Tag Archive | "Down"

Twitter Gets Rid of 70 Million Fake Accounts in May and June, Cracks Down on Trolls

Twitter has been aggressively suspending false accounts in a bid to curtail the spread of fake news. The company’s massive crackdown on trolls and bots have resulted in one million dubious accounts being deleted or suspended per day.

According to the Washington Post, Twitter has been coming down hard on fake accounts, trolls, and bots since late last year. The purge of these accounts was reportedly brought about when testimonies from Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter revealed that millions more Americans were exposed to fake news than previously estimated.

Fake Accounts But Real Damage

Fake accounts with links to Russia are said to have tweeted false information in an attempt to affect the 2016 US presidential elections. This disinformation campaign involved a troll factory based in St. Petersberg that used state-of-the-art technology to fool voters and exacerbate the tension in the already worsening political and social environment.

Data compiled by the Post revealed that Twitter got rid of more than a million accounts per day in the past several months. The company reportedly suspended 70 million or more accounts in May and June. The purge apparently continued until July.

Twitter’s aggressive steps to shut down these malicious accounts could lead to a major backlash against the company as it could result in a decline in monthly users. But the company appears unfazed as it continues its campaign against the bots and trolls responsible for the propagation of false news.

Taking a Stand Against Fakes

Twitter has repeatedly garnered criticism for failing to control the spread of bots and trolls that were created with the sole purpose of spreading disinformation. But the social media platform’s new and harsher stand against fraudulent accounts shows a clear shift in the company’s ideology. Twitter had previously refrained from checking possible abuses with regards to tweets due to free speech.

The company’s Vice President for Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, revealed to the Washington Post that they are changing their stand on “balancing free expression versus the potential for free expression to chill someone else’s speech. Free expression doesn’t mean much if people don’t feel safe,” Harvey explained.

While a lot of Twitter users applaud the company’s move to delete fake accounts, President Donald Trump has taken to the platform to tweet about getting rid of the accounts of news organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post.

While the two companies’ accounts are legitimate, Trump has been blaming them for the spread of fake news or at least news that paints him in a negative light.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

The post Twitter Gets Rid of 70 Million Fake Accounts in May and June, Cracks Down on Trolls appeared first on WebProNews.


WebProNews

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Chatter, AdWords Shutting Old Down, AMP, Search Console, Bing, Assistant & More

There was even more chatter of Google algorithm and ranking changes this week…


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Google Shutting Down Old AdWords Interface On July 10th?

Some Google AdWords advertisers are getting notices that the old AdWords interface will be completely unreachable starting on July 10, 2018…


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

How to Break Down Your Big Idea and Make Your Next Move

You know when you get a Big Idea for a project that lights you up and derails your to-do list for the day? It could be a content series or a whole new business concept. You might even spend a few hours writing down why you’re qualified to do it and who it will help.
Read More…

The post How to Break Down Your Big Idea and Make Your Next Move appeared first on Copyblogger.


Copyblogger

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Left is Right & Up is Down

Probably the single best video to watch to understand the power of Google & Facebook (or even most of the major problems across society) is this following video about pleasure versus happiness.

In constantly seeking pleasure we forego happiness.

The “feed” based central aggregation networks are just like slot machines in your pocket: variable reward circuitry which self-optimizes around exploiting your flaws to eat as much attention as possible.

The above is not an accident. It is, rather, as intended:

“That means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever … It’s a social validation feedback loop … You’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology … [The inventors] understood this, consciously, and we did it anyway.”

  • Happy? Good! Share posed photos to make your friends feel their lives are worse than your life is.
  • Outraged? Good! Click an ad.
  • Hopeless? Good. There is a product which can deliver you pleasure…if only you can…click an ad.

Using machine learning to drive rankings is ultimately an exercise in confirmation bias:

For “Should abortion be legal?” Google cited a South African news site saying, “It is not the place of government to legislate against woman’s choices.”

When asked, “Should abortion be illegal?” it promoted an answer from obscure clickbait site listland.com stating, “Abortion is murder.”

Excellent work Google in using your featured snippets to help make the world more absolutist, polarized & toxic.

