Month: June 2020

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar

Social Media

If you’re a social media manager, you need to plan out your entire month of posts. Never leave it to the last minute, trying to come up with new and exciting post ideas day by day.

By creating a social media content calendar, you ensure that all of your posts adhere to your content strategy.

But creating a social media content calendar takes skill and know-how. You need to understand what a social media calendar is, why it’s useful, and how you can go about making one.

What is a Social Media Content Calendar?

If you’re a social media content manager, the first thing that you need to know about your content calendar is that it is an incredibly helpful tool that will let you plan out your social postings on a monthly basis.

Here’s an example of a social media content calendar:

If you’re not already using a social media management tool, then a social media content calendar is usually an excel file, with various tabs assigned to different social platforms. Remember, the posting requirements differ based on the platform you’re using. Facebook has different restrictions than Twitter. Twitter restrictions will be different from Instagram, and so on.

One of the best features of a social media content calendar is that it can help you keep track of themed days of the month.

That can mean two different things.

You can create your own themed days, like Inspirational Mondays or Workspace Wednesdays. It’s a great idea to have these days because you can create a hashtag around them and see if they catch fire.

The other meaning behind themed days of the month is national days. Every day of the year is “National (Something) Day.” There’s everything from National Bunny Day to National Bread Day. Creating social media content based around these holidays can generate interest. Keeping track of them in your content calendar is a great way to plan around them.

(Image Source)

The social media content calendar helps you plan out your content and schedule ahead of time using a system. It can also help you keep track of the images you’re going to share, organizing them week by week and day by day.

Download Our Social Media Calendar Template

Enter your email and instantly get a weekly social media content calendar template.

If you are human, leave this field blank.
Download Calendar Template

Why Should You Use a Social Media Content Calendar?

Every business that wants to maximize their social media presence should be using a social media content calendar. There’s a reason that 92% of content marketing professionals use social calendars.

A social media content calendar can help you address the challenge of declining organic social media reach in two primary ways.

If you’ve tried to create a social media presence for your business, there’s one thing you probably noticed straight away…

Social media sites are crowded.

Every business is trying to get a piece of the social media pie. That’s because social media is the ideal marketing hunting ground. Practically every demographic has some kind of social media presence, from teens to senior citizens and everyone in between.

Because of this, the social media platforms themselves have seen dollar signs where business marketing is concerned. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t make any money if your organic post goes viral. Facebook and other social media giants want you to pay to boost your posts and purchase ads. That’s how they make their money.

(Image Source)

This was confirmed by Zuckerberg himself in 2018, when he publicly stated that Facebook users would be seeing fewer organic posts from businesses and brands.

One of the only ways to get noticed with organic posting is to approach your social media strategy with a plan.

And a content calendar helps you keep track of that plan.

The social media calendar will help you keep to schedule, a crucial element if you’re looking to make a splash in the social media world. Remember, the more consistently you post, the better your exposure will be. Customers get used to regular postings, and will seek you out in time.

But in order to establish that routine, you have to post on a regular basis.

And you need to plan out your content platform by platform.

You need to keep track of what you are posting and where. The calendar represents an easy record that you can go back and look through.

This record also helps you figure out how you’re doing in terms of social content. If you have a huge influx of comments and follows, you’ll want to remember what you did in order to duplicate your results.

The calendar can help you determine where these spikes occurred and what content was going on each platform.

It’s also important to keep track of the time that you’re posting, and check your results. Remember, different platforms experience high traffic at different times. That means all of your posts should not go out at the same time across every channel.

Finally, another great benefit of a social media content calendar is that it can be easily shared with team members for convenient collaboration.

Download Our Social Media Calendar Template

Enter your email and instantly get a weekly social media content calendar template.

If you are human, leave this field blank.
Download Calendar Template

Creating a Social Media Content Calendar

Creating a social media content calendar takes a lot of effort. There are a number of steps you’ll have to take before you write the first line of content. There’s a massive amount of work that goes into creating the perfect social media strategy. Your calendar is just one part of that overall project.

Let’s look at the steps needed to make a social media content calendar one at a time and see where to begin.

Step 1: Information Gathering

You could consider the information-gathering stage of your social media content strategy to be an audit of your current social media needs.

In order to improve, you first have to figure out where you are, where you’ve been, and what’s preventing you from getting to where you want to be.

The first step to a good social media audit is determining which platforms you’re currently using and what level of success you’re seeing for all of them. You should take the time to review your results for at least the last six months and use them to rank all of your social media platforms in terms of success.

When you see all of this laid out before you, there’s a decision to be made. Moving forward, you need to decide if you’re going to eliminate anything from your lineup. For example, if you’re seeing no movement from Google+ whatsoever, try to figure out why that is. Are you not posting enough? Are you posting the wrong content? Are you posting at the wrong times?

Or is your audience not on that platform in large numbers?

(Image Source)

If you find that no matter what you do, Google+ just isn’t going to deliver, then it might be time to shut down your Google+ account, or at least put less effort into it.

It’s important to feed the strong, so if you’re getting a lot of interaction on Instagram, that’s where more of your effort (and by extension, marketing budget) should be going.

When you look at all of your social media accounts side by side, you should be contrasting and comparing them to one another.

Are these accounts uniform in terms of branding?

You need to present a united front when it comes to marketing. If your Twitter account looks wildly different from your Facebook, particularly your profile and header images, that could be jarring for potential customers. You want all of your branding to blend. That includes your social media sites and your website.

Do you have access to every account?

Sometimes when an account is neglected for a long period of time, an organization could misplace the login information. It’s important that you don’t have any duplicate pages sitting out there with outdated information. If customers were to search for your business and find that page, it makes you look bad.

When auditing your social media, you also need to figure out what kind of audience you’re reaching (if any) and what kind of audience you want to reach.

You should have a good handle on your ideal customer. Are you creating content specifically with them in mind?

Information on your demographic should be included in the social media content calendar. You can set that up as a static reminder in the heading of your document. That way you never forget who you’re speaking to when creating content.

Step 2: Demographic Study

When creating social media content to go in your calendar, there are a few key questions that you need to ask.

Who are your customers?

What do they want?

Once you understand the demographics you serve, you’ll be able to create better content that is geared specifically toward their interests. Once you’ve done that, it should be a simple matter to get them to participate in discussions.

Does your existing demo differ platform by platform? You need to figure out where the eyes of your audience are. Once you know that, put more effort into placing your content there. Don’t expect your customers to come to you. You have to go to them.

All of the content in your calendar should be tailored to each platform that you’re posting on. This is not a one size fits all approach. Content created for Twitter will differ from content created for Facebook.

Once you know what your audience is looking for and where they are looking, you can create tabs in your calendar file for each specific social media site.

Step 3: Create a regular schedule

The purpose of your social media calendar is to keep your posting to a schedule. Before you can start filling out content, you first have to decide what that schedule is.

How often are you going to post? That’s a question that can only be answered by understanding your audience. You don’t want to annoy them by popping up in their feed too often.

What time will you post?

As we mentioned above, this should differ on each platform, but (in general) here’s a good place to start:

(Image Source)

Step 4: Decide on Your Content Voice

What kind of content do you want to share? Should it be serious? Silly? Both? If you’re going to create both, what is the ratio you’re going for?

You also need to decide if you’re going to be creating posts that are designed more for engagement, and how often you are going to “shill” your products or services, if ever.

If your demographic seems open to creating user-generated content, you should invite that. Set up themed days for them to participate in. Try something like “Furry Friend Fridays,” where your Fans or Followers can post pictures of their pets.

Step 5: Create a Database of Content

Collect a library of useful articles, images, and concepts to share with your audience. Keep them in a folder and be ready to pop them into the calendar at a moment’s notice.

When you list this content, make sure that you mark any time-specific information. You don’t want to sit on a good article only to have so much time pass that it’s no longer relevant.

Step 6: Add the Content

Once you know when to post and what you’re going to post, it’s time to input all of that information into your calendar. You should have a set time where you do this every month.

For example, you could take the last week of the month to create a calendar for the next month. This ensures that you won’t forget to create the content and have to scramble to be ready for the month ahead.

Consistency is important in your preparation as well as your posting.

Step 8: Share Your Calendar

Make sure that you’re sharing your calendar with your supervisors and colleagues. That presents an opportunity to get feedback from the rest of your team.

Make adjustments to your content strategy based on calendar feedback. Sometimes it’s hard to critique yourself, and the people you work with might see things from a different perspective. Ask the sales team for advice. They speak with your audience on a more frequent basis and should have a good handle on what they’re looking for.

Helpful Tools

If you need a helping hand in getting started with your social media calendar, there are a number of online tools that you can turn to that will help you get moving in the right direction.

You’re going to want to use a pre-made template for your first calendar.

Here is a list of four templates that could help you get started.

In Conclusion

All up and coming social media content managers need to develop a system.

And the most effective and widely-used system in play is a social media content calendar.

By inputting all of your social information ahead of time and keeping it organized, you’ll start seeing increased engagement and higher levels of brand awareness in no time.

Download Our Social Media Calendar Template

Enter your email and instantly get a weekly social media content calendar template.

If you are human, leave this field blank.
Download Calendar Template

How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How to Get in Google News

Last updated on

Google News is the go-to platform for millions of users worldwide for local and international news. It is the largest news aggregator in the world. It collects fresh news articles from around the web and serves it to users depending on relevancy, location, interests, and more. 

Appearing in Google News provides a lot of benefits for website owners such as more website traffic and additional monetization options. It also opens up your website to a broader audience since it is available on various devices across different countries. And unlike Google Search, websites are served to a user through a feed rather than a search results page.

Although Google collaborates with the news industry to make sure that only high-quality news appears on the platform, Google News is not limited to major news companies. As long as your website is a news website, whether it’s current events or industry news, you can appear in Google News and enjoy its benefits.

Google News Eligibility

I’ve received a lot of questions before from readers on how they get their website to appear in Google News. A few years ago, your website needs to be verified by Google News first before your content appeared on the platform. However, Google removed that requirement. Now, all you have to do is produce high-quality content if you’re a publisher. Sounds easy right?

Well, to be more specific, the content that you have to publish needs to meet Google News content policies. Once you meet these criteria, your website is automatically considered to appear in the Top Stories section or News section.

This method is quite difficult though because it would be hard to know if your website is really appearing in Google News.

Another method is to submit your website to Google Publisher Center.

Getting in Google News through Google Publisher Center

Google Publisher Center is the combination of the old Google News Producer and Publisher Console. Google doesn’t require a website to be submitted in Google Publisher Center but it does have benefits such as control over your brand and content that appears in Google News.

Do take note that submitting your content and RSS feeds on Google Publisher Center won’t mean that your content is guaranteed to appear in Google News. Also, keep in mind that the website you are going to submit to Google Publisher Center should be a verified website in your Google Search Console account.

Step 1: Fill in the details needed

Once you go to Google Publisher Center, simply click on Add Publication and enter the name of your website. The next screen will ask you for basic information about your websites such as description, website URL, and location. It is also important that you place the Google Analytics tracking ID in this section so you could track how much traffic you are getting from Google News.

Step 2: Submit your content

The Content section allows multiple ways to submit your content in Google News and customize your Google News feed by dividing them into multiple sections. You can either:

  • Submit RSS feed
  • Enter specific page URL
  • Submit YouTube video or playlist; or
  • Personalized feed from Google News

Step 3: Upload images

The Images section is where you upload your website’s square logo and wide logos. Make sure that the images you upload are high-quality and fit the specifications indicated.

Step 4: Ads management (optional)

This step is useful for websites that are running ads through Google AdSense. You could also control in this section how much ads Google sells on your website for users coming from Google News.

Step 5: Submit for review

The Review & Publish section will indicate if there is any missing information. Once you’re done filling in all the necessary details, you can now submit your website for review. 

Keep in mind that approval may take 2 to 4 weeks according to Google. I think this depends on the number of websites they are reviewing. In my case, SEO Hacker got approved in 2 weeks and content that I published immediately started appearing in Google News. While you’re at it, why don’t you drop by SEO Hacker’s Google News page and follow us!

How do I know How Much Traffic I got from Google News?

In the Google Analytics account of your Google Publisher verified website, go to Acquisition, and check Referral traffic sources. If you are getting clicks from Google News, you should see news.google.com.

How to Get More Traffic from Google News

What most people don’t know is that Google News also uses an algorithm to rank websites in Google News. It uses the following factors:

  • Relevance of Content
  • Prominence
  • Authoritativeness
  • Freshness
  • Location
  • Language

Users also have their own “For You” sections and Google News uses the users’ interests for rankings and usability.

I also wrote an article before on How to Optimize for Google News and I highly recommend that you check that out as well so you can get more success in Google News.

Key Takeaway

Google News is a great initiative by Google for both users and web publishers. Achieving success may take time similar to growing traffic from organic search results but you should take any opportunities that you can get for you to be able to grow.

In SEO, content is king. And it is more truthful in Google News. Always publish high-quality original content that is relevant to your audience and you will surely start getting higher placements in Google News.

How to Get in Google News was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Understanding Semantic Search to Boost Your SEO

Last updated on

Semantic Search How to Improve Your SEO_Cover Photo

Before 2013, SEO was virtually a straightforward endeavor. You had to incorporate the exact keywords inside your content and the important places such as title tag, H1, meta description, then build a high number of relevant quality links to those pages to ensure ranking on the first page. However, the same could not be said today. Search engines evolved in how they understand searches and queries to the point that the same strategies we used almost a decade ago are not enough now.

Today, a deep understanding of the meaning behind the keywords, content that effectively answers the context of the keywords, and the intent behind it is what succeeds in the search results. All of these were brought about by the age of semantic search. Let’s dive deeper.

What is Semantic Search?

Semantic search, simple enough, is the search engine’s way to have a deeper understanding of a user’s queries by analyzing and connecting the meaning and relationship between the words and their context. This in turn enables search engines to find the best possible relevant pages to display even if the user’s query wasn’t straightforward. Here’s an example:

quick brown fox google search screenshot

This specific search is pertaining to the well-known phrase “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. Google understands the context between the words used in the query and effectively answers it by knowing the relationship between the animal (quick brown fox) that jumped over the dog. Now, if semantic search was nonexistent, Google might have shown me results that showed random animals jumping over dogs. 

This just goes to show how far search engines have come to understanding the queries made by users. However, much like other machines, search engines are also limited to their own knowledge. Here’s another example:

chris evans google search screenshot

Now, most of us know that the wizard in the Avengers is Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch. But when I searched for it, the answer Google gave me is Chris Evans, the actor that played Captain America. This isn’t the correct answer, far from it. But this is what happens when I change a word in my query:

sorcerer in avengers google search screenshot

The search result actually shows the correct answer – Benedict Cumberbatch being the actor that played Doctor Strange. The snippet isn’t as accurate as we’d like but it still does answer the question. So, if you focus on the query I made, I changed the word “wizard” to “sorcerer” and Google actually gave me a fairly accurate answer. Why did this happen? The reason behind this is easier to infer than you might think. 

Through the use of Knowledge graphs, introduced back in 2012, Google has an extensive database of public information and the entities contained inside them such as the people involved, their birthdays, parents, etc. Now, through the knowledge graphs that Google has, they use what’s contained inside it to better understand queries. The inference we can make is that in Google’s database, Doctor Strange (and the actor that plays the role) is known as a sorcerer and not a wizard. This, possibly, could be the correct answer to why Google was able to give me a more accurate answer than the one I previously searched for. 

To summarize, Google uses the following to better understand a user’s query:

  • Search Intent
  • Context
  • Relationship and connection between the words

All of these things, coupled with your search history and behavior, affect how Google understands your queries and which results they display. Aside from Knowledge Graphs, Google released a series of updates over the years to make semantic search more accurate and effective.

Algorithm Updates that Affect Semantic Search

Hummingbird

In 2013, Google released its Hummingbird update to help with understanding complex search queries. This update was released to reward the pages that match the query’s context rather than the page matching the words inside the query. 

To simplify it more, Google rewarded pages that answered the user’s query rather than rewarding the pages that just contained repeated mentions of the words in the query.

Rankbrain

2 years after Hummingbird, Google released Rankbrain; a machine learning system that’s considered a ranking factor and analysis AI. Rankbrain shared the same purpose with Hummingbird but with the edge of its machine-learning integration.

Through Rankbrain, Google was able to deliver more relevant results by interpreting the user’s through their location, behavior, and the words they used in the query. 

BERT

This is the newest addition to the updates Google Released. BERT is Google’s way of better understanding longer queries and more complex sentences by processing the words and their context & meaning in relation to the other words contained in the search query. 

Through the BERT model, Google aims to deliver more accurate and relevant results to “longer, more conversational queries”. By the end of 2019, the BERT model affects 10% of all queries made in Google. This might not sound like a large number, but consider how many users Google has and how many times they search per day. 

Understanding Semantic Search Leads to Better SEO

Semantic search isn’t a small thing that we can disregard. It’s a massive process that changed an entire industry and it will only progress toward better things as the years go by. 

SEO on the other hand is a practice that revolves around adapting all our strategies and tactics to hopefully reach the first page of an ever-growing search engine landscape. So, with semantic search, it’s only logical that our strategies change to better fit the current landscape. Some of the major changes we made in SEO Hacker include:

  • Changing our focus from keywords to topics

It’s not about just writing about a specific keyword anymore. Much like the queries that users search for, keywords can mean a lot of things. That is why shifting our focus from a keyword-centric content strategy to a topically-relevant content framework did us wonders. 

The primary difference between a keyword and a topic is their scope. A keyword is only limited to the meaning it holds while a topic will include multiple keywords under it. Knowing what the topic is and being able to write about it and its corresponding subtopics is an essential part of creating high-quality, valuable content today. 

A great example is writing about title tags. If we were to solely focus on keywords, we would create pages that target “how to change a page’s title tag”, “best title tag length”, “how to optimize a title tag”, etc. 

But if we focus on writing about title tag as a topic then we would write a page about “The Ultimate Guide to Title Tags” or “All You Need To Know About Title Tags” where the content talks about the subtopics such as “how to change a page’s title tag”, “best title tag length”, and “how to optimize a title tag”.

Of course, you would need to know which subtopics are relevant to the users. You can’t write about everything about the topic at hand because that will not only waste your time and energy, but it will also discourage the user from reading everything as well. Using the example I used above, I wouldn’t include things such as “the history of title tag” or “who popularized the term title tag” simply because users wouldn’t care about those subtopics. 

  • Understanding and serving search intent

Have you ever experienced ranking highly in the search results for a specific keyword, then you start noticing that you’re slowly ranking lower even though you know for yourself that the page ranking for the keyword is fully optimized and has valuable content? We’ve experienced that for a good number of our clients and the most common reason is that we’re not properly serving the intent of the keyword and the users. 

Search intent is easily understood on paper but when applied in the search results, can be tricky and at times confusing. 

The best way to mitigate this is to manually search for the keyword you’re ranking for and check the pages that are ranking higher than you. How does their content differ from your own? Is the context of their content different from your own? What kind of pages are ranking higher than you? Are they product category pages? Blog posts? Homepages? – these are questions you need to ask yourself when you’re slipping in rankings. 

Simply put, your page should be something that Google would WANT to display on the first page of the search results for that specific keyword, and the best way to find it is to check what EXACTLY is Google displaying on the first page. 

Key Takeaway

Outdated SEO strategies and below-average content aren’t enough for the search engines AND users. Semantic Search has changed the SEO game for the better and it actually serves users more relevant and accurate answers than before. 

Once you have a firm grasp of semantic search, then adapting to it will come easier than you think, especially if you’ve already made it a point to publish high-quality and relevant content. 

Do you have any questions about semantic search? Comment it down below and let’s talk!

Understanding Semantic Search to Boost Your SEO was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Ads Release Clickbait Policy

Last updated on

Google Releases New Policy on Clickbait Ads_Cover Photo

No one is innocent from using clickbait copy, even top digital marketers sometimes use sensational anecdotes in their content. This is a problem because if you built your strategy on this lazy technique, then it will bite you in the ass before you know it. That time has come now. Google made an announcement last week in which they introduced a new Clickbait Ads policy which aptly addresses the Misrepresentation sections of their Ad policies.

If you are planning on starting your ad with, “This client loved our business, what happened next will shock you,” or if you are planning on using this kind of copy in any of your Google Ads, content, don’t even think about it. It will be a waste of your money and worse, Google will not run your ads at all. Although this talks about Google Ads policies, I believe this should also be the same for Organic Search Optimization since creating too much clickbait content will only harm your rankings if an algorithm update explicitly tackles this area.

Now, we are going to talk about why you should care about this new Ad policy, what can you do about it if you are guilty of using it for your ads, and what to do to avoid this.

Implications of the New Policy

Subheading Photo_Ban

Together with the introduction of the new policy on clickbait ads, Google has also published a post on their Advertising Policies Help page on the Google Support website pertaining to account pausing action. They have notified advertisers about a new enforcement action for those who violate Google Ads policies. Before, if you violate a policy, the worst thing that can happen to you is your ads won’t run and that’s it. You’re still free to create a campaign for other Ad Groups, but Google noted this month that if you were investigated for a policy violation, your whole account will be temporarily paused and this also applies to advertisers who fail to verify their identity.

As the new clickbait policy rolls out in July, think about the missed opportunities that you can incur if you violate this policy. You would be disabled from running ads and who knows what will happen if your offense is a grave enough to land you in Google’s crosshairs.

Clickbait will not be an unbelievable copywriting strategy

There is no good way to use clickbait. It deserves the bad reputation that it gets. Let me just put this out there, this is not a “copywriting hack” that seasoned marketers should teach the young blood of the industry. This just encourages lazy writing and an attitude of your work being just “okay”. Yes, it dominates most of the ads and even some organic search results but that doesn’t mean that if you can’t beat them, you join them.

Each new piece of content that you are going to release for your audience deserves a well-thought-out execution. If you are going to write for people, make sure that you give something of value to them and this naturally falls into the goals that businesses have for Google Ads. You cannot expect people to become leads if they feel duped by clicking on your ad. You can claim that you can help them with their problem right away, they only need to click on the link, but the chances that they would be unsatisfied with your service or product is still there so why should you risk tarnishing your reputation just to exhaust your ads budget?

Here are some key points you need to keep in mind to optimize your search ad for the clickbait policy:

  • For YMYL sites, avoid imposing your business to your audience’s lifestyle in a threatening manner with copies like, “You need this today or your business is going to fail.” This just sets you up for more trouble of violating the misrepresentation policy because the ‘Clickbait Ads’ policy also flags “ads that use negative life events such as death, accidents, illness, arrests or bankruptcy to induce fear, guilt or other strong negative emotions to pressure the viewer to take immediate action” Stop being edgy, just write a comprehensive copy that does not mislead your potential client.
  • This may sound extreme but I have seen some advertisers who write copies or launch display campaigns with “ads which use depictions of severe stress, pain, fear or shock to promote a product or service.” This is way before Google’s crackdown on these types of content but back then, it is an extreme way of pressuring someone to buy from a business – by inducing a negative personal connotation. Ease up on the aggressive approach, just be honest and highlight the strengths of your business in your advertisements.
  • “You won’t believe what happened next…” has been a part of the internet ecosphere for as long as I can remember. Think about the content that you are putting out there, does it properly represent your business or the growth that you are aiming for? Is the click more valuable than quality content or a conversion leading to a possible sale? You have to make the clicks matter.

Optimizing Search Ads for Conversion Growth

To end, I would like to say that clickbait will always be there but if you are smart enough as a marketer, you would not contribute to the misrepresentation that it can perceive itself to be. Always write with the reader in mind. Is it going to contribute to the value of their business, lifestyle, or interests? Is it geared towards professional growth? Surround yourself with these ideas and you will not dare write another clickbait Ad again.

Google Ads Release Clickbait Policy was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Takeaways from Google’s Webspam Report 2019

Last updated on

Earlier this month, Google released its annual Webspam Report in the Official Google Webmaster Blog for 2019 where they discuss their fight against webspam. Webspam refers to webpages that try to manipulate Google’s algorithm or use techniques that are deceptive to users.

As someone who is devoted to doing white-hat SEO, I personally look forward to this every year. This is not only a good way of getting in the know on what Google is doing to make their website a safer place for users but also it is a great way to avoid trouble for your website.

Image from Google Webmaster Blog

Google Webspam 2019 Highlights:

  • Google discovers 25 billion pages every day that is spammy and manipulative.
  • According to Google, 99% of web traffic from search results lead to spam-free experience.
  • Google was able to suppress link spam more. 90% of link spam techniques were caught by their systems.
  • Manipulative link building techniques such as paid links and link exchanges have been made less effective.
  • Hacked spam is still a challenge and Google is still finding more ways on how they can better alert website owners that their website has been hacked and help them recover from it.
  • Google is continuously improving its machine learning systems and combining it with its ‘manual enforcement capabilities’ to identify and prevent spam from getting to the search results.
  • There was an increasing amount of websites using auto-generated and scraped content but they were able to reduce the impact of these sites on users by 60% more from 2018.
  • Google received 230,000 manual reports of webspam from users and was able to resolve 83% of it.
  • Google sent out 90 million error messages to website owners via Google Search Console. 4.3 million of these messages are about manual actions.

My Thoughts on this year’s report

Google has gone a long way in improving its systems in detecting webspam. They are catching more and more websites and penalizing them but unfortunately, a lot of people are still doing it. Google has a lot on its plate. 25 billion spammy webpages every day is mind-blowing but it’s really great that they don’t get to the users anymore.

It is also obvious that Google has doubled down on link spam and user-generated spam and it’s safe to say that it is related to the new link attributes. For us SEOs, it gives us more reasons to use the rel=”sponsored” and rel=”ugc” tags to avoid getting penalized.

Website hacking is a persisting problem and it is definitely a huge one. It is good news that it is more stable the past year and Google is finding more ways to detect hacked sites and website owners. But I think it us up to the website owners to help solve this problem. Investing in your website’s security is crucial and you should not leave it to Google to protect your website.

How can you help as an SEO?

As SEOs, let us be more responsible and respond to Google’s call in helping them combat webspam. We have a better understanding of the world wide web and we can easily spot webspam. I believe that what Google is doing is for the better of the internet and I believe we play a huge role in the fight.

230,000 webspam reports in the previous year is lower than I expected. But it may also be a good sign since Google is doing a great job in preventing webspam from appearing on search results.

If you find pages in the search results that are spammy, deceptive, and manipulative, you can use the Report Webspam tool in Google Seach Console to report the webpage. There is also a Chrome Extension that you can download from the Chrome Web Store so you could easily report webspam. Make sure to use these tools responsibly and only when necessary. 

Takeaways from Google’s Webspam Report 2019 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

What You Need to Know about Guest Posts in 2020

Last updated on

What You Need to Know about Guest Posts in 2020_Cover Photo

Guest posts are often an essential part of any SEOs link building strategy. Aside from contributing and establishing a connection with other webmasters, it enables us to improve awareness of our brand (depending on the content we write) and naturally gain a link back to our website. Even though guest posting is one of the well-known, quality link building tactics, as the years went by Google started to lay down rules and guidelines regarding proper implementation of guest posts that still hold up to today. So, here’s what you need to know about guest posts this 2020 here!

Guest Post Guidelines

Guest blogging and posting started for a good purpose – webmasters contributing to another webmaster’s website, providing quality content that helps their visitors learn, read, and take more value. However, much like what happened with effective and well-known SEO tactics, it was abused and Google had to crack down on people that intend to play their system. So, here are some things that Google released through the years:

  • Links inside a paid guest post should be nofollow
  • Guest blogging networks are spammy and have high chances of resulting in a penalty
  • Links inside a naturally contributed guest post should be nofollow as well
  • Guest posts made solely for building links is not advised by Google
  • Websites accept guest posts are susceptible to manual action penalties for having unnatural or irrelevant links that could be counted as trying to artificially affect another site’s rankings

Here are some resources where Google representatives talk about Guest Posting or blogging:

Feb 24 2017 John Mueller tweet

  • John Mueller’s post regarding the problem with using guest posts for links.

Jun 11 2020 John Mueller tweet

  • John Mueller reiterating that links within guest posts should be nofollowed

June 13 2020 John Mueller tweet

Take It With a Grain of Salt

I know that the guidelines sound like we shouldn’t do any guest posts at all. However, I can tell you that we still use guest posting as a core strategy in our link building team and we never experienced a penalty. 

If we review Matt Cutts’ video, even though it was uploaded in 2012, it still holds today with regards to guest posting being all about contributing high-quality articles on other websites. The link was originally intended as just a plus, but it was abused. So, we make use of what we can deliver. Our team can curate expertly written and high-quality articles that enable us to use guest posting as a strategy since we comb through numerous sources, research the subject intensively, and ensure that sources are cited and the facts are correct. 

With that said, I recommend taking what Google, or their representatives, have mentioned with a grain of salt. It’s nice to listen to them, but it’s also great for webmasters and SEOs to check what works and what doesn’t. If we base it on all their statements, then we shouldn’t be using guest posts as a dependable tactic. But we used our understanding of Google’s guidelines, what’s allowed and what isn’t, and made sure that whatever we post on the internet can and will bring value to the users, and we’re using guest posting – which shouldn’t be a primary tactic for link building, as per Google – as one of our effective tactics.

Here’s the thing: Google will always lay out guidelines and rules that we need to adhere to. And I suggest we listen. But we should listen attentively but never stop ourselves from finding out things on our own. Take things with a grain of salt and always try to experiment. With experimentation comes valuable strategies and tactics that can, hopefully, bring you to the top of the SERPs. Listening to what Google says adds value to your knowledge and wisdom which you will use to come up with better and more effective strategies. What do you think? Do guest posts still work for you? Comment it down below!

What You Need to Know about Guest Posts in 2020 was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

A Well-Formed Query Helps Search Engines Understand User Intent in the Query

A Well-Formed Query Helps a Search Engine understand User Intent Behind the Query

To start this post, I wanted to include a couple of whitepapers that include authors from Google. The authors of the first paper are the inventors of a patent application that was just published on April 28, 2020, and it is very good seeing a white paper from the inventors of a recent patent published by Google. Both papers are worth reading to get a sense of how Google is trying to rewrite queries into “Well-Formed Natural Language Questions.

August 28, 2018 – Identifying Well-formed Natural Language Questions

The abstract for that paper:

Understanding search queries is a hard problem as it involves dealing with “word salad” text ubiquitously issued by users. However, if a query resembles a well-formed question, a natural language processing pipeline is able to perform more accurate interpretation, thus reducing downstream compounding errors. Hence, identifying whether or not a query is well-formed can enhance query understanding. Here, we introduce a new task of identifying a well-formed natural language question. We construct and release a dataset of 25,100 publicly available questions classified into well-formed and non-wellformed categories and report an accuracy of 70.7% on the test set. We also show that our classifier can be used to improve the performance of neural sequence-to-sequence models for generating questions for reading comprehension.

The paper provides examples of well-formed queries and ill-formed queries:

Examples of Well forned and non wll formed queries

November 21, 2019 – How to Ask Better Questions? A Large-Scale Multi-Domain Dataset for Rewriting Ill-Formed Questions

The abstract for that paper:

We present a large-scale dataset for the task of rewriting an ill-formed natural language question to a well-formed one. Our multi-domain question rewriting (MQR) dataset is constructed from human contributed Stack Exchange question edit histories. The dataset contains 427,719 question pairs which come from 303 domains. We provide human annotations for a subset of the dataset as a quality estimate. When moving from ill-formed to well-formed questions, the question quality improves by an average of 45 points across three aspects. We train sequence-to-sequence neural models on the constructed dataset and obtain an improvement of 13.2%in BLEU-4 over baseline methods built from other data resources. We release the MQR dataset to encourage research on the problem of question rewriting.

examples of ill-formed and well-formed questions

The patent application I am writing about was filed on January 18, 2019, which puts it around halfway between those two whitepapers, and both of them are recommended to get a good sense of the topic if you are interested in featured snippets, people also ask questions, and queries that Google tries to respond to. The Second Whitepaper refers to the first one, and tells us how it is trying to improve upon it:

Faruqui and Das (2018) introduced the task of identifying well-formed natural language questions. In this paper,we take a step further to investigate methods to rewrite ill-formed questions into well-formed ones without changing their semantics. We create a multi-domain question rewriting dataset (MQR) from human contributed StackExchange question edit histories.

Rewriting Ill-Formed Search Queries into Well-Formed Queries

Interestingly, the patent is also about rewriting search Queries.

It starts by telling us that “Rules-based rewrites of search queries have been utilized in query processing components of search systems.”

Sometimes this happens by removing certain stop-words from queries, such as “the”, “a”, etc.

After Rewriting a Query

Once a query is rewritten, it many be “submitted to the search system and search results returned that are responsive to the rewritten query.”

The patent also tells us about “people also search for X” queries (first patent I have seen them mentioned in.)

We are told that these similar queries are used to recommend additional queries that are related to a submitted query (e.g., “people also search for X”).

These “similar queries to a given query are often determined by navigational clustering.”

As an example, we are told that for the query “funny cat pictures”, a similar query of “funny cat pictures with captions” may be determined because that similar query is frequently submitted by searchers following submission of the query “funny cat pictures”.

Determining if a Query is a Well Formed Query

The patent tells us about a process that can be used to determine if a natural language search query is well-formed, and if it is not, to use a trained canonicalization model to create a well-formed variant of that natural language search query.

First, we are given a definition of “Well-formedness” We are told that it is “an indication of how well a word, a phrase, and/or another additional linguistic element (s) conform to the grammar rules of a particular language.”

These are three steps to tell whether something is a well-formed query. It is:

  • Grammatically correct
  • Does not contain spelling errors
  • Asks an explicit question

The first paper from the authors of this patent tells us the following about queries:

The lack of regularity in the structure of queries makes it difficult to train models that can optimally process the query to extract information that can help understand the user intent behind the query.

That translates to the most important takeaway for this post:

A Well-Formed Query is structured in a way that allows a search engine to understand the user intent behind the query

The patent gives us an example:

“What are directions to Hypothetical Café?” is an example of a well-formed version of the natural language query “Hypothetical Café directions”.

How the Classification Model Works

It also tells us that the purpose behind the process in the patent is to determine whether a query is well-formed using a trained classification model and/or a well-formed variant of a query and if that well-formed version can be generated using a trained canonicalization model.

It can create that model by using features of the search query as input to the classification model and deciding whether the search query is well-formed.

Those features of the search query can include, for example:

  • Character(s)
  • Word(s)
  • Part(s) of speech
  • Entities included in the search query
  • And/or other linguistic representation(s) of the search query (such as word n-grams, character bag of words, etc.)

And the patent tells us more about the nature of the classification model:

The classification model is a machine learning model, such as a neural network model that contains one or more layers such as one or more feed-forward layers, softmax layer(s), and/or additional neural network layers. For example, the classification model can include several feed-forward layers utilized to generate feed-forward output. The resulting feed-forward output can be applied to softmax layer(s) to generate a measure (e.g., a probability) that indicates whether the search query is well-formed.

A Canonicalization Model May Be Used

If the Classification model determines that the search query is not a well-formed query, the query is turned over to a trained canonicalization model to generate a well-formed version of the search query.

The search query may have some of its features extracted from the search query, and/or additional input processed using the canonicalization model to generate a well-formed version that correlates with the search query.

The canonicalization model may be a neural network model. The patent provides more details on the nature of the neural network used.

The neural network can indicate a well-formed query version of the original query.

We are also told that in addition to identifying a well-formed query, it may also determine “one or more related queries for a given search query.”

A related query can be determined based on the related query being frequently submitted by users following the submission of the given search query.

The query canonicalization system can also determine if the related query is a well-formed query. If it isn’t, then it can determine a well-formed variant of the related query.

For example, in response to the submission of the given search query, a selectable version of the well-formed variant can be presented along with search results for the given query and, if selected, the well-formed variant (or the related query itself in some implementations) can be submitted as a search query and results for the well-formed variant (or the related query) then presented.

Again, the idea of “intent” surfaces in the patent regarding related queries (people also search for queries)

The value of showing a well-formed variant of a related query, instead of the related query itself, is to let a searcher more easily and/or more quickly understand the intent of the related query.

The patent tells us that this has a lot of value by stating:

Such efficient understanding enables the user to quickly submit the well-formed variant to quickly discover additional information (i.e., result(s) for the related query or well-formed variant) in performing a task and/or enables the user to only submit such query when the intent indicates likely relevant additional information in performing the task.

We are given an example of a related well-formed query in the patent:

As one example, the system can determine the phrase “hypothetical router configuration” is related to the query “reset hypothetical router” based on historical data indicating the two queries are submitted proximate (in time and/or order) to one another by a large number of users of a search system.

In some such implementations, the query canonicalization system can determine the related query “reset hypothetical router” is not a well-formed query, and can determine a well-formed variant of the related query, such as: “how to reset hypothetical router”.

The well-formed variant “how to reset hypothetical router” can then be associated, in a database, as a related query for “hypothetical router configuration”—and can optionally supplant any related query association between “reset hypothetical router” and “hypothetical router configuration”.

The patent tells us that sometimes a well-formed related query might be presented as a link to search results.

Again, one of the features of a well-formed query is that it is grammatical, is an explicit question, and contains no spelling errors.

The patent application can be found at:

Canonicalizing Search Queries to Natural language Questions
Inventors Manaal Faruqui and Dipanjan Das
Applicants Google LLC
Publication Number 20200167379
Filed: January 18, 2019
Publication Date May 28, 2020

Abstract

Techniques are described herein for training and/or utilizing a query canonicalization system. In various implementations, a query canonicalization system can include a classification model and a canonicalization model. A classification model can be used to determine if a search query is well-formed. Additionally or alternatively, a canonicalization model can be used to determine a well-formed variant of a search query in response to determining a search query is not well-formed. In various implementations, a canonicalization model portion of a query canonicalization system can be a sequence to sequence model.

Well-Formed Query Takeaways

I have summarized the summary of the patent, and if you want to learn more details, click through and read the detailed description. The two white papers I started the post off with describing databases of well-formed questions that people as Google (including the inventors of this patent) have built and show the effort that Google has put into the idea of rewriting queries so that they are well-formed queries, where the intent behind them can be better understood by the search engine.

A well-formed query is grammatically correct, contains no spelling mistakes, and asks an explicit question. It also makes it clear to the search engine what the intent behind the query may be.


Copyright © 2020 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

A Well-Formed Query Helps Search Engines Understand User Intent in the Query was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

5 Tips on Optimizing Search Ads for Business

Last updated on

Tips on Optimizing Search Ads for Business

The thing with search engine marketing is that it is a high-risk but high-reward process by itself. If you ask me, organic is still the way to go in terms of marketing since it is perpetual. The foundation of search ads is also built on keyword research and it is vital that you choose money-making keywords for your investment to bear fruit. But what are you going to do if the keywords that you really want are low in volume? Or are you confused why your ads are not showing on the search results page? It’s probably because you haven’t optimized enough.

It’s important that you act and bid smart so you can get your ads in front of the search results where your clients can see it instantly. Here are some of the tips that you can keep in mind in order to win at Google Ads:

Make use of the custom intent audiences

custom intent audiences

Google Ads has updated and upgraded the Audience Keywords to what they call Custom Intent Audiences. This can help you see your reach using your Display or Video campaigns so you can optimize your ads accordingly. It can prove to be beneficial especially if you’re in the dark about your market reach. Using this feature of Google Ads, you can see custom audiences based on their demographics and relevance to your target.

custom audiences

Build a keyword list to target, this way you will see how your ad performs in terms of user query. You can see data based on “what people are actively researching or planning”. This way, you can segment your ads per intent so you can experiment around ads targeting those in custom markets or those that will be useful for them based on the demographic data that your ad has returned.

Optimize your budget

There will be instances when you are puzzled why your ads are not displaying on Google. If you’re still scratching your head, why not look at your current ads and see if they are stealing bids from each other. Having too many ads from your campaign without the proper budget for it can cause an imbalance, especially if some of the keywords you are using are high volume keywords. If you are using low volume but specific keywords, in order to make your them shine, focus your bids on this ad group. If you want this to be highlighted for your Google Ads, you might as well train the focus to this group of these low volume keywords.

Don’t be afraid to pause ads especially if it’s not serving you much purpose in terms of clicks and conversions. Also, it would help if you get the feel of your market to see which one of your products or services can be most beneficial especially during this time of the pandemic.

Adjust ad schedule

Partnering with Google for ads can be tricky since your bid or your copy cannot be the means to an end. There are a lot of factors in order to receive the clicks and impressions that you are gunning for. Check and see if your ad schedule is up to par for the audience that you are targeting. There are certain days and time slots when you have to give your ads a rest. Optimizing your ad schedule will also ensure that you only get quality leads because you are aligning your schedule with their buying habits.

Take advantage of search terms

search terms

Search terms can help you get to the pulse of users quickly so aside from building your keyword list, you should also take a look at the search terms that are relevant to your ads. This is a nifty tool in the Google Ads dashboard that can help you make the most out of your search ads. You can find this on the leftmost part of your Ad Group dashboard and here you can see relevant terms that you may use to help you improve your ads.

This is a simple tip and one that has been done before but it can help you go a long way with your ads.

Research on long-tail and semantic keywords

Make use of long-tail and semantic keywords for your ads if your current keyword list is not converting. Semantic keywords can help improve the reach of your keywords, especially if your specific keyword list is composed of low volume keywords. Long-tail has proven to cater to high conversion goals so this is also an area that you should look into. Take advantage of search queries that are relevant to your goal and always make sure that you have created a list for the negative keywords.

Key Takeaway

Being visible online can go a long way for your business. Setting up ads and waiting for it to achieve results will only waste your time. Make smart and informed choices when setting up your ads and you will be rewarded with high quality leads. Search Engine Marketing is a great tool for businesses especially those who would want to be further empowered to reach their goals. What are the other things that you keep in mind when running Ads on Google? Comment down below!

5 Tips on Optimizing Search Ads for Business was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

A Well-Formed Query Helps Search Engines Understand User Intent in the Query

A Well-Formed Query Helps a Search Engine understand User Intent Behind the Query

To start this post, I wanted to include a couple of whitepapers that include authors from Google. The authors of the first paper are the inventors of a patent application that was just published on April 28, 2020, and it is very good seeing a white paper from the inventors of a recent patent published by Google. Both papers are worth reading to get a sense of how Google is trying to rewrite queries into “Well-Formed Natural Language Questions.

August 28, 2018 – Identifying Well-formed Natural Language Questions

The abstract for that paper:

Understanding search queries is a hard problem as it involves dealing with “word salad” text ubiquitously issued by users. However, if a query resembles a well-formed question, a natural language processing pipeline is able to perform more accurate interpretation, thus reducing downstream compounding errors. Hence, identifying whether or not a query is well-formed can enhance query understanding. Here, we introduce a new task of identifying a well-formed natural language question. We construct and release a dataset of 25,100 publicly available questions classified into well-formed and non-wellformed categories and report an accuracy of 70.7% on the test set. We also show that our classifier can be used to improve the performance of neural sequence-to-sequence models for generating questions for reading comprehension.

The paper provides examples of well-formed queries and ill-formed queries:

Examples of Well forned and non wll formed queries

November 21, 2019 – How to Ask Better Questions? A Large-Scale Multi-Domain Dataset for Rewriting Ill-Formed Questions

The abstract for that paper:

We present a large-scale dataset for the task of rewriting an ill-formed natural language question to a well-formed one. Our multi-domain question rewriting (MQR) dataset is constructed from human contributed Stack Exchange question edit histories. The dataset contains 427,719 question pairs which come from 303 domains. We provide human annotations for a subset of the dataset as a quality estimate. When moving from ill-formed to well-formed questions, the question quality improves by an average of 45 points across three aspects. We train sequence-to-sequence neural models on the constructed dataset and obtain an improvement of 13.2%in BLEU-4 over baseline methods built from other data resources. We release the MQR dataset to encourage research on the problem of question rewriting.

examples of ill-formed and well-formed questions

The patent application I am writing about was filed on January 18, 2019, which puts it around halfway between those two whitepapers, and both of them are recommended to get a good sense of the topic if you are interested in featured snippets, people also ask questions, and queries that Google tries to respond to. The Second Whitepaper refers to the first one, and tells us how it is trying to improve upon it:

Faruqui and Das (2018) introduced the task of identifying well-formed natural language questions. In this paper,we take a step further to investigate methods to rewrite ill-formed questions into well-formed ones without changing their semantics. We create a multi-domain question rewriting dataset (MQR) from human contributed StackExchange question edit histories.

Rewriting Ill-Formed Search Queries into Well-Formed Queries

Interestingly, the patent is also about rewriting search Queries.

It starts by telling us that “Rules-based rewrites of search queries have been utilized in query processing components of search systems.”

Sometimes this happens by removing certain stop-words from queries, such as “the”, “a”, etc.

After Rewriting a Query

Once a query is rewritten, it many be “submitted to the search system and search results returned that are responsive to the rewritten query.”

The patent also tells us about “people also search for X” queries (first patent I have seen them mentioned in.)

We are told that these similar queries are used to recommend additional queries that are related to a submitted query (e.g., “people also search for X”).

These “similar queries to a given query are often determined by navigational clustering.”

As an example, we are told that for the query “funny cat pictures”, a similar query of “funny cat pictures with captions” may be determined because that similar query is frequently submitted by searchers following submission of the query “funny cat pictures”.

Determining if a Query is a Well Formed Query

The patent tells us about a process that can be used to determine if a natural language search query is well-formed, and if it is not, to use a trained canonicalization model to create a well-formed variant of that natural language search query.

First, we are given a definition of “Well-formedness” We are told that it is “an indication of how well a word, a phrase, and/or another additional linguistic element (s) conform to the grammar rules of a particular language.”

These are three steps to tell whether something is a well-formed query. It is:

  • Grammatically correct
  • Does not contain spelling errors
  • Asks an explicit question

The first paper from the authors of this patent tells us the following about queries:

The lack of regularity in the structure of queries makes it difficult to train models that can optimally process the query to extract information that can help understand the user intent behind the query.

That translates to the most important takeaway for this post:

A Well-Formed Query is structured in a way that allows a search engine to understand the user intent behind the query

The patent gives us an example:

“What are directions to Hypothetical Café?” is an example of a well-formed version of the natural language query “Hypothetical Café directions”.

How the Classification Model Works

It also tells us that the purpose behind the process in the patent is to determine whether a query is well-formed using a trained classification model and/or a well-formed variant of a query and if that well-formed version can be generated using a trained canonicalization model.

It can create that model by using features of the search query as input to the classification model and deciding whether the search query is well-formed.

Those features of the search query can include, for example:

  • Character(s)
  • Word(s)
  • Part(s) of speech
  • Entities included in the search query
  • And/or other linguistic representation(s) of the search query (such as word n-grams, character bag of words, etc.)

And the patent tells us more about the nature of the classification model:

The classification model is a machine learning model, such as a neural network model that contains one or more layers such as one or more feed-forward layers, softmax layer(s), and/or additional neural network layers. For example, the classification model can include several feed-forward layers utilized to generate feed-forward output. The resulting feed-forward output can be applied to softmax layer(s) to generate a measure (e.g., a probability) that indicates whether the search query is well-formed.

A Canonicalization Model May Be Used

If the Classification model determines that the search query is not a well-formed query, the query is turned over to a trained canonicalization model to generate a well-formed version of the search query.

The search query may have some of its features extracted from the search query, and/or additional input processed using the canonicalization model to generate a well-formed version that correlates with the search query.

The canonicalization model may be a neural network model. The patent provides more details on the nature of the neural network used.

The neural network can indicate a well-formed query version of the original query.

We are also told that in addition to identifying a well-formed query, it may also determine “one or more related queries for a given search query.”

A related query can be determined based on the related query being frequently submitted by users following the submission of the given search query.

The query canonicalization system can also determine if the related query is a well-formed query. If it isn’t, then it can determine a well-formed variant of the related query.

For example, in response to the submission of the given search query, a selectable version of the well-formed variant can be presented along with search results for the given query and, if selected, the well-formed variant (or the related query itself in some implementations) can be submitted as a search query and results for the well-formed variant (or the related query) then presented.

Again, the idea of “intent” surfaces in the patent regarding related queries (people also search for queries)

The value of showing a well-formed variant of a related query, instead of the related query itself, is to let a searcher more easily and/or more quickly understand the intent of the related query.

The patent tells us that this has a lot of value by stating:

Such efficient understanding enables the user to quickly submit the well-formed variant to quickly discover additional information (i.e., result(s) for the related query or well-formed variant) in performing a task and/or enables the user to only submit such query when the intent indicates likely relevant additional information in performing the task.

We are given an example of a related well-formed query in the patent:

As one example, the system can determine the phrase “hypothetical router configuration” is related to the query “reset hypothetical router” based on historical data indicating the two queries are submitted proximate (in time and/or order) to one another by a large number of users of a search system.

In some such implementations, the query canonicalization system can determine the related query “reset hypothetical router” is not a well-formed query, and can determine a well-formed variant of the related query, such as: “how to reset hypothetical router”.

The well-formed variant “how to reset hypothetical router” can then be associated, in a database, as a related query for “hypothetical router configuration”—and can optionally supplant any related query association between “reset hypothetical router” and “hypothetical router configuration”.

The patent tells us that sometimes a well-formed related query might be presented as a link to search results.

Again, one of the features of a well-formed query is that it is grammatical, is an explicit question, and contains no spelling errors.

The patent application can be found at:

Canonicalizing Search Queries to Natural language Questions
Inventors Manaal Faruqui and Dipanjan Das
Applicants Google LLC
Publication Number 20200167379
Filed: January 18, 2019
Publication Date May 28, 2020

Abstract

Techniques are described herein for training and/or utilizing a query canonicalization system. In various implementations, a query canonicalization system can include a classification model and a canonicalization model. A classification model can be used to determine if a search query is well-formed. Additionally or alternatively, a canonicalization model can be used to determine a well-formed variant of a search query in response to determining a search query is not well-formed. In various implementations, a canonicalization model portion of a query canonicalization system can be a sequence to sequence model.

Well-Formed Query Takeaways

I have summarized the summary of the patent, and if you want to learn more details, click through and read the detailed description. The two white papers I started the post off with describing databases of well-formed questions that people as Google (including the inventors of this patent) have built and show the effort that Google has put into the idea of rewriting queries so that they are well-formed queries, where the intent behind them can be better understood by the search engine.

A well-formed query is grammatically correct, contains no spelling mistakes, and asks an explicit question. It also makes it clear to the search engine what they intent behind the query may be.


Copyright © 2020 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

A Well-Formed Query Helps Search Engines Understand User Intent in the Query was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Buying Backlinks for SEO in 2020: Should You Still Do It?

Last updated on

Buying backlinks for SEO has been around ever since search engines used links as a ranking factor, especially Google’s PageRank algorithm. Google has always said that they are against buying and selling links for ranking purposes and they have done a better job in identifying links that are bought.

However, buying links is still a common practice.  This is because many say that they have experienced success using this strategy and it is one of the quickest ways to increase their website’s authority. But of course, it comes with risks.

Just to be clear, this post is not to promote buying of links or condone those who are using this strategy. This post is created to talk about the practice of buying links and the pros and cons of it to help people decide if they should do it or not. 

So what exactly is link buying?

Buying links (or paid links) is the process of paying another website to insert a link to your website in one of their pages. Usually, the goal is to buy as many links as they can to further boost their rankings in the Google search results.

Buying links can come in different forms:

  • Paid directory listings
  • Paid guest posts
  • Paid link placements
  • Private Blog Networks

It is considered to be a form of black hat or gray hat SEO technique since it is against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. According to the guidelines, buying and selling of links are a form of Link Schemes as it intends to manipulate the PageRank algorithm. Buying links is also misleading for users.

Why Do People Buy Links?

There are two main reasons why people buy links for SEO; first is that it saves a lot of time and second, the results are fast. Conventional link building takes a lot of time and effort. There are a lot of different strategies but the most common ones are content-driven.

You need to build great content first on your website to make it trustworthy. Then, you either wait for other webmasters to take notice of your content so they link to you as a resource or you can reach out to other webmasters. This process can take months of effort and you might not even achieve the number of links you are aiming for.

However, for those who buy links, things are a lot easier. They allot a budget, contact websites, send their payment, and it’s done! The bigger budget they have, the more links they can buy. It also offers a lot of flexibility since webmasters allow people who buy links from them to decide what content to publish, where the links are placed, the anchor text, and so on.

At first, glance, buying links is an easy win but there are a lot of cons to it. It is expensive and it gets more expensive should you want to get links from higher quality websites.

But money isn’t the only dues that you pay. As mentioned, it is a black hat SEO technique, and techniques that are against Google’s guidelines don’t come without a price.

What Happens if Google Caught You?

Whether you are buying links to boost your SEO or you are a website that is selling links as a form of monetization for your website, there is a high risk of getting penalized by Google. This is the biggest downside of using this strategy. Once you get hit by a penalty, it’s almost impossible to recover.

If Google noticed that you are buying links, they will issue a ‘Manual Action’ that can be seen under the Manual Action tab in Google Search Console labeled as ‘Unnatural Links to Your Site’. Once you get slapped with this penalty, your only course of action is to use the disavow tool and disavow all the links that you bought making all the money that you spent go down the drain. The worse part is, disavowing your links doesn’t guarantee that your website is going to recover.

Is there a proper way of buying links?

When you read between the lines of Google’s definition of Link Schemes above, it specifically talks about links that aim to manipulate the PageRank algorithm. Meaning, it is talking about ‘dofollow links’. Dofollow links pass on PageRank that may help increase the rankings of a webpage. If you are buying links for this purpose, this is dangerous.

However, Google is not against monetizing websites. It’s just a matter of properly labeling sponsored and affiliate links. Last year, Google announced new link attributes and one of them is the rel=”sponsored’ tag. Google highly recommends that you use this tag for all paid links on your website to avoid being penalized. Prior to that, the nofollow tag was recommended to be used so paid links won’t pass on PageRank. Using one of these tags is fine.

Search Engine Round Table wrote a short article highlighting John Mueller’s advice on affiliate links in a Twitter thread:

It is also important to note that paid links are bad if they are misleading users. If you plan on sponsoring links on other websites, take note that it should be clear to users that this link is sponsored and paid for by your website. Affiliate links should follow the same.

I would still avoid some link buying techniques such as paid guest posts, directories, and private blog networks. If you plan on buying links, keep in mind that your goal should be to promote or advertise your website on another person’s website visitors not to get links and increase your rankings.

Key Takeaway

Buying links is a dangerous strategy and could get you in a lot of trouble if done wrong. While it is an easy way to get links and increase your rankings instantly, the risks are too high and in my opinion, it’s not worth it. Though if you still plan on buying links on other websites, make sure that they are properly labeled and it comes through the form of advertisements or promotions, not for ranking purposes.

Here at SEO Hacker, we do not use the practice of buying links and we only use white-hat SEO techniques for our clients. We create great content and use different outreach strategies for our link building. While different SEOs could argue all day which hat of SEO is better, I personally believe that white-hat is the best. SEO is a long game. Strategies that take time will win in the end against strategies that aim to climb the search results in a short span of time may have repercussions.

Buying Backlinks for SEO in 2020: Should You Still Do It? was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing