What they start off with is information via the filters we mentioned. In doing so, Google lets the consumer pick what’s important to them about the product thereby letting the consumer go on a journey to get more information on that specific product. This stands in contradistinction to what we generally do with our pages… and we’re all guilty here, we focus on showcasing the product, on telling the user what the product is.

Now here’s a crazy assertion. Mordy would say by the time most folks get to your page they already have an idea of what you offer and if not, you can get that done real quick. But imagine that instead of focusing on the product you primarily focused on the user and outside of a bit on what you do and who your site is you started to give the user access to information that lets them start their own journey through your product.

So how would that look in our case of accounting software? What will happen is a user will go to the site, see a blurb about who you are, etc. and then see some sort of option/functionality that gives them a bit of information on what your accounting software offers to small businesses and another option offering a bit of info on the software for individual tax returns which then contains a CTA that leads them to get more info on that specific aspect of your product.

In other words, be like Google. Offer the user a way to see information on their specific profile right away. Google lets users choose the information they think is important right off the bat and then explore further from there. Imagine if you did that for your site how powerful it would be!

Reviewing SEO in 2019: A Conversation with Ross Tavendale [00:17:56 – 01:04:43]

[This is a general summary of the interview and not a word for word transcript. You can listen to the podcast for the full interview.]

Mordy: Welcome to another In Search SEO interview exclusive. Today we have a famous face for you. You might have seen him host webinars, speak at conferences the world over, he’s the host of the Canonical Chronicle and the managing director of Type A Media. He is, Ross Tavendale!


Ross: Hi Mordy, thanks for having me.

M: Okay, so let’s look back at some of the bigger trends and themes in SEO that shook things up a bit. When looking back at 2019, what’s your take on what’s worth noting and what’s not worth noting?

R: Well one of the big ones was when Google stopped using links altogether in the algorithm. Oh wait, I mean they absolutely did not do that.

Joking aside, Google has painted itself into a corner with the nofollow stuff over the last few years. They had to renege on that and add different ways to markup links (sponsored, user-generated content, etc.). I think they’re having a problem with the link graph. Machine learning is having a major impact on the SERP. It looks like they are testing, clearing the cache, testing, and clearing the cache because we’re seeing extreme volatility. And to get the machine learning to get you onto page one you still need the traditional factors as well.

In 2019, I’ve seen clients with extreme impression increases on Search Console, but no clicks as Rand Fishkin’s research on zero-click searches showed.

I read your article on the difference between desktop and mobile Featured Snippets. I actually featured it on the Canonical Chronicle. Do you want to go over it?

M: Yeah, we can. A quick summary, if you win a Featured Snippet on desktop it’s not necessarily the case you’ll win it on mobile. We looked at a 30-day period of 250 keywords and what the scoring was for each day. There were days where there was a desktop Featured Snippet, but not a mobile one. When you include days where there was a snippet on one device but not the other, you had a 30% schism between desktop and mobile. When you take out those cases and you only look at the days where there was both a desktop and mobile Featured Snippet, those URLs didn’t match 10% of the time. For some people that I spoke to, 10% feels like a small gap, but for others, it felt like an enormous gap. My personal take is the latter. You might say that people don’t do as much purchassing on a phone, but a Featured Snippet is meant to give information so why should there be any difference?

R: Yeah, it’s a big head-scratcher for me as well. After reading your article, we looked at the data we were pulling in for our clients and we found it to be an even higher 30% discrepancy which explains a lot. For example, when you get a Featured Snippet on desktop (which 9 out of 10 times the desktop gets it more than mobile), your impressions will go up, your average position will be higher, but your clicks will drop. And then on mobile, the impressions will be slightly higher, the clicks will be up and your average position will be lower. Huh? Try explaining that to a client.

M: So you’re saying you see less Featured Snippet clicks on desktop?

R: That’s correct. I’ve always been anti-Featured Snippets. Our entire industry is digging their own graves to hang themselves just so we can get these tiny little wins. This is spineless account managers trying to explain things to their clients. SEO is hard and it takes time so we want any little click to show that our work is bringing a positive effect. What can we do? We markup everything as Google asks, they put it up in a Featured Snippet and we don’t get the click. Is that good? I don’t know.

M: Yeah, and one can argue that Featured Snippets are good for your brand. I get that argument as it’s not valueless, and if you win the Featured Snippet it’s wonderful. But to say it’s a win because your brand is featured so prominently feels like something you’ll say just to make yourself feel better.

R: And your brand isn’t being featured prominently, your result is being featured prominently. On mobile, you’re not getting your brand name, your logo, or even a blue link. You do get the favicon.

M: Yes, but favicons only help if you’re a big brand. If people were only comparing favicons, they would choose the ones they recognized. That’s terrible for smaller brands.

R: Yeah. All the SEO rules of having great meta titles and descriptions apply in getting great clicks, but you have to worry about getting the Featured Snippet. Even recently I was searching for information on a diet and I got my answer on the SERP and I had no idea what site it came from.

M: And that’s what’s it all about. It’s about Google having authority and being the provider of all information.

R: You should definitely check out Aaron Wall’s latest post. He was talking about the divergence between an organic result and an ad and how Google is putting things up. But I don’t believe being a Debbie Downer will help matters. We still need to rank, we still need to drive traffic, and still need to give clients results.

M: On that, I have a theory but bear with me as it is daring. I think the era of top-level content is dead. I compare it to Napster and iTunes where the music industry totally changed. I think we’re at a point of a natural evolution of content and you must do what Google can’t do. Google can show the weather, but it can’t show trends and analysis. Basically, give up on the direct answer and focus on something else.

R: Yes, it’s the value-adding content that you need to focus on now. You can’t just answer a question in one shot. The thing is for all of those things that can be answered in a Featured Snippet, to rank for that you would write a 2,000-word article and leaving the answer at the bottom (which is actually a bad user experience). The reason we’d do this is that we believe Google’s algorithms aren’t as far advanced to detect the text, but Google does. Cindy Krum has done amazing work on what she calls fraggles (fragments of articles) where Google categorically knows the exact bits of information. So now Google removed this way of ranking. The way to rank now is through using a real user intent and a real user journey. It used to be a dirty word where you would just use some keywords related to the query, add some links and you’re off to the races. That doesn’t really matter now. Now you would do an “informational headcount” where if you can answer a query with a single sentence, then try and write for it.

M: I was telling technical content creators that what they’re doing is great. If you have a 30-step guide, Google might show 5 of the steps, but the user will still click to see the rest. So there are verticals where it works, but usually, if your content is being shown in the Featured Snippet, a user won’t click anymore because it’s really precise. I even proved how paragraph Featured Snippets are getting smaller because Google is getting better at refining query answers.

R: Right, it’s something you can’t fight. I see a lot in video content flags in Chrome taking you to the exact part of the document. They’re answering questions by taking you to the exact same point in the video where the question was answered.

M: And don’t forget the promotional ads at the beginning of a video will be skipped over.

R: That’s very true, but people always triangulate. SEOs are like cockroaches, they’ll survive every single nuclear bomb that Google throws at us and keep on moving.

So that’s been 2019 for me. I made a joke about links at the start and while that hasn’t changed the way we build links will slightly change. I’ve seen a lot of regional PR where we create a piece of journalism that can be cut by region, town, or city so that we can have multiple places for outreach. I’ve seen a lot of local press that have completely changed their outbound linking policy. So now before we do any outreach the first thing we do is target websites even if they’re massive domains and for each site we have to get all the outbound links. And if there are no outbound links (which in the UK is 40% of online media now), we don’t talk to them. I feel like they’re shooting themselves in the foot by cutting the supply of content to regional places that don’t get content anyway.

M: I want to ask about links. You say they’re still a thing, but do you believe one day in the future they won’t be. Links point to what might be authoritative but they don’t understand the content. Google might always use links, but do you think at some point Google won’t have to rely on them to a certain extent?

R: Yeah, I think entity authority is going to be a big thing. And because Google can understand entities in text much better, there’s no reason why they can’t look at an unlinked mention of an entity in a newspaper and start using that. John Mueller said that they’ll use it to understand brand signals.

Will links go away in 2020? No. Will they go away in the next 5-10 years? Probably not. I think it’s telling when they’re asking people to mark up links because they rely so heavily on links because the amount of information in Google’s index is so high that it’s too hard to police properly. For those reasons, it’s unlikely links will go away.

M: I don’t get that the reason Google now looks at nofollow links as a hint and not a directive was because there were so many publishers that were automatically nofollowing their outbound links. Even if CNN nofollows their link to me, they’re still other websites linking to me, no?

It’s the whole gangster problem. If you’re a gangster in the neighborhood you do not have a money problem or a power problem, you have a trust problem. If you look at the people in the SEO world who use links to manipulate, a lot of us don’t have money or power problems, we have trust problems. We’re not going to rank for certain things if we’re not close to a trusted seat of websites like Wikipedia, CNN, etc. Now if all that stuff becomes nofollow, it becomes very hard to differentiate what is actually good quality and a vote of confidence. As a company, there’s only so much bandwidth Google has to review over sites and as new websites continue to come into the fold it’s getting harder as the media landscape is changing to such an extreme. I don’t think I need to tell you about the poor quality websites in Google News. In fact, Google is struggling with who is the original source of the news.

By the way, if you search for something like ‘big news’ or ‘important news,’ Google is still relying on the meta title. So you’ll find an article from The Nowheresville Times instead of CNN because they used the words “breaking news” in the title. It’s a joke.

Right, there’s so much new content that it’s hard to police. And this what people don’t realize. The number of queries that Google’s never seen before is going up and up and that’s not because we’re getting more sophisticated as searchers. It’s mostly to do with these events that have never happened before and the way in which these words were put together never happened before.

Do you find it funny that the fact CNN is following a link and it is considered an endorsement at the same time? In other words, why is it part of CNN’s linking juice now? Those are two separate parts of the process that don’t necessarily have to follow.

They want to get you into the consideration set in some way. For every query, there are a bunch of URLs in the consideration set. How do you get in the consideration set? It’s like why do people get degrees before they get an interview. Links are like the degrees. In Google’s world now, the ruler is machine learning which is user interaction. If the query has enough volume it’s relatively easy to get a good SERP because you have a lot of people testing out your SERP. If it’s a smaller query it’s much harder. And if it’s a question with multiple answers for different people it’s almost impossible. So the link helps you get into a consideration test then it’s up to what Google is seeing people interact with.

My original point of why Google is considering it part of your link juice and not necessarily following it and considering it as part of your profile is from a theory of mine. I think they’re doing it because they intrinsically don’t like nofollow. When you think about it, nofollow makes no sense. Either I follow it or don’t, why is there this quasi-association? If I think it’s valuable I’ll link to it, if I don’t think it’s valuable then I won’t. I understand in certain cases it makes sense, but as a general rule, from their perspective at least, it doesn’t make sense to have it.

Google is in a way outsourcing competency to the website owners, but the problem is there are no set of instructions on what competency looks like and it could mean completely different things to different webmasters.

But you can figure it out, no?

You might know, but does your grandmother know?

She knows nothing. She’s using Bing because it came with Microsoft Edge.

Let’s go back to the news. The original reporting algorithm is interesting because Google sometimes has difficulty with knowing which one is the original because of the canonical. Reuters might put out a piece and CNN, ABC, CBS, etc. will pick up the news and they canonicalize to themselves. My question is why is this confusing Google? Google can make a self-driving car that can differentiate between a human and a squirrel yet it can’t differentiate between the original content source and the syndicates?

They should just put API in all the content and that will solve all the problems. They have something called News API so why they don’t set up custom APIs so instead of doing it through sitemaps you’re crawling API with submission dates.

Well, it is timestamped. I asked Alli Berry how quickly an article of hers can be syndicated. Is it instantaneous and Google can’t tell the difference of whose article came out first? She said, no. They’ll create content and the syndication will see it and make a decision if they want to syndicate it. Because of this, there is a couple of minutes delay. So why not see the timestamp unless Google is so worried CNN is going to manipulate the timestamp.

If Google is looking at identical information they’re going to need something more than the timestamp.

Like the author. And when they syndicate Reuter’s content they’ll say it’s from Reuters.

But Reuters isn’t an author, it’s an originator. I wonder if because Google can’t attach it to a human they’ll look to the next and it’s from someone else entirely.

There’s got to be a better way. That’s the only reason I’m upset.

I think the only reason they’re doing it is because of money. Because these news publishers put Google AdSense on their sites if Google makes them upset, those are their customers, that’s Google’s ad revenue.

Just to back that up, if you want to see how powerful the media industry is vis-à-vis Google, just look at AMP. I’ve never seen any other industry or vertical have so much sway over Google to tell Google that they better figure this out because we are losing it. If you (Google) don’t figure it out, we’re out. And you see Google bending over backward trying to figure it out.

The way I see it there needs to be a radical change in the way the news industry advertises because that is just water circling the drain because it’s not looking good in the next 10 years.

I’m not so upset about that. I have no affinity for the media.

This is something interesting. You don’t like the media because you don’t trust them, but Google is putting the media on the SERP to show trust.

M: I know. I’m a real cynic so I think everyone has a bias no matter you’re left, right, up, or down. It’s like The Wall Street Journal article on Google recently. What was that?

That was a badly put together piece is what that was.

Even if you think Google sucks you should at least do more than 17 searches in your research!

I feel bad for some of the SEOs that were misrepresented in the article and the WSJ just cherry-picked what they wanted to hear. That’s a classic example of putting your spin and bias on it.

I’ve actually changed my browser from Chrome and Firefox to Brave because I need something to drown out the extreme noise. I **** it. It is actually based on Chromium so you can’t get away from Google at all. It’s still Google’s property but it’s still open source and there’s nothing fed back to the mothership. They have something called Brave Rewards which shows non-targeted advertising where either you get cash for (i.e., you get paid to see advertising) or you can tip the people who are actually producing the content whether it being the YouTubers or journalists. That feels better. It feels like more of what’s going to happen in the future.

M: Are you a DuckDuckGo fan?

R: No, it’s just a bad search engine.

M: Yeah, that’s a problem. But I feel there’s going to be more traction with that site than Bing and Yahoo going forward. If I had to put my money on another search engine other than Google I would put it on DuckDuckGo. [Do not take Mordy’s investment advice.]

R: Most people aren’t concerned with their privacy. Over 60% of Americans feel like they’re being tracked by big corporations or the government and either they’re fine with it or they feel they can’t do anything about it. And that won’t be just the States as everyone follows America. We may in England poke fun of them for some of their political decisions, but we’re just as bad in the UK.

M: Sticking with the news, I found a strange coincidence that around the same time Google announced they’re changing their algorithm to rank original news creators higher that Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines were updated to weigh original creators more highly for authority and what a good website should like. Coincidence or is there a real connection between the Quality Raters Guidelines and the Google algorithm?

R: The guidelines to me are just a big nothing burger. Danny Sullivan said in the last update to just improve your site which is just the vaguest advice, but that’s what they’ve always been like. When it comes to looking at the Quality Raters Guidelines as a bible of what to do, I think it helps for the thinking process, but there’s more to it than the content on the page. Links still play a major role.

M: I agree that if you’re only looking at the author’s bio then that’s dumb, and Google will instead look at the links. But I’m asking when Google is doing something more holistic and qualitative to develop an understanding, how does that stack up to links?

R: Holistic on-page changes have been a big thing we’ve been starting to do. The most basic things like siloing information can make huge changes. With regards to the Quality Raters Guidelines, we can’t freak out every time there’s a minor change in a line in it. We tend to hang our hats on one thing we found easy to understand. For a group of SEO people that tend to start each answer with “It depends” it seems ridiculous for things like E-A-T and the Quality Raters Guidelines to have hard rules on what’s right and what’s wrong. It depends on the vertical. Are some of the Quality Raters Guidelines major ranking factors? Probably, but I hate to be the guy at Google who tells SEOs to create good content and we’ll figure the rest out. That’s becoming truer as time goes on as a link builder it pains me to say that.

M: Going into 2020, what do you think will be the “big thing”in SEO?

R: I’m really getting on to the speed train which I never used to. Before in our technical audit, the performance was the last thing we’ll look at because typically in a large organization getting them to increase site speed means to do rebuilds, but we’re really banging that drum really hard. We recently did speed optimizations for a publisher and we got their time to interactive down to 0.2 seconds and got their first contentful paint to 1.5 seconds which is fast and they’ve seen extreme levels of traffic growth from a couple hundred thousand clicks to close to a million per month.

I’m not saying it’s the be-all and end-all, but to quote my good friend, Arnout Hellemans, “Follow the money.” Think about where Google needs to save or make money. How do I save money? By understanding your page better so they can get your information, that’s structured markup. Also, it’s harder to read your page when it’s in Javascript, but I think they’re getting better. And of course site speed because the faster your page loads the faster they can read it.

Basically, every little carrot they dangle above us is the *** new thing and it will remain to be and the things they’re trying to get us to ignore or scare us about are usually things that are easy to manipulate so that should be something you should look into. They push their general interests in technical (schema and speed) and then they scare you on things that are bad for them (link graph).

Optimize It or Disavow It

Walking into 2020, if you had to choose between focusing on the more holistic side of SEO (content, SERP features, competition analysis, keyword research, trends in SEO) or technical SEO, which would you focus on?

R: If I could only do one it would be content. With content production, the more you produce at a higher quality you will accidentally fall into a bunch of SERPs and getting no clicks and accidentally being linked to which Google then self-perpetuates. So in this case creating a bad content strategy seems worse than not working on technical because how bad can you mess up your WordPress install?

M: Thank you, Ross, for coming on!

R: Thank you for having me. 

SEO News [01:01:14 – 01:07:20]


Google Recipe Bug Continuing: The bug removing image thumbnails from recipe results is still ongoing. As of now, the only recourse you have is to get the page recrawled and reindexed via the URL inspection tool which is just a terrible option when you have tons of pages.

Google says they are working on the issue.

New Google Hotel Filters: As mentioned above, Google has added a few new filters for easy access to hotel info on its travel website.

Google Testing Arrows by Titles: An interesting test has Google showing a blue arrow next to each URL. Sergey Alakov, who spotted it made the point that ad URLs get the same arrow and thereby distract the user by making the ad seem more like an organic result.

Fun SEO Send-Off Question [01:07:20 – 01:10:20] 

Who would Google marry? 

Mordy thought it will be a great idea for Google to marry Amazon. It will be a political marriage. What better way to kill the competition than moving in with them? Sapir though the only person Google will marry is itself. It’s on too lofty a level to marry anyone else.

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

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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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Google Enhances Search Results For “Deals” Queries

By | November 1, 2021

Google is now showing a new set of search results when people look for deals.

Searches with words like “deals” and “Black Friday” will trigger a dedicated feed of discounted products in Google Shopping.

In addition, the new feed can be accessed any time from the Shopping tab without a specific query.

All products in Google Shopping with a “deals” badge are eligible to appear in the feed.

With this update Google is rolling out new ways for merchants to measure the performance of deals, along with new integrations with Shopify and WooCommerce.

Here’s more about the changes to Google Search & Shopping that are available now.


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Google Shopping Deals in Search Results

google shopping dealsScreenshot from support.google.com/google-ads, November 2021.

Merchants can target deal-seeking shoppers by adding a deals badge to qualifying products.

You can find out which of your products qualify for a deals badge in the product tab within Google Merchant Center.


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Promotions, sales, and price drops all eligible to be showcased in the new feed.

Google says it will choose which product to highlight based on “the attractiveness of the offer and the discount.”

It doesn’t sound like you can discount a high priced item by five dollars, slap a deals badge on it, and expect to get much visibility.

Google wants to highlight substantial deals and competitive price drops that offer real value to customers.

Measure The Performance of Deals

Merchants can track the performance of products with a deals badge in an updated dashboard in Google Merchant Center.

Performance is broken down by impressions, clicks, and click-through rate.

google shopping dealsScreenshot from support.google.com/google-ads, November 2021.

Data can be segmented by promotion-type, product, brand, and category.

With this information merchants can easily identify their top performing promotions, which types of deals are driving the most conversions, and the categories that are performing the best when on-sale.


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Integration With Shopify & WooCommerce

Retailers utilizing Shopify or WooCommerce can now showcase their existing deals across Google surfaces.

The update rolling out next month lets businesses using Shopify’s Google channel and WooCommerce’s Google Listings and Ads display deals within Google Search and the Shopping tab.

New and existing promotions can be synced with products listed on Google directly from their store dashboard.

Source: Google Ads Help

Featured Image: HB Photo/Shutterstock

Source link : Searchenginejournal.com

Attract Customers Instantly For Your Business with our PPC Services

By | November 1, 2021

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is an online marketing strategy that is used for generating more clicks on the website by targeted audience. We are an ideal stop to get an advanced level of Pay-Pay-Click (PPC) Marketing Services with affordable packages. Visit our website to know more.

Google on Penguin algorithm; aims to ignore spammy links but can lead to distrusting your site

By | November 1, 2021

Google on Penguin algorithm; aims to ignore spammy links but can lead to distrusting your site

Source link : Searchengineland.com

SEO News You Can Use: SEOs Feel That Optimizing for Page Experience Wasn’t Worth It | SEOblog.com

By | November 1, 2021

When Google’s Page Experience update began rolling out in June, SEOs were sold the dream that this would be what pushed them ahead of their competitors on SERPs. 

Many of us had spent months optimizing for Core Web Vitals and other page experience ranking signals, and if you were one of them, you know that it was anything but easy. In fact, preparing for Page Experience was such a massive undertaking that Google gave us an unprecedented amount of forewarning – a full year – to get our sites up to scratch. For a search engine that loves nothing more than pulling the rug out from under us, this seemed to signal that the update would be colossal.

So, we got to work, and we worked for months. A reward for our efforts was dangled like a carrot – but, as George Nguyen at Search Engine Land pointed out in a blog, many SEOs feel this reward was never received. 

Now that the Page Experience update has been live for a couple of days shy of two months, we can begin to evaluate the effects. And it’s safe to say that very few SEOs, if any, have seen significant ranking changes since Core Web Vitals became a set of ranking signals. Even sites that originally had terrible scores and managed to get them all in the green barely reaped a single reward, and many are saying the time investment simply wasn’t worth it.

But Nguyen makes a valid point in his article: Perhaps it’s true that Core Web Vitals haven’t done much for rankings – but return on investment (ROI) can’t only be measured on SERPs. Core Web Vitals and other page experience ranking signals exist to create a seamless user experience (UX) on a website. And excellent UX can result in benefits like a higher conversion rate, lower bounce rate and more adds-to-cart. One SEO posted screenshots on Twitter showing a substantial increase in clicks and impressions.

The fact is that Google is prioritizing UX, and every change it makes from here on out will be laying its path towards the ultimate goal of an unmatched experience for every one of its users. Riding the wave is anything but a bad idea. So with Google having recently introduced Priority Hints, an experimental new way to enable optimal loading and improve Core Web Vitals, there’s no reason not to register for the trial and try it out.

It’s difficult not to equate excellent optimization with high rankings – it’s the result we are all chasing. But maybe, with Core Web Vitals, there’s been a positive impact after all; we’re just looking for it in the wrong place.

More SEO News You Can Use

Say Hello to the Zucker-, Er, Metaverse: Facebook is dead. Okay, not quite. Although, after the past few weeks the company has had, they probably wish they were. But forget damning whistleblower allegations and antitrust lawsuits for a minute. On Thursday, Facebook announced its rebranding in a virtual meeting about the corporation’s future. This comes after a period of increased scrutiny for its alleged spread of misinformation and hate speech. But it’s not their problem anymore, because they’re not Facebook! They’re “Meta,” a name that has been chosen to encompass the advanced technology the company is working on and its focus on what it calls “the metaverse.” In this brave new world, Facebook will no longer be a social media company but a “metaverse company.” Virtual and augmented reality will be the key drivers of this new digital experience. So now that we have a new identity, let’s see if anything actually changes.

Mueller Gives Google’s Definition of “Quality Content”: Quality content has become a throwaway phrase in the SEO world that essentially means informative, well-written content people are a) searching for and b) want to read. But in a recent Search Central office-hours hangout, John Mueller gave us Google’s understanding of “quality content” – and, interestingly, it’s not exactly what we thought. Mueller explained that quality content doesn’t simply refer to the text of an article. Instead, it means the overall quality of your website, including everything from layout and design to page speed. All of these are factors Google considers in deeming a piece of content to be high-quality. This gives the concept of quality content a much wider scope, and it links back to that thing we keep harping on about over and over again: user experience.

Google Can’t Tell the Difference Between a Good Image and a Bad One: A picture may be worth a thousand words, but Google, apparently, “doesn’t care.” This is what John Mueller said in the same office-hours hangout when a viewer asked if Google’s algorithm understands the difference between a meaningful, useful image and a gray square. Perhaps unexpectedly, Mueller revealed that Google does not look at specific images on a web page and decide that one is good and another is bad. All it does with your images is index them to use in image search – and that’s the only place where Google takes into account what the content of the image is. This feedback strengthens Mueller’s statement that having an image on your page won’t help your SEO. However, this doesn’t mean images are a complete waste of time because they can make your site more appealing to visitors. And isn’t that what matters?

Google Introduces a New Policy Enabling Minors To Request the Removal of Their Images From Search: Back in August, Google announced a number of safeguards it would be introducing to protect minors online. Now, doubling down on its commitment to making the internet safer for kids and teens, the company on Wednesday announced a new policy and tool that gives minors and their parents or guardians the ability to request removal of their images from Search results in just a few steps. This move will give minors some much-needed control over their online footprint. While Google can’t remove an image from the website it is hosted on, it is able to ensure that the images will no longer appear in the Google Images tab or as thumbnails in any Google Search feature. But that alone is a major step in the right direction.

Automatically Generated Chapters Are Now a Source of Metadata for YouTube Search: As the second-biggest search engine after Google, YouTube is a social media platform whose updates are worth following. And if its latest announcement is anything to go by, your YouTube SEO strategy is about to change. Up until now, manually defined chapters were the only ones used in ranking YouTube search results. But now, across all videos, chapters that are automatically generated by YouTube will also be used as a source of metadata for ranking. This update will initially roll out on mobile and could have an impact on how your videos are ranked: It means what YouTube’s algorithm deems as significant moments in your video will now factor into its ranking system – and, as Matt Southern points out in a Search Engine Journal blog, machine learning is rarely perfect. Luckily, manual chapters override auto-generated ones, and chapters that have been incorrectly generated can be replaced with ones you create.

Editor’s Note: “SEO News You Can Use” is a weekly blog post posted every Monday morning only on SEOblog.com, rounding up all the top SEO news from around the world. Our goal is to make SEOblog.com a one-stop-shop for everyone looking for SEO news, education and for hiring an SEO expert with our comprehensive SEO agency directory.

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