Month: February 2019

Domain Properties Update Now Available on Google Search Console

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Domain Properties Update Now Available on Google Search Console

Google Search Console has received a number of updates over the past few months, with these updates giving the tool more functionality and introducing a new interface that is more user-friendly and organized. While an AMP crawl bug hampered the tool for a short time, Google Search Console in 2019 remains an essential SEO tool that works efficiently.

Speaking of updates, Search Console has received another update in the form of Domain Properties. Here’s what you need to know about this new update, and how it makes using Search Console much more efficient.

Domain Properties

One of the best features of Google Search Console is the ability to track and verify every version of your website, which comes in handy when identifying individual page performance and issues that need to be optimized. Despite having this feature, one of the issues was how the domains were organized and presented.

Listings were separate, which makes it challenging to navigate and track domains. Going around each domain can mean using the Search Property feature frequently just to find what you need. With the new Domain Properties update, your domain listings are now more organized than before.

Google Search Console Domain Properties

Each domain property within the same set of domains would be organized under one set in your list, making sure that each website that you own or handle would be accounted for. The best part is that Google Search Console will be able to automatically create new domain properties once you have DNS verification.

This allows you to segment your domain to specific sections, which is much easier to view and navigate. You also have the option to filter and change which domains would be tracked based on your preferences.

A Complete View

This update offers users with a complete view of their website data, whether it be from mobile domains, sites that have yet to migrate to HTTPS, and subdomains. This comes in handy when it comes to analyzing and reporting your data, as you no longer have to go through the long process of tracking manually.

Our Google Search Console contains a high number of domains that we track on a regular basis, making it an essential tool in our arsenal. Before the update, tracking individual subdomains and properties tend to be a real issue, as sending reports mean tracking specific parts of data that our clientele wishes to see.

Google Search Console Domain Properties 2

Thanks to the Domain Properties update, this process is much more efficient, allowing us to save even more time to perform more SEO tasks. The process is also easy to perform, as you only need to add a domain and have it verified.

Filtering can be done by going to Performance and add page filters that would prevent or allow the tracking of data you would need.

With this being a new update, user feedback from our end would help bring in more improvements for this feature and help make Search Console an even more effective tracking tool. Efficiency is the key to SEO success, and features like these are a welcoming sigh of relief that helps us make what we do that much better.

Key Takeaway

Domain Properties is a handy feature that makes Google Search Console more accessible and provides ways to maximize its functionality. Like many Google tools and platforms, Search Console will continue to receive a fair share of updates in the upcoming months, helping it become an even more effective SEO tool.

If you have questions and inquiries about Google Search Console or SEO in General, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Domain Properties Update Now Available on Google Search Console was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Introducing Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center

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Introducing Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center

Google has become a solid business and marketing platform over the years, with numerous updates to tools such as Google My Business helping businesses establish their online presence. This has allowed us to optimize local SEO and help promote their brand and products accordingly.

Having an updated business profile appearing on search provides users with accurate information appearing on search snippets, thus driving more traffic altogether. Along with business information, products are another way to drive both traffic and sales, with an increasing number of users conducting transactions online. With the emergence of numerous e-commerce platforms and websites, the landscape has become increasingly competitive.

With more businesses aiming to promote their products and connect with their customers, Google has introduced two new platforms that allow you to do just that. These two platforms are Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center, and here’s what we know so far about these platforms, and how they can impact your SEO strategy.

What’s the difference?

Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer are two different platforms that both aim to enhance the e-commerce experience and connect users to products. However, knowing which one of your business needs is crucial when it comes to maximizing these platforms.

Google Merchant Center

Google Merchant Center is a platform that allows businesses to manage their website and be able to upload their product information in an efficient manner. The options that Google Merchant Center offers include Adwords and Analytics Support, product reviews, more accurate listings on Google Shopping, direct website listings, and local search support.

When it comes to promoting your products and uploading them into Google Shopping listings, the Merchant Center is the platform you should be using. Another benefit included is the ability to create shopping campaigns that can help promote specific products to the right audience, which is definitely a feature that will surely be highly utilized soon.

Google Manufacturer Center

On the other hand, Google Manufacturer Center is a platform that allows companies to provide detailed product information to Google. Information quality and accuracy have become one of the most important concerns by Google over the past few years, with numerous websites experiencing ranking fluctuations due to low-quality content.

Manufacturer center allows you to input information such as Product description and name, measurements and statistics, and even production and legal codes. These pieces of information allow Google and users to know that you are providing them with trustworthy information that they can use to make a purchasing decision. The information will also be shown on other Google platforms, such as Google Shopping.

While these two platforms may be similar at a glance, both of them allow businesses to provide accurate information about their products and listings, which is not only a big plus for Google but also establish customer trust.

How it can help your SEO

As we have stated before, quality content is a big factor that drives in organic traffic to a well-optimized website. Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center both provide you with the platform to optimize your product listings, which not only show up in search results but also contain quality content. If Google My Business ensures that your business information and location is accurate and updated, Merchant Center and Manufacturer Center make sure that your products contain the right information and is presented well when searched.

These factors allow your business to be more searchable, allowing more organic traffic flowing into your website. Showing up on other Google platforms is also very beneficial, as it expands your online presence significantly. Overall, the main purpose of these platforms is to make sure that your products are presented in an organized manner, making it easier to search, providing users with the key elements that want to know about. The ability to create campaigns is also a definite plus, as it helps target the right audience, and gives you a promotion platform that is cost-effective.

Integration with other Google platforms also makes it very user-friendly and seamless when it comes to optimization. This ensures that you would be less likely to experience any compatibility issues, along with being able to monitor traffic and other activities.

Key Takeaway

While these two Google platforms are relatively new, both of them have the potential to help your business have a significant online presence through optimizing your product listings. This also helps level the playing field and allow smaller businesses to be able to promote and create campaigns that would help generate sales and meaningful connections. Brand loyalty and trust can also be improved, as you are sure that people looking at your products are receiving correct information that is beneficial for their decision as a buyer. When it comes to establishing your business online, utilizing these platforms will surely boost your SEO.

