Month: June 2018

Google Patent on Structured Data Focuses upon JSON-LD

Ernest Hemingway Structure Data

In a search engine that answers questions based upon crawling and indexing facts found within structured data on a site, that search engine works differently than a search engine which looks at the words used in a query, and tries to return documents that contain the same words as the ones in the query; hoping that such a matching of strings might contain an actual answer to the informational need that inspired the query in the first place. Search using Structured Data works a little differently, as seen in this flowchart from a 2017 Google patent:

Flow Chart Showing Structured Data in a Search

In Schema, Structured Data, and Scattered Databases such as the World Wide Web, I talked about the Dipre Algorithm in a patent from Sergey Brin, as I described in the post, Google’s First Semantic Search Invention was Patented in 1999. That patent and algorithm described how the web might be crawled to collect pattern and relations information about specific facts. In that case, about books. In the Google patent on structured data, we see how Google might look for factual information set out in semi-structured data such as JSON-LD, to be able to answer queries about facts, such as, “What is a book, by Ernest Hemingway, published in 1948-1952.

This newer patent tells us that it might solve that book search in this manner:

In particular, for each encoded data item associated with a given identified schema, the system searches the locations in the encoded data item identified by the schema as storing values for the specified keys to identify encoded data items that store values for the specified keys that satisfy the requirements specified in the query. For example, if the query is for semi-structured data items that have a value “Ernest Hemingway” for an “author” key and that have values in a range of “1948-1952” for a “year published” key, the system can identify encoded data items that store a value corresponding to “Ernest Hemingway” in the location identified in the schema associated with the encoded data item as storing the value for the “author” key and that store a value in the range from “1948-1952” in the location identified in the schema associated with the encoded data item as storing the value for the “year published” key. Thus, the system can identify encoded data items that satisfy the query efficiently, i.e., without searching encoded data items that do not include values for each key specified in the received query and without searching locations in the encoded data items that are not identified as storing values for the specified keys.

It was interesting seeing Google come out with a patent about searching semi-structured data which focused upon the use of JSON-LD. We see them providing an example of JSON on one of the Google Developer’s pages at: Introduction to Structured Data

As it tells us on that page:

This documentation describes which fields are required, recommended, or optional for structured data with special meaning to Google Search. Most Search structured data uses schema.org vocabulary, but you should rely on the documentation on developers.google.com as definitive for Google Search behavior, rather than the schema.org documentation. Attributes or objects not described here are not required by Google Search, even if marked as required by schema.org.

The page then points us to the Structured Data Testing Tool, to be used as you prepare pages for use with Structured Data. It also tells us that for checking on Structured Data after it has been set up, the Structured Data Report in Google Search Console can be helpful, and is what I usually look at when doing site audits.

The Schema.org website has had a lot of JSON-LD examples added to it, and it was interesting to see this patent focus upon it. As they tell us about it in the patent, it seems that they like it:

Semi-structured data is self-describing data that does not conform to a static, predefined format. For example, one semi-structured data format is JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). A JSON data item generally includes one or more JSON objects, i.e., one or more unordered sets of key/value pairs. Another example semi-structured data format is Extensible Markup Language (XML). An XML data item generally includes one or more XML elements that define values for one or more keys.

I’ve used the analogy of how XML sitemaps are machine-readable, compared to HTML Sitemaps, and that is how JSON-LD shows off facts in a machine-readable way on a site, as opposed to content that is in HTML format. As the patent tells us that is the purpose behind this patent:

In general, this specification describes techniques for extracting facts from collections of documents.

The patent discusses schemas that might be on a site, and key/value pairs that could be searched, and details about such a search of semi-structured data on a site:

The aspect further includes receiving a query for semi-structured data items, wherein the query specifies requirements for values for one or more keys; identifying schemas from the plurality of schemas that identify locations for values corresponding to each of the one or more keys; for each identified schema, searching the encoded data items associated with the schema to identify encoded data items that satisfy the query; and providing data identifying values from the encoded data items that satisfy the query in response to the query. Searching the encoded data items associated with the schema includes: searching, for each encoded data item associated with the schema, the locations in the encoded data item identified by the schema as storing values for the specified keys to identify whether the encoded data item stores values for the specified keys that satisfy the requirements specified in the query.

The patent providing details of the use of JSON-LD to provide a machine readable set of facts on a site can be found here:

Storing semi-structured data
Inventors: Martin Probst
Assignee: Google Inc.
US Patent: 9,754,048
Granted: September 5, 2017
Filed: October 6, 2014

Abstract

Methods, systems, and apparatus, including computer programs encoded on computer storage media, for storing semi-structured data. One of the methods includes maintaining a plurality of schemas; receiving a first semi-structured data item; determining that the first semi-structured data item does not match any of the schemas in the plurality of schemas; and in response to determining that the first semi-structured data item does not match any of the schemas in the plurality of schemas: generating a new schema, encoding the first semi-structured data item in the first data format to generate the first new encoded data item in accordance with the new schema, storing the first new encoded data item in the data item repository, and associating the first new encoded data item with the new schema.

Take Aways

By using Structured Data such as in Schema Vocabulary in JSON-LD formatting, you make sure that you provide precise facts in key/value pairs that provide an alternative to the HTML-based content on the pages of a site. Make sure that you follow the Structured Data General Guidelines from Google when you add it to a site. That page tells us that pages that don’t follow the guidelines may not rank as highly, or may become ineligible for rich results appearing for them in Google SERPs.

And if you are optimizing a site for Google, it also helps to optimize the same site for Bing, and it is good to see that Bing seems to like JSON-LD too. It has taken a while for Bing to do that (see Aaron Bradle’s post, An Open Letter to Bing Regarding JSON-LD.) It appears that Bing has listened a little, adding some capacity to check on JSON-LD after it is deployed: Bing announces Bing AMP viewer & JSON-LD support in Bing Webmaster Tools. The Bing Markup Validator does not yet help with JSON-LD, but Bing Webmaster Tools now helps with debugging JSON-LD. I like using this Structured Data Linter myself.


