Tag Archive | "Features"

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Search Update, Evergreen GoogleBot, Image Search Features & I/O

This week I covered the monthly Google Webmaster report, so catch up on the past month there. It was Google I/O this week, so a lot of new stuff came out. Google may have done an algorithm update around May 9th…


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

What Do You Do When You Lose Organic Traffic to Google SERP Features?

Posted by Emily.Potter

Google’s increasing dominance of their own search engine results pages (SERPs) has kicked up a lot of panic and controversy in the SEO industry. As Barry Adams pointed out on Twitter recently, this move by Google is not exactly new, but it does feel like Google has suddenly placed their foot on the accelerator:

Follow that Twitter thread and you’ll see the sort of back-and-forth these changes have started to create. Is this an ethical move by Google? Did you deserve the business they’re taking in the first place? Will SEO soon be dead? Or can we do what we’ve always done and adapt our strategies in smart, agile ways?

It’s hard to think positive when Google takes a stab at you like it did with this move on Ookla:

But regardless of how you feel about what’s happening, local packs, featured snippets, and SERP features from Google, properties like Google News, Images, Flights, Videos, and Maps are riding on a train that has no plans on stopping.

To give you an idea of how rapid these changes are occurring, the image below is what the SERP rankings looked like in November 2016 for one of our client’s key head terms:

And this image is the SERP for the same keyword by early December 2017 (our client is in green):

Check out MozCast’s Feature Graph if you want to see the percentage of queries specific features are appearing on.

Who is this blog post for?

You’re likely reading this blog post because you noticed your organic traffic has dropped and you suspect it could be Google tanking you.

Traffic drops tend to come about from four main causes: a drop in rankings, a decrease in search volume, you are now ranking for fewer keywords, or because SERP features and/or advertising are depressing your CTRs.

If you have not already done a normal traffic drop analysis and ruled out the first three causes, then your time is better spent doing that first. But if you have done a traffic drop analysis and reached the conclusion that you’re likely to be suffering from a change in SERP features, then keep reading.

But I’m too lazy to do a full analysis

Aside from ruling everything else out, other strong indications that SERP features are to blame will be a significant drop in clicks (either broadly or especially for specific queries) in Google Search Console where average ranking is static, but a near consistent amount of impressions.

I’ll keep harping on about this point, but make sure that you check clicks vs impressions for both mobile and desktop. Do this both broadly and for specific key head terms.

When you spend most of your day working on a desktop computer, sometimes in this industry we forget how much mobile actually dominates the scene. On desktop, the impact these have on traffic there is not as drastic; but when you go over to a mobile device, it’s not uncommon for it to take around four full scrolls down before organic listings appear.

From there, the steps to dealing with a Google-induced traffic drop are roughly as follows:

  1. Narrow down your traffic drop to the introduction of SERP features or an increase in paid advertising
  2. Figure out what feature(s) you are being hit by
  3. Gain hard evidence from SEO tools and performance graphs
  4. Adapt your SEO strategy accordingly

That covers step one, so let’s move on.

Step 2.0: Figure out which feature(s) you are being hit by

For a comprehensive list of all the different enhanced results that appear on Google, Overthink Group has documented them here. To figure out which one is impacting you, follow the below steps.

Step 2.1

Based off of your industry, you probably already have an idea of which features you’re most vulnerable to.

  • Are you an e-commerce website? Google Shopping and paid advertising will be a likely candidate.
  • Do you tend to generate a lot of blog traffic? Look at who owns the featured snippets on your most important queries.
  • Are you a media company? Check and see if you are getting knocked out of top news results.
  • Do you run a listings site? Maybe you’re being knocked by sponsored listings or Google Jobs.

Step 2.2

From there, sanity check this by spot-checking the SERPs for a couple of the keywords you’re concerned about to get a sense for what changed. If you roughly know what you’re looking for when you dig into the data, it will be easier to spot. This works well for SERP features, but determining a change in the amount of paid advertising will be harder to spot this way.

Once again, be sure to do this on both mobile and desktop. What may look insignificant from your office computer screen could be showing you a whole different story on your mobile device.

Step 3.0: Gain hard evidence from SEO tools and performance graphs

Once you have a top level idea of what has changed, you need to confirm it with SEO tools. If you have access to one, a historical rank tracking tool will be the most efficient way to dig into how your SERPs are evolving. I most frequently use STAT, but other great tools for this are Moz’s SERP features report, SEOmonitor, and SEMRush.

Using one of these tools, look back at historical data (either broadly or for specific important keywords) and find the date the SERP feature appeared if you can. Once you have this date, line it up with a dip in your organic traffic or other performance metric. If there’s a match, you can be pretty confident that’s to blame.

For example, here’s what this analysis looked like for one of our clients on a keyword with a regional search volume of 49,500. They got hit hard on mobile-first by the appearance of a local pack, then an events snippet 10 days later.

This was the clicks and impression data for the head term on mobile from Google Search Console:

As this case demonstrates, here’s another strong reminder that when you’re analyzing these changes, you must check both mobile and desktop. Features like knowledge panels are much more intrusive on mobile devices than they are on desktop, so while you may not be seeing a dramatic change in your desktop traffic, you may on mobile.

For this client we improved their structured data so that they showed up in the event snippet instead, and were able to recover a good portion of the lost traffic.

How to adapt your SEO strategy

You may not be able to fully recover, but here are some different strategies you can use depending on the SERP feature. Use these links to jump to a specific section:

Have you tried bidding to beat Google?

I cover what to do if you’re specifically losing out on organic traffic due to paid advertising (spoiler alert: you’re probably gonna have to pay), but paid advertising can also be used as a tactic to subvert Google SERP features.

For example, Sky Scanner has done this by bidding on the query “flights” so they appear above the Google Flights widget:

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP is a project sponsored by Google to improve the speed of mobile pages. For a lot of these challenges, implementing AMP may be a way to improve your rankings as Google SERPs continue to change.

If you’ve noticed a number of websites with AMP implemented are ranking on the first page of SERPs you care about, it’s likely worth investigating.

If you are a news website, implementing AMP is absolutely a must.

Featured snippets and PAA boxes

If you’re losing traffic because one of your competitors owns the featured snippets on your SERPs, then you need to optimize your content to win featured snippets. I’ve already written a blog post for our Distilled blog on tactics to steal them before, which you can read here.

In summary, though, you have a chance to win a featured snippet if:

  • The ones you’re targeting are pretty volatile or frequently changing hands, as that’s a good indication the owner doesn’t have a strong hold on it
  • If you rank higher than the current owner, as this indicates Google prefers your page; the structure of your content simply needs some tweaking to win the snippet

If you’ve identified some featured snippets you have a good chance of stealing, compare what the current owner has done with their content that you haven’t. Typically it’s things like the text heading the block of content and the format of the content that differentiates a featured snippet owner from your content.

Local packs

At SearchLove London 2018, Rob Bucci shared data from STAT on local packs and search intent. Local SEO is a big area that I can’t cover fully here, but if you’re losing traffic because a local pack has appeared that you’re not being featured in, then you need to try and optimize your Google My Business listing for the local pack if you can. For a more in depth instruction on how you can get featured in a local pack, read here.

Unfortunately, it may just not be possible for you to be featured, but if it’s a query you have a chance at appearing in local pack for, you first need to get set up on Google My Business with a link to your website.

Once you have Google My Business set up, make sure the contact and address information is correct.

Reviews are incredibly important for anyone competing within a local pack, and not just high reviews but also the number of reviews you’ve received is important. You should also consider creating Google Posts. In a lot of spaces this feature is yet to have been taken advantage of, which means you could be able to get a jumpstart on your competitors.

More queries are seeing paid advertisements now, and there are also more ads appearing per query, as told in this Moz post.

If you’re losing traffic because a competitor has set up a PPC campaign and started to bid on keywords you’re ranking well for, then you may need to consider overbidding on these queries if they’re important to you.

Unfortunately, there’s no real secret here: either you gotta pay or you’re going to have to shift your focus to other target queries.

You should have already done so, but if you haven’t already included structured data on your website you need to, as it will help you stand out on SERPs with lots of advertising. Wrapped into this is the need to get good reviews for your brand and for your products.

Google Shopping

Similar to paid advertising, if the appearance of Google Shopping sponsored ads has taken over your SERPs, you should consider whether it’s worth you building your own Google Shopping campaign.

Again, structured data will be an important tactic to employ here as well. If you’re competing with Google Shopping ads, you’re competing with product listings that have images, prices, and reviews directly in the SERP results to draw in users. You should have the same.

Look into getting your pages implemented in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is sponsored by Google. Not only has Google shown it favors pages that are in AMP, better site speed will lead to better conversion rates for your site.

To see if implementing AMP may be beneficial to your business, you can read some case studies of other businesses that have done so here.

Knowledge panels and carousels

Knowledge panels such as the one below appear for broad informational searches, and rarely on highly converting keywords. While they are arguably the most imposing of all the SERP features, unless you’re a content site or CelebrityNetWorth.com, they probably steal some of your less valuable traffic.

If you’re losing clicks due to knowledge panels, it’s likely happening on queries that typically can be satisfied by quick answers and therefore are by users who might have bounced from your site anyway. You won’t be able to beat a knowledge panel for quick answers, but you can optimize your content to satisfy affiliated longer-tail queries that users will still scroll to organic listings to find.

Create in-depth content that answers these questions and make sure that you have strong title tags and meta descriptions for these pages so you can have a better chance of standing out in the SERP.

In some cases, knowledge panels may be something you can exploit for your branded search queries. There’s no guaranteed way to get your content featured in a knowledge panel, and the information presented in them does not come from your site, so they can’t be “won” in the same way as a featured snippet.

To get into a knowledge panel, you can try using structured data markup or try to get your brand on Wikipedia if you haven’t already. The Knowledge Graph relies heavily on existing databases like Wikipedia that users directly contribute to, so developing more Wikipedia articles for your brand and any personal brands associated with it can be one avenue to explore.

Search Engine Journal has some tips on how to implement both of these strategies and more in their blog post here.

Google Jobs

Google Jobs has taken up huge amounts of organic real estate from listing sites. It will be tough to compete, but there are strategies you can employ, especially if you run a niche job boards site.

Shifting your digital strategy to integrate more paid advertising so you can sit above Google and to generating content in other areas, like on news websites and advice boards, can help you.

For more details on how to employ some of these strategies, you can read Search Engine Journal’s Google Jobs survival tips.

To conclude

Look, I’d be lying to you if I said this was good news for us SEOs. It’s not. Organic is going to get more and more difficult. But it’s not all doom and gloom. As Rand Fishkin noted in his BrightonSEO speech this September, if we create intelligent SEO strategies with an eye towards the future, then we have the opportunity to be ahead of the curve when the real disruption hits.

We also need to start integrating our SEO strategies with other mediums; we need to be educated on optimizing for social media, paid advertising, and other tactics for raising brand awareness. The more adaptable and diverse your online marketing strategies are, the better.

Google will always be getting smarter, which just means we have to get smarter too.

To quote Jayson DeMers,

“If you define SEO as the ability to manipulate your way to the top of search rankings, then SEO will die. But if you define SEO as the practice of improving a website’s visibility in search results, then SEO will never die; it will only continue to evolve.”

Search, like nearly every other industry today, will continue to come against dramatic unanticipated changes in the future. Yet search will also only continue to grow in importance. It may become increasingly more difficult to manipulate your way to the top of search results, but there will always be a need to try, and Google will continue to reward content that serves its users well.

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

SearchCap: Google and Facebook accused of plundering, GSC gets new features, IF functions & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



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

Google Search is Now Available for iMessage on iOS, Launches Other Features

Google has added some new teaks to its app for iOS users. On Monday, the company announced that it would be integrating its search engine into iMessage to give iPhone and iPad users a smoother search and sharing experience.

To begin with, the Google app for iOS now has an extension for iMessage to assist iPhone and iPad users in looking up things on the web while messaging.

Once the Google app is installed, users can easily pull up the extension from the iMessage apps drawer and tap on the distinct Google icon to launch the search box.

Looking for a good place to eat or hang out? Just click on “Food” or “Nearby” to check out reviews, menus, or business hours. Browse through the search results, and if anything piques your curiosity, tap on it to read or share it as a card in your convo. Recipients can then tap on the card, redirecting them to the search result. Moreover, Google decided to add a GIF Search on the right side of the box to make conversations more fun.

Aside from the iMessage extension, Google also introduced a related content feature that is compatible with the browser of any iOS-powered device. Previously limited to the Google app, the tech giant made it handy for users to discover related content without performing another search. Simply click on the Google icon from the share option to discover suggested articles.

Lastly, Google has now simplified the drag-and-drop functionality on the iPad. Users can now move text, images, and links from the Google app to other iOS apps. Simply tap and hold to get the link, then drag to iMessage for sharing, or to Notes for future reading.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

The post Google Search is Now Available for iMessage on iOS, Launches Other Features appeared first on WebProNews.


WebProNews

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

3 AdWords features you’re probably underutilizing

Columnist Brett Middleton explores three commonly underused AdWords features that can have a big impact on performance: ad variations, Gmail ads and campaign experiments.

The post 3 AdWords features you’re probably underutilizing 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

Salesforce Offers New AI Features to Small Businesses

Most Corporations have the advantage of unlimited access to all the features a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform offers. Now small businesses can also enjoy this perk as well.

During Salesforce’s yearly Dreamforce conference, the company announced that one of their best performing CRM platforms – the Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials – will be available to all. With this, small businesses will enjoy the same access to features that large enterprises use to grow rapidly and work quicker and smarter. Small companies will also have access to Salesforce’s newest innovations, like Einstein AI, Lightning, and Trailhead.

Essentials Meet the Demands of Small Business

Salesforce knows that to be able to cope with the demands of today’s competitive marketplaces, businesses should be able to easily integrate new technology into their day-to-day operations. This need is underlined by the revelation that 66% of small company heads are handling two or more departments. Meanwhile, only 26% of small businesses have an in-house IT department while the rest either deal with contractors or try to work out IT problems on their own.

Salesforce Essentials can go a long way in easing this burden, as the platform was designed for simplicity and functionality. Small business analyst, Brent Leary, explained that small companies need guidance and a user-friendly platform, especially if they’re new to CRM. Essentials’ simple interface does meet that requirement, with the Trailhead feature providing the necessary assistance needed to develop leads faster and see results more quickly.

New AI Features Great for Small Business

The three key features added to the Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials will definitely make a difference to small businesses.

Trailhead is an interactive, online learning platform that assists users in its implementation. It also gives guidance on topics like how to implement innovation and raise business knowledge.

Meanwhile, Einstein is showing small businesses the practical aspects of artificial intelligence. In an interview, Salesforce’s Senior Product Director of Marketing, Eric Bernsley, explained that while most have a lot of questions about AI, they don’t want big, vague concepts. They want to see how AI can help businesses get more done.

Entrepreneurs and small business owners know that manually inputting data is time-consuming and leaves little time for a company to identify or pursue new opportunities. But with Einstein, basic sales activities can be automated or records kept up-to-date. It can also help with predictive lead scoring or look at areas connected to possible leads.

Since Essentials is built on Salesforce’s Lightning framework, small businesses will be able to enjoy a smooth transition of their workflow on any device due to the system’s intuitive design. And when Essentials is combined with other Salesforce Apps, small businesses can eventually manage their whole sales conversation – accounts, leads to contacts – on any device, whether from the office or out in the field.

More importantly, all of Essentials’ features are scalable, meaning they’re flexible and can meet the CRM needs of any company, regardless of the size. And since Essentials is also built on a global platform, upgrading can be done anytime, something that will be beneficial to small companies.

[Featured Image via Salesforce]

The post Salesforce Offers New AI Features to Small Businesses appeared first on WebProNews.


WebProNews

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

SearchCap: Apple search ads, Google’s newest search features & latest carousel test

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Apple search ads, Google’s newest search features & latest carousel test 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

Google announces new online-to-offline features on the cusp of the holiday shopping season

The announcements are aimed at giving brick and mortar retailers greater visibility on Google search properties.

The post Google announces new online-to-offline features on the cusp of the holiday shopping season 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

Microsoft’s New Outlook Sports Smarter Features And Customization Options

On Tuesday, Microsoft launched its new Outlook.com beta, which sports a new design and comes packed with new features users might find useful. For instance, the search interface has been relocated, email attachments can be previewed and the new inbox comes with a ton of smart features designed to give users an easier way to tag useful information with their emails.

The redesigned Outlook.com may be activated by clicking on the “try the beta” toggle. Since the new features of the beta, which are still being tested and may be improved on depending on user feedback, might take some getting used to, Outlook users can simply revert back to the old format by clicking on the toggle again.

One of the more noticeable changes brought by the beta is the placement of the search interface, which is now located at the top portion of the inbox rather than the side. But the search interface’s change is more than mere aesthetics as email and people are now included in its search results.

Another interesting change in the Outlook beta is the conversations view. Files and photos in the conversations may now be previewed which makes it easier to take a quick peek into email contents while browsing through ones’ emails.

In addition, the new Outlook beta allows for a greater degree of personalization with the new options found in the conversations view, according to Tech Crunch. For instance, users can pin at the sidebar shortcuts to important emails. In addition, the inclusion of emojis and GIFs inside the new Outlook beta makes it easier to add some personal touch to one’s emails to close friends.

The new beta version also introduced a smart new feature called Quick Suggestion. Placing tags on emails regarding restaurant location, flight details, and even sports teams’ schedules is now a breeze with the new feature in place.

Of course, the purpose of the Outlook.com beta is to gauge customer reception and gain important feedback on the new changes. Things could still change for the better as the Outlook team announced that “based on your feedback we’ll iterate, improve, refine, or discard them.”

Want to try the beta version of Outlook right now? Follow the link: https://outlook.live.com/mail/#/inbox

[Featured Image by Outlook]

The post Microsoft’s New Outlook Sports Smarter Features And Customization Options appeared first on WebProNews.


WebProNews

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Boost the Relevance of Your Content with Benefits and Features

Quick Copy Tip

One cool thing about being a content marketer is that you tend to become an expert in your topic. You probably know an awful lot about your business, your project, or your subject matter.

In fact, you might actually know too much about it.

It’s called the curse of knowledge. Because we research our topics deeply and spend so much time writing about them, we tend to understand the technical specs inside and out. We have a great grasp of the under-the-hood details that make the thing work. And we think customers want to know all about those details.

But most of your potential buyers? They don’t care.

What have you done for me lately?

To be effective, marketing needs to show exactly what the offering does for the person buying it.

The features of your offer are what make it work. The benefits are the results it creates for the customer.

What transformation does your product or service empower? What does it allow the customer to become that she isn’t today?

Jimmy Choo high heels aren’t coveted because they’re comfortable or well-made. (Even though devotees believe they are.) Women buy them to feel confident and gorgeous.

Hybrid cars aren’t popular because they’re fuel-efficient, money-saving, or environmentally friendly. The real benefits are feeling virtuous and smart, with the warm, fuzzy glow that comes from believing you’re saving the world.

Your content and copy will never be truly relevant to your audience until you translate your features into customer-focused benefits.

The five-minute feature check

Quick, take a look through the last persuasive piece you wrote (blog post, sales page, podcast script) and take note of all of the features you talk about.

  • The process
  • Your qualifications
  • The patented mechanism
  • The policy
  • The dimensions
  • The speed
  • The materials

Copy and paste them all into a fresh document. Then, after each feature, add the words:

so you can …

The final results will be phrases like:

  • I have 10 years of experience helping clients exactly like you, so you can feel confident that together we can solve even your trickiest widget problems.
  • Our course is the most rigorous on the market, so you can leapfrog ahead of your competitors.
  • Our grape jam has 50% less sugar and no weird additives, so you can enjoy it guilt-free.

In about five minutes, you’ll uncover the weak spots in your persuasive content — the places where you were thinking about you and what you offer, and not about them and what they get out of it.

You might not use the words “so you can” over and over again in your final copy — but you will be writing with an understanding of your audience benefits.

Not all benefits are equal

The curse of knowledge can also lead you to focus too much on what some copywriters call fake benefits.

These are the benefits of your product or service that you think are important. And you might be absolutely right. They could be critical to delivering the results your audience wants.

The trouble is, the customer doesn’t particularly care.

These could be things like:

  • Stabilizing blood chemistry levels
  • Improving efficiency of project delivery and implementation
  • Mastering the ability to write a college entrance essay

But that doesn’t tell us what the buyer gets to have, do, be, feel, or become by moving forward with this purchase.

What those customers might actually want could be to:

  • Get slim without feeling hungry
  • Pull off a great project and look like a hero to their boss
  • Feel like brilliant parents because their teenager got into a great college

Features do matter

Features are the specific, convincing details that demonstrate why your solution is effective. As long as they’re tied directly to customer-focused benefits, your buyer will stay interested.

Here are some features that have been translated into benefits and presented as a set:

This nutritional program stabilizes your blood chemistry so you can finally lose weight … without getting hungry.

Our proven process makes you more efficient … and that makes you look like a hero when you deliver your next project in half the time and under budget.

This quick course teaches your teenager how to write a masterful college entrance essay … which could be the deciding factor in whether they get into their first-choice school.

Take another look at your five-minute benefit check. Any fake benefits in there?

Wants, not needs

You’ve got one more check to make before you call it good.

Are the benefits you’ve identified things your audience genuinely wants, or are they things you think they need?

Paying for things we need is boring. Spending money on things we want is a lot more fun. That’s why it’s easier to sell big-screen TVs than life insurance.

When you’re translating your features into benefits, make sure those benefits are driven by wants. Look for emotional drivers like pleasure, comfort, status, and self-image. You can also seek to put a stop to pain, either physical or emotional.

It’s not only hedonistic emotions that can drive behavior — values like patriotism, justice, and fairness can play powerful roles with the right audience. It’s still a pretty good idea, though, to pair them with a little self-interested hedonism if you can. Fair-trade coffee wouldn’t sell nearly as well if those arabica beans didn’t taste so good.

We like to think that logical drivers like efficiency, physical health, preventing future problems, and scientific evidence influence our decisions, but, they typically don’t have much impact. But those “rational” benefits are helpful when they’re used to justify an emotional decision that’s already been made.

The customer who already wants the beautiful high-heeled shoes tells herself that Jimmy Choos will last longer and feel better than a cheaper brand.

The customer who already wants to feel enlightened and virtuous tells himself that the fuel economy of the Prius clearly makes it a sensible choice.

Marketing vs. manipulation

There’s an important difference between putting your best foot forward and crossing the line into manipulation.

The key lies in making two promises:

  1. Don’t say things that aren’t true.
  2. Don’t omit significant things that are true.

The impression you create with your marketing needs to be realistic and truthful. If it isn’t, you’re a con artist and a creep — and your audience will rightly shun you when they figure that out.

If you liked this Quick Copy Tip, click here to read other posts in the series.

The post Boost the Relevance of Your Content with Benefits and Features appeared first on Copyblogger.


Copyblogger

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Advert