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

Introducing Google Merchant Center and Google Manufacturer Center was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Digital Marketing Campaigns: Winter 2018 Edition

It feels like the time has come for the Distilled Winter 2018 creative content round-up, which must mean – spring is on its way! So, without further ado…

Data Visualisations

A world of languagesAlberto Lucas Lopez

At school, the languages lessons offered to me were either French or German. Some more forward-thinking schools had Spanish in their curriculum. This graphic, by freelance data visualiser Alberto Lucas Lopez, puts into perspective how much more of the world is opened up to you if you know Spanish. If you want to be able to communicate with even more of the world population, then Chinese or Hindi would work in your favour. The presentation here, with the data shown in a circle, with the countries that speak these languages included by area based on population feels novel too, especially if you stretch your imagination to think of it as a globe.

The world through the eyes of the USThe Pudding

The Pudding has created some of my favourite data visualisations over the years. Originally their content focused on music, but now their scope has broadened. This chart looks at which countries have been talked about most in the New York Times each month since 1900. A grid of flags shows the beginning of the first world war, as mentions of Germany flood the headlines. In 1965, Vietnamese flags dominated, and from 2003, Iraq. The present day leans mainly towards China, followed by President Trump and the trade war.

Fiction Made Reality

7 Floor Plans of famous hotel rooms in filmExpedia

Ever wanted to step inside the hotel room you have seen in a movie? Expedia created Sims-like architectural sketches of the floor plans of seven famous hotel rooms from films, and in most cases offered a way of booking that very same room in real life. The attention to detail here is what makes it so cool – the tiger strolling casually through the apartment in The Hangover, down to the cutlery that was used on the tables – it’s making those magical scenes in your favourite films a livable reality.

Product Promotion

Free rides during Black History MonthLyft

Lyft gave users one free ride during Black History Month to Black history museums, memorials, and relevant cultural sites. Promo codes for participating cities were given out in a blog post, along with possible destinations. Calling out the contributions of black women and men throughout history makes Lyft come across as forward-thinking and timely. It’s my guess that supporting communities like this improves brand sentiment with lasting effects.

Name a cockroach this Valentine’s DayHemsley Conservation Centre

Enough brands focus on the lovey-dovey aspect of Valentine’s Day during this annual celebration of romance; Hemsley Conservation Centre’s campaign however stood out from the crowd by putting in place a stunt that helps you get back at your ex. Not that it is healthy to dwell on negative things in the past, but this tongue-in-cheek cockroach-naming service certainly makes revenge that little bit more sweeter, and all at the tiny price of £1.50.

Advertising

GilletteThe Best Men Can Be

In January, Gillette launched a new ad changing its strapline from ‘the best a man can get’ to ‘the best men can be’. Piggybacking off the #metoo movement, in this ad, Gillette challenge men to hold themselves accountable and to stop bullying, violence and sexual harassment. The ad received mixed opinions, I am in agreement with Bernice King (Martin Luther King’s daughter) who said, ‘This commercial isn’t anti-male. It’s pro-humanity’. Changing habits and mindsets is one of the hardest things to do, and I feel this was a courageous topic for Gillette to comment on.

Tools

Hey from the futureRyder Damen

Advice from those older than us has been a successful format for us recently. For A Place For Mom, a senior care referral service in the US, we analysed over 100 news articles which gave advice from people over 100 on how to have a happy, healthy, and – most importantly – long life. Similar to this, Ryder Damen created a piece, offering advice to all ages from those older than them. At age 33, I quite agreed with mine.

Currency Converter 1270 – 2017The National Archives

Looking back as well as looking forward can often be a good basis for an idea. The National Archives have used their data to calculate modern day equivalents in the values of wool, horses, wheat and other tradable products from a year in the past of your choosing, based on the value of today’s money. For example £100 of today’s money would have brought me three horses in the 1920’s when my grandparents were born. Comparing today’s money to horses feels silly, as not that many people want to buy a horse, but it works as a concrete comparison to show how value has changed over the years.

Games

Praise or haze

In a world where it seems we’re often powerless to make a change with our opinions, especially those towards controversial leaders, something, anything we can do to get back at them even in a silly way to their often ridiculous statements feels empowering. This silly game allows you to ‘praise’ or ‘haze’ Donald Trump for things he has said. My personal favourite is when a large waterfall of wee is poured onto his head…I didn’t bother pressing the praise button.

Photo Stories

Dollar StreetGap Minder

Gap Minder create free teaching materials to dismantle misconceptions and promote a fact-based worldview on cultural differences. The money other people is always a cause for intrigue, as we inevitably compare this to our own wealth. This piece, in particular, looks at the differences in monthly household earnings, and also even allows you to take a deeper dive into what basics, like fetching water, a refrigerator or cutlery look like in these countries.

At Distilled we have made similar stories ourselves with much success. In the video below Vicke and I talk about how you can reach people from all around the world using freelancer websites like UpWork to gather unique images and content.

What content have you enjoyed lately? Let us know in the comments.

Digital Marketing Campaigns: Winter 2018 Edition was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

10 Skills Every SEO Expert Should Have

SEO

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March of 2012 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Whether you’re going to hire someone to run your SEO campaign or you’re going to take a stab at it on your own, there are certain skills that help the optimization process happen smoothly.

The skill set for SEO experts is typically quite broad, but there’s normally a baseline of traits that contribute to their digital prowess. In considering how you or your SEO service provider handles your optimization, keep an eye out for these 10 skills.

1. Critical Thinking

It’s important to remember that no two SEO plans are completely alike. Every website is different, and there are many factors that impact a site’s search engine ranking.

Because of that, it’s imperative that an SEO expert should be able to find potential issues on the websites that they work on. This can be done by engaging in competitor research and figuring out what’s working or not working for some of your chief rivals.

