So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live
airs every Thursday at 1 pm EST.
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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on what Google thinks about search. We walk through what you need to know to make your SEO work in 2022. Catch the replay here:
In this episode you’ll learn:
- What search ranking factors matter, and what’s safe to ignore
- How to read and USE the Search Quality Rating Guidelines
- What search data to pay attention to – and where to get it
- Google Data Studio and GA4 – 4/6/2022
Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here: https://www.trustinsights.ai/resources/so-what-the-marketing-analytics-and-insights-show/
Katie Robbert 0:23
Well, hey friends, happy Thursday. Welcome to so what the marketing analytics and insights live show. I’m Katie joined by Chris and John who I can now hold up because they’re above me this week. This week, we’re talking about what’s working in SEO for 2022. We’ll be focusing specifically on Search Console. Because Tetteh, we just launched a new Search Console course, which you can find at trust insights.ai/search Search Console, where we walk through all the different features that are available in Search Console, but also how to start interpreting the data that lives within Search Console for even better data driven SEO in 2022. So Chris, where do you want to start today, I
Christopher Penn 1:15
want to talk about a few things today. One is how search works today, and what’s changing this year, because there’s some important things to discuss there. Some of the advanced features of Search Console that actually are not in the course, because they’re like really advanced and require you to be able to code, which we did not want to throw into the course, and then talk about some of the action steps that you need to take with the date. And I figured we’ll use some of our data. So I want to start with one of the challenges that is pervasive in SEO is that people don’t update their knowledge. And as a result, they’re stuck with, you know, ideas and concepts and things that are pretty outdated and are not part of necessarily what causes search results these days. So one of the most important, actionable easy things to do for everybody is to actually read Google’s blog. Right, and Google is fairly transparent, not totally, but fairly transparent, at a very high level, sort of a non technical person’s level, what goes into search. So when they talk about how search works, and tuning it, and how they make it happen, they talk about four big things, they launching new search experiments, they do a few 1000 of these a year. They do live experiments, 17,000 live experience just doing a B testing, does a user’s behavior, change for the better with some of these A B tests that they run with live traffic, and the big one 380,000 search quality tests? What these are, is, there’s this whole group of human beings who are paid by Google to rate and review web pages, they go to a page. And with a gigantic document called the search quality evaluation guidelines which Google publishes, it’s it’s publicly available. They ask people to rate pages. Now, one of the challenges with this document is that people don’t people who are not necessarily like super technical, don’t understand the purpose of this is not human beings are not spot checking Google Google’s algorithms right there. They’re not there’s no part of what you see in Google search has been curated by human. What the search quality guidelines are, is they are ways for Google to develop training data for their AI. And so this is for this type of page. This is the outcome that we think it has. And they these these paid humans go through and rate these all the the pages that they are told to rate. And then Google takes that information. And as they say, Here publicly, we then feed it to our AI and say, recalibrate how you rank things based on this feedback.
Katie Robbert 4:26
So where do these? Is this something people can sign up to do? Do they randomly? Are these employees? How do they find these people?
Christopher Penn 4:36
Their contractors? My understanding is they’re basically contractors, they’re around the world. And yeah, it’s just you get a web interface and you get to rate things. It’s it actually seems to be one of those like tireless thankless jobs.
