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5 Ways to Use Google Search Console (Like a Pro)

Google Search Console is a fundamental tool for every successful SEOs toolkit.

The best part?

It’s free!

In this guide, I’ll show you how to use Google Search Console to improve your SEO performance, so you can get more traffic, leads, and customers from organic search.

Let’s jump in.

Before I show some cool tactics, I need to cover the basics.

How to Set Up Google Search Console

1. Go here and enter your email address.

Google Search Console Homepage

2. Click the dropdown on the upper lefthand side.

Step 1

3. Click “Add Property”

Step 2

4. Select the “Domain” option and enter your root domain (example: gotchseo.com). Then click “Continue”.

Step 3

5. Copy the txt record and sign in to your registrar (where you purchased your domain).

Step 4

6. If you’re using GoDaddy, click on “My Products”, look under the “Domains” section to find your domain, and then click on “DNS”.

Step 5

7. Click on “Add” under “Records”.

Step 6

8. Select “TXT”. Enter “@” under “Host”, enter the TXT record you copied from Google Search Console under “TXT Value”, and click “Save”.

Step 7

9. Go back to Google Search Console and click “Verify”. You may end up seeing the “Ownership verification failed” message like this:

Ownership Verification Failed Google Search Console

10. Google recommends waiting a day and then trying to verify again. In most cases, you’ll see the “Ownership auto verified” message like this:

Ownership Auto Verified Google Search Console

The last step is to integrate Google Search Console data with your site’s Google Analytics data.

How to Integrate Google Search Console Data with Google Analytics

1. Go to Google Analytics and click on the target website. Then click on “Acquisition”, “Search Console”, and then “Landing Pages”.

Step 1

You’ll see this screen (click “Set up Search Console data sharing”):

Step 2

If you don’t see your domain on the list, then click on “Add a site to Search Console”.

If you dont see site

As of right now, this is a glitch.

For some reason, when you add a site on the new Google Search Console, it doesn’t add to the old version. Google Analytics is integrated with the old version, so it’s causing some issues.

That said, add the target site to the old version and then go back and refresh the page. It should be showing now.

Select it, make sure it matches the “Web Property” at the top, and click save.

Select site

Click “OK” when you see the “Add association” pop up.

Add Association

Go back to Google Analytics and refresh the page. It should now be integrated.

Integrated

Keep in mind that it will take a few days to start showing data inside Google Analytics.

Now that you’re all set up, let’s jump into how to use this amazing free tool.

5 Ways to Use Google Search Console to Increase Your Traffic

  1. Optimize Crawling and Indexing
  2. Identify Low Hanging Fruits
  3. Increase Organic Search CTR
  4. Perform CRO
  5. Track Branded Search Performance

Optimize Crawling and Indexing

The first way to use Google Search Console is to use the URL Inspection tool.

The URL Inspection tool is useful because you can check the indexation and mobile-friendliness of any URL on your website. Copy any URL and enter into the search bar:

URL inspection tool

You’ll end up on this page and the goal is to have green checkmarks for every option.

URL is on Google

Here’s how it might look if Google hasn’t crawled and indexed a page on your site:

URL is not on Google

What do you do in this scenario?

First, do not “Request Indexing”.

If your page isn’t getting crawled and indexed there’s a reason (or many reasons). You need to audit your site to identify what’s preventing Google from either crawling or indexing your pages.

Let’s start with crawling because Google can’t index a page unless it can crawl it.

There a few possible reasons why Google can’t crawl a page:

  • Your robot.txt file is blocking Google’s crawlers.
  • Your page is buried within your site’s architecture that Google’s crawlers can’t it (or have given up).
  • Your website’s loading speed is too slow and Google’s crawlers give up.

If Google is crawling your site, but your pages aren’t indexed, then it might be because:

  • You’re using the “noindex” tag
  • Your site architecture is poorly structured
  • Your page is slow
  • Your page is unresponsive
  • Your website rarely publishes new content

And many other reasons outside the scope of this guide. The good news is that you can actually use Google Search Console to find some of these issues.

Let’s move onto the “Index” section. Click on “Coverage” and this section will show you every technical issue that Google has found.

Coverage section

If you’re having indexation issues, then see if you have an obvious “Errors” such as “Submitted URL marked ‘noindex’”.

Submitted URL marked noindex

Click through and make sure you actually want these pages to be noindexed.

Affected Pages

Otherwise, remove the noindex tag and Google will crawl and then index it.

If you don’t find the suspect URL in this section, go back to the “Coverage” overview section. Then click on “Excluded”. Scroll down and click on “Excluded by “noindex” tag.

excluded by noindex tag

For example, I want my “Story” page to be indexed in Google, but it’s using the “noindex” tag by accident.

Excluded

If you click on the URL, Google Search Console will give you two options:

  1. Inspect URL
  2. Test Robot.txt Blocking

Two crawl options

Start with “Test Robot.txt Blocking” and see your robot.txt is blocking Google’s crawlers (it will take you to the old version of Google Search Console).

robots txt tester

If it passes the test, move onto the “Inspect URL” option. Make sure you have removed the “noindex” tag from the target page and then click “Request Indexing”.

Request Indexing

You should see the “Indexing requested” confirmation popup.

Indexing Requested

Now just wait a few days (maybe even a week) to see if the page is indexed.

The “Coverage” section is robust and there are many technical issues you can tackle. I recommend digging through the “Excluded” section and fixing each issue one-by-one.

Excluded Section

One other issue you’ll want to look for isn’t as obvious. It’s called index bloat.

This is a very common problem when I’m conducting SEO audits. In short, “index bloat” is when you have pages indexed in Google that shouldn’t be.

This can cause crawl issues, duplicate, and thin content issues, and it can even dilute your site’s authority. I recommend exporting the URLs from the “Valid” and “Submitted and indexed” section.

Valid

The best way to decide if pages should be indexed is by using a combination of data and manual analysis.

Check out the video below on how to perform a content audit. I use Screaming Frog SEO Spider in the demonstration, but the general thought process and nuance will apply no matter what tool you’re using.

Subscribe on YouTube for more free SEO training videos.

The last thing you need to do in the “Coverage” section is to make sure you’ve submitted a sitemap.

Submit Sitemap

Now let’s move onto the “Performance” section.

Identify Low Hanging Fruits

Google Search Console’s “Performance” section is where all the magic happens.

Performance

If you’ve had it installed on your site for a while, you have tons of critical data at your fingertips.

I’m not going to bore you and show you how to look at the data.

Instead, I’m going to show you how to leverage this data to get more organic search traffic.

The first method is to identify low hanging fruits.

A “low hanging fruit” is any keyword phrase ranking from positions #11 – #20.

These keyword phrases are only a few tweaks away from landing on the first page. You know this, but being on the second page of Google is almost like being completely invisible.

To find these low hanging fruits, click on “Average position”.

Average position

Then scroll down and click the filter option.

Filter Position

Check “Position”, select “Greater than” from the dropdown, and enter “11”.

Greater than

These keyword phrases are your low hanging fruits. I recommend going after phrases with the highest volume.

Now the question is:

How?

The fastest method is to make sure the phrase is mentioned on the page. If it’s a high volume keyword, then you may need to create another section on the page.

Google is telling you what keywords should be targeted on that page. Take advantage of it!

First, click on the target keyword phrase.

query

Then click on the “Pages” tab. This tab will show you what page on your site is ranking for that keyword.

Pages tab

Second, view the page and search for the keyword phrase. “Backlink builder” isn’t mentioned once on my guide about backlinks.

Search

That means that the first step is to figure out how to integrate that phrase onto the page. I recommend searching the exact phrase in Google to see what the intent is.

In this case, 7 out of the 10 results are tools.

SERP example

That means it might make sense for me to add a section about “Free Backlink Builder Tools”. I could also reframe it to show a list of the “Top Backlink Builders”.

The key takeaway is to model the search intent for the keyword. In some cases, you can add the keyword variation a few times in the copy (read this guide about on-page SEO).

Once you’ve optimized the page for long-hanging fruits, annotate inside Google Analytics.

Then wait a few weeks. You can go back to Google Search Console and see how that keyword phrase is performing by comparing date ranges.

Click the “Date” filter option. Then click on “Compare” and select the appropriate dates.

Date Filter

You can then see how the page has performed since you made the changes.

Comparison

If it hasn’t produced any movement, then reassess your optimization and content strategy.

If you feel that both categories are on-point, then I recommend examining the UI/UX, your site’s architecture leading to that page, and the backlink profile for that page.

Increase Organic Search CTR

The next way to leverage Google Search Console data is to increase your organic search Click Through Rate (CTR).

There is no faster way to get more organic search traffic than increasing your CTR. Here’s how to do it:

Go to the “Search Results” section, select “Average CTR” and “Average Position”.

Average CTR

Then scroll down and click on the filter button. Select “CTR”, click “Smaller than” from the dropdown, and enter “1.0”.

smaller than 1

Then go back to the filter and select “Position”, click on “Smaller than”, and enter “10”.

smaller than 10

Now you should be looking at keyword phrases that you’re performing well for, but your CTR is lacking.

Bad CTR

Now there are a few things to consider before I explain how to optimize for CTR.