The central network operators not only attempt to manipulate people at the emotional level, but the layout of the interface also sets default user patterns.

Most users tend to focus their attention on the left side of the page: “if we were to slice a maximized page down the middle, 80% of the fixations fell on the left half of the screen (even more than our previous finding of 69%). The remaining 20% of fixations were on the right half of the screen.”

This behavior is even more prevalent on search results pages: “On SERPs, almost all fixations (94%) fell on the left side of the page, and 60% those fixations can be isolated to the leftmost 400px.”

On mobile, obviously, the attention is focused on what is above the fold. That which is below the fold sort of doesn’t even exist for a large subset of the population.

Outside of a few central monopoly attention merchant players, the ad-based web is dying.

Mashable has raised about $ 46 million in VC funding over the past 4 years. And they just sold for about $ 50 million.

Breaking even is about as good as it gets in a web controlled by the Google / Facebook duopoly. :D

Other hopeful unicorn media startups appear to have peaked as well. That BuzzFeed IPO is on hold: “Some BuzzFeed investors have become worried about the company’s performance and rising costs for expansions in areas like news and entertainment. Those frustrations were aired at a board meeting in recent weeks, in which directors took management to task, the people familiar with the situation said.”

Google’s Chrome web browser will soon have an ad blocker baked into it. Of course the central networks opt out of applying this feature to themselves. Facebook makes serious coin by blocking ad blockers. Google pays Adblock Plus to unblock ads on Google.com & boy are there a lot of ads there.

Format your pages like Google does their search results and they will tell you it is a piss poor user experience & a form of spam – whacking you with a penalty for it.

Of course Google isn’t the only search engine doing this. Mix in ads with a double listing and sometimes there will only be 1 website listed above the fold.

I’ve even seen some Bing search results where organic results have a “Web” label on them – which is conveniently larger than the ad label that is on ads. That is in addition to other tricks like…

lots of ad extensions that push organics below the fold on anything with the slightest commercial intent
bolding throughout ads (title, description, URL) with much lighter bolding of organics
only showing 6 organic results on commercial searches that are likely to generate ad clicks

As bad as either of the above looks in terms of ad load or result diversity on the desktop, it is only worse on mobile.

On mobile devices organic search results can be so hard to find that people ask questions like “Are there any search engines where you don’t have to literally scroll to see a result that isn’t an advertisement?

The answer is yes.

DuckDuckGo.

But other than that, it is slim pickings.

In an online ecosystem where virtually every innovation is copied or deemed spam, sustainable publishing only works if your business model is different than the central network operators.

Not only is there the aggressive horizontal ad layer for anything with a hint of commercial intent, but now the scrape layer which was first applied to travel is being spread across other categories like ecommerce.

The more of your content Google can scrape-n-displace in the search results the less reason there is to visit your website & the more ad-heavy Google can make their interface because they shagged the content from your site.

Simply look at the market caps of the big tech monopolies vs companies in adjacent markets. The aggregate trend is expressed in the stock price. And it is further expressed in the inability for the unicorn media companies to go public.

As big as Snapchat & Twitter are, nobody who invested in either IPO is sitting on a winner today.

Google is outraged anyone might question the numbers & if the current set up is reasonable:

Mr Harris described as “factually incorrect” suggestions that Google was “stealing” ad revenue from publishers, saying that two thirds of the revenues generated by online content went to its originators.

“I’ve heard lots of people say that Google and Facebook are “ruthlessly stealing” all the advertising revenue that publishers hoped to acquire through online editions,” he told the gathering.

“There is no advertising on Google News. Zero. Indeed you will rarely see advertising around news cycles in Google Search either.

Sure it is not the ad revenues they are stealing.

Rather it is the content.

Either by scraping, or by ranking proprietary formats (AMP) above other higher quality content which is not published using the proprietary format & then later attaching crappier & crappier deals to the (faux) “open source” proprietary content format.

As Google grabs the content & cuts the content creator off from the audience while attaching conditions, Google’s PR hacks will tell you they want you to click through to the source:

Google spokeswoman Susan Cadrecha said the company’s goal isn’t to do the thinking for users but “to help you find relevant information quickly and easily.” She added, “We encourage users to understand the full context by clicking through to the source.”

except they are the ones adding extra duplicative layers which make it harder to do.

