Ecommerce Tips

Successful SEO is Possible with a Small SEO Team

Considering that 93 percent of online experiences begin with search, and that even 82 percent of customers about to buy something in store will still research online, brands today cannot afford to overlook the importance of SEO and creating a strong digital presence. Many organizations, however, have to learn how to manage this with a […]
The post Successful SEO is Possible with a Small SEO Team appeared first on BrightEdge SEO Blog.

Spring Cleaning Your Affiliate Program

Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early spring, which means spring cleaning is just around the corner. You probably associate a good spring cleaning with scrubbing tiles and bleaching everything, but […]
The post Spring Cleaning Your Affiliate Program appeared first on Rakuten Advertising Blog.

How to Make the Best Customer Loyalty Experience

Loyalty programs are a great way to enhance your customer experience with your brand. In the ecommerce world, you don’t have the chance to make a face-to-face connection with your customer like you would in a traditional retail store. This is why creating a delightful, simple, and enjoyable online customer experience is so important.

eTail Asia 2020

Its official- eTail Asia is back for its 8th edition from 4-6 August 2020. Held in the incredible and luxurious Equarius Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa, our Asia Summit will be the biggest show yet. Join over 650+ attendees from Singapore and the surrounding Asia region to bring the future of eCommerce, Digital Marketing and […]
The post eTail Asia 2020 appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

Are H1 Tags Necessary for Ranking? [SEO Experiment]

Posted by Cyrus-ShepardIn earlier days of search marketing, SEOs often heard the same two best practices repeated so many times it became implanted in our brains:
Wrap the title of your page in H1 tagsUse one — and only one — H1 tag per pageThese suggestions appeared in audits, SEO tools, and was the source of constant head shaking. Conversations would go like this:
“Silly CNN. The headline on that page is an H2. That’s not right!”
“Sure, but is it hurting them?”
“No idea, actually.”
Over time, SEOs started to abandon these ideas, and the strict concept of using a single H1 was replaced by “large text near the top of the page.”
Google grew better at content analysis and understanding how the pieces of the page fit together. Given how often publishers make mistakes with HTML markup, it makes sense that they would try to figure it out for themselves.
The question comes up so often, Google’s John Muller addressed it in a Webmaster Hangout:
“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit — neither upper nor lower bound.
H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings, so I would use them in the proper way on a page.
And especially with HTML5, having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected. So it’s not something that you need to worry about. And some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like ‘oh you don’t have any H1 tag’ or ‘you have two H1 tags.’ From our point of view, that’s not a critical issue. From a usability point of view, maybe it makes sense to improve that. So, it’s not that I would completely ignore those suggestions, but I wouldn’t see it as a critical issue.
Your site can do perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

Despite these assertions from one of Google’s most trusted authorities, many SEOs remained skeptical, wanting to “trust but verify” instead.
So of course, we decided to test it… with science!
Craig Bradford of Distilled noticed that the Moz Blog — this very one — used H2s for headlines instead of H1s (a quirk of our CMS).
We devised a 50/50 split test of our titles using the newly branded SearchPilot (formerly DistilledODN). Half of our blog titles would be changed to H1s, and half kept as H2. We would then measure any difference in organic traffic between the two groups.
After eight weeks, the results were in:
To the uninitiated, these charts can be a little hard to decipher. Rida Abidi of Distilled broke down the data for us like this:
Change breakdown – inconclusive
Predicted uplift: 6.2% (est. 6,200 monthly organic sessions)We are 95% confident that the monthly increase in organic sessions is between:Top: 13,800 Bottom: -4,100The results of this test were inconclusive in terms of organic traffic, therefore we recommend rolling it back.
Result: Changing our H2s to H1s made no statistically significant difference
Confirming their statements, Google’s algorithms didn’t seem to care if we used H1s or H2s for our titles. Presumably, we’d see the same result if we used H3s, H4s, or no heading tags at all.
It should be noted that our titles still:
Used a large fontSat at the top of each articleWere unambiguous and likely easy for Google to figure outDoes this settle the debate? Should SEOs throw caution to the wind and throw away all those H1 recommendations?
No, not completely…
Why you should still use H1s
Despite the fact that Google seems to be able to figure out the vast majority of titles one way or another, there are several good reasons to keep using H1s as an SEO best practice.
Georgy Nguyen made some excellent points in an article over at Search Engine Land, which I’ll try to summarize and add to here.
1. H1s help accessibility
Screen reading technology can use H1s to help users navigate your content, both in display and the ability to search.
2. Google may use H1s in place of title tags
In some rare instances — such as when Google can’t find or process your title tag — they may choose to extract a title from some other element of your page. Oftentimes, this can be an H1.
3. Heading use is correlated with higher rankings
Nearly every SEO correlation study we’ve ever seen has shown a small but positive correlation between higher rankings and the use of headings on a page, such as this most recent one from SEMrush, which looked at H2s and H3s.
To be clear, there’s no evidence that headings in and of themselves are a Google ranking factor. But headings, like Structured Data, can provide context and meaning to a page.
As John Mueller said on Twitter:
What’s it all mean? While it’s a good idea to keep adhering to H1 “best practices” for a number of reasons, Google will more than likely figure things out — as our experiment showed — if you fail to follow strict H1 guidelines.
Regardless, you should likely:
Organize your content with hierarchical headings — ideally H1, H2s, H3s, etc.Use a large font headline at the top of your content. In other words, make it easy for Google, screen readers, and other machines or people reading your content to figure out the headline.If you have a CMS or technical limitations that prevent you from using strict H1s and SEO best practices, do your best and don’t sweat the small stuff.Real-world SEO — for better or worse — can be messy. Fortunately, it can also be flexible.Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Loyalty Performance Measurement is Broken. We’re Fixing It.

Attracting new customers is expensive. Over the last five years, organic customer acquisition costs have risen close to 50%, with paid acquisition costs rising even more. For eCommerce brands especially, driving existing customer engagement and growth is imperative to maintaining a healthy business across every channel — and a loyalty program is a key to that sustained success.

Whether you’re evaluating how to launch a new loyalty program or enhancing how your current program drives ROI, there are many factors to consider to ensure your program is driving revenue. Among point-earning campaigns, personalized discounts, member perks, tech stack integrations, and more, the most important factor to consider — and the most often misunderstood — is loyalty performance measurement. 
Where (and why) brands go wrong when analyzing loyalty performance 
Historically, brands that want to understand the value of their loyalty program focus on basic metrics, like points earned, points …This story continues at Yotpo

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – A Detailed Chapter Summary

It’s fair to say that The Lean Startup by Eric Ries transformed the world as we know it. A New York Times bestseller, the Lean Startup model is a global phenomenon, faithfully used by individual entrepreneurs and huge companies around the world – to astonishing results.   Given Eric Reis’ stunning […]
The post The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – A Detailed Chapter Summary appeared first on Oberlo.

Spot Zero is Gone — Here’s What We Know After 30 Days

Posted by PJ_HowlandAs you are probably aware by now, recent updates have changed the world of search optimization. On January 22nd Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the URL that has earned the featured snippet in a SERP would not have the additional spot in that SERP. This also means that from now on the featured snippet will be the true spot-one position.
If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) January 22, 2020
Rather than rehash what’s been so eloquently discussed already, I’ll direct you to Dr. Pete’s post if you need a refresher on what this means for you and for Moz.
30 days is enough to call out trends, not all of the answers
I’ve been in SEO long enough to know that when there’s a massive shake-up (like the removal of spot zero), bosses and clients want to know what that means for the business. In situations like this, SEOs responses are limited to 1) what they can see in their own accounts, and 2) what others are reporting online.
A single 30-day period isn’t enough time to observe concrete trends and provide definitive suggestions for what every SEO should do. But it is enough time to give voice to the breakout trends that are worth observing as time goes on. The only way for SEOs to come out on top is by sharing the trends they are seeing with each other. Without each other’s data and theories, we’ll all be left to see only what’s right in front of us — which is often not the entire picture. So in an effort to further the discussion on the post-spot-zero world, we at 97th Floor set out to uncover the trends under our nose, by looking at nearly 3,000 before-and-after examples of featured snippets since January 22nd.
The data and methodology
I know we all want to just see the insights (which you’re welcome to skip to anyway), but it’s worth spending a minute explaining the loose methodology that yielded the findings.
The two major tools used here were Google Search Console and STAT. While there’s more traffic data in Google Analytics than GSC, we’re limited in seeing the traffic driven by actual keywords, being limited by page-wide traffic. For this reason, we used GSC to get the click-through rates of specific keywords on specific pages. This pairs nicely with STAT’s data to give us a daily pinpoint of both Google Rank and Google Base Rank for the keywords at hand.
While there are loads of keywords to look at, we found that small-volume keywords — anything under 5,000 global MSV (with some minor exceptions) — produced findings that didn’t have enough data behind them to claim statistical significance. So, all of the keywords analyzed had over 5,000 global monthly searches, as reported by STAT.
It’s also important to note that all the difficulty scores come from Moz.
Obviously we were only interested in SERPs that had an existing featured snippet serving to ensure we had an accurate before-and-after picture, which narrows down the number of keywords again. When all was said and done, the final batch of keywords analyzed was 2,773.
We applied basic formulas to determine which keywords were telling clear stories. That led us to intimately analyze about 100 keywords by hand, sometimes multiple hours looking at a single keyword, or rather a single SERP over a 30-day period. The findings reported below come from these 100 qualitative keyword analyses.
Oh, and this may go without saying, but I’m doing my best to protect 97th Floor’s client’s data, so I won’t be giving anything incriminating away as to which websites my screenshots are attached to. 97th Floor has access to hundreds of client GSC accounts and we track keywords in STAT for nearly every one of them.
Put plainly, I’m dedicated to sharing the best data and insight, but not at the expense of our clients’ privacy.
The findings… not what I expected
Yes, I was among the list of SEOs that said for the first time ever SEOs might actually need to consider shooting for spot 2 instead of spot 1.
Who saw @dannysullivan’s tweet on spot zero no longer playing a part in SERPs?The biggest takeaway from this article is that for the first time since the launch of featured snippets 6 years ago SEOs may want to actually consider deoptimizing for featured snippets. https://t.co/5eqSZiQhvz— PJ Howland (@askPJHowland) January 23, 2020
I still don’t think I was wrong (as the data below shows), but after this data analysis I’ve come to find that it’s a more nuanced story than the quick and dirty results we all want from a study like this.
The best way to unfold the mystery from the spot-zero demotion is to call out the individual findings from this study as individual lessons learned. So, in no particular order, here’s the findings.
Longtime snippet winners are seeing CTR and traffic drops
While the post-spot-zero world may seem exciting for SEOs that have been gunning for a high-volume snippet spot for years, the websites who have held powerful snippet positions indefinitely are seeing fewer clicks.
The keyword below represents a page we built years ago for a client that has held the snippet almost exclusively since launch. The keyword has a global search volume of 74,000 and a difficulty of 58, not to mention an average CPC of $38.25. Suffice it to say that this is quite a lucrative keyword and position for our client.
We parsed out the CTR of this single keyword directing to this single page on Google Search Console for two weeks prior to the January 22d announcement and two weeks following it. I’d love to go back farther than two weeks, but if we did, we would have crept into New Years traffic numbers, which would have muddled the data.