Katie Robbert 4:55
So it’s interesting that you say, you know, people don’t update their knowledge. I mean, You could say that about a lot of different facets of marketing, but focusing specifically on search, you know, Chris, in the time that I’ve worked with you, which is, you know, eight or nine years now, um, two things I’ve never heard you mentioned, when we talk about search and SEO are things like SERP, scirp, and domain authority. I never hear you talk about those things. But when I go outside of Trust Insights, and outside of my conversations with you and our clients, I see those terms everywhere. And that, to me is an indication that there’s a mismatch in the knowledge somewhere
Christopher Penn 5:45
there is. So search engine ranking position is a generic term for essentially, where you rate where at any given page ranks for a given query in Google. So for example, if you type in Trust Insights, at our homepage should be in the number one position for that search term. If it’s not, we’ve totally hosed the offer, it’s like we’ve just screwed it up. Domain Authority is a term originally pioneered by Moz, and is their internal effort to try to determine how important a given website domain like trust insights.ai is, in the grand scheme of things on a zero to 100 basis. Google has publicly said many, many times, that third party SEO metrics do not necessarily have any relation to actual search results. And they’re very, very like expressed, we want people to take with a grain of salt, you know, they just because a site has a high domain rating, or domain score or domain authority, because every vendor has a different term does not necessarily mean that getting links from those sites will be impactful. And one of the things I think is so interesting, is when you look at and you read through the search quality evaluation guidelines, and then we think about the things that SEO folks talk about, they’re like dining at different restaurants. And I’m at the same table at different restaurants. So for example, identifying the main content of a page, your main content is any part of a page that helps a page achieve its purpose, can be text, images, videos, page features, or it can be user generated content, videos of us articles, and stuff like that. They give, obviously, your examples of main content, supplementary content, stuff like that. And this is Google’s attempt to essentially understand the structure of a web page. So the takeaway for us as content creators is, make sure it’s clear what the main content is. And it’s, you know, it’s easy to read for a human being, what’s not on here that we hear people talking about all the time, you know, headings and bold text, and you know, all these these formatting things which are incidental, they used to be important, they used to be, you know, your h1 tag and your h2 tags on a page used to be important, because that was how Google, you know, did very early on did stuff like keyword matching, that hasn’t been the case in more than a decade. What those features do like heading tags and stuff, is provide sort of a structural layout to the page, and then provide the guidance that a human being who’s rating that page will say, Oh, I understand what this page is about. Right? You go to one of our blog posts or blog post titles at the top of the page. And a human being will say, Okay, it’s clear where the main content is. And so, if you were rating this page, as a quality ratings guide, quality rater, you say, okay, you know, this page, easy to read. On the other hand, the page is filled with ads and pop ups and you know, punch the monkey and stuff becomes pretty clear. Like, I don’t even know what the content is on this page. And so a human being who’s building the training data for Google would rate that no, it’s this this page is terrible.
Katie Robbert 9:10
Okay, so now that you have completely scrambled my brain with what Google defines a search, what do we as regular marketers need to do to get high search rankings and good quality content out there? Where do we start with our planning?
Christopher Penn 9:28
So that’s a really interesting question. Where you start with your planning actually would be two things first. And no, it’s not the most compelling reading. So get your beverage of choice out, you know, caffeine or whatever. And read all 100 some odd pages of the search quality rating guidelines? Yes, I think
Katie Robbert 9:49
not every company who’s trying to do content marketing needs to read this.
Christopher Penn 9:55
Every I would say every individual professional who has SEO All responsibility should read this document through at least once. Because Google is very, very clear and including things like what you’re going to get dinged for, right. The document itself, you can divide up into into tooth sort of dimensions, the quality of the page, and the needs met like this. If you do everything on a two by two matrix, does a page have the appropriate indicators that show that is high quality, expertise, authority, trustworthiness, satisfying amount of content, things like that? That’s one dimension on this on our two by two consultants matrix, right. The second is, does the page meet user’s needs right? Now? So given a search terms intent, does that page fulfill that need? So like you can have, and this is a real issue with SEO? One of the things that a lot of people sort of looking at studies very superficially, they say, Oh, well, pages have 3000 words of content, minimum for pillar, pillar content, right? You’ll hear that in various SEO blogs. And this is how you get to things like, hey, I want the damn recipe. I don’t care if it was your grandmother’s dogs at a high cost about five generations ago. Just tell me how much you know, tartar sauce goes in this recipe. That’s an example where the bulk of the content even though it’s high quality is in opposition to the meeting the needs of the user, then users wants to show me how to to make this recipe. And so yes, everyone who is in SEO, who performs an SEO or content marketing role should read this and understand that these two factors page quality needs met sometimes can be antagonistic. Sometimes they’re butting heads.
Katie Robbert 11:47
Alright, John, I need the Cliff’s Notes version on my desk ASAP. Tomorrow.
John Wall 11:53
That’s it, he saw you need to do it at expertise, authoritative and trustworthy, if you can do that here, at least on the right path.
