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What Google’s Enhanced Autocomplete Box Means For SEO

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What Google’s Enhanced Autocomplete Box Means For SEO


Sometime in December, SEO experts started noticing that Google was low-key testing out a new feature inside its search box.

It’s an expanded version of the box that we’re calling the enhanced autocomplete box.

Over in the box’s right column, Google pulls the top three People also ask questions, and a People also search for section presenting numerous related terms and entities.

While there’s a wealth of information out there, most news outlets and blogs just rehash what the box is and how they accessed it.

But this isn’t the fault of those publishers.

That’s all the intelligence there is on that right now, since this is clearly just a beta test that Google isn’t ready to comment on just yet.

At the same time, the information that the new autocomplete feature presents is evident to industry experts.

Many SEO professionals probably noticed the new feature and believe they know what Google is up to.

Maybe we don’t have the full story yet, but I have an idea about where Google might be taking this.

There’s a way that SEO experts can leverage the enhanced autocomplete to perform keyword research and topic research.

What Google’s Enhanced Autocomplete Function Is

First, let’s cover what the new enhanced autocomplete box actually is.

Here’s a screencap of what it looks like:

Screenshot from search for [digital marketing], Google, January 2022

Google doesn’t give you one for every search. But for a few general topics (check out the other screenshots in this post), all I had to do after hitting Enter was to click back into the search bar once, and the larger box appeared.

Before we get to what’s in the expanded box, the first thing you’ll notice was that this thing appears above the position-zero featured snippet and the knowledge panel on the right.

What does that tell us? We can’t be sure yet.

At a glance, the new expanded box appears to be just a new way for the search engine to organize some of what it thinks are the most important search features for your query.

Down the left column, in their usual place, are the suggested autocompletes for your term.

In the new right column are three People also ask Questions, and below those are a few items in the People also search for section.

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Note that the box does not contain organic search results, and I wouldn’t expect Google to start cherry-picking results to put up there.

Well, why would it? The results are already down there for you to see, in the order Google prefers.

Overall, the enhanced autocomplete seems to be a way to make your search a bit easier if you happen to be looking for any of those three PAA question topics, or to buy that digital marketing book, or to do business with GoDaddy.

If you’re wondering why Google would feature elements in its expanded search box that it already features right on the SERP, just chalk it up to further optimization of user experience.

You know why PAA questions exist. You know why Google’s Knowledge Panels exist.

What the enhanced autocomplete box does is simply relocate the most relevant pieces of that extra content to a more prime piece of real estate so you don’t even have to scroll to find it.

If you want organic SERPs, you can head on down the page like normal.

So, how do I feel about the enhanced autocomplete box?

There’s revealing information there that you can leverage for your digital marketing efforts.

Using The Enhanced Autocomplete Box For Keyword And Topic Research

At this stage, anyone can claim to know what exactly the enhanced autocomplete box is and how it can be used.

But I believe I can extrapolate what the box is supposed to represent.

If there is already a PAA section on a given SERP, as well as a knowledge panel for the more mainstream topics out there, Google is selecting a certain few items from each section to present to you.

You know the items you’re being shown are the most authoritative and relevant on the page.

Like what we’re used to seeing in SEO already, digital marketers can take advantage of Google’s selections to perform keyword research and topic research.

Keyword Research

Have a look at this version of the box below, for my search query [pizza].

enhanced autocomplete box for Screenshot from search for [pizza], Google, January 2022

You’ll see the autocompletes, the PAA questions, and then the People also search for.

But now take a look at the regular SERP for [pizza] below.

regular SERP for Screenshot from search for [digital marketing], Google, January 2022

The SERP is showing me just what you’d expect for such a query. I have a map of my location, the local pack on the left, and the PAAs below that.

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Now, look at the enhanced autocomplete box. It’s showing me Domino’s, Papa John’s, Little Caesars, and DoorDash.

Do you see those entities anywhere on the actual SERP that I showed above?

Because Google is presenting me with these results, it’s assuming some things about my query, namely that I want to eat pizza right now.

If that’s the case, those are some options for me to try (like DoorDash), and a convenient way to get it, too.

But what if I was a new pizza franchise that wanted to compete with Domino’s and Papa John’s? What if I, too, wanted to get in Google’s enhanced autocomplete box for a [pizza] query in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania?

If I was savvy in digital marketing, I would look at the websites of those companies to see what their meta information was like, what they were using for H1s, and how they optimized their pages for SEO and user experience.

I’d look at how easy it was to order pizza from their sites or to find a location near me.

