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Needless to say I went right out and picked up a copy. The article alone is worth the price of the magazine (about $5 US). One of Wired magazine’s senior writers interviewed a few members of Google’s team and a member of Bing was also interviewed. This is a really great piece, I recommend reading it. One of the points mentioned in the article that Brad brought up is the varying results for the same term when searching on Google. Since I’m not giving away anything Brad hasn’t already from the article, I feel okay expounding on my opinion about one revelation of the many revealed in Wired.
Google revealed they are placing users in two different algorithms when performing searches. One is the normal or “control” algorithm and the other is the “test”. If a user gets different results than normal the chances are he/she just got to experience the test algorithm. I was sharing this news with a client who asked me days earlier why he got different results in Google from time to time. So I called him back and explained what he might be experiencing. He responded, “What? You mean they are intentionally skewing the results? That’s not fun.” And I have to admit for a split second I agreed with him.
How are these results different from the usual?
Are these results better than what I normally find? If so how?
Would these new alerts benefit my clients? What challenges would they present?
I realize that this may seem trivial, attempting to look at what Google is testing in order to predict what may come. Ultimately no one knows what Google will do but Google. But come on, you can’t tell me a chance to see what is being tested isn’t intriguing. Part of SEO is staying on top of trends and changes. Google is offering us a chance to look at what is being considered. I think this is incredible. What do you think?
Joshua Titsworth is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Chemidex. Josh maintains the SEO and SMM in addition to assisting with the PPC and Google Analytics reporting. While off the clock he volunteers as a SEO consult to his church in Olathe, KS, as well as to other non-profits in the area. When M.I.A. online he can be found roaming golf courses in search of his shanked golf balls. You can touch base with Josh on his twitter account @joshuatitsworth.
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Google published a new video offering six tips for how to make ecommerce sites eligible for special presentations in the search results.
The video began by highlighting three key elements that help ecommerce product pages stand out:
Images help site visitors understand products
Star ratings increase trust
Pricing and availability helps shoppers choose between sellers
Some of those elements depend on product structured data to make them eligible for enhanced listings, while others require participation in Google’s Merchant Center Feed.1. Title Tags
Kent discusses title links, the links shown in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that are generated from webpage title tags.
He explains that if the title element doesn’t adequately describe what the webpage is about that Google will rewrite it, using content from the heading at the top of the page or even the anchor text from links to the webpage.
“A good title link can greatly help users understand your offering, bringing quality traffic to your site.
…Low quality title links can harm a users’s impression of your site.”
Alan cautions against using dynamically generated title tags to add availability or price data to the title tag because there’s a lag between when the title tag is updated and when Google eventually shows the updated title link in the SERPs. By this time, the information may be outdated.
He recommends using a Google site: search to double-check what the title tags might look like when displayed in the search results.2. Include High Quality Images
High quality images are a user experience consideration in that they help potential customers make up their minds about a product.
Alan Kent shared:
“We’ve observed that users generally respond well to high quality images and recommend that key images be at least 1200 pixels wide.”
He recommends auditing the site for low quality images and replacing them with higher quality photos.
Lastly, he encourages using product structured data to help Google identify the correct images to show in the search results.
Many businesses consider things like images in terms of how they may help their webpage rank better in the search results.
But it’s more productive to consider product images in terms of how they help users decide to purchase a product.
That means if there’s a question about the size of the product, then it might make sense to juxtapose the product with an everyday object approximately the same size.
Different angles can be helpful, as can showing what clothing looks like on a model, what furniture may look like in a room, or how fencing might look attractive in a yard.3. Share Rich Product Data
Structured data helps Google better understand webpages and makes them eligible to be displayed as rich results, what he referred to as “special presentation treatments” in the search results.
The following are essential elements for product structured data to include:
Check Google’s product structured data guidelines to see what properties are required and which are optional. The structured data guidelines are constantly changing, which can cause a product page to lose its enhanced listing in the search results when the structured data no longer conforms to Google’s requirements.
For troubleshooting, use the Search Console URL Indexing tool to check if the page is indexed and then use the Rich Results Test Tool to see if there are any structured data errors.4. Share Price Drop Data
Appearing in the search results with a special price drop presentation isn’t guaranteed.
To make a page eligible for price drop rich results, you must include the Offer property in the product structured data that is a specific price point and not a price range.5. Identify Products You Sell 6. Create a Business Profile
Lastly, Kent recommends creating a Google Business Profile if the business has a physical presence.
“This can be done via the Google Business Profile Manager.”
Following this tip makes a site eligible for a special listing alongside the search results.
This type of listing is only available for businesses with a physical store presence or a covered service area.Citations Resources cited
Control your title links in search results
Robots.txt meta tag specification
Google Search gallery of structured data usage
Product structured data, including pricing information
Register your Google business profileWatch the Google YouTube Video
How to Make Your Ecommerce Website Stand Out in Google Search (6 Tips)
Featured image screenshot by the author
Google Search is gaining the Full Coverage feature for breaking news results which provides more context about stories from multiple sources.
Full Coverage was first introduced in Google News in 2023. Google promised a wider rollout to regular search results in 2023, but that never materialized.
