Google June 2019 Core and Diversity Update: Everything You Need to Know

google june core diversity update

 

Anyone who works in search engine optimization knows that Google algorithm updates can have a big effect on page rankings. Algorithm changes happen on a daily basis to improve user search experiences, but once in a while there’s a larger “core” update. Rather than focusing on improving one aspect of search, such as backlinks or local spam, core updates consist of a change to the hundreds of ranking factors that make up Google’s main search algorithm. 

What’s so special about the June 2019 Core Update?

Core updates usually occur out of the blue, and are later given names by SEO’s (e.g. Florida 2 Update in March of this year). However, the most recent Google Core Update in June was unprecedented in that Google pre-announced the update, rather than website managers finding out about the update by seeing their rankings changed drastically. Not only was the update pre-announced, but it was also pre-named: “June 2019 Core Update”. The update was announced by Google SearchLiaison on Twitter a day before the update was to roll out:

The unprecedented pre-announcement ushered in speculation from SEOs about the significance of the update. Danny Sullivan, the public face of Google Search, explained on Twitter that the core update isn’t radically different from previous updates. Rather, the purpose of pre-announcing the update was to let people know in advance, instead of finding out after the roll-out and asking a bunch of questions about it.


Google SearchLiaison announced on June 3 that the update began rolling out:


The update finished rolling out on June 8. Knowing the beginning and end of any update is important in order to give meaning to changes in traffic.

What were the effects of the Google June 2019 Core Update?

The effects of the Google June Core Update began trickling in as the roll-out took place.


As with any Core Update, the effects were clear but the reasoning behind the effects were less so.

Some news sites take a big hit
Several news providers experienced a significant drop in rankings after the Core Update. The British news site DailyMail reporting a 50% drop in traffic. Another news site that took a hit was the cryptocurrency news site CCN, which announced it was shutting down after a 71% drop in mobile traffic and an over 90% drop in daily revenue following the core update.

Increase in Video Carousel results
The June 2019 Update didn’t just affect search traffic. There were reports that the update caused changes to the layout of the SERPs, with more video carousels appearing on desktop searches. This follows a trend the overall trend of video results ranking higher than text-based results on SERPs.

What’s an SEO to do?

An SEO’s job is to implement strategies to rank higher in search results, without compromising the user’s search experience. If your site was affected by the June 2019 Core Update or Diversity Update, it means RankBrain interpreted that your site wasn’t optimized for the user.

In a recent Google Webmaster Hangouts, a webmaster asked Google’s John Mueller a question regarding the drop in traffic on their site.

john mueller google hangout

Mueller responded that there are no explicit changes you can make to try to recover your rankings. Rather, he recommended reading an old blog post on the Webmaster Central Blog to get insights on building a high-quality site. The article gives guidelines for achieving high expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) on your website, creating high-quality, original, factual, and useful content.

What was the Google Diversity Update?

In the middle of the Core Update rollout, another change, the Google Diversity Update, was announced:

As stated in the official Google SearchLiaison tweet, the Diversity algorithm change will prevent more than two listings from the same domain on the first search results page. The purpose of this update is to show a more diverse range of results to any given query, to prevent one site from dominating the SERP. 

In certain cases, Google reserves the right to show more than two results from the same site when it’s relevant. For instance, branded queries will likely show more than two results from the same domain. 

The Google Diversity update started and ended in the midst of the Core update (June 4 to June 6). 

What was the effect of the Google Diversity Update?

Despite the hype, the impact of the Google Diversity Update was fairly minimal. Moz released a report analyzing average diversity across page-one SERPs using a dataset of 10,000 keywords. The report found very little change in SERP diversity over the course of thirty days. However, average diversity did improve marginally, from 90.23 to 90.72 percent, between June 6th and 7th (the last day and after the update rolled out). 

What’s an SEO to do?

Since the Diversity Update limits the number of times your domain appears on the SERP, you have to make sure that your content is distributed across different platforms and mediums. This can mean knowledge graphs, press mentions, YouTube, Wikipedia, and social media links. If your content can be found across multiple websites, then you won’t have to worry about site diversity algorithms not showing your content.

If you stick by Google’s quality guidelines, you won’t have to live in fear of a Google algorithm update tanking your traffic. Your website should be constantly maintained and improved for the user experience. If you follow by Google’s quality standards, you will be rewarded in rankings and traffic.

 

Interested in learning more about SEO strategies? Read our recently updated Google FAQ Vs. Q&A Schema Markup article to learn how to markup your FAQ section!

Marketer’s Guide to Google Assistant: How to Leverage Google’s AI

google assistant for marketers

AI products seem to be everywhere these days, and tech giants are investing heavily in creating and improving them. Google is no exception, with their unveiling of Google Assistant back in 2016. Since then, Google has come out with updates for their virtual assistant that have big implications for the digital marketing world.

We’ve already explored how digital marketers like ourselves should navigate the advent of voice search. Now we want to dive into how voice-powered virtual assistants, specifically Google Assistant, are changing the marketing game.

How will Google’s AI affect how users consume information, what effect has it already had for brands, and what can we do to leverage its marketing capabilities? We explore all of that and more here.

First thing’s first: what is Google Assistant?

Assistant is Google’s virtual assistant, or Google’s version of Siri, Cortana, or Alexa. Powered by voice or type search, Google Assistant can perform a wide range of tasks, including:

  • Find information online, from restaurant bookings to weather and news
  • Open apps
  • Access information from your calendars
  • Play music
  • Control smart home devices

The benefit of using Google Assistant, as with other virtual assistants, is that users can execute a wide range of tasks via voice command. By enabling a hands-free experience, the Assistant offers users with a more frictionless way to complete their day-to-day tasks, from reading out a recipe while you’re elbow-deep in chicken to finding the cheapest gas station on your way to work.