After poring over the sites manually, I would then take a look at the sites in a tool such as SEMrush to see what’s going on behind the scenes.

What are they doing right that my pizza franchise’s website would need to do to perform well?

Ultimately, I might find that those sites have healthy domain authorities built on backlinks and Core Web Vitals and content.

However, I could also run through those sites’ keywords to see what opportunities lie there for my franchise.

In the context of this example, any owner of a pizza franchise would have to know that Domino’s, Papa John’s, and Little Caesars are pretty big.

But you never know what your site can do until you observe a competitor’s keyword profile.

See also  Google Publishes Best Practices Guide for Ecommerce

There’s a good reason why Google chose to put those three companies in my enhanced autocomplete box rather than three others.

In classic SEO reverse-engineering fashion, we can use Google’s choices to discover what kinds of results the search engine really wants to see.

Topic Research

The pizza example from above is a particularly interesting one for keyword research because Google gave us some search competitors that don’t even appear in my organic results.

As I keep saying, that’s evident.

But what about topic research?

I don’t think there are any particularly great revelations to hash out on that.

Google is moving the top three PAA questions up to the enhanced autocomplete box for some searches, and with those, we can also reverse-engineer those results’ SEO (to see what content works for those websites).

So, in general, the SEO community already knows how to take advantage of the PAA.

However, I suppose we can see the three “featured” PAA in the box as just more of a confirmation of Google’s confidence in those results.

This is to say: if for any reason, you weren’t paying attention to the PAA before, you should definitely be doing so now.

Google is telling content marketers everywhere that many people also ask these three questions related to your query, and that if they’ve searched for the general query [pizza], they might also want to know if pizza is healthy to eat or who invented pizza first.

Depending on your market niche, these content topics might be relevant to you.

Maybe you run a pizza blog.

Anything is possible.

The Takeaway

As you might have seen reported in the SEO media, Google has recently been beta testing numerous other SERP features that take up the width of the page, from featured snippets to Map packs.

That tells us that Google’s been wondering whether delivering content in that format is going to be better for the user experience.

Google's enhanced autocomplete box showing results for "schuylkill county" queryScreenshot from search for [schuylkill county], Google, January 2022

Users will just have to get used to any changes that Google implements permanently.

SEO professionals, though, should take note of the enhanced autocomplete box and any other beta tests they’ve seen recently.

Google is giving us some hints about some possible new SERP priorities to come, and it’s up to all of us to rise and meet the challenge.

More resources:


Featured Image: THEBILLJR/Shutterstock





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Instagram Rolls Out Updates To Live Videos & Remixes

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Instagram Rolls Out Updates To Live Videos & Remixes


Instagram is rolling out updates that will give users a new way to promote their live videos, and more options when it comes to remixing videos.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, announced these updates while reiterating the company’s focus this year is building on video and messaging.

“We’re focused on building for teens and creators, and in the spaces of video and messaging. And these are within those themes.”

Mosseri first hinted at the new direction Instagram is headed in when he proclaimed last summer: “We’re no longer a photo sharing app.”

Instagram is bringing that vision to life this year starting with two updates that are focused on video — both live video and recorded video.

The updates include:

  • Promoting scheduled lives streams with a new banner
  • The ability to remix any video

Let’s take a look at these enhancements and what they can do for you as a creator.

Highlight Scheduled Live Videos On Your Profile

When you schedule a live video on Instagram, you can now highlight it on your main profile page with a new banner.

Mosseri explains:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a live from creating a feed post, or even now a story post, about that live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

You can create as many scheduled live videos as you’d like. This gives you the option to promote a livestream that runs every day at the same time, for example.

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See an example of what the new banner looks like in the screenshot below:

Screenshot from twitter.com/mosseri, January 2022.

People visiting your profile can tap on the banner to create a reminder for your upcoming live video.

Remix Any Video On Instagram

Users now have the ability to remix any video on Instagram.

A “remix” on Instagram means taking videos published by others and responding to or reinventing them with your own video. It’s similar to TikTok’s video reactions.

In fact, when Instagram first rolled out the remix feature, it was basically a copycat of the reaction videos made popular on TikTok.

Previously, users could only remix the TikTok-inspired Instagram Reels.

Now, users can remix any public video on Instagram whether it’s a Reel or a feed post.

Simply tap the three-dot icon that appears in the top right corner and select “Remix this video.”

Instagram Rolls Out Updates To Live Videos & RemixesScreenshot from twitter.com/alexvoica, January 2022.

Remixing is an opt-in feature, so users can pick and choose which videos they want to allow others to remix.

Source: Adam Mosseri on Twitter


Featured Image: Mehaniq/Shutterstock





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Are SEOs Unwilling To Say “I Don’t Know”?

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Are SEOs Unwilling To Say "I Don't Know"?


Martin Splitt, Google’s Developer Advocate, believes SEO professionals are unwilling to admit when they don’t know something, which causes friction with developers.

This topic came up in a discussion during the latest episode of Google’s SEOs & Devs video series.

Splitt is joined by Jenn Mathews, SEO manager at Github, to discuss how SEO professionals and web developers can better understand and communicate with each other.

One of the ways SEOs and developers can improve their working relationship, Splitt suggests, is if SEOs could more readily admit when they don’t know something.

He says it’s common for developers to say “I don’t know” and be open to learning new things through testing.

However, it’s rare hear those words from an SEO professional, Splitt says.

Why is that?

Mathews shares her insight as an SEO manager and enlightens Splitt to the fact that SEO professionals constantly have to be on the defensive.

SEO Professionals Always Have To Defend Their Work

The work of SEO professionals is constantly being questioned, Mathews explains.

This puts them on the defensive, and saying “I don’t know” will only lead to greater scrutiny.

Mathews states:

“SEOs are constantly questioned, so it gets to a point where we almost kind of get on the defensive. When we’re asked a question, or how is this going to work, or if we do this thing what’s the result going to be, it’s hard for us to say ‘I don’t know’ just for that reason. Because we’re constantly under scrutiny or constantly being questioned.

What I usually tell other SEOs is it’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ because [developers] are going to say ‘I don’t know’ too sometimes.”

Or, if you’re not comfortable with saying “I don’t know,” you could suggest testing things together to see what happens.

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Not only will that approach reduce friction between the SEO and the developer, it will help cover both parties down the road if a launch doesn’t work out as expected.

Mathews continues:

“When we do launch things, and they say ‘how come it’s not working,’ instead of us digging in and trying to understand which algorithm is not letting us rank, it’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ and ‘let’s try something else and move on.’ But it’s very difficult for SEOs because we are constantly under scrutiny.”

Mathews adds that everyone within an organization scrutinizes the expertise of SEO professionals — from management, to developers, to content writers.

She talks about a time when she was advising a content writer to use a particular keyword so a webpage could rank for that keyword.

Rather than taking her advice, the writer pushed back because they preferred to use a different word. Apparently not understanding the importance of using keywords in copy.

While saying “I don’t know” may lead to a smoother working relationship, it would also help if people within an organization were more trusting of an SEO professional’s expertise.

That’s is just one of many points discussed in Google’s new video, which you can watch below in full:


Featured Image Khosro/Shutterstock





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10 Best Digital Marketing Facebook Groups

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10 Best Digital Marketing Facebook Groups


What makes a good Facebook marketing group?

To find out, I vetted over 35 of them based on the volume of activity in the group, the quality and relevance of the content, and how the admins and members engaged with each other.

Before getting into the list, do remember that many marketing groups require you to answer some simple questions before your request is approved, such as what you hope to get from joining the community.

Here are the 10 best Facebook marketing groups that made the list:

  1. Marketing Solved
  2. SaaS Growth Hacks
  3. CXL — Conversion Optimization, Analytics & Growth
  4. SaaS Products & Marketing
  5. Facebook Ad Hacks
  6. Sisters in SEO
  7. Google SEM Mastermind
  8. Dumb SEO Questions
  9. Local SEO Strategies & Google My Business Help with Tim Kahlert
  10. Superstar SEO

Founder: Kat Sullivan
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: General marketing, social media
Ideal for: Beginners to experienced marketers, founders
Member count:
23.6K
Sign-up link: Facebook

Are you in the social media space? Here’s a community for you to expand your network, grow your social media presence, and learn from some knowledgeable folks.

Founder Kat Sullivan noticed that few Facebook group founders actively engaged with members and sought to fill the gap through Marketing Solved. Its main point of difference is its focus on connecting small-business owners and marketers with useful resources.

From my observations, Kat is generous in sharing her experiences of working with entrepreneurs and brands. She’s also been featured in publications, including Inc., Entrepreneur, and Fast Company—and is the co-founder of social media management tool Tassi.

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Kat's FB post about creating content people search for

In turn, members share a myriad of content, such as interesting marketing case studies, invitations to free marketing courses, and questions on entrepreneurship and monetizing online brands.

Group member's FB post asking for advice on putting together their first online course

As with most marketing groups I came across, self-promotions aren’t allowed unless they are on specific threads. These include Instagram Mondays and Pitch & Promote Your Biz (the latter happens at least once a month).