Here are 4 Factors That Will Impact Organic CTR:

  1. your position (lower rankings = lower CTR)
  2. Google Ads (more ads = lower CTR)
  3. SERP features (more SERP features = lower CTR)
  4. search intent

Search intent isn’t as obvious as the others. In general, navigational search phrases (like “Gotch SEO”) that you don’t own will have low CTR. For example, my CTR for “blogger.com” is a brutal 0.1%.

I can push my rankings up further for this phrase, but I know it’s a waste of time and resources. Why?

Because people searching navigational phrases are generally looking for the brand itself. The takeaway is that you prioritize increasing organic search CTR for non-navigational keywords.

That means you should focus on informational keywords like “SEO competitive analysis” or “affordable SEO service”.

Now let me explain how to actually increase your organic search CTR.

How to Increase Organic CTR

Select an informational keyword with low CTR. You should pick a keyword that has low CTR and a high position. Sort the data by “Position” to see the top-ranked keywords.

In this example, I’m going to focus on “buy backlinks for SEO”.

keyword target

Once you’ve selected a target keyword, benchmark its current CTR. I recommend adding this data to an annotation in Google Analytics.

Keep this open because you’ll be adding whatever changes you made to it as well.

Annotate in Google Analytics

Now you need to examine the SERPs for that keyword. The first thing I notice in my situation are the ads.

SERP

Take note of the headlines.

The next thing to consider is my page that’s ranking #1.

Does the search intent for the keyword phrase “buy backlinks for SEO” match my page?

search engine result

I think it’s appropriate that it’s ranking because it is on topic.

However, someone searching “buy backlinks for SEO” seems to already have an objective in their mind. It seems that they already made the decision to “buy backlinks”.

That means they may not want to change their mind about buying links.

That could be a reason why the CTR for this page is suffering.

So, in this example, it doesn’t make much sense for me to change the strategy of my blog post.

This is a good reminder that being an SEO expert isn’t always about what you do. It’s also about what you don’t do.

Since that keyword phrase didn’t pan out, let’s take a look at the keyword phrase: “seo st louis”.

ctr example

From a quick SERP analysis, it’s easy to understand why the CTR is so poor for that page. There’s a Google Ad and the local pack is pushing the organic results below the fold.

SERP features

Now if I was serious about ranking for this keyword phrase, I would focus on the local pack. My page is ranking #2 in organic search and there’s a lot of room for improvement.

SERP features example

The first step to increasing your organic CTR is to improve your position. In this case, I would see a major boost in CTR by moving from the #2 to the #1 spot.

I recommend optimizing, improving, and adding more content. Then if it makes sense, try to acquire links to the page. While that’s happening you also want to try to improve your CTR.

I always look for a featured snippet because that’s an easy way to increase your CTR. You have to restructure and optimize your page for featured snippets.

Take note of a few elements in this example:

  • The #1 result has structured data and breadcrumbs showing
  • The #3 result has site links

That means that our page can also get those features. It makes sense to add reviews to our page that are using structured data.

Not only will these increase the organic CTR, but it will also add more unique user-generated content.

I’ve talked about a lot of technical optimization tactics. Now I want to show you how to optimize your title tags and meta descriptions for CTR.

You’ll need to put on your copywriting hat for this.

The first question is:

What does this searcher want the most when they search “seo st louis”?

This individual wants to work with a competent, trustworthy, and successful SEO company located in St. Louis. They likely want to meet face-to-face and shake your hand.

How do I know?

Because I’ve done exactly that with countless businesses in this area. How business owners operate in St. Louis compared to how they operate in New York City is different.

These nuances are huge. I won’t get into the psychology of midwest culture right now.

That said, your title and meta description should persuade your ideal customer.

So, if you’re targeting business owners in St. Louis, you need to clearly state why you’re the best option.

“Best St. Louis SEO Company” is a good start, but WHY is Gotch SEO the “best”?

Ask yourself:

What does a business owner in St. Louis value the most?

Some things they might value are:

  • Only working with a company that’s located in St. Louis
  • Working with a company that’s willing to meet in person and shake their hand
  • Working with a proven company with a visible track record of results
  • A sense of security that trying SEO again will work this time because it’s never worked in the past

List as many ideas as you can. Step into their shoes. Then, create at least 10 different headlines using these ideas.

