Tag Archives: SEO

How Social Signals Impact Search Behavior

22 Feb
Screen shot 2014-02-22 at 9.55.07 AM

Image From the Study shows eye-tracking data where one subject skipped the first two non-annotated results, focused on the socially-annotated results, and then clicked on them.

I came across a recent Google study about how social annotations impact users’ interactions with a SERP.

The full text of the study, “Perception and Understanding of Social Annotations in Web Search” is available online.

Here’s an excerpt from the study’s conclusion. To me, this language indicates that, based on searchers’ behavior, social signals will become even more important in the future:

“As the web becomes increasingly social, more and more information signals come from social sources. Users expect and demand to be able to search for socially-sourced information. Appropriately making use of social annotations to explain these social search results, therefore, becomes a necessity. While much work has gone into using social signals for search, much less is known about how users can and will make use of social annotations to make decisions during search sessions….

As web users become more social, they bring their social context to search and they expect and demand search engines to make use of this social context. Our research is a step toward this direction by investigating how social annotations affect user search behavior.”

The Takeaway?

This study shows that users are gravitating toward search results with social data and authorship snippets. To stay ahead of the curve, keep building influence across social networks and get your Google+ profile, pages, and authorship set up. Search will only become more social in years to come.

 

35 Top Tools for SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing

3 Feb

moz robotHave you seen the Moz 2014 Industry Survey yet? The survey polls 3,700 SEO and marketing professionals about their behavior and outlook for the year.

Content Marketing Will Be Big in 2014

One takeaway from the survey is that content marketing will be a big initiative in 2014. Content creation was named as a top five priority across the in-house, agency, and independent marketers surveyed. Moz also reveals that the demand for content marketing has increased 71% year-over-year.

In addition to industry insights, the Moz survey shares the top tools used for SEO, social media marketing, and content creation. Below are the results for each category (plus five picks of my own) with links to the tools for  you to explore!

 Top 10 SEO Tools

  1. Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Moz
  3. Open Site Explorer
  4. Majestic SEO
  5. Screaming Frog
  6. Bing Webmaster
  7. Yoast
  8. SEMrush
  9. ahrefs
  10. Firebug

Top 10 Social Media Tools

  1. Facebook Insights
  2. HootSuite
  3. Moz
  4. Bitly
  5. Followerwonk
  6. TweetDeck
  7. Klout
  8. Buffer
  9. Twitter
  10. Topsy

Top 10 Content Marketing Tools

  1. Google Trends
  2. Google Alerts
  3. Google Insights for Search  (now merged with Google Trends)
  4. G+ Trending
  5. Reddit
  6. Haro
  7. Moz Fresh Web Explorer
  8. DISQUS
  9. MyBlogGuest
  10. Topsy

Britt’s Additional Picks for Content Marketing Tools

  1. Hubspot
  2. Curata
  3. Outbrain
  4. Feedly
  5. Raventools

Link Roundup: 2 Google+ Changes Affecting Local Search

12 Jul

Google is making a steady push to integrate Google+, its social networking platform, with all of its offerings including search, maps, email and more.  In doing so, Google appears to have two main goals:

  1. If you are signed into a Google account, then you will be counted as an active Google+ user.
  2. 2. If you are a business, it will be necessary to have a Google+ page to compete online.

Two recent changes will especially  impact business owners. One is the switch from Google Places to Google+ Local and the second is the addition of an image carousel to local search results. Below is a summary of each change and a roundup of expert posts for more detail.

Change #1 – Google Places is Becoming Google+ Local

With so many branded offerings – “Google+,” “Google Places,” “Google Reviews,” and “Google Local,” it’s no surprise that business owners may be confused about using Google+ for marketing.  Soon all of these products will be combined under the Google+ Local umbrella with a fancy new dashboard and capabilities. Here’s some background information about switch from Google Places to Google+ Local.

  • Google+ Local Replaces Google Places: What Local Businesses Should Know: The folks at Hubspot give an overview of the change from Places to Local. This is a good place to start.
  • Google Local Plus “101″ Primer: This post points out why many business owners are feeling confused about how to transition from Places to Local.
  • What Happened to Google Places:  An answer to this question straight from the Google Help Center (which is also totally redesigned!)
  • Helping People Discover and Share Local Businesses with Google+: This post on the Google and Your Business Blog walks through some of the improvements that Google+ Local will offer and shares links to a few beta business profiles already running the new Local features.

 

Google+ Local for Business

This images shows a restaurant with the new Google+ Local layout and features.

