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During the Google Marketing Live summit, the company shared its plans for expanding the shopping experience for users. Now, Google users will be able to add items to a universal shopping cart from several services that Google offers. These services include Google Search, Google Images, and YouTube.
Here is what Google said:
“This year we’re unveiling a redesigned Google Shopping experience with new, immersive ways for shoppers to discover and compare millions of products from thousands of stores. When they’re ready to buy, they can choose to purchase online, in a nearby store and now directly on Google.”
How to shop directly from Google search results?
An ‘Add to cart’ button could be present in the search results when the user is viewing a product page. That would allow the person to buy that item directly.
The same ‘Add to cart’ button would be available on a YouTube video about a product.
The option to continue adding items
When an item is added to the cart, users are not obligated to complete the transaction right away. Instead, they can keep adding more items to the cart by clicking the same ‘Add to cart’ button.
Google’s role in resolving possible issues
Google assured that buyers could use this service to purchase confidently with excellent customer support and simple returns that are backed by a Google guarantee.
In case a customer faces issues while getting a refund, Google told that it would step in.
This recent update and the decision to phase out Google Express for shopping and replace it with the new Google Shopping is an attempt to compete with Amazon and Instagram.
By using its massive user database, Google can ensure that the right ads can get in front of the right audience.
Building backlinks is tough. It becomes all the more difficult if you have a new website.
As without a strong backlink profile, you are not likely to gain top positions in the SERPs. This is something that you must focus on.
If you have a new website, here are 7 tips that will help you build backlinks.
3 things to get right before you start building backlinks
Make sure that you have excellent content. Without great, above-par content, most of your link-building efforts will just go to waste. Nobody will take notice. The content you produce must be engaging, in-depth, extremely useful, and, ideally, should have some exclusive information that no other publisher shares. Evergreen content also tends to produce more long-lasting backlinks.
Make sure that your website is not blocked by robots.txt. If your web pages are not indexable, link-building will not do you much good.
Make sure that you have set up Google Alerts for monitoring brand mentions, relevant keywords, and competitors.
Once you have followed the above-mentioned three steps, it is time to discuss how to build backlinks for a new website.
1. Answer questions on Quora
The links you get from Quora are no-followed links, but they are still great for traffic. Moreover, answering questions on Quora not only help you build credibility and understand what your potential target audience is seeking, but it can also open new opportunities for link-building and establishing connections with influencers.
As you have a new website, trying to get as many eyeballs as possible, Quora would be a great option.
2. Use HARO
HARO stands for “Help a Reporter Out”, and it is a great “free” tool to create credible backlinks.
If you don’t want to spend time on Quora building no-follow backlinks or work in a more passive manner, HARO is a better alternative for you.
How does HARO work?
Journalists who are looking for sources to use in their content come to HARO and ask for help. If you have the right source available, you can get a nice backlink to one of your web pages.
Moreover, if you have established your credibility in a niche (Quora helps with, as we mentioned earlier), you can also lend quotes to journalists, who will then mention you and link to your website.
PS: HARO is also an excellent resource to generate ideas for new content.
3. Monitor who mentions your brand
Do you remember we set up Google Alerts for monitoring brand mentions and relevant keywords that others use?
That can also be a helpful resource for generating new, relevant backlinks to your website.
If you see your brand mentioned without a link, you can reach out to the publisher/blogger and ask for a link to be added. That works almost all the time.
Second, if someone mentions a keyword phrase for which you have an excellent piece of content, you can also reach out to them ask for a link. Make sure that you do not come out as needy. Mention how linking to a credible and in-depth resource will also help their readers.
4. Identify broken links
Well-established websites often create dozens of links to other websites every week. Some of those links eventually get broken for one reason or another.
You can get backlinks by identifying such broken links, contacting the website owner, and presenting your piece of content as a better alternative to link to.
This method is called the “broken link strategy”, and it works most of the time if you play your cards right.
Interviewing influencers is another good tactic to get into good books of well-established publishers. Although it will not always lead to backlinks, it will help you gain traffic, social love, and credibility that may open new opportunities for gaining backlinks.
6. Sponsor an event
If your local community is having an event, you can sponsor it and gain backlinks to your website.