SEO success boils down to having the ability to “out-optimize” your chief competitors. An SEO expert should be a critical thinker; someone who can examine your campaign vs. those of your rivals to determine what went right, what went wrong, why it happened, and how you should go about fixing any problems.

There is no standard SEO formula. That’s why it’s important to bring a critical mind to the table in order to understand unique problems from multiple angles and find creative solutions to correct them.

2. Prioritization

Prioritization is vital to running a successful SEO campaign. That’s why all SEO experts should have a strong understanding of the steps that need to be taken. Each of these steps should be prioritized as it pertains to their importance and difficulty.

For example, back link building is one of the most time consuming and difficult aspects of the SEO process. It is also one of the most important factors in determining ranking. A backlink is a link to your site from a respected website that is relevant to your industry. Think of it as a recommendation. When a site is linking to your page, it is acknowledging that you are an expert in your field.

Because of the difficulty and importance placed on link building efforts, it’s important to give this process lots of time and attention to ensure that it pays off for you in the end. Simple matters like content tweaks, while still important, take far less time and shouldn’t be prioritized.

3. Research Minded

Research is incredibly important to an SEO campaign. An SEO expert should be someone who mastered the art of researching while still in school and perhaps even enjoyed it on some level. Comfort and confidence are needed for strong research, and make no mistake about it, keyword research is going to take a fair amount of time.

Be thorough and look into every angle when planning out your keywords. SEO experts know the importance of terms that are both high value, meaning that there is a large demand for them, and relevant. Relevancy is huge. If your SEO director is telling you that you should apply keywords that have nothing to do with your product of service, that’s black hat SEO and it will actually hurt your ranking in the long run.

An SEO expert should be well versed in tools like Google’s Keyword Planner. It’s also important to do a lot of research the competition, but be careful not to copy them. What works for one business might not work for another, even if they’re in the same industry.

Finally, and most importantly, SEO experts need to constantly research Google, and stay on top of its ever changing search algorithm. SEO is not something that you just learn once and then never touch again. You have to always be reading articles and paying close attention to what Google is doing. If you fall behind, you’ll lose out on a lot of progress.

4. Analysis

Analytics are the backbone of SEO. It’s how SEO experts measure success, so it should be a regular part of their day. Every action that is taken during an SEO campaign can and should be measured.

Experts in SEO should understand how to pull analytics as well as how to read and interpret the data that they’re receiving.

But they have to know a lot more than how to simply read the results. Any SEO expert worth the title will know how to take action and apply those analytics to the site that they’re working on in order to achieve continued success.

SEO is a report based process, so any SEO professional who does not have strong analysis skills will be unable to monitor their successes and failures.

5. Decision Making

Throughout the SEO process, you have to make decisions on the go. It is a constantly evolving atmosphere and you can’t always wait to discuss developments in a committee.

What’s more, SEO is never a consistent process. Google is constantly changing the way it examines websites and changes have to be made fast, lest you lost the progress you’ve gained. That’s why it’s important that SEO experts have the ability to make decisions quickly.

Knowing how to make the best decision in a given situation without having to ask 10 different people their opinions is a strong quality that all SEO experts should demonstrate. Such a skill only comes from having inside out knowledge of Google’s process, and keeping an ear to the ground to determine when things are changing.

6. Flexibility

If a specific strategy that an SEO expert believed would be a sure thing turns out to be a flop, it’s important that they know when it’s time to course correct.

One size does not always fit all with SEO. That means what worked well for other companies won’t necessarily be a slam dunk for another company. Your SEO expert should have the flexibility to switch strategies at a given moment.

What’s more, it’s important that these strategy shifts not kill any momentum or slow the process down in any way.

7. Writing

Strong writing skills are a must for anyone managing an SEO campaign. Remember, search engine optimization is a content driven strategy, and SEO writing is an art form that not everyone is good at.

It is exceedingly difficult to weave keywords into your content without making it seem forced. There is nothing more painful than reading a blog or information page that has been obviously stuffed to the brim with keywords. Readers see right through it and so does Google. At the end of the day, bad writing may actually hinder your SEO progress.

(Image Source)

SEO experts should also understand what kind of content gets clicks in your industry. You have to appeal to both Google and your core audience. What’s the point in drawing people to your site if the content is bad and doesn’t encourage customers to make a purchase?

An SEO specialist also needs to understand how to blog effectively for link building. One of the best ways to get links for your website is to write blogs and shop them around to other relevant sites. These blogs should not be about your service specifically, but rather a general information piece that shows off your expertise and includes a link back to your site.

SEO experts should specialize in writing content for both web pages and blogs, creating titles, writing metadata, and more.

8. Web Coding

While SEO experts don’t have to be web designers, it’s important that they understand the basics of web design and Meta tags. SEO specialists have to be a rare breed of marketing professional with an understanding of how to merge web design and SEO strategy in a way most web designers would not appreciate.

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When you’re designing a site for SEO purposes, you have to always keep the overall strategy in mind. Designing an SEO compliant site means relying less on artistic vision and more on cold hard data, which flies in the face of what most designers are looking to do.

9. People Skills

Having people skills will help an SEO expert in the realm of client communication. Clients ted to get upset because they don’t understand how the SEO process works. This can lead to frustrations and unfair expectations. It’s important that an SEO expert understands how to properly communicate and manage the expectations of their clients so as not to back themselves into an unwinnable situation.

For example, SEO takes time. Most campaigns will go a full six months before any kind of return on investment is seen. If that is not properly communicated to a client, they may become fed up after the first month or two.

You don’t just want to communicate your point effectively; you want to do it in a way that can reassure people that SEO results will happen in time.

10. Humility

As we mentioned before, the world of Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing. Even experts can get left behind if they’re not keeping up with Google’s constant algorithm changes.

Believe it or not, humility is a skill in the SEO world. Some people simply prefer to learn what they can to do their job, then go home and do other things. For an SEO expert, work cannot be something to just “get through.”