As you can see, the impressions and average position remained nearly identical for these two periods. But CTR and subsequent clicks decreased dramatically in the two weeks immediately following the January 22nd spot-zero termination.
If this trend continues for the rest of 2020, this single keyword snippet changeup will result in a drop of 9,880 clicks in 2020. Again, that’s just a single keyword, not all of the keywords this page represents. When you incorporate average CPC into this equation that amounts to $377,910 in lost clicks (if those were paid clicks).
Sure, this is an exaggerated situation due to the volume of the keyword and inflated CPC, but the principle uncovered over and over in this research remains the same: Brands that have held the featured snippet position for long periods of time are seeing lower CTRs and traffic as a direct result of the spot-zero shakeup.
When a double snippet is present, CTR on the first snippet tanks
Nearly as elusive as the yeti or Bigfoot, the double snippet found in its natural habitat is rare.
Sure this might be expected; when there are two results that are both featured snippets, the first one gets fewer clicks. But the raw numbers left us with our jaws on the floor. In every instance we encountered this phenomenon we discovered that spot one (the #1 featured snippet) loses more than 50% of its CTR when the second snippet is introduced.
This 40,500 global MSV keyword was the sole featured snippet controller on Monday, and on Tuesday the SERP remained untouched (aside from the second snippet being introduced).
This small change brought our client’s CTR to its knees from a respectable 9.2% to a crippling 2.9%.
When you look at how this keyword performed the rest of the week, the trend continues to follow suit.
Monday and Wednesday are single snippet days, while Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday brought the double snippet.

Easy come, easy go (not a true Spot 1)
There’s been a great deal of speculation on this fact, but now I can confirm that ranking for a featured snippet doesn’t come the same way as ranking for a true spot 1. In the case below, you can see a client of ours dancing around spots 5 and 6 before taking a snippet. Similarly when they lose the snippet, they fall back to the original position.
Situations like this were all too common. Most of the time we see URLs losing the snippet to other URLs. Other times, Google removes the snippet entirely only to bring it back the following day.
If you’re wondering what the CTR reporting on GSC was for the above screenshot, I’ve attached that below. But don’t geek out too quickly; the findings aren’t terribly insightful. Which is insightful in itself.
This keyword has 22,200 global volume and a keyword difficulty of 44. The SERP gets significant traffic, so you would think that findings would be more obvious.
If there’s something to take away from situations like this, here it is: Earning the snippet doesn’t inherently mean CTRs will improve beyond what you would be getting in a below-the-fold position.
Seeing CTR bumps below the fold
Much of the data addressed to this point either speaks of sites that either have featured snippets or lost them, but what about the sites that haven’t had a snippet before or after this shakeup?
If that describes your situation, you can throw yourself a tiny celebration (emphasis on the tiny), because the data is suggesting that your URLs could be getting a slight CTR bump.
The example below shows a 74,000 global MSV keyword with a difficulty that has hovered between spots 5 and 7 for the week preceding and the week following January 22nd.
The screenshot from STAT shows that this keyword has clearly remained below the fold and fairly consistent. If anything, it ranked worse after January 22nd.
The click-through rate improved the week following January 22nd from 3% to 3.7%. Perhaps not enough to warrant any celebration for those that are below the fold, as this small increase was typical across many mid-first-page positions.
“People Also Ask” boxes are here to steal your snippet CTR
Perhaps this information isn’t new when considering the fact that PAA boxes are just one more place that can lead users down a rabbit hole of information that isn’t about your URL.
On virtually every single SERP (in fact, we didn’t find an instance where this wasn’t true), the presence of a PAA box drops the CTR of both the snippet and the standard results.
The negative effects of the PAA box appearing in your SERP are mitigated when the PAA box doesn’t serve immediately below the featured snippet. It’s rare, but there are situations where the “People Also Ask” box serves lower in the SERP, like this example below.
If your takeaway here is to create more pages that answer questions showing up in relevant PAA boxes, take a moment to digest the fact that we rarely saw instances of clicks when our clients showed up in PAA boxes.
In this case, we have a client that ranks for two out of the first four answers in a high-volume SERP (22,000 global monthly searches), but didn’t see a single click — at least none to speak of from GSC:
While its counterpart page, which served in spot 6 consistently, is at least getting some kind of click-through rate:
If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s that ranking below the fold on page one is better than getting into the PAA box (in the terms of clicks anyway).
So, what is the takeaway?
As you can tell, the findings are a bit all over the place. However, the main takeaway that I keep coming back to is this: Clickability matters more than it ever has.
As I was crunching this data, I was constantly reminded of a phrase our EVP of Operations, Paxton Gray, is famous for saying:
“Know your SERPs.”
This stands truer today than it did in 2014 when I first heard him say it.
As I reflected on this pool of frustrating data, I was reminded of Jeff Bezo’s remarks in his 2017 Amazon Shareholder’s letter:
“One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static — they go up. It’s human nature. We didn’t ascend from our hunter-gatherer days by being satisfied. People have a voracious appetite for a better way, and yesterday’s ‘wow’ quickly becomes today’s ‘ordinary’.”
And then it hit me: Google wasn’t built for SEOs; it’s built for users. Google’s job is our job, giving the users the best content. At 97th Floor our credo is: we make the internet a better place. Sounds a little corny, but we stand by it. Every page we build, every ad we run, every interactive we build, and every PDF we publish for our clients needs to make the internet a better place. And while it’s challenging for us watching Google’s updates take clicks from our clients, we recognize that it’s for the user. This is just one more step in the elegant dance we perform with Google.
I remember a day when spots 1, 2, and 3 were consistently getting CTRs in the double digits. And today, we celebrate if we can get spot 1 over 10% CTR. Heck, I‘ll even take an 8% for a featured snippet after running this research!
SEO today is more than just putting your keyword in a title and pushing some links to a page. SERP features can have a more direct effect on your clicks than your own page optimizations. But that doesn’t mean SEO is out of our control — not by a long shot. SEOs will pull through, we always do, but we need to share our learnings with each other. Transparency makes the internet a better place after all.Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Which of My Competitor’s Keywords Should (& Shouldn’t) I Target? – Best of Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfishYou don’t want to try to rank for every one of your competitors’ keywords. Like most things with SEO, it’s important to be strategic and intentional with your decisions. In this fan favorite Whiteboard Friday, Rand shares his recommended process for understanding your funnel, identifying the right competitors to track, and prioritizing which of their keywords you ought to target.

Plus, don’t miss our upcoming webinar on Wednesday, March 11: Competitive Analysis for SEO: Size Up & Surpass Your Search Rivals presented by Director of Growth Marketing Kelly Cooper.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!
Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. So this week we’re chatting about your competitors’ keywords and which of those competitive keywords you might want to actually target versus not.

Many folks use tools, like SEMrush and Ahrefs and KeywordSpy and Spyfu and Moz’s Keyword Explorer, which now has this feature too, where they look at: What are the keywords that my competitors rank for, that I may be interested in? This is actually a pretty smart way to do keyword research. Not the only way, but a smart way to do it. But the challenge comes in when you start looking at your competitors’ keywords and then realizing actually which of these should I go after and in what priority order. In the world of competitive keywords, there’s actually a little bit of a difference between classic keyword research.

So here I’ve plugged in Hammer and Heels, which is a small, online furniture store that has some cool designer furniture, and Dania Furniture, which is a competitor of theirs — they’re local in the Seattle area, but carry sort of modern, Scandinavian furniture — and IndustrialHome.com, similar space. So all three of these in a similar space, and you can see sort of keywords that return that several of these, one or more of these rank for. I put together difficulty, volume, and organic click-through rate, which are some of the metrics that you’ll find. You’ll find these metrics actually in most of the tools that I just mentioned.

Process:
So when I’m looking at this list, which ones do I want to actually go after and not, and how do I choose? Well, this is the process I would recommend.
I. Try and make sure you first understand your keyword to conversion funnel.

So if you’ve got a classic sort of funnel, you have people buying down here — this is a purchase — and you have people who search for particular keywords up here, and if you understand which people you lose and which people actually make it through the buying process, that’s going to be very helpful in knowing which of these terms and phrases and which types of these terms and phrases to actually go after, because in general, when you’re prioritizing competitive keywords, you probably don’t want to be going after these keywords that send traffic but don’t turn into conversions, unless that’s actually your goal. If your goal is raw traffic only, maybe because you serve advertising or other things, or because you know that you can capture a lot of folks very well through retargeting, for example maybe Hammer and Heels says, “Hey, the biggest traffic funnel we can get because we know, with our retargeting campaigns, even if a keyword brings us someone who doesn’t convert, we can convert them later very successfully,” fine. Go ahead.

II. Choose competitors that tend to target the same audience(s).

So the people you plug in here should tend to be competitors that tend to target the same audiences. Otherwise, your relevance and your conversion get really hard. For example, I could have used West Elm, which does generally modern furniture as well, but they’re very, very broad. They target just about everyone. I could have done Ethan Allen, which is sort of a very classic, old-school furniture maker. Probably a really different audience than these three websites. I could have done IKEA, which is sort of a low market brand for everybody. Again, not kind of the match. So when you are targeting conversion heavy, assuming that these folks were going after mostly conversion focused or retargeting focused rather than raw traffic, my suggestion would be strongly to go after sites with the same audience as you.

If you’re having trouble figuring out who those people are, one suggestion is to check out a tool called SimilarWeb. It’s expensive, but very powerful. You can plug in a domain and see what other domains people are likely to visit in that same space and what has audience overlap.

III. The keyword selection process should follow some of these rules:

A. Are easiest first.

So I would go after the ones that tend to be, that I think are going to be most likely for me to be able to rank for easiest. Why do I recommend that? Because it’s tough in SEO with a lot of campaigns to get budget and buy-in unless you can show progress early. So any time you can choose the easiest ones first, you’re going to be more successful. That’s low difficulty, high odds of success, high odds that you actually have the team needed to make the content necessary to rank. I wouldn’t go after competitive brands here.

B. Are similar to keywords you target that convert well now.

So if you understand this funnel well, you can use your AdWords campaign particularly well for this. So you look at your paid keywords and which ones send you highly converting traffic, boom. If you see that lighting is really successful for our furniture brand, “Oh, well look, glass globe chandelier, that’s got some nice volume. Let’s go after that because lighting already works for us.”

Of course, you want ones that fit your existing site structure. So if you say, “Oh, we’re going to have to make a blog for this, oh we need a news section, oh we need a different type of UI or UX experience before we can successfully target the content for this keyword,” I’d push that down a little further.

C. High volume, low difficulty, high organic click-through rate, or SERP features you can reach.

So basically, when you look at difficulty, that’s telling you how hard is it for me to rank for this potential keyword. If I look in here and I see some 50 and 60s, but I actually see a good number in the 30s and 40s, I would think that glass globe chandelier, S-shaped couch, industrial home furniture, these are pretty approachable. That’s impressive stuff.