7. Guest blogging
When all else fails, you always have guest blogging as a surefire method to gain powerful and relevant backlinks.
Guest blogging not only helps generate backlinks, but it also increases credibility and traffic. Moreover, the more guest posts you do, the more chances you have to be featured in major publications.
Building backlinks — especially for a new website — is never easy. It takes a lot of hard work, commitment, and creativity to get there.
However, make sure to keep at it. Always look out for relevant and powerful backlinks from credible sources. Slowly but surely, your new website will build a decent backlink profile to be proud of.
“So from our point of view, other sites copying your content wouldn’t be something that would negatively affect your website. So that’s a very common situation, that sites copy content.
…if you’re not seeing those copies showing up in search for the queries that you care about then it might not be the highest priority to focus on.”
First, John Mueller has clarified that stolen content that does not have any negative impact on the original website’s search engine rankings.
Second, he makes an interesting point about copies appearing in the SERPs for queries you care about.
It is important to understand that websites with copied content do not usually rank on the top for actual search queries. So, you should be safe there.
On the other hand, when it comes to very long tail-keywords and non-competitive queries which don’t always make sense, those snippets may get ranked on top. However, that should not be a big deal in terms of traffic loss.
As this can be confusing to some, here is a brief summary:
If a website steals your content, your website will not get penalised in the SERPs.
Stolen content does not usually rank well for actual search queries.
Those stolen content snippets, however, may get ranked for non-competitive keywords. This does not indicate that your website has lost its relevance because of plagiarism. It is only a reflection of how search algorithms work for non-competitive keyword phrases that don’t always make sense.
Search engines are being flooded with millions of new content pieces every day. There is no shortage of content.
As this trend continues to grow, the importance will shift to how good that content really is, and how happy users are with it. That’s why user engagement metrics are the next big thing in SEO.
Here are 6 user engagement metrics that we think matter the most in 2019.
1. Organic click-through rate (CTR)
For any query, Google displays thousands and thousands of results for a user to click on. What helps her determine which one to click and which ones to ignore?
While ranking on the first page of Google is often the most important goal for an SEO professional, the job does not end there. Encouraging clicks after being ranked on the first page is an equally important task.
Otherwise, what’s the point of just sitting on the first page if no one clicks on your result?
This is commonly known as organic click-through rate or CTR, and it is an engagement metric that matters to both the search engine and the website owner.
For the website owner, it matters because a low organic CTR will mean low traffic. For search engines, a low organic CTR may indicate that the web page does not appeal to searchers and, hence, should be demoted in the SERPs.
You can improve the organic CTR by optimising your content title, URL, and meta description. All of them should encourage users to click through to your website. Once you gain credibility and authority, increasing organic CTR becomes easier.
For more information on what your organic CTR is and what you can do to improve, log in to your Google Search Console account. Look for pages with a high number of impressions and a low number of clicks, and try to optimise them.
2. Dwell time
How long does a user — after clicking on the SERP result — stay on your web page?
Dwell time measures that.
To understand dwell time, try to look at it from the search engine’s perspective.
A search engine analyses millions of results and selects only a handful of them to be displayed on the first page. If a user clicks on one of those results and quits in a matter of seconds, what does it signify?
It indicates that the result the search engine selected wasn’t as effective. If it keeps happening, the search engine will eventually have to demote that result and replace it with some other web page.
That’s why dwell time is important. Once you get a user from the SERP, you need to hold their attention for as long as possible.
How do you do that?
You do that with a fast-loading web page, an interesting headline, an attention-grabbing introduction, and an easy-to-navigate and pleasing website design.
3. Bounce rate
Bounce rate is important because not only it helps with warming up random website visitors and increasing your credibility, it also allows Google to monitor where users navigate to from the web page they land on.
In case you don’t know, bounce rate measures how many people leave your website without clicking on any other link. A low bounce rate represents more clicks and, therefore, a higher engagement rate.
Different industries and types of websites have different bounce rates, so there is no standard to compare yours with. Here are the average bounce rates by industry if you still need some point of reference.
If you get a very high bounce rate, it’s time to rethink your content and marketing strategy.
4. Time on site
Like bounce rate, there is no standard comparison point for ‘time on site’. Therefore, we recommend tracking trends over time.
‘Time on site’, as the name suggests, measures average session duration — how long users spend on your website.