Change # 2 – Google Adds Carousel to Local Search Results

A part of Google’s larger Knowledge Graph initiative, the carousel feature was introduced for tablets about a year ago and now Google is rolling it out to desktop users. When you do a local search such as “Coffee Shops Philadelphia,” an eye-catching image carousel dominates the top of the SERP and a map pops up on the right. The data and images in the carousel and map are pulled from … you guessed it, Google+.  This design and functionality will drastically change the landscape of local SEO. Read more about Google’s search carousel and its impact on local SEO:

  • About Google Knowledge Graph: The carousel is part of Google’s Knowledge Graph, a new  technology that Google is touting as the future of search. Learn more about Knowledge Gra
  • Search Engine Land Posts: Check out these two Search Engine Land posts. The first one announces the official launch of the carousel and the second shows the alarming results of a heat map study where the carousel results received 48% of  all clicks. 
  • Stay Tuned: Since this change is so new and limited to only a small percentage of searches there aren’t many definitive blog posts addressing the impact. Stay tuned to blogs like Moz, Search Engine Land, and Search Engine Journal for more updates on how the carousel is impacting results and user behavior.

google carousel for search

What are your thoughts about Google’s recent changes? Please share your insights in the comments below.

Graph Search on Facebook is Here, But Is the Revolution Here?

1 Feb
Graph Search on Facebook.

Options to refine a Facebook Graph Search.

The revolution will not be televised … it will be on Facebook. Ugh.

Today I received access to Facebook’s Graph Search in Beta. Even the tour that walked me through Graph Search was personalized! This creepy new search functionality already has  users in a tailspin about privacy.  Here’s a look at what Graph search does and how it may prove revolutionary for the Facebook empire.

What does Graph Search do?

Instead of limiting Facebook search to the structure of the site (i.e. pages, people, places, interests), Graph Search enables users to uncover connections between people, places and things. Formerly you could do keyword-esque searches to turn up people, business pages, community pages, places and interests. Now you can search your network for very specific interactions and interests.

A Sample Search: “My friends who like Radiohead”

For example, I ran a search for “My friends who like Radiohead” and Facebook returned a results page listing my connections who like this band. The results were not in alphabetical order. I think the results were organized by how recently and frequently I’ve engaged with each friend. To the right of the results, Facebook provided a panel where I could refine my search by gender, relationship, employer, age and more. I could also extend this search to see more content from the people who like Radiohead, such as their other interests, photos, places visited, and so on. I might look at the other bands this groups “likes” to discover new music or find out what restaurants this crowd has visited lately.

Future Potential for Graph Search

Marketers, small business owners, non-profits, and recruiters should all be watching this space closely.  Improved social search functionality  can ignite word-of-mouth, showing Facebook users the stores, restaurants, brands, products, and causes their network is engaging with. With a much larger user base than LinkedIn, job searchers and recruiters alike will be able to search Facebook connections by education, location, and current employers to network with a targeted group of users.

Read More about Facebook’s New Search Capabilities

To learn more, check out these articles about the impact of Facebook’s Graph Search:

Rel=Author May Be SEO’s Newest Signal

18 Oct

SEOs have been chattering about authorship as a potential new ranking signal, since the HTML 5 specifications were first released in 2011. Although HTML 5 is not going to be finalized for another few years, many of the markup language’s new features are already supported by leading web browsers and in use by web and software developers.

One of the new features that HTML 5 allows for is a rel=author tag, which tells a web browser that a certain individual is the author responsible for the content on that page. This tag will put a face behind a name, showing an author’s head shot and byline when a piece of blog or web content comes up in the search results.

Authorship goes hand-in-hand with many of Google’s recent algorithm changes, all of which focus on serving up more relevant, higher quality search results. It seems as though attributing authorship using this rel=author tag will let engines like Google know that the content is authentic, high-quality and written by a real person (and not spun or ghost-written).

I can imagine searching on Google a year or so from now, and only ‘trusting’ content that appears with a real photo and byline. In a few years, I can imagine a SERP where every piece of blog content and news has a photo and byline.

If you want to get a head-start and begin integrating authorship into your blog and content marketing strategy, visit these helpful resources:

Matt Cutts video defining rel=author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FgFb6Y-UJUI

Matt Cutts video on implementing rel=author: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG3Oh7Ues8A

Linking your content to  a Google+ account: 
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2539557

Troubleshooting rel=author implementation: 
http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1306778

A recent Pubcon talk on the new author tag: 
http://www.pubcon.com/google-author-tag

SocialMediaToday.com on the importance of authorship: 
http://socialmediatoday.com/liz-wilson/852201/content-creators-here-s-why-you-need-be-google-author

SEOMoz blog on preparing for Google author signals: 
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-prepare-for-authorrank-and-get-the-jump-on-google

AJ Kohn’s blog on how author tags may affect SEO: 
http://www.blindfiveyearold.com/author-rank

SocialMediaExaminer.com post all about authorship: 
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/google-author-tags/

An Eric Enge Interview with Sagar Kamdar, a group product manager for Google search: 
http://www.stonetemple.com/relauthor-defined-with-googles-sagar-kamdar/

Photo Credit: Alex Barth.
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