Copyright © 2018 SEO by the Sea ⚓. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at may be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact SEO by the Sea, so we can take appropriate action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Google Patent on Structured Data Focuses upon JSON-LD was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Schema, Structured Data, and Scattered Databases such as the World Wide Web

I spoke at SMX Advanced this week on Schema markup and Structured Data, as part of an introduction to its use at Google.

I had the chance to visit Seattle, and tour some of it. I took some photos, but would like to go back sometimes and take a few more, and see more of the City.

One of the places that I did want to see was Pike Place market. It was a couple of blocks away from the Hotel I stayed at (the Marriott Waterfront.)

It is a combination fish and produce market, and is home to one of the earliest Starbucks.

pike-place-market-entrance

I could see living near the market and shopping there regularly. It has a comfortable feel to it.

Pike Place Farmers Market

This is a view of the Farmers Market from the side. I wish I had the chance to come back later in the day, and see what it was like other than in the morning.

Victor Steinbrueck Park

This was a nice little park next to Pike Place Market, which looked like a place to take your dog for a walk while in the area, and had a great view of Elliot Bay (the central part of Puget Sound.)

A view of Puget Sound

This is a view of the waterfront from closer to the conference center.

Mount Ranier

You can see Mount Ranier from the top of the Conference Center.

My presentation for SMX Advanced 2018:

https://www.slideshare.net/billslawski/slideshelf

Schema, Structured Data & Scattered Databases Such as the World Wide Web. My role in this session is to introduce Schema and Structured Data and how Google is using them on the Web.

Google is possibly best known for the PageRank Algorithm invented by founder Lawrence Page, whom it is named after. In what looks like the second patent filed by someone at Google was the DIPRE (Dual interative pattern relation expansion) patent, invented and filed by Sergey Brin. He didn’t name it after himself (Brinrank) like Page did with PageRank.

The provisional patent filed for this invention was the whitepaper, “Extracting Patterns and Relations from Scattered Databases such as the World Wide Web.” The process behind it is set out in the paper, and it involves a list of 5 books, titles, their authors, Publishers, Year published. Unlike PageRank, it doesn’t involve crawling webpages, and indexing links from Page to page and anchor text. Instead, it involves collecting facts from page to page, and when it finds pages that contain properties and attributes from these five books, it is supposed to collect similar facts about other books on the same site. And once it has completed, it is supposed to move on to other sites and look for those same 5 books, and collect more books. The idea is to eventually know where all the books are on the Web, and facts about those books, that could be used to answer questions about them.

This is where we see Google being concerned about structured data on the web, and how helpful knowing about it could be.

When I first started out doing inhouse SEO, it was for a Delaware incorporation business, and geography was an important part of the queries that my pages were found for. I had started looking at patents, and ones such as this one on “Generating Structured Data caught my attention. It focused on collecting data about local entities, or local businesses, and properties related to those. It was built by the team led by Andrew Hogue, who was in charge of the Annotation framework at Google, who were responsible for “The Fact Repository”, an early version of Google’s Knowledge Graph.

If you’ve heard of NAP consistency, and of mentions being important to local search, it is because Local search was focusing on collecting structured data that could be used to answer questions about businesses. Patents about location prominence followed, which told us that a link counted as a mention, and a patent on local authority, which determined which Website was the authoritative one for a business. But, it seemed to start with collecting structured data about businesses at places.

The DIPRE Algorithm focused upon crawling the web to find facts, and Google Maps built that into an approach that could be used to rank places and answer questions about them.

If you haven’t had a chance to use Google’s experimental table search, it is worth trying out. It can answer questions to find answers from data-based tables across the web, such as “what is the longest wooden pier in California”, which is the one in Oceanside, a town next to the one I live in. It is from a Webtables project at Google.

Database fields are sometimes referred to as schema and table headers which tell us what kind of data is in a table column may also be referred to as “schema”. A data-based web table could be considered a small structured database, and Google’s Webtable project found that there was a lot of information that could be found in web tables on the Web.

Try out the first link above (the WebTables Project Slide) when you get the chance, and do some searches on Google’s table search. The second paper is one that described the WebTables project when it first started out, and the one that follows it describes some of the things that Google researchers learned from the Project. We’ve seen Structured Snippets like the one above grabbing facts to include in a snippet (in this case from a data table on the Wikipedia page about the Oceanside Pier.)

When a data table column contains the same data that another table contains, and the first doesn’t have a table header label, it might learn a label from the second table (and this is considered a way to learn semantics or meaning from tables) These are truly scattered databases across the World Wide Web, but through the use of crawlers, that information can be collected and become useful, like the DIPRE Algorithm described.

In 2005, the Official Google Blog published this short story, which told us about Google sometimes answering direct questions in response to queries at the top of Web results. I don’t remember when these first started appearing, but do remember Definition results about a year earlier, which you could type out “Define:” and a word or ask “What is” before a word and Google would show a definition, and there was a patent that described how they were finding definitions from glossary pages, and how to ideally set up those glossaries, so that your definitions might be the ones that end up as responses.

In 2012, Google introduced the Knowledge Graph, which told us that they would be focusing upon learning about specific people, places and things, and answering questions about those instead of just continuing to match keywords in queries to keywords in documents. They told us that this was a move to things instead of strings. Like the books in Brin’s DIPRE or Local Entities in Google Maps.

We could start using the Web as a scattered database, with questions and answers from places such as Wikipedia tables helping to answer queries such as “What is the capital of Poland”

And Knowledge bases such as Wikipedia, Freebase, IMDB and Yahoo Finance could be the sources of facts about properties and attributes about things such as movies and actors and businesses where Google could find answers to queries without having to find results that had the same keywords in the document as the query.

In 2011, The Schema.org site was launched as a joint project from Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex, that provided machine-readable text that could be added to web pages. This text is provided in a manner that is machine readable only, much like XML sitemaps are intended to be machine-readable, to provide an alternative channel of information to search engines about the entities pages are about, and the properties and attributes on those pages.

While Schema.org was introduced in 2011, it was built to be extendable, and to let subject matter experts be able to add new schema, like this extension from GS1 (the inventors of barcodes in brick and mortar stores) If you haven’t tried out this demo from them, it is worth getting your hands on to see what is possible.

