This Week In SEO 37
Search Intent, AMP Errors in Search Console, and Acquisition SEO


Is Google Judging You Based on a Template?

search intent

This is a post about search intent–something I find fascinating. For example (from the article) when someone searches google for “Jaguar,” are they wanting information on the animal, the car, or the football team? Yes, it’s a terrible search query because with one more word they could get more specific search results (“jaguar animal,” “jaguar car,” “jaguar football”).

But it still brings up a point that anyone hoping to appear in the search results for a given keyword needs to consider: what is the searcher’s intent behind a specific search query, and can anything be done to influence the placement of a webpage in a specific context?

The short answer is: yes, but it’s a long game. This article includes some (very brief) case studies to illustrate the point and some basic steps to make it happen. Worth a read.

At the end of the day, Google is nothing more than an organized system. We sometimes give it too much credit because it happens to be REALLY good at understanding what we want and mean. But this is based on an organized understanding of how we (all humans that use Google) use the search engine.

Not all content can rank for all types of queries. Just because a certain result appears for one query doesn’t mean that another will; randomly creating a bunch of profiles is not going the solution.


Acquisition SEO and Business Crowding
An interesting take on a not-often-discussed (and money-intensive) strategy of link building and SERP real-estate-cannibalizing, acquiring companies.

In the article, the author points to acquisition of Trulia by Zillow, which leads to multiple top 3 rankings for thousands and thousands of search queries:

serp dominating

This article also discusses “business crowding” (similar to “host crowding,” where different subdomains from a single URL take up most of the spots in the top 10 for a specific keyword).

Here’s a pretty solid example of that:

vacation rental SEO example

The next question that comes to mind is whether Google could actually do anything about business crowding. We know Google isn’t going to do anything manual in nature. They’d want to implement something that dealt with this from an algorithmic perspective.

I think there’s a fairly straight forward way Google could do this via the Knowledge Graph. Each business is an entity and it would be relatively easy to map the relationship between each site as a parent child relationship.


Some News From Google Webmaster Central

I’ll keep this brief, because the updates are pretty simple, but still important to keep track of:

1. You can now preview AMP (accelerated mobile pages, covered previously) errors in Google Search Console.

More and more sites are implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for news content, so we’ve decided to provide a preview of error reports in Search Console to help you get ready for the upcoming official AMP launch and get early feedback from you. You can find these reports under Search Appearance – Accelerated Mobile Pages.

2. Google has released a newly designed and updated Webmaster Central website, with the aim of making it more helpful to users.

new google webmasters site

The site contains support resources to help you fix issues with your website, SEO learning materials to create a high-quality site and improve search rankings, and connection opportunities to stay up-to-date with our team and webmaster community. It also contains new features such as:

Webmaster troubleshooter: Need a step-by-step guide to move your site or understand a message in Search Console? The troubleshooter can help answer these and other common problems with your site in Google Search and Google Search Console.

Popular resources: Looking for popular Google Webmasters YouTube videos, blog posts and forum threads? Here’s a curated list of our top resources – these may differ across languages.

Events calendar: Want to meet someone from our team online for office hours or at a live event near you? We have office hours and events in multiple languages around the world.


A 19 Step Keyword Research Process

wiki keyword research

This one could accurately be called “An Introduction to Keyword Research,” because many of the ideas and steps here are pretty basic. That said, it’s always a good idea to review beginner-level content to make sure some step hasn’t worked it’s way out of your process. If you’re just starting out with SEO/Content marketing, definitely give this one a read, it’ll save you a lot of time.

Bad keyword research will have you typing 2,000 words of gold and relying on social distribution to run its two-day cycle before your page falls off the face of the internet. Failing to target the right keyword means that you might be getting irrelevant traffic or hardly any traffic at all.


Why SEOs Shouldn’t Trust Algorithm Update or ‘Winner/Loser’ Lists

The Moz SEO forecast or the Algoroo SERP volatility chart is something I point to often in these updates. It’s really a succinct and easy-to-understand way to illustrate big SERP movements. It only takes a second to glance at a bar graph and see that something big is happening.

algoroo updates

As the author of this article explains, the individual pieces of data these SERP charts are different between each other, and the data can easily skewed. The real reason I’m drawing attention to this article, which is a bit critical of something we point to often here on this blog, is to underline the fact that most things that happen in the SEO space aren’t official and are usually the result of independent research, much of which conflicts with another person’s research.

Just a reminder to do your own research, or at least get an opinion from several different experts in the thick of things before you go changing your website and your content every time some new, sensational piece of info pops up.

What does this all mean? As I said here, while weather reports and “winners and losers” can be interesting to look at, SEOs definitely should be taking the data with a grain of salt, and especially not be making any changes to their SEO strategies based on who the winners and losers are. And noting high temperatures in weather reports means you probably want to check your own sites and maybe the specific search results and market areas you follow. But it is quite possible what the tools are seeing and what you are seeing in your own market areas could be very, very different.

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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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