Being an SEO expert never means knowing everything there is to know about the world of SEO. To think so would be arrogant, and there is no room for ego in SEO. Specialists have to be able to recognize when they’ve made mistakes, accept that certain ideas that they’ve had won’t work, and move along quickly and efficiently without stubbornly dragging their heels through the sand.

Know What to Look For

If you want to hire an SEO expert to improve your search engine standings, it’s important to know what it is that you’re looking for. You want an individual or company that properly embodies all of these 10 vital tasks.

You need critical minds who understand how to prioritize their actions. You need someone who is heavily research minded that won’t mind the long hours that it takes to compile lists of high-value relevant keywords. It has to be someone who knows how to analyze a website, make decisions on the fly, and is flexible enough to abandon failing strategies at a moment’s notice and adopt an entirely new perspective.

You’re looking for a strong writer with a background in web coding, who understands what needs to happen on the back end for SEO to truly succeed. What’s more, your SEO professional should be able to easily explain the process to you and manage your expectations while remaining humble and keeping their ear to the Google ground.

Sometimes it can be difficult to find one person that embodies these specific traits. That’s why it’s often a great idea to employ the services of a full-service SEO marketing firm over bringing in an in house employee to manage your campaign full time. An SEO firm puts an entire team of professionals at your disposal, working together toward one common goal, to push your website up to the first page of Google and to keep it there.

SEO can and does work. Don’t be discouraged by a previous bad experience or a lack of quick progress. Invest in SEO and watch your visibility rise to the top of the world’s most trafficked search engines.

10 Skills Every SEO Expert Should Have was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Optimize Keyword Research by Understanding User Intent

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How to Optimize Keyword Research by Understanding User Intent

SEO has become increasingly competitive as the years go by, with new techniques, algorithm updates, and tools that help give you an edge over the competition. There are many ways to craft your own winning strategy with the right combination of tools and techniques, and this certainly rings true for keyword research.

Keyword research will always be the most crucial element in the success of your SEO efforts, especially at a time where search has become more versatile than before. With voice search gaining a more significant presence, the traditional practice of finding keywords that have high search volume is at times not as effective as before. The factors that we have to consider when looking for the right keywords have increased, with user intent becoming one element that makes a difference in your success in search rankings.

When it comes to user intent, there are a number of factors to consider when implementing the right strategy. Here are ways you can optimize your keyword research with user intent in mind.

What is User Intent?

User Intent is the reason, motive, or intention for conducting a search query. User intent looks into why and how users conduct search queries and use this understanding to formulate the appropriate keywords. User intent can be classified into at least 4 types depending on where you look, along with being the most popular queries, and they are as follows:

Commercial – This refers to search terms with the intent of browsing through a variety of brands, products, and websites without conducting a purchase. This type of intent is from users who want to research about the products that they might purchase in the future, and find the best results.

Transactional – Related to Commercial Intent, Transactional Intent refers to users who conduct search queries, with the goal of finding e-commerce websites, and purchasing a product online. This and Commercial Intent tend to be used to search for business and commerce websites.

Navigational – This refers to the intent of searching for a specific website by directly entering their names. This tends to be effective in generating traffic once you have garnered a significant online presence for your brand.

Informational – Informational refers to search queries whose goal is to provide users with information. This information varies from the news, facts, tips, lists, and other related queries. Content such as blog articles and infographics tend to be the target of these keywords.

Understanding User Intent

By understanding how, what, and why people search, you would be able to find the best keywords that would drive organic traffic to any website. There are many ways to help you understand user intent for your keyword research, and some of them are handy tools that you might have used before as well. Here are some of these tools:

Google Trends – One of the more effective keyword and content research tools around, Google Trends allows you to see keywords and topics the generate the most buzz in a specific region. You have the option of tracking their statistics over certain time periods, and even compare each topic or keyword side by side.

Google Trends Filtered Data

Quora – One of the most popular Q&A websites around, Quora is a great place to see user-generated questions that you can use to generate keywords. Quora is a platform that has been used by numerous SEO professionals to generate traffic for their content, and now, its questions can now be used to formulate keywords.

Ahrefs – One of the most effective keyword research tools in the market, Ahrefs is also a great place to find a wide variety of related search terms that you can utilize to formulate terms that would help you generate traffic.

AHRefs Keywords Explorer

Answer the Public – Another top location that would help you find quality search terms and analyze search intent is by using Answer the Public. You have the option of going through numerous types of queries and question types that users would most likely try out.

Online Forums – Sites like Reddit offer a lot of content related to inquiries as well, making it another great platform to analyze user intent. Going around other online forums is also another solid approach, as these have been the best places to ask around the internet for years, providing you with a massive archive of queries waiting to be utilized.

Tinkering with Google or even Facebook Search might also help you find interesting results that allow you to see how people look around on the internet. This makes crowdsourcing for information another viable method of finding unique and genuine results that come from actual users.

Moving away from the traditional

While traditional keyword research is still able to help you find keywords that generate a significant amount of traffic, the arrival of voice search was a signal to a lot of SEOs that this might no longer be an effective method in the near future. This means that we have to diversify our strategies and use fresh methods that would help us find what we are looking for.

While this may lead to bumps along the way, the ultimate reward of experimentation makes it all worth it after a good number of tries. One of the traditional keyword research metrics that is used as a measurement of keyword success is the search volume. While search volumes tend to give you a good assessment of keyword performance, there are times that they might be inaccurate, especially on more specific search terms that might be more helpful for your rankings.

While completely moving away from tried and tested methods is still not advisable, finding new ways to generate keywords that understand user intent allows you to get out of your SEO comfort zone, and create your own unique approach to keyword research.

Create a list or chart of your keywords

Once you have done your research, it is time to categorize each search query and put them in a list or chart, depending on your preference. This allows you to identify each search query accordingly, and even connect each of them to formulate more queries.