Volume, I want as high as I can get, but oftentimes high volume leads to very high difficulty.Organic click-through rate percentage, this is essentially saying what percent of people click on the 10 blue link style, organic search results. Classic SEO will help get me there. However, if you see low numbers, like a 55% for this type of chair, you might take a look at those search results and see that a lot of images are taking up the other organic click-through, and you might say, “Hey, let’s go after image SEO as well.” So it’s not just organic click-through rate. You can also target SERP features.

D. Are brands you carry/serve, generally not competitor’s brand names.

Then last, but not least, I would urge you to go after brands when you carry and serve them, but not when you don’t. So if this Ekornes chair is something that your furniture store, that Hammers and Heels actually carries, great. But if it’s something that’s exclusive to Dania, I wouldn’t go after it. I would generally not go after competitors’ brand names or branded product names with an exception, and I actually used this site to highlight this. Industrial Home Furniture is both a branded term, because it’s the name of this website — Industrial Home Furniture is their brand — and it’s also a generic. So in those cases, I would tell you, yes, it probably makes sense to go after a category like that.

If you follow these rules, you can generally use competitive intel on keywords to build up a really nice portfolio of targetable, high potential keywords that can bring you some serious SEO returns.

Look forward to your comments and we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

For more on competitor analysis, join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday March 11 at 10am PST: Competitive Analysis for SEO: Size Up & Surpass Your Search Rivals, hosted by Moz’s Director of Growth Marketing Kelly Cooper:
Save my spot!Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Featured Snippets are Valued by Google and Customers

Over the past few years, we have seen a number of changes to Google’s SERP. The search engine giant has worked to create a universal search results page that accurately targets the user intent, with the goal being that the user finds the SERP so helpful that they continue to return to the search engine […]
The post Featured Snippets are Valued by Google and Customers appeared first on BrightEdge SEO Blog.

5 Ways Your Brand Can Get Repeat Customers

There’s no denying that new customers are essential to growing your brand, especially as a small business owner or new entrepreneur. After all, new customers are a large part of growing your brand and validating your products. However, the next, and by-far the most profitable, step is converting those new shoppers into repeat customers.

How to convince your boss to send you to ThinkTank

Interested in attending ThinkTank, but having a hard time justifying the cost?  All conferences are an investment – an investment in your business, partnerships, knowledge and future plans – but we truly believe that if there is one conference worth spending the money on in 2020, that conference is ThinkTank. For years we have seen (and heard […]
The post How to convince your boss to send you to ThinkTank appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

5 St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Ideas for Your Online Store

Every year on March 17, hundreds of millions of people across the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This religious holiday has evolved over the centuries into a celebration of traditional Irish culture. The origins of St. Patrick’s Day can be traced back to the 5th century Ireland and Saint Patrick, the patron saint who is […]
The post 5 St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Ideas for Your Online Store appeared first on Blog – Printful.

10 Ways to Increase Average Order Value in 2020

The key benefit of increasing average order value is that you make more money from each transaction. Thus, making your store more profitable. Often, when a customer shops online, they’ll only buy exactly what they’re looking for. However, with some of the average order value strategies that we’ll share in […]
The post 10 Ways to Increase Average Order Value in 2020 appeared first on Oberlo.

How To Start A Successful Online T-Shirt Business

T-shirts are a staple part of wardrobes across the globe. Furthermore, the global market for custom t-shirt printing industry is expected to cross 10 billion USD by 2025. Clever entrepreneurs, like yourself, have identified the popularity of this product and have started thinking about beginning their own T-shirt businesses. Starting […]
The post How To Start A Successful Online T-Shirt Business appeared first on Oberlo.

Digital Travel EU 2020

08 – 09 June, 2020 | London Agenda: https://bit.ly/37qFW0n Register: https://bit.ly/2uBr6XN Discount code: ECOMMERCENATION20 Europe’s biggest travel conference for Digital Marketing, eCommerce and Customer Experience leaders is back and 2020 is set to be even bigger and better! At Digital Travel you’ll hear from 65+ expert speakers representing Europe’s leading Travel companies, all sharing their […]
The post Digital Travel EU 2020 appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

How to Start Acquiring Customers for Long-Term Success

So you’ve thought about customer acquisition strategies before, and maybe you’ve even paid for ads to acquire new customers. You’ve probably also heard of customer retention and thought of ways you can encourage repeat shoppers. While these are all important for growing your ecommerce brand, what’s most important is learning how customer acquisition can also encourage repeat customers for long-term success.  

9 Things You Didn’t Know the Printful Mockup Generator Could Do

Printful’s Mockup Generator is meant for creating product mockups and design files for print, embroidery, and engraving. Most of our ecommerce platform integrations let you push your designs from the Mockup Generator directly into your store which speeds up the process of launching new products. However, our Mockup Generator is also great for creating unique […]
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How Rakuten Advertising Can Take Your Brand Global

E-commerce is becoming more and more global with consumers increasingly purchasing from international brands. In the UK alone, 35% of transactions driven for clients on our performance network are taking […]
The post How Rakuten Advertising Can Take Your Brand Global appeared first on Rakuten Advertising Blog.

To All The Entrepreneurs In Their Twenties

Starting a business in your twenties is a great way to start your entrepreneurial journey. The earlier you start, the better you equip yourself to become a successful entrepreneur later in life. You’ll learn a ton of new skills, you’ll have access to an unmatchable network, and you can avoid […]
The post To All The Entrepreneurs In Their Twenties appeared first on Oberlo.

Google My Business: FAQ for Multiple Businesses at the Same Address

Posted by MiriamEllisHow should I get listed in Google My Business if I’ve got multiple businesses at the same address? How many listings am I eligible for if I’m legitimately running more than one business at my location? What determines eligibility, and what penalties might I incur if I make a mistake? How should I name my businesses at the same address?
The FAQs surrounding this single, big topic fill local SEO forums across the web, year after year.
The guidelines for representing your business on Google contain most of the answers you’re seeking about co-located businesses, but sometimes they can err on the side of too little detail, leading to confusion.
Today, Iet’s quickly tackle the commonest FAQs that local business owners and marketers raise related to this scenario, and if you have further questions, please ask in the comments!
Q: I have more than one business at the same address. Can I have more than one Google My Business listing?
A: If you are legitimately operating multiple, legally distinct businesses, you can typically create a Google My Business listing for each of them. It’s not at all uncommon for more than one business to be located at a shared address. However, keep reading for further details and provisos.
Q: How do I know if my multiple businesses at the same address are distinct enough to be eligible for separate Google My Business listings?
A: If each brick-and-mortar business you operate is separately registered with appropriate state and federal agencies, has a unique TAX ID with which you file separate taxes, meets face-to-face with customers, and has a unique phone number, then it’s typically eligible for a distinct GMB listing. However, keep reading for more information.
Q: Can service area businesses list multiple businesses at the same address?
A: Google has historically treated SABs differently than brick-and-mortar businesses. While no official guideline forbids listing multiple SABs — like plumbers and locksmiths — at the same location, it’s not considered an industry best practice to do so. Google appears to be more active in issuing hard suspensions to SABs in this scenario, even if the businesses are legitimate and distinct. Because of this, it’s better strategy not to co-locate SABs.
Q: What would make me ineligible for more than one Google My Business listing at the same address?
A: If your businesses aren’t registered as legally distinct entities or if you lack unique phone numbers for them, you are ineligible to list them separately. Also, if your businesses are simply representative of different product lines or services you offer under the umbrella of a single business — like a handyman who repairs both water heaters and air conditioners — they aren’t eligible for separate listings. Additionally, do not list multiple businesses at PO boxes, virtual offices, mailboxes at remote locations, or at locations you don’t have the authority to represent.
Q: Will I be penalized if I list multiple ineligible businesses at the same address?
A: Yes, you could be. Google could issue a hard suspension on one or more of your ineligible listings at any time. A hard suspension means that Google has removed your listing and its associated reviews.
Q: Will suite numbers help me convince Google I actually have two locations so that I can have more than one GMB listing?
A: No. Google doesn’t pay attention to suite numbers, whether legitimate or created fictitiously. Don’t waste time attempting to make a single location appear like multiple locations by assigning different suite numbers to the entities in hopes of qualifying for multiple listings.
Q: Can I list my business at a co-working space, even though there are multiple businesses at the same address?
A: If your business has a unique, direct phone number answered by you and you are staffing the co-working space with your own staff at your listed hours, yes, you are typically eligible for a Google My Business listing. However, if any of the other businesses at the location share your categories or are competing for the same search terms, it is likely that you or your competitors will be filtered out of Google’s mapping product due to the shared elements.
Q: How many GMB listings can I have if there are multiple seasonal businesses at my address?
A: If your property hosts an organic fruit stand in summer and a Christmas tree farm in the winter, you need to closely follow Google’s requirements for seasonal businesses. In order for each entity to qualify for a listing, it must have year-round signage and set and then remove its GMB hours at the opening and closing of its season. Each entity should have a distinct name, phone number and Google categories.
Q: How should I name my multiple businesses at the same address?
A: To decrease the risk of filtering or penalties, co-located businesses must pay meticulous attention to allowed naming conventions. Questions surrounding this typically fall into five categories:
If one business is contained inside another, as in the case of a McDonald’s inside a Walmart, the Google My Business names should be “McDonald’s” and “Walmart” not “McDonalds in Walmart”. If co-located brands like a Taco Bell and a Dunkin’ Donuts share the same location, they should not combine their brand names for the listing. They should either create a single listing with just one of the brand names, or, if the brands operate independently, a unique listing for each separate brand.If multiple listings actually reflect eligible departments within a business — like the sales and parts departments of a Chevrolet dealership — then it’s correct to name the listings Chevrolet Sales Department and Chevrolet Parts Department. No penalties should result from the shared branding elements, so long as the different departments have some distinct words in their names, distinct phone numbers and distinct GMB categories.If a brand sells another brand’s products — like Big-O selling Firestone Tires — don’t include the branding of the product being sold in the GMB business name. However, Google stipulates that if the business location is an authorized and fully dedicated seller of the branded product or service (sometimes known as a “franchisee”), you may use the underlying brand name when creating the listing, such as “TCC Verizon Wireless Premium Retailer.”If an owner is starting out with several new businesses at the same location, it would be a best practice to keep their names distinct. For example, a person operating a pottery studio and a pet grooming station out of the same building can lessen the chance of filters, penalties, and other problems by avoiding naming conventions like “Rainbow Pottery” and “Rainbow Pet Grooming” at the same location.Q: Can I create separate listings for classes, meetings, or events that share a location?
A: Unfortunately the guidelines on this topic lack definition. Google says not to create such listings for any location you don’t own or have the authority to represent. But even if you do own the building, the guidelines can lead to confusion. For example, a college can create separate listings for different departments on campus, but should not create a listing for every class being offered, even if the owners of the college do have authority to represent it.
Another example would be a yoga instructor who teaches at three different locations. If the building owners give them permission to list themselves at the locations, along with other instructors, the guidelines appear to permit creating multiple listings of this kind. However, such activity could end up being perceived as spam, could be filtered out because of shared elements with other yoga classes at a location, and could end up competing with the building’s own listing.
Because the guidelines are not terribly clear, there is some leeway in this regard. Use your discretion in creating such listings and view them as experimental in case Google should remove them at some point.
Q: How do I set GMB hours for co-located business features that serve different functions?
A: A limited number of business models have to worry about this issue of having two sets of hours for specific features of a business that exist on the same premises but serve unique purposes. For example, a gas station can have a convenience market that is open 6 AM to 10 PM, but pumps that operate 24 hours a day. Google sums up the shortlist for such scenarios this way, which I’ll quote verbatim:
Banks: Use lobby hours if possible. Otherwise, use drive-through hours. An ATM attached to a bank can use its own separate listing with its own, different hours.Car dealerships: Use car sales hours. If hours for new car sales and pre-owned car sales differ, use the new sales hours.Gas stations: Use the hours for your gas pumps.Restaurants: Use the hours when diners can sit down and dine in your restaurant. Otherwise, use takeout hours. If neither of those is possible, use drive-through hours, or, as a last resort, delivery hours.Storage facilities: Use office hours. Otherwise, use front gate hours.Q: Could the details of my Google listing get mixed up with another business at my location?
A: Not long ago, local SEO blogs frequently documented cases of listing “conflation”. Details like similar or shared names, addresses or phone numbers could cause Google to merge two listings together, resulting in strange outcomes like the reviews for one company appearing on the listing of another. This buggy mayhem, thankfully, has died down to the extent that I haven’t seen a report of listing conflation in some years. However, it’s good to remember that errors like these made it clear that each business you operate should always have its own phone number, naming should be as unique as possible, and categories should always be carefully evaluated.
Q: Why is only one of my multiple businesses at the same location ranking in Google’s local results?
A: The commonest cause of this is that Google is filtering out all but one of your businesses from ranking because of listing element similarity. If you attempt to create multiple listings for businesses that share Google categories or are competing for the same keyword phrases at the same address, Google’s filters will typically make all but one of the entities invisible at the automatic zoom level of their mapping product. For this reason, creating multiple GMB listings for businesses that share categories or industries is not a best practice and should be avoided.
Q: My GMB listing is being filtered due to co-location. What should I do?
A: This topic has come to the fore especially since Google’s rollout of the Possum filter on Sept 1, 2016. Businesses at the same address (or even in the same neighborhood) that share a category and are competing for the same search phrases often have the disappointment of discovering that their GMB listing appears to be missing from the map while a co-located or nearby competitor ranks highly. Google’s effort to deliver diversity causes them to filter out companies that they deem too similar when they’re in close proximity to one another.
If you find yourself currently in a scenario where you happen to be sharing a building with a competitor, and you’ve been puzzled as to why you seem invisible on Google’s maps, zoom in on the map and see if your listing suddenly appears. If it does, chances are, you’re experiencing filtering.
If this is your predicament, you have a few options for addressing it. As a measure of last resort, you could relocate your company to a part of town where you don’t have to share a location and have no nearby competitors, but this would be an extreme solution. More practically speaking, you will need to audit your competitor, comparing their metrics to yours to discover why Google sees them as the stronger search result. From the results of your audit, you can create a strategy for surpassing your opponent so that Google decides it’s your business that deserves not to be filtered out.
Summing Up
There’s nothing wrong with multiple businesses sharing an address. Google’s local index is filled with businesses in this exact situation ranking just fine without fear of penalization. But the key to success and safety in this scenario is definitely in the details.
Assessing eligibility, accurately and honestly representing your brand, adhering to guidelines and best practices, and working hard to beat the filters will stand you in good stead. Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

15 Best Instagram Analytics Tools for 2020

Do you know if your Instagram marketing strategy is working? Can you tell which post or story generated the most engagement over the course of a week? If you don’t have the answer to any of these questions, you need a healthy dose of Instagram analytics. For those unfamiliar with […]
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How to Start a Business: A Guide to Starting a Business

Entrepreneurship is an idea that appeals to many, but figuring out how to start a business can sometimes be so overwhelming it scares people away. It’s time to stop telling people that you’re going to start a business and actually put in the work to make it happen. In this […]
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How to Get Your Web Developer on Board with SEO [Bonus PDF] – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMullerYou’ve figured out what’s wrong, and you’ve delivered a laundry list of demands to your web dev team: re-index these pages, fix this duplicate content, redirect these URLs… but how often are those fixes prioritized, and how much time do you invest in pushing to get them there?Cultivating a positive, productive relationship with your web developers is one of the smartest (and most empathetic) things you can do as an SEO. After all, they’re your other half, the key to getting your work done quickly and well. In this Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares six essential ways to get your web dev on board with SEO, from working to better understand their role and offer help when you can, to sharing your wins and asking for feedback on working together.And don’t miss the end — we’ve released our brand-new Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet for 2020, the perfect pairing for today’s video! 

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!
Video Transcription
Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re talking all about how to get your web dev on board with SEO. So really excited. I think you’ll notice my biggest point here, and I couldn’t feel more strongly about the fact that we really do have so much to learn from developers, it’s wild.
Hopefully, this video helps kind of open some of your minds or expand some of the ways in which you can do that, because it will make you a lot stronger. 1. Create a genuine relationship with developers and work to better understand their roleFirst and foremost, create a genuine relationship with the developers you work with. Better understand their role and how they’re measuring their own success. Know what languages they program in. Better understanding their perspective and their opinion on things helps you create a better working relationship. Part of that is cultivating trust. One of the ways in which I’ve found some success cultivating that trust is just admitting when I have no idea how to implement a particular SEO fix. Or even when I think that I do, I prefer to ask, “What is the best way you see this being implemented? How would you most efficiently implement this change or optimization?” More frequently than not, they will have a way better way to make these website changes because they have that backend knowledge of the website.

Being humble, expressing that you don’t know everything, you’re not trying to step in and tell them how to program pages or how to fix that, it should be way more of a communication and a transaction of just information from both sides. 2. Learning from developers helps you become a stronger SEO
I promise you. It is one of my most favorite things working here at Moz. I have learned so much from the developers here. But likewise, some of the developers have learned things from myself and other fellow SEOs that work here. This is a symbiotic working relationship, where developers want to program sites and pages that do well in search.
I think it’s part of your job to express and communicate the potential value of a well-crafted web page. Show them how much more powerful their code and their work can be if set up properly or set up with thinking about JavaScript and Google crawling different aspects of it.
That’s what makes it a really efficient working relationship. Be open to just learning new things from your developers. 3. Be a champion of the developers you work withUnderstand what it is they’re trying to accomplish. If there’s any way you can help support that or consider that in your work and the things you’re making progress on, it’s a win-win. 4. Create a workflow/process to keep an eye on dev changes and catch things early
This is a common problem. Something that a lot of people ask about is creating this workflow or process in which you can keep an eye on dev changes. For really large websites, this can get unwieldy. It can be difficult to keep an eye on changes that might affect SEO.
But if you can have that conversation with a developer or a team of developers that you work with on: What’s the best way to manage this? Can you add me to GitHub so I can look at things that are getting pushed? Whatever that might be, it can really help create the space where you’re doing preventative SEO. You’re making sure that nothing goes terribly wrong in the future and makes it more manageable in the long run. 5. Share your SEO wins with your developers — and thank them!Share your SEO wins with the developers, especially when they’ve helped you and maybe have provided better solutions. You should absolutely thank them, and what a great opportunity to sort of share in those wins and continue to grow that working relationship. 6. Ask for feedback

Lastly, ask for feedback. If you feel like you’re struggling to communicate with a group of developers or a single developer, just be honest and use some radical candor and ask, “How can I better work with you? How can I better support you?” Opening that up for some feedback can also help to strengthen the relationship. Bonus: The brand-new Web Developer’s SEO Cheat SheetThen the one last thing that I hope you can really leverage as a tool to grow in your SEO efforts and to help you get more things done with the development team is The Web Developer’s Cheat Sheet for SEO.

This is a great resource to open up this conversation with developers, to sit down and have a conversation about why some of these things are important to you as an SEO and what comes to mind when they look at it. They have a totally different perspective on a lot of the things within this sheet.
Download the free Cheat Sheet
It’s a great opportunity for you to sit down and have those conversations and be able to excel in your SEO efforts. I hope some of this helps. I think it’s one of the most important things in getting SEO work done and seeing that success.
Please let me know what you think down below in the comments. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this, what’s worked for you, what hasn’t worked for you, and what other questions you have. I will see you all again soon. Thanks.
Video transcription by Speechpad.comSign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

With Add-to-Cart, Shopify Brands Streamline Purchases

The value of a visual UGC gallery on your brand’s site is undeniable. Consumers who view visual UGC spend 90% more time on site than shoppers who don’t, so it’s clear that this influential customer content is no longer a feature that’s nice-to-have — it’s essential. 

But, there’s a catch.

Shoppers may be inspired by this visual content, but they’re often leaving the site before reaching a product page. Without a clear path to take them from browsing to buying, shoppers are ending their journey without the most crucial component: the purchase. 

So, how can brands translate those moments of visual inspiration into more actual purchases?

We’re thrilled to announce our new Add-to-Cart functionality for Shopify brands, making it easier than ever for shoppers to purchase directly from visual UGC.

Seamlessly transition from inspiration to instant purchase
With the Add-to-Cart button on customer photos and videos in your visual UGC gallery, shoppers discover …This story continues at Yotpo

How to Understand Customer Needs – and Give the People What They Want

A business is nothing without its customers. Despite this indisputable fact, some businesses try to manage without paying any sort of special attention to their customers’ needs. They focus on their own ideas and assumptions without stopping to listen to how relevant or effective they are. Spoiler alert: those businesses […]
The post How to Understand Customer Needs – and Give the People What They Want appeared first on Oberlo.