In 2014, Google published their Biperpedia paper, which tells us about how they might create ontologies from Query streams (sessions about specific topics) by finding terms to extract data from the Web about. At one point in time, Search engines would do focused crawls of the web starting at sources such as DMOZ, so that the Index of the Web they were constructing contained pages about a wide range of categories. By using query stream information, they are crowdsourcing the building of resources to build ontologies about. This paper tells us that Biperpedia enabled them to build ontologies that were larger than what they had developed through Freebase, which may be partially why Freebase was replaced by wiki data.

The Google+ group I’ve linked to above on the Schema Resources Page has members who work on Schema from Google, such as Dan Brickley, who is the head of schema for Google. Learning about extensions is a good idea, especially if you might consider participating in building new ones, and the community group has a mailing list, which lets you see and participate in discussions about the growth of Schema.


Copyright © 2018 SEO by the Sea ⚓. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at may be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact SEO by the Sea, so we can take appropriate action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Schema, Structured Data, and Scattered Databases such as the World Wide Web was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How Google Optimizes the 2018 FIFA World Cup

How Google Optimizes the 2018 FIFA World Cup

When it comes to Google search queries, some of the most search terms are related to sports, with basketball and association football (soccer for our American readers) being one of the most searched sports worldwide. This month, the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Russia, which aims to become the largest sports event of the year.

With some of the world’s best football players competing in the grandest stage of the sport, billions of people are expected to watch the games live and through their devices. The 2018 World Cup will not aim to become the most-watched sports event in the world, but it will also be the most-searched as well.

With this in mind, Google has launched new search features for the event itself, to provide users with some of the latest news, game scores, and top players of the World Cup. Here’s a quick look at how Google has optimized their services for the World Cup.

Google Doodle

To start things off, one of the first things that Google has done to celebrate the start of the 2018 World Cup is by creating a Google Doodle that marks the beginning of the event. The Doodle shows various fans from different parts of the world celebrating and cheering on the kick-off that another fan is about to do.

Google Doodle World Cup

Google Doodles have always been creative and interesting, celebrating important events and figures through art. The FIFA World Cup Doodle, in this case, is a wonderful representation of the world’s anticipation and excitement for the biggest sporting event of the year.

Google Search Optimized

Being one of the most-watched events in the world means that people would want to keep themselves updated on their favorite teams and players. With this, having all of these sources in one place makes following the World Cup much more convenient thanks to Google. By searching “World Cup 2018”, “FIFA World Cup”, or other similar terms, you would be able to access the World Cup snippet, which allows you to access information such as real-time scores, news, players, and brackets that help keep you updated.

Google World Cup Snippet

Another nifty feature from Google search is the score pin, which is making its debut this World Cup as well. This pin allows users to receive notifications on games and news while accessing other applications or web pages.

Google News

Android users can also experience the World Cup fever as well through their Google News app. Users can access the latest news and track every team in the competition using the World Cup tracker. The tracker allows you to quickly view team standings and upcoming matches. All you have to do is to pick a group or team to view their standings and matches, and then you’re set.

 

Google Assistant / Google Allo

Google Assistant and Google Allo have also been optimized for the 2018 World Cup, allowing users to ask Assistant on the latest news and upcoming fixtures. You can also access some handy World Cup trivia while you’re at it. You can also ask for some crucial data and stats to beef up your World Cup knowledge before and during the big event itself.

Google Allo World Cup

Google Allo World Cup 3

Google Trends

If you want to look for the latest search data leading up and during the World Cup, Google Trends has it in store for you, as they have their own World Cup section as well. The World Cup section allows you to see who are the most searched players across different countries, along with the most popular World Cup nations per country. You can also view trending keywords, and the most popular questions being asked about the World Cup as well.

Google Trends 2018 World Cup

Google Trends 2018 World Cup 2

Along with all of that, you also get some videos which show the insights from current and legendary footballers as well.

Google Trends 2018 World Cup 3

With the 2018 World Cup being watched by billions across the world, checking the latest trends has now been made easier using Google Trends.

Key Takeaway

The World Cup has always been one of the most watched sporting events in human history, with billions watching their favorite teams compete on the pitch. With the 2018 World Cup happening shortly, expect another spectacle of passion, talent, and resilience, and trending news and topics along the way.

If you have questions and inquires about SEO tips and strategies, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

How Google Optimizes the 2018 FIFA World Cup was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Weebly Offers a Robust Digital Marketing Solution for Small Business Owners

Business Spotlight

Starting a business is an exciting and nervous venture. Startups face different challenges than businesses opened only a decade ago. With the growth and evolution of the internet, businesses have the opportunity to connect and engage with customers both on and offline.

Today, having a website for your business is a necessity. No longer are the days that businesses simply take out Yellow Pages Listing and market within their community. Shockingly enough, small businesses are still utilizing word of mouth as their primary source of marketing, according to CNBC’s 2017 Small Business Survey.

While word of mouth is still a viable marketing tactic, owners are missing out on a great opportunity to reach customers online. Customers turn to the internet for reviews, referrals, business information, and customer service.

To reach and engage with these customers, businesses need a company website. With the availability of website builders, such as Weebly, this is no longer an expensive and daunting task for small business owners.

Weebly is a great resource for entrepreneurs and small businesses to build their site and engage with current and prospective customers. With their drag-and-drop builder, owners can easily customize professional and appealing sites.

Drag, Drop, and Launch

In the age of Google, customers expect to be able to access useful information on any topic, event, business, product, or idea with the click of a button. A company website will serve as the central location for small businesses to provide this information to prospective customers.

Using Weebly, small business owners can easily create and launch an informative and alluring site for customers to access pertinent information about their business.

With their drag and drop builder, Weebly has made it easy for small businesses to create their site with little to no technical expertise needed. To begin, business owners choose between 45 themed templates for their site or online store, then simply edit and customize the site with their information. For those with technical experience, owners also have the option to edit their template via the source code to fully customize and design their site.

Weebly’s online store site packages range from $8/month with their Starter Package to $38/month for their Performance package. For the number of features, storage and support that each package comes with, Weebly is providing premium resources to business owners at very reasonable rates.