Google keeps extracting content from publishers & eating the value chain. Some publishers have tried to offset this by putting more ads on their own site while also getting further distribution by adopting the proprietary AMP format. Those who realized AMP was garbage in terms of monetization viewed it as a way to offer teasers to drive users to their websites.

The partial story approach is getting killed though. Either you give Google everything, or they want nothing.

That is, after all, how monopolies negotiate – ultimatums.

Those who don’t give Google their full content will soon receive manual action penalty notifications

The value of news content is not zero.

Being the go-to resource for those sorts of “no money here” news topics also enables Google to be the go-to resource for searches for [auto insurance quote] and other highly commercial search terms where Google might make $ 50 or $ 100 per click.

Every month Google announces new ad features.

Economics drive everything in publishing. But you have to see how one market position enables another. Google & Facebook are not strong in China, so Toutiao – the top news app in China – is valued at about $ 20 billion.

Now that Yahoo! has been acquired by Verizon, they’ve decided to shut down their news app. Unprofitable segments are worth more as a write off than as an ongoing concern. Look for Verizon to further take AIM at shutting down additional parts of AOL & Yahoo.

Firefox recently updated to make its underlying rendering engine faster & more stable. As part of the upgrade they killed off many third party extensions, including ours. We plan to update them soon (a few days perhaps), but those who need the extensions working today may want to install something like (Comodo Dragon (or another browser based on the prior Firefox core) & install our extensions in that web browser.

As another part of the most recent Firefox update, Firefox dumped Yahoo! Search for Google search as their default search engine in a new multiyear deal where financial terms were not disclosed.

Yahoo! certainly deserved to lose that deal.

First, they signed a contract with Mozilla containing a change-of-ownership poison pill where Mozilla would still make $ 375 million a year from them even if they dump Yahoo!. Given what Yahoo! sold for this amounts to about 10% of the company price for the next couple years.

Second, Yahoo! overpaid for the Firefox distribution deal to where they had to make their user experience even more awful to try to get the numbers to back out.

Here is a navigational search result on Yahoo! where the requested site only appears in the right rail knowledge graph.

The “organic” result set has been removed. There’s a Yahoo! News insert, a Yahoo Local insert, an ad inviting you to download Firefox (bet that has since been removed!), other search suggestions, and then graphical ads to try to get you to find office furniture or other irrelevant stuff.

Here is how awful those sorts of search results are: Yahoo! was so embarrassed at the lack of quality of their result set that they put their logo at the upper right edge of the page.

So now they’ll be losing a million a day for a few years based on Marissa Mayer’s fantastic Firefox deal.

And search is just another vertical they made irrelevant.

When they outsourced many verticals & then finally shut down most of the remaining ones, they only left a few key ones:

On our recent earnings call, Yahoo outlined out a plan to simplify our business and focus our effort on our four most successful content areas  – News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle. To that end, today we will begin phasing out the following Digital Magazines:  Yahoo Food, Yahoo Health, Yahoo Parenting, Yahoo Makers, Yahoo Travel, Yahoo Autos and Yahoo Real Estate.

And for the key verticals they kept, they have pages like the following, which look like a diet version of eHow

Every day they send users away to other sites with deeper content. And eventually people find one they like (like TheAthletic or Dunc’d On) & then Yahoo! stops being a habit.

Meanwhile many people get their broader general news from Facebook, Google shifted their search app to include news, Apple offers a great news app, the default new tab on Microsoft Edge browser lists a localize news feed. Any of those is a superior user experience to Yahoo!.

It is hard to see what Yahoo!’s role is going forward.

Other than the user email accounts (& whatever legal liabilities are associated with the chronic user account hacking incidents), it is hard to see what Verizon bought in Yahoo!.

Categories: 

SEO Book

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Get Ready to See Even More Ads on Facebook as Company Revenue Slows Down for 2017

Facebook is running out of places to put ads. As a result, the world’s leading social networking service is expecting a slowdown in revenue for 2017. Despite having over 2 billion active users last month, the social media platform is reportedly planning to experiment with new ad spaces to increase its bottom line.

Facebook has already been placing ads in a number of areas, including its News Feed, Instagram, and even its videos. Earlier this year, the website started offering advertisers a way to run ads via video content. Users can now expect videos uploaded on Facebook to be interrupted by ads similar to YouTube’s advertising methods.

Unlike YouTube, video ads on Facebook run in the middle of a piece of content instead of at the start. Apparently, users are less likely to stop watching the video if an ad plays in the middle. While if the traditional way of advertising on video is applied, users can easily close the video if presented with an ad on the onset.

Over the past five years, News Feed has been Facebook’s primary revenue source, allowing all types of businesses across the globe to purchase ad space. But now it seems that the areas to place ads on News Feed without sacrificing user experience have been maxed out according to reports.

The social media giant is attempting to counter this problem by focusing on ways to sell advertising space on Instagram Stories, Messenger, and even Marketplace — its Craigslist-style platform that allows people to buy and sell used goods.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it would start selling advertising space on Messenger after testing the service in Australia and Thailand. The company is planning to start off with a small percentage of affected users.

Meanwhile, marketing firms are preparing to capitalize on the new ad space on Facebook Messenger. Interested companies will be able to purchase ads from Facebook’s ad manager to target any demographic in the website’s massive user base.

The post Get Ready to See Even More Ads on Facebook as Company Revenue Slows Down for 2017 appeared first on WebProNews.


WebProNews

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Do SMB websites matter anymore? YP doubles down on ‘yes’ with new ‘pro’ SEO product

Company says program resulted in a page one ranking on Google for 70 percent of keywords within a few months.

The post Do SMB websites matter anymore? YP doubles down on ‘yes’ with new ‘pro’ SEO product appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

DMOZ Shut Down

Last August I wrote a blog post about how attention merchants were sucking the value out of online publishing. In it I noted how the Yahoo! Directory disappeared & how even DMOZ saw a sharp drop in traffic & rankings over the past few years.

The concept of a neutral web is dead. In its place is agenda-driven media.

  • Politically charged misinformed snippets.
  • Ads cloaked as content.
  • Public relations propaganda.
  • Mostly correct (but politically insensitive) articles being “fact checked” where a minor detail is disputed to label the entire piece as not credible.

As the tech oligarchs broadly defund publishing, the publishers still need to eat. Aggregate information quality declines to make the numbers work. Companies which see their ad revenues slide 20%, 30% or 40% year after year can’t justify maintaining the labor-intensive yet unmonetized side projects.

There is Wikipedia, but it is not without bias & beyond the value expressed in the hidden bias most of the remaining value from it flows on through to the attention merchant / audience aggregation / content scraper platforms.

Last month DMOZ announced they were closing on March 14th without much fanfare. And on March 17th the directory went offline.

A number of people have pushed to preserve & archive the DMOZ data. Some existing DMOZ editors are planning on launching a new directory under a different name but as of the 17th DMOZ editors put up a copy at dmoztools.net. Jim Boykin scraped DMOZ & uploaded a copy here. A couple other versions of DMOZ have been published at OpenDirectoryProject.org & Freemoz.org.

DMOZ was not without criticism or controversy,

Although site policies suggest that an individual site should be submitted to only one category, as of October 2007, Topix.com, a news aggregation site operated by DMOZ founder Rich Skrenta, has more than 17,000 listings.

Early in the history of DMOZ, its staff gave representatives of selected companies, such as Rolling Stone or CNN, editing access in order to list individual pages from their websites. Links to individual CNN articles were added until 2004, but were entirely removed from the directory in January 2008 due to the content being outdated and not considered worth the effort to maintain.

but by-and-large it added value to the structure of the web.

As search has advanced (algorithmic evolution, economic power, influence over publishers, enhanced bundling of distribution & user tracking) general web directories haven’t been able to keep pace. Ultimately the web is a web of links & pages rather than a web of sites. Many great sites span multiple categories. Every large quality site has some misinformation on it. Every well-known interactive site has some great user contributions & user generated spam on it. Search engines have better signals about what pages are important & which pages have maintained importance over time. As search engines have improved link filtering algorithms & better incorporated user tracking in rankings, broad-based manual web directories had no chance.