It is best to start with single root words and branch out from there. From there, you can add elements such as brand names, key prefixes or suffixes, categories, geotagging, adjectives, and even common phrases used when asking. With a plethora of information mostly consisting of unique search terms, there is no doubt that you might have an overwhelmingly long test after doing this. This is why filtering your list is the most crucial step towards finding the best search queries that would fit your needs.

Key Takeaway

User Intent adds another dimension to keyword research, as it provides us with a fresh approach to generating the best search queries that would how users across the internet perform their search. Along with these important tips, you can also take a look at our previous posts about long-tail keywords and exact search terms, which helps give you a deeper look into how keyword research is changing.

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

How to Optimize Keyword Research by Understanding User Intent was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

The Easiest Tool for Testing Page Speed – PageSpeed Insights API

In November 2018, Google released an updated PageSpeed Insights API, which provides performance reports from both lab and field data on a page. Using the PageSpeed Insights API, we can test multiple URLs at once to get a better idea of our site’s overall performance and identify areas of our site that can be optimized for speed. To do this, I wrote a script that uses the new PageSpeed Insights API to retrieve performance data and print the results in a Google Sheet—the easiest and quickest way to get an overview of your site’s speed using a sample of pages.

Before you follow optimization recommendations from PageSpeed Insights, it’s important to note that the tool often recommends actions that won’t improve user experience or provide a worthwhile performance increase for your specific site. For example, PageSpeed Insights may advise caching external files (e.g. requests to Facebook.com) or serving images in  WebP format, a file type that is not supported across all browsers. It’s important to consider the nuances of your site and your end users when looking at PageSpeed’s recommendations and determining if you should put them into action—look for the biggest payoffs that won’t negatively impact your site’s UX.

Get the started by making a copy of the worksheet.
Access for free.

How to use the script

The script is configured to test for mobile performance.

  1. First, you’ll want to create a copy of the sheet. Open up the sheet, and click “File” and then “Make a Copy”

  1. Enter a list of URLs you want to test in Column A on the “InputData” tab

  2. Click the “Page Speed” menu item, and then click “Get Page Speed” from the drop-down to execute the script for the list of URLs in Column A

    • The first time you run the script, you will be prompted by Google to authorize the request:

  1. When the script finishes executing (which could take a number of minutes depending on how many URLs you entered), the results will be printed on the tab “PageSpeedResults”

    • If a cell is left blank, that means that item is already optimized on that page.

Response Data

There are 17 columns on the PageSpeedResults tab. The first column contains the URL tested, and the following 16 columns contain the results of the performance tests. The “Performance Score” is an overall rating of your site’s speed performance, with a .1 indicating a slow site and a .9 a fast site. The last column contains a link to the full Pagespeed Lighthouse Report, where you can view all the result data.

What are your favorite metrics to look at when testing page speed? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @distilled.

The Easiest Tool for Testing Page Speed – PageSpeed Insights API was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How Named Anchor Links Optimize Your Search Snippets

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How Fraggles Optimize Your Search Snippets

As a student of SEO, I’ve learned so many things that can affect your online presence over the years, from algorithm updates to various strategies borne out of experimentation. All of these are done just for our websites to show up on the first page of Google’s search results, along with expanding your presence and brand and generate revenue in the ever-expanding digital landscape.

Google’s search snippet has gone through a multitude of changes over the past few years, with the introduction of featured snippets and knowledge graphs providing instant information containing more detailed results. Along with these two features, regular search snippets have also become more versatile as well with the introduction of Named Anchor Links. Here’s what you need to know about Named Anchor Links, how to apply them, and how they can impact your search.

What are Named Anchor Links?

Named Anchor Links are links that can be viewed below the search snippet in Google. These links can direct you to various pages in your website, or a specific section on the webpage itself.

Named Anchor Snippet

This feature allows users to quickly navigate to places they want on a website, providing more opportunities for more webpages to generate traffic. Most search queries have become increasingly specific, especially with the emergence of voice and visual search, and named anchors surely make it even more so than before.

The user experience is crucial when it comes to search results and being more direct can lead to more positive results that can generate more opportunities for conversions and discovering content.

How to apply named anchors

Named anchors appearing on search snippets is possible through content optimization, as Google tends to generate these results based on how they viewed your content. The best way to ensure that names anchors would be present is by making each section of your page clear and well-defined.

This means applying the right H2 and H3 tags on the page, which allows you to see links to different pages on your search snippet, which we were able to do in our website. Content optimization is key to making this work and applying this to your home page and landing pages allow for better navigation. The title tags for these sections must also describe what the user would access upon clicking on them. This means that direct title tags such as “Frequently Asked Questions” or “Best SEO Strategies” are good examples of title tags that are straight to the point and can be read by Google as distinct sections.

Quick navigation, table of contents, and related content sections also work well when it comes to appearing on search snippets. These quick links allow users to be able to view additional content, which can be found in the search snippet, allowing users to click and access multiple web pages. The Fetch as Googlebot option also works as well, which is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your webpage would contain named anchors after some content optimization. The applied changes

Impacting your search

Named anchors not only make navigation and content discovery much more convenient but also benefit traffic as well. Users not only have access to one webpage but also has access to others that they might be interested in taking a look. If you have content that might need an extra traffic boost, having it show up in your quick navigation or related content section would help give it more visibility.

If featured snippets and knowledge graphs provide quick information that lessens the need to click more, named anchors to allow more content to be discovered within your website, providing in-depth information that fits Google’s E-A-T standards.

Key Takeaway

Named anchors may have been a feature that has been around for a long time, it is still a very efficient way of providing more content to the users, along with increasing the visibility of related content. While knowledge graphs and featured snippets are being prioritized by numerous websites, making use of Named Anchor Links is another way of providing information, while improving your search traffic.

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

How Named Anchor Links Optimize Your Search Snippets was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Context Clusters in Search Query Suggestions

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Saketh Garuda

Context Clusters and Query Suggestions at Google

A new patent application from Google tells us about how the search engine may use context to find query suggestions before a searcher has completed typing in a full query. After seeing this patent, I’ve been thinking about previous patents I’ve seen from Google that have similarities.

It’s not the first time I’ve written about a Google Patent involving query suggestions. I’ve written about a couple of other patents that were very informative, in the past:

In both of those, the inclusion of entities in a query impacted the suggestions that were returned. This patent takes a slightly different approach, by also looking at context.

Context Clusters in Query Suggestions

We’ve been seeing the word Context spring up in Google patents recently. Context terms from knowledge bases appearing on pages that focus on the same query term with different meanings, and we have also seen pages that are about specific people using a disambiguation approach. While these were recent, I did blog about a paper in 2007, which talks about query context with an author from Yahoo. The paper was Using Query Contexts in Information Retrieval. The abstract from the paper provides a good glimpse into what it covers:

User query is an element that specifies an information need, but it is not the only one. Studies in literature have found many contextual factors that strongly influence the interpretation of a query. Recent studies have tried to consider the user’s interests by creating a user profile. However, a single profile for a user may not be sufficient for a variety of queries of the user. In this study, we propose to use query-specific contexts instead of user-centric ones, including context around query and context within query. The former specifies the environment of a query such as the domain of interest, while the latter refers to context words within the query, which is particularly useful for the selection of relevant term relations. In this paper, both types of context are integrated in an IR model based on language modeling. Our experiments on several TREC collections show that each of the context factors brings significant improvements in retrieval effectiveness.

The Google patent doesn’t take a user-based approach ether, but does look at some user contexts and interests. It sounds like searchers might be offered a chance to select a context cluster before showing query suggestions:

In some implementations, a set of queries (e.g., movie times, movie trailers) related to a particular topic (e.g., movies) may be grouped into context clusters. Given a context of a user device for a user, one or more context clusters may be presented to the user when the user is initiating a search operation, but prior to the user inputting one or more characters of the search query. For example, based on a user’s context (e.g., location, date and time, indicated user preferences and interests), when a user event occurs indicating the user is initiating a process of providing a search query (e.g., opening a web page associated with a search engine), one or more context clusters (e.g., “movies”) may be presented to the user for selection input prior to the user entering any query input. The user may select one of the context clusters that are presented and then a list of queries grouped into the context cluster may be presented as options for a query input selection.

I often look up the inventors of patents to get a sense of what else they may have written, and worked upon. I looked up Jakob D. Uszkoreit in LinkedIn, and his profile doesn’t surprise me. He tells us there of his experience at Google:

Previously I started and led a research team in Google Machine Intelligence, working on large-scale deep learning for natural language understanding, with applications in the Google Assistant and other products.

This passage reminded me of the search results being shown to me by the Google Assistant, which are based upon interests that I have shared with Google over time, and that Google allows me to update from time to time. If the inventor of this patent worked on Google Assistant, that doesn’t surprise me. I haven’t been offered context clusters yet (and wouldn’t know what those might look like if Google did offer them. I suspect if Google does start offering them, I will realize that I have found them at the time they are offered to me.)

Like many patents do, this one tells us what is “innovative” about it. It looks at:

…query data indicating query inputs received from user devices of a plurality of users, the query data also indicating an input context that describes, for each query input, an input context of the query input that is different from content described by the query input; grouping, by the data processing apparatus, the query inputs into context clusters based, in part, on the input context for each of the query inputs and the content described by each query input; determining, by the data processing apparatus, for each of the context clusters, a context cluster probability based on respective probabilities of entry of the query inputs that belong to the context cluster, the context cluster probability being indicative of a probability that at least one query input that belongs to the context cluster and provided for an input context of the context cluster will be selected by the user; and storing, in a data storage system accessible by the data processing apparatus, data describing the context clusters and the context cluster probabilities.

It also tells us that it will calculate probabilities that certain context clusters might be requested by a searcher. So how does Google know what to suggest as context clusters?

Each context cluster includes a group of one or more queries, the grouping being based on the input context (e.g., location, date and time, indicated user preferences and interests) for each of the query inputs, when the query input was provided, and the content described by each query input. One or more context clusters may be presented to the user for input selection based on a context cluster probability, which is based on the context of the user device and respective probabilities of entry of the query inputs that belong to the context cluster. The context cluster probability is indicative of a probability that at least one query input that belongs to the context cluster will be selected by the user. Upon selection of one of the context clusters that is presented to the user, a list of queries grouped into the context cluster may be presented as options for a query input selection. This advantageously results in individual query suggestions for query inputs that belong to the context cluster but that alone would not otherwise be provided due to their respectively low individual selection probabilities. Accordingly, users’ informational needs are more likely to be satisfied.

The Patent in this patent application is:

(US20190050450) Query Composition System
Publication Number: 20190050450
Publication Date: February 14, 2019
Applicants: Google LLC
Inventors: Jakob D. Uszkoreit
Abstract:

Methods, systems, and apparatus for generating data describing context clusters and context cluster probabilities, wherein each context cluster includes query inputs based on the input context for each of the query inputs and the content described by each query input, and each context cluster probability indicates a probability that at a query input that belongs to the context cluster will be selected by the user, receiving, from a user device, an indication of a user event that includes data indicating a context of the user device, selecting as a selected context cluster, based on the context cluster probabilities for each of the context clusters and the context of the user device, a context cluster for selection input by the user device, and providing, to the user device, data that causes the user device to display a context cluster selection input that indicates the selected context cluster for user selection.

What are Context Clusters as Query Suggestions?