Here are some examples:

  • #1 SEO Company Located in St. Louis (with Over 153 5-Star Reviews)
  • #1 St. Louis SEO Company (See Why 134 Other Companies Trust Us)
  • St. Louis SEO Company That’s Driven Over $12,031,231 for Clients
  • Most Trust SEO Company in St. Louis (139 Real 5-Star Reviews)
  • The Only ROI-Driven SEO Company in St. Louis
  • St. Louis SEO Company with Over 1,304,012 First Page Rankings
  • #1 Recommended St. Louis SEO Company (Insane Results for Clients)
  • St. Louis SEO Company – Get 112% More Traffic Like Our Clients
  • St. Louis SEO Company – Get 212% More Revenue Like Our Clients
  • St. Louis SEO Company – See Why 174 Others Trust Us

The combinations are endless. That’s why it’s critical that you test.

Add these same concepts to your meta description as well.

I recommend making your changes and then waiting at least a few weeks to see the results.

Make sure you annotate your changes in Google Analytics.

If you don’t see better performance, then iterate, and test again. There is no “end” to optimizing a website for organic search.

Perform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

The third way to leverage Google Search Console data has nothing to do with SEO.

I recommend that you perform Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) high-performing organic search pages.

Getting traffic is nice, but converting that traffic into leads and new customers are even better.

I won’t get into CRO here, but check out these resources:

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that every single page on your site should have a goal.

It doesn’t have to always be transactional either. In fact, trying to score a sale is a poor strategy because ~98% of website visitors are not ready to buy.

That’s why it’s fundamental that you convert a percentage of that traffic into email subs or get them on a retargeting list.

Track Branded Search Performance

The last way to leverage this data isn’t actually a tactic at all. I recommend monitoring your branded search performance.

Branded Search Performance

While ranking for informational keywords is critical for increasing traffic, branded search is what will keep you afloat when rankings fluctuate.

The question is:

How do you get more branded searches?

You need an all-encompassing marketing strategy outside of SEO.

In general, if you produce exceptional value and your products are excellent, then you’ll get branded searches.

I recommend using Google Search Console to track your branded search performance every month.

If it’s not growing, then you know you need to adjust your strategy.

Bonus Google Search Console Sections to Investigate

Another Google Search Console section you’ll want to investigate is “Enhancements”.

Enhancements section

The “Mobile Usability” section will show you issues impacting the mobile search user’s experience on your website. It’s important to fix anything that shows up here.

Mobile usability section

Think about this way:

If Google is dedicating a section to it, it’s likely an important factor for organic search performance.

The same logic applies to every section within Google Search Console.

The “Security & Manual Actions” section is one to visit if your organic search traffic falls.

security and manual actions

Both manual actions and security-related issues can wreck your traffic. Go to this section first if your traffic plummets.

No manual actions detected

The last section to examine is the “Links” section.

Links

I prefer using Ahrefs for all link analysis, but Google Search Console can give you some solid intel. It doesn’t give you all your link data.

However, it is a decent sample set. One thing to examine is the “Top linking text” section.

Top linking text

This is your external link anchor text profile. Ideally, your “Top linking text” should be branded.

You should also look at the “Internal links” section because it may indicate some inefficiencies with your site architecture.

Internal links section

For example, my “best link building services” page may not have as many crawler pathways as I would like.

Internal links example

The appropriate action would be to create more internal links that page, so it performs better.

The other way to use this section is if you get a manual or algorithmic penalty. In many cases, websites get penalized because of low-quality links and over-optimized anchor text.

How to Clean Up Your Link Profile Using Google Search Console

Click “Export External Links” and select “More sample links”.

Export links

Then copy 200 of these URLs and open up Ahrefs. Go to “More” in the navigation and click on “Batch analysis”.

Ahrefs Batch Analysis

Paste the URLs, click the dropdown under “Target mode”, select “domain with all its subdomains” and start the analysis.

Quick batch analysis ahrefs

Click “Export” and open the file.

Ahrefs batch analysis export

Delete every column except for “Target”, “Domain Rating”, “Ref domains Dofollow”, “Total Backlinks”, “Total Keywords”, and “Total Traffic”. Then copy the data and paste into the Google Sheet (or you can filter through it in the .csv).

backlink profile analysis

I would filter the links by “Domain Rating” and then manually go through each link.

You can categorize them as “Good, Okay, Bad”.

I won’t get into link analysis here, but I recommend reading this article about the best link building services and my backlinks guide.

These will both give you a framework for what a quality link looks like.

That’s a Wrap!

Google Search Console is a robust free SEO tool that cannot be overlooked. Take advantage of it and start increasing your organic search traffic.

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How to Communicate the Importance of SEO to Your Boss

If you’ve been in SEO for any amount of time, chances are you’ve ran into others who just don’t seem to geek out about 404s, redirects, backlinks, spiders, canonicals, and indexing the way you do. Instead, when you discuss any on of these elements in public, you probably just get a blank, confused look in return.

This is pretty standard, but when you’re getting that same look from the decision makers in your company, that may be more of a problem.