The web of pages vs web of sites concept can be easily observed in how some of the early successful content platforms have broken down their broad-based content portals into a variety of niche sites.

When links were (roughly) all that mattered, leveraging a website’s link authority meant it was far more profitable for a large entity to keep publishing more content on the one main site. That is how eHow became the core of a multi-billion Dollar company.

Demand Media showed other publishers the way. And if the other existing sites were to stay competitive, they also had to water down content quality to make the numbers back out. The problem with this was the glut of content was lower ad rates. And the decline in ad rates was coupled with a shift away from a links-only view of search relevancy to a model based on weighting link profiles against user engagement metrics.

Websites with lots of links, lots of thin content & terrible engagement metrics were hit.

Kristen Moore, vp of marketing for Demand Media, explained what drove the most egregious aspects of eHow’s editorial strategy: “There’s some not very bright people out there.”

eHow improved their site design, drastically reduced their ad density, removed millions of articles from their site, and waited. However nothing they did on that domain name was ever going to work. They dug too deep of a hole selling the growth story to pump a multi-billion Dollar valuation. And they generated so much animosity from journalists who felt overwork & underpaid that even when they did rank journalists would typically prefer to link to anything but them.

The flip side of that story is the newspaper chains, which rushed to partner with Demand Media to build eHow-inspired sections on their sites.

Brands which enjoy the Google brand subsidy are also quite hip to work with Demand Media, which breathes new life into once retired content: “Sometimes Demand will even dust off old content that’s been published but is no longer live and repurpose it for a brand.”

As Facebook & Google grew more dominant in the online ad ecosystem they aggressively moved to suck in publisher content & shift advertiser spend onto their core properties. The rise of time spent on social sites only made it harder for websites to be sought out destination. Google also effectively cut off direct distribution by consolidating & de-monetizing the RSS reader space then shutting down a project they easily could have left run.

As the web got more competitive, bloggers & niche publications which were deeply specialized were able to steal marketshare in key verticals by leveraging a differentiated editorial opinion.

Even if they couldn’t necessarily afford to build strong brands via advertising, they were worthy of a follow on some social media channels & perhaps an email subscription. And the best niche editorial remains worthy of a direct visit:

Everything about Techmeme and its lingering success seems to defy the contemporary wisdom of building a popular website. It publishes zero original reporting and is not a social network. It doesn’t have a mobile app or a newsletter or even much of a social presence beyond its Twitter account, which posts dry commodity news with zero flair for clickability.

As a work around to the Panda hits, sites like eHow are now becoming collections of niche-focused sites (Cuteness.com, Techwalla.com, Sapling.com, Leaf.tv, etc will join Livestrong.com & eHow.com). It appears to be working so far…

…but they may only be 1 Panda update away from finding out the new model isn’t sustainable either.

About.com has done the same thing (TheSpruce.com, Verywell.com, Lifewire.com, TheBalance.com). Hundreds of millions of Dollars are riding on the hope that as the algorithms keep getting more granular they won’t discover moving the content to niche brands wasn’t enough.

As content moves around search engines with billions of Dollars in revenue can recalibrate rankings for each page & adjust rankings based on user experience. Did an influential “how to” guide become irrelevant after a software or hardware update? If so, they can see it didn’t solve the user’s problem and rank a more recent document which reflects the current software or hardware. Is a problem easy to solve with a short snippet of content? If so, that can get scraped into the search results.

Web directories which are built around sites rather than pages have no chance of competing against the billions of Dollars of monthly search ads & the full cycle user tracking search companies like Google & Bing can do with their integrated search engines, ad networks, web browsers & operating systems.

Arguably in most cases the idea of neutral-based publishing no longer works on the modern web. The shill gets exclusive stories. The political polemic gets automatic retweets from those who identify. The content which lacks agenda probably lacks the economics to pay for ads & buy distribution unless people can tell the creator loves what they do so much it influences them enough to repeatedly visit & perhaps pay for access.

Categories: 

SEO Book

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Hunting Down SERP Features to Understand Intent & Drive Traffic – Next Level

Posted by jocameron

Welcome to the seventh installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last episode, Jo showed us how to better optimize our sites when we think we’ve done it all (but still aren’t ranking). This time around she’s giving us the tools and the knowledge to finally capture ourselves a SERP feature. Read on and level up!

Are you within striking distance of traffic-bumping SERP features?

The content on your freakin’ awesome site better be targeting the intent of the searcher.

People of the world want different types of content depending on what they search. If you get this right, your content will earn the engagement signals that tell search engines you’re fighting the good fight.

The stakes are even higher now. Not only are you battling it out in the organic results, but there are attention-grabbing features that draw clicks away from organic results.

But, hey now, chin up! You can use these features to focus on keywords with higher opportunity and win those bobby-dazzlers to drive even more traffic.

I’m going to show you how to use the ever-impressive SERP features to check whether you’re targeting intent and whether the entirety of your content satisfies searcher intent, putting you within striking distance of owning some of those queue-jumping features.

Follow along in your Moz Pro account or start a free trial, it’ll be fun, trust me.

What is searcher intent?

Intent is the nuanced language people use to search different things, and it drastically changes what they’re really, truly seeking.

Every single time a human inputs their heart’s desire into that blank, judgement-free rectangle, they’re asking Google to satisfy their intent.

Show me your best “headphone reviews,” your most reliable “sewing machine repairs,” your funniest “cat vs printer gifs,” I command thee!

Headphone reviews – I want comparisons, specs, images, first-hand experiences. Maybe I’ll buy something, eventually.

Sewing machine repairs – I’m looking for a local business who I can call or visit. Or an instructional article or video.

Cat vs printer gifs – Desperately seeking images in the .gif format of a furry friend freaking out over a machine friend.

With a few simple clicks on my keyboard, my intention is revealed. As a marketer, if you’re targeting keywords with particular intent, then this needs to be reflected in your content. As a searcher, I haven’t got time to read a long article about cat gifs and printers. I want an array of images to choose from. Likewise, I don’t want to scroll through an image gallery when I’m looking for a service, or an in-depth guide when I’m on the precipice of entering that ever-so-tempting sales funnel.

Now let’s look more specifically at the headphone niche. If you sell headphones you might think, “If I can stuff my landing page with a bit of jazzy content and get it in front of every person who searches for ‘headphones’ in every weird and wonderful way, I’m bound to get a chunk of traffic and *bam*, I’ll sell a bunch of headphones.”

It doesn’t really work like that. If your content doesn’t satisfy the intent indicated by the searcher, they’re likely to head back to search — and you just know Google is paying attention to this behavior. So you could end up sending signals to Google that your content isn’t all that good as it sends your visitors back to search. And because Google wants everyone to find what they’re after, your rankings could take a trip to page-two obscurity.

The different types of searcher intent

Intent for the purpose of marketing your content can be lumped into three different types that broadly encapsulate what warm bodies are looking for. This is explained in more detail in this post by Tom Anthony. Here is a brief recap that looks at how searches in the headphone niche can fit into vastly different intent types:

Informational: what were the first earbud headphones?*

Navigational: cnet headphone reviews

Transactional: cheap travel headphones

* I’m going to go all hipster on you and say it was the stethoscope, which morphed into it’s current shape around the 1850s according to Wiki.

Can you see how the implied intent varies depending on the phrasing around the search term? As you research your own target keywords, build up lists, and use those lists to formulate content, the implied intent of the searcher plays an important role in what form your awesome content will take.

It also goes hand-in-hand with your journey into long-tail keywords.

As the marketers of the world have been paying attention to the implied intent to guide their content creation, so indeed has the biggest website on the planet. The website that reduced internet usage by 40% when it went down for 2 minutes a few years ago. Yeah, you’ve heard of them, right? Well, they’re taking a big, old, sloppy bite of the intent pie. In their quest to give the people what they want right in the results pages, Google unleashed The Glorious SERP Feature.

What the wicky-wack are SERP features?

The fancy-schmancy SERP feature is Google’s way of dazzling users with its more-than-a-result result.