Now, two years later than expected, Full Coverage is finally available in search results.
If you’re not a regular user of the Google News app you may never have encountered Full Coverage before. Here’s more about what it is and how it may help drive more traffic to publishers.What is Google’s Full Coverage Feature?
Google’s Full Coverage uses artificial intelligence to connect related stories together in real-time.
As the name implies, Full Coverage is designed to give users a complete look at how a story is being reported on from a variety of sources. It helps users follow the story as it progresses.
This is not a feature that will be available for every news story. Full Coverage is primarily used for stories that develop over a period of time.
For example, the launch of a new iPhone is not likely to trigger Google’s Full Coverage feature because that’s an event that happens once and then it’s done.
An event like the COVID-19 pandemic is much more likely to trigger the Full Coverage feature as it’s a story that evolves over time.
This feature will surface more sources in search results for certain stories, which has the potential to drive more traffic.
There’s no special way to optimize news articles for Google’s Full Coverage other than to publish the news and optimize the web page as you normally would. Google decides when it’s necessary to utilize Full Coverage.
Google’s AI is capable of understanding the people, places, and things involved in a story and how they relate to each other. Full Coverage organizes articles into storylines as the news event unfolds.
There are no human editors involved in curating the stories and the results included in the Full Coverage section are not personalized. Everyone sees the same storyline.What Does Full Coverage Look Like?
When searching for information on a breaking news story, users will see a View Full Coverage button after scrolling to the end of the top stories carousel.
A View Full Coverage button can also be found by selecting “More news on…” right below the top stories carousel.
“With this launch, we’re introducing new technology that is able to detect long-running news stories that span many days, like the Super Bowl, to many weeks or months like the COVID-19 pandemic. We then organize the Full Coverage page to help people easily find top news along with additional content like explainers and local coverage that are helpful to understanding these complex stories.”
Full Coverage is available in Google’s mobile search results starting today in US English. It will be rolled out to more countries and more locations in the coming months.
Google mysteriously began showing the wrong result for Twitter on Thursday December 6, 2023. Multiple theories on why immediately popped up. The real reason turned out to be surprising and also led to even more questions.Google Shows Wrong Title for Twitter
I discovered this earlier in the day and didn’t think about it until I saw a tweet by Bill Hartzer (@bhartzer) about it on Twitter, where he asked,
“Why is Google showing a random Twitter account in the SERPS for Twitter?”
The most immediate suspect was that a rogue hacker had hijacked Twitter and was redirecting it.
Another theory pointed the finger at Google, that it was Google’s fault.
Google’s become so complex, it wasn’t entirely unreasonable to assume that Google was the culprit. Google accidentally removed an entire website from the index just a few days ago.
When you reverse the search and search for the ReallySlowMotion Twitter account, here is what Google showed:Who was to blame?
Ex-Googler Pedro Dias (@pedrodias) suggested the culprit might be canonicals. In the world of SEO, canonicals are like the butlers in those mystery novels who always seem suspicious.
“Probably, for some reason Google chose that url as canonical for Twitter root URL.”Cache Adds to the Mystery
Then another clue made the whole mystery clear as mud.
Here’s what Martin tweeted:
“The canonical, on the non JS enabled version of the desktop twitter homepage (that took a while to actually get to) points at the wrong page for some reason.”
And there you have it! The answer may be that Twitter is showing the wrong canonical.Twitter Title Mystery Solved?
How did that wrong canonical end up on Twitter’s home page?
Was Twitter hacked?
Was it an innocent mistake?
What has been suggested is that Twitter’s canonical tag is incorrect. How that happened is a mystery.More Resources
If you want more specific results in Google, these Google Search Operators will surely help you. From getting a time-specific result to selecting the file type, you can do everything with the help of the following Google search tips and tricks.Useful Google Search Operators
Using Google search operators, you can get specific results like:
Find time-specific result
Select the type of file
Find website specific result
Force an exact match
Check the cached version
Find pages with a particular word in the title
Find pages with a particular word in the URL
Find the map of a location
Find location-specific result
Exclude a term from the search result
Let’s check out these operators in detail.1] Find time-specific result
If you are trying to find news or you want to find something that was published a specific time back, you should use this filter. You do not need to type this operator as Google offers a user-friendly option to select the time range as per your requirement.2] Select the type of file
If you are trying to learn something online or finding a book and you need a PDF for that, you can make use of this filter. All you need is to tweak your regular search term a bit.your-keyword filetype:file-extension
let’s assume that you want to download a PDF related to Windows 10. For that, you can enter the search term like this-windows 10 filetype:PDF 3] Find website specific result
If you want to search for something on a specific website, but the provided search box seems to be broken, you can use Google as a substitute. You need to use the site search operator. It should look like this-4] Force an exact match
At times, you might not get what you are trying to find, as Google can show all the results based on the search term. However, if you use double inverted commas around your keyphrase, it will show the exact match results. For example, you want to find IKEA office tables. For that, you should enter the search keyword like this-“IKEA office tables” 5] Check the cached version
If you are trying to open a website, but it is down as of now, you can use the cached version. On the other hand, if you are a website admin and you want to check the last date of Google crawl, you can make use of the cache search operator, like this for example-6] Find pages with a particular word in the title
If you want to read some news articles about a specific event, you can use this search operator. It helps you find all the pages with a desired word in the title.
For example, you want to find all the pages that have “Windows 10” in the title. For that, you need to enter the search term like this-intitle:windows 10 7] Find pages with a particular word in URL
It is almost the same as the intitle search operator. At times, you might need to find all the webpages that have a particular word in the URL. For that, you can use the inurl: operator. The process is the same as before.inurl:search-term
If you want to include “Windows” in the URL, you need to enter the keyword like this-Microsoft inurl:windows 8] Find the map of a location
Although Google Maps shows the map of almost any location in the world, you can get a quick preview in the Google search as well. All you need is to use the map search operator. You need to enter the keyword like this-map:your-location
The only problem with this map is that you cannot find direction. It shows only popular businesses, cinema halls, public transports, etc. To find the direction from one place to another, you must use Google Maps.9] Find location specific result
If you want to get all the results about an event of a specific location in the world, you can use the location search operator.
At times, you might want to get some news articles related to an event that took place somewhere. To find all the news related to that event, you can enter a search term like this-keyword location:location-name 10] Exclude a term from the search result
Let’s assume that you want to get results for a keyword, but you want to exclude a particular word at the same time. At such a moment, you can use the minus sign. In the end, it looks like this-Search keyword -exclusion
For example,Google maps -navigate
It should show all the Google Maps related result,s but you cannot find the word, navigate, in the Google search result page.
These are some Google search operators that you may find useful.
Google prefers ranking content from YouTube over other video sources, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal.
When Facebook and other competitors host a video that also appears on YouTube, Google will allegedly push the YouTube result ahead of others in search results.
The Wall Street Journal claims tests show YouTube ends up first in the Google Search video carousel more often than not.
Further, YouTube results frequently take up most of the slots in Google’s video carousels.
“The Journal conducted Google searches for a selection of other videos and channels that are available on YouTube as well as on competitors’ platforms. The YouTube versions were significantly more prominent in the results in the vast majority of cases.”
If true, a case can be made that Google is engaging in anti-competitive behavior.
However, these allegations are difficult to prove.
Here are more highlights from WSJ’s report, including how it arrived at these conclusions.Does YouTube Have An Unfair Advantage in Google Search?
The Wall Street Journal is clear about what it’s trying to prove in its report.
“Engineers at Google have made changes that effectively preference YouTube over other video sources, according to people familiar with the matter.
Google executives in recent years made decisions to prioritize YouTube on the first page of search results, in part to drive traffic to YouTube rather than to competitors…”
Here’s what was found to show up most frequently in the first spot of Google’s video carousel.
YouTube vs. Facebook Watch: YouTube is first 95% of the time versus 5% of the time for Facebook.
YouTube vs. Twitch: YouTube is first 86% of the time versus 14% of the time for Twitch.
YouTube vs. Dailymotion: YouTube is first 82% of the time versus 18% of the time for Dailymotion.
Videos on YouTube will even rank first when they receive more views and engagement on other platforms, WSJ finds.
In fact, WSJ deliberately chose content with more engagement on other platforms in an effort to detected “skewed” results in Google search.
“The tests found that video results in a large majority of cases featured YouTube videos ahead of the same or very similar versions of the videos available on competitor sites, even when the actual views and followers were higher on the competitor sites.”
The disparity was particularly evident in comparing results from YouTube against Twitch.
When searching Google for seven of the most popular streamers on Twitch, the video carousel would rank YouTube results in the first position most often.
“Out of a total of 69 carousel slots, Twitch occupied only four,” the report states.What Does This Mean For Marketers?
Again, these claims are all alleged, and Google’s official stance is that it does not give preference to YouTube in search results.
Going strictly off of data gathered by the Wall Street Journal – marketers should strongly consider uploading all videos to YouTube in order to have the best chance of getting them surfaced in search results.
That means if you have a video that went viral on Facebook, for example, also upload it to YouTube if you haven’t already.
Regardless of how much engagement a video receives on other platforms, this report indicates the video will underperform in Google Search unless it’s uploaded to YouTube.
It’s up to video publishers themselves to drive traffic where it would best serve them.
If Facebook is your priority, then it may be helpful adding a disclaimer on YouTube saying: “This video first appeared on our Facebook page. Follow now for similar videos.”
Twitch streamers are exceptionally good at this. It’s rare to find a YouTube video from a Twitch streamer without several calls-to-action to follow them on other platforms.
That’s a sound strategy for all publishers right now, unless Google acknowledges there’s a problem with the video carousel and changes it.Methodology
Of the searches, 82 returned a video carousel. The relative placement of results were then compared.
For the Twitch tests specifically, the WSJ searched Google for the handles of the seven most-followed still active on Twitch to bring up their videos.
To carry out these tests, WSJ created computers in the cloud that presented unique IP addresses for each search.
For more details about these tests and how they were conducted, see the full report here.
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