Mobile Responsiveness

In 2016, Google announced the number mobile search queries surpassed desktop queries, with mobile queries amounting to more than 50 percent of searches globally. Although the exact difference between mobile versus desktop queries is still unknown, it is important for businesses to have a mobile-friendly site for the on-the-go customer.

“Weebly is always built with the mindset that our product must first be optimized for mobile,” said Kim Chappell, Head of Communications at Weebly.

Luckily for business owners, Weebly has alleviated the trouble of creating a mobile-friendly site by designing responsive templates.

“All sites on our new templates are mobile responsive,” said Chappell. “If someone is on an older theme, they can easily update their site template anytime for free without losing their content.”

This puts Weebly and its users ahead of the curve of Google rolling out their mobile-first indexing come July 2018. This means for mobile search queries, Google will begin crawling and indexing mobile sites first, instead of the desktop versions.

By having a mobile responsive site, business owners can be assured the on-the-go customer can find and access their site with ease.

SEO

A common misconception among small business owners is believing traffic will automatically come to their site once it is launched. Weebly not only recognizes the importance of creating a website for small businesses but marketing the site itself.

“We realize that creating your website or online store and hitting the publish button is a monumental moment for any small business owner,” said Chappell. “It reflects a milestone in their journey and comes with the expectation that because you have a live website, all of a sudden you will have tons of traffic.”

When it comes to finding and attracting new customers online, creating a website is only the first step. Small business owners must then expand their web presence in order for customers to find their site.

“The truth is,” Chappell said, “if you build [your site], then promote it, [customers] will come.”

A key strategy to gaining traffic and attracting customers online is SEO. The purpose of SEO is to optimize a site to improve its visibility and ranking among organic and free search engine results.

According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes more than 40,000 search queries per second, equaling to more than 3.5 billion searches per day. The traffic, and potential customers, will come to the business’ site if they are ranked highly among those search results.

Knowing the benefits of SEO for small business, Weebly made their SEO features available in all of their site packages to help owners easily navigate their digital marketing efforts.

Among the SEO features available for all Weebly sites are:

  • a sitemap
  • meta descriptions
  • alt image tags
  • page-specific descriptions

For those wanting a more in-depth knowledge of SEO, check out our SEO Guide. It thoroughly details SEO practices starting from site building to tracking analytics.

eCommerce SEO

For small business owners selling products online, Weebly designed their online stores with search engines in mind, making it easy for customers to find them.

“We have zeroed in on making marketing integrated into your site and store across the platform so it’s simple to use and is generating new visitors to your site,” said Chappell.

Weebly has additional free features available for site optimization through ecommerce SEO. As business owners build their online store, Weebly automatically produces their ecommerce SEO features.

“We now autogenerate the Product Title and Short Description of their product into SEO tags,” said Chappell. “[We] use their Product Title to generate the SEO Page Title and Product Permalink, and the Short Description as their SEO Description.”

These automated processes keep title tag and meta description creation easy and concurrent for business owners.

Beyond SEO

Weebly offers other digital marketing integrations for sites that go beyond SEO efforts. These features give businesses the opportunity to expand their customer engagement and reach customers across multiple channels.

Weebly’s integrated email marketing platform, Weebly Promote, connects to the business’ site and helps with lead capture, customer segmentation which aids in the development of email campaigns. Campaigns can be formed around various target groups based off customer behavior, auto import of products, logos and colors.

Business owners personalize Promote’s professional layouts and templates to send different email types including newsletters, promotions, and announcements. Additionally, owners can create automated emails to be sent when activated by triggers.

“[Promote] autopilots important communication like order tracking emails, abandoned cart email and even happy birthday emails to drive customers back to your online store,” Chappell said.

This provides small business owners an effective way of remaining in communication with customers without needing to manually send out each individual email.

Another digital marketing strategy available for business owner is retargeting via social media advertising.  Retargeting allows owners to reengage customers and drive traffic back to their site, and potentially leads to more conversions.

“We’ve recently released a simplified connection to Facebook Ads which allows you to retarget your store customers that have left products in the shopping cart online or allow those who have visited your site or store to see paid ads of your product on their Facebook feed,” Chappell said.

Owners can access and control this technology via their Weebly dashboard. At a glance, owners are able view the metrics, health of the marketing campaign and, most importantly, how much money it’s driving for the business.

Weebly’s Bright Future

Always keeping the betterment of their users in mind, Weebly has formed strategic partnerships that will continue to hold their share in the site builder market, and possibly grow their competitive advantage amongst their competitors. The latest being announced that Weebly was acquired by Square.

“Working with Square will provide one cohesive solution for small business owners online and offline that currently doesn’t exist in this market,” Chappell said. “We’re incredibly excited about the ways we will be able to help entrepreneurs of all types as we move forward together.”

For small business owners, the fully integrated Square and Weebly partnership will provide significant benefits for growth. Combined with Weebly’s already integrated email marketing platform and social media advertising, the acquisition has unlocked the opportunity for business owners to create an omnichannel experience for their customers.

Weebly’s current partnership with multi-carrier shipping software, Shippo, is already delivering substantial savings for online store owners. Shippo is now fully integrated into Weebly’s newly released Commerce 3.0 creating a “smoother backend experience for merchants” and saving them up to 40% off shipping costs and printed labels.

Weebly continues their development and improvement with the best interest of their users in mind first. Moving forward, these partnerships create a unified, one-stop shop for small businesses and online stores.

“You will see very exciting features coming in the near future,” said Chappell, “and they are always built with mobile and SEO in mind.”

The potential return on investment is undeniable for small business owners utilizing all of Weebly’s features. From site building to digital marketing to ecommerce, Weebly has managed to simplify each step for business owners navigating into the digital spaces at an affordable cost.

Weebly Offers a Robust Digital Marketing Solution for Small Business Owners was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

SEO Hacker 2018 Midyear Roundup

SEO Hacker 2018 Midyear Roundup

We’re halfway through 2018, and SEO has already made bold steps into shaping the future of the industry. From new algorithm updates, new services, along with new data regulation policies, SEO is truly becoming bigger than it ever was before.

As we get approach the second half of the year, it looks like that more changes are surely in store, especially with SEO becoming more competitive than ever. As we prepare ourselves for the rest of the year, let us take a look back at some of these news, reviews, and guides that have shaped up the first half of the year.

Daring SEO Strategies You Must Try This 2018

Daring SEO Strategies for 2018

The start of 2018 saw the emergence of new trends and strategies that aim to shape up how SEO would be done during the rest of the year. This article shows some of the latest and boldest strategies that would soon become an important element in your SEO strategy. Some of these strategies include using voice search, video content marketing, and mobile optimization.

Google Images Update Removes View Image and Image Search

Update Removes View Image and Image Search

Perhaps one of the biggest updates in one of the most popular Google services, the “View Image” button in Google Images was removed to comply with changes caused by a copyright lawsuit. This update meant that users would have to access the webpage of the image source to extract the image file. This update among Google images users, with a good number of people taking time to adjust to the changes.

Keep the Pace: Preparing for the Google Speed Update

Preparing For the Google Speed Update

2018 has been a year in which mobile SEO has been put into perspective, with more strategies adjusting to optimize web pages for mobile devices. The upcoming Google Speed update, which will be released around July 2018, will include page loading speed as a mobile ranking factor. With mobile loading speed becoming an important factor, this article serves as a guide to how to optimize your mobile web pages for Google Speed.

Budget-Friendly Google Chrome Extensions For Your SEO Needs

Budget-Friendly Google Chrome Extensions For Your SEO Needs

When it comes to SEO functionality, Google Chrome is the ideal web browser that allows you to perform SEO tasks more efficiently. For the SEO practitioner on a budget, this comes in handy, as Google Chrome Extensions are budget-friendly, and make your browser much more useful. This article is a list of some of the best Chrome Extensions that you can use for SEO-related tasks.

Exploring the Google Lighthouse Chrome Extension

Exploring Google Lighthouse

Website audit tools are some of the most effective tools in SEO, as it helps our team assess website performance, and see what we can optimize to serve our clients better. Google Lighthouse is one of these tools, and in this article, we show how to audit websites using it and see if it does the job well.

GDPR: What You Need to Know

What You Need To Know About GDPR

One of the biggest headlines over the past few months was the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation last May 2018. This new policy aims to improve data protection and transparency in websites across the world and ensure that user trust remains when data is being shared. This article covers what the GDPR brings in, along with how it affects your website’s SEO.

International SEO: Things You Need to Know

International SEO Things You Need to Know

With the SEO industry continuing to grow as the years go by, this also means that it has also gone international as well. With that in mind, this article serves as a guide to what you need to know when it comes to doing International SEO, along with some of the best strategies you can use.

Best URL Shortening Tools For 2018

Best URL Shortening Tools For 2018

Despite being one of the most popular tools from Google, the URL shortening service Goo.gl would be shut down in favor of the new Firebase Dynamic Links. Despite the discontinuation of Goo.gl, there are a good number of effective alternatives that get the job done. This article lists down some of the best URL shortening tools that you can use this 2018.

Analyzing Google’s March Algorithm Update

Analyzing Google’s March Algorithm Update

Last March, a good number of SEO practitioners experienced a fluctuation in some of their website rankings, which led to some speculation that Google has rolled out another algorithm update. As it turned out, a new update was indeed being tested, which caused some website rankings to be affected permanently. This article provides an analysis of this algorithm update and shows its effects.

Key Takeaway

The first half of 2018 was definitely an interesting and exciting one for the SEO industry. With the next six months coming in fast, expect more updates and new strategies coming your way soon.

SEO Hacker 2018 Midyear Roundup was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google to Offer Combined Content (Paid and Organic) Search Results

Combined Content Search Results

Google Introduces Combined Content Results

When Google patents talk about paid search, they refer to those paid results as “content” rather than as advertisements.

A recent patent from Google (Combining Content with Search Results) tells us about how Google might identify when organic search results might be about specific entities, such as brands. It may also recognize when paid results are about the same brands, whether they might be products from those brands.

In the event that a set of search results contains high ranking organic results from a specific brand, and a paid search result from that same brand, the process described in the patent might allow for the creation of a combined content result of the organic result with the paid result.

Merging Local and Organic Results in the Past

When I saw this new patent, it brought back memories of when Google found a way to merge organic search results with local search results. The day after I wrote about that, in the following post, I received a call from a co-worker who asked me if I had any idea why a top ranking organic result for a client might have disappeared from Google’s search results.

I asked her what the query term was, and who the client was. I performed the search, and noticed that our client was ranking highly for that query term in a local result, but their organic result had disappeared. I pointed her to the blog post I wrote the day before, about Google possibly merging local and organic results, with the organic result disappearing, and the local result getting boosted in rankings. It seemed like that is what happened to our client, and I sent her a link to my post, which described that.

How Google May Diversify Search Results by Merging Local and Web Search Results

Google did merge that client’s organic listing with their local listing, but it appeared that was something that they ended up not doing too often. I didn’t see them do that too many more times.

I am wondering, will Google start merging together paid search results with organic search results? If they would do that for local and organic results, which rank things in different ways, it is possible that they might with organic and paid. The patent describes how.

The newly granted patent does tell us about how paid search works in Search results at Google:

Content slots can be allocated to content sponsors as part of a reservation system, or in an auction. For example, content sponsors can provide bids specifying amounts that the sponsors are respectively willing to pay for presentation of their content. In turn, an auction can be run, and the slots can be allocated to sponsors according, among other things, to their bids and/or the relevance of the sponsored content to content presented on a page hosting the slot or a request that is received for the sponsored content. The content can be provided to a user device such as a personal computer (PC), a smartphone, a laptop computer, a tablet computer, or some other user device.

Combining Paid and Organic Results

Here is the process behind this new patent involving merging paid results (content) and organic results:

  1. A search query is received.
  2. Search results responsive to the query are returned, including one associated with a brand.
  3. Content items (paid search results) based at least in part on the query, are returned for delivery along with the search results responsive to the query.
  4. This approach includes looking to see if eligible content items are associated with a same brand as the brand associated in the organic search results.
  5. If there is a paid result and an organic result that are associated with each othte, it may combine the organi search result and the eligible content item into a combined content item, and provide the combined content item as a search result responsive to the request.

When Google decides whether the eligible content item is associated with the same brand as an organi result, it is a matter of determining that one content item is sponsored by an owner of the brand.

A combined result (of the paid and the organic results covering the same brand) includes combining what the patent is referring to as “a visual universal resource locator (VisURL),”

That combined item would include:

  • A title
  • Text from the paid result
  • A link to a landing page from the paid result into the combined content item
  • The combine items may also includ other information associated with the brand, such as:

  • A map to retail locations associated with brand retail presence.
  • Retail location information associated with the brand.

In addition to the brand owner, the organic result that could be combine might be from a retailer associated with the brand.

It can involve designating content from the sponsored item that is included in the combined content item as sponsored content (so it may show that content from the paid result as being an ad.)

It may also include “monetizing interactions with material that is included from the at least one eligible content item that is included in the combined content item based on user interactions with the material.” Additional items shown could include an image or logo associated with the brand, or one or more products associated with the brand, or combine additional links relevant to the result.

Additional Brand Content in Search Results

The patent behind this approach of combining paid and organic results was this one, granted in April:

Combining content with a search result
Inventors: Conrad Wai, Christopher Souvey, Lewis Denizen, Gaurav Garg, Awaneesh Verma, Emily Kay Moxley, Jeremy Silber, Daniel Amaral de Medeiros Rocha and Alexander Fischer
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent: 9,947,026
Granted: April 17, 2018
Filed: May 12, 2016

Abstract

Methods, systems, and apparatus include computer programs encoded on a computer-readable storage medium, including a method for providing content. A search query is received. Search results responsive to the query are identified, including identifying a first search result in a top set of search results that is associated with a brand. Based at least in part on the query, one or more eligible content items are identified for delivery along with the search results responsive to the query. A determination is made as to when at least one of the eligible content items is associated with a same brand as the brand associated with the first search result. The first search result and one of the determined at least one eligible content items are combined into a combined content item and providing the combined content item as a search result responsive to the request.

The patent does include details on things such as an “entity/brand determination engine,” which can be used to compare paid results with organic results, to see if they cover the same brand. This is one of the changes that indexing things instead of strings is bringing us.

The patent does have many other details, and until Google announces that they are introducing this, I suspect we won’t hear more details from them about it. Then again, they didn’t announce officially that they were merging organic and local results when they started doing that. Don’t be surprised if this becomes available at Google.


Copyright © 2018 SEO by the Sea ⚓. This Feed is for personal non-commercial use only. If you are not reading this material in your news aggregator, the site you are looking at may be guilty of copyright infringement. Please contact SEO by the Sea, so we can take appropriate action immediately.
Plugin by Taragana

Google to Offer Combined Content (Paid and Organic) Search Results was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Link Cheetah: The SEO Hacker Review

Link Cheetah: The SEO Hacker Review

Links have been playing a vital role in SEO for a long time, as they are the key to helping your website grow and gain more traffic. Link building has been standard practice for the whole SEO industry, with new and innovative strategies being crafted on a regular basis. Some of these strategies have bought a lot of success to our clients, as they receive high traffic that helps strengthen their branding.

Link building is serious work, as we invest a good amount of time and effort into it to ensure that we achieve the desired results that satisfy our team and our clients. Crafting the best link building strategies is not only done through a good amount of research and some trial and error but also using some of the latest and most effective SEO tools available. One of these new tools is Link Cheetah, which is the latest addition to our SEO Hacker toolbox.

Managing our website links is one of the most important tasks that our link building team does on a regular basis. With the right tools, accomplishing these tasks become quicker and more efficient. With that in mind, is Link Cheetah one of these tools? Let’s find out.

Before we get into the review, we would like to invite you to try out Link Cheetah for free on a limited basis and see if it is the tool that fits your link building needs.

Starting up

Upon logging in, you can already allow Link Cheetah to track the backlinks of your website by adding a domain. Simply click on the gray box on top of the home page and click “Add new domain”.

Link Cheetah Domain List

After clicking the button, the next step is to add the URL of your website. You also have the option of adding redirecting domains as well. Depending on your plan, you can input around 500 to 10,000 domains, which is more than enough to monitor your most important domains.

Link Cheetah Add Domain

After adding your domain, Link Cheetah will be analyzing the domain to extract and process all of the backlinks. This tends to take a few minutes, dependent on the number of backlinks that you have on your website.

Overview

Once Link Cheetah has processed all of your website’s backlinks, you can now browse through them on the Overview page. From here, you can view all of the referring domains, check their Ahrefs domain rank score, and track dofollow, nofollow, and indexed links. If you want to take a look at a specific domain, you can enter the URL in the search bar, and filter the results through various options, such as only view the indexed and dofollow links, or view nofollow links that have not been indexed by Google.

Link Cheetah Overview

For a closer look into these domains, you can click on each of them to receive extra details, such as the referring page, Google Index, Anchor and Backlink, and a Do or Nofollow indicator. Having this amount of detailed information allows you to analyze the all of the links within your website.

Link Cheetah Referring Page

Lastly, you also have various options on the right as well, such as delete these links, add a comment, refresh the links, and the option to disavow the link.

Pages

The second important feature of Link Cheetah is the Pages section, which allows you to identify the links that are present within a specific webpage. These web pages are ranked based on the amount of referring domains within that page, and upon clicking, you can view these referring domains, while also look into the web pages that are from your website.

Link Cheetah Pages

Along with being able to view the websites that contain your backlinks, you can also look at the anchor text as well.

Link Cheetah Anchor Texts

This handy feature allows you to view your links that are present in other websites while also look into the most frequently used anchor texts, which helps you see if it is effective on generating traffic or not.

Changes

The third feature on Link Cheetah is Changes, which allows you to view the links that have experienced changes for various reasons. Tracking these links are crucial, as these changes can impact the amount of traffic that you will receive. Some of these changes include a dofollow link becoming a nofollow link, or a link getting removed from the Google Index.

Link Cheetah Changes

Anchor Text

The fourth feature is the Anchor Text, which is similar to the feature that is present in the Pages section. This allows you to see which anchor texts contain the highest amount of referring links and domains, and look into where these links can be found.

Link Cheetah Anchor Text

This simple feature comes in handy, especially when it comes to knowing where your users can find your web pages over the internet.

Disavow Links

The last feature is the disavow links tool, which is the place where you can see links that you have disavowed from the pages section. As of this review, there have been no disavowed links. However, the option to add these links is a simple process, as you can disavow links with just a few clicks.

Link Cheetah Disavow Link

Verdict

Link building tools are important in our SEO strategy, and Link Cheetah is another valuable addition in our toolbox. While it may be a tool that is simple and efficient in its functionality, it also makes it a very user-friendly tool as well. Overall, we would definitely recommend this tool for link building specialists, as it provides them with simple and robust functionality.

Key Takeaway

While Link Cheetah may be a relatively new SEO tool, it is a tool that helps our team perform well, and make the task of tracking down backlinks much easier to perform. As our company grows, our toolbox grows with it, which results in everyone generating better results that satisfy everyone.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO tools and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Link Cheetah: The SEO Hacker Review was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Augmented Reality and Local SEO: Looking Into The Future

Augmented Reality and Local SEO

Mobile technology has come a long way over the past decade, with smartphone and tablet technology experiencing rapid development. Today, mobile phones are not only devices that are used only for calling and texting, as they have become versatile devices that can perform a variety of functions such as gaming, mobile browsing, music and video playback, and even augmented reality.

When it comes to augmented reality, the relatively new technology has improved by a significant amount since being introduced to the world, with more applications and devices being able to support it. Augmented reality is defined as a real-world environment that is enhanced by virtual graphics that integrate with the said environment. While it may be a new technology that is still only used by a limited number of platforms, there have been a good number of successful applications so far.

Notable examples of successful augmented reality applications include the game Pokemon Go, Google Translate, Amikasa, Quiver, Holo, and Yelp Monocle. Among the mentioned applications, Pokemon Go has seen the most success, with over millions of users worldwide, making it a surprise hit. With the success of these applications, it would not be surprising that it other industries would tap into the technology. One of the industries that can see future success using augmented reality is SEO, as it could be used as a viable marketing tool that can generate interest that can lead to more organic traffic.

With SEO in mind, here are the best ways to implement augmented reality into your local SEO strategy.

Local SEO and Navigation

Perhaps one of the best places to implement augmented reality is at Local SEO, which can help boost marketing by a considerable margin. We have covered local SEO strategies in some of our previous articles, and we have seen that focusing on mobile optimization is one of the best ways to help users look for your business.

One of the most important elements in local SEO is location, as it would allow users to be able to look for your business on services such as Google maps. Geotargeting helps Google identify your location, which helps them adjust location-based search results. This means when I search for the best Pizza places near my area, all of the results that would show up must be within the Manila area.

Best Pizza Place

So how does Augmented reality help local SEO? For starters, it can help users navigate through cities and look for places they want to go using augmented reality tools and applications. The number of users using navigation tools has been increasing over the past few years, in part due to how well these tools have been performing, with more accurate locations and larger directories of businesses and landmarks.

How will AR help your business?

Other than making it easier for users to navigate through different cities and landmarks and find their desired locations, augmented reality also helps boost search traffic and website dwell time as well. It is common for users to search for a website of an establishment to inquire and look into their services, and then find the location in a map service.

Augmented reality can also be used as an interactive marketing tool as well. Interactive advertisements viewed through AR lenses will soon become more common. Examples of application of augmented reality in marketing can be found on e-commerce sites and several big brands. Take Adidas and Converse, for example, where they used augmented reality for users to virtually try out and fit some of their latest shoes. Some furniture companies have also used augmented reality to help their users visualize what piece of furniture would be an ideal fit inside their home.

With so many choices available for users today, using augmented reality to allow your users to experience what your business has to offer can become a crucial factor in their decision to go to your business. This increased level of user interaction ensures that your brand remains visible and relevant despite the presence of new technology.

How to optimize for Augmented Reality

Optimizing for augmented reality is wholly similar to optimizing your business for local SEO. We have touched on these topics before, and here are some key steps that you should do in order to prepare your business for augmented reality:

Optimize your Google My Business listing – One of the very first things you need to do when setting up your business is optimizing your Google My Business listing. This means adding all of the crucial details, which include business address, operating hours, and contact details.

Create a Virtual Tour – Adding a virtual tour for your business gives users a glimpse of what your business establishment contains within its premises. First impressions truly count, which means that users would be able to view can be a major deciding factor on whether they would be interested or not.

Observe proper Online Reputation Management – In today’s internet, online reviews can make or break a business, and greatly affects your searchability when it comes to users looking for top search results. This makes managing your online reviews on Google and Yelp is crucial and ensuring that you attain good scores lies in your business’s actual performance and weeding out negative reviews that only aim to attack or harm.

Geotargeted Keywords – Good local SEO means utilizing geotargeted keywords, which allows your business to show up in local SERPs quicker. This is important, whether your business is in a big city, or even a quiet town, as there will always be users that would search for establishments near their area. For good measure, having at least 2-3 geotargeted keywords (you can use city names, street names, and even country names) ensures that users have different ways to find your business within a certain area.

Key Takeaway

Augmented reality is a technology that will become even more present in the near future. With the rising number of mobile users and the rapid development of technology in general, more and more businesses and brands would be looking for a way to stand out in a very crowded digital world. Implementing local SEO strategies to prepare for augmented reality is one of these methods, as it ensures that your business has more opportunities to become visible for your users.

If you have questions and inquiries about SEO, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Augmented Reality and Local SEO: Looking Into The Future was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Be Your Own Designer – The Best Free Resources for when You’re Short on Time

You’ll be pleased to hear we recently updated this post. It was originally written in June 2015, but now it contains a whole new suite of design tools!

Has there ever been a time when you’ve realised you’re a day away from a big pitch, but you forgot to book any design time through your creative department? Or perhaps there’s that last-minute blog post that needs some images and banners, but there’s no way of roping in a designer at such short notice! It’s easy to become reliant when you have a Design team at the ready, but when push comes to shove, slightly unwillingly, you sometimes have to don that faux-designer’s hat. The trouble is, where do you even begin? To help you out in such hours of need, I have compiled a list of my favourite design resources for non-designers and designers alike. Oh, and did I mention they’re all free?