Users can enable Google Assistant on an eligible Android, by simply touching and holding the home button. For iOS devices, the Google Assistant app can be downloaded from the App store.

Engaging visuals

What differentiates Google Assistant from the other virtual assistants is its recent visual redesign. The discover button offers suggested commands such as “Play ‘Billie Jean’” and “Translate ‘Good evening’,” alongside colorful icons, offering users with ideas for what to ask the Assistant to do. The homepage displays a curated summary of the user’s day, including the weather, traffic in your most-traveled routes, and any upcoming calendar events – much like a real personal assistant would.

The makeover also includes new tools for brands to extend the functionality of Actions through pre-loaded visual content. For example, brands can respond to user inputs with photos and videos, or supplement answers with gifs.  

Brands can leverage the Assistant’s “rich responses” feature by creating visual content that not only answers the user’s question but also engages them in the process. If you’re a makeup company, for example, you can create YouTube tutorials for how to use a specific product. By creating delightful and helpful experiences, brands can build awareness and loyalty that will keep users coming back for more.

stila video google assistant

Streamlined transactions

In addition to its visual updates, Google Assistant also rolled out several features that streamline the user experience when interacting with 3rd-party fulfillment services. One of these features is Account linking with Google Sign-In, which allows users to sign into or create a new account with a third-party brand directly in the Assistant app while engaging in a brand action.

An example of a company taking advantage of this integration is Starbucks. Users can interact with the Assistant directly to link to their pre-existing Starbucks Rewards™ account, re-order a previous order, choose from menu items and pick up in store. According to TechCrunch, Starbucks doubled it’s conversion rate thanks to the Sign-In for Assistant feature.

google assistant starbucks order

Users can not only connect their accounts through the Assistant but also subscribe to services directly on the app. A company that takes advantage of subscription integration is Headspace. Users can choose from the meditation app’s selection of subscription services and pay directly on the Assistant app.

Google Sign-In enables seamless transactions through the Assistant, making it easier for brands to make money. As a marketer, it makes sense to present this feature to your development team, and see if they can create a Google Action that will enable your brand to streamline the payment process with its users.

What’s in store

In addition to its existing capabilities, Google rolled out a series of updates at CES in January:

Foreign language translation: with interpreter mode, the Assistant translates the user’s phrase in real time and reads it aloud.

Hotel booking and airline check-in: users can now check-in to United Airlines flights, and also book a hotel using the Assistant. Hotel bookings work with several hotel chains, including Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Expedia, Mirai, and Travelclick. Google foresees more airlines and hotels being integrated in the future.

Google Maps integration: while voice commands and search were available on Maps since last year, the Google Assistant capabilities have expanded to sending texts and playing music. This offers a more hands-free Maps experience, allowing users to focus on the road while the Assistant handles other tasks.

In addition to Google’s CES updates, there’s an even bigger potential development that looms in the distance. Let’s think about some widely-used technological platforms, such as Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube. What do they have in common? They all started as an ad-free experience, and have since begun offering paid advertising options. It’s only a matter of time before voice-powered virtual assistants start including sponsored ads in search results.

Recently, one user reported to Barry Schwartz that his Google Assistant voice query was met with a search ad result. Although it seems like it was a glitch, Google ominously stated: “we’re always testing new ways to improve the experience on phones, but we don’t have anything specific to announce right now.”

If voice assistants begin allowing sponsored ads, it would broaden the paid search playing field for product and service providers, following in the footsteps of other tech platforms.

Will sponsored ads deter users from Google Assistant? Seeing as Amazon, Facebook, and YouTube have 310 million, 2.32 billion, and 1.3 billion users respectively, I think it’s safe to conclude that ads don’t stop users from going on their favorite platforms. With Google Assistant’s overall usability and fun interface, along with its ever-expanding functionalities, means it is poised to become the virtual assistant of choice among Android and iOS users alike. And with 50% of searches projected to be voice-initiated by 2020, Google Assistant is something we’ll be keeping our eye on as we continue to develop our marketing strategies.

This article was written in collaboration with Mia Ballan.

Google Lens: What Marketers Need to Know

Mia BallanMia has 3 years of copywriting experience, working in a variety of industries including media, finance, education and transportation. At Alphametic, Mia focuses on building SEO-driven content to help drive traffic and promote awareness. Originally from New Jersey, she graduated from Boston University with a double major in Economics and Sociology.

Google FAQ Vs. Q&A Schema Markup Explained

Google FAQ vs. Q&A Schema

Update: July 15, 2019

Google added this testing tool to validate FAQ schema, which is now no longer “pending” and available for use.

Per Google’s Developers’ site, “A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page contains a list of questions and answers pertaining to a particular topic. Properly marked up FAQ pages may be eligible to have a rich result on Search and Markup Action for the Google Assistant, which can help your site reach the right users.”

In other words, the FAQ’s can show up in the SERPs. Here’s an example:

faq schema sem services

In the above example, the website, description, and a few questions and answers appear together. There are certain recommended guidelines from Google to increase the odds of your FAQ page ranking.

Once again, only use FAQPage markup if your page has a list of questions with answers. Some examples include:

  1. An FAQ page written by your site, which doesn’t have the ability for users to submit answers.
  2. A product support page that lists FAQs, again without the ability for users to submit answers

This website is a good option if you need a JSON-LD schema markup generator (choose FAQ page from the dropdown).

February 1, 2019

Google recently published new content guidelines for Q&A page schema markup to clarify that the markup is for pages where the “….focus of the page is a single question and its answers” rather than a page with multiple questions and answers, like an FAQ page.” As a result, it has left digital marketers with some questions.

Google Content Guidelines QA Page

Google has confirmed that it has been testing a new form of search results snippets for several months, which affects the manner in which search results appear to users. These new search snippets are in the form of FAQs and Q&A, as well as How-Tos. But you can read the full content guidelines here.

QAPage

From Google Developers:

Q&A Pages are web pages that contain data in a question and answer format, which is one question followed by zero or more answers to the question. For content that represents a question and its answers, you can mark up your data with the schema.org QAPage, Question, and Answer types.

Properly marked up pages are eligible to have a rich result displayed on the search results page. This rich treatment helps your site reach the right users on Search.

Google Search uses the properties of the QAPage as described below.

QAPage markup

Question

The Question type defines the question that this page answers, and includes the answers, if any, to that question. Exactly one Question type is expected on the page, nested under the mainEntity property of the schema.org/QAPage. There should only be one Question type definition per page.

The full definition of Question is provided on schema.org.

Question Markup

Answer

The Answer type defines the suggested and accepted answers to the Question on this page. Define Answers inside the Question, as values for the suggestedAnswer and acceptedAnswer properties.

The properties of the Answer type used within a question is shown in the table below.

The full definition of Answer is provided on schema.org.

Answer QA Markup

Official Statement from Google

This is a screenshot from a recent Google event in Singapore:

 Google FAQ QA SERPS

Statement via a Google Spokesperson to Search Engine Land:

“We’re always looking for new ways to provide the most relevant, useful results for our users. We’ve recently introduced new ways to help users understand whether responses on a given Q&A or forum site could have the best answer for their question. By bringing a preview of these answers onto Search, we’re helping our users more quickly identify which source is most likely to have the information they’re looking for. We’re currently working with partners to experiment with ways to surface similar previews for FAQ and How-to content.”

This new snippet feature creates a preview of what the searcher can expect to see on a webpage prior to visiting the page. Schema markup should allow SEO’s and web developers the ability to have their website be eligible for this feature.

Google is planning to open an interest form to allow publishers and webmasters to participate in the FAQ and How-to schema markup formats shown in the above screenshot.

What the Experts are Saying

SEO’s and digital marketers alike are actively tweeting on the subject. Barry Schwartz of SEORountable had this to say along with an article with more info:

John Mueller chimed in on Twitter as well explaining that QAPage markup can’t be used for FAQ content which is an important distinction:

How You Can Get Started

You can review the Schema.org website, and find a lot of this markup available already, including HowTo markupQA page markup, and FAQ markup. But Google hasn’t fully rolled out this feature yet. You will also want to check out this great, free tool provided by Google to test your structured data.

Top 10 SEO Gurus to Follow on Twitter

op-10-seo-gurus

Everyone has a mentor, no matter what state in your career you are in. Perhaps you’re a new startup owner that needs some internet marketing help, perhaps you’re a blossoming SEO analyst, or maybe you’re an SEO expert that’s been around the block…

Either way, it’s good to check out what others in the industry are saying about Local, Link-Building, Content marketing, PPC, and all the other disciplines across SEO. Alphametic has curated a list of Top 10 SEO Gurus for 2018 that will ensure you’re always up to date.

1. Barry Schwartzbarry schwartz twitter

 

When it comes to essential reading, anything written by this guru is a must. Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a web service firm. He is also the executive editor of Search Engine Roundtable, an advanced SEO forum for all the search geeks out there. He’s always on top of the latest Google news and can be seen posting on twitter regularly about different algorithm updates or sharing some of the seemingly hundreds of articles he posts every day.

 

URL: RustyBrick

Twitter: @rustybrick

Recent Post: Google Search Algorithm Shifts Around September 19th?

 

2. Bill Slawksi

bill slawski twitter

Bill has been in the business since 1996. He’s truly a veteran of the space and has been writing about SEO for decades. He is the founder of SEO By the Sea, as well as an administrator of Cre8asite Forums, one of the best forums about internet marketing and search engine marketing. He regularly contributes articles to Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land as an expert.

 

URL: SEO by the Sea

Twitter: @bill_slawski

Recent Post: Quality Scores for Queries: Structured Data, Synthetic Queries and Augmentation Queries

 

3. Julie Joyce

julie joyce twitter

If you need some help building links, Julie’s your go-to. Julie Joyce is the Founder of Link Fish, a link-building agency based out of North Carolina. She has been working in SEO since 2002 and is a co-founder of the SEO Chicks blog. Nowadays she’s a monthly columnist at Search Engine Land and Director of Operations at Link Fish Media.

 

URL: Link Fish Media

Twitter: @JulieJoyce

Recent Post: Why isn’t my fabulous content attracting quality links?

 

 

4. Mike Blumenthal

mike blumenthal twitter

“All local, all the time. What else is there?” Mike Blumenthal is all about Local SEO. He is a leading industry-expert in this space and is the Chief Review Officer of  Gather Up, a business review site he founded with Don Campbell & Thomas Hasch. He runs the “Understanding Google Maps & Local Search” blog and is constantly shedding new light into the Local SEO world. He has over 30 years working with computers and in the internet space.  

 

URL: Gather Up

Twitter: @mblumenthal

Recent Post: What Percentage Of Verified Businesses Use Google Posts?

 

 

5. Neil Patel

neil patel twitter

No guru list would be complete without Neil Patel. With a blog that generates over 2 million users per month, it’s not hard to see why. He is a leading industry-expert in everything digital marketing. SEO, content, PPC, social and more. He is the Co-founder of KISSmetrics, Quicksprout, Crazy Egg and Neil Patel Digital.

 

URL: NeilPatel.com

Twitter: @neilpatel

Recent Post: The Secret Behind My 1,866,913 Monthly Search Visitors (It’s Not What You Think)

 

 

6. Tim Soulo

tim soulo twitter

Tim Soulo is the head of marketing and product strategy at Ahrefs, you know, that tool every single SEO uses? He consistently publishes research studies on the Ahrefs blog about keyword research, backlinking, and other studies with titles like “What we learned about’Long Tail’ by analyzing 1.4 billion keywords”. He speaks at SEO conferences, podcasts and runs the Ahrefs Youtube channel.

 

URL: Ahrefs.com/tim

Twitter: @timsoulo

Recent Post: How Many New Backlinks Do Top‐ranking Pages Get Over Time [New Data by Ahrefs]

 

 

7. Brian Dean

brian dean twitter

As is evidenced by his company name, Backlinko, Brian Dean is an SEO-driven backlink guru. He’s become known for publishing high-quality blog content that is incredibly well-researched, data-driven and practical.  He’s worked with companies such as Disney, IBM, Amazon and more, as well as multiple founded many online sites.

 

URL: Backlinko

Twitter: @Backlinko

Recent Post: The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]

 

8. Aleyda Solis

aleyda solis twitter

Aleyda has positioned herself in the vital space of International SEO. Aleyda Solis recently won the 2018 European Search Personality of the Year award and has been featured in the Huffington Post, as well as the Google Partner’s Podcast. She consistently puts out blog content and speaks at conferences all around the world sharing her experience and expert advice on global search marketing.

 

URL:  Aleyda Solis

Twitter: @aleyda

Recent Post: Avoiding Hreflang Issues by Following a 6 Steps Implementation Process

 

9. Dr. Pete Myers

dr pete twitter

Moz in itself is an authority on SEO, but Dr. Pete Myers brings the data to the table. He’s got a PH.D in Cognitive Psychology, so he knows his way around statistics. He is regularly publishing research studies with topics like: “New Research: 35% of Competitive Local Keywords Have Local Pack Ads” and the like. If you want a data-driven perspective to a new Google algorithm or a recommendation based on quantitative studies – he’s your guy.

 

URL: Dr. Pete

Twitter: @dr_pete

Recent Post: NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis

 

10. Jim Boykin

jim boykin twitter

Good old Jim – he’s been around since 1999 spreading his internet marketing knowledge. He is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing Ninjas based in New York. He’s been featured in Forbes, the Examiner and has been recognized as a Top 40 Leader Under 40 by the Business Review. He specializes in Link Building, SEO, Blogging, Social Media Marketing and pretty much every other internet marketing specialization.

 

URL: Internet Marketing Ninjas

Twitter: @jimboykin

Recent Post: The Google Featured Snippet Optimization Tool by Ninjas.

 

11. (BONUS): Matthew Capala 😉

matthew capala twitter

We didn’t include Matt in the original top 10 list because he’s the CEO of Alphametic, but he’s definitely a person to follow for updates on the going on’s in the SEO world. He has been in the industry for over 12 years, written an SEO guidebook called “SEO Like I’m 5” and taught digital marketing at NYU. He’s a regular speaker at SEO & digital marketing conferences and offers SEO training courses for small and large businesses.

 

URL: Alphametic

Twitter: @searchdecoder

Recent Post: State of Search for 2019 According to Google’s Gary Illyes

 

That’s all folks! This list is by no means complete, there are many SEO experts out there that are putting out great content, but we wanted to keep this list to 10 gurus to start building your resource list. 

Alphametic has created a Twitter list called “Top SEO Gurus” which includes all these influencers. Follow @alphametic and subscribe to this list to get a curated feed of the best SEO content out there. If you have any suggestions for SEO gurus to add, tweet us your pick! 

For more curated lists, check out our 8 Digital Marketing Books to Read in 2018.

State of Search for 2019 According to Google’s Gary Illyes

State of Search

It’s not every day that Gary Illyes comes to your backyard.

For those of you who don’t know who Gary Illyes is, you can scour through pages of Twitter debates, blog articles and speaker event announcements to see that he has been an important resource to SEO’s everywhere for years.

In fact, Barry Schwartz gives updates on Search Engine Watch every once in a while that feature Gary:

 

Just last week, he gave a “ State of Search “ presentation through the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association, where he gave a high-level overview of what the SEO landscape will look like in 2019. If you want to validate your current strategies, or are looking for some info, read on ahead:

Good URL’s are Critical

This may seem like a no-brainer, but bad URL structure has actually been trending UP in recent years at Google. Proper URL structures not only inform search engines what your page is about, but it helps click-throughs indirectly by informing the user what value they’ll get from your page. Specifically, Gary called out not to use the paralx (#) URLs (unless they are meant for “scrolling”) instead of creating unique URLs.

Here’s a good example of a URL:  https://alphametic.com/seo-services

Here’s a bad example: https://alphametic.com/#seo-1234567

Canonicalization

Yes, canonicalize. Here’s a definition from Moz:

“A canonical tag (aka “rel canonical”) is a way of telling search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or “duplicate” content appearing on multiple URLs. Practically speaking, the canonical tag tells search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.”

This is not only useful for avoiding duplicate content, but it’s just plain old useful. It effectively organizes your site pages and allows you to present Google with a neatly thought out binder with dividers-galore, versus a bulky, disorganized mess of un-related papers (or site pages) that are crammed into a binder titled “My Website”.

HTTPS is a Must

This one has been well-known in the SEO community for a while, but it’s worth repeating. Switching your site to HTTPS is not only on the top of any good SEO practice handbook – it’s also good for the user.

HTTPS increases security by encrypting any data passed between a web server and your browser. Without the encryption, you’re more vulnerable to interception of a third-party system, which can then view your data. This is why Google has not only recommended webmasters switch their sites to HTTPS, but has made it a ranking signal.

Make Internal Linking a Habit

It is very difficult for a page to rank on Google without internal links. Internal links give Google an idea about your website hierarchy, and also allows you to place more value to pages that you want to boost in rankings by linking them within your site in strategic places.

Meta Descriptions Matter (but not so much the characters)

While meta descriptions are not a direct ranking signal, they INDIRECTLY help page ranks by increasing click-throughs to your page from SERPs. The question all SEO’s ask is not whether to utilize meta descriptions – it’s how long they should be.

According to Gary, it doesn’t matter.

(I know, shocking) Google will take parts of your meta description it likes, or it may skip it altogether and grab a snippet from your actual page for the description. Regardless, creating an optimized meta description that is enticing, and relevant will increase the likelihood that your meta description will be used by Google.

Despite Gary’s statement, Moz has a study that shows that the cut off for most meta descriptions across Google cut off between the 145-165 range.

Always Use Page Titles

We already know this is a critical piece of Meta Data, but how often do we ignore this? Many large sites have automated page titles that can be lackluster. While it may not be possible to give every single page a keyword-targeted, strategized, stellar page title, it’s worth it to choose your top pages and carefully plan out their titles.

A good page title will be informative to the user, will include your target keyword, and ALWAYS be relevant to the page itself.

Use Alt Text Within Reason

Gary’s main point in this section of the talk was to always use alt text – within reason. If you’re using it as an opportunity to stuff keywords into the page, then you’re using it out of reason. The purpose of alt text is to describe the contents of an image, so if Google sees a lot of keyword stuffing across your alt text it may raise some red flags.

Use Ads Reasonably

Nobody likes interstitial content. Marketers may like it, but users can live without it. If your pop-up ads are blocking the main content of the page (especially on mobile), Google is going to flag your page.

The reasoning is that it gives a bad user experience. Pro tip: don’t keep your users away from the content they want.

Page Speed, Page Speed, Page Speed!

If you haven’t been optimizing your site speed – you’re probably behind the competition.

This is one of the top 3 ranking factors announced by Google. It’s in your best interest to use tools like Page Speed Insights, or the one Gary recommends, Lighthouse, to increase your site speed.

One of the methods he mentioned was “Lazy Loading”. Here’s a description of lazy loading by Stackpath:

“Instead of bulk loading all of the content when the page is accessed, content can be loaded when the user accesses a part of the page that requires it. With lazy loading, pages are created with placeholder content which is only replaced with actual content when the user needs it.”

Structured Data

Gary spent a LOT of time speaking to this. One of the most overlooked aspects of SEO. Use structured where it makes sense.

To be honest, many of these things are already well-known within the SEO community. But it’s nice to hear it validated by the likes of Gary Illyes. The State of Search in 2018 – and going into 2019 -is all about the user, put out great content, and you’ll get returns.

If you want to read about recent Google updates, check out our SEO Trends 2018 post.

Global Search Engine Market Share for 2018 in the Top 15 GDP Nations

global searche ngine market share infographic

Evaluating your International SEO efforts sometimes involves stepping out of the Google bubble. In this post, we’ll share the percentage of market penetration of individual search engines across the top 15 GDP countries.

 

Our Methodology:

A list of the 15 nations with the largest nominal GDPs in the world (as of 2018) was compiled. StatCounter was then utilized to calculate the percentage of search engine market penetration within those nations. The resulting percentages were rounded to the nearest tenth and the top 5-6 search engines were reported.

 

According to the web analytics service, StatCounter, its tracking code is installed on more than 2 million sites globally. “These sites cover various activities and geographic locations. Every month, we record billions of page views to these sites. For each page view, we analyze the browser/operating system/screen resolution used and we establish if the page view is from a mobile device. For our search engine stats, we analyze every page view referred by a search engine…No artificial weightings are used. We remove bot activity and make a small adjustment to our browser stats for prerendering in Google Chrome. Aside from those adjustments, we publish the data as we record it.” – StatCounter FAQ

 

We chose not to utilize ComScore for this exercise, which uses a different tracking methodology, relying more on user panels. ComScore data shows higher market shares for Bing/Yahoo! in the US.

 

Summary:

Within the United States Google continues to lead the pack, with a 16% increase since 2010. Bing and Yahoo make up the majority of the resulting percentages with a combined approximate 12% of market share. Although, compared to the other nations on this list, Google has a higher penetration in 9 other countries. In China, Google makes up a measly 1.5% of market share with search engine Baidu taking the lion’s share at 70%. In fact, Google places 4th after Shenma, Haosou and Sogou. Yahoo! continues to demonstrate a strong presence in Japan.

 

If Eastern Europe is a strong market for your brand, make sure to pay attention to Yandex, which is the search engine market leader in Russia, although Google has a 45% search market share as the 2nd highest. Nonetheless, with over 90% market share, Google dominates the search engine landscape in most of the top GDP nations in the world, including India, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Italy and Australia.

 

When you’re thinking globally, Google is a great start. But, depending on your market, you might find that you need to pivot your SEO efforts into a different search engine altogether, such as Bing, Baidu, or Yandex, to capture the largest amount of traffic. Use the data below as a reference when determining your next global SEO strategy.

 

1. United States

Google: 87.28%

Bing: 6.91%

Yahoo!: 4.65%

DuckDuckGo: 0.59%

MSN: 0.21%

Other: 0.36%

 

2. China

Baidu: 70.26%%

Shenma: 19%

Haosou: 4.26%

Sogou: 3.71%

Google: 1.47%

Other: 0.98%

 

3. Japan

Google: 70.31%

Yahoo!: 24.03%

Bing: 4.78%

Baidu: 0.58%

DuckDuckGo: 0.1%

Naver: 0.06%

 

4. Germany

Google: 93.31%

Bing: 4.49%

Yahoo!: 1.03%

DuckDuckGo: 0.51%

t-Online: 0.24%

Yandex: 0.14%

 

5. United Kingdom

Google: 89.67%

Bing: 7.24%

Yahoo!: 2.27%

DuckDuckGo: 0.49%

Yandex: 0.09%

MSN: 0.06%

 

6. India

Google: 97.35%

Bing: 1.68%

Yahoo!: 0.91%

DuckDuckGo: 0.04%

Baidu: 0.01%

 

7. France

Google: 91.15%

Bing: 5.07%

Yahoo!: 1.92%

DuckDuckGo: 0.83%

Qwant: 0.56%

Yandex: 0.35%

 

8. Brazil

Google: 96.37%

Bing: 2.02%

Yahoo!: 1.51%

DuckDuckGo: 0.06%

Baidu: 0.02%

Yandex: 0.01%

 

9. Italy

Google: 94.81%

Bing: 3.52%

Yahoo!: 1.17%

DuckDuckGo: 0.15%

Arianna: 0.14%

Yandex: 0.12%

 

10. Canada

Google: 90.85%

Bing: 5.64%

Yahoo!: 2.49%

DuckDuckGo: 0.54%

Yandex: 0.22%

Baidu: 0.13%

 

11. South Korea

Google: 84.41%

Bing: 4.84%

Baidu: 4.84%

Shenma: 2.42%

Yandex: 1.88%

Yahoo!: 0.81%

 

12. Russia

Yandex: 51.08%

Google: 45.27%

Mail.ru: 2.12%

Bing: 0.57%

Yahoo!: 0.48%

Baidu: 0.25%

 

13. Australia

Google: 93.16%

Bing: 5.12%

Yahoo!: 0.6%

Baidu: 0.48%

DuckDuckGo: 0.35%

MSN: 0.11%

 

14. Spain

Google: 95.11%

Bing: 3.4%

Yahoo!: 1.26%

DuckDuckGo: 0.15%

Yandex: 0.02%

Baidu: 0.02%

 

15. Mexico

Google: 95.27%

Bing: 3.23%

Yahoo!: 1.39%

DuckDuckGo: 0.05%

MSN: 0.02%

Ask Jeeves: 0.01%

 

Want more statistics? Check out 18 Eye-Opening SEO Statistics to Prove the Value of Organic Search.

8 Crazy Voice Search Statistics That are Too Crazy to Ignore [Infographic]

voice search statistics infographic

You can find the original blog post here.

 

If you’d like to embed this infographic on your site and share, you can use the embed code below:

 

 

8 Voice Search Statistics That are too Crazy to Ignore

8 voice search stats to crazy to ignore banner

 

Voice search is still being developed to be as robust and intelligent as the examples we see in our favorite Sci-Fi flicks. (Maybe one day we’ll all have our own C-3PO’s sarcastically helping us through our daily tasks). The SEO world is still trying to figure out how to optimize for this new technology, but in the meantime, here are some statistics about what we’re already experiencing with voice search and how it’s affecting the market:

1 in 6 Americans now own a Smart Speaker (Source: TechCrunch)

Google reports over X million units in circulation between Alexa and Google Home in December 2017. Apple and Samsung are going to be releasing their own voice speaker in 2018.

voice search statistic 1

40% of adults now use voice search once per day (Source: Branded3)

 

This is a MASSIVE number of people utilizing voice search. It speaks to the mobile nature of our lives and our willingness to incorporate technology into our lives.

voice search statistic 2

By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches (Source: ComScore)

 

Is it that hard to believe? This number probably includes both voice searches on smart speakers, as well as laptops, phones and other devices. This has large implications not only for consumers but for marketers and all businesses alike.

voice search statistic 3

Google’s AI read over 2,865 romance novels in order to improve its conversational search abilities (Source: BuzzFeed News)

 

This is an interesting behind-the-scenes-tidbit to the making of this technology. Google is attempting to make AI seem more human…maybe one day we’ll all have personal besties instead of personal assistants.

voice search statistic 4

Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the U.S. in 2017 and $200 million in the U.K (Source: Voicebot.ai)

 

The voice search market is past its early adopter phase and is entering the early majority phase.

voice search statistic 5

20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches (Source: Google)

 

1/5th of people with mobile phones speak to their devices instead of typing. Sometimes, it’s just easier to ask than to type!

voice search statistic 6

Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text (Source: Search Engine Watch)

 

When we’re on the go, we’re probably looking for something local on the fly. A coffee shop nearby, the nearest ATM or a parking lot. Whatever it is, we’re asking our phones to find it for us.

voice search statistic 7

72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine (Source: Think With Google)

 

Speaking to our devices have become ingrained in our day-to-day lives. There are a million ways we can use help throughout the day and we’re using voice search to get it.

voice search statistic 8

How does Voice Search affect your day to day life?

Voice Search SEO Playbook: How to Optimize for Siri, Alexa and Cortana

voice search seo playbook featured image

( February 2019 Update ): Since publishing this post back in June, we’ve added a few updates and made it relevant to 2019. Newest sections are Voice Commerce Optimization and Google’s “Speakable” Schema.org Markup. Use our table of contents below to navigate.

Table of Contents:

 

What is Voice Search and Why Should you Care in 2019?

 

It seems a bit silly to define voice search, but we practice what we preach here at Alphametic, so we’re going to optimize for voice search here and now:

“Voice search is a speech recognition technology that allows a user to speak a search query into a device.”

 

On the off chance Google rewards us an answer box snippet for that definition (we can hope, right?), this brings us to the WHY. Why do marketers, especially SEO’s, need to pay attention to when it comes to this here-to-stay trend? Is there anything we CAN do? Let’s dig into this.

 

Voice Search Statistics

 

Here are some voice search statistics to visualize the current state of affairs:

  • 1 in 6 Americans now own a Smart Speaker (Source: TechCrunch)
  • 40% of adults now use voice search once per day  (Source: Branded3)
  • By 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches (Source: ComScore)
  • Google’s AI read over 2,865 romance novels in order to improve its conversational search abilities (Source: BuzzFeed News)
  • Voice commerce was a $1.8 billion retail segment in the U.S. in 2017 and $200 million in the U.K.  (Source: Voicebot.ai)
  • 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches (Source: Google)
  • Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text (Source: Search Engine Watch)
  • 72% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say their devices are often used as part of their daily routine. (Source: Think With Google)

For graphics of each statistic visit this post.

The world is undoubtedly adapting to voice search. It’s not a matter of whether you SHOULD  adapt your SEO strategy to voice search, it’s HOW.

…but hold on, is adapting necessary? According to this article by Ian Lurie, it seems to suggest that voice search isn’t as large of a disruption as we may be making it out to be. And the fact that Google and Amazon have not given companies the option to advertise using these platforms suggests that voice search is more about the user experience more than anything else versus brands trying to get out a message to consumers.

In my opinion, SEO optimization is not mutually exclusive to optimal user experience. There are a few SEO strategies that lend themselves to voice search which we can leverage.

And the best part, it’s mostly things we already SHOULD be doing.  First, let’s take a look at how voice search is different than traditional search and then we can look at some tactics. Here we go:

 

How Does Voice Search affect SEO?

 

People Speak Differently Than They Type

According to Neil Patel in reference to voice search:

“No longer do you need to solely rely on using keywords inside your content a certain number of times. It’s all about natural language and the intended meaning behind the searcher’s query, rather than the query itself.”

Every since Googles Hummingbird update, semantic search has been an integral part of our search engine experience and is what made voice search possible. Whereas once we would’ve had to type in more exact phrases, such as “South America news 2017” to get this:

google voice search example 1

 

We can now type in the search query “What happened in South America in 2017” and it understands the inference – that we want to look at news coverage of important events, without having to type in the words, “news”, or “news sites”, or “newspaper” into the search box.

google voice search query example 2

For a search engine, this once might have been a directionless query, but it now understands my intention of wanting to look at important news coverage it and so served me results of major news sites with articles specific to that region

Because of this more natural, conversational tone, it’s to the benefit of webmasters and SEO’s everywhere to take a look at the language on their sites and see if their main pages fulfill their user’s intent by communicating in easy to understand, natural language.

 

Voice Search Will Give You One Answer, as Opposed to 8-10 Blue Links

Here’s the clincher. If you’re using a Google Home, or an Alexa echo, you’re only going to get one search result read back to you. There’s no ranking 2nd, 3rd or 4th. You must be the BEST result for that user’s command.

The interesting thing here is that according to a study done by Brian Dean from Backlinko:

Content that ranks highly in desktop search is also very likely to appear as a voice search answer. In fact, approximately 75% of voice search results rank in the top 3 for that query.”

So, although screenless voice search only gives you 1 result, when it comes to the Google Home, it can potentially choose between the first 3 top results, not always THE top result.

This is important to understand since it paints a more realistic picture of what’s happening. Although there is an objective winner when it comes to Googles algorithm when not taking into account personalization, the reality is, Google ALWAYS takes into account location, past search history and other factors when serving you a result. So, although you may not be number 1 for a search query, you might still make it into an individual’s top results.

 

There are 4 Main Intents With Voice Search (and Search in General)

Back in 2015, Google gave us some great insights into rising consumer search behaviors and coined them “micro-moments” in the online customer journey.

Essentially, these are 4 main intentions individuals have when searching online: when they want to know something, when they want to go somewhere, when they want to do something or when they want to buy something.

google micro moments voice search

As a business, you should be particularly interested in the “I-want-to-buy-moments”, but all of these moments are opportunities to lead a user through the customer journey. In fact, searches on mobile with the word “best” have grown over 80% between 2015 and 2017. In other words, people searching “best restaurants in X city” or “best moisturizer for dry skin” for example, increased dramatically once users understood that Google had the capability to serve them accurate results.

With the rise of voice search, your SEO efforts should focus on these search behaviors and “micro-moments” that are deeply entrenched in consumer’s minds. And with that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper.

Next, we’ll discuss some practical SEO strategies to position yourself to be discovered through voice search where it makes sense for your business.

Update for 2019: Voice Search Optimization for eCommerce and “Speakable” Schema

 

Since publishing this article last year, we wanted to explore voice search optimization updates as it pertains to two areas: voice commerce and schema. Here, we explore voice search updates for smart speaker devices and schema’s “Speakable” markup, to show how marketers can optimize their content for voice search.

Voice Commerce Optimization

According to a survey by NPR and Edison Research, 57 percent of smart speaker owners have ordered something using the device, with the majority of these orders being first-time purchases. Voice search presents a big opportunity for ecommerce businesses, as it adds to the number of ways for their products to be found.  But just how is voice search optimized for products?

We found that for the most part, optimizing your ecommerce business for voice search is similar to optimizing for voice search in general: reflect the natural tone of search queries in your copy, optimize for question-based searches, and include direct answers in separate formatting in your content. However, there are some key aspects to voice search optimization for ecommerce that stand out. Here, we’ll focus on voice commerce optimization for the two main voice search devices: Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Optimizing for Alexa

Let’s start with Amazon Alexa. When processing a voice search query, Amazon will prioritize whichever product is Amazon’s Choice. These products are selected based on several criteria, including popularity, competitive pricing, low return rate, and availability to ship quickly through Prime. If your product isn’t selected for Amazon’s Choice, it’s unlikely that Alexa will suggest your product to the user. However, there are still ways for your product to be found with Alexa voice search queries.

If you can’t rank for the transactional intent, then you still have hope for optimizing your product for the research stage of the buyer journey. While the knowledge stage of the consumer journey may not lead to immediate transactions, it still works to increase awareness for your brand and lead to more sales down the line.

Voice search results for product queries often turn up video results, therefore excluding Amazon’s product pages. To be featured in the YouTube carousel results on the SERP, identify brand-product voice queries (e.g. “which Fitbit bottle should I buy”), then create a YouTube video answering that question.

Another way to out-rank Amazon is to try to be featured in a snippet, since search engines rarely include Amazon product page content in featured snippets. If you’re local, optimizing your local search features will also help you out-rank Amazon products.

To shop using voice search on Alexa, users need an Alexa-enable device, an Amazon Prime membership, and the desire to shop from a limited selection of items.

Optimizing for Google Home

Google Express removes these barriers, teaming up with retailers around the globe to offer users selection from thousands of products, without a subscription. When a user asks a product-based voice query to Google Assistant, Google Express presents its recommended products based on the query using the Shopping Actions platform. Through Shopping Actions, retailers can feature their products with 1-click re-ordering, a universal shopping cart, and saved payment credentials across these platforms, creating a seamless shopping experience.

Google Express lists vague participation criteria for retailers, such as offering a “positive user experience” and safety and security. At the moment, the top retailers on Google Express are big players such as Walmart and Costco, but smaller retailers such as The Mine have made it to the list. This means that for smaller retailers, attracting shoppers through Google Express is a viable option. In order to be considered as a Google Express merchant, Google instructs retailers to simply fill out an interest form.

 

Google’s “Speakable” Schema.org Markup

Google recently announced a new Schema.org specification called “Speakable.” The markup will help Google Assistant and Google Home choose which content to read aloud. For now, this specification is limited to news content. For valid news websites, including this schema markup can help articles be read aloud in snippets as a voice search result.

Google specifies several criteria when implementing speakable markup for Google Assistant. This includes breaking up the content into bullet points with roughly two to three sentences, with concise headlines and content. A full list of guidelines can be found on Google’s Speakable (beta) page.

If Google expands this structured data to website types beyond news, this markup could mean more traffic and visibility for voice search results across the web.  

 

What SEO Strategies Can You Use to Rank on Voice Search?

 

Find Opportunities to Rank for an Answer Box Snippet

This is something that most SEO’s are already doing, but it takes on a new dimension in voice search SEO. According to this study by Backlinko, 40.7% of voice search responses came from a Featured Snippet.

That feature typically gives a user a quick and simple answer to any query, so it makes sense that Google Home would be populating its answers from the algorithm for Featured Snippets. If you see an opportunity to become Position 0, it’s likely that you can also be a voice search query answer for that topic.

 

Tighten Up Your Local SEO

Google My Business is a huge source of information for people searching for local businesses. If you have your Google My Business listing fully optimized and up to date with current information, you’re giving it every chance to be an option on someone’s voice search results.

google local search query voice search

Place Schema on Your Top Pages

Although schema doesn’t seem to have a large correlation between its use and being the answer to a Google voice search, the purpose of on-page schema is to give Google a better picture of what your page is supposed to represent.

This is especially crucial in the ecommerce space when Google search results can expose your brand to a new customer. It doesn’t hurt to help Google understand the purpose of your page more clearly.

And with Google’s new “Speakable” markup, they may expand to ecommerce platforms and allow businesses to choose which information smart devices read aloud.

 

Optimize for the Long-Tail

As mentioned a bit earlier, individuals are using more natural language in their voice queries. This is a ripe opportunity for long-tail keywords with high search intent (and high commercial intent).

Let’s say you’re a company that sells French Press coffee machines. You have a great post on your blog that goes through the brewing times and temperatures for different coffee types that can be utilized for a great cup of Joe in your French Press. Someone interested in the French Press method of brewing is possibly searching for different brewing methods.

In the Google search bar you might type in “How to Brew French Press”

But on a voice search, you might say “How to Correctly Brew Coffee in a French Press”

This an opportunity for you to not only appear on results but if the user if using a Google Home or Alexa and they’re not in front of a screen, you can optimize headlines for short answers to common questions that may be asked in a voice search.

 

If You Haven’t Already, Optimize for Mobile

Not to beat a dead horse, but mobile optimization is key to everything. 20% of people conduct voice searches on mobile, so the more mobile-friendly your business is, the more opportunity to land on a voice search answer.

This means fast page speeds, responsive web designs, easy and simple UX, AMP pages, and of course, great content.

 

DON’T FORGET BING

Yes, Bing. Many search marketers utilize PPC on Bing since it is the search engine with the 2nd largest market share in the U.S. But, the most relevant reason why Bing is important for Voice search SEO? – Alexa uses bing as her search engine.

The current top players in the world in the voice search market are Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa, with Alexa taking the lead by a landslide. Alexa has over 39 million units in circulation or 69% of the market. Google Home currently has 14 million units at 31% of the market.

This is one of the few areas where Bing has managed to one-up Google for years, so optimize for Bing and don’t forget it under the shadow of the Google behemoth.

voice search market share

 

And Finally, Relax.

At the end of the day the concept is the same, ranking for targeted keywords and getting to the top of SERP’s. A lot of these strategies are already well-established best practices in SEO, so keep following best practices and make a few tweaks if it makes sense for your business. The landscape is competitive, but not impossible. Set your goals, track your progress and keep up the good work. I’ll leave with this great quote by Bradley Shaw:

“People are not afraid of the machine anymore, they have gone beyond a period of discomfort and hesitance and into a place of comfort and instantaneous gratification. When we consider the full scope of voice search, we eventually break it down to a consumer being able to gratify a search need without ever having to pull away from decorating the Christmas tree.

The question for online marketers has now become, “will my goods or services fill the need?” 

For more SEO news check out Recent Google Updates and SEO Trends for 2018