Christopher Penn 12:04
So that’s part one of the answers your question key, part two, is a little trickier. You have to do an assessment of where you are right now, where your content is right now, from Google’s perspective. And this is why Search Console is so important, because you have all these other SEO tools, and they’re great, don’t get me wrong tools like Ahrefs, and Moz, and SpyFu, and SEM rush, all these tools are terrific tools. But they’re not Google. They don’t have access to Google’s data. And only Google will tell you what Google sees, and in substantial detail. So a couple things Google has done recently that have made me as a data nerd very happy, is they give you the ability now to programmatically submit pages to Search Console to say, hey, Google, look at this page, make sure that you’ve got this page in your index. And what’s called the URL inspection API, which is, you give Google a list of pages and it tells you in a programmatic list, hey, here’s the status of these pages, as I see them. Now, you could see this in regular Search Console. And if you take the course you can see it, you know, we walk through that section in the course. But if you want to do programmatically and start merging data together, you got to do to the API. So let me show you an example.
Katie Robbert 13:22
You know, when I think about the third party SEO tools, I think about it in terms of you’re really trying to understand the landscape and the competitors around you. And that’s, you know, that is valuable data that you need. But then Search Console is really you yourself, and that self reflection. So you need both, you need both sets of tools,
Christopher Penn 13:43
you absolutely need both. And in fact, if you watch this week’s episode of In-Ear Insights, we talked about sort of the gap between third party tools, and Google’s was worth checking up. So the first place that I will go, let’s see, am I in the right section? Nope, that’s the topic modeling software is Google Analytics 4. So if you’re not using Google Analytics, 4, now it’d be the time to start. And in particular, in Google Analytics 4, I am looking these days, I’m pulling data from the Google Analytics 4 Data API, which is their brand new data API. And looking at two things. I’m looking at the total number of sessions that any given page has. And then the the number of search sessions, your Google organic search sessions that a page has, and just doing some basic math on it to say, you know, out of the total number of sessions, what percentage of them are search sessions, let me pull up Excel versions a little bit, not much, but a little bit easier to see. And so here’s all the pages on the Trust Insights website. We’re going to just pay attention to the right hand side of the page here with that lovely rainbow. And you can see sorted by page traffic, you know, some pages like for example, this one here, the homepage for percent of the traffic pages from search. This one here, the Tiktok page. This is essentially 351 sessions in the last 30 days, but only one of which is from search that has a point 3%. So that to me tells me that page, there might be an issue there. Right now, I actually know what’s causing that. What’s causing that is that we promoted it very heavily an email and of course, emails, not search. But if we hadn’t been that would be a page go, Hmm, what’s going on there. So you want to start with Google Analytics 4, to figure out all the pages that are on your website, and the amount of traffic that they get in the amount of search traffic that they get. There used to be a field in Google Analytics 3 called Organic page searches, that is gone in GA for instead, if you have connected Search Console to your GA, for instance, those metrics will now appear in the Data API, it takes a while for it to get set up. So make sure you do that sooner rather than later. Go watch the Search Console course to see how to do that. I think it’s like less than 10.
Katie Robbert 16:00
If you if you missed last week’s episode, at last week’s livestream episode on setting up Google Analytics 4. You can watch that on our YouTube channel trust insights.ai/youtube, where Chris and John walked through setting up John’s website for Google Analytics 4. And a lot of what Chris is talking about now was covered in that episode. So you can definitely go back and rewatch that at your on your own time.
Christopher Penn 16:27
Yep. So once we’ve got our our traffic, we can get a sense of okay, how much of any given page and site URL traffic is coming from search, and in this case, you know, not a substantial amount, most of the Trust Insights pages actually don’t have a ton of search traffic to them. They get the traffic from other sources, which we’ve talked about in the past, with attribution analysis. That’s page one, part one. But what’s important here is that we get the URLs that Google Analytics 4 sees, and we export them into Search Console inspection API. So what does the inspection API do? The Google Analytics, Google Search Console inspection API says given any pages URL, tell me how Google thinks about that page. So for example, the our newsletter page, Google says it passes status checks, right? It is it is it is submitted to the to Google and it has been indexed. It is allowed to be seen by google it is it allowed to be indexed by Google. It tells you when Google last stopped by it tells you Google was able to successfully crawl that page, it tells you what Google thinks the URL is the canonical URL, which by the way, if you’re doing things like guest blog posts, you want to make sure that you’re doing it properly. It tells you what we’ve set it up. And that tells you how Google has crawling that page. So Google is example on the Trust Insights website. Google sees our entire site through its mobile first crawler. So it’s looking at our entire website as as if it was on a mobile device. So you’ll see either desktop or mobile here. If Google is crawling your site, as mobile, and you are not optimizing for mobile devices, and you’re not checking, you’re going to have a bad time. Alright, so that’s an important, simple takeaway. But now here’s where we start getting into some interesting stuff. There are pages in here this called index but not submitted in the sitemap, right? One of which here, this is that new Tiktok paper that tells me as a website owner, I better go check my sitemap software that generate Sitemaps ons. If this page is not showing up in the sitemap, Google still found it. Search Console has found it as reporting on it. But it’s saying, Hey, I didn’t see it in your Sitemap. And so like, wonder why. So I so my immediate takeaway now is to go back into the Trust Insights website and see what’s going on there. Other status things you’ll see you’ll see index, not in sitemap, and so forth, you’ll see alternative with a page with the proper canonical tag. So this one is instead of passes called a neutral, we have a guest blog post from the marketing AI Institute. And it is correctly canonically tagged so Google is saying hey, when I read this blog post on your site, any links to any credit that you know from a ranking perspective should go to the marking AI Institute so don’t give it to Trust Insights.
Katie Robbert 19:29
I would set those up correctly I was never Thank Goodness
Christopher Penn 19:37
Good job. Yeah. But also give this some thought now we’re saying we’re take we have content on our website that we’re saying belongs to marketing I and yeah, it’s what it does. And then any search benefit that you know comes that that’s going to that page on our site is being transferred to the marketing AI as to this is one of the reasons why you have to be very judicious with guest blogging, right? Particularly when you’re putting other people’s content on your site. If it’s, if it’s on there and set up properly, you are, in effect, giving away some of your credit to that partner website. So be sure that you’re not accepting blog posts that could potentially be undermining your own keyword rankings, right? If you’ve got a guest post that happens to have the same focus keywords and topics as a piece of content on your site that’s yours. And it ranks better. You’re basically boosting somebody else’s website.
Katie Robbert 20:38
I think fortunately, you know, and so I think that that makes a lot of sense in this particular example, you know, we are not directly competing with our friends and partners over in the marketing AI Institute, a lot of what we write, and what they write as complementary and fills in gaps that we each respectively don’t have. And so it was a strategic decision that we came to that we could give them that credit for search, because it was not topics that we would necessarily be covering ourselves and vice versa. And so that’s how we came to that decision. But for other guest posts, you’re absolutely right. That’s, that’s where I would be a bit more hesitant to give away that search traffic.
Christopher Penn 21:25
Exactly. Now, here’s a status online 211 crawled not currently indexed, Google has found the page, but it’s not in Google’s index. And that’s an older episode older issue of our newsletter. This one is a problem. This one, something’s gone wrong in Google being able to even process a page. So if you recall from previous episodes, there’s three steps to Google processing a page for search rankings, crawl, index rank, crawl means Googlebot comes by and vacuums up all the content slices and dices it and puts in a standard machine format. It then goes into the indexing engine where Google takes that content puts it into its index, like putting in the like the index of a book or card catalog and a library. So that can be found it can start showing up in search. And then rank is when Google says, Okay, now when somebody types in relevant terms in search for what this page is about, I will show it higher or lower in the search results. Those three steps are different. So this is saying, step one is done. Google has crawled it. But it’s not available to be seen in search. It’s not indexed. So my next step here would be to inspect any of the pages that have programmatically in this list to have this status to go what’s going on? Why did Google not index this page? And I would probably the easiest thing to do would be to use the URL inspector built into Search Console, which by the way, is I think, less than 10 or 11. In the in the course, on how to interpret those results like it, did I accidentally knock this page out? And say, like, don’t index it, right? In this case, no, because you can see his indexing allowed. So that field says it’s a lot. So something’s gone wrong. In our website, that I need to go figure out why is this page misbehaving. And obviously there, there are other ones in here. And there are actually a decent number of pages that are showing up in your index, not submitting a sitemap whatever the again, those are things that I need to check our CMS software for. But so this is part two, to your question, Katie, for and this is where we start. Part one is we figure out what does Google want? So search quality rating guidelines? Part two is what do we have? And the diagnostics on it to say, how do we fix the things that we already have? And then the next step is to say, okay, based on what we know about the search quality weighting guidelines, and what we know, is performing for our content, what things can we do to bulk that up? So what I one of the things I do is I take both of these tables and bond them together so I can see, okay, what is the status? Here? Let’s go to the mega file. What is the status of a page? And then is there a relationship between the pages status and the amount of search traffic get it gets it for our site? The answer is there isn’t really one that’s, you know, pages do well, regardless of whether they’re in the sitemap or not. So we can rule out Sitemaps as being like critical to SEO. That said, from a best practices perspective, we still should be making sure that our blog posts are correctly in our sitemap. But now our what’s incumbent upon us next is to go through and start making those repairs, figuring out what’s going on, that there are pages that are showing up that are not being indexed, because that’s, that’s that’s low hanging fruit, like fixing that first.
Katie Robbert 24:43
So this might be I don’t feel like it’s a random question. But when you guys did the episode last week, when you move John’s website from Google Analytics 3 to Google Analytics 4. I know that one of the things that is The best practice is to connect all of the different Google Marketing Platform systems together. So do you have to resubmit a sitemap? When you move? Or when you set up Google Analytics 4, if you already have Google Analytics 3 setup, is that have any? Does one have anything to do with the other?
Christopher Penn 25:21
No, they’re totally different systems. Sitemaps are part of Search Console exclusively. But what is useful, though, is looking at this data to say, Okay, we know what’s in our sitemap. Does Google see it all? Like one of the next steps to look at? And here would be? Are there pages that show up in Google Analytics that aren’t seen at all? In Search Console? You know, there could be there could very well be in fact, I know there are some pages that are not in the sitemap list at all. Anytime we do a network graph for an event, for example, I don’t bother putting those URLs into a sitemap because they’re fun. They’re cute, but they don’t have they don’t satisfy strong user intent, right? If you stumbled across one of them and searches, you’re like, What the heck am I looking at what you know. So to me, that’s not an important thing to have in a sitemap. So there will be known gaps. Other things could be though, indications that Google is not being able to can’t simply can’t crawl your website, or parts of it because you accidentally blocked parts of it out. It’s misformed. We’ve had cases, not too long ago, actually, we had a client who accidentally set an entire section of the website to no index to say Google, don’t put this in the index. And then what much chaos ensues?
John Wall 26:37
How about all the landing page stuff and things like that? Right? I mean, you normally have a bunch of pages that you don’t want indexed, because you don’t want traffic, just from the general public showing up at those you only want your campaigns driving to that. So is that still normally just handled with this? You know, they’re excluded at the sitemap level. And that’s enough to keep them out of everything.
Christopher Penn 26:55
Ah, you’re the best practice here would be to exclude them in the robots file, the robots. txt file, say don’t include these landing page I, I have a philosophical disagreement with that approach. If a landing page gets traffic, that isn’t from your, your paid campaign, I don’t see the problem. Hey, oh, no, people found their way to our landing page just to buy something from us. Quick stuff.
John Wall 27:22
Yeah, that’s a good point. I mean, you know, you can argue that, like if we paid 10 grand to get into this one thing, and now suddenly, there’s actually more traffic than attended the thing. But yeah, you know, who cares if they’re all waving money, let them all in.
Christopher Penn 27:39
And that’s where good tagging makes all the difference. Because when you look at things like your landing pages and stuff in Google Analytics, you have your source and your medium and you’ll have your ad campaign, you’ll have your first user source, meaning you’ll have your session source medium, and you’ll have your conversion source medium, that these are all new, and Google Analytics 4. As a result, if you want to look at the effectiveness of a page in GA four, you can say I simply want to see it from those paid source mediums, right? And I can ignore the other stuff. But don’t just say, no, no, we don’t want extra traffic. So those two these valuable pages. Now, one thing that’s very interesting and somewhat challenging there is you have to set up Search Console, to also be able to interpret your landing pages if you want to see them in Search Console. So again, something is not necessarily covered in the course, because there’s a whole bunch of issues with the cross domain stuff. But effect essentially, if you use a landing page surface, you need if you want to see that data in Search Console, it has to be on a domain that you own. So we could not, for example, right now, the Trust Insights Academy where the the course list is, is actually on thinkific.com. We don’t own thinkific.com. So we can’t put it in Search Console to have it indexed, we would need to have in the middle of doing this, moving our subdomain. So it’s Academy dot trust insights.ai. Into I think if ik instance, then because we own the trust insights.ai domain that can then go into Search Console. And then our course page can be seen as part of our site. And then these we can see it is being indexed as being crawled and so on and so forth. And, again, best practice. If you’re using Tag Manager with GA for you then have, you know, put that Tag Manager container in your landing page tool or your courseware tool and stuff and then be able to see that traffic there as well. But then you’ve ever remember to also put in the cross domain stuff inside GA for as well, which isn’t done the data streams.
Katie Robbert 29:43
But you as the user don’t have to worry about any of that. You can just go to this handy little URL here. And everything that Chris just mentioned, we handle on the backend. So you, the user, don’t worry about any of that for being able to access this course. That’s Our problem on our side.
Christopher Penn 30:03
Now in terms of next steps, so you’ve done, you’ve read the the Search Quality Rating guidelines, you have looked at your site and you figured out what’s working, what’s not. Your next step has to be getting out that two by two matrix, right, of cooperation, page quality and needs met, and figuring out how do we create content that satisfies both. So when we think about needs met, you’re talking about intent queries, right? So Google tends to look at queries in sort of two types. There’s informational queries. And then there’s action queries. So informational query would be like, the history of ranch dressing, which I was looking at this morning, was actually invented by a plumber in Alaska of all things. And then he went and bought a ranch and then in California and renamed it Hidden Valley. Exactly. So that’s an that’s a knowledge query, right? You want to learn all about ranch dressing. When you type in ranch dressing near me, you’re now making a transition into a do query like you’re trying to find where can I get the stuff we’re going to go by this stuff. And in the needs met section of the search quality rating guidelines, you have that is that is a one of the the two axes. So you have page authority, page quality, and then needs met. When you start building out your content plan, you have to figure out is a page lead is the intent of a page to fill a knowledge search, or an action search, and a page MAE, it can do both. But it’s better, obviously, if you’ve structured it from a topic perspective, to have a fit towards leaning towards one or the other. So John, to your point earlier about landing pages, right landing pages are 100% do, right. If you own a coffee shop, you know, you’re you’re gonna optimize a page for coffee shop near me coffee shop in Framingham coffee shop in Boston stuff good. That clearly indicates that you got some intent in on that landing page. But on your blog, you might have like the history of coffee, or the fact that you know, Lloyd’s of London was originally a coffee house in 1605. And you know, the one of the world’s largest financial institutions sprang out of the fact that this guy ran a coffee shop near the harbor, and people would literally place bets as to whether ship would make it home or not. Those two things are different. And you can see how the the knowledge query history of coffee probably should not be on the same page is how to find a coffee shop. Because you’re going there to find out the history of coffee. You may not want coffee right? Now, on the other hand, if you’re having coffee shop near London, or coffee shop near Whitehall, like yeah, you pretty much want coffee. So you’ve got to design these pages with sort of a meta intent, what is this page supposed to do?
Katie Robbert 33:03
So now that I 100% need and want a cup of coffee? Before we get too far down the road? We were just talking about indexing. And Chris, we have a question from Jesse. So he says, I heard recently, the number of pages on your site will dilute your domain authority. And then he’s talking about how his company website is pretty old. should those be removed from the index?
Christopher Penn 33:27
So domain authority, as we talked about earlier, doesn’t exist in Google’s land is a construct a third party metric? The question you have to ask with those pages is exactly what we’re showing in the spreadsheet from both Search Console and from Google Analytics 4. If those pages don’t get traffic, and they’re old, and they don’t serve either a knowledge query or a an action query, then yeah, it’s probably safe to say, Okay, let’s let’s retire those pages, make sure you redirect them, you know, to them to someplace that that more fits that intent. But it comes down to the user experience. One of the challenges that, again, SEO folks who have not kept up to date don’t understand is that as Google pivots to more and more complex machine learning models behind the scenes, it starts to look and think more like a human being, right. So a lot of things like traditional metrics, like domain authority and page rank and stuff that you still see in, you know, in legacy SEO tools. They don’t matter. And they don’t, nor do they not matter. They’re not predictive of performance. Because we’re looking again, at more complex things Google is rolling out this year. In fact, we just talked about this on an episode of marketing over coffee. The ability to return images, as you know, generate images as part of search results on mobile. How does it know how to do that? They’re rolling out their multitask unified model which their their expanded language model that started with BERT three years ago. But now because Google understands what’s in a photo, or what’s in a video, or what’s in an audio podcast, if it knows that you’ve got a relevant query, it’s going to bring back any content of any format that he thinks is the best match. So to Jesse’s question, if those old pages aren’t relevant, and don’t satisfy a user intent, then yeah, either revamp them, so that they’re you’re clear about what intent they serve, or retire them.
Katie Robbert 35:33
And the other question, and this might be the direction this conversation is going. So now we’re starting to get into the conversation about Search Console. So Brian wants to know, have you seen sites with poor core web vitals performance? Take a hit on organic traffic? Now, I know the answer to this question. The answer is yes. And the reason for that, so you have things like largest Contentful, paint, which is basically the size of your images, and how long it takes for the page to render. Google will say, Hey, your page is taking too long for it to show everything. So I’m not going to bother showing it very high, because it’s going to be a poor user experience for the people who are clicking on it. So you go fix that stuff first. And then we can come back to showing your stuff again.
Christopher Penn 36:24
The what we’ve seen so far, particularly for some of our clients is that core web vitals, if you think about it really are on the needs met side of that two by two matrix, right? So Google pretty has said it’s on page 70, in the in the rating guidelines, that mobile friendliness, and the core web vitals are part of needs met, right, so you’ve satisfied the need of the user. Which means that if you have content that’s largely informational, where page quality matters more, it’s going to take slightly less of a hit. But yeah, court were vitals, given two pages of equal quality, the page with the better needs met score is going to do better in terms of performance. So really good example, this, one of our customers had this location finder thing on their website. And theirs was like, code from 15 years ago, super clunky, you know, really messy, hard to parse, didn’t work on mobile, and a competitor had a modern html5, you know, interactive web application. And the competitors beats the crap out of them every single month, because the the information quality is the same. But the needs met. On the other side is so the gap is so huge that we’ve actually advised client, throw that thing out and start over because it’s, you’re just you’re just providing people a terrible experience. And again, as we think about it, Google has a tremendous amount of insight into what happens on mobile devices, thanks to the Android operating system, right? And the and the mobile Chrome browser. Chrome is the largest mobile browser on on most devices. And as a result, Google gets all that telemetry back, because you know that Chrome talks back to Google. Hello, privacy. And of course, it can say, okay, these sites, these kind of sites, just create a bad experience.
Katie Robbert 38:26
John, is your website a mobile first? Or is it a responsive website? Or is it just for desktop?
John Wall 38:33
Yeah, we have a responsive WordPress template. So that’s one of the cool things with WordPress is you can just pick a template that’s got responsive built in it now. You definitely have to test the heck out of it. You know, you’d some responsive templates are far better than others. But yeah, that’s definitely some grunt work that you’ve got to do. And yeah, it’s funny, we’ve seen subsets of desktop traffic is actually up. But still, it’s, you know, the majority. In fact, the majority of traffic now is mobile. You know, it used to be the other way that you didn’t have to make it the number one priority. But yeah, it’s pretty much mobile first. And the great thing with that is if you get mobile straight, then you know, it will definitely work on desktop, it may not look as good as it can look. But doing it the other way around is not true. You know, if it looks great on desktop, it can really be messed up on mobile.
Katie Robbert 39:21
Been there done that I don’t miss those design meetings.
John Wall 39:26
Everybody has a tale of horror from website design and rollout. This just
Katie Robbert 39:30
mobile first was a new thing.
John Wall 39:33
Some marketing badge of honor.
Katie Robbert 39:35
So Chris, where do we go from here? So we know how, at a high level, we know how Google Search works. We know what on our website is happening in terms of pages. Now, what do we do?
Christopher Penn 39:51
So now you take out your content plan, right? You have your topics and your lists of keywords. Now you start generating content that fits those two axes of page quality and needs met. And you look at that you review those search quality rating guidelines and say, Okay, what are the things that I’m doing on my website? And are those things going to get? Would they be rated high quality or low quality? Does what does the user experience like on my site? When we talk about content structure, content structure is really important. Not from a search indexing perspective, but from a user experience perspective, a knowledge query, the advice we always give to people is to satisfy the queries intent, plus the next two intents. So if I’m searching for history of ranch dressing, what am I also likely to be searching for probably the ingredients of ranch dressing, right? Probably applications for ranch dressing. And as a result, if I put together a page about this, I would want to have that those two or three intents in my knowledge page. On the other hand, if I have a do query ranch dressing near me, I want to have a brief bit of sort of what the thing is maybe some links to my knowledge, query content, and then immediately fulfill the intent. Here’s how to buy, you know, the Trust Insights, branded, ranch dressing, which by the way, we have a recipe for we’ll put it up on our blog, maybe one of these days. The secret salaries, the celery, like it’s, if you want that, like good ranch flavor, a little bit of celery in there. Anyway. So you have you have your content mapping of knowledge, and, and action queries. Break out all of your top keywords and concepts and topics into the pair so that you have a knowledge page, and you have an intent page and keep them clear that you want this page to be you know, what it was designed, attended. One of the things we’ve had an issue with, again, with several clients is they have pages that are a hot mess mishmash of both. And it’s and as a result, you can’t tell what the user is supposed to do. But it’s not clear what is the next intent here. Like if you have a blog, most blog content should be knowledge content. Right? If you have a landing page, most landing pages should be action intent. There are some really good tools that will help you with this. Katie, one of your favorites is to answer the public, taking a searcher and having all the questions that people have about that, you know, so divided up into putting it out into these things. But you want that so that you’re fulfilling both intents and that people are being directed to those things. And when you’re looking at your focus keywords and stuff, if you’re using tools like rank math, or Yoast or whatever, in your, in your CMS, make sure that you’ve documented with good governance, hey, this is what this page, this is a knowledge page. And then that way, when, you know, the regional sales manager says, Hey, this blog post isn’t a sales page. Well, no kidding. It’s not a sales page. It’s a knowledge page. Let me go back to your auto shop.
Katie Robbert 43:18
We’ve kind of been all over the map today. But I feel like to sort of bring it all back, you know, to where we were originally starting with some of the planning. You know, this is where you then bring in the data from Search Console and the data from your third party SEO tools. So as you’re building that key list, you kind of have two sets of keywords you have what people what are people are searching for, that brings them to your site. So those are the things that people care about, that they said, You know what this person can answer my question. And then you have what your competitors are doing. So that you can then, you know, stay competitive within that landscape. And this was something that we covered in the newsletter and I gave the example of I think it was you know, chocolate desserts versus fruit-based desserts if you’re being found for fruit-based desserts, but you keep trying to compete for chocolate desserts, then you’re missing the intent of the people coming to your website. I was also very hungry when I wrote that post. And now you’ve been talking about coffee. Now I want dessert and coffee. So this has been a productive live stream for sure.
Christopher Penn 44:27
Absolutely. And the last thing I will suggest is that we know the multitask unified model is being rolled out. We don’t know exact timelines. Google has said it’s it’s this year. We know it is a big deal, because it changes how Google responds to queries. We know that it can draw upon many many different kinds of media. So if you are publishing content and you’re not creating audio, and video, and images and text and maybe even in You’re active, you need to find the bandwidth in the budget to start doing that, you know, one of the things we do at Trust Insights is we do stuff like live streams, we record a pod, our podcast is recorded as a record only live stream. Because we want the video, we want to rip out the audio and turn into an audio podcast, we take the transcript and turn it into text, so that we have as many chances at bat as possible under the new multitasking unified model when somebody searches for Hidden Valley Ranch SEO, hopefully this episode will show up. And we stand to a chance. But if you don’t have those extra types of media available, and a competitor does, all things being equal, your competitors probably going to get the nod before you do. So make sure that you are creating as much content as you can. And of course, if you have not gotten a chance to check it out, go go take the Search Console course, again, we covered up the advanced stuff in today’s episode, the coding stuff. So this should reassure you there’s no coding at all of any kind in the in the Search Console course. But it will get you up to speed on all the basics, and all the different tools. And there’s a lot of tools in there.
Katie Robbert 46:11
Here’s what I found interesting in going through building the course with you, Chris was I was learning about all the difference as you were just covering the different kinds of content, I didn’t realize that you could filter by those different kinds of audio, images, all those different things. And that’s all the information we cover in the course in terms of really utilizing your data to make your content planning that much richer and deeper.
Christopher Penn 46:41
Exactly. So any final thoughts?
John Wall 46:46
Be sure to talk to your grocer about getting Trust Insights dressings in your neighborhood.
Katie Robbert 46:56
And take the course.
Christopher Penn 46:59
Thanks, everyone. We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more. Check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust insights.ai/t AI podcast and a weekly email newsletter at trust insights.ai/newsletter Got questions about what you saw on today’s episode. Join our free analytics for marketers slack group at trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers See you next time.
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