SEO is an important component to any business’s success. Many small business owners and CEOs, however, are often uninformed and uneasy about diving into SEO. They know that they need it, but they don’t know how it works or understand the great time commitment and value of it.

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Whether you work for an agency or an in-house marketing team, trying to convince executives to bolster their SEO budget can be a good challenge. There are some simple tricks, though, that can help you communicate the importance of SEO and the reasoning behind your tactics and choices.

1.  Help Them Understand the Terminology

Every field has its own industry jargon. The SEO industry isn’t any different. The same way your eyes glaze over when the accountants start getting excited about their extensive spreadsheets, someone from another department will easily get lost when you start busting out the industry lingo.

Coming into the SEO conversation with this realization will help you lay a good starting point.

Take time to teach and educate your audience about the basics of SEO and clearly define any and all jargon terms. Clarifying, defining and discussing relevant metrics can also be handy in helping your audience get a better grasp of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

2.  Explain Exactly Why You’re Taking a Certain Course of Action

SEO involves a lot of work that happens behind the scenes and doesn’t often yield instant results.

Many people in business have a hard time trusting SEO because it doesn’t deliver the kind of results they want in their desired timeframe. It can be difficult to convince the boss of your proposed course of action when there is a lack of tangible benchmarks and no set timeframes.

As you explain why you chose to do something or why you made a certain decision, try to keep the overall big picture or goal in mind and to explain both what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

For example, if you discovered an epidemic of duplicate content on the site, you might immediately set about rewriting the content or redirecting unneeded pages the ones you want to focus on. Your boss may then question you about that. After all, why not leave those pages alone because the more content – even duplicate content – is just more exposure, right?

Communicate SEO3.jpg

Well, since you’re an SEO professional, you know all the reasons why duplicate content is a bad idea.  And when they ask about it, you could fall back on the old standby reasoning: “Because Google hates it.” But that’s not enough to satisfy your boss’s need for information.

Instead, explain a little more about how Google works, how the same content would literally compete with itself on the search engines, and all the other reasons beyond “Google doesn’t like it.” They’ll have less questions when you pre-load them with the right answers.

3.  Craft the Right Explanation for the Audience

Depending on the size of your organization, you may have regular meetings with a variety of audiences. People from the IT department to the marketing department to the executive office will want to know what’s going on and why SEO matters.

People in IT would like to know the technical details as well as any fixes or bugs that need to be worked out. The marketing department would be more interested in how SEO is attracting the right audience to the website, and the executive leadership will likely care less about what your SEO plan is, as long as it boosts the company’s bottom line.

If you want higher support and buy-in of your SEO plan, you need to know your audience. Then you can format your presentation in a way that “speaks their language.”

For example, a meeting with IT personnel may entail how certain technical implementations will be needed to make the website more mobile-friendly. A similar meeting with leadership may involve discussions about the time and resources that your SEO plan will need, the opportunities that it will open up, and the potential ROI that can result should the plan be successful.

4.  Document, Document, Document

When talking to others who don’t know much about SEO, you may get a lot of blank stares and sarcastic remarks. For all they know, you could just be taking advantage of their ignorance and making things up.Communicate SEO1.jpg

This is why you need documentation and data to back up your SEO strategy, your reports, and your claims of success. Again, it is important to focus on particular metrics that would be most beneficial and interesting to the audience. Keep your explanation simple and limit SEO jargon.

5.  Build Your Personal and Your SEO Credibility

It can be difficult to prove the power of SEO to executives. It can also be just as difficult for you to be taken seriously.

How do you build your own credibility so that leadership will listen to you?

It begins by being a leader in your department. Write articles on behalf of the company, answer questions customers may have in the company’s website content, and provide valuable industry resources, such as how-to guides.

Like we mentioned above, you need to document all of this to show how your SEO efforts help contribute to increasing the company’s bottom line. To accomplish this, you may try the following:

Record conversion data from organic search traffic and equate those numbers to revenue. Get set up on Google Analytics and Google’s Search Console, so you can monitor revenue from contact forms and e-commerce, which will speak to leadership and the marketing department.

Report on how you are doing compared to competitors. Compile a list of 5-10 competitors who are currently beating your company for the top 10 keywords and show what the average monthly search volume of those keywords or terms are. Showing these lost opportunities can be enough to spur any executive to bolster and support your SEO efforts.

How CEOs See SEO

Many business executives know that SEO is a crucial component of their company’s success. However, they may not know or care to know how SEO works.

That’s why they want someone to do it for them.

However, you can geek out on them all day long about how this or that is doing great and blowing the competition out of the water, and they just won’t seem to get on board with your enthusiasm.