It’s Google’s way of saying ‘I hear you’ with its finger guns out, blowing imaginary smoke and reholstering them back into its pockets whilst leaning over the back of your chair, all pleased with itself.

Features might pop up all over the results, like this:

The one with its paw in the air ready to swat? Argh, too cute.

Or they might shuffle into the results, like so:

Then again, they may hang out over here, all nonchalant but desperate to please at the same time:

With 16 different varieties currently documented, they’re like the chameleon of the SERP kingdom: taking relevant content and reinventing itself like a shapeshifting lizard queen (or Madonna).

What SERP features can I win?

There are a handful of features you can reasonably have a punt at without throwing cash at Google: Featured Snippets, Related Questions, Image Packs, Site Links, Tweets, Videos, and the News Box. I’m going to focus on Featured Snippets, Related Questions, and Image Packs.

The rest of the features are within the reach of larger sites, Google partners, or local businesses. I’m not going to dive into the local aspect in this post, as our Local Learning Center is a good place to start that journey.

For regular schmoes like us, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on all 16 features and their presence in the results for keywords you’re tracking. Even if you can’t win them they will elbow out organic results.

Featured Snippets: These are like having those fast-track passes at your local theme park. You can jump from somewhere else in the results to position ZERO, and then you’re pretty much owning that SERP.

Rob Bucci is my featured snippet guru and you’ll probably join the ranks after watching his talk at Brighton SEO.

Related Questions: If you’re tracking Featured Snippets, then you’ll want to familiarize yourself with their buddies, the Related Question.

Winning a Related Question will most likely get you a small bump in clicks through to your site; nothing wrong with that. However, the treat you don’t want to miss out on is grabbing those questions and adding them to your tracked keywords in Moz Pro. Often, this will help you sniff out a Featured Snippet you can target.

Image Packs: I looove image packs — there aren’t enough ways to display that in text form. I’m very visually motivated and I spend a fair bit of time searching for animated .gifs. If you watch Rob Bucci’s talk then you’ll know that they didn’t tend to find overlap with Featured Snippets. So these are a good opportunity to target the visually minded and increase your chances of getting traffic through features across more keywords.

How to use SERP Features to target intent

Back in the olden days, like 6 months ago, you would look at keyword modifiers and find transactional terms like ‘buy,’ ‘cheap,’ and so on, then bundle these into the ‘transactional’ pile, and so on and so forth and rinse and repeat.

Now, in the bright and shiny land-of-the-future, we can use the presence of particular features to understand the intent as Google sees it. You’re doing two very important things here: lumping your keywords into piles to understand intent that you will use to guide your content, AND identifying features you can win and those that may push you out of the results.

Identify the features present for your target keywords

As with every job there is a manual method and a tool-based method. Manual is totally fine for people with small sites, like a personal blog, and a handful of keywords. I hope that by explaining the basic manual method it will lay the foundation of understanding when we ramp up to the tool-based method.

Okey dokey spreadsheet fans, get ready for the keyboard + mouse dance we do when filling up a spreadsheet with lovely data. Start by searching your keywords one-by-one, use incognito mode to avoid personalised results, and add a mark to the sheet next to the features that are present.

Here’s a sheet with all the features already added to get you started. I even added some gentle colors inspired by the first episode of Black Mirror Season 3. Lacie’s giving it 5 stars.

Don’t forget to check out the second tab with your handy-dandy SERP feature cheatsheet.

This is a good way to start understanding more about the different SERP features, identify what they look like, where they hang out, and how intrusive they are.

Identify and track SERP features with Moz Pro

Got more than a handful of keywords? Want all this data for your site and your competitors? Want a tool to do the heavy lifting for you? Don’t we all.

Did I mention before about the Moz Pro has a 30-day free trial? I’m pretty sure I did, but it was so far up the page and the follow-along-with-me part is starting right now! It will do all the SERP feature hunting, tracking, and cataloguing for you.

Moz Pro will identify the presence of all 16 SERP features and will also be able to show you if your site is present in Featured Snippets, Image Packs, In-depth Articles, Local Packs, Reviews, Site Links, and Videos.

First off, head to the SERP Features tab under Rankings.

You’ll see the percentage of features present for the keywords you’re tracking (in gray), along with the percentage of features your site is present in (in blue).

