How to use Trending Searches & Google Trends for SEO?

Google rolled out an update for Android users in April 2016 for testing trending In Search Auto-Complete. When the user clicks on the search bar Google shows the most trending searches happening on the search engine at that time. This should not be confused with the autocomplete feature.

After few days of rolling out, this feature met with a lot of user complaints. A Google Support forum exploded with 500 posts from users who hated this new feature. Users were frustrated because it didn’t have any option to disable it that time. Later, in response to the complaints, Google rolled out an update with an option to disable this feature.

Trending searches image in Google
The trending searches are displayed with an arrow on the left.

On the 1st of September 2017, Google rolled out the same update for their search app on iOS. This Google Search App added Trending Search feature in their latest update, same as twitter trending.
Amazingly it gives a direct answer to questions like “who is the president of iran” in the search bar itself.

Google gives direct answer in the search bar

How Google Displays Trending Searches?

According to Google’s Support forum, it fetches data from Google Trends. In your local area, it fetches the search terms which are trending (getting searched by the most user) and shows the data accordingly.

Google quotes that:
What other people are searching for, including Trending stories. Trending stories are popular topics in your area that change throughout the day. Trending stories aren’t related to your search history. To see Trending stories, go to Google Trends

You can turn off this setting by following these steps:

  1. Open the Google app Google Logo
  2. At the top left, tap Menu Menu Icon Settings Settings Icon Autocomplete.
  3. Tap the switch to turn “Show trending stories” off or on.

How Can SEO’s benefit from the Trending Searches?

There are numerous ways in which you can benefit from the Google Trends data.

Whenever the there’s something trending on Twitter or Google Trends, the information is not fully available on the web. The partial information which we see are news websites ranking on Top giving the information about the incident. What you can do from here is publish an full-fledged article related to that topic and update the meta tags. The benefit is your blog will start ranking for that topic without doing much SEO, because no other website has written about it. Here you are fulfilling the biggest ranking factor which is “user intent” and to fulfill this Google has to show the best relevant result for that topic. Now because of no/fewer articles around that, it starts pushing results which are relevant ignoring other ranking factors. And the amount of traffic you will get for the time it will be trending is huge.

The data which you find in Google Trends is nowhere to be found, be it Keyword planner or any other tool. So it is very easy to find trending topics that happened a year ago and what was the keywords users were searching. For example, “Halloween” Topic trends every year during October so if you are planning to write a blog around it, Google Trends data would be really handy to know the search terms to actually use.

Things to keep in mind while using this approach:

  • The trending topic which you are writing on should be closely related to your niche.
  • Try and select trending topics from your local area.
  • The article you are writing should have enough data to explain the user about the topic. Add images, videos and make it long enough to fulfill the user intent.
  • You might get a lot of traffic but that will probably not last long, because once the trend is over the searches are going to drop.

Closing Thoughts

Using Trending data from Google Trends and Google App can actually give you the next blog idea. You just have to keep looking for the trending topic in your niche and publish the blog ASAP.

The other benefits of writing on trending topics are users will start to see your website as an influencer in the niche. So when the next time anything will happen, users will directly search on your website.

Writing on Trending topics will build credibility and people might also start linking to your website.

Let us know in the comments section if you have any better idea of using the Google Trends Tool?

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

Is Google AMP a Ranking Factor?

According to a Study, nearly 60% of searches on the internet now happens from mobile devices. In 2015, Google officially stated that their mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic. Since the rollout of Mobile Algorithm Update – Mobilegeddon in April 2015, the way websites load in phones have completely changed. The Mobilegeddon update boosted the rankings of Web sites that were mobile responsive at that time.

Google doesn’t just want the websites to be mobile friendly but they also want the websites to load fast in Mobile phones because everyone has difficulty to load websites in phone compared to desktops. To promote fast loading websites across all the platforms, Google has created an official website to know your Pagespeed score. On Feb. 24, 2016, Google integrated with an open standard project called Accelerated Mobile Page(AMP) project which helps to load your pages quickly on mobile devices.

AMP logo

What is AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is a Google-backed project designed as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices. It uses an HTML, JS, and cache libraries that accelerates the load time of a web page. Even if you have a 3000 words article with all the images and videos, the page will load under 3 second completely. For more information on how to implement AMP for your website visit the official website: https://www.ampproject.org/

The AMP project enables the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms.

