Connect with us

GOOGLE

Google’s Top 5 SEO Tools

Published

on

Google offers a constantly updated suite of tools that are useful for SEO.

These tools help publishers understand why a page is underperforming and guide them with specific advice for improving webpage performance for the purpose of ranking better.

Here are Google’s top five SEO tools.

1. Lighthouse

Lighthouse is a web page performance improvement tool that is built into every browser that is based on Chrome. The tool is accessible within the Chrome Dev Tools panel.

Multiple Ways to Access the Google Lighthouse Tool

  • On a Windows machine, press the F12 function button.
  • On Windows or Mac right-click the page and choose “Inspect” then choose the “Lighthouse” tab.
  • On Mac press: Command+Option+C
  • On Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS press: Control+Shift+C
  • In Chrome, click the 3-dot menu on the top right corner then, More Tools > Developer Tools
Step by Step of How to access Google Lighthouse on Chrome browser.
Screenshot from Google Search, August 2021
Screenshot of Lighthouse within the Chrome Dev Tools panel.
Screenshot from Chrome Dev Tools, August 2021

Lighthouse Offers 5 Feedback Categories

It currently provides five categories of SEO performance feedback:

  1. Performance.
  2. Progressive Web App.
  3. Best Practices.
  4. Accessibility.
  5. SEO.

While accessibility isn’t strictly an SEO-related metric, it is related to good user experience for disabled site visitors.

Using the feedback from these five categories will help improve the search visibility of most webpages.

The SEO section of Lighthouse provides 10 points of feedback on factors that matter for Google.

Some Metrics Chrome Lighthouse Reports On

  • Viewport Meta Tag.
  • Title Element.
  • Meta Description.
  • HTTP Status Code.
  • Descriptive Text on Links.
  • Page Status for Successful Crawling & Indexing.
  • Validates Hreflang.
  • Validates rel=canonical.
  • Checks mobile-friendliness.
  • Validates font legibility for mobile devices.
  • Checks mobile tap targets.
  • Checks if document avoids browser plugins for viewing.
  • Checks crawling and indexing.
  • Checks the Robots.txt.
  • Checks if the page sends a successful HTTP status code.

Why You Should Use Lighthouse SEO Tool

I won’t deny it, Lighthouse is a lightweight site review tool.

But it’s an important site review tool because it represents Google’s opinion of 10 metrics you should be looking at.

If Google feels that these metrics are important, then you should, too.

To make the most of this tool, be sure to check out A Technical SEO Guide to Lighthouse Performance Metrics.

2. Test My Site

Google’s Test My Site auditing tool offers two metrics:

  1. Estimated loading time on a 4G mobile network.
  2. Recommendations for speeding up the website.
Google Mobile Speed Test Recommendation.
Screenshot of Test My Site, August 2021

This is a good tool for obtaining a quick snapshot of the speed health of a website.

It’s a good starting point for obtaining an overall picture of mobile optimization.

The tool also offers to email a full report containing suggestions for speeding up the tested webpage.

Why You Should Use Test My Site

You can obtain similar information by using Page Speed Insights.

But the Test My Site tool provides the information in an easy-to-understand manner that’s easy for non-developer stakeholders to gain an understanding of what may be wrong with the mobile site performance.

Yet it’s also good for developers to get a quick overview, as well.

If you want granular details about what needs fixing, then head over to Google’s Page Speed Insights.

3. Page Speed Insights

Page Speed Insights is the tool that provides lab Core Web Vitals performance scores.

Core Web Vitals are important metrics created by Google to represent what a user experience on a webpage is.

This information is important because fixing the highlighted problems will improve SEO, sales conversions, ad clicks, and (if successful in fixing performance bottlenecks) give a small ranking factor boost.

This online tool provides specifics on what is causing the slowdown and gives suggestions for how to fix the problems.

It tells which scripts and style sheets are slowing down the site, which images are too big, and offers numerous other tips for speeding up affected webpages.

Why You Should Use Page Speed Insights

Page Speed Insights not only offers useful solutions for hidden technical issues impacting page speed, but it is also a resource for learning what those issues are.

Each highlighted issue links to a Google Developers page that offers more in-depth background information and an explainer of how to fix the problems.

4. Safe Browsing Test

Google crawls billions of pages every day to check for malware. This tool reports if there is any malware on a site.

The tool also provides the date for the last time the site was checked for malware.

Some sites are tested more often than others.

Why You Should Use the Safe Browsing Test Tool

Many people do not consider website security an SEO problem.

But website security quickly becomes an SEO issue when Google starts dropping URLs from its index because the site is hacked.

That’s why website security should be considered a part of SEO. Failure to secure a site can severely affect search visibility.

5. Google Trends

Google Trends provides information about keyword popularity and also segments the information by time and geography.

The time segment can give you an idea of how seasons may affect keywords. It can also show you if a keyword is losing popularity.

If you see a downward trend in a keyword, this could indicate that a product or trend is causing searchers to lose interest in that search.

Why You Should Use Google Trends

Google Trends is also important for competitive research. It shows you how often people are searching Google with a competitor’s brand name.

The trend line by time will show you how steady this trend is – if it’s going up, down, or steady.

Obviously, a competitor trend line that is trending down is good. A trend line that is trending up is bad.

A trend line that is steady (the most common) means a competitor is doing well and you’ll have to identify their weaknesses and make those your strengths – among many considerations.

For more tips, check out 10 Ways to Use Google Trends for Better SEO.

Make Good Use of Google’s SEO Tools to Improve Rankings, Visibility, and User Experience

While SEO professionals tend to take much of what Google says about what helps rankings (or not) with a healthy dose of skepticism, it would be foolish not to take advantage of the tools it has on offer.