The patent tells us that context clusters might be triggered when someone is starting a query on a web browser. I tried it out, starting a search for “movies” and got a number of suggestions that were combinations of queries, or what seem to be context clusters:

Context Clusters

One of those clusters involved “Movies about Business”, which I selected, and it showed me a carousel, and buttons with subcategories to also choose from. This seems to be a context cluster:

Movies about Business

User Query Histories

The patent tells us that context clusters selected to be shown to a searcher might be based upon previous queries from a searcher, and provides the following example:

Further, a user query history may be provided by the user device (or stored in the log data) that includes queries and contexts previously provided by the user, and this information may also factor into the probability that a user may provide a particular query or a query within a particular context cluster. For example, if the user that initiates the user event provides a query for “movie show times” many Friday afternoons between 4 PM-6 PM, then when the user initiates the user event on a Friday afternoon in the future between these times, the probability associated with the user inputting “movie show times” may be boosted for that user. Consequentially, based on this example, the corresponding context cluster probability of the context cluster to which the query belongs may likewise be boosted with respect to that user.

It’s not easy to tell whether the examples I provided about movies above are related to this patent or if it is tied more closely to the search results that appear in Google Assistant results. It’s worth reading through and thinking about potential experimental searches to see if they might influence the results that you may see. It is interesting that Google may attempt to anticipate what is suggests to show to us as query suggestions, after showing us search results based upon what it believes are our interests based upon searches that we have performed or interests that we have identified for Google Assistant.

The contex cluster may be related to the location and time that someone accesses the search engine. The patent provides an example of what might be seen by the searcher like this:

In the current example, the user may be in the location of MegaPlex, which includes a department store, restaurants, and a movie theater. Additionally, the user context may indicate that the user event was initiated on a Friday evening at 6 PM. Upon the user initiating the user event, the search system and/or context cluster system may access the content cluster data 214 to determine whether one or more context clusters is to be provided to the user device as an input selection based at least in part on the context of the user. Based on the context of the user, the context cluster system and/or search system may determine, for each query in each context cluster, a probability that the user will provide that query and aggregate the probability for the context cluster to obtain a context cluster probability.

In the current example, there may be four queries grouped into the “Movies” cluster, four queries grouped into the “Restaurants” cluster, and three queries grouped into the “Dept. Store” cluster. Based on the analysis of the content cluster data, the context cluster system may determine that the aggregate probability of the queries in each of the “Movies” cluster, “Restaurant” cluster, and “Dept. Store” cluster have a high enough likelihood (e.g., meet a threshold probability) to be input by the user, based on the user context, that the context clusters are to be presented to the user for selection input in the search engine web site.

I could see running such a search at a shopping mall, to learn more about the location I was at, and what I could find there, from dining places to movies being shown. That sounds like it could be the start of an interesting adventure.


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Context Clusters in Search Query Suggestions was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Boost Your Business Using Facebook Local Search

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How to Boost Your Business Using Facebook Local Search

Ever since Facebook came into the fold during the 2000s, social media sites have become the most widely used internet platforms across the world. Boasting a user base of billions, this is also one of the best places for digital marketers to promote their brands.

In the past few articles, we have emphasized the need to optimize your local SEO strategies to boost your traffic and rankings. While Facebook search is no Google, it has gradually developed into a more capable search platform that works best when looking for local businesses near your area. This adds another layer to your social media marketing strategy that you can take advantage of to give your brand that much-needed boost. Here are some strategies that will help you do exactly just that.

Keep your business updated

In the same way as making sure that your Google My Business listing information is accurate, updating the information in your Facebook page ensures that users would be receiving the correct and latest information about your brand. Too often I see business pages on Facebook that contain information that is outdated, which includes unchanged business addresses, incorrect phone numbers, and even old photos that do not reflect hot their business currently looks like.

Facebook Page Info

This will cause your page to stagnate and damage your brand as a whole. It is best to keep your Facebook page updated as regularly as possible, from the primary information to your posts. Active pages on Facebook show up on people’s timelines more often, and you would need that organic reach to establish your presence. While sponsoring posts boosts your traffic significantly in a shorter period of time, growing your organic traffic would be able to give you a more solid user base that you would be interacting with on a regular basis.

Keywords and hashtags

Using Facebook search for the first time might seem confusing at first but becoming familiar with how to find posts and pages is relatively easy. Facebook allows you to search for public posts, photos, videos, and pages near the area you have listed, with the option of searching further as well. Using keywords is similar to other search engines, as it would track every related content that contains the keyword.

Facebook Search

The versatility of Facebook’s search allows you to access so much content, which is why it would help boost your business. Like other search engines, your results would be based on the area that you’re located. Upon checking a few search results, I can see similarities with Google, in a way that local business search results allow me to see maps, photos, and other pieces of content that I might find useful.

Facebook Hashtag Search

For hashtags, Facebook incorporates another system that can be found in other social media platforms, as you can track related hashtags upon clicking on them. This allows users to find content in two different ways, which further expands the opportunities for searchability. Using keywords on your posts allow more users to see your content, while hashtags work best for social media campaigns. While tracking keywords and hashtags on Facebook is still not as refined as Google, making use of them allows you to let your organic reach grow.

Make use of reviews and events

Reviews are a great indicator of quality and allow users to see what people think about the quality of your service. Social media provides a great degree of interaction, as it allows you to provide quick replies through comments and messages. Reviews can be seen publicly, which is why having a negative review can cause your reach to drop if not dealt with properly.

Facebook Event

Creating events is also another great way to generate more organic reach on Facebook, as users are notified of all the events that would be happening within the month on the pages that they follow. Events are searchable as well, which is another way for users to reach your page. Events help generate buzz about your business, which in turn makes more people interact and inquire, providing more reach that keeps your page present in timelines.

Search works in groups too

Groups on Facebook also have a search function that allows you to view posts within the group. Sharing your page posts helps generate a significant amount of organic traffic depending on the group size, making it another great place to promote your brand. There are numerous groups on Facebook dedicated to connecting people to a business that they want to find and making use of hashtags and the right keywords would make joining these groups beneficial in boosting your brand.

Key Takeaway

Facebook has gradually developed their search to become more versatile and effective for their users, and for SEO professionals and social media marketers, this provides a great opportunity to establish your online presence even further. Facebook is the largest social media network around, and optimizing your brand would mean being able to reach the most people possible.