Again, they just care about the company’s bottom line.

Some CEOs have some knowledge of SEO and understand how it basically works. It is still a good idea to rein in your zealous enthusiasm and spare them of all the stats and numbers. You can touch on the SEO topics they are familiar with, but avoid the urge to go too deep. As much as they may be interested, they have busy schedules and want to know if the resources going to SEO is paying off.

The best way to deal with this is to agree on some clear key performance indicators before the campaign even starts. Since SEO takes time, monthly check-in meetings are also good ideas to keep leadership informed and reassured that you are gradually but consistently moving toward those KPIs.

It can be hard to get support for an SEO initiative. It can also be frustrating communicating with others who don’t understand the nature and workings of the search engines. Knowing your audience, proving the value of SEO, and always using data to back-up the successes of your strategy are some ways these difficult and frustrating conversations can become more successful.

 

Got some buy-in on SEO already? Are you ready to push for more social media action? Download your free Social Media Checklist and make sure you’re ready to get started.

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Rand Fishkin: Google oggi è il competitor di tutti i siti web

Keynote di Rand Fishkin sull'evoluzione di Google

La scorsa settimana, parlando delle reazioni della comunità SEO all’attacco del Wall Street Journal contro Google, avevamo riportato anche la posizione di Rand Fishkin, sottolineando come fosse significativo il suo intervento in difesa di Big G, contro cui il fondatore di Moz e di Sparktoro non è mai stato particolarmente tenero. Ed ecco che arriva una nuova conferma, con l’intervento “Google in 2020: From Everyone’s Search Engine to Everyone’s Competitor” con cui Fishkin ha aperto l’evento SMX East a New York.

Google è il nuovo competitor di tutti i siti

Dalle pagine del blog della sua (nuova) compagnia, Fishkin spiega il ragionamento che ha portato avanti nel suo intervento (oltre 80 slide, leggibili sempre all’interno della pagina): Google sta abbandonando il suo ruolo di motore di ricerca (search engine) per avvicinarsi a un motore di risposta (answer to engine) e, tendenza sempre più recente ed evidente, a competitor diretto di un numero enorme di siti e settori di business.

Sempre più strumenti, funzioni e risorse per catturare utenti

In questa ottica, la strada per i web marketer sembra chiara e segnata: la più grande fonte di traffico sul web – gratuita e a pagamento – sta diventando un “giardino recintato“, interessato non solo a mantenere le persone nelle sue proprietà, ma a competere direttamente con le realtà che l’hanno aiutato a diventare un potere monopolistico e dominante. Lo abbiamo visto di recente con Google Shopping, ma anche con gli esempi di SERP senza link e con box diretto di risposta.

Come diversificare le fonti di traffico secondo Rand Fishkin

Secondo Fishkin, “se sei un marketer o un’azienda che si affida a Google hai ancora tantissime opportunità, almeno nella maggior parte dei settori – mi dispiace per Expedia, Yelp, TripAdvisor e chiunque cerchi di competere contro YouTube”. Tuttavia, per stare al passo bisogna pianificare il metodo giusto di diversificare le fonti di traffico, far crescere la domanda branded al di fuori della ricerca e come guadagnare valore dalle ricerche a zero clic.

Nuove stime sull’erosione di traffico organico

Proprio su quest’ultimo fronte arrivano nuovi dati che confermano l’erosione dei clic provenienti dalle pagine di ricerca di Google: oltre la metà delle ricerche su Google da mobile e quasi il 35% da desktop si è conclusa senza che l’utente abbia poi visitato altri contenuti, come segnala l’analisi di Jumpshot. Inoltre, secondo Fishkin la tendenza continua a essere un calo dell’organico a fronte di un aumento di ricerche che si completano su Ads o con nessun clic.

Quota di mercato dei motori di ricerca

Il 7,5 delle ricerche porta a proprietà Google

Nello specifico, solo a settembre 2019 “il 7,5% di tutte le ricerche ha portato a un clic su una proprietà Alphabet“, ovvero la holding che controlla Google e le altre aziende collegate. Quindi, già oggi “Google è il principale beneficiario della Ricerca su Google, perché nessun altro sito si avvicina a quel dato del 7,5%”, emerge dall’indagine. Basti pensare, come dicevamo anche in un altro articolo sull’ottimizzazione SEO delle immagini, che il secondo motore di ricerca più usato è Google Immagini!

Google lancia la sfida a ogni sito e settore

Ma non c’è solo questo da evidenziare, perché Google è entrato in competizione in tanti altri settori attraverso le risposte dirette e le “incursioni” in nicchie verticali, come meteo, viaggi, locali e recensioni, che consentono all’utente di ottenere le informazioni richieste senza mai fare clic sui siti che hanno originariamente pubblicato questi contenuti.

Portando come dimostrazione i risultati di Google Hotels, Flights, Jobs Search, del “local pack” e degli altri tipi di rich results che compaiono sulla pagina principale dei risultati, Fishkin afferma che “la tendenza è molto diffusa” e sottrae traffico e business “a Skyscanner e Kayak nei viaggi, a Eater e Yelp nei risultati local, da US News e FiveThirtyEight nelle classifiche dei college, a Wunderground e Weather.com per il meteo, a MetaCritic e PC Game”. In pratica, tutti i siti tranne quelli di Alphabet stanno perdendo quando si cercano temi di “cultura popolare e media“.

Come resistere a Google?

Cosa possono fare i siti per continuare a competere? Nel suo intervento, l’esperto SEO offre qualche indicazione pratica: il primo passo è ” trovare il modo di rendere il nostro marchio quello che cercano gli utenti”, ovvero brandizzare la ricerca. Proseguendo l’esempio sulle previsioni, “non voglio più solo traffico per la keyword meteo, ma voglio ricerche per il mio marchio, per Weather Underground, Weather.com e Weather Channel”.

Esempio di query monopolizzata da Google

Puntare su ricerche branded e rafforzare il marchio

Inoltre, bisogna trovare il modo di beneficiare delle ricerche a zero clic, cercando di posizionarsi nei featured snippet con contenuti mirati e guadagnare così la fiducia e la familiarità degli utenti verso il proprio brand, che può aiutare la visibilità. Anche l’acquisto di Ads può essere pensato come strategia, così come possono risultare utili campagne promozionali offline vecchio stampo, come “cartelloni pubblicitari, annunci radiofonici e televisivi”, che possono influenzare il comportamento di ricerca.

È poi importante implementare correttamente il knowledge panel legato al proprio brand, certificandone la proprietà e chiedendo eventualmente modifiche se necessario, perché questa feature può aiutare a influenzare positivamente la percezione del marchio. Insomma, secondo Rand Fishkin dobbiamo pensare alla gestione della reputazione e alla branding awareness in ottica SEO per ottimizzare i risultati delle ricerche branded.

Le strategie per continuare a competere

Si pone a questo punto il classico dilemma del prigioniero, che per i siti assume questa forma: “Ottimizzo i contenuti per le ricerche a zero clic, per fornire queste risposte, contrassegno i miei risultati nel modo in cui Google li vuole, ma dall’altro lato mi espongo a una consequenziale perdita di traffico organico dalle ricerche”.

Dilemma SEO: ottimizzare o no per rich snippet?

La soluzione al dilemma del prigioniero SEO

Il meccanismo suggerito per uscir fuori da questo dubbio divide il problema in due categorie: un percorso da seguire per tutti i tipi di contenuto che possono emergere come rich results (l’immagine qui sopra) e un’altra specifica per i risultati di ricerca derivati ​​da dati strutturati (l’immagine successiva).

I siti che si trovano nel primo caso devono porsi due domande: “ho benefici nel posizionarmi per questa query anche senza traffico?”, seguita da “il mio team o cliente darà credito ai posizionamenti che non portano traffico?”. In caso di risposta affermativa a entrambe le domande, si deve investire in quella che Fishkin definisce On-Serp SEO, ovvero l’ottimizzazione per i rich results e le altre feature proposte da Google; altrimenti, bisogna focalizzare gli sforzi sulle parole chiave che generano (ancora) traffico.

Per i dati strutturati, le domande sono “guadagno o perdo valore aggiungendo dati strutturati che Google potrebbe usare in un box di risposta diretta?”, e poi “preferisco piazzarmi in un answer box o cederlo a un competitor per focalizzarmi su altre parole chiave?”. Se le risposte sono positive, si andrà a lavorare all’aggiunta dei dati strutturati, mentre in caso opposto conviene da subito spostare la strategia verso altre opportunità.

Soluzioni per chi opera con dati strutturati

Creare una domanda per il brand per proteggersi da Google

In definitiva, ogni sito deve cercare di proteggersi dalla competizione che sicuramente Google porterà in ogni settore, ma Fishkin lascia un messaggio di speranza dicendo che “abbiamo opportunità per costruire il nostro brand e avere successo”. È chiaro che basarsi sui motori di ricerca per raggiungere i clienti rende intrinsecamente i marchi dipendenti dal modo in cui tali motori di ricerca forniscono risultati: tuttavia, integrando gli sforzi SEO con una strategia che crea domanda per il brand potremmo riuscire a preservarci da questi cambiamenti e stare al passo con la concorrenza.

L’articolo Rand Fishkin: Google oggi è il competitor di tutti i siti web proviene da SEOZoom.

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Throwback: Old Online Trends That Have Gone Stale

If you work in any technology-based company or sector, you know things are always changing. What was standard practice and trendy and new one day or week becomes outdated and ineffective the next. As SEO trends constantly come and go, one simply can’t afford to not change. It is a company’s flexibility and ability to accept and support constant change that often succeeds.

If you’re interested in entering the technology field or you’re returning to the industry after a long break, here are some of the old online trends to avoid. You’ll notice these trends were once the accepted but have since grown stale and have fallen by the wayside:

Music Playing Website

 

As if hold music or elevator music wasn’t bearable, there was a time when companies welcomed visitors to their website with this awful, outdated music. This old online trend quickly became a no-no as website visitors quickly left a site.

“Click Here!” Linked Buttons

 

These forms of old online trends are still heavily used even though they aren’t as effective as other types of linked text. Web users now are in a hurry and want context to what kind of website a text link will take them to. The generic “click here” doesn’t tell the busy web user what the linked page is about and whether they would benefit by clicking through to it.

Long Sales Letters

 

There are multiple reasons the long sales letters disappeared. The largest two reasons being the fact that print is now largely out of date, being replaced with everything digitally, and the other being the short patience and attention spans of busy consumers who don’t want to read long text.

Buying Links

 

While a good link building campaign still has value today, the link building process has changed. The old online trend of buying links was common practice, but that technique of getting links is a serious no-no that violates SEO ethics and best practice today. Before buying links was a thing, anyone could link to whatever and however many of external pages as they liked. This caught the attention of Google, the largest search engine who put a stop to this form of link spamming with its Penguin algorithm. Since then it’s become important to consider where you’re linking to and the authority of that site.Linking to quality sites gains credibility for your site as well as the trust of Google and web users. Instead of buying links, it is acceptable to “trade” for links via guest posting and blogging outreach.

Yellow Page Advertising

 

Back in the day, the “Yellow Pages,” or phone book was delivered to each home. It contained a large, local business directory. If you needed a company’s phone number, hours, location or briefly see what they specialized in, you would look it up in the “Yellow Pages.” In addition to basic business information, some businesses would grab reader’s attention through sprinkling ads throughout the phone book. These old online trends was a good idea then. Now, however, with the widespread use and accessibility of the computer and Internet and smartphones, people now have immediate access to the same vital business information on the go.

Keyword Stuffing

 

In the past, SEO specialists and programmers were overzealous in their use of keywords. The use of keywords in a piece of content made it hard to read and understand. This caught the eye of Google who implemented the Panda algorithm to put a stop to the practice. The use of keywords in online content is still important today, but, now inserting an amount of keywords exceeding 3% of the content is looked down upon.

Artsy and Hard to Read Fonts

 

With all the websites out there, people use to use a variety of ridiculous fonts such as comic sans and papyrus to show the unique style and personality of the brand. However, these fonts were also distracting and

hard to read. Now, its more professional and credible to use an easy to read font such as a Times New Roman or Calibri and avoid the old online trend of overly artsy fonts.

Phony Stock Photos

 

While numerous organizations and companies still use stock photos on their websites and printed collateral, the stock photos of today are vastly better than their predecessors. The use of staged, grainy obviously noticeable stock photos are unpopular as these old online trends lower a brand’s credible perception.

Distracting Websites

 

Back in the day an overly busy website was seen as a way to impress the website visitor, make one’s website memorable in the sea of millions of other websites. Little did developers know how distracting and confusing these old online trends made their website. Today, developers are more focused on the user’s experience. This has resulted in an easy-to navigate, simplistic, yet creative looking websites.

Print Media

 

Print media has seen a similar to the demise of the “Yellow Pages” and phone book advertising. While print media is till widely used in advertising and in journalism, many consumers access information online via the internet on their smartphones. With the popularity of online media, many advertisers and news outlets have developed digital copies of their content.

Whether you’re an “old school” SEOer who has resisted changing with the times or you’re a new SEO specialist, avoid these common old online trends. They will keep you living in the “dark ages” and prevent you from seeing results in your company’s SEO strategies and campaigns.

If you’re a business owner and aren’t familiar with SEO and its current best practices, contact the specialists at SEO.com. We are a full-service internet marketing firm helping businesses both large and small with all aspects of their online presence.  Our staff has been in the industry for numerous years and know the current SEO online trends.  Contact us today to learn how we can help update your SEO strategy to be in alignment with current online trends.

The post Throwback: Old Online Trends That Have Gone Stale appeared first on SEO.com.

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