Founder: Aaron Krall
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: Entrepreneurship, general marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), growth hacking 
Ideal for: Mid-level to experienced marketers, founders
Member count:
27.4K
Sign-up link: Facebook

Just like Kat’s Marketing Solved, SaaS Growth Hacks was conceived when founder Aaron Krall noticed the lack of a quality community for SaaS founders.

As a SaaS conversion specialist, he’s helped convert expired trial users into paying customers through email nurture campaigns. Today, the Facebook group is an extension of Aaron’s experiences and includes the founders of established tech companies such as Intercom and AdEspresso.

From what I’ve gleaned, its members are happy to share insights on how to start or scale a SaaS business, as well as improve or build better products.

Group member's FB post asking how many subscriptions are required to sell their SaaS tool for $1 million

Other topics of discussion include growth strategies for email marketing and product launches. Considering this, the group is probably better suited to more experienced marketers.

3. CXL — Conversion Optimization, Analytics & Growth

Founder: Peep Laja 
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: Marketing, CRO, growth hacking
Ideal for: Mid-level to experienced marketers
Member count:
15.1K
Sign-up link: Facebook

Peep Laja is a big believer in evidence-based marketing, and he built growth platform ConversionXL (CXL) on this very premise. His Facebook community is just the same: Members are candid in sharing about their failed experiments and frequently run polls or seek advice on analytics, growth, tag managers, and more.

The bulk of discussions revolve around Google Analytics, CRO audits, Google Search Console, as well as recommended marketing reads. You may also stumble upon posts like this one:

Group member's FB post asking for examples of "high-conversion" landing pages

Given the depth of the conversations, you’re bound to learn something new from the sizable community of CRO-focused marketers. Peep also enforces a no-spam, no-link-dumping rule—something I reckon all of us will appreciate.

4. SaaS Products & Marketing

Founder: Tomer Aharon 
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: Marketing, entrepreneurship, social media
Ideal for: Beginners to experienced marketers
Member count:
15.8K
Sign-up link: Facebook

Run by Tomer Aharon—co-founder of software development platform Premio and SaaS product Poptin—this group helps SaaS founders and digital marketers of all levels share knowledge, ideas, and growth hacks.

I’ve found the community to be a helpful one. There are discussions on lead generation methods for SaaS startups, sharings on B2B marketing outreach tactics, as well as brainstorming threads on marketing outreach.

Group member's FB post asking for advice on reaching out to prospects

While promotional posts are allowed, these must be strictly SaaS-related. You’ll also find freelance and full-time job postings for marketing roles on occasion.

Founder: Catherine Howell
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: Marketing, Facebook ads
Ideal for: Mid-level and experienced marketers, agency owners
Member count:
148.8K
Sign-up link: Facebook

This group is ideal for anyone who’s interested in discussing marketing best practices, social media ad campaigns, and management of client relationships (for agencies). While there are many insightful discussions, these can get fairly technical. Thus, having prior marketing knowledge is probably useful.

Group member's FB post about their "Full Funnel Facebook Ads Strategy" that can help scale e-commerce brands

Founder Catherine Howell, who also helms social media agency Eight Loop Social and has been featured in the likes of Entrepreneur and Inc., is just as active in the community as the members.

For instance, she regularly poses questions or relatable memes.

Catherine's FB post asking members what the hardest thing about running FB ads is

If there’s one drawback of Facebook Ad Hacks, it’s the high volume of activity in the group. There are about 28 posts daily, which means questions tend to get washed down or go unanswered. I ultimately opted to turn off notifications for the group and visit it on occasion when I’m in need of advice or inspiration.

Founders: Kari DePhillipsSamantha Pennington 
Group type:
Private
Topics: Marketing, entrepreneurship, SEO
Ideal for: Beginners to experienced marketers, SEOs
Member count: 10K
Sign-up link: Facebook 

Sisters in SEO began in 2018 to support women, minorities, and gender-diverse folks in the tech space.

Its founding story is interesting too: After attending an SEO course by The Content Factory, Samantha Pennington reached out to agency owner Kari DePhillips. The pair soon found common ground in wanting a safe place to share SEO knowledge—and so set up the Facebook group.

Today, the community remains an inclusive and safe space for members to discuss general and technical SEO, career advice or job openings, and recommended SEO tools.

Group member's FB post sharing there's a job opportunity for freelance SEO content writers

The camaraderie is apparent and reminiscent of Women in Tech SEO’s. I also like that there’s plenty of support and encouragement from members, as well as occasional SEO jokes.

Group member's FB post about a light-hearted SEO joke

Founder: Schieler Mew 
Group type:
Private
Topics:
SEM, local SEO, Google Ads
Ideal for: Mid-level to experienced marketers, SEOs, Google Ads specialists
Member count: 56K
Sign-up link: Facebook

This marketing group is a little more niche, with a myriad of questions on redirects, Google Search Console, improving low click-through rates, and more. And there’s plenty to learn, with active engagement of up to 20 quality posts a day.

Founder Schieler Mew is a passionate SEO himself and has the experience to speak for it. After working as an affiliate marketer for tech majors Uber and Lyft, he turned his focus to local SEO to help small businesses thrive.

Today, he’s the co-founder of ServiceLifter.com, a marketing agency that helps home-service companies grow their online presence.

Schieler’s focus on sharing knowledge with Google SEM Mastermind members is clear. Apart from anecdotes and interesting findings, he runs educational polls to help marketers find further growth. There are also moderators who share interesting takeaways with the growing community.

Mike's FB post about link building tips

Founder: Jim Munro
Group type:
Open
Topics: SEO
Ideal for: Beginners to experienced marketers, SEOs
Member count: 15.2K
Sign-up link: Facebook  

With a name like Dumb SEO Questions, joining this group quashes any potential embarrassment about asking, well, dumb SEO questions. After all, this encourages more open discussions among members.

Expect healthy activity of up to seven posts daily, with discussions centering on technical SEO, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console.

Group member's FB post asking about adding keyword to domain name and the SEO impact of that

Given how open the community is to marketers of all levels, it’s an excellent space to pick up tips from experts while asking “green” questions without fear of being judged. It’s also nice that the page has a strict policy against self-promotions, ensuring that learnings and discussions are streamlined for members.

Founder Jim Munro maintains an active presence in the group too.

Every month, he compiles questions from the group and takes them to SEO experts like David Rosam and Tim Capper via a livestream session on his YouTube channel. The channel is currently on its 426th episode—that’s some real dedication.

9. Local SEO Strategies & Google My Business Help with Tim Kahlert

Founder: Tim Kahlert
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: SEO, entrepreneurship
Ideal for: Entrepreneurs, founders, business owners
Member count:
36.2K
Sign-up link: Facebook

Ready to learn some solid, local SEO strategies? This group may be a good starting point. As an SEO himself, founder Tim Kahlert faced multiple roadblocks when he got banned from several marketing groups for being overly helpful in responding to members’ questions.

In response, he built the Local SEO Strategies community to further his knowledge-sharing, as well as help businesses drive leads and conversions through local marketing strategies.

The community seems better suited to business owners and entrepreneurs who need basic SEO advice, although there are quite a few marketers who weigh in on discussions too. From what I’ve gathered, many questions are to do with Google My Business profiles, local area pages, ranking better in Google Maps, and SEO.

Group member's FB post about finding the right local SEO expert

To ensure the shared content is kept fresh and relevant, the community disallows the cross-sharing of Facebook posts and YouTube videos. That’s something I quite like, having scrolled past my share of unrelated or tired content in other marketing groups.

Founder: Chris M. Walker 
Group type:
Private
Topics covered: SEO, general marketing
Ideal for: Beginners to experienced marketers, SEOs
Member count:
74.8K
Sign-up link: Facebook

Want to get better at SEO? This Facebook group is built on the power of collective knowledge—with the aim of improving lives by building and growing better products and businesses.

That’s according to founder Chris Walker, whose shift to SEO was out of serendipity. After stints in IT and politics, he fell into affiliate marketing before setting up freelance marketplace Legiit and Superstar SEO.

The latter community comprises a healthy mix of SEOs, marketers, and agency owners. And the content is insightful, no matter your level of experience: discussions span technical SEO, portfolio-building tips, toolset recommendations, and then some.

Group member's FB post asking others for a simplified explanation of what SEOs do

Chris, too, poses SEO-related Q&As and occasional livestream sessions—and often receives positive responses from members.

Chris' FB post asking SEOs what else they do for their clients besides getting them their desired ranking on Google

Overall, I like that fellow members are respectful and generous in offering their thoughts. There’s no such thing as a bad question; rather, it’s all about gaining knowledge as a community.

Final thoughts

It’s far more beneficial to join a handful of quality Facebook groups than every group you stumble upon. Observe, engage, and don’t be afraid to be picky. Also, respect the community guidelines and always keep an open mind!

If you want to further expand your network, we’ve got more this way:

Did I miss anything out? Ping me on Twitter with your thoughts and suggestions.





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