In these tools, you can see exactly what Google is looking for in a quality site, webpage, and user experience.

Use this to your advantage to optimize as closely to Google’s (and your audience’s) expectations as possible.


Featured Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Searchenginejournal.com

GOOGLE

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Published

on

Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say

Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.

“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”

The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”

“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”

Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.

The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.

Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.

The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.

Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”

The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.

Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.

Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”

States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.

The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.

Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.

“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.

“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”

The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.

Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.

“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”

• This article is based in part on wire service reports.

Source link

Continue Reading

GOOGLE

5 Tips to Boost Your Holiday Search Strategy

Published

on

Student writing on computer

With the global economic downturn, inflation, ongoing supply chain challenges, and uncertainty due to the Ukraine war, this year’s holiday shopping season promises to be very challenging. Will people be in the mood to spend despite the gloom? Or will they rein in their enthusiasm and save for the year ahead?

With these issues in mind, here are five considerations to support your search engine optimization strategy this holiday shopping season:

1. Start early.

Rising prices are likely to mean shoppers will start researching their holiday spending earlier than ever to nab the best bargains. Therefore, retailers must roll out their holiday product and category pages — and launch any promotions — sooner to ensure their pages get crawled and indexed by search engines in good time.

Some e-commerce stores manage to get their pages ranking early by updating and reusing the same section of the website for holiday content and promotions, rotating between content for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine gifts, Fourth of July sales, etc. This approach can help you retain the momentum, links and authority you build up with Google and get your holiday pages visible and ranking quickly.

2. Make research an even bigger priority.

With all the uncertainty this year, it’s vital to use SEO research to identify the trending seasonal keywords and search phrases in your retail vertical — and then optimize content accordingly.

With tools such as Google Trends you can extract helpful insights based on the types of searches people are making. For example, with many fashion retailers now charging for product returns, will prioritizing keywords such as “free returns” get more search traction? And with money being tighter, will consumers stick with brands they trust rather than anything new — meaning brand searches might be higher?

3. Make greater use of Google Shopping.

To get the most out of their holiday spending, consumers are more likely to turn to online marketplaces such as Google Shopping as they make it easier to compare products, features and prices, as well as to identify the best deals both online and in nearby stores.

Therefore, take a combined approach which includes listing in Google Shopping and at the same time optimizing product detail pages on your e-commerce site to ensure they’re unique and provide more value than competitors’ pages. Be precise with product names on Google Shopping (e.g., do the names contain the words people are searching for?); ensure you provide all the must-have information Google requires; and set a price that’s not too far from the competition. 

4. Give other search sources the attention they deserve.

Earlier this year Google itself acknowledged that consumers — especially younger consumers — are starting to use TikTok, Instagram and other social media sites for search. In fact, research suggests 11 percent of product searches now start on TikTok and 15 percent on Instagram. Younger consumers in particular are more engaged by visual content, which may explain why they’re embracing visually focused social sites for search. So, as part of your search strategy, create and share content on popular social media sites that your target customers visit.

Similarly, with people starting their shopping searches on marketplaces such as Amazon.com, optimizing any listings you have on the site should be part of your strategy. And thankfully, the better optimized your product detail pages are for Amazon (with unique, useful content), the better they will rank on Google as well!

5. Hold paid budget for late opportunities.

The greater uncertainty and volatility this holiday season mean you must keep a close eye on shopper behavior and be ready to embrace opportunities that emerge later on. Getting high organic rankings for late promotions is always more challenging, so hold some paid search budget back to help drive traffic to those pages — via Google Ads, for example. Important keywords to include in late season search ad campaigns include “delivery before Christmas” and “same-day-delivery.” For locally targeted search ads, consider “pick up any time before Christmas.”

The prospect of a tough, unpredictable holiday shopping season means search teams must roll out seasonal SEO plans early, closely track shoppers’ behavior, and be ready to adapt as things change.

Marcus Pentzek is chief SEO consultant at Searchmetrics, the global provider of search data, software and consulting solutions.

Source link

Continue Reading

GOOGLE

Google Home App Gets an Overhaul, Rolling Out Soon

Published

on

Google Home app

Google refreshes its Home app with a slew of new features after launching a new Nest gear. This makes it faster and easier to pair smart devices with Matter, adds customization and personalization options, an enhanced Nest camera experience, and better intercommunication between devices.

This revamped Home app utilizes Google’s Matter smart home standard – launching later this year – especially the Fast Pair functionality. On an Android phone, it will instantly recognize a Matter device and allow you to easily set it up, bypassing the current procedure that is often slow and difficult. Google is also updating its Nest speakers, displays, and routers – to control Matter devices better.

Google Home App New Features

  • Spaces: This feature allows you to control multiple devices in different rooms. Google has listed a few things by room: kitchen, bedroom, living room, etc., although it’s pretty limited right now. Spaces let you organize devices how you see fit. For instance, you can set up a baby monitor in one room and set a different room’s camera to focus on an area the baby often plays. With Spaces, you can categorize these two devices into one Space category called ‘Baby.’

Google Home app Spaces

  • Favorites: This one is pretty self-explanatory. It allows you to make certain gears as a favorite that you frequently use. Doing so will bring those devices into the limelight within the Google Home app for easier access. 

Google Home app

  • Media: Google adds a new media widget at the bottom of your Home feed. This will automatically determine what media is playing in your home and provide you with the appropriate controls as and when needed. There will be song controls if you listen to music on your speakers. There will be television remote controls if you’re watching TV. 

Google probably won’t roll out this Home app makeover anytime soon. But you can try it for yourself in the coming week by enrolling in the public preview, available in select areas.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish