Gillmor Gang: Old Friends

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The Gillmor Gang — Frank Radice, Michael Markman, Keith Teare, Denis Pombriant and Steve Gillmor . Recorded live Sunday, December 22, 2019. Most likely the last show of 2019, an analysis of 2020 in streaming media, the primaries and the influence of old and new tech.

Produced and directed by Tina Chase Gillmor @tinagillmor

@fradice, @mickeleh, @denispombriant, @kteare, @stevegillmor, @gillmorgang

Liner Notes

Live chat stream

The Gillmor Gang on Facebook

December 28th 2019 video

An update on 2019

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With 2020 hanging above our heads much the same way that bricks don’t, people start reflecting on what they achieved this year, what went wrong, and how they could improve. We’re no different, but instead of choosing what went well or wrong ourselves, we picked the announcements on our @GoogleWMC Twitter account that users interacted with the most, and decided to reflect on those. 

We had launches that you appreciated a lot. For example, we announced at Google I/O that Googlebot is becoming evergreen, meaning that it’s always going to use an up-to-date version of Chromium for rendering. We hope that this will make it easier for developers to create stunning, modern, and snappy JavaScript experiences, by tapping onto the power of over 1000 new features and interfaces that are now supported.

Speaking of robots, together with the original author of the Robots Exclusion Protocol, other search engines, and input from webmasters, we submitted an Internet Draft to the IETF in order to start standardizing the 25-year-old protocol. 

Like Twitter users, we also thought it’s an exciting project which lays down the rules of crawling for good, although it doesn’t change anything for most.

But we haven’t stopped there with touching ancient protocols: we also rethought how we need to treat “nofollow” links to keep up with the evolution of the web. It was an announcement that seemed to be welcomed by most Twitter users, and for a good reason: having a “hint” model for rel=”nofollow” may help us reward those who create high quality content more, by serving even better results to our users.

One of the most tweeted  – and also most humbling – moments this year was when we lost a part of our index, which caused Search Console to misbehave, and also had rendering failures roughly the same time. Since Google Search works like a well oiled machine most of the time, we didn’t have processes to quickly communicate issues to those who should know about them: webmasters. Lacking a proper process and channel to communicate these issues was a mistake and we are still working hard to rectify it, however one thing is clear: we need to do more on the critical communication side of things. 

We do like to communicate, in general: we shoot videos, we go to conferences, big and small, where we reach thousands of webmasters and SEOs, and in 2019 we extended our reach with the Webmaster Conference, which landed in 35 locations around the world in 12 languages. Not to mention the weather reports on our YouTube channel.

We hope you had a fantastic year and the new year will bring you even more success. If you need help with the latter, you can follow our blogs, @googlewmc on Twitter, or you could join us at a Webmaster Conference near you!

Posted by John Mueller, Cheese Connoisseur, and Gary the house elf 

December 27th 2019 Uncategorized

“Flexible Captioned Slanted Images” at 24 ways

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We have a lot of new layout tools at our disposal these days—flexbox is finally stable and interoperable, and Grid very much the same, with both technologies having well over 90% support coverage. In that light, we might think there’s no place for old tricks like negative margins, but I recently discovered otherwise.

That’s the opening paragraph to my 24ways piece “Flexible Captioned Slanted Images”, which I now realize I should have called “Accessible Flexible Captioned Slanted Images”.  Curse my insufficient title writing!  In just about 2,000 words, I explore a blend of new CSS and old layout tricks to take an accessible markup structure and turn it into the titular slanted images, which are fully flexible across all screen sizes while being non-rectangular.

It’s just my second piece for 24ways, coming a dozen years and a day after the first—and is very possibly my last, as Drew closed out this year by putting 24ways on hiatus.  Fifteen years is a heck of a run for any project, let alone an annual side project, and I salute everyone involved along the way.  Content is hard.  Managing content is harder.  Here’s to everyone who put in the time and energy to make such a valuable resource.  If you’ve never been through the 24 ways archives, now’s your chance.  I promise it will be very much worth your time.

December 25th 2019 CSS

The Ultimate Guide to Proper Youtube Video Tagging [Updated]

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Youtube is one the biggest marketing channels out there, yet it is mostly under-utilized by brands. According to Statista, YouTube reached 1.9 billion users worldwide in 2019.

Image source: Statistics Library

In case you are preparing yourself for amplifying your video content through Youtube (which you probably should), here’s an extensive guide for you on Youtube tagging.