Digital City Expo 2020

Manchester Central Convention Complex  Wednesday March 11th 2020 – 9:00am-5:00pm Thursday March 12th 2020 – 9:00am-4:30pm Free to attend.  Headline Partner: Capita Consulting Lead Sponsors: Silverchip, BJSS, dotdigital, MiQ Speakers already announced from: Google, Unilever, The Very Group, Social Chain, BBC, Capita, Dept, IBM, EY, Co-op, LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Advertising, Adyen, dotdigital, Pimberly, Adzooma, Modo25, […]
The post Digital City Expo 2020 appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

How Ecommerce Businesses Can Turn Their Customers Into Sales Reps

Ecommerce may be a flourishing discipline, but that doesn’t mean that every merchant with a decent store and a reasonable product range is raking in the profits. It’s a tough marketplace. Due to the sheer accessibility of online retail (if you have a laptop, or even just a smartphone, then you can own and run […]
The post How Ecommerce Businesses Can Turn Their Customers Into Sales Reps appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

ThinkTank US 2020 Welcome Happy Hour Venue Announced

Awin and ShareASale are excited to share the #ThinkTank2020 Welcome Happy Hour will be held at Marriott Marquis Chicago’s Level 33.  The perfect place to kick off another successful ThinkTank, Level 33 is located inside the brand new Marriott Marquis Chicago where this year’s conference is taking place, and features floor-to-ceiling glass windows that afford attendees […]
The post ThinkTank US 2020 Welcome Happy Hour Venue Announced appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

The Power of "Is": A Featured Snippet Case Study

Posted by EricSerdarI’m not a literary scholar, but I believe it was Hamlet that said “to have a featured snippet or not to have a featured snippet?” Ever since featured snippets came onto the scene, sites have been trying to secure them.
My team and I wanted in on this craze. Throughout our journey of research, testing, failure, and success, we found some interesting pieces of information that we wanted to share with the community. I’ll walk you through what we did and show you some of our results (though can’t share traffic numbers).
It was Britney Muller’s webinar on Feature Snippet Essentials and the release of the featured snippets cheat sheet that inspired me to capture what we’ve learned.
What are featured snippets?
A featured snippet is the box that appears at the top of the search result page that provides information to succinctly and accurately answer your query and cites a website.
Why are featured snippets important?
A featured snippet is important because it represents an additional SERP feature that you can secure. Usually located at the very top of the results page, featured snippets offer you greater visibility to searchers and can boost brand recognition.
Our featured snippet plan of attack
Research, research, and more research on how to pull this offIdentify keywords we wanted to targetChange how we structured our on-page content Measure, test, and repeat the process1. Research, research, and more research
We spent a great deal of time researching featured snippets. We looked at different ways to find featured snippet opportunities and researched how to optimize our content for them. We also went and saw Kellie Gibson speak on featured snippets volatility.
Did we implement everything from what we learned during this discovery phase into our featured snippet strategy? No. Are we perfect at it now after a year and a half of practicing this? No, no, no. We are getting better at it, though.
2. Identify keywords we wanted to target
We originally started out focusing on big “head” keywords. These represented terms that had indeterminate searcher intent. The first head term that we focused on was HRIS. It stands for Human Resources Information System — sexy, right?
Note: Looking back on this, I wish we had focused on longer tail keywords when testing out this strategy. It’s possible we could have refined our process faster focusing on long tail keywords instead of the large head terms.
3. Change how we structure our on-page content
We worked closely with our writing team to update how we lay out content on our blog. We changed how we used H2s, H3s (we actually used them now!), lists, and so on to help make our content easier to read for both users and robots.
In most of the content where we’re trying to rank for a featured snippet, we have an H2 in the form of a question. Immediately after the H2, we try and answer that question. We’ve found this to be highly successful (see pictures later on in the post). I wish I could say that we learned this tactic on our first try, but it took several months before this dawned on us.
4. Measure, test, and repeat
The first blog post that we tried this out on was our “What is an HRIS” article. Overall, this post was a success, it ranked for the head term that we were going for (HRIS), but we didn’t win a featured snippet. We deemed it a slight failure and went back to work.
This is where the fun started.
Featured snippet successes
We discovered a featured snippet trigger that we could capitalize on — mainly by accident. What was it?
Is.
Really. That was it. Just by adding that to some of our content, we started to pick up featured snippets. We started to do it more and more, and we were winning more and more featured snippets! I believe it was this strategic HR example that clued us onto the “is” trigger.
So we kept it up.
What did we learn?
I want to preface this by saying that all of this is anecdotal evidence. We haven’t looked at several million URLs, run it through any fancy number-crunching, or had a statistician look at the data. These are just a few examples that we’ve noticed that, when repeated, have worked for us.
Blog/HR glossary – We found that it was easier for us to gain featured snippets from our blog or our glossary pages. It seemed like no matter what optimizations that we made on the product page, we weren’t able to make it happen.Is – No, not the clown from the Stephen King novel. “Is” seemed to be the big trigger word for winning featured snippets. During our audit, we did find some examples of list featured snippets, but the majority were paragraphs and the trigger word was “is.”Definitions – We saw that definitions of the head term we were trying to go for was usually what got the definition. Our on-page copy would have the H2 with the keyword (e.g. What is Employee Orientation?) and then the paragraph copy would answer that question.Updating old posts – One surprising thing we learned is that when we went back to old posts and tried adding the “is” trigger word, we didn’t see a change — even if we added a good amount of new content to the page. We were only able to grab featured snippets with new content that we created. Also, when we updated large amounts of content on a few pages that had featured snippets, we lost them. We made sure to not touch the sections of the page that the snippet was pulling from, but we still lost the snippet (some have come back, but some are still gone).Conclusion
A few final things to note:
First, while these examples are anecdotal, I think that they show some practices that anyone wanting to capture featured snippets can do. Second, this was process was over a 12–18 month period and we’re still evolving what we think is the best way for us and our content team. Third, we had a lot of failures with this. I showed you one example, but we’ve had many (short-form content, long-form content, glossary terms, blog posts, etc.) that didn’t work. We just kept measuring, testing, and optimizing. Lastly, I need to give a shout out to our writing team. We massively disrupted their process with this and they have been phenomenal to work with (effective interdepartmental relationships are crucial for any SEO project).Let me know what’s worked for you or if you have any questions by leaving a comment down below.
Note: On January 23, 2020 Google announced that featured snippets would no longer be listed twice on the first page. For more information, you can check out this thread from Google Search Liaison. This may change how valuable featured snippets are to companies and the amount of clicks a listing gets. Before you start to panic, remember it will be important to watch and measure how this affects your site before doing anything drastic. If you do decide to go nuclear and to remove your featured snippets from the results, check out this documentation.Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

What Entrepreneurs Actually Do In A 9 to 5 Job

The worst thing happened to me in 2014. My first business had failed only six months after quitting my 9 to 5 job. I panicked. I didn’t want to go back into the corporate world. I don’t belong there. I had never been freer or happier than I had been […]
The post What Entrepreneurs Actually Do In A 9 to 5 Job appeared first on Oberlo.

Subscription Fatigue

Subscription Management
I have active subscriptions with about a half-dozen different news & finance sites along with about a half dozen software tools, but sometimes using a VPN or web proxy across different web browsers makes logging in to all of them & clearing cookies for some paywall sites a real pain.
If you don’t subscribe to any outlets then subscribing to an aggregator like Apple News+ can make a lot of sense, but it is very easy to end up with dozens of forgotten subscriptions.
Subscription fatigue is turning into subscription stress. Something alarming, guilt inducing about having 40+ reoccurring charges each month. Financial death by a thousand cuts.— Tom Goodwin (@tomfgoodwin) January 28, 2020
Winner-take-most Market Stratification
The news business is coming to resemble other tech-enabled businesses where a winner takes most. The New York Times stock, for instance, is trading at 15 year highs & they recently announced they are raising subscription prices:
The New York Times is raising the price of its digital subscription for the first time, from $15 every four weeks to $17 — from about $195 to $221 a year.
With a Trump re-election all but assured after the Russsia, Russia, Russia garbage, the party-line impeachment (less private equity plunderer Mitt Romney) & the ridiculous Iowa primary, many NYT readers will pledge their #NeverTrumpTwice dollars with the New York Times.
If you think politics looks ridiculous today, wait until you see some of the China-related ads in a half-year as the 2019 novel coronavirus spreads around the world.
Police in Central China’s Wuhan arrested 8 people spreading rumors about local outbreak of unidentifiable #pneumonia. Previous online posts said it was SARS. https://t.co/oVpk4EIYM7 pic.twitter.com/JXbK9pmq8v— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 1, 2020
Arresting a doctor who warned about the outbreak doesn’t have good optics, particularly after hundreds of other deaths piled up from it & when he later died from from the virus.
The optics keep getting worse.
Somewhere in Wuhan, three unknown people are wearing protective clothing but holding guns @SolomonYue #China_is_terrorist pic.twitter.com/cq28z0sPiF— 港英漁業 (@lym104_hker) February 1, 2020
How does a broad-based news site compete with the user generated Tweets in such a zone?
WATCH: Chinese authorities are now WELDING DOORS SHUT to whole apartment buildings, as well as residents inside – to impose #Coronavirus quarantine. #Wuhan pic.twitter.com/feclKG90pC— AS-Source News (@ASBreakingNews) February 8, 2020
And any widely known individual journalist who builds a large audience might get disappeared.
Twitter recently surpassed $1 billion in quarterly revenues, but time spent on Twitter is time not spent on other news websites.
Outside of a few core winners, the news business online has been so brutal that even Warren Buffett is now a seller. As the economics get uglier news sites get more extreme with ad placements, user data sales, and pushing subscriptions. Some of these aggressive monetization efforts make otherwise respectable news outlets look like part of a very downmarket subset of the web.
Users Fight Back
Users have thus adopted to blocking ads & are also starting to ramp up blocking paywall notifications.
Some of the most popular browser extensions are ad blockers & tracking blockers like Adblock Plus, Ghostery & Privacy Badger.
Apple has made tracking their users across sites harder with their Intelligent Tracking Prevention, causing iPhone ad rates to plummet: “The allure of a Safari user in an auction has plummeted,” Rubicon Project CEO Michael Barrett told the publication. “There’s no easy ability to ID a user.”
The Opera web browser comes with an ad blocker baked in.
Mozilla is also pushing to protect user privacy in Firefox.
Google recently announced they will stop supporting third party cookies in Chrome in the next couple years. Those who invested into adopting AMP will have to invest into making yet more technical changes to manage paywalls on AMP pages. Each additional layer of technological complexity is another cost center publishers have to fund, often through making the user experience of their sites worse, which in turn makes their own sites less differentiated & inferior to the copies they have left across the web (via AMP, via Facebook Instant Articles, syndication in Apple News or on various portal sites like MSN or Yahoo!).
A Web Browser For Every Season
Google Chrome is spyware, so I won’t recommend installing that.
Not good enough for you? Not a direct enough corollary? How about this?Also out today: https://t.co/6dUWCCEyii Google has a backdoor to track individual Chrome users by installation ID.Even GG’s denial admits pieces of the same complaints y’all had about Jumpshot last week! pic.twitter.com/Km2mQfOgbJ— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) February 4, 2020
Here Google’s official guide on how to remove the spyware.
The easiest & most basic solution which works across many sites using metered paywalls is to have multiple web browsers installed on your computer. Have a couple browsers which are used exclusively for reading news articles when they won’t show up in your main browser & set those web browsers to delete cookies on close. Or open the browsers in private mode and search for the URL of the page from Google to see if that allows access.
If you like Firefox there are other iterations from other players like Pale Moon, Comodo IceDragon or Waterfox using their core.
If you like Google Chrome then Chromium is the parallel version of it without the spyware baked in. The Chromium project is also the underlying source used to build about a dozen other web browsers including: Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, Cilqz, Blisk, Comodo Dragon, SRWare Iron, Yandex Browser & many others. Even Microsoft recently switched their Edge browser to being powered by the Chromium project. The browsers based on the Chromium store allow you to install extensions from the Chrome web store.
Some web browsers monetize users by setting affiliate links on the home screen and/or by selling the default search engine recommendation. You can change those once and they’ll typically stick with whatever settings you use.
For some browsers I use for regular day to day web use I set them up to continue session on restart, and I have a session manager plugin like this one for Firefox or this one for Chromium-based browsers. For browsers which are used exclusively for reading paywall blocked articles I set them up to clear cookies on restart.
Bypassing Paywalls
There are a couple solid web browser plugins built specifically for bypassing paywalls.
Academic Journals
Unpaywall is an open database of around 25,000,000 free scholarly articles. They provide extensions for Firefox and Chromium based web browsers on their website.
News Articles
There is also one for news publications called bypass paywalls.
Mozilla Firefox: To install the Firefox version go here.
Chrome-like web browsers: To install the Chrome version of the extension in Opera or Chromium or Microsoft Edge you can download the extension here, enter developer mode inside the extensions area of your web browser & install extension. To turn developer mode on, open up the drop down menu for the browser, click on extensions to go to the extension management area, and then slide the “Developer mode” button to the right so it is blue.
Regional Blocking
If you travel internationally some websites like YouTube or Twitter or news sites will have portions of their content restricted to only showing in some geographic regions. This can be especially true for new sports content and some music.
These can be bypassed by using a VPN service like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, Witopia or IPVanish. Some VPN providers also sell pre-configured routers. If you buy a pre-configured router you can use an ethernet switch or wifi to switch back and forth between the regular router and the VPN router.
You can also buy web proxies & enter them into the Foxy Proxy web browser extension (Firefox or Chromium-compatible) with different browsers set to default to different country locations, making it easier to see what the search results show in different countries & cities quickly.
If you use a variety of web proxies you can configure some of them to work automatically in an open source rank tracking tool like Serposcope.
The Future of Journalism
I think the future of news is going to be a lot more sites like Ben Thompson’s Stratechery or Jessica Lessin’s TheInformation & far fewer broad/horizontal news organizations. Things are moving toward the 1,000 true fans or perhaps 100 true fans model:
This represents a move away from the traditional donation model—in which users pay to benefit the creator—to a value model, in which users are willing to pay more for something that benefits themselves. What was traditionally dubbed “self-help” now exists under the umbrella of “wellness.” People are willing to pay more for exclusive, ROI-positive services that are constructive in their lives, whether it’s related to health, finances, education, or work. In the offline world, people are accustomed to hiring experts across verticals
A friend of mine named Terry Godier launched a conversion-oriented email newsletter named Conversion Gold which has done quite well right out of the gate, leading him to launch IndieMailer, a community for paid newsletter creators.
The model which seems to be working well for those sorts of news sites is…
stick to a tight topic range
publish regularly at a somewhat decent frequency like daily or weekly, though have a strong preference to quality & originality over quantity
have a single author or a small core team which does most the writing and expand editorial hiring slowly
offer original insights & much more depth of coverage than you would typically find in the mainstream news
Rely on Wordpress or a low-cost CMS & billing technology partner like Substack, Memberful, sell on a marketplace like Udemy, Podia or Teachable, or if they have a bit more technical chops they can install aMember on their own server. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I opened up a membership site about a decade back was hand rolling custom code for memberhsip management. At one point we shut down the membership site for a while in order to allow us to rip out all that custom code & replace it with aMember.
Accept user comments on pieces or integrate a user forum using something like Discord on a subdomain or a custom Slack channel. Highlight or feature the best comments. Update readers to new features via email.
Invest much more into obtaining unique data & sources to deliver new insights without spending aggressively to syndicate onto other platforms using graphical content layouts which would require significant design, maintenance & updating expenses
Heavily differentiate your perspective from other sources
maintain a low technological maintenance overhead
low cost monthly subscription with a solid discount for annual pre-payment
instead of using a metered paywall, set some content to require payment to read & periodically publish full-feature free content (perhaps weekly) to keep up awareness of the offering in the broader public to help offset churn.
Some also work across multiple formats with complimentary offerings. The Ringer has done well with podcasts & Stratechery also has the Exponent podcast.
There are a number of other successful online-only news subscription sites like TheAthletic & Bill Bishop’s Sinocism newsletter about China, but I haven’t subscribed to them yet. Many people support a wide range of projects on platforms like Patreon & sites like MasterClass with an all-you-can-eat subscription will also make paying for online content far more common..
Categories: publishing & media