AMP results in SERP
The AMP results are shown n the form of a lightning icon in SERP

Benefits of AMP

If a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load then there are higher chances of user bouncing off. To keep up with the pace we can’t afford to let our websites forever to load. Amazon calculated that a page load slowdown of just one second could cost them $1.6 billion in sales each year. Google has calculated that by slowing its search results by just four-tenths of a second they could lose 8 million searches per day–meaning they’d serve up many millions of fewer online adverts.

This implies the importance of page load time. AMP is a great way to increase your page speed time and load your web pages in 3 seconds.

AMP improves the overall mobile experience thus increasing the chances of conversions.

It decreases bounce rate in a very effective way. When a website implements AMP, the website data is saved in Google’s cache and hence when you visit the website the URL looks like this:

www.google.co.in/amp/website-url/

Google’s Official Statement

John Mueller, a Google Webmaster Trends Analysts, stated in a that AMP is still not a ranking signal.

Google's statement on AMP
Google’s John Mueller ‘s answer when asked about AMP as a ranking factor

Is AMP worth the Time?

Is AMP worth the time?

We ran an experiment for our agency website, which was ranking on the 2nd page(11th position) for a very competitive keyword with a monthly search volume of 1000. We decided to create an AMP page for our website and track if Google gives any boost to the website in the rankings. No other website ranking ahead of us were having an AMP page.
While we ran this experiment, there were no changes made in the content, we kept the meta tags same, the markup was same on both the versions and not a single backlink was build during that period. In short, we mean to say that everything was same in both the versions of the website(AMP & non-AMP).

The Result:
Sadly, there was no ranking improvement even after a month of AMP implementation. Google crawled the page and it was even showing the AMP icon but it didn’t help our website to get on the 1st page in mobile rankings.

AMP rankings
Google crawled the AMP version of our website.

The average time spent on the website on the AMP page was less. Also, the bounce rate of both the versions is also same.

AMP analytics screen shot

We kept the AMP page for 25 days and after seeing no improvements in rankings we switched back to the non-AMP version for mobile.

During that time period our GSC data showed some exciting results:

Google Search Console of non-AMP pages
This screenshot from GSC shows how non-AMP pages have performed on mobile devices. It got 1622 impressions and 57 clicks, with an average of CTR of 3.51%.
Google Search Console screen shot of AMP pages
The AMP page had fewer impressions compared to the non-AMP page and the clicks and CTR were also less.

The AMP implementation took a good amount of time and there are few restrictions in the AMP code compared to normal HTML codes we use:

  • We had to inline all the CSS in our websites HEAD tag because there are no external style sheets allowed.
  • We removed all the other javascript from our code whether inline or external.
  • Normal HTML Image tags were replaced with <amp-img> and similarly with the other media.
  • We are unable to use forms in AMP because of the restrictions
  • We marked up our data using the same schema codes in the HEAD section.

You can validate your AMP code on this website or through this chrome plugin

We’ll compare the design of both the AMP & non-AMP versions of our website to show the changes we were forced to make in the design because of these restrictions.

Original Version:

original website - our association

In comparison to our original version, we had to realign these images in a 3X2  instead of a 2X3 grid. Aso, it didn’t accept text below the images.

Reason: In the Original website we are using bootstrap to align the images but in the AMP version it doesn’t allow to use “bootstrap columns”. We were also unable to set the text below the image because of the aligning issues.

AMP Version:

AMP Version - our association

 

Original Website:

Our philosophies - Original

In the original website, we have given numbers to all our philosophies which resembles our strengths. But that is not possible in AMP, so we decided to go with an auto carousel.

Reason: In the HTML version we can use JavaScript for obtaining the above effect but in AMP we can’t use JavaScript which is outside the AMP libraries. To optimise the website for the best page speed AMP doesn’t allow the use of JS.

AMP Version:

Our Philosophies - AMP version

Original Website:

original - our services

In our original version of the website, we researched icons and created them using bootstrap, which is easy to use and responsive. Also, we displayed all our services tab using accordion in bootstrap.

The Reason: We can use accordion in AMP but there are some restrictions like you can only use a single image/text. We tried using this tool to match our original version but the images were not aligning properly.

In the normal HTML bootstrap, we can use class=”img-responsive” and it adjusts according to the screen size. But in AMP we have to define height & width even after specifying layout=”responsive”

AMP Version:

AMP version our services

The point here is even after coding our website according to AMP guidelines and compromising our website design and layout, is it still worth to shift to AMP knowing the fact that it doesn’t give a boost in rankings?

AMP is surely a very fast way to load your website as it preloads the content even before the website is being opened but it is not for all the types of websites.

Summary

Is AMP the real answer to our mobile page speed issues? I don’t think so because adopting a whole different code and compromising our main version design in AMP knowing the fact that it is not a ranking factor is not advisable. If you will optimise the website according to the Google’s page speed insight recommendations or using Pingdom tool, then it is surely going to help your page load fast.

It’s not that AMP is totally bad, it is adopted by over 900,000 domains as of 2017 including big brands like eBay, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal etc.

Should we implement AMP?

Yes, if you are a:

  • Publisher
  • Blogger
  • E-commerce website
  • Retailer

You should not if you:

  • Have a B2B website
  • Use a lot of JS, CSS
  • Have a heavy E-commerce website
  • Have online tickets booking

Currently, AMP is good to implement for blogs and other article websites where you are getting more than 70% mobile traffic. If you have a business website where you have to show images and videos then don’t compromise your website design instead optimise it for page speed.

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

Does Google Hate SEO?

Evil Google Hates SEO

If you are an SEO or have a fair knowledge of how search engines work, then at some point of time you might have thought about all these:

  • Why is my website not ranking on Top?
  • Why there are so many complications in Google’s Algorithm?
  • Why does Google always prefer big brands over the small ones?
  • Why Google gives more importance to Ads than Organic results?
  • Does Google Hate SEO community?

The simplest answer to that question is No, and we are going to give you examples to prove the point. Everyone knows that SEO process takes time to show results, but the SEO’s expect results faster and that is a normal behaviour because at last, you expect some results. The real problem starts when people start to find shortcuts to rank high in Google and then pollutes the SERP with low content.

Remember this: Google’s main aim is to keep their customers on it website for as much time as possible. And this is possible only if the search results are up to the mark and the content is delivered very fast. Google wants that anything that a user wants to search(information or product) should start from Google and that is why they come up with technologies to give out the best results. Shopping Ads, Knowledge Graph, featured snippet etc. can be seen in Google SERP on daily basis, which implies that they care about the user experience.

If you want the answer to all the other questions, then grab a coffee and read till the end. For a better understanding how things happen in the big picture, we are going to explain everything from the scratch.

History of Google.

Everyone knows about their history & how Google has evolved from being BackRub to the Biggest Tech company in the World.

Well, that’s not our point of concern. Here we will talk about facts and how the search engine giants have evolved over the period of time

 

Year Number of Searches Market share Revenue
1999 One Billion 7.8% $220,000
2004–2008 73 billion 53% – 77% $3.19B – $21.8B
2009 365 billion 66% $23.7B
2012–2015 1.2 trillion 91% – 86% $50B – $74.5B
2016 two trillion+ 89% $89.46B

From 7% in 1999 to 89% in 2016. Google’s market share is more of a monopoly here. As more & more searches happen on Google their revenue shoots up accordingly. This clearly indicates how much Internet users trust Google for obtaining data online. 95% of a user interaction starts with search out of which 89% searches happens on Google.

Sometimes, a common question that I come across is How does Google make money?

Digital Examiner conducted a survey asking people about Google as a company.

Here’s the info-graphic stating all the questions

how google makes money

The first answer is a bit shocking, because 63% of the people do not know how Google makes money through search.

Out of the $89 billions google makes, 90% of their revenues come through Google Ads and a significant amount of that money comes from Search Text Ads.

Do you know how much of this revenue comes from Organic Search?

The answer is zero. Google doesn’t earn a single dollar from any of the Organic Listings.

Does Organic Results matter to Google?

Obviously Yes, Google is the biggest search engine in the world, in November 2016 Google updated their How Search Works page changing the number of pages Google has crawled from 30 trillion back in March 2013 to 130 trillion. Google hasn’t indexed all the pages but knows all of them.

Imagine the amount of information Google has and by using this information Google algorithms creates the index accordingly. When Google first launched their website in 1997 their algorithm was simple & it displayed only the organic results.

google-serp-1997

Till date, Google displays tons of Organic & Free results for all the queries. Google results are accurate and the amount of efforts & money Google puts to make the user experience better is immense.

google-results-now

Google’s Regular algorithm updates to tackle spam.

Till now we have seen, how much do the organic results matter to Google. There are always 2 sides of a coin. Good & Bad. Same way, SEO’s have tried to spam the web with irrelevant and low content results to rank fast in the search engines. But Google has sorted the way to tackle these types of spam websites.

Google’s revenue is growing today, because of the relevant result it shows & the trust it has built on the Internet over time. If the user starts experiencing spammy and irrelevant result then they will lose the trust in Google and will find an alternative. If there’s a percent of the drop in Google’s traffic then it means the loss of millions of dollars.