If you have questions about social media marketing and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

How to Boost Your Business Using Facebook Local Search was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

15 Resources to Help You Use a Repeatable Process for Conversion Rate Optimization

If only marketing were more like tires.

I recently discovered that the tires on my Nissan LEAF were recalled, not the specific tires on my car, just that tire model. And it turns out, only the tires manufactured between February 5th and February 18th in a specific plant of that model were included in the recall.

That is impressive. In general, tires are manufactured with such repeatable high quality, that defects can be pinpointed to just a 13-day span among years and years of tire production.

Marketing is not nearly as consistent.

One way to improve the consistency of your marketing is with a repeatable methodology. And if you’re a repeat reader of MarketingExperiments, I’m sure you’re familiar with the MECLABS Institute Conversion Sequence heuristic which can bring structure, clarity and a repeatable framework to any marketing conversion goal you have (MECLABS is the parent research organization of MarketingExperiments).

This is more than just a tool you can use on landing pages. In fact, people around MECLABS have discussed using it to get their children to eat healthy. I’ve used it on college recruiting trips to help students understand elements to consider when choosing a first job.

Since its introduction more than a decade ago, we’ve written and talked about the heuristic a lot on MarketingExperiments. But others have as well. So let’s take a look at some advice from around the web suggesting ways to increase conversion — whatever your conversion goal may be — with this repeatable methodology:

How to create winning ad copy using a scientific approach by Microsoft’s Pruna Virij on Search Engine Watch

“The folks at MECLABS came up with a conversion formula that can be a framework for ad copy creation.”

Six ways to improve value and trust for your brand’s website by Tamar Weinberg on ClickZ

“Having a quality value proposition is vital for a website. Researchers at MarketingExperiments concluded that value proposition is key to your conversion rate. Using its ‘conversion heuristic,’ they found that value proposition was second in importance, just behind a consumer’s motivation when visiting your website.”

3 free AdWords testing tools to adopt today by AdHawk’s Todd Saunders on Search Engine Land

“Each text ad should convey enough information to your audience before you pay for a click. What information is ‘enough?’ Try out this formula from MECLABS Institute.”

5-Step Guide to Optimizing Landing Pages by Magdalena Georgieva on HubSpot

“While we keep advising marketers to test with their specific audiences, there are actually a few best practices you should take into consideration. In fact, the folks at MECLABS came up with a formula to create top-performing landing pages.”

6 Ways to Use Clarity to Improve Your Conversion Rate by Shanelle Mullin on ConversionXL

“Similarly, Marketing Experiments created this conversion formula, which puts a focus [on] clarity as well …”

Why You Need to Know Heuristics for Conversion Optimization by Jeremy Smith of Jeremy Said

“One of the most popular conversion optimization heuristics is an equation. MarketingExperiments calls it a sequence. You could call it a shortcut. It summarizes the main factors in the conversion process.”

Conversion Optimization Overview – Applying a Conversion Heuristic to SMB Marketing by Marketing 360

“The conversion heuristic developed by MECLABS Institute is interesting. By definition, a heuristic is a problem-solving approach which concedes that an optimal, logical, and certainly exact solution isn’t possible. Heuristics use guesstimates; measurements are often rule of thumb.”

Conversion Rate Optimization: Three Strategies by Nathan Hill of NextAfter

“This heuristic, created by MECLABS, assigns relative weight to the variables at play in the conversion decision.”

How conversion heuristics apply to email marketing content by Shireen Qudosi of Benchmark Email

“The best way to understand the formula though isn’t by the ‘C’ for conversion — it’s at the opposite end; 2a is where the formula starts and the ‘a’ stands for anxiety.”

Real Estate Lead Generation by Travis Thom

“We used this formula to create our newest line of high converting Real Estate single property sites.”

An Introduction to Referral Marketing Landing Page Optimization by Jeff Epstein of Ambassador Software

“Each landing page should be targeted to a specific segment of your customer base, meaning there’s no exact science to a perfect landing page optimization. But our statistician friends over at MECLABS have come pretty close. They’ve developed a formula for creating an optimized landing page for any marketing campaign.”

Anatomy of a Conversion Optimization Formula by Diego Praderi of Tavano Team

“If you’re not a mathematician, don’t freak out, as this is not a problem you solve in the traditional sense. It’s a heuristic problem, meaning it’s a more concrete way to look at an abstract concept, such as the way we make decisions.”

Landing Page Optimization Conversion Index by Kim Mateus on Mequoda

“As with all marketing functions, landing page optimization is a constant work in progress. We don’t learn until we test and test again and sometimes it’s useful to have a mathematical formula assisting an otherwise creative process.”

A “formula” for landing page optimization by Dave Chaffey on Smart Insights

“To think through the fundamentals of what makes a successful landing page I think this formula developed by Flint McGlaughlin and team at Marketing Experiments is great. We use it in the latest update to our Guide to Landing Page Optimisation to set the scene.  We really like the way it simplifies the whole interplay between what the landing page needs to achieve for the business and what the visitor is seeking.”

Optimizing Landing Pages to Match Customer Motivation by Linda Bustos on GetElastic

“Today I want to look at motivation from a different angle. I want you to choose a landing page that is top priority for you to optimize. For example, your most profitable product with the highest abandonment rate. I want to get you thinking about which customer motivations are most likely to match your business, your products, your typical customer and your landing page presentation.”

Related Resources

And of course, we’ve written about the Conversion Sequence heuristic as well …

Marketing Management: Can you create a marketing factory?

Mobile Ad Campaign Optimization: 6 tactics from a high-performing marketer to increase conversion

How to Consistently Increase Conversion

Heuristic Cheat Sheet: 10 methods for improving your marketing

And we even have an entire course that teaches the Conversion Sequence heuristic …

Landing Page Optimization on-demand certification course

15 Resources to Help You Use a Repeatable Process for Conversion Rate Optimization was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing