At last week’s SMX East conference, Google’s webmaster trends analyst Gary Illyes took questions from the dual moderators — Barry Schwartz and Michelle Robbins — as well as from the audience in a session called “Ask Me Anything.”
In this post, I will cover that question-and-answer dialogue, though what you’ll see below are paraphrases rather than exact quotes. I have grouped the questions and used section headers to help improve the flow and readability.
Barry: You’ve been saying recently that Google looks at other offsite signals, in addition to links, and some of this sounded like Google is doing some form of sentiment analysis.
Gary: I did not say that Google did sentiment analysis, but others assumed that was what I meant. What I was attempting to explain is that how people perceive your site will affect your business, but will not necessarily affect how Google ranks your site. Mentions on third-party sites, however, might help you, because Google looks to them to get a better idea what your site is about and get keyword context. And that, in turn, might help you rank for more keywords.
Imagine the Google ranking algo is more like a human. If a human sees a lot of brand mentions, they will remember that, and the context in which they saw them. As a result, they may associate that brand with something that they didn’t before. That can happen with the Google algorithm as well.
Mobile First, AMP, PWAs and such
Michelle: Where should SEOs focus their efforts in 2018?
Gary: If you are not mobile-friendly, then address that. That said, I believe the fear of the mobile-first index will be much greater than the actual impact in the end.
Michelle: When will mobile-first roll out?
Gary: Google doesn’t have a fixed timeline, but I can say that we have moved some sites over to it already. We are still monitoring those sites to make sure that we are not harming them inadvertently. Our team is working really hard to move over sites that are ready to the mobile-first index, but I don’t want to give a timeline because I’m not good at it. It will probably take years, and even then, will probably not be 100 percent converted.
The mobile-first index as a phrase is a new thing, but we have been telling developers to go mobile for seven years. If you have a responsive site, you are pretty much set. But if you have a mobile site, you need to check for content parity and structured data parity between your desktop and mobile pages. You should also check for hreflang tags, and that you’ve also moved all media and images over.
Michelle: Where does AMP fit? Is AMP separate from mobile-first? Is the only AMP benefit the increased site speed?
Gary: Yes, this is correct. AMP is an alternate version of the site. If you have a desktop site, and no mobile site, but do have an AMP site, we will still index the desktop site.
Michelle: If half a site is a progressive web app (PWA), and half is responsive, how does that impact search performance?
Barry: I’ve seen desktop search showing one result and a mobile device showing a different page as an AMP result.
Gary: This happens because of our emphasis on indexing mobile-friendly sites. AMP is an alternate version of the regular mobile page. First, the mobile page gets selected to be ranked. Then the AMP page gets swapped in.
Michelle: So that means AMP is inconsequential in ranking?
Michelle: Will there be a penalty for spamming news carousels?
Gary: We get that question a lot. I do not support most penalties. I (and many others at Google) would like to have algorithms that ignore those things [like spam] and eliminate the benefit. I’ve spoken with the Top Stories team about this, and they are looking into a solution.
Michelle: What about progressive web apps (PWAs)? Do they get the same treatment as AMP, i.e., no ranking boost?
Gary: If you have a standalone app, it will show up in the mobile-first index. But if you have both a PWA and an AMP page, the AMP page will be shown.
Michelle: What if the elements removed from your mobile-first site are ads? [Would that make the AMP version rank higher?]
Gary: Your site will become faster [by adopting AMP and eliminating these ads]. The “above the fold” algorithm looks at how many ads there are, and if it sees too many, it may not let your site rank as highly as it otherwise might. But when we’re looking at whether sites are ready for the mobile-first index, we’re more concerned about parity regarding content, annotations and structured data than ads.
Michelle: What about author markup?
Gary: Because AMP pages on a media site can show up in the news carousel, the AMP team said that you shouldn’t remove the author info when you’re creating AMP pages.
Barry: When will SEOs be able to see voice search query information in Search Console?
Gary: I have no update on that. I’m waiting for the search team leads to take action on it.
Barry: How is the Search Console beta going?
Gary: It’s going well. There are a significant number of sites in the beta. We’re getting good feedback and making changes. We want to launch something that works really well. I’m not going to predict when it will come out of beta.
Barry: When will they get a year’s worth of data?
Gary: They have started collecting the data. Not sure if it will launch. The original plan was to launch with the new UI. [Gary doesn’t know if plans have changed, or when the new UI will launch.]
Barry: Why is there no Featured Snippet data in Search Console? You built it, tested it, and then didn’t launch it.
Gary: There is internal resistance at Google. The internal team leads want to know how it would be useful to publishers. How would publishers use it?
Barry: It would give us info on voice search.
Gary: I need something to work with to argue for it (to persuade the team leads internally at Google that it would be a good thing to release).
This question about how the featured snippet data would be used was then sent to the audience.
Eric Enge (your author) spoke from the audience: I’d like to use the data to show clients just how real the move to voice search is. There are things they need to do to get ready, such as understand how interactions with their customers will change.
Michelle: So, that data could be used to drive adoption. For now, that sounds like more of a strategic insight than immediately actionable information.
Gary: The problem is that voice search has been here for a couple of years. Voice search is currently optimized for what we have, and people shouldn’t need to change anything about their sites. Maybe there will be new technologies in the future that will help users.
Michelle: I think that it’s more complicated than that. There are things that you can do with your content that will help it surface better in search, and brands can invest resources in structuring content that can handle conversations better.
Ads on Google and the user experience
Michelle: As you (Google) push organic results below the fold [to give more prominence to ads and carousels] … is that a good user experience?
Gary: I click on a lot of search ads. (Note that Googler clicks that occur on our internal network don’t count as clicks for advertisers, so this costs you nothing.)
I believe that ads in search are more relevant than the 10 blue links. On every search page, there’s pretty aggressive bidding going on for every single position. Since bids correlate to relevance and the quality of the site, this does tend to result in relevant results
Barry: Sometimes the ads are more relevant than the organic results …?
Gary: Especially on international searches.
Michelle: How is that determined?
Gary: This is done algorithmically.
Michelle: How can you compare ads to organic if the two aren’t working together?
Gary: The concept of a bidding process and the evaluation of quality are used by both sides. The separation between the groups is more about keeping the ads people who talk to clients away from the organic people, so they don’t try to influence them. The ads engineering people, they can talk to the organic side; that’s not forbidden.
Ranking factors and featured snippets
Michelle: Does Google factor non-search traffic into rankings?
Gary: First of all, search traffic is not something we use in rankings. As for other kinds of traffic, Google might see that through Analytics, but I swear we do not use Analytics data for search rankings. We also have data from Chrome, but Chrome is insanely noisy.
I actually evaluated the potential for using that data but couldn’t determine how it could be effectively used in ranking.
Barry: What about indirect signals from search traffic, such as pogosticking? Previously, Google has said that they do not use that directly for ranking.
Gary: Yes, we use it only for QA of our ranking algorithms.
Barry: At one point, Jeff Dean said that Google does use them.
Gary: I do not know what he was talking about. The RankBrain team is using a lot of different data sources. There was a long internal email thread on this topic, but I was never able to get the bottom of it.
Michelle: Is RankBrain used to validate featured snippets?
Gary: RankBrain is a generic ranking algorithm which focuses on the 10 blue links. It tries to predict what results will work better based on historical query results. The featured snippets team uses their own result algorithm to generate a good result. I have not looked into what that means on their side. RankBrain is not involved, except that it will evaluate the related blue link.
Barry: Featured snippets themselves are fascinating. You said that they are changing constantly. Please explain.
Gary: The context for that discussion was about future developments for featured snippets. The team is working around the clock to improve their relevancy. The codebase underlying it is constantly changing.
Michelle: Does the device being used by the searcher factor in?
Gary: I don’t think so.
Schema and markup
Gary: I want to live in a world where schema is not that important, but currently, we need it. If a team at Google recommends it, you probably should make use of it, as schema helps us understand the content on the page, and it is used in certain search features (but not in rankings algorithms).
Michelle: Why do you want to be less reliant on it?
Gary: I’m with Sergey and Larry on this. Google should have algorithms that can figure out things without needing schema, and there really should not be a need for penalties.
Michelle: Schema is being used as training data?
Gary: No, it’s being used for rich snippets.
Michelle: Eventually the algo will not need the schema?
Gary: I hope so. The algorithms should not need the extra data.
Barry: Is there a team actively working on that?
Gary: Indirectly, absolutely. It probably involves some sort of machine learning, and if so, it’s the Brain team that works on it. I do not know if they have an active project for that.
Barry: How did you get entity data in the past?
Gary: From Freebase and the Knowledge Graph.
Panda and thin content
Barry: You said that pruning content was a bad idea. If you’re hit by Panda, how do people proceed?
Gary: Panda is part of our core ranking algorithm. I don’t think that anyone in a responsible position at Google thinks of Panda as a penalty. It’s very similar to other parts of the algorithm. It’s a ranking algorithm. If you do something to attempt to rank higher than you should, it basically tries to remove the advantage you got, but not punish you.
Ultimately, you want to have a great site that people love. That is what Google is looking for, and our users look for that, as well. If users leave comments or mention your site on their site and things like that, that will help your ranking.
Pruning does not help with Panda. It’s very likely that you did not get Pandalyzed because of your low-quality content. It’s more about ensuring the content that is actually ranking doesn’t rank higher than it should.
Barry: Pruning bad content is advice that SEOs have been giving for a long time to try and help people deal with Panda.
Gary: I do not think that would ever have worked. It definitely does not work with the current version of the core algorithm, and it may just bring your traffic farther down. Panda basically disregards things you do to rank artificially. You should spend resources on improving content instead, but if you don’t have the means to do that, maybe remove it instead.
Michelle: Should you use disavow on the bad links to your site?
Gary: I have a site that gets 100,000 visits every two weeks. I haven’t looked at the links to it for two years, even though I’ve been told that it has some porn site links. I’m fine with that. I don’t use the disavow file. Don’t overuse it. It is a big gun.
Overusing it can destroy your rankings in a matter of hours. Don’t be afraid of sites that you don’t know. There’s no way you can know them all. If they have content, and they are not spammy, why would you disavow them?
Sites like this are very unlikely to hurt you, and they may help you. I personally trust the Google filters.
Barry: Penguin just ignores the links.
Gary: Penguin does that, too (Gary’s phrase implies that there other algorithms that might filter bad links out, as well).
The post ‘Ask Me Anything’ with Google’s Gary Illyes at SMX East appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.
From Search Engine Land:
Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:
Search News From Around The Web:
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Join our social media and CX experts as they explain how social customer service tools can help brands provide winning digital customer experiences. They’ll discuss how to manage that experience across multiple social touchpoints, leverage evolving social customer service tools and platforms to deliver long-term value, and act on real-time customer insights to drive social ROI.
Attend this webinar and learn:
Register today for “CX in the Age of Social Media,” produced by Digital Marketing Depot and sponsored by Lithium.
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In case you hadn’t already heard, AdWords can now spend up to double your campaign’s daily budget… which is pretty darned irritating!
Fortunately, your favorite PPC superhero is here to save the day.
Yep, here I am! So let’s see if we can’t script our way out of this mess.
For 99 percent of campaigns, I’d normally recommend not using budget caps at all — I like to “tap it not cap it,” which basically means it’s better to control spend by bids (/ROI) rather than closing up shop with budgets.
However, there are certain instances where budgets are not just useful, but essential — for example, if a client has a specific budget attached to a particular campaign. Yes, Google, some people actually have limited marketing budgets!
At the very least, you should know when the overspend is happening, so you can judge for yourself whether said overspend should continue.
If you’d really like to keep a close eye on costs, have a look at our script to track your account’s spend every hour. For those who only want to be alerted when campaigns are over their budgets, this is where the new script comes in!
This latest script from Brainlabs (my employer) checks each campaign’s spend and budget. All you need to do is set a multiplier threshold — if the spend is larger than the budget multiplied by the threshold, then the campaign is labeled. You’ll get an email listing the newly labeled campaigns, along with their spend and budgets. And if you want, you can set another threshold so that if the spend gets too far over your budget, the campaign will be paused.
To use the script, copy the code below into a new AdWords Script and change the settings at the top:
Preview the script to make sure it’s working as expected (and check the logs in case there are any warnings). Then set up a schedule so the script runs hourly.
A few things to note:
The post Oh, no! AdWords can now spend double your budget. Or not… appeared first on Search Engine Land.
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Perhaps you are using Facebook, or another social media platform to grow your business and wondered…
How do you create valuable posts that make people want to engage, follow, or even share your content?
Now, why would you want engaging content that people follow and share?
Simply because that is how you grow a following of people that trust you, and want to be a part of your cause in some way- either by joining, buying directly or referring someone.
So, how can you do that, right?
Before you implement any content creation tips…
There are three areas that your content MUST capture!
These three areas are what the blog refers to as the psychology behind content.
To provide content that engages and people want to follow, you have to be precise and purposeful.
Remember, we are in the profession of humans, and human connections!
The 3 Areas to Creating Valuable Social Media Posts
1. Value To Your Target Audience
A marketing fundamental is knowing who your target audience is.
You should not be throwing random content onto social media and hoping it will attract the right people to you…
That simply will not work.
The question now is: Who do you want to attract?
YOU need to define that!
The more specific it is, the better.
These are the questions you must be asking yourself:
-Who do you want to attract?
-What age are they?
-What is their gender?
-What are their interests?
Maybe you want to attract spouses who are professionally small business owners, or, women in their 30s that are into fitness, etc.
Point is, when you know this, it makes it much easier on what type of content you're gonna create.
Being clear in this area also allows you to focus on engaging, exchanging value with this niche of people- rather than being all over the place trying too hard for your content to fit everyone.
So once you know who your target audience is…
Your content should surround around making your target audience feel good.
2. Branding Yourself
The second thing is, your personal brand.
Now, this is DIFFERENT than branding your company…
If you only branded your company, it’s harder to connect with and trust you if that’s all that you share…
That is why defining your personal brand is important!
You define your personal brand by asking yourself and answering:
What do you want to be known for?
What are 10 words to describe your personal brand?
For example, with MLM Nation, our audience is network marketing distributors.
Everyone needs some inspiration.
And it’s always through a certain brand-
We have the power to inspire and motivate someone every day.
Connect your brand with your content:
Create posts that are relevant to your brand and tell a story!
So when you post on things, you have to make sure they're consistent with how you describe yourself.
It may not be perfect all the time, but make sure it is consistent overall.
How do you come up with these ideas?
A lot of times the best time is when you're doing your hiking or something in an outside environment.
Give yourself 10-15 minutes of personal time, with no distractions to brainstorm on 10 creative ideas…
So, how clear are you in your personal branding?
3. Get Personal
You have to be comfortable sharing personal things.
People just don't want business, they want personal.
One of the easiest ways to get people to trust you is by you sharing something personal about yourself.
If someone shares a part of their family to you, or opened up on their worst story, and this is a prospecting tip too…
It's the law of reciprocity.
If you show trust to them, they’re probably going to trust you and respect you back for it.
When people trust you, they follow and listen to what you have to share.
It's just a different channel, outlet, but it's the same thing.
If someone isn’t really going to open up, then basically social media is not going to work, because at the end of the day…
When you talk about your business, they are not buying the company, nor the products.
They are buying you.
Connect personal stories with engagement:
Meaning it will bring people back every time you post something new because it is valuable and interesting.
Two, it tells Facebook you are an interesting person, and they will show it more.
Otherwise, your social media becomes a ghost town.
The Next Step
Those are the three key areas that will set you up to create valuable content:
Did you know about these 3 areas?
Comment below on how this was helpful, and what you will implement today.
PS. If you want to learn more and how to duplicate online, check out our online duplication academy.
The post The Psychology Behind Creating Valuable Posts, That Makes People Want to Follow Your Content appeared first on MLM Nation: Network Marketing Training | Prospecting | Lead Generation | Leadership | Duplication | Motivation.
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For those who missed it, Whitespark’s overhaul of the US Local Search Ecosystem interactive tool was recently released, and it does a fantastic job of showing how vast and complex the search industry has become. The ecosystem visualizes the web of search engines, data providers, publishers, directories and other businesses that use local data about businesses to power one simple action that people do every day: search online.
For example, the infographic identifies Infogroup, Acxiom, Neustar/Localeze and Factual as the primary data aggregators, which collect and validate location data from businesses and share that data with publishers such as Apple, Bing, Foursquare and Google. (I refer to data aggregators and large publishers collectively as data amplifiers because they share a business’s location data not just directly with searchers, but also with other apps, tools, websites and businesses that, in turn, reshare that data to people across the digital world.)
In Whitespark’s words, the ecosystem “shows how business information is distributed online, who the primary data providers are, how search engines use the data, and how it flows.” The interactive tool helps you understand the importance of sharing accurate location data and the consequences of maintaining inaccurate data.
For example, because data aggregators influence a web of businesses across the ecosystem, it’s imperative that businesses meet the data formatting requirements of each aggregator. And as you can see, the ecosystem is complex:
Local search expert David Mihm originally developed this infographic in 2009, and over the years, the ecosystem has changed dramatically to reflect the rich palette of destinations that people weave together throughout the process of discovery, as well as the number of companies that influence whether a business’s location data appears as it should when, say, a searcher finds them on Facebook, Yelp or Uber.
A post on the Whitespark blog by Nyagoslav Zhekov dramatizes this evolution, tracing some of the businesses that have joined and departed. For instance, back in 2009, Apple did not even appear on the ecosystem, and Myspace did. In 2017, Apple is one of the principal data amplifiers, and Myspace is not a factor. You can tell by a quick glance of the 2009 version of the infographic how far the industry as grown:
Now, here’s the interesting part: As far-reaching as the new infographic is, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The infographic does not come close to identifying all the companies that license business information from data amplifiers or use it as a starting point to build out their own curated business directory. For instance, a quick glance at the following three lists of local citation sources shows dozens of additional places where business information exists:
Many of the businesses that appear on these lists overlap with those on Whitespark’s local search ecosystem, and they have the same role: receiving and sharing location data that influences which locations appear in search results. But many names on the top citations lists didn’t make the cut and are not part of the infographic. Why? Because of two factors that influence each other:
The 2017 local search ecosystem is a brilliant foundation to get businesses grounded in the most influential sources of location data. But as the above examples demonstrate, the scope of location data companies far exceeds the Whitespark infographic. Put another way: Consider each wedge on the infographic to be a gateway to even more specialty sites by category.
The scope of location data directories, publishers and aggregators can seem overwhelming. But if you manage multiple brick-and-mortar storefronts, don’t despair. You need not have a presence on every directory on the lists I’ve cited. It’s far more important to focus your efforts on building relationships with data amplifiers. When you share your data with the core aggregators and publishers, you create two advantages for yourself:
Understand the scope and richness of the location data ecosystem. Make sure you are constantly optimizing your data and content to be found everywhere. And let the data amplifiers help you succeed across the ecosystem.
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For this year’s Halloween holiday, Google pulled together its full team of doodlers to develop and produce a ghost story.
The story — told in a YouTube video called “Jinx’s Night Out” — is about Jinx, the lonely ghost, who wants to be part of the trick-or-treating activities, but thinks he must first find a costume to hide his true identity.
“The Doodle team took their time crafting a bewitching storyline, adding a little hocus pocus to make the designs dreadfully engaging,” writes Google doodlers on their blog. “Each sequence has its own color scheme, bringing the characters to (after)life with an entirely new animation process.”
The YouTube video doubles as today’s doodle, and includes a sharing icon, along with a link that leads to “Halloween” search results.
Four doodle team members — Melissa Crowton, Cynthia Chen, Sophie Diao and Helene Lerous — worked on backgrounds and design for the “Jinx’s Night Out” mini-movie. Doodler My-Linh Le was the producer; D.E. Levison did the video’s music, and Paulette Penzvalto was the “Scribbler.”
The Doodle team shared everything from initial sketches for Jinx to the following story board on the Google Doodle Blog:
Here’s the final video that’s being shared on Google’s US home page today, in addition to a number of its international pages:
“No bones about it, this was one of the most enjoyable doodles we have worked on,” writes the Doodle team, offering a few words of advice, “Don’t be afraid to show who you really are or let superstition get in the way of a new friendship and you’ll be a graveyard smash.”
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Google is rebranding and rolling out its advertising and verification for local service providers that launched in beta in 2015 as Google Home Services. Now known as Google Local Services, Google announced Tuesday that the program has expanded to 17 US cities with plans to be in 30 cities by year-end.
Service providers can manage their campaigns and appointments through a new Local Services app, available on iOS and Android, rather than via AdWords Express. Businesses can control the number of leads they receive through the program by pausing and enabling their ads in the app. A personalized profile page shows reviews, contact info and unique aspects about the business. Ratings can come via Google My Business or from leads received through the program. Those reviews can then be verified by Google.
Instead of the the typical bidding auction, leads are priced by Google for each job type in each area. Businesses can see the price of a lead when they sign up in the app. Product director of Local Services Kim Spalding said in a phone interview Monday that the pricing is based on “balancing what we know about cost of jobs and overall demand.”
Advertisers set a weekly budget determined by the number of leads they want to receive. Google won’t say specifically what factors go into the rankings in the ad unit, but Spalding said there’s a focus on quality (ratings and reviews), the ability to connect right away, location and a number of other factors.
The results appear on desktop and mobile for services categories locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, HVAC and garage door services are covered in all of the current cities, which include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington DC, and the California cities of Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Some of those cities also have additional categories such as handyman and house cleaning services. The program was in just five metro areas as of July.
The ad units launched on mobile in 2016.
Businesses that want to participate need to go through a verification process. Each employee goes through a background check. Spalding says it takes about two weeks to sign up and get certification. Each verified business gets the Google guarantee badge that ensures Google will cover claims up to the job invoice amount if a customer is unsatisfied with the work.
Spalding says they’ve found users prefer the speed of calling to messaging for more urgent types of jobs. In these cases, the ads will often show with just the phone option. Others include both phone and messaging options. Users can also submit lead forms through the service.
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It was a brisk winter evening. While editing a Copyblogger article written by Brian Clark, the sound of my fingers tapping on my keyboard harmoniously blended with the rain pattering on the window next to my desk, as the light from the full moon illuminated my computer monitor. Then, as the clock struck midnight, something
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As marketing functions increasingly rely on technology, Scott Brinker, aka “Chief MarTech,” laid out nine reason he believes search marketers are poised for leadership as marketing becomes increasingly technology-dependent in a keynote presentation at SMX East in New York City last week.
Search marketers, of course, employ any number of tools and technologies in their work, and the industry has spawned hundreds of products and solutions. Brinker outlined how the work of search marketers touches 22 of the 49 categories he has identified in the Marketing Technology Landscape infographic he has been compiling to track the growth in marketing technology companies.
Brinker, program chair for the MarTech Conference series and editor VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot, highlighted the core functions of search marketing — testing, analysis, conversion optimization and so on — that encompass the overlap of marketing, technology and management.
With more and more companies creating the role of chief marketing technologist, Brinker says search marketers have long been on the cutting edge of this growing trend.
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