This Week In SEO 51
SERP Publisher, SEO Theory, and SEO for Beginners
Publishing Content Straight to the SERPs
Google is stepping up its support for brands recently, with the introduction of an experimental feature that lets a company post new articles directly to a search feed that displays when a user queries that specific brand.
Here’s a screenshot of what the results look like for HBO’s Silicon Valley:
Google has built a Web-based interface through which posts can be formatted and uploaded directly to its systems. The posts can be up to 14,400 characters in length and can include links and up to 10 images or videos. The pages also include options to share them via Twitter, Facebook or email.
Currently this feature is invite-only, but here’s the official Google page about it, including a waitlist you can join if you think you’ve got a shot.
Even if you don’t, consider signing up anyway. This could be very powerful–but for now it’s just an experiment. We’ll be keeping a very close eye on this.
The Great CTR/SEO Debate
I’ve seen a quiet back and forth discussion about whether or not Click Through Rate affects SEO rankings or not.
One the one hand, there’s not a lot of hard data on this subject (it’s just too difficult to isolate one ranking factor and point to it as definitive).
On the other, it does make sense that Google should rank higher sites that get more clicks for a given query than those that get skipped over, or where the searcher bounces back quickly from.
Within the SEO space, there are a few well-known attempted case studies from Rand Fishkin seeking to prove that CTR is, in fact, a ranking factor.
This article (from Stone Temple) seeks to look at both sides of the argument, and come away with something objective. They even explain where the results Rand found might have come from (instead of CTR):
I’ll stand by my guess that I made in the above conversation that some part of the Google algos that are designed to pick up on hot news events is triggering the behavior seen in Rand’s experiments. This would explain the rise in the results and the drop afterwards when the click activity tapered off. But, we can’t know 100% for sure.
Fantastic article here, definitely recommend clicking through and reading the whole thing.
On Blog Comments and SEO
I love a good “going against the grain” post. Here, The SEM Post talks theory, and why blog comments are good for SEO.
Token John Mueller quote:
So if these comments bring useful information in addition to the content that you’ve provided also on these pages, then that could be a really good addition to your website. It could really increase the value of your website overall. If the comments show that there’s a really engaged community behind there that encourages new users when they go to these pages to also comment, to go back directly to these pages, to recommend these pages to their friends, that could also be a really good thing.
In the end, the comments argument comes down to:
a) user experience/engagement, and
b) are they contributing quality content to a page (and are they being indexed by Googlebot?)
The article links to several examples of comments helping the SEO efforts of a website (including having a featured snippet pulled from the comments of a web page).
Starter SEO Training
Shout out to the SEO beginners! The agency I’m From the Future has put together a killer resource on all the important SEO basics, plus a helpful glossary of SEO/Marketing terms at the end.
All you SEO #Ballers might want to sit this one out…
You can think of linkbuilding and outreach as sister terms, kind of like SEO and Digital Marketing. The two are practiced in tandem in that outreach is used to supplement linkbuilding.
Linkbuilding is especially important because Google uses links as a means of discovering new websites and then using it’s UNEARTHLY algo to then rank the pages it finds on each site.
Also, this is fantastic example of well-produced and helpful content–content that gets shared and linked to.
Huge SEO for Shopify Resource
Continuing with the theme of beginners, here’s an in-depth post on how to rock your Shopify SEO.
101 + tips is a lot, so this guide is best consumed by searching for a specific area you need help with, and then moving on to the next.
WordPress gets a lot of love in the SEO tutorial space, so I’m happy to see this rock-solid post from Digital Arts tackling Shopify.
1. Collections Structure
A collection in Shopify is a group of products. It acts like the various sections in a physical store that tells customers where to find a type of product. A well-designed group of collections tell people and Google what each is about to find a product.
Design your collections first for people. Google hates it when store owners attempt to please the search engine at the cost of user-experience. No one wants a drop-down with 100 brands.
Brickell have four primary collections: face, shave, body & hair, and collections. The collections group leads to a drop-down of “Bestsellers”, “Travel”, and “Kits”:
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Written by Smash
Ranking websites like it's our job (because hey, it is our job).
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