Affiliate Summit West 2020 recap

For the second consecutive year, Awin and ShareASale returned to ASW as official global sponsors. ASW was a jam packed three days of thought leadership, networking and fun. In connecting with current and new partners, this annual conference enabled us to align growth and optimization strategies with our clients early in the year when it […]
The post Affiliate Summit West 2020 recap appeared first on ShareASale Blog.

Great Brand Management and How To Measure Success

With the competition that brands face online and in person, the reputation you have with customers can have an enormous impact on your bottom line. Learning how to cultivate positive feedback and nurture good customer interactions becomes essential. Customers look to online reviews and search engines to learn more about the companies they consider doing […]
The post Great Brand Management and How To Measure Success appeared first on BrightEdge SEO Blog.

7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank/Domain Authority – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by Cyrus-ShepardA rising tide lifts all ships — and it’s similar story with increased site authority. What factors are affected as you improve PageRank or Domain Authority, and how? In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Cyrus details seven SEO processes that are made easier by a strong investment in link building and growing your authority.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription
Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I’m Cyrus Shepard. Quick Whiteboard this week. I want to talk about links.
We know in SEO we love links. Everybody wants links. But why? What do links do for you? They do a surprising amount for you that we sometimes don’t realize. So the title of today’s Whiteboard, “7 SEO Processes That Get Easier with Increased PageRank and Domain Authority.” So why did we choose PageRank and Domain Authority?
Well, these are both algorithms that measure link power, both the number of links and the quantity of links. PageRank being Google’s algorithm to rank web pages based on popularity and importance. Domain Authority, which Google doesn’t use, just to be clear, Domain Authority being a Moz algorithm that measures both link quantity and quality.
For our purposes, we can basically use them in the same conversation. We’re talking about the power of your links. 
1. Ranking ability
The first thing that everybody knows about is links help you rank. They help you rank in many, many ways. You can get higher rankings. You can attack more keywords, but most importantly, you can attack more competitive keywords.
A good thing I like to do is, when I’m trying to see if I can rank for a keyword, simply Google it, check the Page Authority, which is a very similar metric, of all the top ranking pages, see what your Page Authority is for your top ranking keywords, and you can kind of have a pretty good idea if you have an ability to rank for that keyword. 
2. Crawl budget
But then we get into the nitty-gritty, the other benefits of having that link equity, one of the most important being crawl budget.
When you have more link equity, Google will crawl more of your pages. If you only have a handful of links and a million pages on your website, it’s going to be very difficult to get Google to crawl and index all those million pages. If you’re eBay or Amazon or Google or a site with like a 100 Domain Authority, yes, you might be able to attract Google to crawl those million pages.
3. Indexation speed
Google will also crawl them faster. You may get Google to crawl your pages with low Domain Authority, but it’s going to take a while for Google to visit those again. So then we get into the idea of indexation speed. With a higher Domain Authority, Google is going to crawl and index your content typically much faster than they would without.
So if you have a page that you’ve updated recently, you’re going to see Google update it quicker the more authority that page has. Also you’re going to see this in the SERPs. If you have outdated title tags or meta descriptions, you can ask Google to crawl it via the Submit URL tool. But generally, the more authority a page has, the more incoming link power, you’re going to see those things updated so much quicker than you would with low link equity.
4. More powerful links
This is my favorite one. With increased link equity, your own links become more powerful, and this gives you incredible ranking power because your internal links, that you’re linking to yourself, become more powerful with that link equity. So it makes everything easier to rank. The best link building you can do when you have high authority is linking to yourself, and it’s so easy.
But also the links that you link out to other people also become more valuable, which makes you a more attractive target. 
5. Insulation from bad links
My friend Everett Sizemore came up with that word “insulation.” With better link equity, you’re somewhat protected from a handful of bad links. Now if you have low link equity and you get a bunch of spam links to your site, your risk of penalization or being impacted by negative SEO increases pretty high.
But if you have a million links, a handful of bad links just aren’t going to hurt you. A good way to think about this is ratios, because, of course, anybody can get penalized. Anybody can suffer the consequences of bad links. But if those bad links only make up a tiny portion, meaning a small ratio, then you are somewhat insulated by the impact of those bad links.
6. Less over-optimization
Now Google says they don’t have an over-optimization penalty. But anecdotally, many SEOs understand that if you’re a small site, you’re just starting out, it’s very easy to over-optimize for keywords with exact match anchor text and not rank. The key usually: in SEO, you want a lot of variety.
With a lot of links, that variety is much easier to get, and you have much less risk of over-optimization in linking internally with exact match anchor text. You can get away with a lot more with higher Domain Authority than you can with less Domain Authority. That’s kind of the key to this whole thing. With higher Domain Authority, you just get away with a lot more. It’s the idea of the rich getting richer. 
7. The flywheel effect
Rand Fishkin, our friend, likes to talk about the flywheel effect. When you have more links, everything gets easier. When you start ranking and people start seeing you in the SERPs, you’re going to get more links from that content, and more links are going to equal more ranking and the wheel is just going to keep turning and turning.
More people want to link to you and amplify you and work with you. You’re also going to get a lot more spam requests and link requests and things like that, so it isn’t fun. But generally, the more Domain Authority you have, the more PageRank you have, the easier life is going to get, and you just want to start building it up day after day after day. So, like I said, a quick and easy Whiteboard Friday this week.
Hope you enjoyed it. We’ll talk to you next time. Thanks, everybody.
Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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The 2019 Yotpo Partner Awards Finalists

At Yotpo, we’re privileged to work with organizations at the top of their game, bringing expertise, creativity, and innovation to give brands the tools they need to compete — and win — in an ever-changing industry.

The third annual Yotpo Partner Awards honor the outstanding companies that push the envelope on eCommerce experiences and go above and beyond to serve their clients. This year, we’re putting the spotlight on the incredible work that enabled brands to craft engaging experiences that drive merchant growth.

Read on to see the finalists, and stay tuned for the grand reveal of the winners on March 23rd, at an exclusive industry event at Shoptalk.
Fueling growth and success
2019 was a year of major achievements driven by deep relationships with our partners. From new integrations, to co-marketing initiatives, to seamless brand deployments, our partners played key roles in our mutual ventures and shared successes.

This year also saw strengthened relationships wit …This story continues at Yotpo

4 Top Strategies for Combating Customer Returns

Unfortunately for online merchants, eCommerce returns have reached staggering heights. In 2017 alone, American consumers returned $351 billion in online and offline purchases (NRF).

Though returns are particularly prevalent in the fashion industry, where nearly nine out of 10 US shoppers have admitted to having returned items purchased online in the last year, the issue ranges across industries, from Health & Beauty, to Electronics, Home & Garden, and beyond.
What’s at the root of the returns epidemic?
In a survey we recently conducted, fit and quality issues (78.7%) emerged as the top reason for returning purchases, while nearly half of the respondents polled (48.6%) said they have sent back items because they looked different in person than they did online.
The good news
With the right strategy in place, your brand has the ability to tackle these issues head-on. By presenting shoppers with a combinatination of highly specific product descriptions, plus social proof l …This story continues at Yotpo

DWMF Global 2020

Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF Conference & Expo Global); is set to bring together over 2000+ worldwide senior digital marketing professionals for two days of thought leadership, insight and practical sessions looking at the challenges the digital future presents – alongside a whole host of networking opportunities. #DMWF provides top-level strategic content and digital marketing […]
The post DWMF Global 2020 appeared first on ECN | E-Commerce Nation.

Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero

Posted by Dr-PeteIn 2014, Google introduced the featured snippet, a promoted organic ranking that we affectionately (some days were more affectionate than others) referred to as “position zero” or “ranking #0.” One of the benefits to being in position zero was that you got to double-dip, with your organic listing appearing in both the featured snippet and page-1 results (usually in the top 3–4). On January 23, Google announced a significant change (which rolled out globally on January 22) …
“Declutters” sounds innocuous, but the impact to how we think about featured snippets and organic rankings is significant. So, let’s dig deep into some examples and the implications for SEO.
What does this mean for Moz?
First, a product announcement. In the past, we treated Featured Snippets as stand-alone SERP features — they were identified in our “SERP Features” report but were not treated as organic due to the second listing. As of Saturday, January 25 (shout-out to many of our team for putting in a long weekend), we began rolling out data that treats the featured snippet as position #1. SERPs with featured snippets will continue to be tagged in SERP Features reporting, and we’re working on ways to surface more data.
Here’s a partial screenshot of our “SERP Features” report from one of my own experiments …
At a glance, you can see which keywords displayed a featured snippet (the scissor icon), owned that featured snippet (highlighted in blue), as well as your organic ranking for those keywords. We’re working on bringing more of this data into the Rankings report in the near future.
If you’re a Moz Pro customer and would like to see this in action, you can jump directly to your SERP Features report using the button below (please let us know what you think about the update):
Check Your SERP Features
This change brings our data in line with Google’s view that a featured snippet is a promoted organic result and also better aligns us with Google Search Console data. Hopefully, it also helps provide customers with more context about their featured snippets as organic entities.
How does Google count to 10?
Let’s take a deeper look at the before and after of this change. Here are the desktop organic results (left-column only) from a search for “LCD vs LED” on January 21st …
Pardon some big images, but I promise there’s method to my madness. In the “before” screenshot above, we can clearly see that the featured snippet URL is duplicated as the #1 organic result (note: I’ve added the green box and removed a People Also Ask box). Ranking #1 wasn’t always the case prior to January 22nd, but most featured snippet URLs appeared in the #1–#3 organic positions, and all of them came from page-one results.
Here’s the same SERP from January 23rd …
You can see that not only is the featured snippet URL missing from the #1 position, but it doesn’t appear on page one at all. There’s more to this puzzle, though. Look at the January 21st SERP again, but numbered …
Notice that, even with the featured snippet, page one displays 10 full organic results. This was part of our rationale for treating the featured snippet as the #0 position and a special case, even though it came from organic results. We also debated whether duplicating data in rankings reports added value for customers or just created confusion.
Now, look at the numbered SERP from January 23rd …
The duplicate URL hasn’t been replaced — it’s been removed entirely. So, we’re only left with 10 total results, including the featured snippet itself. If we started with #0, we’d be left with a page-one SERP that goes from #0–#9.
What about double snippets?
In rare cases, Google may show two featured snippets in a row. If you haven’t seen one of these in action, here’s an example for the search “Irish baby names” from January 21st …
I’ve highlighted the organic URLs to show that, prior to the update, both featured snippet URLs appeared on page one. A quick count will also show you that there are 10 traditional organic listings and 12 total listings (counting the two featured snippets).
Here’s that same SERP from January 23rd, which I’ve numbered …
In this case, both featured snippet URLs have been removed from the traditional organic listings, and we’re left once again with 10 total page-one results. We see the same pattern with SERP features (such as Top Stories or Video carousels) that occupy an organic position. Whatever the combination in play, the featured snippet appears to count as one of the 10 results on page one after January 22nd.
What about right-hand side panels?
More recently, Google introduced a hybrid desktop result that looks like a Knowledge Panel but pulls information from organic results, like a Featured Snippet. Here’s an example from January 21st (just the panel) …
In the left-hand column, the same Wordstream URL ranked #3 in organic results (I’ve truncated the image below to save your scrolling finger) …
After January 22nd, this URL was also treated as a duplicate, which was met with considerable public outcry. Unlike the prominent Featured Snippet placement, many people felt (including myself) that the panel-style UI was confusing and very likely to reduce click-through rate (CTR). In a fairly rare occurrence, Google backtracked on this decision …
Our data set showed reversal kicking in on January 29th (a week after the initial change). Currently, while some featured snippets are still displayed in right-hand panels (about 30% of all featured snippets across MozCast’s 10,000 keywords), those URLs once again appear in the organic listings.
Note that Google has said this is a multi-part project, and they’re likely going to be moving these featured snippets back to the left-hand column in the near future. We don’t currently know if that means they’ll become traditional featured snippets or if they’ll evolve into a new entity.
How do I block featured snippets?
Cool your jets, Starscream. Almost the moment Google announced this change, SEOs started talking about how to block featured snippets, including some folks asking publicly about de-optimizing content. “De-optimizing” sounds harmless, but it’s really a euphemism for making your own content worse so that it ranks lower. In other words, you’re going to take a CTR hit (the organic CTR curve drops off quickly as a power function) to avoid possibly taking a CTR hit. As Ford Prefect wisely said: “There’s no point in driving yourself mad trying to stop yourself going mad. You might just as well give in and save your sanity for later.”
More importantly, there are better options. The oldest currently available option is the meta-nosnippet directive. I’d generally consider this a last resort — as a recent experiment by Claire Carlile re-affirms, meta-nosnippet blocks all snippets/descriptions, including your organic snippet.
As of 2019, we have two more options to work with. The meta-max-snippet directive limits the character-length of search snippets (both featured snippets and organic snippets). It looks something like this …

Setting the max-snippet value to zero should function essentially the same as a nosnippet directive. However, by playing with intermediate values, you might be able to maintain your organic snippet while controlling or removing the featured snippet.
Another relatively new option is the data-nosnippet HTML attribute. This is a tag attribute that you can wrap around content you wish to block from snippets. It looks something like this …
I will take this content to the grave!
Ok, that was probably melodramatic, but the data-nosnippet attribute can be wrapped around specific content that you’d like to keep out of snippets (again, this impacts all snippets). This could be very useful if you’ve got information appearing from the wrong part of a page or even a snippet that just doesn’t answer the question very well. Of course, keep in mind that Google could simply select another part of your page for the featured snippet.
One thing to keep in mind: in some cases, Featured snippet content drives voice answers. Danny Sullivan at Google confirmed that, if you block your snippets using one of the methods above, you also block your eligibility for voice answers …
A featured snippet isn’t guaranteed to drive voice answers (there are a few more layers to the Google Assistant algorithms), but if you’re interested in ranking for voice, then you may want to proceed with caution. Also keep in mind that there’s no position #2 in voice search.
How much should I freak out?
We expect these changes are here to stay, at least for a while, but we know very little about the impact of featured snippets on CTR after January 22nd. In early 2018, Moz did a major, internal CTR study and found the impact of featured snippets almost impossible to interpret, because the available data (whether click-stream or Google Search Console) provided no way to tell if clicks were going to the featured snippet or the duplicated organic URL.
My hunch, informed by that project, is that there are two realities. In one case, featured snippets definitively answer a question and negatively impact CTR. If a concise, self-contained answer is possible, expect some people not to click on the URL. You’ve given them what they need.
In the other case, though, a featured snippet acts as an incomplete teaser, naturally encouraging clicks (if the information is worthwhile). Consider this featured snippet for “science fair ideas” …
The “More items…” indicator clearly suggests that this is just part of a much longer list, and I can tell you from my as a parent that I wouldn’t stop at the featured snippet. Lists and instructional content are especially well-suited to this kind of teaser experience, as are questions that can’t be answered easily in a paragraph.
All of this is to say that I wouldn’t take a hatchet to your featured snippets. Answering the questions your visitors ask is a good thing, generally, and drives search visibility. As we learn more about the impact on CTR, it makes sense to be more strategic, but featured snippets are organic opportunities that are here to stay.Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

7 Tips to Help your Brand Grow its Customer Base

Growing your customer base is important for any business, especially new ones. Without customers, how can you grow sustainably and make profit? Your customers are your brand’s lifeblood, but in order to increase your customer base, you need to understand what a customer base is in the first place. 

Pay Attention to These SEO Trends in 2020 and Beyond

Posted by Suganthan-MohanadasanWithout a doubt, it is our job as SEOs to keep an eye on the future and anticipate what Google is planning, testing, or looking to drop on our doorsteps. Over the past 12 months alone, we have seen several changes in Google Search — each impacting how we plan, implement, and report on campaigns.
In this article, I will take a look at what is in store for SEO in 2020 and how these factors will change the way we formulate strategies throughout the next year and beyond.
Artificial intelligence will continue to evolve
Over the past half-decade, artificial intelligence has become a pioneering force in the evolution of SEO.
In 2015, for example, we were introduced to RankBrain — the machine-based search algorithm that helps Google push more relevant results to users. Although RankBrain is coming up on its fifth birthday, we are only now catching early glimpses into how artificial intelligence will dominate SEO in the coming years.
The most recent step in this progression of artificial learning is, of course, the introduction of Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding (BERT), which Google announced at the end of October. For those who missed it, BERT is Google’s neural network-based technique for natural language processing, and it’s important because it deals with the very fundamentals of how people search. Google itself says that the algorithm represents “the biggest leap forward in the past five years, and one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of Search.”
Affecting one in ten searches, BERT gives Google a better understanding of how language is used and helps it comprehend the context of individual words within searches. The important thing to know about BERT (and also RankBrain), is the fact that you cannot optimize for it.
There’s nothing to optimize for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 28, 2019

But what does this mean for SEOs?
BERT is just one signal of how Google understands language, but it is one of the most important in the search engine’s arsenal. This means that now more than ever, webmasters and SEOs alike must focus their efforts on creating the most useful, natural, and highest-quality content. Quite simply, as Danny Sullivan says, “write content for users.”
It’s also worth understanding how BERT interprets questions, which you can find out more about in the Whiteboard Friday episode below.
Voice search is here to stay
It’s hard to imagine at the dawn of 2020, but when voice search was released in 2012 many assumed it would be just another project consigned to the ever-growing Google graveyard.
Today, however, we know so much more about the technology and, thanks to schema.org, where it is likely to go in the future. The adoption rate is slower than predicted, but it has nevertheless leaked into our lives, so we must not completely ignore voice search.
Schema markup
A new form of markup is released nearly every month, with one of the latest developments being markup for movies. Although this might seem insignificant, the fact that we are now seeing markup for films shows just how granular and far-reaching structured data has come.
With smart speakers now numbering 120 million in the US alone, webmasters should be taking the time to investigate where schema can be placed on their website so they can take advantage of the 35.6 million voice search demands taking place every month. What’s more, website markup has a monumental influence on featured snippets, which can be highly lucrative for any website. Take a look at this Moz guide for more information on how voice search influences featured snippets.
Speakable
If you’re in the US, it’s also worth noting that Speakable (BETA) is used by Google Assistant to answer people’s questions about specific topics. The assistant can return up to three relevant articles and provide audio playback using text-to-speech markup. Implementing such a markup can be highly lucrative for news sites, because when the assistant provides an answer, it also attributes the source and sends the full article URL to the user’s mobile device. If you’re a news site that publishes in English but doesn’t yet have Speakable markup implemented, you can read up on both the technical considerations and content requirements necessary for eligibility.
Google Actions
Actions on Google, a development platform for Google Assistant, is also worth your consideration. It allows the third-party development of “actions” — applets for Google Assistant that provide extended functionality. Actions can be used to get things done by integrating your content and services with the Google Assistant.
Actions allow you to do a number of things:
Build Actions to ensure Google Assistant uses your appsAllow users to search for and engage with your appProvide your app as a recommendation for user queriesCheck out this fantastic article by Andrea Vopini about how to optimize your content using Google assistant.
Google is heavily invested in using entities
Entities aren’t something that you hear SEOs talking about every day, but they are something Google is putting a lot of resources into. Put simply, Google itself states that entities are “a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined, and distinguishable.”
Entities don’t have to be something physical, but can be something as vague as an idea or a color. As long as it is either singular, unique, distinguishable, or well-defined, it is an entity.
As you can see, Moz shows up in the knowledge panel because the company is an entity. If you search the Google Knowledge Graph API for the company name, you can see how Google understands them:

But what does this mean for SEOs?
In 2015, Google submitted a patent named “Ranking Search Results Based On Entity Metrics,” which is where the above entity description is sourced from. Although few patents are worth getting excited about, this one caused a stir in the technical SEO scene because it takes machine learning to an entirely new level and allows Google to accurately calculate the probability of user intent, thus giving it an understanding of both user language and tone. What’s more, entities place a reduced reliance on links as a ranking factor, and depending on what your SEO strategy is, that could result in the need for big campaign changes.
The most important aspect you will need to consider is how Google understands the entities on your website.
For example, if your site sells shoes, you need to think about how many different types, colors, sizes, brands, and concepts exist for your shoes. Each shoe will represent a different entity, which means you must consider how to frame each product so that it meets the expectations of users as well as the learning capabilities of Google — which is where we meet markup once again.
Sites themselves can also become entities, and that provides huge rewards as they appear in the Knowledge Panel, which I will discuss next.
The knowledge panel will be important for personalities and brands
Although Google’s Knowledge Graph was launched way back in 2012, its expansion since then means it is still a core part of the search matrix and one that will reach far into the next decade.
Closely tied with featured snippets and rich results, earlier last year Google began allowing entities to claim their own knowledge panel, giving them access to edit and control the information presented to users in search results. They can make specific requests, such as changing the featured image, panel title, and social profiles provided within the panel.
The benefits of claiming your knowledge panel are numerous. They help users gain quick access to your site, which thanks to the Knowledge Graph, displays trust and authority signals. Knowledge panels also provide brands and personalities with the ability to control what objective information is shown to users. However, there are still many brands that have yet to claim their own panels.
You can claim your business’s knowledge panel in a few easy steps:
Ensure that your website is verified with Search Console.Update your panel by suggesting a change to Google.But what does this mean for SEOs?
As you can see from the above examples, being in the Knowledge Graph can improve trust and add authenticity to your business or personal brand, as well as providing additional visibility. But it’s easier said than done. 
Unless you’re a recognized, famous person or brand, claiming space in the Knowledge Graph is going to be difficult. Having a Wikipedia page can be enough, but I don’t recommend creating pages just to get there — it will get deleted and waste your effort. Instead, build brand mentions and authority around your name gradually. While having a wikidata page can be helpful, it’s not guaranteed. The goal is to get Google to recognize you as a notable person or brand.
Queryless proactive predictive search is getting better
Google Discover was released in June of 2017, prompting a new kind of search altogether — one that is queryless. Discover is an AI-driven content recommendation tool and claims 80 million active users.
Using the aforementioned Knowledge Graph, Google added an extra layer called the Topic Layer, which is engineered to understand how a user’s interest develops over time (this article by the University of Maryland offers an in-depth explanation of topic layers and models).
By understanding the many topics a user is interested in, Discover identifies the most accurate content to deliver from an array of websites.
But what does this mean for SEOs?
To appear in Discover, Google states that pages appear “if they are indexed by Google and meet Google News content policies. No special tags or structured data are required.” It ranks content based on an algorithm that inspects the quality of content alongside the interests of the user and the topic of the page in question. The exact formula is unknown, however, based on several studies and experiments we now have a pretty good idea of how it works.
This screenshot from a presentation by Kenichi Suzuki highlights some of the factors that help pages appear in Discover.
According to Google, there are two ways to boost the performance of your content within Discover:
Post interesting contentUse high-quality imagesAs ever, ensure that you generate high quality content that is unique and creates a great experience for users. If your site tends to publish clickbait articles, the chance of those articles appearing in Discover is low.
Other tips for appearing in Discover would be to arrange your content semantically so that Google finds it easier to understand your work, and ensure that your website is technically proficient.
Like any form of search, you can use Google Search Console to see how well your articles are performing in Discover. You can find Discover stats under the performance section.

Google Discover analytics data is fairly new, and therefore limited. There isn’t currently a native way to segment this traffic inside Google Analytics. To track user behavior data, this article provides a technique to track it inside Google Analytics.
We have yet to see the biggest changes in visual image Search
It could be argued that the biggest change to image search happened in September 2018 when Google Lens rolled out. Not only did featured videos begin appearing in image search, but AMP stories and new ranking algorithms and tags were also released.
But while speaking at a Webmaster Meetup in New York last year, John Mueller shared that there will be major changes in image search in the coming year. Rather than merely viewing images, very soon people will use itto accomplish goals, purchase products, and learn new information.
Google has always said that images should be properly optimized and marked, so if you have not started to add such data or information to your images, now is definitely the time to start.
In the past six months alone we have seen Google introduce small changes such as removing the “view image” function, as well as colossal changes, such as totally revamping image search for Desktop.

Furthermore, people don’t even have to search within it to see images anymore. It’s common for the SERP to present a universal search result, which encompasses images, videos, maps, news, and shopping listings. The opportunity to appear in a universal (or blended) result is just another reason why properly tagged and marked images are so important.
Finally, Google has added visual image search attributes to search results. The interesting thing with this update is that these attributes are now available as image carousels within the main search results.
But what does this mean for SEOs?
With so much to play with, webmasters and SEOs should consider how they can take advantage of such changes, which could prove potentially very lucrative for the right sites — especially when you consider that 35% of Google product searches return transactions in as little as five days.
E-A-T doesn’t apply to every site — but it still matters
E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is something every SEO should know back to front, but remember:
E-A-T isn’t a ranking factorE-A-T is critical for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics and pagesAlthough these two statements might seem contradictory, they make more sense when you consider what Google defines as YMYL.
According to Google’s Rater Guidelines, YMYL is a page or topic that “could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” This means that if your page has information that could potentially change a person’s life, it is considered YMYL and offering E-A-T is important. If your site is merely your personal collection of cat pictures, then showcasing authority or expertise is less critical.
But what does this mean for SEOs?
The issue, however, is that the majority of websites (and certainly the ones invested in SEO) are generally going to have YMYL pages or topics, but Google is taking big steps to ensure that low quality or questionable YMYL content is weeded out. As you might know, you can’t optimize for E-A-T because it isn’t an algorithm, but you can implement changes to make sure your site sends the right kind of quality signals to Google. This Moz article by Ian Booth and this guide by Lily Ray offer great tips for how to do that.
Topics and semantics over keywords
Google is putting less priority on both links and keywords, which is where topic modeling and semantics come into the conversation.
Google has become very clever at understanding what a user is searching for based on just a few basic words. This is thanks, in part, to topic modeling (as Google itself admitted in September 2018 when it introduced its “topic layer”). Indeed, this algorithm has a deep understanding of semantics and yearns to provide users with deep troves of information.
But what does this mean for SEOs?
This means that it has never been more important to create high quality, in-depth, and meaningful content for users — but you also need to think about information structure.
For example, if your site sells running shoes, you could create long-form educational pieces about how to choose shoes for specific running environments, athletic diets for runners, or tech accessory reviews. These articles could then be clustered into various topics. By clustering your topics into compartments through your website architecture, both users and crawlers can easily navigate and understand the content provided.
Studies have also shown that Google’s crawlers prefer pages with semantic groupings and sites that are designed around topic modeling. This 2018 presentation by Dawn Anderson gives a brilliant insight into this. If you want to know more about topic modeling and semantic connectivity, check out this Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin.
SERPs will continue to evolve
Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen search results evolve and transform like never before. In fact, they have changed so much that, in some cases, being placed first within the organic search results may not be the most lucrative position.
This is something that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago (check out this Moz article from 2018) that works to quell the panic from zero position SERPs).
With the introduction of Voice Search, rich results, rich snippets, knowledge panels, Google My Business, and updated Image Search results, SEOs now need to consider a whole new range of technical marketing strategies to appear in a multitude of organic search results.
It’s hard to know where Google is taking SERPs in the next year, but it is fair to say the strategies we use today for the search environment will likely be outdated in as little as six months.
Take, for example, the recent addition and subsequent removal of favicons in the SERPs; after backlash, Google reversed the change, proving we can never predict which changes will stick and which are blips on the radar.
But what does this mean for SEOs?
Ensure that your strategies are flexible and constantly prepare for changes in both your business sector (if you do not work within SEO) and the constantly evolving search environment. Pay attention to the seasonality of searches and use tools such as Google Trends to cover any out-of-season deficit that you may encounter.
You can use tools like Moz Keyword Explorer to help plan ahead and to create campaigns and strategies that provide useful traffic and lucrative conversions.
Conclusion
SEOs need to move away from the ideology that links and traditional search results should be priorities for an organic campaign. Although both still carry weight, without investment in technical strategy or willingness to learn about entities or semantic connectivity, no SEO campaign can reach its full potential.
The world of SEO in 2020 is bright and exciting, but it will require more investment and intelligent strategy than ever before.Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

All You Need to Know about Marketing to Gen Z [with Free Designs]

A lot of ecommerce store owners think that marketing to Gen Z is a skill that will only need to be mastered by their future selves. But the truth is, Generation Z is predicted to become the largest consumer group in the US already in 2020, so it’s time to turn your eyes to this […]
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