Can I rank for the term [Jonathan Jones]?
Dec22

Can I rank for the term [Jonathan Jones]?

14SHARESFacebookTwitter So just last week, I created a vCard website, which also has a blog on it called Mr Jonathan Jones. Why did I create this website? Well, first of all, I’m looking to up my game on freelance & consultancy. Having a memorable domain and more professional named service is something I’ve struggled with, with this domain name and others that I own. It’s quite easy for me to say, go to ‘MrJonathanJones.com’ if I’m at a conference, and that can be easily remembered given it is also my name, so will come up often when speaking to potential clients/contacts. I can also use the website as a point of reference in the future if I decide to do any presentations at any sort of conference and try and earn recognition within the industry that way as well. I eventually want to develop this out a bit more (freelancing) and now that I have my own office, I can do this with more comfort, let’s just say. You can see a picture of my home office below: I want to rank for my own name The second reason why I’ve created MrJonathanJones.com is because I want to rank for my own name. My ambition is at some point in the future, I’ll be able to either Google ‘Mr Jonathan Jones’ or ‘Jonathan Jones’ and my website will appear. That’d be impressive in my honest opinion. However, I do have some competition – the likes of a Guardian journalist who shares my common name. Using, ‘howmanyofme.com’, I can see that my surname is the 5th most popular in the US, and my first name being the 119th most popular, so a good indicative guide as to how popular/common my name is. You can see from the search results below that the journalist appears to dominate, but also there is someone who works for the Civil Service, and they have their own page on a government domain – so tough competition! I am looking to consolidate my blogging effort to Mr Jonathan Jones I have about 3 blogs, and I’ve got to that point where I no longer have time to update any of them. If I can consolidate, then it’d give me more time, as well as an extra push to update my blogs more frequently. I’m off to a very good start with Mr Jonathan Jones, as I’ve gone somewhat viral with a post I published on Twitter last week on Thursday around a Google Data Studio template I created that anyone can use – which sort of aides and replaces the new Google Search Console, Search Analytics...

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The Growth of Featured Snippets (2016 – 2017)
Apr14

The Growth of Featured Snippets (2016 – 2017)

9SHARESFacebookTwitter Featured Snippets was a pretty hot topic back in 2016, especially in the Finance sector, an area that I work in. It’s only just begun in terms of the topic really as we’ve experienced 700% growth in terms of Answer Box/Featured Snippet appearances in this area. Google are making further changes to these snippets, which I’ll dive into a little below. This article will effectively look at Featured Snippets from my point of view, which is an area that I’ve been working on since 2015. The Featured Snippets came to light in Google’s search results for a relatively small number of queries back in 2014, but then only really impacted my area at the end of 2015. Google Trends Research You can see ‘featured snippets’ has seen its interest over time in Google Trends grow, and that’s likely due to the higher number of appearances and therefore interest in these types of results: Featured Snippet Growth from 2016 to 2017 Across 10,000 or so of the top finance related keywords I am tracking, Featured Snippets show up for 33% of those keywords. This is huge growth of around 700% when looking at February 2016 to February 2017. We’ve only seen the number of these Featured Snippets growing from last year, even for highly commercial search terms, which don’t appear to even have questions showing up that you would think would trigger a Featured Snippet. Either way, I think the growth is quite startling and can even be overwhelming when trying to optimise your content for these queries. You can see the growth visualised in the chart below. We first really spotted them becoming a much bigger thing back in October 2015, and it looks like in October 2016 there has been further growth from that point on wards: What’s the Biggest Challenge with Featured Snippets? As an in-house SEO, my biggest challenge with these is that they change all the time. One day they’ll be there, the next they’ll be gone, or you’ll appear in one, then someone else will, then you will again. You purely take turns with others. However, there are some lucrative terms that have maintained a Featured Snippet presence, and we’ve done some analysis to identify what uplift that brings whenever we do appear in one of the long-term Featured Snippets, and it’s roughly a 2% increase in Click Through Rate, which can mean a huge difference if it’s for very large commercial search terms. This can obviously pay off for the all the work you’ve been doing around it, if you’ve managed to land a highly commercial term. The Future of Featured Snippets We’ve seen huge...

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Google Search Console vs Google Analytics (2017 Edition)
Apr14

Google Search Console vs Google Analytics (2017 Edition)

12SHARESFacebookTwitter Russ Jones at Moz recently came out with an article around the reliability of Google Search Console data – listing examples of where they had tested some of the platform’s features versus what they saw as the realities. It’s a really interesting read, and it poses the question whether SEOs should even be using the data from Search Console if we aren’t getting the correct information from the tool in question. I am an extensive user of Google Search Console, but also use other tools to validate the work that I do, so reading Russ’ article really does pose many questions. However, in this article, I am purely going to focus on the aspect around the reliability of Google Search Analytics data – the part of the tool that provides web owners with what I consider to be highly valuable keyword data. I am going to keep things really simple, and will compare Google Analytics session data with Google Search Console click data. Comparing Sessions and Clicks If we take Google’s article on comparing AdWords data with Analytics data, then comparing these two metrics, Sessions and Clicks, they will never match 100%, as the two metrics are calculated differently. And that’s just from an AdWords click and Google Search Analytics click comparison, not an Google Organic Click perspective. I think it is safe to assume that PPC Clicks and Organic Clicks might be measured similarly in nature, but perhaps there might be more filtering in PPC to remove fraudulent clicks etc. Either way, comparing Search Analytics Clicks to Google Analytics Sessions, should show a fairly close correlation between the two data sets. In short: Google Analytics Sessions data records when a user enters a site, but the browser must first download the Google Analytics JavaScript file, then that must be interpreted by the browser. A session also lasts for 30 minutes, so if a user does a search, lands on a site, then does the same search again, and lands on the same page, then that counts as 1 session. Google Search Console records a click whenever a click is conducted on a listing in the search results – pretty straight forward. Unlike sessions, there are no 30 minute timers, and a Click is classifed as multiple clicks, if even from the same person. From this, you’d expect any data in Google Search Analytics to be higher than Google Analytics. Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/7042828#click Examples of high correlations First comparison – a relatively low volume page:  I decided to pick and compare a page with a low click count, as Russ mentioned that in their tests, they did analysis that looked at a...

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Tweets from Twitter Showing Up in Google News Results
Jul04

Tweets from Twitter Showing Up in Google News Results

18SHARESFacebookTwitter If you’ve been following what has been going on with reddit, then you would have known about the big revolt that has taken place on the front page of the internet. To sum it up in one sentence, popular sub-reddits have been temporarily closed down after a popular community manager (officially, communications director) was fired recently by reddit. It wasn’t handled well, as she was integral to the management of many of the popular celebrities who posted on /r/IAMA, yet the moderators of that sub-reddit complained at the lack of communication. There’s been resentment against the people running reddit, especially the interim CEO of reddit, Ellen Pao, who has been ripped to pieces for her apparent mismanagement of reddit. Now redditors are looking for alternatives to reddit. One alternative is a website called voat.co, which has been bombarded so hard with new visitors that their website displays an error message when you try to visit it. Now, on to the point of this post. This is actually the first time I’ve come across normal Twitter users appearing in Google News results. Back on May 19th, Google and Twitter announced a data partnership that allows Google to access data from Twitter. As a result of this, Twitter has a prominent area in Google’s search results that shows tweets that are trending in real-time. What has surprised me, however, was the fact that Google has also given Twitter another source of traffic – real estate in Google News:   It’s interesting how Unidan, once a popular user on reddit, and a normal user on Twitter (not even a verified Twitter account), is appearing in Google News. For those that don’t know, Unidan was shadow banned in 2014 after employees at reddit discovered that he had created several reddit accounts to manipulate upvotes on his own comments. That’s not to say that Unidan is now gaming Google, but perhaps his popularity on Twitter, with 2.8k followers, has given his account enough authority to be listed on Google News? My theory is, because Voat is a relatively new brand, Google are still trying to pull in trusted sources for news associated with that brand and somehow a random user on Twitter who has mentioned the brand is being shown as a result. Whatever the case, could Twitter users showing up in Google News become the norm? There was also no inclusion of a hash tag, but the mere mention of the term ‘Voat’ seems to have triggered this. It’s interesting that this sort of thing can happen when topics or brands are trending, as this is quite obviously a valuable source of traffic. Update:  I’ve re-checked 5...

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Large Google Update on the 16th of June?
Jun17

Large Google Update on the 16th of June?

14SHARESFacebookTwitter There have been talks of small scale and high scale Google updates occurring in June, with webmasters reporting that they’ve either seen a drop in rank or an increase in rank for their respective niches. Looking at the SEO weather tools, they have identified that there have been big changes in the SERPs in June. Tools 1: MozCast http://mozcast.com/  Moz has their own tool called MozCast, which attempts to identify any turbulence in Google’s algorithm by assessing the volatility of a sample of 1,000 keywords. Its most recent report shows that on Tuesday, 16th of June, there was major turbulence that pushed the MozCast metric to 102°. To put this in perspective, the first ever Penguin update clocked in a figure of 93.1°. Tool 2: Algoroo https://algoroo.com/ Another tool called Algoroo samples 17,000 keywords and looks for fluctuations in a similar way to MozCast. This tool is also reporting a high amount of SERP flux and volatility in the same time periods as MozCast. If we look at when Google’s Phantom II / Quality Update occurred we can see that a recent increase, on the 16th of June, shows a far larger fluctuation in the SERPs than the Google Quality Update on the 3rd of May: Google’s Response Google have confirmed that this is neither a Panda, Penguin, nor HTTPS update. It was thought that this could have been an HTTPS update because recently (12th of June) Wikipedia encrypted their entire website in HTTPS/SSL. With a large percentage of Wikipedia pages being dominantly displayed in the top 10 search results this could have caused fluctuations, as Google indexes the HTTPS version of the site. This may have been the cause for the fluctuations in the SERPs where tools have shown high volatility. Pete Meyers at Moz explains this in more depth, here. However, Pete asked Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, if there was an HTTPS update that could have caused these high fluctuations. He wouldn’t go into further detail and responded on Twitter stating: At the time of writing, further details explaining the extent of this change haven’t been made available by Google. However, they did confirm to Search Engine Land that this was not a Panda update, stating: “This is not a Panda update. As you know, we’re always making improvements to our search algorithms and the web is constantly evolving. We’re going to continue to work on improvements across the board.” The reason there was speculation around a Panda update is because Gary Illyes announced on June 2nd at SMX Advanced that webmasters should expect a Panda refresh within the upcoming weeks. At the same time, he announced that...

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