This indicates the quality of your content, website navigation, the loading speed of your website, and website structure. Since it encompasses so many things, it is a good user engagement metric to keep an eye on.
It’s not — strictly speaking — a user engagement rate, but measuring it helps significantly in increasing user engagement.
By tracking acquisitions, you can learn which sources produce the most traffic for you, e.g., organic search, social media, referral, direct, or paid search.
By figuring out where most of your audience is coming from, you can make necessary changes to cater to them more effectively.
6. Retention rate
Websites are leaky buckets, and you won’t be able to retain all your visitors. Retention rate measures how many you do manage to retain successfully.
For some, it is the biggest user engagement metric to track, as it helps identify if the steps you take are working or not.
There is no specific average retention rate that you should target. Different industries and types of audiences will have different percentages.
The best way to track the retention rate is to track its trends over time. If the trend is positive, you’re doing good. If not, rethink a few strategies and work on producing higher quality content to increase the overall retention rate.
The two enhancement reports — Sitelink searchbox and logo — will join existing reports on Job Posting, Event, Recipe, etc. As you may know, these enhancement reports display the overall trends of warnings, errors, and valid items on the website — apart from showing errors and display warnings per page.
An enhancement report looks like this. You can click the colored box to review each segment individually. Moreover, you can also view the pages that are affected by the issues by clicking on the row below the boxes.
The ‘Unparsable Structured Data’ report is a new one.
With this report, you can see if there is any structured data that Google could not identify because of a parsing issue or syntax error.
As you can guess, this report will not contain or warnings or valid items. It is composed entirely of errors and issues. Here is how that report would look like.
The Unparsable Structured Data report will help identify lost opportunities for rich results.
In the announcement, Google said:
“We are also happy to launch the Unparsable Structured Data report, which aggregates parsing issues such as structured data syntax errors that prevented Google from identifying the feature type. That is the reason these issues are aggregated here instead of the intended specific feature report.”
Duplicate content is simply content that appears on multiple places on the internet. For example, if website A has published a piece of content that was already available on website B, that’d be considered “duplicate content”.
How does Google react to duplicate content?
As you may already know about it that Google — or any other search engine for that matter — does not like duplicate content.
If Google finds out that a website is plagiarising and duplicating content on the internet, it will penalise that website and demote it in the search engine results pages.
The problem that Google faces because of duplicate content is that the search engine does not always know which web page to rank for related queries. Directing link metrics and authority to one page or keeping it separate between multiple versions is another issue for search engines.
On the other hand, for website owners, duplicate content has multiple negative effects:
Since search engines do not show multiple web pages in the SERPs, visibility of those web pages get diluted. If Google decides that you are duplicating content, your website won’t be ranked in the SERPs. This will result in a loss of traffic and credibility.
If a website owner has multiple versions of the same web page on her site, link equity will be diluted. Other websites will have to choose which web page they should link to, and that can impact the visibility of a page in the SERPs.
3 reasons duplicate content issues may happen
Sometimes, duplicate content issues may happen even without your knowledge. Here are 3 common reasons why you may encounter this problem:
URL variations can often cause duplicate content issues. For example, if each user is being assigned a different session ID, you may encounter different URL variations of the same web page.
If your website has separate versions (with and without ), the same web page may live on both versions, effectively creating multiple web pages.
Similar product descriptions may lead to very similar (duplicate) content on your site. For example, you may create multiple product pages for a similar product to be used for different target audience and categories. E-commerce businesses often face this problem.
How to deal with duplicate content?
As you can guess by now, duplicate contents aren’t good — neither for search engines nor for website owners. So what should you do about it?
If you have multiple versions of a web page on your website, here are a few things you can do to avoid the aforementioned problems:
The rel=canonical attribute tells search engines that a given web page is a copy of another URL and, therefore, should be treated as such. By using this attribute, you inform search engines that your original web page has another version. Moreover, all the links, SEO juice, and other ranking power should be directed to the main version of the web page, not the duplicated one.
The attribute looks like this:
<link href=”URL OF ORIGINAL PAGE” rel=”canonical” />0
This attribute should be added to the HTML head portion of each duplicate version of the web page.
2. 301 redirects
Sometimes, the best way to a fix a duplicate content issue is to set up a 301-redirect and permanently redirecting search engines and users from the duplicate page to the original version that you want to keep.
Multiple versions of a web page often fight against each other for achieving a spot in the search engine results page. However, when you set up a 301-redirect, you stop that competition and, in fact, combine their SEO power together to support the main page. This can, sometimes, have a positive impact on the main page’s ability to rank higher in the SERPs.
3. Noindex meta tag
You can also add the content=”noindex,follow” attribute to the HTML head of a duplicate version for excluding it from the search engine’s index.
By doing so, you are allowing Google to crawl the duplicate web page, but you are not allowing the search engine to index in the SERPs.
Note: Google explicitly cautions against restricting its crawling access. That’s the reason you allow Google to crawl the web page, but the noindex attribute stops the search engine from indexing the page.
By using any of these three methods we just mentioned above, you can fix the duplicate content issues on your website. The exact method will depend on what you want to achieve with your content.
Product pages are often the lifeblood of an online business. They educate readers what the product is all about, inform what benefits it offers and encourage sales.
But how do you optimise for a higher conversion rate as well as better search engine rankings?
Here are a few tips.
1. Optimise product descriptions
The first step to making a high-converting and search-engine friendly product page is to utilise and optimise every bit of text on the web page.
First, you will have to find a way to grab your reader’s attention and hold it until the very end of the page. That is not an easy task, especially with product pages. Online readers are at least somewhat inclined to reading information web pages and blog posts. However, product pages always seem too promotional, and it is harder to hook readers.
Besides, customers do want to get all the answers, but they rarely want to read everything you write. This is why you have to create engaging and very interesting content when you describe your product.
Instead of focusing solely on your product and what features does it have, start with a unique value proposition that the readers might find useful and interesting.
As the old saying goes in the sales, “you don’t sell a 1.5-inch drill; you sell a 1.5-inch hole that the customer can use to hang a photo-frame of his loved ones.”
By making the content interesting, you would be able to hold visitors for a longer period of time. This will not only open more opportunities for you to convince the visitor to make the purchase, but higher engagement and on-page time may also help you with achieving better search engine rankings.
2. Use keywords strategically
Another aspect of optimising product pages and content is to use keywords strategically.
First, you will have to use the main keyword(s) that you are trying to rank for. Strategically place that main keyword or keyword phrase in the body text, title tag, meta description, and subheadings. However, make sure that it appears naturally.
Apart from the main keyword, you will also have to use LSI keywords. LSI keywords are semantically related keywords that provide more context to the search engines about the web page. Since there is not a lot of room for text on product pages, LSI keywords play a more important role.
3. Don’t forget to use images and videos
Images and videos are integral parts of any high-converting product page. Nobody likes a huge wall of text; you need to change things up by adding more visual content.
Images are often the preferred way to showcase your product. Depending on the niche you have — for example, fashion and apparel — images can be a powerful tool in converting random website visitors into paying customers.
However, if you have a more complex product that requires in-depth explanation, videos are probably a much better option for that.
By adding more visual content, you not only increase the chances of higher engagement and better search rankings, but you also increase the possibility of getting a better conversion rate.
4. Create an excellent user experience
This goes without saying, but you have to have an excellent user experience on your product page.
Voice search has been a buzzword in the tech as well as the search engine optimisation world for quite some time now. With the mass introduction of smartphones, tablets, and now AI-assisted voice-assistants, such as Alexa and Google Home, voice search seems to be on the rise.
A recent study by Microsoft reveals that most people are using voice search. The report analyzed the usage of digital assistants and smart speakers.
Here are some other interesting stats from the report…
35 percent of people use voice search through a smart speaker.
72 percent of people use voice search through a personal digital assistant
By 2020, 75 percent of households will have at least one smart speaker
Most of the people (68 percent) use voice search for finding quick facts.
Almost the same amount of people (65 percent) use voice search for looking up directions.
Nearly 52 percent of people search for a product or service. While 44 percent conduct additional research for products and services. This further shows the importance of voice-search optimisation for online business and e-commerce stores.
31 percent of people use voice search to compare different products and services.
67 percent of all voice searches are related to shopping.
Apart from all these eye-opening statistics, the study also revealed that 57 percent of people expect their favourite brands to have their own digital assistants in the next five years.
While that may not be possible for every big brand, there is no excuse not to take voice search seriously and optimise your website and all its content for voice search. More and more people are searching for product and information via voice search. If you are not prepared for that, you are losing out on big opportunities.
If you want to learn more about the adoption and usage of voice technology, the functionality of digital assistants, consumer trust in voice technology, and the evolution of shopping and the growing trend of vCommerce (voice commerce), check out Microsoft’s full report.
Businesses get positive reviews all the time. However, they do not always use those testimonials in the best way possible. The most common ways to use those positive reviews include:
Taking their screenshots and sharing them on social channels
Using that praising feedback in website content and blog posts
While these two methods definitely should be pursued, there is another hidden opportunity that many business owners simply forget about, i.e., Google Posts.
As per a recent announcement by Google, a new feature will help businesses showcase positive reviews. These positive testimonials will be automatically suggested by Google My Business to be shared via Google Posts.
How is it going to be helpful for businesses?
The reason why this will likely be effective is that Google Posts appear in the SERPs when someone searches for a business. Seeing positive reviews and customer testimonials at that stage will help formulate a positive first impression.
What types of reviews will be suggested?
As you can guess, Google My Business will only suggest positive reviews. To be precise, only reviews 4 or 5 stars will be recommended by Google My Business to be used and shared as Google Posts.
Is this new feature available worldwide?
Unfortunately, not yet.
Google has only confirmed that the feature is rolling out in “some countries”. At the moment, Google has not specified the countries that would be able to access this feature.
Here is what Google said in the announcement:
“In some countries, Google My Business will provide suggested posts to help you showcase positive reviews left for your business. You may get suggestions for new testimonials to post when you sign in to Google My Business, or via email notifications.”
Can you review and edit the posts before publishing?
“These posts are automatically suggested based on 4 or 5-star reviews recently left for your business. You’ll be able to review and edit the post before publishing it.”
About Google Posts
Google Posts can include photos, videos, and text to include Business Profiles or certain aspects of your business. These posts are also a great way to announce new products or discount offers. You can add a call-to-action to each of your Google Post.
When we talk about search engine optimisation (SEO), we do not usually discuss the use of images. We are usually focused on text, keywords, backlinks, and other high-profile factors. However, with the right strategy, images can also play a role in making your website more appealing to search engine crawlers.
In this blog post, we are going to share a few tips on how to use your images for achieving a better engagement rate and higher search engine rankings.
1. Use only high-quality and original images
While using a stock image is often the quickest and easiest way, you should avoid that route as much as possible. Instead, only use high-quality original images in your blog posts and other online content.
First, you stay away from any potential copyright issues — which may impact your website traffic and credibility.
Second, original images — that are contextual and of high-quality — provide a better experience for the user. With high engagement rate, on-page time, and greater virality and shareability — coupled with other positive signals — you improve your chances of ranking higher for relevant searches.
Furthermore, original, high-quality images also help tremendously with brand awareness — which may lead to more direct traffic.
2. Don’t let images slow down your website
This is extremely important. The loading speed of your website is an important search engine ranking factor now, and its importance is not going anywhere.
The more images you use, the slower your web page gets. But that doesn’t mean that you should not use any image.
Therefore, the idea is to use as many images as needed and compress them to a reasonable size, so they don’t affect the loading speed of the web page.
Use free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and GTmetrix to find the loading speed of your web pages — especially the ones with high traffic volume and the ones you want to improve rankings in the SERPs.
Find a point of lossless compression and reduce image file size without compromising on quality. To learn more about improving the loading speed of your website, read our free guide.
3. Are you using captions?
Do you use captions for each image?
Not many content marketers think about it. While captions are excellent for providing more context to the readers, they are also a great way to include relevant keywords in your web page.
With the right strategy, you can include the primary keyword(s) that you want to rank a particular web page for as well as other LSI keywords — all while explaining the image and keeping it relevant to the blog post.
Both of these studies reveal how powerful and engaging infographics can be. By converting your images into full-fledged infographics, you are more likely to rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Images are a vital part of any type of website content, especially in blog posts. By using the tips mentioned in this article and with the help of the right strategy, you can use images to help you with your search engine rankings.