So, to tackle these kinds of spam, Google always keep their search engine algorithm updated with various technologies. Till date, there have been several major algorithm updates that have improved the search results by providing more personalised and relevant results for the query. Google has a dedicated web spam team to tackle spam content and penalise those websites.

Google hates spammers not SEO

Coming back to our original question: Does Google hates SEO?

As we have said No, Google doesn’t hate SEO but they hate the spammers who try to take advantage by using black hat SEO techniques to get rankings in Google.

On June 15, 2006, Google was the first company to have been added as a word in the Oxford Dictionary. Just imagine the amount of trust Google holds in the eyes of the world. It has become a habit to say “Just Google it” for a query instead of saying “search it on the internet”. To maintain the trust they have to tackle with all kinds of spam attacks that happen on them.

You might have a question, then why does it take forever to rank in Google?

Because Google just can’t trust any other websites that have the targeted keywords in the meta tags & content. It takes time to build trust & authority in the eye of Google. If you will do your regular SEO, your website is surely going to rank. Once the website starts to feature on the 1st page, you just need to maintain it.

Then why is Google pushing the Organic results down?

SEO’s who are in this industry might know how Google’s SERP pages used to look earlier. If you do a comparison of the Google’s SERP page in 2016 with today? You will come to know it has changed a lot. This was a point of concern for some

SERP before February update

Google SERP before February 2016 update: Earlier there used to be Text Ads maximum in the 1st three positions and some other ads on the right-hand side

SERP after feb 18

Google SERP after February 2016 update: After the update the SERP changed completely. Ads covered the 1st full Fold(first scroll) and covered the top 4 critical positions. The ads snippet on the right hand side completely vanished and got replaced with knowledge graph(if you search about a company/person). Ads also started to appear in the bottom 3 positions.

Why is Organic CTR going down?

A recent Organic CTR study conducted by Internet Marketing Ninjas states that 30% of the Google Search results on the 1st & 2nd page don’t get clicks. Thats shocking.

Impressions and clicks of 1-20 SERP.

Google Organic CTR 2017

The reason for this drop? Google gives answers to some of the questions in form of featured snippets, knowledge graphs, shopping display ads etc. This SERP feature is killing SEO clicks on the website, as users gets the answer directly by Google.

Featured Snippet:

Featured Snippet Example

Knowledge Graph:

Knowledge Graph Example

Shopping Display Ads:

Shopping Display Ads Example

CTR of Organic Results are Still higher than PPC

When this update was rolled out the SEO community panicked thinking that it will bring down the clicks, as it is acquiring the crucial top 4 positions of the SERP.

Though the CTR of PPC went a bit high because of the addition of 4th ad slot in SERP.

The image shows CTR during the 7-day period before and after the change in ad placements on Google desktop search results:

4th position ads slot had a change of 18% in CTR, because this placement is closest to the organic result.

But the interesting bit is:
Study shows that the Click Through Rates(CTR) of Organic results are still higher than PPC.

This actually implies that users are getting smarter day by day and can easily differentiate between a Text Ad and organic result, no matter how hard Google tries to push Ads.

Conclusion:

Whether Google hates SEO or not, it doesn’t matter, but remember one thing, Google search is nothing without the organic results. Yes, Google has started pushing more ads in the top positions, but that has not dropped the clicks of organic results. One thing Google wants to show relevant results as much as possible, and that is why for some keywords Google directly answers the query through a snippet.

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

SEO User Friendly Design & Layout

User experience is the most important relevancy signal to Google. It starts with how your website is designed & coded. A well structured will have more user engagement leading to high rankings

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

References and Sources

Link building is a high-level factor of SEO and also a difficult one. There are out bound links and Inbound links. Giving reference link to High-quality domains will not impact your rankings as said by Google

 

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

XML Sitemaps for Search Engines

Sitemaps & robots are the first things that we look at in an SEO Audit. It is important to include all your pages in the sitemap & prioritize them. Generate image sitemap for indexing images

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

Look at the Page Category for Better Rankings

Structuring your website for best User experience is very important for SEO. Every page should be put in a proper category so that the user experience is the best. Read about the best practices of structuring the website(blog, e-commerce etc)

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)

URL Structure Can Improve SEO Ranking

According to Search Engine Journal, excessively long URLs may hurt search visibility. Small URLs are easier to recall than the longer ones, using small and sweet URLs for the targeted audience is a better option anytime.

URL Path: A page closer to the homepage may get a slight authority boost.

Keyword in URL: Another important relevancy signal.

URL String:  The categories in the URL string are read by Google and may provide a thematic signal to what a page is about:

Found this blog awesome? Share with a friend :)