According to YouTube, tagging is one of the most important ways to rank your video in YouTube search results:

Tags help users find your video when they search the site. When users type keywords related to your tags your video will appear in their search results.

YouTube does consider user engagement as well (like number of views, views in common and user “retention”) but tagging is the *first* step to ranking your video in YouTube search results (and thus getting a good chance to get ranked in Universal Results as well).

A most scientific (but still useful to start brainstorming) approach to classifying YouTube tags (pdf) groups all the tags as follows:

  1. Generic relationship between tag and video content:
    1. Tag identifies what the video is of at its most primary and objective level – no subject specific knowledge is needed to make this distinction (e.g. a video of a cat, tagged as ‘cat’ or ‘animal’)
    2. General YouTube defined Category or Genre (e.g. Comedy, Entertainment, Music)
  2. Specific relationship between tag and video content:
    1. Tag identifies what video is of. Familiarity or some existing knowledge is needed to make this connection (this may be about names, locations, venues, etc).
  3. Tag only useful to a minority of users, specific individual or group
    1. Refining tag (Tag which cannot stand alone – only useful when looked at as part of the larger tag set (e.g., episodes of a series of videos specified by a number)
    2. Self-reference tagging (e.g. “my dog”),
  4. Irrelevant/Non Useful Tags (those may vary from attention-grabbing and misspelled tags to conjunctions and prepositions).

Obviously, the top three classes of tags should all be considered for ranking for various types of search queries  (navigational search queries, generic search, category search, etc).


Brainstorming Youtube Tags

Most YouTube pros suggest including as many relevant tags as you can (of course, that doesn’t mean you need hundreds of them but dropping the dozen of most essential ones is very important for your rankings). YouTube doesn’t restrict the number of tags as well which is good sign.

I do agree that we need to use quite a few tags, but the focus is on “smart” or “educated” tagging:

1) Include Your Brand-Specific Tags

This one comes first because it’s so often neglected!

  • You *want* to rank for your own brand name in YouTube search results;
  • You do want your own videos to appear in Google’s universal results!

So what you never want to forget is to “self-reference” your video:

  • With your own name (the one the world knows you by);
  • Your brand name: preferably in a couple of variations, like: [brand name], [brandname] and [brandname.com]

2) Use YouTube Auto-Suggest

What you do next is playing with YouTube search results a bit. Two things we want to do here:

  • See what YouTube suggests typing in when searching (you want to rank for all of those words);
  • Identifying a few videos that tend to pop up now and then for important search queries (especially in default “by Relevance” tab)

So what you are going to do next is trying a few random keyword-based searches in a row taking a note of the two things I’ve mentioned above:

youtube suggest

Gotta love Auto-Suggest: each new letter you add brings up more and more suggestions:

youtube suggest

3) Use YouTube Tag Generator

Rapidtags.io can be used to generate Youtube tags and get more ideas:

generator tags


Adding the Tags

Now that you have thoroughly collected all the relevant tags, throw them into an Excel spreadsheet and use all sorts of sorting and conditional formatting to identify your best “core” words you want to include into your tags.

For example, you can use “Find and Replace” feature to highlight all the cells that have “free” in yellow (read more about organizing your keyword modifiers <- “oldie but goodie”):

Again, while you are free to play with the above tools to generate lots of keyword ideas, the main point of this step is to identify your most important core terms to build upon. After all, you don’t want hundreds of tags added. Instead, you want to add the best ones.

For this:

  • Omit “stop” words (especially articles “a” / “the”);
  • Go with plural variant of the similar phrases (this is usually your best bet);
  • Mind what YouTube suggests you using (it probably knows its stuff).

Further Steps

Youtube has both tags and hashtags, so to avoid the confusion, please use the checklist:

youtube checklist

Finally, Youtube advises against excessive tags and hashtags, so stay away from tag-spamming:

Adding excessive tags to your video description is against our policies on spam, deceptive practices, and scams. Get tips on writing effective tags and descriptions.

Any more tips on YouTube video rankings? Please share them in the comments!

Oh and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get notified of new SEO videos we upload!

The post The Ultimate Guide to Proper Youtube Video Tagging [Updated] appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

December 18th 2019 Uncategorized

Launching a new Publisher Center

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Today we are announcing the launch of Publisher Center to help publishers more easily manage their content across news products at Google. Publisher Center merges two existing tools, Google News Producer and Google News Publisher Center, improving their user experience and functionality.
Publisher Center’s new features include a simpler way to manage your publication’s identity, like updating light and dark theme logos. It also provides an easier way for those that own multiple publications to organize and switch between them, particularly with improved permission settings that make it easier to collaborate with colleagues. Additionally, publishers can now point to the URLs for their website’s sections instead of RSS to configure sections in Google News. Content for News will now come directly from the web, just as it does for Search.
Publisher Center launches today in the existing four languages of the previous tools (English, Spanish, French, and German) and will expand to more languages soon. Learn more here.

December 11th 2019 Uncategorized

Google’s rel=”sponsored”: Are You Going to Use It?

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A few weeks ago Google announced support for a new link attribute rel=”sponsored” (together with its sister attribute rel=”ugc”).

In addition, they also mentioned that rel=”nofollow” attribute will become even fuzzier than it used to be as Google was going to start using it as a “hint”

rel=”sponsored”: Use the sponsored attribute to identify links on your site that were created as part of advertisements, sponsorships or other compensation agreements.

To sum up key points from the announcement:

  • There are now more than one way to inform Google of your linking patterns (i.e. to mark sponsored and user-generated links)
  • All of those link attributes are going to be used as “hints”, meaning that Google will officially use nofollow links to inform its algorithm of this signal
  • There’s no need to do anything with your current nofollow links

The announcement caused a good deal of discussions which I was monitoring for some time to create this summary.

SEO speculate that the new attribute was introduced in response to lots of “core” sites applying site-wide nofollow making it impossible for Google to understand which of those links should actually be taken into account and how to make sense of that.

Rel=”sponsored” Carries No Pagerank

Over at Pubcon, Google’s Gary Illyes shared that the link attribute carries extra information but passes no PageRank:

No PageRank

It is – again – confusing because Google states that all those tags attributes are going to be used as “hints” – so what does that mean if they are not going to flow Pagerank?

This has now changed. All the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search

So far tests show no difference in using rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored”.

It’s Not For You, It’s For Google

Many people were left wondering why would they use the attributes anyway. What is there for website owners?

Well, basically nothing.

Over at SMX advanced Gary Illyes stated that the new link attribute was optional and Google needed it to “to understand linking patterns and how people are linking”.

And SEOs reaction was ranging from favorable to sarcastic, and sometimes it is hard to tell one from another:

The Future of the Attribute Is Likely to Be That of Rel=”Author” & Rel=”Next”

In most cases, SEOs remain skeptical expecting Google giving up on the attribute after failing to see a wide adoption, just like they gave up on rel=”author” and rel=”next”/”prev”

Still, many of us think that helping Google “train” its systems and understand web patterns better by using the attribute may be a noble cause, even though it may have no future.

I am saying “many of us”, not meaning I personally share that sentiment.

Others suggest that introducing rel=”NoOneCares” might be a better idea showing that Google’s algorithm is mature enough for it to handle linking automatically without forcing yet another tag on us.

Waiting for rel=”NoOneCares”, when Google is finally smart enough to decide for itself what is good vs what is popular among the 0.01% of the population who post links on the internet.

Time will show but let’s not forget that Google did manage to force rel=”nofollow” on us, despite all odds, so it will all depend on how aggressive Google is going to be with this one.

nofollow

As Neil Patel points out in his review, if social media giants start using the sister attribute rel=”ugc” to mark their links, both the attributes may survive.

WordPress has already announced their official support of rel=”ugc” attribute making it a default for the comment section starting from WordPress 5.3. The change went into an affect on November 2. So update your WordPress if you want to be in.

With WordPress joining in so quickly, there’s hope for the link attributes.

SEO Tools Showing Rel=”Sponsored”

Not many tools have caught up with the announcement yet, but we know at least two that have added support for the new attribute:

Screaming Frog rel=sponsored

There may be more tools supporting the rel=”sponsored” attribute, so please speak up in the comments if you are aware of any.

Are you using the new attribute and what are your thoughts? Let’s discuss!

The post Google’s rel=”sponsored”: Are You Going to Use It? appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

December 11th 2019 Search Engine Optimization

Package Tracking Early Access Program

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People frequently come to Google Search looking to find information on the status of their packages. To make it easier to find, we have created a new package tracking feature that enables shipping companies to show people the status of their packages right on Search. Here’s an example of how this information may appear:

package tracking search result


Through the package tracking Early Adopters Program, which is available in all countries, shipping companies can sign-up to participate in this feature and give feedback on how to improve it. To take part in the program, a carrier will need to provide a RESTful JSON or XML API that returns the package tracking information. We can work with you to reuse an existing API or setup a new one.

Interested in providing package tracking information to your customers? Please review the full eligibility requirements and fill out the interest form.

If you have any questions, let us know through the forum or on Twitter.

December 5th 2019 Uncategorized

Keyword Research for Your Product Pages: The Ultimate Guide

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Search traffic remains one of the major sources of traffic and conversions to any website. Keep your organic search visibility in mind when working on your most important “money pages” (i.e. those that drive direct sales).

In this article I’ll go you through both basic and advanced keyword research tactics for your product pages that will also positively impact conversions.

Google Organic

Keyword research lies at the heart of any marketing campaign, whether it’s a local or an international business. And despite what many business owners may think, keywords are not for search engine optimization only.

Keyword research helps a marketer:

  • Analyze your competition and learn from it (what is it they are doing that seems to work for them?)
  • Identify market gaps (what is missing and where does my opportunity lie?)
  • Understand your customer better (what is it they are searching for and how can I help them?)

Think about keyword research this way:

Behind each search query there’s a human being with an actual problem. Whether your (product) page is able to solve that problem well defines how successful your business is.

In order for keyword research to be able to provide the required amount of insight, you need to:

  1. Group those keywords by relevancy (Providing a solution to each group)
  2. Group those keywords by search intent (What is it your customer is going to do when searching?)

Let’s see these two in action!

Step 1. Identify and Group Your Keywords by Relevancy


1.1. Run Your Keyword Research Tools

The first step of keyword research is running your core term through tools like Spyfu, Majestic, Ahrefs or Wordstream and downloading hundreds of phrases your target customer is typing when searching for solutions, answers and/or products in your niche.

Free keyword research tool

1.2. Use More Market & Niche Research Tools

Here’s one problem with traditional keyword research tools: Your competitors use them too.

Going a few steps further to better understand your niche is never a bad idea.

For example, searching Amazon and picking some ideas there is never a bad idea. Here’s the trick we discussed over at #VCBUzz Twitter chat on improving organic click-through rate:

Check out the market leaders’ TrustPilot/Feefo. Filter to show 4 and 5 star ones. Copy tonnes of their reviews into a word doc, remove filler words or words like “reviews” and run it through a Word Cloud generator. Find common adjectives people associate with a positive experience with this sort of service.

For example, with mortgages I found it was “quick” and “easy.” So used those in page titles and improved CTR notably. Different adjectives are used in different services very often

(Hat tip to Stacey MacNaught)

Another cool idea is to research your niche courses as these offer the best combination of influencer-driven and user generated content. Online learning marketplaces like Udemy or Skillshare allow you to search online courses and instantly see reviews and demand for those.

Kajabi Marketplace arguably offers more fruitful research opportunities. Kajabi is, after all, a platform that lets you create self-hosted courses, so the course sellers active here are more likely to take topic optimization and discoverability seriously than those active on platforms that promote courses for sellers.

What’s more, the Kajabi Marketplace is curated by Kajabi management to only include the very best and most successful content, so the course products listed here are from only real experts and niche influencers.

Kajabi Marketplace

Once you find a course that may be complimenting your product, click it to see the details and pick up some keyword ideas.

This process will also help you find some niche influencers to possibly work with to promote the products that compliment their business.

(Hat tip to WordStream)

1.3. Add Question Research

Question research is another great source of keywords. You can pick up some question research tools and trick in this article.

Now that you have lots of data to work with, how to make sense of those enormous lists? There’s no way you can create as many landing pages to match all those search queries.

Question Research

1.4. Cluster Your Keywords

Identify groups of keywords by relevancy and optimize your product page for the group of keywords instead of each individual one.

Serpstat’s clustering feature is a great way to make sense of huge keyword lists. It breaks your lists into meaningful groups based on how they are related:

Serpstat's clustering feature

How can this research help both rankings and sales?

Grouping your keywords helps you maintain focus: Instead of trying to target each individual query, it allows you to create landing pages that can get ranked for a variety of keywords within one group and capture all those potential leads.

On the other hand, keyword clustering gives you a better understanding of your niche, types of queries and questions your target audience tends to ask online. This provides you with more structured and organized ideas on how to serve them better.

Step 2: Group Your Keywords by Search Intent


Search intent analysis is the most important aspect of keyword research. It defines all your further actions when it comes to content creation and search engine optimization.

Search intent reflects the most probable kind of action a user is likely to take when searching. In other words, it helps you identify what your target customer intends to do when searching.

There are three main types of search intent: Do – Know – Go

  • Do: Commercial search intent, also known as “transactional” search intent (your target customer intends to buy)
  • Know: Informational search intent (your target customer is exploring the topic)
  • Go: Navigational search intent (your target customer is searching for you or your competitor)

Now, with our step above in mind, instead of assigning intent to each individual query, we try to identify search intent behind our keyword groups, which is much more doable:

Search intent

So what’s next?

2.1. Match Your Landing Page Content to Search Intent

Now that we know what people are searching, create and implement your keyword optimization plan:

Search Intent Type

Landing page type Sales funnel

DO

Use these keywords on your product pages (especially in the title and in the subheadings (H1, H2) Use your primary call-to-action / sales funnel

KNOW

Create articles, guides and tutorials (Linking to product pages from within context as one of the solutions) Use your lead generation funnel to tie these searchers to your brand

GO [Your brand]

Use these keywords on your product pages Use your primary call-to-action / sales funnel

GO [Your competitor’s brand]

Create additional landing page demonstrating the selling point / advantage of your offer/product Use your primary call-to-action / sales funnel: Get creative here!***

2.2. How can this research help both rankings and sales?

Search intent helps you understand your customer better and consequently serve them better. There’s no point in trying to sell right away to someone who has no intention to buy: This will result in page bounces (sending poor signals to Google and losing your leads).

Matching your page content to the search intent results in higher conversions and better page engagement (which is also an important search ranking signal)

Step 3: Create Content Matching Google’s (and Customers’) Expectations


The first two steps may have taken you a couple of days of work. On the bright side, this research will last you for a year or so (before you’ll have to re-address your search positions or introduce a new product)

Now that you know which keyword group refers to each product page, and which action is intended (“buy”, “research” or “research, then buy”), it time that you start creating content.

Google SERPs analysis

Google generates these search snippets based on what it is they have found to be serving the user best. We can reverse-engineer Google’s editorial decision and build the product page that matches both Google’s and users’ expectations best.

That is exactly what TextOptimzer.com is doing: It grabs your query, searches Google and using semantic analysis extracts related terms and categories for you to build the best product page around:

TextOptimzer analyisis

[Text Optimizer urges to create a better copy by suggesting what Google and its users expect to see on that page]

You can use it before you create your page as well as for your existing content (in which case it will compare your content to Google’s SERPs and suggest areas of improvement).

How can this research help both rankings and sales?

Like with search intent, this is another level of matching users’ expectations better, this time using Google search result page analysis.

The idea is, Google has already found that these terms tend to do a better job satisfying their users, so our task is to add them with in the copy to engage those people better, once they land on our page clicking through the search result.

Step 4: Ask and Answer Questions


Niche question research gives you even more insight into your target audience struggles and your own content opportunities. With Google’s “People Also Ask” boxes this research is easier than ever.

Notice those “People Also Ask” boxes all over search results offering users a list of related questions on the topic they have just typed:

Popular questions

Whenever you are working on your product page copy, take note of those “People Also Ask” results and think how they can be utilized.

It makes perfect sense to address popular questions on the landing page. This will accomplish several goals:

  • Improve the page organic rankings (more optimized content generally helps rankings)
  • Get it featured more (Most of those questions trigger “Featured Snippet” results when typed into Google’s search bar)
  • Improve conversions+user engagement by giving your target customers good answers to their questions (and showing how your product can help)

Featured Snippet Tool helps you research People Also Ask opportunities for any page: It checks your domain’s and/or URL’s important search queries and generates “People Also Ask” results for all of them:

People Also Ask tool

How can this research help both rankings and sales?

Questions are highly engaging: Asking a question triggers an “instinctive elaboration” reflex in human beings prompting them to stop and look for an answer. And higher engagement results in more time spent on a web page, more time to consider your offer and a higher likelihood of the conversion.

Putting it All Together: Creating a Search Optimized Product Page


So to make it easier for you, here are your basic steps:

  1. Identify keywords people may be typing into a search box when looking for products and/or solutions you offer (using tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Spyfu)
  2. Group those keywords by meaning using Serpstat clustering
  3. Identify search intent behind each group to map out which group should applied to which landing page
  4. Build content implementing the chosen group of keywords as well as related and neighboring terms using TextOptimizer

Product page keywords

Further reading:

And how do you research keywords for your product and landing pages? Let’s discuss!

The post Keyword Research for Your Product Pages: The Ultimate Guide appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

December 4th 2019 Search Engine Optimization