Find out how you are performing against your competitors

Underneath the Overview chart look for the filter icon, click it and scroll down to choose SERP Features and enter your desired feature. I’m going to start with Image Packs. It’s fairly easy to optimize some image — don’t forget to add informative file names, alt text, and correctly compress your images.

This little feature key will help you decipher the results:

blue Blue: Your site is in the feature.
orange Orange: You and one or more of your competitors are in the feature.
red Red: You are not in the feature, but one or more of your competitors are.
gray Gray: A SERP Feature exists but no one in your campaign is present.

Keep an eye out for features your competitor is dominating by clicking the SERP Features header to filter the results.

Identify keywords you’re on page one for with features that you could win

If you’re on page one for your desired keyword, and there is a Feature Snippet present, then there is a gift there, just waiting for you. Kind of like when you had that Amazon parcel sitting on your front doorstep, getting chewed on by your neighbor’s dog and piddled on by their cat and you’re in your house just meters away, blissfully unaware.

Become aware by heading to the SERP Features tab and filtering by Featured Snippets.

Hit that Rank header until the arrow is pointing up, then scroll down to peruse keywords with Feature Snippets present sorted by your rank. The tooltip Insights indicates I’m within striking distance of owning this snippet.

Ronell outlines a strategy for winning and keeping a Featured Snippet. At its heart, it’s about pure laser-focus on intent, find the question, answer said question, add value, and make it accessible to humans and bots.

Identify pages that are dropping in the rankings and check that the content matches intent

For this I’m going to head to my Rankings tab, containing all the keywords I’m tracking in my Moz Pro campaign.

Double click the little up/down icon header twice to filter all the down-arrow keywords to the top of the pile.

I’ve noticed that my rankings have dropped for my coveted keyword ”learn how to moz,” and I want to figure out if there are some SERP features present that could indicate whether my content could be targeting intent better. So I’ll click the keyword to open up the Keyword Analysis. Then scroll down to Your Performance and toggle to SERP Features from the drop-down menu.

You’ll see all the different types of features on the left-hand column and when they were present in the results for your keyword indicated by the light gray line.

I’m not seeing any Featured Snippets or Image Packs, but lookie here! A Related Question…

Remember what we said about Related Questions? Track those beauties down and add the questions to your bundle — you might just find a Featured Snippet hiding out there.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll snap up those questions and add them to my Moz Pro campaign.

Now the next time my campaign updates I can check for tasty little Featured Snippets to target.

Now back to analyzing intent. I’m going to look at that page and see what can be improved to better match the intent as implied by Google.

I can see that videos are present, so I’m going to pop a video into my content. It may not show up as a feature on the results page, but I’m responding to what the searchers of the world are seeking, and I’m also thinking this will keep people on the page whilst serving their needs.

Repeat, and sort your Tracked Keywords by Rank

You can also follow this same process by sorting by Rank to find keywords where you’re on the bottom of the first page or the top of the second page to suss out the intent as indicated by the presence of certain SERP Features.

Then zip back up to the last step and repeat the process of analyzing keywords for features to figure out intent and hunt down those tasty features.

Wrapping up

Here’s a quick recap: SERP features are your insight into what content Google thinks best serves the needs of searchers for any given keyword.

You can use the presence of features to quickly understand the implied intent for your target keywords and cross-reference this with a drop in rankings to improve how your content meets the needs of searchers.

By combining the feature power of Image Packs, Related Keywords, and Featured Snippets you’ll be covering the most effective organic features and potentially queue-jumping your way to position ZERO.

For the organic fanatics, you’ll also be able to track all 16 features and give more love to those with features you can win whilst artfully stepping around keywords with unobtainable features overcrowding the results and pushing your tasty URL into the lost land of page 2.

Happy hunting!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

NORAD’s Santa Tracker counts down the days until Christmas 2016 with Bing’s help

In 1955, NORAD’s number was mistakenly printed in a 1955 Sears Roebuck & Co. holiday ad. The organization has been tracking Santa ever since.

The post NORAD’s Santa Tracker counts down the days until Christmas 2016 with Bing’s help appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Advert