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Both David and Dave also write about search engine patents from time to time, so it was a fun discussion.
David and I were discussing patents and the show before it started, and we both began to compare the most memorable patents we had come across in the last year. This post is my top ten list, along with blog posts I wrote about each of these search engine patents.
The majority of my favorites from the past year are knowledge-based patents covering the use of knowledge graphs and entity extraction.
Another favorite was a news-related patent that was updated for the 6th time. One of the previous times that it was updated (in 2013), the magazine/website ComputerWorld reported upon the update, but didn’t bother to look at the updated claims in the continuation patent, but instead reported upon what the description said (copied from the original 2003 version of the patent) missing out on the actual changes to that patent. It has changed a lot since the first version.
Another favorite is actually a hybrid search/knowledge-based patent that tries to understand and anticipate query templates that might be asked.
The last of the bunch is about better information local search by using actual visits to businesses to calculate quality visit scores to potentially boost rankings of local results.
These are my top ten Search Engine Patents posts of 2019 (I only chose ones that I spent enough time with to write about them. Hopefully, David Harry will share his Top 10 search engine patents from this year with us, too.
1. User-Specific Knowledge Graphs to Support Queries and Predictions Structured user graph to support querying and predictions, is a post about the patent Structured user graph to support querying and predictions. This patent was originally filed in 2013. however, it makes a lot of the same points as this very similar 2019 whitepaper from Google on Personal Knowledge Graphs.
2. Augmented Search Queries Using Knowledge Graph Information – The patent behind this one explains how Google has been including knowledge graph-based results, such as knowledge panels, Related Questions, Related Entities, and more in Search Results for queries, where they have recognized that there is an entity in a query that you may have searched for. The post is about the patent Providing search results using augmented search queries
3. In Google Knowledge Graph Reconciliation, I wrote about a patent that explains how Google works to better understand knowledge graphs and entities that appear in those in tuples and reverse tuples, and how to expand what those knowledge graphs cover. The patent behind it was Automatic discovery of new entities using graph reconciliation.
4. In How Might Google Extract Entity Relationship Information from Q&A Pages?, I wrote about the patent Information extraction from question and answer websites, which focuses upon relationships between entities, and how confidence scores might be developed to determine the likelihood that those relationships are true. It also looks at the natural language parsing behind finding answers to questions regarding such relationships.
5. In the post Answering Questions Using Knowledge Graphs, I wrote about Natural Language Processing With An N-Gram Machine, which tells us about how Google may create a knowledge graph to answer a query by performing a search on a question submitted to the search engine, an then use the results (or a percentage of the results) to create a knowledge graph that it can then use to answer the query. This reminded me of the User-Specific knowledge graphs that I wrote about in the first patent I wrote about in this post, and how it pointed out that Google was engaged in creating many more knowledge graphs than just the one that we think about when they told us they were going to index real-world objects back in 2012.
6. The post Entity Extractions for Knowledge Graphs at Google is about the patent Computerized systems and methods for extracting and storing information regarding entities about how Google uses natural language processing to extract entities from text on Web Pages, and how it also parses that text to understand relationships between the entities it finds, and facts and attributes and classifications of those entities, and the confidence scores between those entities and facts about them.
7. In How Google May Interpret An Ambiguous Query Using a Semantic Interpretation, I wrote about how Google may decide to answer a query that may seem ambiguous by trying to decide upon the intent behind the query and comparing the results that Google search returns for the ambiguous query from the searcher with ones that cover different intents to see how similar the SERPs are for each of those. Google tells us that each of the different semantic interpretations that guess at the intent behind a query might be associated with a canonical query that it would test to see the similarity between it and the original query. This approach is described in the patent Evaluating semantic interpretations of a search query.
8. I compared earlier claims in Evolution of Google’s News Ranking Algorithm to the claims from the 6th update to one of the original Google News patents at Google, which started out by ranking articles based upon features of the sources of that news in the first version and evolved in a number of ways to focus upon originality by how much it references different entities, as described in updated claims in the patent Systems and methods for improving the ranking of news articles (6th version of this patent, updating the claims as a continuation patent)
9. The post Automatic query pattern generation is about a patent that takes a hybrid search/knowledge approach to better understanding queries that searchers may perform, by looking in query logs for questions that searchers may perform as templates and using entities from Google’s Knowledge Graph as part of those questions. An example would be “what are the symptoms for pneumonia?” The patent behind this post is Automatic query pattern generation. That Google is combining the use of query log information with knowledge graph information to learn about what people might search for, and anticipate such questions shows us how they may combine information like they do with augmentation queries, and answering questions using knowledge graphs.
Local Search-Based Patents
10. In the post Quality Visit Scores to Businesses May Influence Rankings in Google Local Search, I wrote about how Google might combine real-world information about visits to businesses, as captured using navigational devices such as smartphones, as described by the patent Quality visit measure for controlling computer response to query associated with physical location. Google referred to the use of such quality visit scores in one of their support pages about ads and analytics and mentioned that they might be awarding digital and physical badges to the most visited locations as local favorites (which Google is now awarding in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.)
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I’ve found that most of my clients know a little something about SEO, but they’re not exactly sure how to make it work for them as well as it should. Teaching SEO to clients should be part of the client management services that you provide during SEO sales presentations.
SEO is a broad topic that covers a lot of ground. The challenge lies in how to explain SEO is communicating all the ways that you can enhance SEO in terms that clients can understand so that it doesn’t seem so much like a foreign language.
I’ve found that my clients have a better understanding of the value of SEO when I can help them understand its significance in today’s digital marketing plans and speak to them about it without being too technical with the terms.
I’ve found some effective ways on how to pitch SEO services and with their help, I develop a custom SEO plan that’s designed for success. The points shared below will help you convey a lot of crucial information to your clients.
Why SEO is necessary for your business
When teaching new clients about SEO and demonstrating how to show SEO value, I keep three things in mind:
- Explain SEO using a language they’re familiar with
- Demonstrate that SEO is still relevant today
- Explain the value of SEO in the simplest way possible
In getting acquainted with my clients, I like to start by explaining that SEO is a vital tool for success as a jumping-off point to a more pointed conversation about how to show SEO value.
Clients who don’t hurry to embrace SEO unless they fully understand one simple thing – online is the new offline. Virtually every business is now present online and people are used to doing everything online, too.
Why do SEO? Customers should focus on SEO because people go to Google to explore almost everything, from medical symptoms to new restaurants. This re-emphasizes that online is the new offline. Organiс search is the primary source of the traffic to most websites, and your online visibility depends heavily on how high you rank on Google. If you decide that you want to go out for dinner to a nice Italian restaurant this evening, you’ll browse online and find restaurants in your area in Google Maps, take a look at the pictures, the menu, and read the reviews.
Important points to refer when explaining why SEO is important
- Organic search is the primary source of web traffic
- SEO builds trust in your products and company
- SEO improves the buying cycle because it puts your business where the audience is
While most clients know what SEO means, they’re not usually as familiar with related terms. I try to gauge their knowledge base of SEO as quickly as I can, so I can help fill in their gaps in knowledge.
Why educate clients about SEO?
Providing SEO services isn’t just about getting results, although, that’s a big part of it. Our society is more tech-savvy than they used to be. It’s important to give our clients credit for what they know and educate them on the “behind the scenes” factors that are at work with SEO.
SEO is a valuable tool and when we can help our clients better understand how it works, they can more easily see its value. Our credibility, and livelihoods as SEO professionals, depend on our ability to explain and demonstrate value.
I also recently had a conversation with Eugene Levin, CSO of SEMrush, who believes that it’s important to educate the leadership in companies.
Here’s what he said
“We do our best to educate both our employees and our clients. Each of our employees should understand SEO and know how to use SEMrush and all its tools. While with the clients we often meet in person to find some tailored tactics that would help them increase online visibility and drive sales. We meet with companies’ SEO teams and figure out even more efficient ways to boost online rankings.”
Giving client education a deeper thought
SEO skills are important but don’t overlook the importance of assuring your clients that you have worth as a specialist who can help them take their business from good to great. Your clients aren’t going to be satisfied with you sending them links on marketing blogs, videos, or informational emails alone. It requires time, work, and energy to educate clients, but your client management skills will eventually pay off.
As you spend more time with your clients, they will learn a little more from you each time about SEO which will bolster their trust in you as their SEO advisor and create a stronger mutual trust between you. While you are the SEO expert, don’t forget that they are the expert on their business. Their input during collaborations is a vital component of their ultimate success in SEO campaigns.
1. Clarify goals and expectations
I make sure the goals and workflow are clear, so the report ties in with monthly deliverables. These are the details that prove how hard you are working behind the scenes for your clients.
2. Share reports
During the course of planning for improving SEO results, clients will learn that much more time goes into it than they probably thought. To help them realize this, I always share reports as the ones mentioned below:
- Reporting in calls
- Reports with custom KPIs
3. Make SEO easy to understand for your clients
While I educate my clients as well as I can when I meet up with them, I supplement my teachings with blogs on my website that correlate to different aspects of SEO as resources if they’re interested in understanding more about a particular aspect of SEO. Over time, they will come to rely on my site for the latest information in SEO, which is a great way to reuse your content. They will probably even share it with others, which will help to expand your business.
Every client is in a different place in understanding their digital marketing needs, so I try to cater my teaching to their level of understanding.
My process of educating clients involves one or more of the following steps:
- Learning how much the client knows about SEO and the internet
- Determining their learning style
- Breaking down the meaning of SEO and what it does
- Choosing an analogy that has meaning for them
4. Gauge your client’s understanding levels
When having discussions with clients, I make eye-contact with them. If I start getting puzzled looks when I mention things like search engines and backlinks, it helps me pick signals whether I need to explain some of the technical terms or whether I can offer a simple definition and move on.
5. Understand and choose an ideal learning style for your client
I know that there are three main learning styles – verbal, visual, and physical. Using one or more of these styles helps drive home certain points.
I know that some of my clients do well when we have discussions in person or on the phone. Other clients need the help of a chart, diagram, or a simple drawing. Physical learners need me to demonstrate the concept. The best way to do this is by giving them an analogy or showing them an example on the computer.
Clients that are new to technology may need to understand what SEO is, so I like to start by explaining that the acronym, search engine optimization is. I also explain what optimization means and how it helps to rank websites higher on a page and how authority gives the search engine a way to rank its importance.
6. Use analogies to make SEO relatable
Finally, an analogy is always a great teaching tool because it gives my clients a way to compare a challenging concept. In the course of the discussion, I usually grab onto a comment they made. If they mentioned they were late because they had to meet with their insurance agent – I present an example using the same context in which I can show how an insurance agent can use SEO to rank high on a web page.
His insurance agent has a website. Most likely the agent has a blog and some testimonials. The more content the agent has, the higher the site ranks. Ranking higher will mean that the agent’s site takes advantage of titles, product descriptions, and summaries. It will have photos and videos and it will link to other pages. Because the agent is looking for local business, he or she will target customers within a certain radius of the office. The agent may also have a target audience of married people who are homeowners, so it’s important for them to advertise in places that will attract that market rather than online locations that attract millennials.
I often spend some time on my clients’ websites before a scheduled appointment. That gives me additional opportunities to apply some of the concepts we’re discussing to the work that we can begin doing together.
I never anticipated that teaching would be part of my job as a digital marketer. What I enjoy so much about the client management aspect of my job is that I’m continually finding out new information about SEO and it makes me eager to share it with my clients. It’s rewarding for both of us to share details that will help them to become a success.
Which of these tips would you practice to help educate clients about SEO? Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, and tips in the comments section.
Karina Tama is a contributor for Forbes, Thrive Global and the El Distrito Newspaper. She can be found on Twitter @KarinaTama2.
The post How to educate clients about SEO and earn their trust appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
A few years ago I started a website and to my delight, the SEO efforts I was making to grow it were yielding results. However, one day I checked my rankings, and got the shock of my life. It had fallen, and badly.
I was doing my SEO right and I felt that was enough, but I didn’t know there was more. I hadn’t paid attention to my website security, and I didn’t even know that it mattered when it comes to Google and its ranking factors. Also, there were other security concerns I wasn’t paying attention to. As far as I was concerned back then, it didn’t matter since I had good content.
Obviously I was wrong, and I now know that if you really want to rank higher and increasing your site’s search traffic, then you need to understand that there is more to it than just building links and churning out more content. Understanding Google’s algorithm and it’s ranking factors are crucial.
Currently, Google has over 200 ranking factors they consider when they want to determine where to rank a site. And as expected, one of them is about how protected your site is. According to them, website security is a top priority, and they make a lot of investments all geared towards enduring that all their services, including Gmail and Google Drive, use top-notch security and other privacy tools by default all in a bid to make the internet a safer place generally.
Unfortunately, I was uninformed about these factors until my rankings started dropping. Below are four things you can do to protect your site.
Four steps to get started on website security
1. Get security plug-ins installed
On average, a typical small business website gets attacked 44 times each day, and software “bots” attack these sites more than 150 million times every week. And this is for both WordPress sites and even for non-WordPress websites.
Malware security breaches can lead to hackers stealing your data, data loss, or it could even make you lose access to your website. And in some cases, it can deface your website and that will not just spoil your brand reputation, it will also affect your SEO rankings.
To prevent that from happening, enhance your website security with WordPress plugins. These plugins will not just block off the brute force and malware attacks, they will harden WordPress security for your site, thus addressing the security vulnerabilities for each platform and countering all other hack attempts that could pose a threat to your website.
2. Use very strong passwords
As much as it is very tempting to use a password you can easily remember, don’t. Surprisingly, the most common password for most people is still 123456. You can’t afford to take such risks.
Make the effort to generate a secure password. The rule is to mix up letters, numbers, and special characters, and to make it long. And this is not just for you. Ensure that all those who have access to your website are held to the same high standard that you hold yourself.
3. Ensure your website is constantly updated
As much as using a content management system (CMS) comes with a lot of benefits, it also has attendant risks attached. According to this Sucuri report, the presence of vulnerabilities in CMS’s extensible components is the highest cause of website infections. This is because the codes used in these tools are easily accessible owing to the fact that they are usually created as open-source software programs. That means hackers can access them too.
To protect your website, make sure your plugins, CMS, and apps are all updated regularly.
4. Install an SSL certificate
If you pay attention, you will notice that some URLs begin with “https://” while others start with “http://”. You may have likely noticed that when you needed to make an online payment. The big question is what does the “s” mean and where did it come from?
To explain it in very simple terms, that extra “s” is a way of showing that the connection you have with that website is encrypted and secure. That means that any data you input on that website is safe. That little “s” represents a technology known as SSL.
But why is website security important for SEO ranking?
Following Google’s Chrome update in 2017, sites that have “FORMS” but have no SSL certificate are marked as insecure. The SSL certificate, “Secure Sockets Layer” is the technology that encrypts the link between a browser and a web server, protects the site from hackers, and also makes sure that all the data that gets passed between a browser and a web server remains private.
A normal website comes with a locked key in the URL bar, but sites without SSL certificates, on the other hand, have the tag “Not Secure”. This applies to any website that has any form.
According to research carried out by Hubspot, 82% of those that responded to a consumer survey stated that they would leave a website that is not secure. And since Google chrome already holds about 67% out of the whole market share, that is a lot of traffic to lose.
Technically, the major benefit of having Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) instead of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is that it gives users a more secure connection that they can use to share personal data with you. This adds an additional layer of security which becomes important especially if you are accepting any form of payment on your site.
To move from HTTP to HTTPS you have to get an SSL certificate (Secure Socket Layer certificate) installed on your website.
Once you get your SSL certificate installed successfully on a web server and configured, Google Chrome will show a green light. It will then act as a padlock by providing a secure connection between the browser and the webserver. For you, what this means is that even if a hacker is able to intercept your data, it will be impossible for them to decrypt it.
Security may have a minor direct effect on your website ranking, but it affects your website in so many indirect ways. It may mean paying a little price, but in the end, the effort is worth it.
The post Why website security affects SEO rankings (and what you can do about it) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
In this new, short video on Hero Academy Hanapin’s Senior Project Manager, Lauren Rosner, will further explain why naming conventions matter and break down some of the best ways to set it up.
Read more at PPCHero.com
I had the great pleasure of being able to ask Dr. Marie Haynes a few questions about E-A-T. What it is and how you can improve it.
Dr. Marie Haynes is a well-known SEO expert from Ottawa, Canada. She speaks a lot about Google penalties, algorithm changes such as Panda, Penguin, and also Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines.
Paul Lovell: What is E-A-T?
Dr. Marie Haynes: E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust”. Google mentions E-A-T many times in its Quality Raters’ Guidelines. Google also mentioned E-A-T in a whitepaper recently published, saying, “Where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in the response.
As such, if a site wants to rank well for Your Money or Your Life queries, it is very important that it has all three elements of E-A-T.
PL: How does the Quality Rater Guidelines, help website owners?
DR M H: Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines were created as a guideline to teach human quality raters how to assess high and low-quality issues on websites. In early 2017, we noticed at MHC (Marie Haynes Consulting) that many sites coming to us for site audits after seeing traffic drops were sites that were generally technically sound, but were being outranked by businesses that had all of the components of E-A-T as described in the QRG.
Google has said that the QRG do not exactly reflect Google’s algorithms, but that they fundamentally show us what they want the algorithm to do. We believe that if something is in the QRG as a sign of high or low quality, it is something we should be assessing for our clients.
PL: How can you improve E-A-T?
DR M H: Because E-A-T has many components, there are many things that can be worked on in order to see improvements in this area. Expertise is a tough one to improve upon, but we have seen some cases where we felt it helped by simply adding more “braggy” information on expertise on the homepage and about the page in an effort to show potential readers why this website is an expert on its topics.
We believe authority is heavily tied to links. The QRG talks about how important it is to have other experts recommending you as an expert. In other words, do you have people linking to you because they truly want to recommend your content, your business, or anything else? If you have true recommendations from authoritative places, this contributes to the “A” in E-A-T.
The “T” in E-A-T is the most interesting to me. There are so many elements of trust that we believe Google is measuring. These may include your online reputation, whether or not you have easy to find contact information, whether your refund policy is available online, whether you quote medical sources appropriately, and also, for medical sites, whether you write on topics that contradict general scientific consensus. There are many other elements as well.
What we have found is that the key to recovery for a site that has seen an E-A-T related hit is to determine where the issues are, and then find ways to improve upon them. If people are distrusting your site because perhaps it is too ad-heavy, removing some ads could potentially help. If your nearest competitor has thousands of authoritative mentions, where you have tens of them, this is an area to work on.
PL: What is the best signal for website owners to work on first?
DR M H: I’m going to give an SEO answer here and say that this really depends. First, don’t get too stuck on just E-A-T. If your site has dropped in traffic or rankings, it could be due to technical issues, or perhaps because a competitor is simply outranking you. It doesn’t always mean something is wrong.
With that said, however, one area where we seem to be seeing some significant gains repeatedly is in disavowing large volumes of links that were made for SEO purposes alone. Our thought is that link quality is tied in to “T” in E-A-T.
PL: What does YMYL mean?
DR M H: Most sites we analyze are “Your Money or Your Life” sites. If people make important decisions by reading your site, or if you are spending money on this site, no matter how small the amount, then it is likely YMYL.
PL: How can you track if your E-A-T is rising?
DR M H: There is no “E-A-T metric” or signal to track. But, in our experience, if a site is negatively affected at the time of a core quality update, there is likely an E-A-T issue. What we have seen is that if we can make enough improvements in E-A-T, the real benefit comes with the next core update. That’s usually our barometer for improvement.
Google has updated its algorithm many times over the last few years. Which updates would you say have been more focused on EAT and why?
I personally believe that almost, if not all, of the core updates since early 2017 are focused on some element of E-A-T.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts on E-A-T in the comments. If you wish to stay up to date with Marie you can do so on Twitter @Marie_Haynes or head over to mariehaynes.com.
Paul Lovell is an SEO Consultant And Founder at Always Evolving SEO. He can be found on Twitter @_PaulLovell.
The post Interview with Marie Haynes: What you need to know about E-A-T appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
In today’s brand landscape, consumers are rejecting traditional advertising in favor of transparent, personalized and most importantly, authentic communications. In fact, 86% of consumers say that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they support. Driven by this growing emphasis on brand sincerity, marketers are increasingly leveraging user-generated content (UGC) in their marketing and e-commerce strategies.
Correlated with the rise in the use of UGC is an increase in privacy-focused regulation such as the European Union’s industry-defining General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the along with others that will go into effect in the coming years, like the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), and several other state-specific laws. Quite naturally, brands are asking themselves two questions:
- Is it worth the effort to incorporate UGC into our marketing strategy?
- And if so, how do we do it within the rules, and more importantly, in adherence with the expectations of consumers?
Consumers seek to be active participants in their favorite companies’ brand identity journey, rather than passive recipients of brand-created messages. Consumers trust images by other consumers on social media seven times more than advertising.
Additionally, 56% are more likely to buy a product after seeing it featured in a positive or relatable user-generated image. The research and results clearly show that the average consumer perceives content from a peer to be more trustworthy than brand-driven content.
With that in mind, we must help brands leverage UGC with approaches that comply with privacy regulations while also engaging customers in an authentic way.
Influencer vs user: Navigating privacy considerations in an online world
To be successful in a fast paced, ever changing, and competitive market, it is imperative for brands to think beyond just CPC, CPA and ROAS in the short term. Instead they should be equally aware of their brands position in the attention amongst their prospective customers, AND increasing the customer lifetime value of their existing customers.
Read more at PPCHero.com
16 new jobs have been posted to PPC Hero’s Job Board, including new positions open at The Walt Disney Company, The Shade Store, and Workshop Digital. Here’s a brief look at just a few of the newly posted positions: The Walt Disney Company New York, NY Role: Paid Media Strategy Manager (Onsite Only) Disney Streaming […]
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