This Week In SEO 19
Google is Now Alphabet, Losing 4 Local Placement Spots, & More


Well!  It’s been an exciting week for Google–see below for two stories that really shook things up.  This week we’re also highlighting some great informative posts from SERPwoo, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.

Before we get into that, though, here is this week’s Quick SEO Tip — The Updated Local Pack:


Google Local Pack Showing Three instead of Seven

new local pack

If you were ranking 4th for any lucrative money keywords, your week just got a whole lot worse.  Google has updated and standardized the local pack to show 3 results now, instead of 7.  What will this do to SERP competition?  Increased difficulty for ranking in the local pack, and a bigger focus on organic rankings is my guess.

Last night Google updated the search results you see in a query that has local intent to show three local businesses instead of seven. In the language of a local SEO expert, the 7-pack is now a 3-pack.

The local pack is not just showing fewer business listings, it is also redesigned to fit more with the mobile user interface.


Google Announces Plans for a New Operating Structure

Google alphabet

You’ve probably heard of this announcement by now… but on the off-chance you haven’t:

Our company is operating well today, but we think we can make it cleaner and more accountable. So we are creating a new company, called Alphabet. I am really excited to be running Alphabet as CEO with help from my capable partner, Sergey, as President.

What is Alphabet? Alphabet is mostly a collection of companies. The largest of which, of course, is Google. This newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main internet products contained in Alphabet instead. What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity). Fundamentally, we believe this allows us more management scale, as we can run things independently that aren’t very related.

So, Google is now a company inside of another company.  This shouldn’t change your life too much as an SEO (unless you’re a Google stockholder, cuz their stuck went up like $40 overnight after the announcment.  But you’re probably not…

Here’s a slick quote from a Reddit user on WHY this change (might have) happened (which is one of the best explanations I’ve seen…:

  • Allows for lots of experimentation without affecting the Google brand, which makes Google and Alphabet (using the same ticker at the moment) more profitable in the long run (which was a huge problem investors have been yelling about for a long time),
  • Makes forming and acquiring new companies a lot easier, since it’s significantly less anti-competitive for an umbrella company to acquire a competitor than for a competitor to acquire a competitor (there’s a lot of talk on here about Alphabet buying Twitter, since Google Inc. would not have been able to do it without risking lawsuits)
  • Significant tax incentives, though I don’t know the entirety of this one (Alphabet and Google are both Delaware companies)

source: /u/thinglistr

Keyword Research for Content

We’ve linked to some great posts before on keyword research, but this post is a great guide on using keyword research specifically for the benefits of writing content.  There’s no reason to just guess at what kind of content might help you rank better when you can put in a little work and get a solid road map.

While the search volume per month, can easily be found with the google AdWords keyword planer, or SEMRush keyword overview, determining if the User Intent is valuable for you, will require knowledge of your website and what you would like your visitors to do.

So, it is for you to decide if you want only readers for your content or buyers for your service.

The use of modifiers like: Cheap, Best, Buy, Find in combination with the head term will generate a keyword focused on buyers intent.

This is a good tactical post, and could help you write content that will help you rank better in the SERPs.

Getting Into the Knowledge Graph 101


This week’s required reading comes from SERPwoo, one of my favorite SEO tools.  The knowledge graph is used for any person place or thing with enough authority to justify it.  This post is all about lending yourself/your business enough authority to have it triggered for a related search.

Google has been experimenting with various features of the Knowledge Graph for the past few years now. Just remember, as recently as 3 years ago there was no Knowledge Graph whatsoever. Google is still in the experimental phase of things. For instance a few months ago Google decided to start adding social network icons in certain SERPs. In the beginning they only gave it to musicians and a-listers, but now the floodgates have been opened to everyone. New features come and go almost on a daily basis.


The Unfortunate Consequences of Ignoring Links

I love posts with research that read like case studies.  Search Engine Land looks at a few cases where a popular site/service doesn’t focus on linkbuilding, and suffers for it in terms of visibility.  A very interesting read!

netflix speed index

The Netflix ISP Speed Index is great, but it’s underperforming in terms of links and visibility. (I didn’t even know it existed prior to writing this post.) If Netflix started thinking strategically about links, they could build their way up to the same level as Ookla. There’s no reason a brand as large and visible as Netflix shouldn’t be raking in links for such a useful tool, especially considering all the exposure that has come from the net neutrality debate.

Netflix has already done the hard part and created an excellent tool; now it’s just time for some intelligent promotion to acquire the links that tool deserves.

TWS20: Faking Freshness, HTTP vs HTTPS, and More
TWS18: Search Analytic API, How to Do Competitor Research, and More

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Sean Markey

Sean Markey

Obsessive consumer of SEO news and strategies, writes the This Week in SEO column. Loves playing drums and writing fiction. Bets you he can throw a football over them mountains.
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