Just a quick disclaimer: this isn’t Graphic Design 101 (I’m definitely not ready to declare myself redundant as a designer at Distilled). Instead, think of this as more of a design directory if you will. Whether you’re after a nice font to spruce up your Word doc or you really need some images to dress that presentation to impress, if you’re going to find a fast, free solution anywhere, start here.

Typography & Fonts

Font Squirrel

Font Squirrel does exactly what it says on the tin; all the fonts listed are 100% free for commercial use. Best of all they are hand-picked, so unlike other sites offering free fonts (e.g. Dafont) you have peace of mind that there has been a selection process. Plus, not everyone can submit material to Font Squirrel. The only thing to watch out for are the types of licenses: some fonts may only be allowed for desktop use and not web, so do pay attention before downloading.

Google Fonts

If like me (and Distilled as a whole), you’re partial to a Google Doc, you might already be familiar with the awesomeness that is Google Fonts. The ability to just be able to pick and choose from hundreds of open-source fonts, without even needing to download anything! That’s the thing though, Google Fonts are all about the web and positioning themselves as the best resource for ‘webfonts’, they don’t even advertise the fact that you can download every single one of them to use elsewhere offline, even… (drumroll please) in Microsoft Word. It’s really simple to do. Once you’ve chosen your font and added to your collection, click ‘use’ and on the right-hand side, there will be a small download icon. I’d typically recommend getting the .zip file and installing the font manually.

Font Pair

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to use not one, but two awesome Google Fonts to mix things up, what you need is a good font pairing. Luckily for you, the guys at Font Pair have it covered. Choose between no less than six different style combinations that will be sure to give any copy that exciting edge.

FontFace Ninja

Finally, to round up this section is my absolute favourite: FontFace Ninja. This is really more of a tool than a resource, but I just couldn’t leave it out. Gone are the days of desperately trying to find out the font that I’ve seen used beautifully on a website, but which I don’t know the name of. FontFace Ninja is a lightweight extension, for Chrome or Safari, which allows you to find out the name and details of any font on any webpage, simply by hovering over some text. If it’s a free font it should also give you the option to download it. What more could you ask for?

Images

Although in recent years our screens have become saturated with crisp full-screen images, the trend isn’t quite over yet; users are apparently still hungry for more! Here are a couple of my favourite photo sites that will a) meet your audience’s demands, b) not cost you a single penny, and most importantly c) not get your head in a twist over attribution and licensing issues, because they’re all released under Creative Commons Zero (CC0). In other words, not only are the images completely free to use, no attribution is required either.

Unsplash

Pexels

unDraw

If photos aren’t your thing and you’re after illustrations instead, unDraw offers a neat selection that wouldn’t look out of place on any modern website or banner. The best thing is they’ve made it really easy to change the main colour of each image to suit your needs, for instance, if you ever have the internal brand police on your case!

Screenshots & Mockups

Screenshots can be a tricky one to get right, yet in our line of work, it can play a significant part in things like sales pitches or client presentations.

Nimbus Capture

Apart from Grab, the native Mac OS app (which I also do swear by), Nimbus Capture is definitely one of the better screenshot extensions I’ve used.  Capturing a full web page may seem slightly excessive if you just need to show a section, but for those instances when what you want to show extends beyond your laptop screen’s physical height, this works wonders.

Magic Mockups

If you want to take it one step further, for example when selling creative ideas, Magic Mockups might just be the extra boost you need. This impressive and easy-to-use tool lets you create in-situ mockups of your website, app or product in just a few minutes. Not convinced? The following example took me less than 2 minutes to make and download. I barely lifted a finger, so this probably is a secret best kept amongst us lazy bunch.

Icons

A lot of icon sets out there are definitely tailored to a more design-savvy audience, those who have Illustrator or Photoshop at their disposal. But what happened to the plain and simple PNG image that you can just whack next to some text in a banner? Look no further than the following two sites. Sure, they don’t have the same volume as a site like The Noun Project, but as with the photography sites I recommended earlier, the advantage is that they require zero moolah, zero attribution.

iconmonstr

Illustrio

Colours

Colours are things that can often throw up a challenge for even the more experienced of designers, let alone someone whose full-time job is not doodling and colouring in all day. 

Coolors

Whenever I need colour inspiration, I head over to Coolors. Hit spacebar to cycle through their generated colour combinations (try not to get too mesmerised and sidetracked when doing this!). If you’re the picky type, it allows you to tweak and lock down on the colours you like, just hover over the colour blocks to configure.

As a side-note, everybody should have a trusty eyedropper extension installed (any will do really). While “guess the hex” may have a catchy ring to it, there’s no good reason in trying to match colours by eye anymore, especially if you want to keep your brand colours in check.

Image Templates

Canva shouldn’t be a revelation for people who have to deal with social media marketing. It’s fast becoming the go-to tool for creating quick images, sized perfectly for your needs whether that be Facebook, Twitter, etc. That said, its capabilities aren’t restricted to these, you can use it for general image creation of any kind. So, if I were you I’d take the advice given on their homepage and “Get your team on brand. Unleash your creativity.”!

Presentation templates

Finally just to wrap things up: if the going gets really tough, and you find yourself having to create and design your own presentation from scratch, my advice for you would be… don’t do it! In recent years there has been a surge in interest for presentation tools claiming to do a lot of design heavy-lifting for you. One of them which has come close to living up to this promise is Beautiful.ai, Even as a designer, I sometimes relish the opportunity to relinquish control and just let someone, or something in this case, take care of things like spacing and alignment, not least because it frees up time to focus on the content of your presentation rather than fretting over the format.

If your team are adamant about sticking with the G-suite though, check out Slides Carnival. They offer a range of free Google Slides templates, which can at least get you going. There’s nothing worse than staring at a blank slide, not knowing where to begin.

That’s all for now, folks. Thanks for sticking around. If you have any questions or thoughts, just drop me a line in the comment section below.

Be Your Own Designer – The Best Free Resources for when You’re Short on Time was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing