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The Explainer Series: Featured Snippets.

Back in 2014 we first witnessed the introduction of featured snippets by Google, fast forward eight years, they have proven to provide a highly advantageous way to get content in front of searchers.

In this explainer series we will be taking a deep dive into different types of digital media and exploring how they work. In this blog we’re focusing on featured snippets, read on for an overview of how they work and how content can be optimised to feature in them.

What exactly are featured snippets and how do they work?

Featured snippets are the highlighted excerpts of content that appear at the top of a Google results page (above traditional organic results). This is known as position 0.

The featured snippet answer is taken directly from a website and displayed directly in the search results. The answers most likely to appear will be content that both answers the query concisely and with as much detail as possible.

Essentially, Google prioritises the website that it thinks best answers the search query. This information can be displayed as paragraphs, lists, step by step instructions or even tables!

A screenshot of a featured snippets search query

Optimising content for featured snippets.

To stand a chance at ranking for featured snippets, it is super important to optimise your content so that it directly answers queries. The more you can put across your answer in a natural, verbal tone the higher your chances of being picked to take the featured snippet position.

One way we would advise you to do this is by meeting the nature of conversational language, by ensuring you are incorporating longtail keyword approaches into your SEO strategies.

A great example of how you can achieve this is through utilising FAQs. You can create content around the exact question users are searching for followed by a direct response.

You can then optimise these FAQs further by wrapping them in FAQ schema (a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the information on your website) to further enhance their chances of appearing in the SERPs.


A screenshot of a search query in Google asking how to do good keyword research


How to know what search terms trigger featured snippets.

There are tools available such as SEM Rush which can help identify featured snippet opportunities. You can see at keyword level which Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features are present when that particular phrase is searched for in Google.

SEM Rush can also be utilised to see which featured snippet queries your competition has secured.

We would suggest starting by first, identifying what keyword is triggering a featured snippet that you already have content on.

Have a good look at the format of the result and how it’s being displayed (is it a table, paragraph, bullets, lists? etc). Then optimise the content you have around this query to ensure it is directly answering the question and is displayed in the same way.


When your focus shouldn’t be on taking position 0.

If you are already ranking in the top 3 positions of Google, we wouldn’t actively suggest trying to gain the featured snippet position. They’re not always 100% reliable, one day a featured snippet could be appearing for a search query, the next it’s gone.

We would instead suggest focusing on remaining in the top 3 search positions as a key priority. The brand ranking can also change frequently so you could have position 0 for a week then in the following it’s switched to someone else in your niche.

This can also result in loosing your organic ranking, which would be the priority as it will ultimately provide greater return.

However, if you are ranking further down on the results page, then trying to increase the amount of organic traffic to your site by optimising for position 0 would be a great move.

So, there you have it. If you want to appear in featured snippets, you know what to do.

If you’d like further advice on this topic or some assistance with your current SEO strategy feel free to get in touch through our contact form or you can email us directly at [email protected].

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    Google Core Algorithm Updates: The ‘Need to Knows’

    person holding a smart phone with Google on the home screen

    With Google announcing at the end of May that it will be rolling out its first broad core algorithm update in 2022, we thought it would be a timely opportunity to give our fellow marketers a heads up on exactly what core updates are and what to do if you’re impacted.

    For now, it appears as though the impact of this specific update has been minimal and Google hasn’t released too much further insight in terms of what was targeted specifically.  

    First things first, what exactly are broad core algorithm updates?

    In short a broad core algorithm update is a change to Google’s ‘core’, or overall, search ranking algorithm and systems. 

    Core updates are global, they target all types of content and affect all countries and languages. 

    The important thing to note is that core updates exist to reward or promote great web pages, they do not exist to penalise. In theory, this is a positive, but it doesn’t totally rule out experiencing a dip in search ranking.

    The silver lining is that we know the user experience is at the heart of Google’s decision-making, so we can assume that regardless of the priorities, the outcomes will likely be related to improving the content users are served.

    The SEO impact of Core Updates

    Like all Google core algorithm updates, there will be sites that benefit in ranking and those that unfortunately see a fall. During the rollout of the update, there will be ranking fluctuations and this is totally normal. As a rule of thumb, It is best to wait it out and receive confirmation that the update has finished rolling out before taking action. 

    If you have seen a ranking increase for your target keywords then congrats, Google has rewarded your site. 

    If your rankings have dropped, then the first place to look is at your content. 

    In some cases, Google may give pointers as to what the update consisted of with some tips on what to do to improve. 

    Initial advice directly from Google for the May update can be visited here.

    What you should do if you’re impacted by a Core Update

    If the update negatively impacted your site, we recommend taking stock of your current content and asking yourselves a few key questions:

    • What is the purpose of the content on this page? 
    • What target keyword do you want it to rank for?
    • What is the search intent behind this keyword?
    • Does the content meet this intent?
    • Is the content optimised as best as it can be?
    • What is the readability like? Is it one block of content or are you using headings and subheadings to break it up so it’s more digestible?
    • Has your content been written by a credible thought leader or author? We would advise citing sources where possible.
    • Are other websites likely to want to reference your content from their website?

    Once you have audited your content and have made updates using the guidelines above we would also advise that you remember to submit the page URLs you have updated to Google Search Console for indexing. 

    This should hopefully speed up the process of Google crawling these pages and allow the content to start being tested more in the search results.

    If you are worried about a significant drop in traffic, it’s best to speak to an SEO expert who can give some further insights into what could have caused this drop. But remember, the first place to look is always your content!  

    Feel free to drop us a message if you’d like to talk about the update in more detail, or get some advice on improving your search ranking.

     If you’d like exclusive access to our digital media tips sign up for our newsletter, where we debrief the most pressing digital developments monthly. 

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      SEO Updates for April and May 2022

      April started spectacularly with Brighton SEO bringing together SEO enthusiasts from across the globe. We witnessed a great range of talks at the biannual beachside conference, covering everything from the fundamentals of search right through to the future of SEO in the ‘metaverse’. The weeks to follow have continued to offer several other interesting developments which we’re unpacking below. 

      Google Released Annual Search Spam Report

      In response to a world searching for ‘how to heal’, Google highlighted how they kept 99% of searches spam-free with significant improvements in fighting link spam, scam results, and ranking manipulation in their annual search spam report. 

      Google also focussed on reducing low-quality content through identifying behaviours that manipulated search rankings. These behaviours would narrowly avoid violation of the quality guidelines but negatively impact user experience. With the help of their AI-based system SpamBrain, Google stated they were able to keep 99% of searches spam-free in 2021.

      As ever, websites should follow best practice guidance and steer clear of ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and product review manipulation, to avoid being penalised by Google’s spam algorithms. Producing high-quality, relevant content for your customers will always be the best way to help improve your search rankings. 

      Google Search Parameter Tool Officially Offline

      Back in March, Google announced it was going to retire the URL parameters tool, and this is the first month we can see it coming into effect. Google has now turned off support for the tool in Google Search Console. The decision was made by Google to turn off the tool due to the advancement in Google’s capabilities to decipher which parameters are useful on a site. With only a minute number of parameter configurations specified in the parameter tool deemed useful for crawling purposes, the tool was deemed unnecessary. 

      Google has stated that ‘Google’s crawlers will learn how to deal with URL parameters automatically’ in the near future. We would suggest making a note of this update on your reports and keeping an eye on your analytics over the coming weeks just in case any issues arise from this change. 


      Significant Changes to Featured Snippets being Tested

      Google has started some testing that may provide a major shake-up of the featured snippets section on SERPs. Our SEO Team certainly has a lot to say about these two new features:

      ‘From the Web’: Traditionally, the featured snippet shown at the top is a table, a list, or a snippet of text with a link to the webpage the content comes from. For text snippets, Google is now testing short excerpts from two to three other websites in the same section, with links to the sites added after the sites’ favicons. 


      ‘Other Sites Say’: Google is planning to group at least three different sites under a new ‘Other Sites Say’ section, which shares some resemblance with the established ‘People also ask’ section. Again, this will provide more exposure for brands, but equally will create more competition in the top-ranking results. 


      What could this mean for search?

      Sites that currently hold the featured snippet position for certain keywords could face a substantial loss of traffic as more competition enters position zero in SERPs. On the flip side, if you’re not currently featuring in any snippets, this update could increase your chances and improve traffic volume to your site. 

      It will be very interesting to see the impact of these tests on clickthrough rate (CTR) and visibility in the search results, and whether these updates are rolled out temporarily or permanently. One to keep an eye on!

      Google PaLM: The Future of Next Generation Search

      This month Google revealed a breakthrough in its efforts to create an AI architecture that can handle millions of different tasks by itself. Enter PaLM.

      What is PaLM?

      Google’s Pathways Language Model research (PaLM) is an AI architecture Google has been developing. PaLM can produce answers reflective of fluctuating contexts by learning how to efficiently solve millions of different tasks, including complex learning and reasoning. 

      What makes PaLM special?

      PaLM is a system worth recognising as it’s striving to combine the efforts of multiple existing AI systems, into a singular architecture. To achieve this, recent developments of the PaLM system have involved the scaling of the few-shot learning (FSL) process. This is a type of machine learning method that works with a limited training dataset, as opposed to deep machine learning, where an extensive amount of data needs to be manually input for the AI to learn each new ability. Essentially, FSL has the AI learning so it can make predictions based on a smaller dataset.

      Recently completed was the BIG-bench benchmark, where several tasks were designed to see how large language models, such as PaLM, responded. Of the 150 strong BIG-bench tasks (relating to reasoning, translation, and question answering), PaLM outperformed many of the current state-of-the-art models. There were many notable achievements on hundreds of language understanding and generation benchmarks, including: 


      • Enhanced reasoning abilities 
      • Explanation generation 
      • Inference Chaining


      This recent research shows PaLM delivers significant improvements compared to current AI systems and can even ‘outperform human benchmarks’ for certain elements of language processing and reasoning. However, humans still outperformed the new algorithm on 35% of tasks. So, whilst breakthroughs are being made, PaLM is not quite there yet. 

      What could this mean for search?

      Machine learning has a big impact on how search results are created, tailoring results more and more to the needs of the user. As PaLM seeks to consolidate all this machine learning into one AI system, the change to search may not be great. However, with capabilities in one place, it may mean Google can get an even greater understanding of the intent and needs of users when they use search engines. Either way, this is an update to keep an eye on.

      Did we miss any SEO news?

      Think we may have missed something worth exploring or if you have some thoughts you’d like to share on SEO developments? We’d love to hear from you! 

      Join the conversation and tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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        SEO Updates for March 2022

        March written in scrabble bricks

        SEO News Updates for March 2022

        With the weather warming up, we’re starting to see more spring cleaning! Our SEO news updates for March are showing it’s out with the old, in with the new, with some much-needed reorganisation along the way too. If you’d like to keep up to date on all the changes happening in the world of digital marketing, follow Uprise Up on Twitter: @upriseUPSEM.


        Google’s Retiring the URL Parameter Tool

        On the 28th March, Google announced it is going to be retiring its URL parameters tool in April. This tool basically allowed you to block Google from indexing specific URLs on your website.

        However, they have stated that currently only ‘1% of the parameter configurations currently specified in the URL parameters tool are useful for crawling’, and that Google has become more advanced in deciding which parameters are actually useful on a site. It is this perceived lack of value for both Google and Search Console users that will see us saying goodbye to the parameters tool in the next month.

        This removal shouldn’t affect websites negatively and there isn’t anything you need to do in preparation. Moving forwards, Google’s crawlers will learn how to automatically deal with URL parameters, so you won’t need to specify the function of URL parameters on your site.


        Google Search Rolling out more Visual Search Interface on Mobile

        Google is trialling a new mobile search interface using images to provide a richer visual representation in SERPs for select mobile search content (try searching ‘hand tattoos’ or ‘game room design’ on your mobile).

        It will be really interesting to see the impact this has on click through rates and site traffic levels as Google is yet to specify if the layout of this new grid means there will now be two position one results, or whether one result will still retain the position one ranking. Either way, this new visual layout is definitely something to look out for, as there may possibly be a more even split between the two top ranking positions.

        Structured Data Report Update

        Towards the end of the month, Google updated Search Console to add more context to its (as you can see in the before and after image below). This update won’t affect the number of errors received, but the error title will provide more details, allowing you to identify where the errors are straight off the bat, saving you time and speeding up the process of locating and fixing your site’s structured data.

        This will be impacting:

        • All Search Console rich result status reports
        • Search Console URL inspection tool
        • Rich Results Test

        This means all open issues that refer to nested properties will automatically be closed, and you’ll see new open issues with the additional context on the missing information. It’s also important to note that this update will not affect the number or how errors are detected, it will only enhance how they are reported.

        Further Rollout of Product Review Update

        As of March 23rd, Google began to rollout the third version of its search ranking algorithm update targeting product review related content. This update comes after the major update in April 2021 that focussed on the promotion of high-quality reviews and the subsequent December 2021 update.

        This most recent update is focussed on providing users with in-depth, authentic content reviews that distinguish themselves from the other standard templated information users commonly come across.

        Google are considering factors such as actual product use, unique information not provided by the manufacturer, informal competitor comparisons and in-depth details (such as pros and cons). This will make it easier for Google to get top quality purchasing advice for its consumers and will give a boost to creators who ensure optimal reviews.

        If you offer product review content on your website, it’s definitely worth taking note of these ongoing product review updates. For advice on publishing high quality reviews, check out Google’s Guidelines.


        Did we miss any SEO news updates for March?

        If there was anything else that happened in March that you think was noteworthy, or if you’ve got some thoughts you’d like to share on current SEO developments, we’d love to hear from you!

        Feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected] , or simply send us a message through our contact page.







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          SEO Updates for February 2022

          February proved to be an insightful month, with a lot of activity going on. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.


          Core Web Vitals rolled out to desktop

          Arguably, the main news highlight of February for SEO was the roll out of the page experience update to desktop search results. On 22nd Feb Google took to Twitter to reveal the update was rolling out.

          Google tweet reading “the page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update”

          When initially announced, the page experience update was a much anticipated update to the search algorithm. It sought to introduce new ranking factors to the algorithm, factors site owners now need to be aware of when optimising their sites.

          Compared to the roll out for mobile last summer the process this time round was much quicker, with the update fully rolled out by 3rd March; just 10 days after it started. With an increased speed in roll out, perhaps Google anticipated less of an impact this time round? With the majority of searches being conducted on mobile devices, this is plausible (though B2B sites may disagree!).

          The next few weeks will give an indication of any potential impact, but similar to the mobile update last August, we recommend checking out how your site is performing for Core Web Vitals; Google have a page quality auditing tool just for this, and speaking to your dev team where changes are required.


          Pay attention to People Also Ask for your Brand searches

          We know that People Also Ask (PAA) is a great feature to be aware of and utilise when looking to increase your visibility within search results. This month Search Engine Land published an interesting article highlighting the value PAA can provide brands, with branded searches.


          What is PAA?

          PAA is a feature commonly shown in search results. It contains a selection of questions related to a user’s current search that Google thinks the user will find helpful. The feature can also grow, increasing in size every time a question is engaged with. This means the feature can take up more space within the search results, pushing other organic results further down the page and below the fold.


          Why should you pay attention to the PAA?

          Brand reputation. The PAA can give you an idea of what users are searching around your brand. As the article points out, when people search for your brand, they are either searching directly for you, or for information about you. You want as much control over that information as you can get. FAQ content is an asset for these types of queries. It can help you answer relevant questions succinctly.


          As well as direct questions about the brand, the PAA also includes questions related to the brand – ones focused on the industry or topic the brand is associated with. Targeting these is a more long-term focus as it would require more of a strategic focus, considering the type of content Google wants to show and developing that for example.


          The PAA is a feature that’s been around for a few years now, it’s one everyone’s aware of and lightly tries to target to some degree for non-brand terms. There’s definite value in extending this to make sure your brand is coming across positively to their target audience when searched for.


          SEMRush buys Kompyte

          Industry-wise, SEMRush took a big business step and bought their first marketing tool that wasn’t specifically geared towards SEM. At the end of the month the company announced they’d bought Kompyte, a company that offers competitor analysis tools that look across different channels, enables product development and supports sales acquisition.

          This purchase will enable SEMRush to expand its offerings and begin targeting a wider audience. The acquisition of Kompyte will also support their current tools, enabling them to improve their trends feature within SEMRush.


          Did we miss anything?

          If there was anything else that happened in February that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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            SEO Highlights for January

            Calendar showing January 2022

            After a busy year on search, we’re looking forward to another year of flurry and activity in 2022. January kicked off our SEO highlights nicely, with some interesting new features dropping on Google search. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.


            New Robots Meta Tag: indexifembedded

            Google have revealed the introduction of a new robots meta tag. The tag in question? Indexifembedded (index if embedded). The tag should be used to tell Google when you want content to be indexable if it’s embedded on a different page using an iFrame, even when the original page has a noindex tag in place (blocking it from being indexed by Google).

            This tag is supported only by Google for now, but we’re sure if it proves valuable other search engines will catch on and adopt it.

            The intention behind this new tag is to make it even easier for websites to have control over which parts of their content is indexed. However, we’re unclear as to when this tag would be used or required. And from checking out Twitter, we can see we’re not the only ones questioning this. There’s call for Google to provide case use for this new tag. So hopefully we’ll hear more soon.


            People Search Next: the new mobile feature

            Mobile search results in the US are getting a new feature that will be shown alongside other assets such as People Also Ask and People Also Search For. Confirmed by Google with Search Engine Land, People Search Next is used to show users what previous users have gone on to search following a particular query.

            As it’s US based at the moment it’s not a feature we can test our ourselves yet on UK search results. This feature seems fairly similar to other additions Google have been adding to the search results. Like predictive text, it will provide a guiding influence on how users interact with search. Whilst it shows practical value, I’d like to know how much it’ll affect the space within search results, whether it is pushing traditional organic results further down, impacting their impressions and clicks. This might be something to be aware of when the update is rolled out more internationally.


            Recipe Markup now requires specific times

            Google has made a few announcements or changes regarding Structured Data this month. But one that interests us is the change to Recipe Markup (Schema). For each of the core markups you can use in Search, Google has accompanying documentation websites can use as a guide. In their documentation for Recipe Schema, all references to timings have been updated from ranges to specific times.

            On their updates documentation, Google state on 18th January:

            “Removed guidance about specifying a range for the cookTime, prepTime, and totalTime properties in the Recipe documentation. Currently, the only supported method is an exact time; time ranges aren’t supported. If you’re currently specifying a time range and you’d like Google to better understand your time values, we recommend updating that value in your structured data to a single value (for example, “cookTime”: “PT30M”).”

            This is worth noting because Recipe Schema can have a big impact on how Recipe content performs in the Search Results. Pages with this Schema in place can target enhanced search results; whether they just pull through aggregate ratings to their traditional search result, or double up and appear in the Recipe Carousel at the top of search results pages. You need Recipe Schema to do that. Therefore, always worth making sure your Recipe Schema is up to scratch and accurate. It’s a competitive world for Recipe Queries; you want to make sure you can compete!


            Yoast SEO launches on Shopify

            Calling all eCommerce sites! Your time is here, for Yoast SEO have revealed they are on Shopify. Already available for WordPress sites as a plugin (in fact, it’s the most popular app used on WordPress for SEO), the Shopify app is designed to make optimisation of your site easier and quicker.

            There is a cost for Yoast SEO on Shopify, whereas WordPress sites can use a free version if preferred (albeit with restricted features). At $29 a month, the cost isn’t too high and Yoast SEO presents an exciting prospect for those on Shopify. It’s an app to be considered.


            Did we miss anything?

            If there was anything else that happened in January that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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              SEO Highlights for December

              December stamped on a piece of paper

              As the holiday season approached, SEO continued at its normal pace. A couple of updates were finalised in December; where felt their impact was quite extensive.  If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.



              Local Search Update Complete

              Google took to Twitter on 8th December to confirm their update to the local search algorithm had finished rolling out. An update they omitted to tell us about in November (a mistake said Danny Sullivan).

              Google Search Central tweet on completion of the local search update rollout

              First rolling out in November, the update sought to tighten up its algorithm by re-distributing the weighting placed on different factors Google considers when creating search results pages. The impact has been widespread. The user’s proximity to a business is a factor that has become more important, with businesses dropping down in rankings the further they are from their address.

              Keywords in the brand name has historically been a factor that possessed a strong weighting, rewarding businesses that did include their target keywords. Interestingly, with this update that weighting has reduced. Since roll out started businesses that include keywords in the name have seen a drop in rankings, whereas those that don’t include keywords in the name have been rewarded by this update. In the past business listings have used this strong weighting to include keywords as descriptors, which goes against Google’s Guidelines. Looks like this is a method that will now go out of style, if it hadn’t already.

              Overall, a shake up to the rankings for businesses, but one that could prove beneficial to new businesses starting out.



              Product Review Update

              Following a major update in April, Google have released another product reviews update. The April update was designed to promote high quality reviews; that is, reviews that are deemed useful by search users. The December update was considered by Google likely to have an impact on organic rankings – especially where sites have made changes in response to the April update. Google does note however, that their assessment of review content is just one factor taken into consideration when ranking a site’s content.

              The impact of this update was pretty big and volatile; it affected rankings much more than the April 2021 update did. For advice on publishing high quality reviews, check out Google’s Guidelines.

              As a result of user feedback Google revealed they will be introducing two new features in a future update as well. These features are:

              • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
              • Include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.

              So, the next step to improving reviews is to provide different types of content within the review, not just text. This helps prove the authenticity of the review, as well as improving its usefulness. The latter, however may not be the most helpful to merchants, with links to competitor sites being offered to users alongside their own.



              Did we miss anything?

              If there was anything else that happened in December that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                SEO Highlights for November

                As ever, there was plenty of change going on in November, with a Core Algorithm update released just weeks before Christmas.  If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.



                Core Algorithm Update

                Google’s Twitter announced another algorithm update in November! With the last update released in July, it’s been a few months since Google made any big changes to their search algorithm. Having got back into the rhythm of regular updates to the core algorithm, November saw the arrival of one of these updates. Roll out started mid-month and finished on the 30th, but any volatility to rankings was recorded right at the start of roll out.

                Search Engine Land accumulated data from several sources, all of which fed into the same narrative: the rollout hit hard in the first day or so, but then impact slowed down quite quickly. For example, SEMRush record ‘very high’ volatility on the 18th, one day after rollout. This then drops down to ‘normal’ the next day.

                SEMRush SERP volatility for the last 30 days in November 2021 after Google Core Algorithm update graph
                Source: SEMRush


                SEMRush’s sensor defaults to US search results, however when compared against the UK volatility levels aren’t too disimilar.

                This is equally very similar to how rankings reacted to the July update, but with an even quicker cool down. So despite it being the worst timing for ecommerce sites, this update hasn’t caused too much upheaval. Within our charity clients, we also haven’t seen any massive changes.

                SEMRush SERP volatility for the last 30 days in November 2021 after Google Core Algorithm update graph
                Source: SEMRush


                This is equally very similar to how rankings reacted to the July update, but with an even quicker cool down. So despite it being the worst timing for ecommerce sites, this update hasn’t caused too much upheaval. Within our charity clients, we also haven’t seen any massive changes.



                Disavowal Files: they may take longer to update than you think

                In a recent hangout session, Google’s John Mueller touched on the topic of disavowal files. Specifically, how long it can take them to affect search rankings.


                What is the disavowal file?

                The disavowal file is a list that is submitted to Google. It contains pages or entire domains that link to your site, that you don’t want Google to associate with you. It’s intention is to help Google avoid associating your site with spammy websites, although Google has gotten better at recognising these types of links itself (and ignoring them).

                The disavowal file is not a tool to be used lightly; if used incorrectly it can do a fair amount of damage to your organic performance. This happens when you accidentally disavow links that were giving your site authority, and therefore good value opposed to bad.

                Rather than disavowing random links you think look bad, Mueller said you should be using the disavowal file for links where you are potentially responsible (through outreach activity).


                How quickly can it impact rankings?

                Mueller actually confirmed on this hangout that the file is only taken into account when they re-process the links pointing to your site, which isn’t an everyday occurrence. It also isn’t all done in one go, so incremental change occurs rather than a singular update. Meaning, the impact of the disavowal file is ongoing over several months.

                So, if you update the file and see an immediate change to your rankings days after, you might want to look further afield. The disavowal file is unlikely to be the cause.



                Better Job Descriptions, better visibility!

                Google have revealed they have ‘uncovered an opportunity to improve your job posting pages, and it only takes a few changes to the description field’.

                If you publish job vacancies on your site, then through the application of JobPosting Structured Data you can target Google’s job search. This can help your site gain higher visibility in a competitive search environment. Google uses the data you include in your JobPosting Structured Data to populate the listing, so it’s worth ensuring it’s as informative and relevant as possible.

                To help make this possible, Google have published a little extra guidance to make the description contains everything a user may need to know to make a decision. That guidance is to review the description field in the JobPosting Structured Data and ensure it contains all information you’ve included in additional, specific fields (like the qualifications listed under the qualifications property). Essentially, duplicate information included in other fields so description encompasses it all.

                By doing this, the description box on Google’s job search becomes a much more insightful place! This sounds like a useful little tip to us and is one we look forward to testing in the future.



                Did we miss anything?

                If there was anything else that happened in November that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                  SEO Highlights for September and October

                  SEO written on paper with pencils

                  Autumn is here, bringing with it thick jumpers, PSLs and SEO highlights galore. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.



                  Continuous scrolling on mobile

                  Continuous scrolling has rolled out to mobile search results in the US. Now, when you reach the end of page 1 more search results load automatically without you needing to do anything. In fact, you can scroll through up to 4 pages of results before needing to click a ‘load more’ button. If your pages are ranking just off page 1 at the moment, then your visibility just got the opportunity to be greater.

                  Continuous scrolling is an interesting change as it does open up the competition between search results. Users are given more options to browse before needing to click anything. There’s some debate over how much this will affect CTR and traffic, though we can’t see this update stealing too much traffic from the top positions at this stage. Though we’ll understand more when this update is released more worldwide.



                  12 Structured Data Fields no longer used by Google

                  In October Google removed 12 Structured Data fields from their help documents, claiming the fields removed were ‘unused by Google Search and Rich Results Test doesn’t flag warnings for them’. In other words, they no longer do anything for your SEO.

                  For those not in the know, Structured Data is a piece of code embedded in the head of a page. Visible to search engines only, it is used to provide search engines with the key details they need to know from that page, helping them understand the page much quicker during crawls.

                  The fields being removed are:

                  1. Structured Data type: HowTo

                  Field: description

                  1. Structured Data type: QAPage

                  Fields: mainEntity.suggestedAnswer.author, mainEntity.dateCreated, mainEntity.suggestedAnswer.dateCreated, mainEntity.acceptedAnswer.author, mainEntity.acceptedAnswer.dateCreated, and mainEntity.author

                  1. Structured Data type: SpecialAnnouncement

                  Fields: provider, audience, serviceType, address, and category fields.


                  Do you need to do anything in response to this?

                  As Google is simply ignoring these fields now, you don’t need to worry about removing them, though please be aware that Google equally won’t inform you of any issues with these fields either. Instead, we recommend simply refraining from using these fields in any future Structured Data added to your site.



                  Core Web Vitals: What was the impact?

                  As one of the most anticipated changes to search this year, there’s been discussion in the SEO community as to how extensive the impact of the Page Experience Update is since it finished rolling out for mobile in August.

                  The result is disappointingly, but not unexpectedly, vague. Many sites responded to the planned update by having their developers focus on improvements that would enable their sites to fall inline with target scores for the Core Web Vital metrics. Where site changes were deployed with the specific intention to improve scores for Core Web Vital metrics, it is almost impossible to isolate the impact. Summer 2021 saw a lot of change on Google Search, with many confirmed and unconfirmed updates going live, leading to a search landscape that was already full of temperamental rankings (see Mordy Oberstein’s Tweets on ranking volatility in 2021). And with the update release taking several weeks, the introduction of Page Experience was also too gradual for any ranking changes to be attributed to the release of the Page Experience update.

                  From a data perspective, this has proven to be quite frustrating, with clients wanting to know the impact of putting time and resource into improving the page experience of their site. An impact we can’t honestly provide at this stage.

                  Discussion is also revolving around how we measure this impact too. Though an organic change would be reflected in rankings, this update looks at the usability of the site. Usability affects all channels, at which point metrics such as conversion rate perhaps become more telling. Though indicative of UX improvements generally, conversion rate won’t tell you if Core Web Vitals are affecting your organic performance in search results, just that you’re converting well with the audience you do attract. So a telling metric, but not one that gives the full story for SEO.

                  Though some tools claim they can see improvements in sites which pass the CWV assessment (meaning your site meets criteria for all 3 metrics), that improvement still appears to be quite minor, with Sistrix seeing a 3.7% improvement in visibility by the end of the update rollout (this is just for domains that pass CWV). And even then they admitted they couldn’t isolate it from other ranking factors.

                  So, the advantage of optimising for CWV, from an organic sense at least, still remains unclear. As others have argued, page experience helps with conversions, making it a factor you still need to consider outside of your SEO. Perhaps the desktop rollout planned for February 2022 will provide more insight?



                  Google Chrome testing new features

                  Google took to their Chromium blog last month to reveal two new features they’re testing: Side Search and Journeys. Both are designed to help users engage with search results and find the information they want.


                  Side Search

                  Side search is a feature that means the user can now access the search results page for their query whilst viewing one of the pages, seeing both at once. The search results are shown in a side panel, enabling the user a more fluid ability to jump between different pages. Google claim the intention behind this feature is to enable better comparison of search results. It’s a feature I’d imagine will be utilised more with transactional queries – people looking for a restaurant or gift hunting for example.

                  With this feature I think bounce and exit rates will be the metric to monitor – it’ll suddenly become a lot easier, and perhaps more tantalising, for the user to jump around. Engagement will also become much more paramount – capturing the user’s attention quickly and efficiently will be necessary to reduce the distraction side search will offer.

                  To try this tool yourself, you need the Chrome OS Dev Channel on your desktop. Happy jumping!



                  Google also revealed Journeys, a tool which will help group together your search history into relevant groups. This can make it easier for you to re-visit pages, rather than needing to sift through your search history or trying to recreate your original search journey. Though this isn’t a feature I can see impacting organic search for individual sites, it is a change likely to impact UX in search as a whole.

                  This will only work for searches on a given device, Journeys doesn’t work across devices yet. Google speculate there may be potential for that adaptation down the line, but for now Journeys is restricted. To try Journeys for yourself, Google are rolling it out as an experiment on Chrome Canary on desktop. I’d imagine pending on feedback this will be rolled out more widely soon.



                  Did we miss anything?

                  If there was anything else that happened over the last few months that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                    Core Web Vitals

                    Core Web Vitals

                    Google added the core web vitals into its algorithms earlier this year, but many organisations are finding it labour-intensive, confusing and time-consuming to improve their scores. So we asked our friends at Pedalo to explain how you can maximise your core web vitals in the simplest and most effective ways…


                    What are the core web vitals?


                    With the core web vitals, Google is trying to evaluate website user experience (UX) and prioritise the most user-friendly sites in its search rankings. They want searchers to have a seamless, high-quality experience both when searching and when clicking on a website in the results listings.


                    The core web vitals judge UX in terms of the speed at which content becomes visible and interactive for users. This is important because as page loading time increases, bounce rate increases and user satisfaction decreases; research suggests that a five-second increase in website loading time is responsible for a huge 106% increase in bounce rate.


                    Unlike some other search engine ranking factors, the core web vitals are based on user/field data. In other words, they reflect how real people experience and interact with your website. By improving your core web vitals scores, your website will feel faster and better for users.


                    As the core web vitals affect SEO, it’s important to make your site fast and user-friendly or you’re likely to see reduced search engine rankings and less organic traffic.


                    What makes up the core web vitals scores?


                    The core web vitals are made up of three website speed and user experience measurements. It’s worth noting that Google gives separate core web vitals scores for each of your webpages, and separate scores for mobile and desktop.


                    The three core web vitals are:


                    • Largest Contentful Paint

                    Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures how long it takes for a page’s heaviest content element to appear. The score is based on the loading experience for real-world users, rather than on technical or backend speed performance. A good LCP is considered to be under 2.5 seconds.


                    • First Input Delay (FID)

                    First Input Delay (FID) measures how long it takes your website to respond to user interactions, such as clicking links or pressing buttons. A good score FIP is 100ms or less.


                    • Cumulative Layout Shift

                    Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) measures how visually stable your site is. The higher your CLS score, the more your content moves around – for example, by text shifting to make space for images, or message boxes popping up. A good CLS measurement is considered to be 0.1 or less.




                    Do you need all ‘green’ core web vitals?


                    You can check your core web vitals in Google Search Console. However, we’ve noticed that Google keeps changing the way it scores, meaning that your results may fluctuate from day to day.


                    The core web vitals use field data, which is accumulated over a period of time. This makes it tricky, and slow, to improve your scores, as field data takes a while to catch-up with any website changes.


                    Whilst it’s definitely worth doing what you can to improve your core web vitals – both for SEO and better user experience – you’re unlikely to need full ‘green’ status across all of your webpages. Following our tips below and getting into the ‘amber’ is good enough for most websites and will save you hundreds of hours making technical changes without worthwhile results.


                    We also find that the core web vitals scores often don’t seem to tally with other measures of website speed and performance, such as Google PageSpeed (which uses lab data reflecting a specific moment in time). It’s worth bearing in mind that it’s often quicker and more effective to make improvements to these scores instead.


                    Easy and effective ways to improve core web vitals


                    Here are our top three ways to improve your core web vitals.

                    1. Focus on images


                    You’d be surprised at how many website-owners forget to optimise their imagery and still wonder why their website is slow. As images are usually the heaviest elements on a webpage, they’re often responsible for slow loading times and poor LCP scores.


                    Fortunately, optimising your images is one of the quickest and simplest ways to improve site speed and core web vitals.


                    Firstly, make sure to resize and compress your images. If you have a WordPress website, you can do this with an image optimisation plugin, such as Smush. Alternatively, use a tool such as Photoshop or Pixlr to crop and shrink your images before uploading to your site.


                    Secondly, enable webp image conversion. Webp images are super-rapidly loading versions for mobile. With the majority of internet sessions taking place on mobile devices, speeding up your site’s mobile image performance offers a huge boost to your core web vitals.


                    If you have a WordPress website, you can install the WebP Express plugin. For non-WordPress sites, try converting images to webp yourself or speak to your web support agency for other solutions.


                    Thirdly, make sure to enable lazy loading. This delays the loading of images which are out of sight until users scroll down, dramatically improving initial loading speeds and LCP scores.


                    2. Minify CSS and JS


                    Web developers use Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) and JavaScript (JS) files to mark-up and add comments to your website code.


                    To improve your core web vitals, it’s important to minify these files – in other words, to reduce their size and remove any unnecessary information. This increases site speed and improves user experience whilst preserving the key information needed to ensure your website loads correctly.


                    If you have a WordPress site, minification can be done simply and easily with a free plugin, such as WP-Optimize. For other websites, you can try minifying the code yourself with a free online tool such as minifier.org.


                    3. Reduce third-party scripts


                    Google Analytics, Google Maps, YouTube and many other common third-party services add a lot of additional scripts to your website. Whilst some are crucial for functionality, others may be unnecessary or may be significantly slowing down your site.


                    We recommend removing any third-party services which are non-essential. For essential scripts, you can try removing the script on webpages where it’s not specifically needed, or loading the script using the async or defer attribute.


                    For more information, check out this Google article about how to minimise the impact of third-party scripts.


                    Core web vitals: the bottom line


                    The core web vitals are a measure of your website’s user experience, particularly in terms of speed. As your scores impact your Google search engine rankings, it’s well worth following the tips above to improve site and SEO performance.


                    However, most websites would need hundreds of minor changes to gain full ‘green’ core web vitals status. And even if you reach ‘green’, Google could change its scoring system the next day!


                    So, action our suggestions and keep an eye on your core web vitals scores but don’t worry too much. The core web vitals are only measure one small component of website and search engine performance.



                    Pedalo is an award-winning London-based digital agency with two decades of experience. It specialises in providing support, development and maintenance for WordPress and Drupal websites.



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                      SEO Highlights in August

                      SEO New Round Up August 2021

                      Has everyone been enjoying the summer holidays? Whilst we might have taken time off to relax over the past few weeks, SEO has continued to be hard at work. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.



                      Page Experience is live!

                      The roll out of the long-awaited Page Experience update is complete! Starting in mid-June, Google took to Twitter to announce the update was complete 2nd September.



                      Since the roll out began we have yet to see any significant changes to rankings for any of our clients. This isn’t surprising, as Google deliberately released this update gradually to prevent any abrupt changes to results. Though page experience is important, it is but one of many ranking factors Google considers. This is helpful in some ways, but it does make the impact difficult to isolate. Despite the lack of apparent change we’re still pushing for clients to update their sites and meet Google’s targets. After all, page experience doesn’t just affect organic traffic – there’s an omnichannel benefit to having good page experience.


                      Search Console data glitch in August

                      Google admitted to a little mishap on 23rd-24th August, where:

                       “An internal problem caused a data loss in Search and Discover performance during this period. Users might see a significant data drop in their performance reports during this period. This does not reflect any drop in clicks or impressions for your site, only missing data in Search Console.”

                      The performance report is a key Search Console report used in SEO. It gives us insight into how the site is performing and provides a lot of data around keywords such as clicks, impressions, CTR and the ranking position. All integral information to knowing what’s working and what isn’t.

                      Frustratingly, this isn’t data that will be backfilled; that data is permanently lost. This means that performance data for that period should be taken with a pinch of salt. Where you might see a drop on those days, there’s a good chance the data simply hasn’t been recorded and the data is incorrect.



                      Page Titles

                      Page titles seem to be getting some headline space this month!


                      An update to Page Title generation

                      First, Google published a blog where they announced changes had been made to how they generate page titles for search results. Google usually does this when they believe the page title you’ve provided doesn’t describe the page well.

                      Previously, titles could be changed depending on the search query. So where a page title is optimised for Keyword A and shown for Keyword A, Google might generate it’s own page title for Keyword B, which it believes better helps the user. The new system doesn’t have this approach.

                      The new system focuses more on the on-page copy and content visible to users. To be specific Google “consider the main visual title or headline shown on a page, content that site owners often place within <H1> tags or other header tags, and content that’s large and prominent through the use of style treatments”.

                      Use of generated page titles shouldn’t affect rankings. John Mueller confirmed this following SEO chatter on Twitter. Though the title displayed changes, Google does not take anything different into account when ranking the page. CTR, however, may still be affected and is something to monitor.

                      However, Google say they’re making this change to help provide relevant page titles to users, which they don’t believe is consistently achieved by websites at the moment. I don’t find this explanation to be particularly helpful. When developing page titles keyword research, target audience and page contents is taken into consideration; by myself and countless other SEO individuals. So it would be useful to know how Google decides your page isn’t clear enough.

                      Google’s generated meta data often reads quite fragmented too, with bits of text cobbled together. Here’s hoping their generated copy reads more fluidly with this update.


                      A Twitter Study

                      A couple days later, SEO-er BowTiedWookie took to Twitter to share their findings in a little page title study they had conducted. The study looks at ten sites and five hundred keywords – a small scale experiment but the takeaways piqued our interest. Particularly the following: If Google changes the title it is pulling in the H1 >50% of the time.

                      This places even more emphasis on optimising your H1s and getting them right, which Google themselves have done in their latest statement on Page Title Generation. H1s shouldn’t be exact matches of your page titles – page titles may not provide good UX in a heading function. But it’s an ideal spot for the target keyword and should provide contextual relevance.


                      Spam is Nullified

                      Another update Google completed in August was the spam update. Originally planned to take 2 weeks, the roll out ended up extending across 4 weeks.

                      In part of their bid to cleanse our browsers of spam, Google release this latest update, designed to nullify spam. So rather than penalise sites that partook in dodgy link schemes or had built up spammy backlink profiles, they would simply ignore them. This has been an ongoing focus of Google’s since 2016. Spammy sites beware.



                      Did we miss anything?

                      If there was anything else that happened in August that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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                        SEO Highlights in July

                        SEO News Round Up July 2021

                        After a month of updates July wasn’t much quieter, with updates to search continuing to rollout. Google also released more details around their roadmap and plans for MUM, so all in all a month of exciting news for SEO! If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.



                        Core Algorithm Update Part II

                        In our June round up we discussed the introduction of the June Core Algorithm Update and the planned follow up rollout to follow in July. Google again took to Twitter to announce the launch of this update bang on the 1st. Roll out completed on the 12th.

                        As usual Google said no specific site or factor was targeted with this update. It was considered to have less impact to rankings and performance than its June counterpart, which saw a higher level of volatility in the rankings. Of all the updates over the last year July sat in the middle in terms of impact to rankings, having had a higher impact than the December 2020 update. Generally, the consensus seems to be that those investing in good on/off-page SEO practice are reaping the benefits by maintaining stable rankings throughout and after the update, a statement we agree with whole-heartedly.



                        Spam Update Part III

                        On the flip side, there’s also conversation around more spam results rising to the top ranking positions in search. Google has already been taking action to remove spam from search results, with 2 spam updates preceding the July update. Despite these actions is seems some spam is continuing filter through to the search results, though with the amount of spam out there that is unsurprising.

                        Google has now taken further action and released a third spam update; this one aiming to fight link spam more broadly and across multiple languages. The update will nullify link spam – meaning rather than penalise a site for having spammy links, the spammy links will simply be ignored. This will render any efforts to build links through questionable methods (such as link schemes), pointless.



                        MUM’s Roadmap Revealed

                        Back in May Google announced a new AI being introduced to search: MUM. In July Google’s VP of Search, Pandu Nayak, spoke to Search Engine Land about the short and long-term plans for the development of the AI.


                        Short Term: Removal of language barriers

                        One of the early insights we had into MUM is its capability to go through all content, regardless of the language, and serve us the pieces that will best serve our needs. As part of this it can translate articles written in languages that aren’t the users native tongue. By being able to transfer knowledge across language barriers, MUM will open up a lot more content to global prospects. In fact, many of Google’s internal teams are using MUM in their own projects for this insight.


                        Medium Term: Multimodality

                        Moving further down the line, the focus then moves to include multimodality functions. This will see image and text results and search queries become more intertwined and informative. He’s also suggesting it would reduce the number of 0 click searches that are cropping up, by providing more information for users to dig into. As 0 click searches provide minimal value to SEO, this is an exciting prospect.


                        Long Term: Connect the dots

                        The longevity behind MUM will be its ability to provide users with a more detailed and satisfying search journey. At the moment restricted, with MUM Google will be able to tackle more complex queries and provide users with more detailed and diverse results that pertain to their needs. So, rather than a user breaking down their question into several sub-questions to get all the information they need, they should be able to search their initial question and have all the information available in one go.


                        No dates put to any of these different elements yet, but MUM looks set to bring some big changes and catch up with how users want to interact with search.



                        Did we miss anything?

                        If there was anything else that happened in July that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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                          SEO Highlights in June

                          SEO news highlights in June

                          Google kicked it up a notch in June, with updates being released left, right and centre! There’s a lot to keep track of as we start to measure the impact of these updates to SEO over the upcoming months; no lazy summer for us. If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.


                          Core Algorithm Update Part 1

                          At the start of June Google unveiled plans to release not one, but two updates to their core search algorithm. This is the first algorithm update of 2021, following the December update 6 months previous. Roll out of the June update started on the 2nd June and completed 12th June, taking just under 2 weeks.

                          Be aware that this update is to be followed up with another core update in July. Google said they chose to do this owing to some updates not being ready for June. Seems there was some changes Google wanted live sooner rather than later. This does mean there’s a slight chance that any impact websites saw to performance in June could be reversed. So we’ll be waiting with bated breath for a few more weeks yet.

                          Generally speaking, early data indicated that impact was predominantly felt in the first few days of the roll out. The depth of impact of the update seems to be up for debate; some claim it was bigger than the last update in December, yet others only saw an impact to a small collection of niches. In fact, the difference with this update was that the SEO community was relatively quiet the first 24 hours following the announcement. Many didn’t notice a change, suggesting this update wasn’t as big as some claim.

                          At Uprise Up we have a strong focus on the charity sector, though we do also have non-charity clients. So far, we’ve seen minimal impact to the performance of our clients, with no drastic changes to rankings or traffic, as a result of the June update. With a sub-focus on health and YMYL, out data suggests these niches saw little impact from the update.


                          Page Experience began rolling out

                          The long-awaited Page Experience update began rolling out this month, on 15th June to be precise. Changes have already happened on search, with non-AMP pages now eligible to feature in the Top Stories carousel. It’ll be interesting to see how many sites continue to use AMP, as its benefits start to be pushed onto regular pages.

                          This update will see a continual slow roll out with all Page Experience elements, including Core Web Vitals, set to be full ranking factors by the end of August. If you’re still in the process of updating your site, that’s your deadline.


                          Introducing Search Console Insights

                          Google have a new report live: Search Console Insights.

                          The report itself seems to act as an accumulation of key insights available on Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA) in one place, with some insights around Social Media as well. Google stated the report is designed to provide ‘an easier way to understand how your content resonates with users’.

                          The report essentially pulls out the key stats from your GA and GSC property to show website owners what their top performing content pieces are, how people are finding them – from top performing channel to insights within these channels – and the time people spend engaging with the content.

                          It does require a bit of set up to work; if your GSC and GA property aren’t linked then you won’t receive the full benefits of this report. So, it’s not a seamless start if you don’t have your GSC and GA properties associated.

                          This tool is currently in beta; no doubt we’ll see further adaptations to the interface in the future. For me, there is value in the interface; if you want to get a quick understanding of site performance it provides just that. However, there’s no individual feature that stands out as being new and intriguing.

                          But I don’t think this tool was built for me. This report seems more targeted to people that aren’t as a familiar with GA and GSC, and therefore would benefit from having a single interface that allows them to see the content and keywords that perform best for them.

                          A nifty interface for some, I want to give this tool more time to grow on me in the upcoming months.



                          Did we miss anything?

                          If there was anything else that happened in June that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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                            SEO Highlights in May

                            SEO News May 2021

                            After being relatively quiet for several months, Google announced a broad core update and their plans for a new language model, called MUM. That’s a lot to digest from an SEO perspective! If you would like regular updates from Uprise Up on the world of digital marketing, follow us on Twitter.


                            Rollout of the June and July broad core updates

                            On 2nd June, Google announced a core algorithm update. This is a general update to Google’s search algorithm, with no indication provided of what could be affected. This time, the announcement mentioned that this update was being split in two, resulting in the June Core Update and the July Core Update, as not all of their planned improvements were ready for a June based rollout.

                            Over the next few weeks, Google has warned that although most sites won’t experience any changes, some could experience drops or gains as the update rolls out. However, they also noted that a few sites may notice changes this month that could then reverse in July due to the two-part nature of this core update.

                            Technically, this update was announced at the beginning of June, but we thought that this announcement was worth mentioning now so that you can be on the look-out for any changes to your content’s performance over the coming weeks. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you notice any particularly interesting side effects of the algorithm update!


                            Google announced their new language model: MUM

                            If we didn’t know it already, Google have confirmed this month that MUM’s the word. In this case, MUM stands for Multitask Unified Model and the technology has been designed to understand more complex search queries so that in future, it will take fewer searches for Google to understand the User’s intention.

                            At the moment, we don’t have a definitive date when MUM will be implemented, but Google has stated that it will ‘bring MUM-powered features and improvements to our products in the coming months and years.’

                            How will MUM work?

                            MUM uses Transformer Information and builds on the BERT update. Designed to be 1000 times better than BERT, Google claims that the technology will be able to understand and generate language. MUM is also multimodal, so it understands information across text and images. In future, Google also hopes that it will have the capacity to understand audio and video. In layman’s terms, this essentially means that Google will be more able to understand the language and context surrounding a search query, with the aim of being able to answer more complicated user queries in fewer searches.

                            Another aspect of the product that could have a dramatic impact on SEO in years to come is the fact that MUM aims to remove the language barriers that currently exist in search. As MUM can understand multiple languages, when a user submits a query, it will look for the most relevant content in any language. Therefore, SERP results could now show webpages written in different languages and translated back into the into the User’s native tongue. The impact of this could be huge, especially for companies seeking to attract an international audience!

                            What does this mean for SEO?

                            It is unclear how the SERP will be affected by these changes overall. MUM will use the most relevant content, whether that’s images or articles written in multiple languages to inform the different aspects of its answer. We don’t yet know how this will affect the search results page. For these complex searches, how will MUM determine which source of information or which part of the answer is the most relevant to the user? Is our current model of having 10 ranked answers becoming outdated?

                            After the MUM update was announced, users took to Reddit to voice these concerns. However, Google’s John Müller tried to alleviate worry by stressing that he didn’t ‘really see how this would reduce the need for SEO. Things always develop… and yet the SEO people still have enough to do.’ So, whilst the impact of MUM is still uncertain, what is for certain is that SEOs should be prepared for the changes that MUM could bring in the future and adapt their processes accordingly.


                            Google continues to roll out ‘About this result’ worldwide

                            Google announced its intentions to make us all more judicious in February 2021 with the ‘About This Result’ feature. The tool is designed to help Users determine credible and reliable information at a time when ‘fake news’ hides around every corner. ‘About This Result’ has been rolling out since then but in May, Google officially announced that they had started implementing this feature to all English results worldwide.


                            About This Result Google


                            They have also promised to implement this feature to other languages in the future and they have teased more details that will be included within the tool later in the year, such as related articles, what other sources say about the site and how the site describes itself. We are excited to see how the expanded use of this tool will help or hinder websites based on Google’s added votes of confidence or concern.


                            Did we miss anything?

                            If there was anything else that happened in May that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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                              SEO Highlights in April

                              April 2021

                              April was a good month for SEO. With deadlines extended and the 2020 Spam Report published, there’s been a lot of information to digest. For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and Uprise Up, you can sign up to our Newsletter.

                              Rollout of the Page Experience Update delayed to June.

                              No doubt many website owners breathed a sigh of relief when Google announced their decision to delay the rollout from May to mid-June. Time pressures have been eased as websites have longer to ensure their pages provide a good page experience. Search Console has also updated to include a new Page Experience Report, which makes it much simpler to see how your site currently performs and understand the areas you need to prioritise.

                              The rollout will now be a more gradual process, with Page Experience not expected to be a full ranking factor until the end of August. This change in tactic will make it harder to measure the impact of the update, as the ranking factors slowly merge with the search algorithm. This change does mean there won’t be any drastic changes to results, which for some sites should soften impact and give them a better chance of resolving any ongoing issues with their performance before the update has any serious detrimental effects.


                              What does the update include?

                              It’s been previously revealed that the Page Experience Update  will consider several signals for page experience, including the metrics included in Core Web Vitals (FID, CLS, LCP).


                              We can see Google is making a clear move away from favouring AMP, with the update set to bring regular non-AMP pages into the results more. AMP will no longer be required to feature in the Top Stories Carousel; once the update goes live all news content will be eligible for this feature. The AMP badge will also be removed from AMP results, removing that distinction. So, if you’re a site that relies on AMP I’d suggest really focusing on guaranteeing your non-AMP pages have similar load times on mobile, because from June onwards AMP is unlikely to provide you the value it once did.


                              Webspam Report 2020.

                              Another year, another Webspam Report was published! As expected, the presence of spam has only continued to grow over the past 12 months, from 25 billion pages being discovered daily in 2019 to 40 billion in 2020.


                              This growth includes increasing levels of hacked spam. Big or small, there’s no discrimination when it comes to being hacked. All sites are vulnerable. In fact, Google found that sites Search Consoles’ were being hacked, with the culprit posing as the Owner and using the ‘request indexing’ feature to get the spammy pages crawled and indexed. A good tool being misused. Whilst Google can take action against hackers, websites can also help through the practice of good security.


                              In the report more emphasis was placed on fighting spam ‘smarter’. As a part of this we can see the continued evolvement of AI, as Google developed a spam-fighting AI. They consider this to be a revolutionary update to their approach to spam and as a result, have reduced sites with auto-generated or scaped content appearing in the SERPs by more than 80% (compared to a few years ago). This advancement definitely highlights the clamping down on low quality content; spam or even content that fails to serve the needs of the user will not be shown.


                              Google has also been focusing their anti-spam efforts more on important topics, such as queries related to Coronavirus. Having spent most of last year in a global pandemic, it was pretty crucial that everyone had access to the right information. Whilst this meant ensuring spam wasn’t given the opportunity to distract and waste the time of users, it also meant curating the SERPs so only high quality up to date information was shown.


                              Though the figures don’t show any big surprises, the latest webspam report does give an indication of Google’s continued restrictions on content they deem low quality. Maintained, high quality content continues to be placed at the forefront of searches.


                              Content Case Study.

                              Towards the end of the month a case study was published that highlights the need to place users at the centre of any SEO strategy. Conducted by Sterling Sky, the case study examines the performance of a local injury law firm in Canada. They had not been ranking well for their target keywords and wanted some help boosting results.


                              The case study flagged that the issue lay in the strategy that had been implemented to date. The site had multiple templated pages, each targeting a different city and service. The content was difficult to access and very similar owing to the template approach. It’s clear this content was built with a focus on ranking, but not on being useful to those that landed on it. By creating content for search engines rather than users, the content didn’t meet expectations.


                              I found this article to be valuable in its takeaways, one being that publishing lots of content can be a bad thing. Quality will always override quantity, websites need to ensure that the content they publish serves a purpose outside ranking in the search results. If the user experience is poor and leaves visitors unfulfilled, then it provides no value to your site.


                              The case study also highlights the need to measure your strategy continuously. Just because you’ve agreed and begun implementation of a strategy, doesn’t mean the strategy is done. No strategy is finite. Measuring and adapting a plan is vital to ensure you stay on track and meet your established objectives.  By testing different tactics you can start to understand what will work for your site. In the case of this example, removing the templated content and redirecting to other built out, informational pages on the site helped the client meet the ranking requirements and increase their levels of organic traffic. A simple, but effective solution.


                              Did we miss anything?

                              If there was anything else that happened in April that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseupSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                                Brighton SEO

                                Once again the SEO Team took to their laptops for 2 days attending the different talks available at Brighton SEO last month. There was a great range of talks to choose from, all delivered by expert talkers, opening up topics for debate and enabling SEOs from across the globe to hone their skills.

                                Our Takeaways

                                After 2 days of attending talks brimming with information, here are the insights and tips we took away from virtual Brighton SEO:

                                1. An internal search results page could end up ranking better than a dedicated category page. As SEO’s, we usually try to have a suitable landing page to help us rank for our target search terms – but after all the optimisation, Google may still opt to prefer the internal search page if it believes it provides a better answer to the user search queries.
                                2. GPT-3 from OpenAI is scarily good at generating human-like text from a prompt. But how can this help us as SEOs? Using GPT-3, it is possible to copy & paste content from a web page and have it summarise the article within ~160 chars for a meta-description. While it may not be perfect, this could be a great timesaver for a situation where you would need to create meta-descriptions for a large number of pages.
                                3. Google cache aggressively and probably won’t listen to your cache-control headers. Images, CSS, JavaScript and API crawls can all be cached and Google may hold onto these for some time to help preserve the crawl budget. Use the URL inspection tools in Search Console to see if Google is seeing your page the way you expect them to.
                                4. Use data to drive your user-centric navbar design! You have plenty of data within Google Analytics that shows how users navigate around your site. Make sure you pick out the most important pages and ensure they are easily navigable to the user.
                                5. We use DevTools regularly, but it’s always been something we pick up as we go. It was great to hear some tips about how we can use this powerful feature of Google Chrome to help within SEO. For example, local overrides can allow you to changes elements of the page locally and run lighthouse tests with your changes. This could be great to see the impact of your Core Web Vitals recommendations before they are handed over to the developers.
                                6. Longform content doesn’t belong in FAQ’s. This area is for users who have been unable to find the content that they were looking for in your existing content and are looking for a pithier response.
                                7. When pitching your new content via email, password protect your articles or emphasise when your post is due to be published. Doing so means that you avoid clients accidentally referencing your content prior to your article being published!
                                8. Image Tags need to go beyond identifying the objects in the image. Consider using topic mapping to identify the links between the objects you are trying to describe, and the areas that you might be missing by keyword search terms.
                                9. Make use of pagination on the comments on your article posts to reduce the DOM size and improve loading speeds.
                                10. Create a Pivot chart in excel based on user traffic to decipher which pages are the most popular on your site. Organising the information this way helps you to identify popular pages that you might have missed from your navbar or highlight the need for a restructure.
                                11. The bigger your site the more at risk you are of index bloat. Rather than letting Google crawl everything, it’s good to have more control over the different pages and sections Google indexes to ensure the focus is on pages that have the potential rank well and bring in leads.
                                12. Neural matching impacts 30% of queries and is used to understand the patterns and concepts behind various search terms. This means your page doesn’t need to match the text, it needs to match the idea behind the search. So think less about keywords and more about the topic.
                                13. When looking at your content, look beyond the keyword. Instead focus on how users interact with the site and products. This can inform any necessary changes to your content. It also allows you to embrace the ‘fuzzy’ keywords: Google wants to match you to users with unclear search terms.
                                14. Accessibility is crucial! Currently, 70% of UK and US sites do not meet accessibility standards, whilst 90% of sites don’t meet accessibility standards worldwide. There’s also data to show that if a disabled person visits a site that isn’t easy to use, there’s only a 12% chance they’ll return.
                                15. When developing an internal linking strategy, consider the pages your backlinks point to. Backlinks are more likely to point to the informational pages on a site, rather than the transactional ones. It’s important that the link equity and value of these backlinks is passed onto the pages more likely to convert.



                                Our Thoughts


                                We checked in with some members of the team so see how they found the experience. For our recent joiner Ellie, it was her first time! When we asked if it lived up to expectations, this is what she had to say:

                                “Overall, I really enjoyed my first Brighton SEO Conference as it gave me a great insight into the many different specialisms that exist within the industry. I’m looking forward to being able to (hopefully!) attend the event in person next time!”

                                Eleanor, Digital Marketing Assistant


                                We also spoke to one of our more senior members of the SEO team.

                                “Having been with Uprise Up for a few years, I’m fortunate enough to say this is not my first time attending Brighton SEO: both off and online. There’s always something to learn from these talks, it’s never time wasted! Over the last few conferences there’s been a growing focus on automation. Whilst it’s generally agreed automating where possible is the way forward, there still seems to be contradiction over what should be automated and what still needs human interference. This is a conversation I can see progressing more in the future.”

                                Aimee, SEO Consultant


                                As lovely as it is to attend Brighton SEO in loungewear, we collectively look forward to having the opportunity to go in person once more.  What were your favourite takeaways? Did something stand out to you that we haven’t mentioned? Feel free to get in contact today and start a conversation, we look forward to hearing from you.

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                                  SEO News Round Up: February 2021

                                  SEO Round Up February 2021

                                  What happened in the world of SEO in February?

                                  February was a calm month for SEO, with just a few changes announced. However, I suggest you keep an eye on results, as these announcements seek to continue Google’s aims of diversifying our search results.


                                  Featured Snippets showed a decline in Feb

                                  There was a decline in the percentage of queries including a Featured Snippet in the SERPs. Across all tools the decline starts from 18th February.


                                  SERP Feature History MozCast
                                  Source: MozCast


                                  Broken down, similar declines have been recorded across desktop and mobile devices. It’s unclear whether this is permanent or Google will increase the percentage back up. Queries impacted are thought to be the shorter, more competitive terms and specific industry categories. Industry-wise, Health, Finance and YMYL were impacted most, though other industries have also seen notable change.


                                  Top Featured Snippet Losses by Industry
                                  Source: Moz


                                  This is an important reminder that whilst Featured Snippets can be golden nuggets when you have one, they are a double-edged sword. You get a boost in visibility and traffic when you have them, but they aren’t permanent. They come and go; losing one can then lead to a reduction in visibility and traffic for that keyword.

                                  It’s worth remembering that when you lose a Featured Snippet you don’t drop down to the next position as you do with regular rankings. You drop back to where you were originally ranking, which is typically further down the page (think positions 4-7). Your visibility, therefore, drops more dramatically than you expect.

                                  Whilst Featured Snippets are unlikely to disappear completely, this is something to monitor. It’s likely Google updating their algorithms to closer match the intent behind search terms, so this is a percentage that could grow again. We’ll find out.


                                  New Association feature on Search Console

                                  Search Console has a new Associations feature available. This function allows you to link up your Search Console property with properties you have in other Google Services.

                                  Associations can link up your Search Console with the following:

                                  • Google Analytics
                                  • Google Ads
                                  • YouTube
                                  • Play Console
                                  • Action Console
                                  • Chrome Web Store

                                  Association is a function worth utilising, it’s a great way to link up your data and see more in one place. The effect of the association does depend on the properties you’re linking up. For instance, linking up your Search Console with your Analytics means you can see organic query data with the Analytics dashboard.

                                  To access the Associations feature, go onto the Settings Menu on your Search Console property.


                                  Metric Boundaries updated for Core Web Vitals

                                  Google has made a minor change to the metrics used to measure Core Web Vitals. The boundaries previously only looked at ‘less than’ the given number. Now, the defined boundaries have been updated to be ‘less than or equal to’. A small change, but one that could make the targets for each metrics more achievable.

                                  The new boundaries for each metric are as follows:

                                  New Core Web Vitals metric boundaries
                                  Source: Search Engine Land


                                  Passage Ranking has gone live in the US

                                  Passage Ranking, first announced in October 2020, went live in US search on Wednesday 10th February. Expected to only affect 7% of searches initially, it’s a change to rankings that is likely to expand in the future-  to affect more searches and more countries.


                                  What is passage ranking?

                                  Passage ranking is where Google indexes passages within your page. The aim is to help Google find information that might be buried in your content. By understanding specific passages within a page Google can then rank that page for more specific queries, thus improving the relevancy of search results and diversifying the results.

                                  We look forward to seeing what the impact is to US search in the coming months.


                                  Did we miss anything?

                                  If there was anything else that happened in February that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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                                    SEO News Round Up: January 2021

                                    SEO Round Up January 2021

                                    What happened in the world of SEO in January?

                                    With competition between search engines growing, new ranking factors being introduced and new tools becoming available, 2021 is going to be a busy year for SEO! For regular updates on the world of digital marketing and our campaign you can sign up to our Monthly Newsletter.


                                    Coverage Data got an Update on GSC

                                    The Search Console coverage report has always provided valued insight into the errors on a site. However, it isn’t perfect. It would seem Google have taken feedback on the report into consideration, and made some changes.

                                    Of these, my favourite change without a doubt is: ‘Removal of the generic “crawl anomaly” issue type – all crawls errors should now be mapped to an issue with a finer resolution’. I don’t find “crawl anomaly” to be a particularly revealing error, so to know more detail will be on offer from now on is reassuring.

                                    A new ‘warning’ has also been introduced: Indexed without content. From now on, this will identify pages on a site that are empty or where Google was unable to read the content. Again, a useful insight to have.

                                    There are still some issues to be addressed, but the changes are a notable improvement.


                                    New Report: Google News Performance

                                    Similar to Discover, data on how your site’s articles perform in Google News can now be found in a bespoke report on the Search Console dashboard.

                                    Google News, for those out of the loop, is separate to Google Search. Accessed via an app or news.google.com, it serves users with a curated feed of news content based on the publishers and topics they are interested in. Therefore, news publishers can rejoice, for they’ll now have access to even more data around the performance of their content and the preferences of their audience.


                                    Google introduced Subtopics as a ranking factor in November

                                    If anyone was able to attend Google’s On Search Event last October, one topic that was discussed was Subtopics. In January, Danny Sullivan confirmed via Twitter that Subtopics had gone live as a ranking factor mid-November.

                                    What are Subtopics?

                                    In the words of Google, Subtopics are ‘neural nets to understand subtopics around an interest, which helps deliver a greater diversity of content when you search for something broad’.

                                    This means that for some of the search terms, Google is showing a range of search results that are focused on the topics related to the original query (Subtopics). This won’t affect all searches, but will focus on broader terms where there is more subtopics variety.

                                    What does this mean?

                                    It’ll be interesting to see how this affects SEO in the long-term. From a strategic perspective, SEOs should cater to this update and start shifting focus from individual keywords and more onto a broader topic focus. Some SEOs already do this, others will be starting to.

                                    Google wants to diversify their search results by offering users a wider range of content that differs from each other, aiming to cater to the different needs of users. This likely means broader keywords are going to come much more competitive. Long-tailed variations are going to become more important as intent is scrutinised even further. It also means there’s a growing, pressing need for unique content that will make your site stand out. Understanding your topic, and any subtopics, in detail will be crucial.


                                    100 Million Searches a Day for DuckDuckGo

                                    DuckDuckGo has hit a new record in January as it finally reached the milestone of attaining 100 million searches in a single day. The search engine was on track to achieve an average of 90 million searches a day for the whole month. Compared to January 2020, this is a 73% improvement year on year. This shows that DuckDuckGo’s prominence is continuing to grow and they pose a growing threat to Google’s position.


                                    They continue to thrive on mobile as well, as they became the second used search engine on mobile in the U.S. As DuckDuckGo boasts of its privacy features, the growth spurt signals an incoming shift to private platforms.


                                    Chrome 88 includes Core Web Vitals metrics

                                    The recently launched Chrome 88 is proving valuable to developers and SEOs as it includes elements that enable you to see the Core Web Vitals metrics along with pre-existing ranking signals. A useful amendment for those preparing for the upcoming Page Experience update.

                                    One element they’ve actioned is to provide the Web Vitals, LCP, FID and CLS, with their own reporting lane in the dev tools. This has also been given more space for more detailed reporting.

                                    Additionally, Chrome 88 now supports a CSS property called aspect-ratio. This allows you to define ratios for certain elements, which can contribute to an improved Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) score.

                                    Some useful additions we look forward to utilising.


                                    Did we miss anything?

                                    If there was anything else that happened in January that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseupSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.


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                                      A Very Different Brighton SEO: Highlights and Takeaways.

                                      Brighton SEO

                                      Brighton SEO 2020

                                      Ever wanted to turn up to Brighton SEO in your pyjamas? While it’s unlikely there’s a rule preventing you from doing so, there’s a good chance that 50% of the attendees seized the opportunity at last week’s conference. With all the talks being released in a video format online, I generally thought that the format of the conference worked great. Having the ability to pause and rewind the talks was extremely useful, although I did often find myself falling behind on my schedule.

                                      As per usual, there was hosting of different talks on different topics presented by some new and familiar faces. We did our best to cover as many of these as possible, and have collated some of our favourite ideas and takeaways from the events below.

                                      Key Takeaways

                                      1. If you want to understand the technical performance of your competitors, site search and XML sitemap cross-referencing is a great way to get a quick idea of your competitor’s indexing on Google.
                                      2. With Digital PR, often the small pieces you outreach alongside big campaigns can provide a lot of support, or even outperform. Whether it’s little pieces made from desktop research or articles using statistics sites, never underestimate the little content wins.
                                      3. When completing keyword research, user intent is becoming even more crucial. Especially for eCommerce, bear in mind how your user refers to your products – if you refer to them differently users are likely to struggle to find these products, on your site and in search.
                                      4. Need a boost to your internal linking strategy? Consider pagination. As Google crawls these links it’s a good way to ensure content doesn’t get lost. Though pagination can’t be relied on for full content accessibility.
                                      5. Using the “Fuzzy Lookup” add-in for Excel can help speed up tasks such redirect mapping and 404 mapping. Fuzzy lookup allows you to combine to datasets and help to locate the most similar value from one set to the other. A useful add-in that I’d previously never heard of!
                                      6. Introducing Python and machine learning into part of your SEO strategy is becoming increasingly popular and great way to save time. Got a site of thousand of images and no alt-text? Consider using MMF, a Python library that uses machine learning to describe what an image is portraying to be used for alt-text.
                                      7. Using headless CMS is becoming an increasingly popular way to create and publish content. It has many advantages of a traditional CMS, such as WordPress, and doesn’t contain the usual bloatware that come with them.
                                      8. Look at your client’s log files. It’s not always easy to get hold a of site’s log files, but doing so can contain valuable information on how Google crawls your site. Analysing these logs can tell you how Google crawls your site and can inform whether you may need to make changes to your site’s structure.
                                      9. A common marketing mistake is to try and present a brand as the best, which can be difficult for brands to prove and consumers to validate. All brands need to do is prove they aren’t the worst. Brands can be successful sitting in the middle of this spectrum.
                                      10. Large scale Featured Snippet acquisition could be achievable by an update to the back-end coding design, whilst the front-end design of websites remains untouched. Time to get in touch with your developers!


                                      Were you attending this year’s BrightonSEO? Please comment below what your main takes were. And, as always if you have any questions about SEO do contact us.

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                                        Page Experience Update

                                        Page Experience Update

                                        As we said in last month’s Round Up, May was a busy month for SEO! We started the month with a Core Update and finished it with Google revealing the upcoming arrival of another search update: the page experience update.


                                        What is the Page Experience Update?

                                        The Page Experience update will update the signals Google examines and considers when ranking a page in organic search. Page Experience is a part of User Experience (UX) and looks at the how well different elements of a webpage perform to determine how accessible and engaging the page is for users. If a webpage performs well, it will get a good page experience score. Following the update, achieving a high page experience score will be important for good rankings in search.

                                        Basically, Page Experience is joining SEO and UX in search matrimony.

                                        As part of the update a new ranking signal will be included in Google’s search algorithm, one that looks at metrics associated with the page experience of a webpage. Confirmed metrics that will be considered are the ones observed by Google’s Core Web Vitals.

                                        Some page experience signals already taken into consideration by Google include:


                                        • Mobile Responsiveness
                                        • HTTPS
                                        • Intrusiveness


                                        These signals are being extended upon on a yearly basis as Google identifies more areas that contribute to a good page and user experience.


                                        Graphic highlighting the different page experience ranking signals

                                        Source: Google


                                        What are Core Web Vitals?

                                        Core Web Vitals (CWV) are the metrics Google uses to quantify user experience. They’re the universal usability dimensions that apply to all websites.

                                        CWV is a step closer to understanding and gaining a better ability of measuring page speed. It’s also a confirmation for us that page speed is a ranking factor for Google (which we’ve always suspected!), with a revealed target load time of 2.5 seconds.

                                        Metrics included in CWV are:

                                        Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): measures perceived load time and identifies when the majority of content has loaded.

                                        First Input Delay (FID): measures responsiveness and interactivity by identifying the time between a user initiating an interaction and that the page responding to that initiation.

                                        Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability and the unexpected layout shift of visible page content.



                                        Why focus on Page Experience?

                                        Google has always placed emphasis on creating websites that appeal to the user rather than search engine algorithms. To do this the user needs to be the centre focus of any content or design implementation. The better a page experience is, the happier a user is and the more likely they’ll return to your site on another occasion.

                                        Informative, relevant content is a vital step to bringing users to your site and engaging. However, this can easily be thwarted by other on-page elements.

                                        It is no longer enough to just have good content. The content needs to be accessible. Google is zooming out and looking more and more at the overall performance of the page. If a page is slow to load or has poor interactivity, users can be quick to escape the poor UX and bounce off your page. Taking page experience into account will help prevent usability and accessibility from restricting your website’s potential.



                                        What will change as a result of the update?

                                        There will be more requirements for your page to rank well in organic search. Page Experience looks at more than the content on your site, it looks at how that content is presented, how it can be interacted with and how accessible it is to users of all capabilities. Usability and accessibility are elements websites have already been encouraged to incorporate in their digital marketing; ones that have done so shouldn’t expect too much to change.

                                        As part of this update, Google will be making additional amendments to Top Stories eligibility. Once the update is rolled out AMP will no longer be needed to be eligible to appear in Top Stories on mobile devices. This will increase competition for Top Stories, but those with AMP implemented now shouldn’t expect to see any change to behaviour (according to Google).

                                        Google’s developer tools, such as Lighthouse and PageSpeed Insights will also be updating to help websites with optimising and identifying where page experience issues are.



                                        How will the page experience update affect SEO?

                                        This update is placing the user right at the centre (as if they weren’t there already?!) and by extension your SEO should be doing the same. By doing this a lot of your SEO strategy doesn’t change, as nothing should be subtracted from your current plan. But, your plan should grow as more areas need to be reviewed to ensure your landing pages consider page experience in order to rank well in organic search.

                                        Content will still be key; page experience will not usurp this signal. Google have stated that they will prioritise the pages that have the best content and information overall, even if some of there page experience elements are subpar. Page Experience is not replacing any current SEO requirements, your content still needs to be top notch.

                                        Accessibility will become more integral to your SEO strategy. This includes elements such as accurate captions on videos, alt tags that accurately describe images, clear easy to read font and a user journey that is easy to follow and enables a high conversion rate. We recommend speaking to your agency or in-house experts about User Experience. You’ll want to review the conversion journeys on your site too, so CRO is another service to consider.

                                        In terms of service relations, your developers may find themselves working more closely with your SEO team. The page experience update will involve reviewing the usability and accessibility of your website design, by ensuring it loads quickly, is responsive and that the design isn’t intrusive. For all this to be optimised, your web developers need to be aligned with your SEO team.



                                        When will the update be released?

                                        Google have said we should not expect the update to roll out before next year, and that they will provide at least 6 months notice ahead of rolling out the update. This means we have plenty of time, with the update potentially not even launching until 2022. This early notice period is to ensure websites have plenty of time to prepare, review and update their websites ahead of the update. Google does not believe there is any need for immediate action, and we agree. However, it is important to start discussions now to ensure your SEO strategy takes this update into consideration over the upcoming months.


                                        Update April 2021

                                        In April 2021, Google announced that introducing the page experience ranking signal for search would begin a gradual rollout in mid June 2021.


                                        Want to chat SEO?

                                        We recommend you make the most of this opportunity to get ahead, and we’re happy to help. If you want to talk to us about your SEO and the UX of your website, please do email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to have a chat and find out how we can support you.

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                                          SEO News Round Up: May 2020

                                          SEO Round Up May 2020

                                          What happened in the world of SEO in May?

                                          May started with a bang and has produced some great updates in the world of SEO. Read more to find out what our highlights are in SEO news this month.


                                          Google update: May 2020

                                          It happened! 4 months after the January update Google took to Twitter to announce the roll out of another algorithm update. Dubbed the May 2020 Core Update, it took 2 weeks to fully roll out. Many in the SEO community claim it’s the biggest update search has seen in a while.


                                          What happened?

                                          As usual, Google haven’t specified exactly what the update was targeting. Whilst core updates are intended to have a broad focus, content has been a key focus for Google and SEO in the last couple years. Recent Core Updates have focused on rewarding content regularly reviewed and updated, so it isn’t shocking to suggest that content is again the focus on the May 2020 Core Update.


                                          What impact did we see?

                                          Following the started release of the update we’ve seen a mixed impact to our clients, with some losing rankings and others gaining. There was a lot of volatility and fluctuations in rankings during the roll out process, but most of the change appeared to be off page 1 search results. Search results ranking on page 2 and onwards typically experience higher levels of volatility, so this wasn’t too concerning to us.


                                          What should we do?

                                          In their Twitter announcement Google link to their updates guidelines. There, they state that the updates aren’t about harming the performance of your content, but about rewarding good content that wasn’t getting the recognition, or rankings, it deserved in organic search.

                                          That being said, if you have seen some keywords dropping it’s still not good to drastically change your SEO strategy in light of a Google Update; particularly if your website has a history of yoyoing in rankings from update to update. It’s very likely that any ranking changes you see in the first few days may level out. Wait until rankings have had some time to stabilise before taking any precautionary actions.  Review your site, identify the weaknesses (whether that be technical or content) and feed those into your current strategy.


                                          Keep SEO and coding simple

                                          Search Developer Martin Splitt joined an indexing and crawling session at Search Engine Land, where he discussed how some websites can overcomplicate their coding to overcome non-existent issues.

                                          Internal Linking via JS

                                          It would appear in our desire to be better SEO and Web Developers can often overcomplicate a solution, or needlessly create an issue with clever coding. Interal linking is cited as a common issue that is overcomplicated. A number of links are still invisible to Google owing to the way they are implemented on a website. We’ve seen this ourselves on client websites, where we as users know the link is there, but search engines don’t. This is often because the link is added through javascript rather than a HTML link tag. Invisible links are harmful to your SEO, as they restrict visibility and can lead to crawl errors.

                                          We considered ourselves warned: clever, over-engineered shortcuts aren’t great, and can actually hurt our SEO more than help.


                                          Google suggests customised searches for users

                                          A new search feature update is being rolled out on Google. When a user does a search on Google will begin to use that search history data to suggest customised search results to you.

                                          This new feature does appear to be a restricted update at the moment; you have to be logged into your Google account to have access. Google is also only able to use search history data from your current search session. This means customised search suggestions won’t be influenced by your search activity from a month ago. However, it’s another step towards encouraging users to consider the language they use in search, following on from Google’s update to search results that don’t adequately answer a search query. We look forward to seeing how these features influence search habits.


                                          New Search Console Reports

                                          Another month, another update to Google Search Console reports. This month 2 new reports have been made available on the tool. The Speed report has also had an update.


                                          SpecialAnnouncement Enhancement Report

                                          One of the reports released is for SpecialAnnouncement Schema markup. This is a follow up action from the release of the markup last month. SpecialAnnouncement markup was released to help local businesses and communities make Covid-19 announcements via Google Search. Creation of the report will help these businesses see any implementation errors or issues with the markup.


                                          Guided Recipe Enhancement Report

                                          Additionally, Google has released a new report for Guided Recipe markup. This is a form of Recipe schema, designed to help your recipes be found and used on Google Assistant and by voice search technology. This is a good step in the right direction, as previously you had to wait for webpages to re-crawl a page before you could see any updates via Google Assistant. This report should speed up the validation process.

                                          You can also check your Guided Recipe markup via the Rich Results Test Tool. To use this tool you just need to add the markup to your page. Then you can submit the URL on the tool and it will test the page to see if it is valid for rich snippets (a search result with enhanced features) in search results. The tool will offer suggestions for improvement or show you any errors with your implementation.


                                          Web Vitals replaces Speed Report

                                          Google has swapped out the old Speed Report. Now, we have the Core Web Vitals report, located within the Enhancement reports section. Core Web Vitals is a Chrome Extension Google announced earlier in the month


                                          Core Web Vitals on Search Console Dashboard


                                          What’s changed? 

                                          The metrics Google uses for measurement has changed from the original speed report, which suggests Google is using certain speed metrics to judge the performance of a website. These metrics are: LCD, FID and CLS. All 3 give an indicate of how good the user experience (UX) will be on that page.

                                          • LCD (Largest Contentful Paint): measures loading performance by marking the point when the main content on the page has likely loaded.
                                          • FID (First Input Delay): measures when interactivity is working, as it tells you when a user first tries to interact with the page and the time when the page responds to that interaction.
                                          • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): measures visual stability. The more content doesn’t shift around unexpectedly the better the UX.

                                          URLs that don’t have enough data for these metrics are excluded from the report, so it won’t necessarily provide a 100% insight. But, it appears that ensuring your webpages perform well for all 3 metrics will be vital by name and nature if you want Google to deem you site as high performance.


                                          Bing says Yes (or No)

                                          Bing has also been busy developing new search features. There latest update means Bing can now answer your search queries with a simple yes or no. Bing then backs up their answer by citing different websites.

                                          This is just part of Bing’s development strategy to utilise AI in their search algorithms. Their algorithm is able to understand and cross-reference the language of multiple sources and deduce a yes/no answer, even if the sources used and reviewed by Bing do not explicitly state that.

                                          For SEO, it’ll be worth monitoring search queries where this is likely to affect the search results. With Bing providing clear, concise answers within the SERPs, there’s potential for the CTRs of these queries to be impacted by this update. As Search Engine Land also comments, we should also monitor impressions and visibility change.

                                          Bing’s Yes/No summary feature is live in the US and looking to roll out in other search markets soon.


                                          Page Experience Evaluation Changes Incoming

                                          Google have announced changes are coming to how they measure the performance of a page. Called the Page Experience Update, Google will be updating their ranking factors to take page experience metrics, such as the ones in Core Web Vitals, into consideration more.


                                          Stay Tuned!

                                          This planned update is a big step towards ensuring website’s produce pages that users like, and is something we’ll be exploring in much more depth next month.


                                          Did we miss anything?

                                          If there was anything else that happened in May that caught your eye, feel free to tweet us at upriseUPSEM, email us at [email protected], or simply send us a message through our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.

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                                            Five Great Talks At Search Leeds

                                            Search Leeds Conference 2019

                                            Search Leeds Conference 2019

                                            This year’s Search Leeds conference didn’t disappoint. All the talks I went to were great, and reflected the continuing journey of SEO from being an opaque technical skill, as it was often seen in the early 2000’s, to the business-critical discipline that it is today.

                                            Here are my notes from the five talks that I found most useful:


                                            1. Why most SEO audits are sh*t

                                            The speaker, Bastain Grimm, is an experienced SEO who went directly from the conference to the EU Search Awards where he won ‘Search Personality of the year’. Over the years we’ve put a lot of work into the style and readability of our SEO audits and continue to do so. Several of the points he made resonated with me:

                                            • Include an executive summary – a snapshot of why you’re doing this audit, what you’ve found and what you recommend
                                            • Put detailed technical findings into an appendix
                                            • Report on causes, as well as symptoms
                                            • Ensure your recommendations are actionable, prioritised and include an estimate of impact

                                            Check out Bastian’s slides here


                                            1. The business value of SEO

                                            Jenn Hoffman, Marketing Director at Deepcrawl, covered the familiar problem of showing the value of SEO work to stakeholders and decision makers. She proposed three solutions:

                                            • Becoming customer obsessed
                                            • Reporting on business impact metrics
                                            • Making friends with your Development team

                                            Key points for me were around how we can further develop the relationship between our SEO team and our clients’ / partners’ tech developers. When did an SEO last take a developer out for a beer? Do they know:

                                            • If devs work to sprints, or how their workflow works?
                                            • What comms platforms they work on?

                                            Full slide deck here


                                            1. Personalisation in a search journey

                                            Gary Arnold, Strategic Consulting Director at Edit, (the agency behind Search Leeds). A possibly confusing title to this talk, Gary discussed the need for employees in an agency to have multiple skills.

                                            Partly it’s the responsibility of agency owners to keep their staff motivated, happy and fulfilled (and with better career prospects), partly to give your agency the edge, and partly because in 5-10 years’ time a good deal of SEO work will be done by machines. SEOs need wider skills to maintain their employability.

                                            He used the ‘comb-shaped skills’ analogy: what process understanding do your people need – the base of the comb, and what technical skills do they need – the multiple teeth of the comb.

                                            Check out Gary’s slides here


                                            1. Put your money where your data is

                                            Samantha Noble, a paid media expert currently at Biddable Moments, formerly Director of Strategy at Koozai.

                                            She talked about the wonders of  Google Data Studio (‘GDS’) and came up with some great ideas I’d not thought about:

                                            • Supermetrics is a clever tool that allows you to pull data into GDS from multiple sources. We use it a lot at Uprise Up, but I’d not personally thought about using it to pull in data from Google My Business to report on local SEO performance.
                                            • Supermetrics also enables you to report on site speed (from Google Analytics) and shows you which section or pages of the site is slowing it down. Whilst GA is never in my experience that accurate at reporting site speed, it’s the relative reporting here that is so useful
                                            • Embed a URL into GDS so you can see the page you’re reporting on
                                            • Mailchimp (or other email marketing tool) integration – showing how your email campaigns are performing, without having to login to anything other than GDS
                                            • Google Ads auction insights: reporting on campaign performance, and interestingly, which other organisations the campaign is competing with
                                            • Deals with conversion windows for Facebook ads & Google Ads. The problem, in summary, is that advertising platforms in general will take the credit for a website conversion using last click attribution. For example, imagine if someone first sees your website on Google. They visit your site and follow you on Facebook. After a few weeks they go back to your site from Facebook and make a purchase. Very often a performance report will attribute that sale to Facebook, when in fact it should be attributed to Google. Samantha explained that Data Studio deals with this ‘attribution’ issue. This is one I need to investigate further!

                                            Full slide deck here


                                            1. One Search – Combining your organic and paid strategies for greater effect

                                            Sarah Barker, Head of Biddable Media at StickyEyes. She covered a few different themes including the benefits of PPC and SEO teams working together.

                                            Some examples:

                                            • Using PPC to do keyword research, and test SEO title-tags and meta-descriptions.
                                            • Using a different mix of SEO & PPC according to:
                                              • where a buyer is in the sales funnel – see slide 14
                                              • …and what kind of keyword / intent there is – see slide 21
                                            • The classic sales funnel isn’t really a funnel any more – see slide 6 for how Stickyeyes visualises it

                                            Deck here

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                                              How to successfully email pitch to Journalists

                                              How to successfully email pitch to journalists

                                              Pitching to the Media

                                              So, you’ve started your digital PR journey and you’re well on your way to building up your backlink profile. The ideas are there, the content is ready, and you’ve got a huge list of names of potentially interested parties… the next step is actually getting it out to the press. 

                                              If you think about how many emails journalists will receive each day, it’s worth taking a moment to learn how to make sure that you’re moving from their inbox to article. Here are the top tips from upriseUP on how to successfully email pitch to journalists.

                                              Don’t forget to share this post on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn if you enjoy our top tips!


                                              Do your research 

                                              The first aspect of getting your story, product, or service noticed is making sure that the right people are finding it.  

                                              Build up a targeted list of the influencers and journalists in your industry and make sure that you aren’t spamming people with press releases that are completely irrelevant to their publication. 

                                              You might initially think it’s beneficial to get what you’ve worked on out to hundreds of different people – but more often that not, effective pitches are more personalised and targeted. 


                                              Remember the little details 

                                              When you’re writing an email make sure that you’re paying attention to the details and to the people that you’re in communication with. 

                                              Nothing will put someone off more quickly than being given the wrong name or getting the publication they write for, wrong! 


                                              Keep it simple… 

                                              Journalists are busy people and their inbox is always going to be heaving with press releases, pitches, and interesting opportunities. They don’t have time to read everything, so make sure that you get the fundamental points across with a skim of the email. 

                                              Make sure that you quickly get to the point of your story, why it would work for their publication and audience, and any relevant details attached. 

                                              If they’re interested in taking it further, then that’s where you can build on the details and start writing longer emails! 


                                              But stand-out! 

                                              As we said above, journalists skim emails. The biggest grab from your pitch will be in your email header. Make sure that your subject line quickly summarises the most interesting aspect of your story. 


                                              Ignore the traditional rules 

                                              ‘Rule of thumb people’ will warn you to not email on Monday or Friday, as you’ll get lost in a sea of emails or ignored. We’re calling nonsense on that. 

                                              If everyone else is playing by that rule, then make the most of the opportunity and get into an empty inbox! 

                                              If the idea or content is good enough, then they will pay attention and will work on quickly turning it around! 


                                              Be willing to follow-up or pick up the phone 

                                              If you feel that the journalist would benefit from having a few more questions answered and you’re looking for a successful pitch, then be prepared to follow-up or give them a call. 

                                              Don’t be afraid to chase for the coverage if you think it’s worth getting. If you aren’t hearing anything? It might be time to re-frame how you’re selling the story in the first place. 


                                              Nurture the relationship 

                                              Once you’ve managed to place a story, congratulations! You’ve got the coverage, and hopefully gained a valuable backlink, but don’t just leave it there! 

                                              Building and nurturing a relationship with a journalist means that you could potentially contact the same person in the future with other things they might be interested in. 

                                              Thank them for the work you’ve done together and acknowledge their help! You never know how useful that relationship could be in the future. 


                                              If you want to know more, or want to discuss a how we can help you with your digital PR strategy, then please do get in touch. As always, we love to hear from you.

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                                                SEO Migration Checklist


                                                An SEO Website Migration Guide


                                                Today we are looking at the SEO website migration necessities. The top necessity? A plan. In the world of SEO, a website migration is the last thing you want to wing. Regardless of what a migration refers to, whether that be a change in site location or mass-content review, it can be an incredibly daunting task. Feelings of confusion and uncertainty would not be unheard of. But, if you have a plan in place, a migration becomes substantially more manageable. Having previously looked at common migration errors, we thought we would now explore some of the steps you can take to make a SEO migration soar. Completing these steps can ensure you do not reduce the visibility of your website in searches.



                                                Preparing is the best action you can make for a successful website migration. It helps you navigate what can be a massive challenge and minimise detrimental impacts. You want to build a solid foundation for your migration and ensure nothing slips through unnoticed. We suggest utilising a classic SEO technique; URL mapping. Catching every URL with your migration is crucial. Redirects can be the cause of a lot of mistakes, especially if you are not meticulous about the process. It is very easy for some URLS to be ignored. URL mapping helps you to remain vigilant from the start. You keep track of all your live URLS and assign them their new URL ready for the next stage.

                                                Sorting out those 301s just became a lot simpler; start with your priority pages and work your way through the site.

                                                Also, don’t forget any potential content purges. Migrations are the perfect opportunity to reconsider the content you want on your site. Keep track of pages you are saying goodbye to and of future pages that are waiting to be created on your new site.

                                                Benchmark your site so you know what the current performance of your site is. You want to record KPIs such as your traffic and keyword rankings. Having this data will be particularly useful post-launch, when you will be able to compare the results and see the full impact your migration is having on your site.

                                                In every stage of the migration, you will want Google Search Console. Pre-launch, you want to be informing Google Search Console of your plans by registering for a new site. Essentially, you want them to know in advance so they can locate your new site as soon as possible. If you leave them in the dark, you’ll simply lose your visibility to everyone. A consequence best avoided.


                                                During the Launch.

                                                Whilst you are implementing the migration, you want to monitor your site’s data like your life depends on it. Not to exaggerate or anything… your data is your biggest indicator of how well your migration is being received by users. Right now, it’s your biggest ally. Constant monitoring in Google Search Console and Google Analytics will help you identify any occurring issues and resolve them before they cause any serious damage.

                                                During this stage you also want to check all your redirects are correct and functioning.  Ensuring all redirects point to the most relevant page on your new site, especially in the cases of a content overhaul, is the best way to guarantee an ideal user experience for the new site.



                                                Lift off! You have now reached the point of no returns and I’ll bet you’re a little terrified. Don’t worry, it’s usual to be wary now you’ve launched the changes. This is a crucial point in the process. Right now, you want to continue monitoring your data – honestly, this is the constant in your migration. The difference, however, is that you will be monitoring your data via your new site, so if there was a change in your domain, protocol or server, you’ll want to notify Google Search Console of that change. And then, you watch. Regularly conduct manual checks on Google Search Console to see how the performance of your site is impacted by the changes.

                                                Also, regarding your current backlinks, re-upload the disavow file. Thanks to all your successful redirects you’ll still have all your old site’s backlinks meaning the disavow list for your old site will still apply. So, you want to re-upload the file for your new site and regularly monitor incoming backlinks to ensure any ‘spammy’ backlinks cannot harm the trust of your site.


                                                Download our SEO Website Migration Checklist

                                                If there are any points on the checklist you want to discuss further, or if you’re about to go through a migration yourself and would like some advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch


                                                For regular SEO news and updates, follow us on Twitter.

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                                                Common Website Migration Mistakes

                                                Common Website Migration Mistakes

                                                Website Migration Pitfalls

                                                In SEO, a website migration is not an easy, straight-forward task. Mistakes are easy to make, and the repercussions of those mistakes can sometimes go undetected for weeks, even months, and cause a lot of damage in the meantime.

                                                Website migration can be seen as an umbrella term referring to a considerable change on your website. A change that will impact how your site is seen by search engines and users. To liken the virtual world to reality, a website migration requires the strategic mindset and meticulous eye for detail one needs when moving house. With a plan, all goes smoothly, without it’s utter chaos. So, to save you some time, here are the common mistakes made in a SEO website migration that we recommend you avoid.

                                                If you find this post helpful, why not share it with others on Twitter?

                                                You can also download our free website migration checklist here.



                                                If you are migrating your website to a new domain, then the top, and easiest, mistake you could make is to neglect your redirects, both current and pending. This is a time when redirects should be your new best friend, don’t cast them aside or underestimate their power. A redirect will guarantee you retain your hold on any link equity that was passing through to the original URL. Since link equity will help boost the domain rating of your site, and how much Google trusts you, you will want those redirects in place pronto.

                                                Say, for example, you run a small local business. Chances are, most of the traffic to your site is a direct rather than coming through other channels, such as paid search or organic. If they enter your old domain into the search bar, and you have not set up that 301 redirect to the new site, that is a visit lost. Instead, they are delivered a server error and likely to bounce back to the search results page. Loss for you, potential gain for your competitor. As User Experience (UX) is at the forefront of modern SEO, you need to ensure that the users are your priority when conducting a website migration. That means making sure they are able land on your target pages.

                                                The good news is, this is easy to achieve! If you set up your 301 redirects in advance, there is no reason why your migration shouldn’t be a success. Setting up redirects is a task that requires you to be meticulous, you will need to redirect every URL on your old domain to the equivalent page on your new domain. Make sure you don’t neglect any current redirects live on your old domain either. Doing all of this will not only maintain the visibility of your site to users in search engines, but on external sites linking back to your old domain. Protect your bank of backlinks and ensure none of them are broken by your website migration!



                                                Incidentally, if your migration is more changing your website protocol from HTTP to HTTPS, your redirects will have the added bonus of preventing any link equity being split between pages, where you would rather a single page benefit. Also, be aware of potential duplication issues when changing from HTTP to HTTPS. Without redirects in place, you could accidentally create a second, identical, version of your site. You might find your pages end up competing against each other in search rankings, which is never ideal. Ultimately, neither page would rank well in this situation and you run the risk of a Google penalty.

                                                Whilst you’re sorting out your redirects, don’t forget to create a sitemap for your new site. Doing this will help Google find your new site that much quicker. Update it with your priority pages and when search engine crawlbots, such as Googlebot, come visiting, your site has a much better chance of ranking higher in a quicker time frame.


                                                Monitoring (or hereby lack of)

                                                When undergoing a migration, you want to be able to monitor the entire process, from pre-migration through to post-migration, so making sure you have access to Google Search Console and Google Analytics is very important! Being able to monitor your website’s data throughout the migration process allows you to see the full impact your migration is having on your levels of traffic, if any crawl errors are appearing and the ongoing health of your website.


                                                Mobile Compatibility

                                                Another frequent mistake we see in website migration is the neglect to monitor the website compatibility for mobile. When making any substantial changes to your website you do not want to have a detrimental impact on mobile page speed. It is important to accommodate to this user behavioural shift, with so many users now accessing the virtual world through their smartphones. In fact, Google now uses Mobile First Indexing, which crawls the mobile version of a website as the primary form of the website. The consequences of this can be that if the mobile version of the site is not well optimised, then a dominos effect occurs, impacting not only the site’s search rankings on mobile, but desktop devices too.


                                                Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

                                                Quite often, people will make website migration more laborious than it needs to be, by doing more than one form of website migration at the same time. We do not recommend this. One form of website migration is a massive change, to perform multiple changes simultaneously would be overwhelming, especially for users. There would be restricted familiarity and traffic would be more likely to drop in the post-migration stage for a time. The workload would also be staggering for you, or the SEO team, and you run a higher risk of missing out some of the details. Phasing out your forms of website migration is the advisable move forward, as the process becomes more manageable for you and you are less likely to have a negative effect on the site’s user experience.


                                                “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”


                                                Preparation is key, especially with a website migration. From an SEO perspective, disorganisation and lack of preparation are very often fatally made errors. It’s worth pointing out that there are three stages to consider when preparing: pre-migration, during the migration and post-migration. Each stage has its own set of points to focus on. Stay tuned and you might just get to check out our priority lists for a website migration in the future.

                                                Making changes to your site, sizeable ones, is no picnic. Stay vigilant, stay organised and there is no reason why a website migration shouldn’t be successful from the get go.

                                                If you want to know more or want to discuss a website migration potential, then please do get in touch, as always, we love to hear from you.

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                                                  What is SEO & How Does it Work?

                                                  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is often a term thrown around by businesses, but from my experience, most people don’t understand the full scope of what is covered by SEO. All they know is, they’ve got to try and improve it! Hopefully this blog will give you a small insight into what exactly SEO is and some of the basics of what to look at when optimising your site.


                                                  What is SEO?


                                                  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of using different methodologies and techniques to optimise your site so that it appears higher up in search engine results pages.[1]


                                                  How does SEO work?

                                                  To answer this, we need to take a more detailed look into how search engines, like Google and Bing, work and there are a number of different steps:


                                                  Step 1. Crawling

                                                  The first step for Google is to explore the internet and get an understanding of the types of sites and content that are online. To do this Google runs a series of code, sending ‘bots’ or ‘crawl spiders’ throughout the internet. These bots visit every page available and fires details of what it finds back to Google.


                                                  Indexing Tree Icon


                                                  Step 2. Indexing


                                                  Once Google is aware of which pages are visible, it records the site data in one of its two indexes -either the mobile first, or the desktop index – here you can read more about Googles new mobile first index . Like any index, once a user makes a search, Google refers back to its index and identifies relevant pages and sites that are related to the user’s original search term.


                                                  Indexing Book


                                                  But how does it choose which websites and pages are most relevant to the user? This is where the Google Algorithm comes in.



                                                  Step 3: The Algorithm


                                                  The majority of factors, and how much weighting they are given, are never directly referenced by Google or Bing, so it is often down to marketers and SEOs (search engine optimisers) to identify trends and patterns following algorithm updates to see which factors may be affecting rankings.


                                                  With this said, there are some of the key factors which are core to the algorithm and have been confirmed by Google, some of which include:


                                                  Algorithm Symbol


                                                  The Three Pillars of SEO


                                                  Ensuring that your site is correctly optimised for this algorithm can be difficult, especially when considering it’s evolving nature, but there are 3 main areas where everyone should start – Technical SEO, Content SEO and Backlink Building.


                                                  Technical SEO


                                                  Technical SEO, as the name suggests, focusses on the technical aspects of your site, including crawl errors, pages speed, canonical tags and 301 redirects to name a few. It’s also the first thing that we look at when optimising a site, and put simply, Google won’t rank you if your site doesn’t work, so you need to make sure any technical issues are resolved before looking at your on-page content and building your backlink profile.


                                                  As the main goal of Google is to provide the greatest relevancy to its users, meta tags are a key area where many sites fall short and is often a quick win. In many cases, sites will automatically create page titles and descriptions by default within the site’s CMS (content management system), however, this can often cause search engines difficulty when trying to understand the relevancy of each page as titles and descriptions can be duplicated. With multiple pages all with the same title, how will Google know which page is the most relevant? Your answer, it won’t – and your rankings will be affected as a result.


                                                  Content SEO


                                                  Only once your site is technically sound do you want to begin reviewing your existing content, begin creating new content and developing an ongoing content strategy.


                                                  Often, existing content will rank relatively well in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) without optimisation, as the pages will likely contain extremely relevant information that is going to prove to be very useful to the user. This said, with optimisation, these pages could rank better and for a wider range of search terms, thus increasing the number of visitors to the page.


                                                  One of the most important factors when it comes to on page optimisation is to outline your page keywords and ensure that the keywords you want your pages to rank for have a good level of monthly searches.


                                                  New content creation also provides a fantastic way to provide unique and  relevant information to your users. Ideally, you want to be creating fresh content that web masters would naturally want to link to.


                                                  Internal linking is another essential method on improving your on-page content. When you link internally to another page ‘link equity’ (page ranking power) is passed through from the host page to the linked page. This can be particularly useful in helping to signal to Google which pages are a priority. By having a number of relevant blogs internally link through to the appropriate service or product page, you are able to further highlight which page you want to be ranking.


                                                  The benefit from internal linking is twofold. As well as helping pass on link equity, by providing relevant related pages and information to the user, you are further improving their experience on your site, all of which is beneficial in Google’s eyes.



                                                  Backlink Building


                                                  SEO has often been described as an iceberg; where technical and content SEO sit at the tip, just above the water, with a mass of off-page SEO and backlink building lurking, hidden below the surface. Whilst not the perfect analogy, it does help highlight the importance and the role that backlinks play on your sites organic performance.


                                                  Much like internal linking, when an external site links through to your site, they are distributing part of their link equity down to you. Where a site is known as an industry leader or authority, it will pass down a greater amount of link equity and will be more valuable as a result.


                                                  We’re often asked, ‘how many backlinks should I be aiming to get each month’? and the answer is simple – it’s not about the number of backlinks, but the quality of the backlinks. One backlink from a well renowned trusted site such as the BBC will be worth more than 10, 100, possibly even 1000 backlinks from small unknown sites.


                                                  This is only a quick look into the world of SEO, but if you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or send us an email at [email protected]. We’d love to hear from you.

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                                                    Why Charities Need to Manage the Online Presence of Their Shops

                                                    Why Charities need to manage the presence of their online shop

                                                    The Importance of Online


                                                    Understandably, charities have limited marketing budgets and need to maximise return on investment.  Investing time and money to manage the online presence of a charity shop may seem unnecessary, but in reality, it is essential, not only to meet the changing habits of consumers but also as a means of driving footfall and growing brand awareness.


                                                    This article covers the reasons why charities need to manage their local online presence, how to do it and the benefits of doing so.  Importantly, we will focus on the minimum that needs to be done in-order to meet the needs of customers whilst improving brand performance.


                                                    The author is David Whatley of MiShop.local who has more than 8 years experience of advising and managing the online presence of more than 4,000 locations in multiple sectors including retailer chains and charities.


                                                    Firstly, a bit about “local search” – When people search for “charity shop”, the results will appear in Google Places or Google Maps!  How and where you appear is influenced more by your physical address than your website.  In all likelihood, your shops will already be listed, but are they correct and are they performing at their full potential?


                                                    Mishop Blog Image.png


                                                    So what? Surely charity shops rely on passing trade, and as many don’t have an e-commerce site, why do they need to care about their local online presence?


                                                    Charity shops are like any other retail business; people want to know when you are open, where you are located, the services you offer and whether you have what they need, they may also want to know how to donate or volunteer etc.  However, it is wrong to assume that people go directly to your website to get this information.  They don’t! Instead, they start with Google to search for opening times, contact details, directions, products and services.  They also read and write reviews and ask questions about local services.


                                                    Coupled with this, Google has invested heavily in Google My Business pages, which brings together information from around the web about your shop into one place.  It is a Knowledge Graph for a specific location and is the first point of call for most people searching for local information.  Google My Business is the ‘online front door’ to your shop and the most important digital asset you can have in local search.



                                                    The Anatomy of a Google My Business Page


                                                    Below is an example of a Google My Business Page as seen on a desktop.  The information is the same, although the look and feel is slightly different for mobile users.


                                                    Mishop Blog Image 2.png


                                                    Should charities manage their local presence for performance improvement or hygiene?


                                                    Local presence management should in the first instance be about “hygiene”; meaning that the information used by your customers should be correct wherever they find it in local search.  For the most part, if people search for “your brand + location” they will find you, just make sure the information they find is correct. In other words, your brand name, address, phone number, weblink and store opening times need to be consistent and correct.   Coupled with this, not all charity premises are shops; charities have offices, volunteer groups, service depots, support services, care centres, etc. all of which can (and do) appear in local search results. You may not want the public to call or visit certain sites, or they may only be open at certain times, so it is up to you to check that your premises are listed appropriately.


                                                    Correctly listed information is a hygiene factor that happens to have SEO benefits.

                                                    At the very minimum, charities should ensure branch details are correctly listed in the main local ‘doorway’ listings, namely; Google, Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps. Doing so will ensure you appear in most local ‘brand’ and ‘charity shop’ related searches.


                                                    Optimising for local search performance.

                                                    Not everyone will search for charities by brand or think to look at a charity for a particular product or services, for example; furniture.  A charity that collects and sells furniture needs to appear in searches for “furniture clearance” and “furniture store”.  Competing for these keywords requires an organic SEO strategy including; optimising your listings, website, blogs and social media etc.


                                                    There is, however a law of diminishing returns with local SEO; there is only so much that you can do and in fact need to do to get on the map.  This is driven by a number of factors including:  local competition, local population size and demographics AND the user’s location in relation to your location.  In other words, performance varies on a location by location basis.  If you have multiple shops, it may be impractical to ‘micro-optimise’ each location, which means you need to focus on the fundamentals of claiming and managing your Google listings, ensuring other local listings are correct and point to a locally optimised store page.




                                                    Other considerations:


                                                    We promised to focus on the fundamentals of local search.  If you are tight on resource, start with Google Places.  However, here is a very high level over view of other areas you should consider for local:


                                                    Facebook is also local.

                                                    Charities with multiple locations can have a Facebook ‘Place Page’ for each shop connected to the main brand page via a ‘store finder’. Facebook rules can be configured to govern how Place Pages are branded, who has access, and whether they are managed centrally, locally or both.  However, most charities have many standalone, unofficial, unmanaged and unbranded Facebook Pages for each of their shops.  Customers may be checking-in and posting on these pages without the charity’s knowledge.  By setting up a Place Page hierarchy, charities can control information and interactions with customers that wish to follow their local charity shop or office.



                                                    Bing Places, is less complicated and easier to manage than Google Places, but does not have the same level of functionality or insights. Its reviews are sourced from different listing sites around the web such as Yelp and Foursquare.


                                                    Apple Maps

                                                    3 out of 4 iPhone users will use Apple Maps instead of Google Maps. It is an important digital asset that needs to be managed, although it does not offer the same level of flexibility, functionality or insights as Google Maps.


                                                    Local Listings

                                                    Fundamental to local SEO is local business listings. Local business listings are an important reference point that can further raise your local online presence and improve search performance.  The likelihood is that most charity shops will be listed in a number of these, however, it is important that the shop’s Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) is consistent wherever it is listed.



                                                    Ideally each shop should have its own locally optimised webpage where the NAP and opening times are presented in schema mark-up and are consistent with that listed in Google Places and local listing sites. The webpage should also have local tags in the url e.g. www.yourwebsitename.co.uk/brighton_charity_shop , and ideally contain local content and references.


                                                    Google Posts

                                                    Google Posts is a fantastic new feature in Google My Business. This free feature can be used by charity shops to raise awareness of specific fund-raising events, highlight your cause, encourage people to volunteer or sign-up to a newsletter (for example).  The only challenge is managing it at a local level.


                                                    Customer Reviews

                                                    Customers reviews raise your profile in local search. Unfortunately, unhappy customers aren’t averse to writing bad reviews about charities, however you can encourage your supporters to write positive reviews that raise your local online profile and help to promote your cause.


                                                    Q&As (in Google My Business)

                                                    Q&As (In Google My Business) is a recent development. Questions are mostly answered by a community of local Google Guides that mean well, but may not know the correct answers.  Q&As are in their infancy and are not easily managed by large charities across multiple locations, so this is one to be aware of for the moment.  However, it may be a function that is monitored by the Social Media Team.





                                                    Charity shops, like other retailers, need to manage their local online presence in the ‘doorway listings’ Google, Bing, Facebook and Apple Maps as well as local listing sites.  Most charity shops are already listed, but not in a controlled way. Charities need to:


                                                    1. Claim and manage Google, Bing, Facebook and Apple Map listings.
                                                    2. Ensure local listing sites have NAP consistency.
                                                    3. Link to a locally optimised shop webpage.
                                                    4. Encourage and monitor customer reviews.
                                                    5. Use Google Posts and Facebook location pages to drive local awareness.



                                                    About the Author

                                                    David Whatley is the founder and Managing Director of MiShop.local.  MiShop.local is one of the leading local presence management services in the UK.  We manage the local online presence of multi-location brands from 10 to 3,000 locations.  Our “Local Doorways” management service is the most cost-effective way for multi-location charities to optimise and manage Google, Bing, Facebook, Apple Maps.

                                                    For more information, please visit their website http://mishoplocal.co.uk/local-doorways-management/ or email [email protected] or call 01273 987498

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                                                      Brighton SEO 2017 – Our 30 Key Takeaways

                                                      Brighton SEO 2017

                                                      Back In Brighton – Our Highlights


                                                      At Uprise Up we’re back from enjoying all that Brighton SEO 2017 had to offer!

                                                      Brighton SEO is not just about Search Engine Optimisation. We gained some great insights into Analytics, Social Media and Email Marketing, as well as Business Strategy. The wide-ranging sessions from industry experts offered real food for thought and were jam-packed with tips, do’s and don’ts, discussions and new tools to help meet our digital marketing objectives.

                                                      It’s safe to say we’ve all learnt something we’re eager to put into practice and in this blog, we’ve pulled together our top take-aways:


                                                      Top 30 Takeaways


                                                      Technical SEO


                                                      • Google’s Gary Illyes hinted that the rank boost of secure sites might be getting stronger!


                                                      • Bing’s research into trust online showed that 74% of users trust the search engine’s ranking as much as the brand.


                                                      • Local links, irrespective of the type of sites they are, can be enough to cover Google’s relevancy criteria for local SEO.


                                                      • For ecommerce sites with multiple languages, use the sitemap to assign hreflang tags rather than the page.


                                                      • Think about infinite scroll & pagination. When infinite scroll goes wrong you can get orphaned pages & uncrawlable content, which can impact ranking and sales.


                                                      • Using faceted navigation gives a great user experience and works well with infinite scroll, but can lead to many competing pages throughout a site. To combat this, make good use of robot.txt files, canonical tags and parameter handling.


                                                      • You can dynamically change meta data through Tag Manager instead of through the CMS, and Google will be able to use these changes when ranking. For example, an ecommerce site could dynamically append the current offer to each product page (e.g.. 25% Off – Black Shoes).


                                                      • Tag Manager can be used to extract the meta data on every page. Then, by creating a custom dimension in Analytics, this meta data can be seen alongside your regular Analytics stats (Pageviews, Bounce Rate etc.).




                                                      Content SEO


                                                      • Create data heavy content to increase the chances of people linking back to your website.


                                                      • When approaching a webmaster about content, look for the ‘what can I do for you’ and not the ‘help me by sending a backlink’ approach. Use as many sources as possible when creating your unique content and make it relevant to your target audience.


                                                      • Use the 3 H’s content strategy – Hero (big-ticket featured content), Hub (regularly scheduled content) and Hygiene (helpful, informative content).


                                                      • Blogs receive on average 97% more inbound links than other content.


                                                      • Statistics blogs are a great source of links, even on obscure subjects. Don’t be afraid to try one for your business!


                                                      • Long form video (15 mins+) ranks higher in the YouTube search results than short form video.


                                                      • Video doesn’t have to be expensive to make as modern day smart phones are capable of recording high quality video.


                                                      • Using 360-degree photos and VR technologies allows you to engage with the consumer on a higher level, evoking emotions and memories in the viewer (making an emotional connection). This will ensure they engage better with you and your content.


                                                      • Utilise user reviews for your product or service to look for potential keywords. What adjectives do users use when they give you 5* reviews? What about 1*?



                                                      John and Ben in Brighton Pier cutout



                                                      • Keep out of stock & seasonal pages live where you can! Advise the product is retired or out of stock, then direct them to similar products, or take their information and email them when it is available. However, for non-priority pages, it is still best to redirect to a similar product.


                                                      • Avoid using years in HTML developments.


                                                      • The usual SEO factors don’t apply for ecommerce sites. Search engines know what ecommerce sites are – they don’t need the same amount of text as a content page would. What is important is the use of relevant keywords, easy access in menus and good usability of filters.


                                                      • Make use of keywords in your ecommerce sites’ descriptive text.



                                                      Social Media


                                                      • Use a tool like Brand Watch to discover latest trends, search phrases and affinity with brands and use it to steer content.


                                                      • Have a social media strategy that integrates with all of your marketing mix. Don’t tweet and blog about random things, make sure it fits with your brand and overall marketing strategy.


                                                      • Micro influencers can be a better investment than larger influencers. Choosing micro influencer followers of a larger influencer only keeps the message within that network, so branching out is important. YouTube influencers will be more willing to be flexible.


                                                      • Brand evangelists are 52% more valuable than the average satisfied customer. They will be the fans who will truly get involved and will share your message to friends, family and beyond.


                                                      • Take the time to understand your audience – learn how they engage, the language they use and how your brand personality matches theirs – then develop your strategy, A/B test and measure their engagement beyond the number of likes. Ask for feedback, reviews and ratings!


                                                      • Don’t fill the need, create the need. You’re not filling the need of buying a drill, your filling the need to create the hole.


                                                      • If you want to create Facebook video content, make sure you optimise and upload it to be viewed vertically. Only 9% of users do this, and the vast majority of videos are played this way.


                                                      • Don’t worry about your sound in social media videos, 85% of people play them on mute!


                                                      We hope you find these take-aways useful! All the slide decks from the conference will be added to the BrightonSEO website blog page, or if we can help you with your digital marketing at all please do get in touch, we’d love to hear from you!


                                                      Also, if you want to see our previous experiences of BrightonSEO and see how these takeaways compare to previous BrightonSEO conferences, you can read our blogs on Brighton SEO Key Takeaways – April 2017 and Brighton SEO – Our Top 9 Takeaways (Sept 2016).


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                                                        A Guide to Google Featured Snippets

                                                        A Guide to Featured Snippets

                                                        Featured Snippets


                                                        If you were on the internet in March 2017 you may have come across a Featured Snippet claiming former President Obama is planning a coup, certain Republicans are Nazis and several American Presidents were members of the KKK.

                                                        As I’m sure you’ve deduced, the political world has not imploded; this was simply Google joining the likes of Facebook in falling foul of fake news, though in a spectacularly high-profile manner.

                                                        Notwithstanding unreliable rumours, Featured Snippets are a fantastically useful tool; they provide a better experience for Google users and a high level of authority to the third-party content they source. So, what are Featured Snippets? How do they work? And, importantly, how do you win them?


                                                        What Is a Featured Snippet?

                                                        If you’ve ever asked Google a question, over voice search or text, you might have seen a Featured Snippet; it’s the box at the top of the page with larger text and bold keywords that tries to summarise the answer to your question.

                                                        On a Google statement sent to Recode: “Featured Snippets in Search provide an automatic and algorithmic match to a given search query, and the content comes from third-party sites.”

                                                        Featured snippets comes in a variety of different formats, as seen in the below images:



                                                        Featured Snippet Example - Lists


                                                        Featured Snippet Example - Graphs


                                                        Featured Snippet Example - Tables


                                                        Featured Snippet Example - Cooking Instructions


                                                        The Featured Snippet lends Google’s authority to the content and gives a level of credibility to the site – after all, Google visually enhances and places it prominently above all other search results. This is great for the user, for Google and for your site – unless it goes wrong!


                                                        How do Featured Snippets work?

                                                        I’m sure many of us would love a clear-cut instruction manual from Google, with information on which variables are important and how to best optimise them. However, a quick search will tell you that it’s another of Google’s top-secret algorithms – no official details available to the public.

                                                        As with the vast majority of these well-protected algorithms, the only insight we have is what we can glean from Google’s previous behaviour and the digital marketing community’s experiments with Featured Snippets.


                                                        History & Development

                                                        Google also has a couple of other programmes that existed before Featured Snippets; Knowledge Graph and Answer Box. However, these both used Google’s own database and, short of Google taking over the entire world, it can’t answer every question internally.


                                                        Google Answer Box can tell you many things, such as how tall the US Founding Father Alexander Hamilton was (and the actor who plays him!)

                                                        Featured Snippet Example - Alexander Hamilton


                                                        Questions that are longer, or more specific will often now be answered with a Featured Snippet.

                                                        We can infer how Featured Snippets were developed, based what we know about how other Google features have been developed. For example, we have been told that OneBox relied on the CTR by Marissa Mayer when she was a Google VP.



                                                        One of the commonly expressed concerns about being featured in a snippet is that it would lower your CTR, as people do not have to click to get the information from your page. While there is logic to this conclusion, the data doesn’t seem to be adding up. Search Engine Land have published multiple examples of traffic jumping up when featured in a snippet, especially when the page is below the top 3 spots on the results page.


                                                        How Do You Get a Google Featured Snippet?

                                                        Actually, a better way to phrase this would be “how do you WIN a Google Featured Snippet?” since you are competing against everyone else on the results page, as you always are on Google.

                                                        The fact that snippets do not always come from the very first search result means that there is something more at play than just the organic search ranking factors. In some special cases, snippets have been taken from a result in 100th place! Nevertheless, over 99% of Featured Snippets are taken from the top 10 results, so it’s still vital to ensure you are optimising to be on the first page of the search results.


                                                        Engagement Metrics Must Be High

                                                        Pages who get ‘snipped’ seem to be those with very high engagement metrics. In a blog by Larry Kim, he suggests pages that have a higher amount of time spent on them, relative to the rest of the site, have a good chance of being chosen for a snippet. Larry’s research suggests that when a page can hold a user’s attention for around double the amount of time that your other pages do, that page is a good candidate for a Featured Snippet.


                                                        Satisfy the Spiders!

                                                        A general rule in SEO is especially important if you want to be automatically chosen for a Featured Snippet – make sure the Google crawl spiders can read your site! Ensure the page has quality Title, H1, H2s, meta-description etc. with at least one keyword in every one.
                                                        Make it obvious that you have the answer by having the question in a subheading– the easiest way to do may be a Q&A page on your site.


                                                        Target the Question, Not Just the Topic

                                                        Furthermore, Featured Snippet targeting is theoretically possible as snippets appear when the searcher asks a question. This means a variety of things, the first being that you should be targeting the WH keywords – what, when, how, where, who and why. It was noted by Qi Zhao that, of these keywords, ‘how’ and ‘why’ have the highest proportion of Featured Snippets compared to the total search; however, ‘how’ and ‘what’ have the highest search volumes.

                                                        The word count of searches that triggered a Featured Snippet have also been analysed on the same page; the optimum length of search coming out at 6 words, with longer phrases also giving a high likelihood of triggering a Featured Snippet. Choose your phrasing carefully.

                                                        Continuing along the theme of length – your answer has to be able to fit in the answer box! Average and maximum lengths can range, depending on the format of your snippet; paragraphs are 45 words long, lists have 4.2 items and tables have 3.6 rows on average. Nevertheless, their maximums can more than double, so don’t unnecessarily restrict the length your content if it has a negative impact on the quality. Paragraphs can be as long as 97 words, lists top out at 8 items and tables can be extended to 9 rows – if you still can’t fit all the information in, consider opting for another format used in Featured Snippets – such as a graph.



                                                        As voice search becomes more and more prevalent, we may be seeing increasing instances of Featured Snippets being read out as fact, presented as the “One True Answer”.

                                                        Their recent stumble in reliability likely has Google scrambling to teach their bots how to spot fake news, and I personally anticipate soon seeing something from Google on exactly that. One suggestion has come from Peter Shulman, the Associate Professor of History who first heard the ‘Presidents in the KKK’ rumour from students in one of his classes; he suggested that Google source it’s snippets from peer-reviewed content.

                                                        Whatever the answer may be, always make sure that your content is well-sourced and reliable – something Google must be looking very closely at right now!

                                                        As with all things SEO, winning a Google Featured Snippet spot is more of an art that an exact science but implementing some of the above recommendations, along with general SEO best practices, could increase your likelihood of appearing in the ultra-competitive space of Featured Snippets.


                                                        Get In Touch

                                                        If you enjoyed this guide to Google Featured Snippets, don’t forget to leave a comment below or send us a tweet @upriseUPSEM. If you had any about how you can improve your site’s SEO performance, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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                                                        SEO Bash: Content Optimisation

                                                        SEO Bash Content Optimisation Uprise Up Event

                                                        SEO Bash: Content Optimisation


                                                        SEO Bash will be an ongoing series of talks and discussions specifically focused and designed around Search Engine Optimisation. The first set of talks will dive into different aspects of optimising content on your site.


                                                        You all will have heard the phrase ‘Content is King’ and there’s a very good reason why! Content is the very essence of what makes your site yours. It’s what attracts your users, keeps them coming back for more and is one of the best ways you are able differentiate yourself from the competition.


                                                        Search engines know how important the role of content is and so should you!


                                                        What did we discuss?


                                                        We had a fantastic lineup of speakers and presentations covering a number of different topics on how to best create and optimise web content to improve your organic performance:


                                                        Ed ColesContent Pitfalls – What to Avoid When Creating Content

                                                        Ed’s talk looked into the history of Google’s ranking algorithms with a particular focus on the Panda update. With a number of examples of ‘Black Hat’ techniques and explanation of what Panda is looking for, Ed highlighted some of the common mistakes and pitfalls that people may encounter.


                                                        Grace GibbonsHow to Create Effective Video Content

                                                        Grace’s talk dived into the power of video marketing and the various types of video content you could use along with answering some common questions – How long should my video be? How do you optimise for Facebook or YouTube? And what are some content planning essentials?


                                                        Konrad SandersWriting for SEO

                                                        Konrad’s talk focused on Google’s change towards ‘awesome’ content and looked at 10 key steps on how to improve your content writing for SEO, including building anticipation and grabbing users attention with a powerful hook.


                                                        Kapwom Dingis – Actionable SEO Content Takeaways

                                                        Kapwom’s talk took a look at the value of content and provided a number of different techniques and actionable takeaways for how to best optimise your content to improve your SEO performance. This provided some great insight into general SEO best practice.


                                                        Patrick LangridgeLocal SEO – Optimising Content for local

                                                        Patrick discussed Google’s change in focus towards localised search, what this has meant for businesses and some best practices for improving Local SEO. The talk also covered some fantastic examples of where businesses that have been able to utilise local content and the positive results that can come from local optimisation.


                                                        The talks were then be followed by a brilliant Q&A session with a whole range of questions from where’s best to host new content to technical implementation of HTML tagging.

                                                        If you’re interested in learning more about SEO or digital marketing in general, why not check out our Digital Marketing Resources or training?


                                                        About the Presenters

                                                        Patrick Langridge

                                                        Head of SEO, Screaming Frog

                                                        Patrick is Head of SEO at Screaming Frog, leading a team of talented search marketers and content specialists to deliver best in class technical SEO, creative content and cutting edge digital PR for clients. He has been an honorary frog for 6 years now, and is constantly challenged by the fluid nature of the SEO industry.

                                                        Kapwom Dingis

                                                        Head of SEO, Uprise Up

                                                        Kapwom, head of SEO at upriseUP has a vast background in technical and on page SEO with years of experience working with well-known brands such as Krispy Kreme and Bon Voyage Travel. Since working with Uprise Up he has been involved in the strategic implementation of SEO tactics to improve the organic performance of several clients’ websites.

                                                        Grace Gibbons

                                                        Founder, Bounce Productions

                                                        Grace runs a video marketing company called Bounce. An experienced film-maker, Grace trained at the BBC before working for 8 years in the freelance broadcast sector, producing and directing on programmes such as the BAFTA-award winning series Gogglebox, One Born Every Minute & Watchdog.  Grace now uses her documentary background experience to help businesses and charities convey the essence of who they are through video marketing.

                                                        Ed Coles

                                                        Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Uprise Up

                                                        Having graduated with a degree in Marketing and Consumer Behaviour from the University of Reading, Ed joined upriseUP and has since used his extensive SEO, PPC and Social Media knowledge to ensure the successful execution of a number of key campaigns. Brands Ed has worked with include ASOS, Ten Health & Fitness & RVS.

                                                        Konrad Sanders

                                                        Founder, The Creative Copywriter

                                                        Konrad is the CEO and Content Strategist at The Creative Copywriter, and has a pretty darn creative noggin on his shoulders. His gang of word-slingin’ cowboys know how to compel, convince and convert customers through the power of content.

                                                        John Onion

                                                        Managing Director, Uprise Up

                                                        John is a specialist Digital Marketing Consultant with over fifteen years’ industry experience. John started his career in the commercial sector, working for major media planning and buying agencies on clients including BT, Intel, Barclays and Canon. Realising that traditional agencies struggled to respond to the constantly shifting digital landscape, he created Uprise Up to focus on the growing needs of clients.



                                                        John Onion, Uprise Up

                                                        Content Pitfalls: What to Avoid When Creating Content

                                                        Ed Coles, Uprise Up

                                                        How to Create Effective Video Content

                                                        Grace Gibbons, Bounce Productions

                                                        Writing for SEO

                                                        Konrad Sanders, The Creative Copywriter

                                                        Actionable SEO Content Takeaways

                                                        Kapwom Dingis, Uprise Up

                                                        Local SEO: Optimising Content for Local

                                                        Patrick Langridge, Screaming Frog

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                                                        Brighton SEO Key Takeaways – April 2017

                                                        Brighton SEO 2017

                                                        Brighton SEO Highlights

                                                        While many lessons were learned at Brighton SEO (the April 2017 edition), there was definitely one that stood out above everything else – Remember to test your t-shirt cannon before you host an event (sorry Kelvin!).

                                                        In all seriousness, Brighton SEO was an event that was full of great knowledge and ideas to take away. Many expert speakers with engaging topics were present and I’m going to do my best to summarise some of the more useful information I took away from the event.

                                                        The events I attended were as follows;

                                                        1. The Future of Search
                                                        2. Content
                                                        3. SERP’s
                                                        4. Link Building


                                                        While each of the sessions were informative and enjoyable, we all had our ‘aha’ moments. Here are mine:


                                                        Ranking for the Answer Box


                                                        This was a talk I particularly enjoyed, as I am getting more clients who have quick answer boxes showing up for some of their key search terms. Some of the key action points from this talk by Adrian Phipps included –

                                                        Write in the correct format – 82% of information that appears in the answer box is in the form of paragraphs, 11% in the form of lists (especially bullet points) and 8% in the form of tables. This lets us know how we want to produce our content.

                                                        The first 100 words are key – Aim to answer your audience’s questions within the first 100 words of content. Where this is done correctly the chances of showing up in the answer box increase significantly.

                                                        Question the page title – Put in simple English, include the question being answered in the page title. This highlights to Google in no uncertain way what the relevance of the on page content is.

                                                        Look to answer related questions – By answering questions people in your niche are looking for you are more likely to improve engagement metrics and ensure that Google see your webpage as relevant for the search query you want to rank for.

                                                        Target 1,200+ words – Google seem to reward longer content, as long as it provides value of course. Look to thoroughly answer the question(s) your audience is asking.

                                                        User intent should guide what you do – Remember that user intent is the foundation of SEO (where there is motivation, needs and wants)

                                                        Don’t’ forget tried and tested SEO practices – In the bid to rank for the Answer Box, don’t forget to have health checks on your website. Make sure your page speed is good, there are no duplicates to be found and you are redirecting deleted pages correctly. There are many other things to check but just having good SEO practice as your foundation will give you a good chance of appearing in the answer box.

                                                        Building Backlinks without a Budget


                                                        Probably my favourite talk at Brighton SEO was by Sam Charles, who is a popular blogger that gave some quintessential tips on approaching webmasters for backlinks.

                                                        Put yourself in the webmaster’s shoes – One of the most surprising things I heard at Brighton SEO was the amount of time most bloggers are propositioned daily. Imagine owning a small blog that is thriving and getting 20 – 30 emails per day from people who clearly want a backlink from your website. Next time you’re approaching blogger keep this in the back of your mind.

                                                        It helps explain why most bloggers don’t even respond to a query, if it’s not original and of value to them. So make sure you are offering great value to the blogger.

                                                        Honesty is a must – Most people that approach bloggers aren’t fully upfront with who they are and what they’re goal is. Being honest, is essential in getting bloggers who work with you. Most bloggers, will do a little research on whoever is supposed to be approaching them. At the end of the day, when you ask for that backlink you’re going to have to state which website you want it pointing to. If you’re not honest from the jump off it will begin to show-off.

                                                        What can you offer – If someone is going to be sending backlinks to you, what benefit are they going to be getting from the trade-off? This can be as simple as amazing content, however in such cases, be sure to have links prepared where you can send them for a review of your writing style. On the other hand, it can be as complex as offering your services to them (if you’re an SEO person you can run an audit, if you’re a lawyer maybe offer them advice on incorporating their business).

                                                        Ego bait them – This one may not work for too long but it’s still worth a go. Create a list of top bloggers in your niche and include some of the key websites you want to get backlinks from. Tweet them to let them know about your post. It panders to the ego, which is one of the best ways to get people to act.


                                                        Content Distribution PlanDistribution Arrow


                                                        What are you trying to achieveDifferent websites are going to have different goals when creating a content distribution plan. Some key ones are building backlinks, building brand awareness, increasing organic traffic levels and improving keyword positioning.

                                                        Knowing what you’re KPI’s are will also stop you from wandering away from your initial goals. Set these from the start (with a little flexibility in case they prove to be unrealistic).

                                                        Who are your audienceIf your content is going to be effective it needs to resonate with your target audience. Make sure all content you produce is written in a style and format that your target audience can easily digest. For example if you’re targeting early teens (13-15) you might not want to produce 2,000+ word articles without images/videos to break up the content (you might not want to do that for adults either, to be fair).

                                                        Making these considerations ahead of time will ensure you have a much higher chance of producing successful content.

                                                        Find out who key influencers areBy identifying key influencers in your niche you’ll be able to get your most valuable content in front of more eyeballs. Contact these people, build relationships (by offering to help them before asking for anything in return) and you’ll find you perform much better in the long run.

                                                        Decide on distribution channelsAgain, if you’ve done your homework and know your audience and how they digest content, you’ll be able to select the correct distribution channels to better reach them.

                                                        While there was so much more picked up from this year’s Brighton SEO, the above is more than enough to help you do your job that much better (if you’re in the SEO space). If you didn’t go to Brighton SEO this time, make sure you get down there next time. You’ll find it’s well worth it.



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                                                          Rich Snippets & Structured Data Markup

                                                          What is Micro data?

                                                          What is Microdata?


                                                          In my last blog on optimising for voice search, I mentioned utilising microdata – but what exactly is microdata? Microdata is a type of structured data mark-up which can be used to add additional information to your organic listings. These little extra bits of information at the bottom of your results are known as ‘Rich Snippets’.


                                                          Types of rich snippet & Schema

                                                          One of the great things about rich snippets is that there is a wide selection of different microdata available which can be used. Below are some examples of the different types of schema:



                                                          Product & Availability





                                                          Rich snippets don’t actually have a direct impact on your SEO performance, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t useful. One of the main benefits from rich snippets is that they gain the users attention. In many cases, they simply allow your listing to stand out from the crowd, with the use of photos, videos, ratings and even by just taking up more room in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This all ends up making your listing more clickable and as a result will help increase your CTR.

                                                          Having a higher CTR, with good engagement metrics once the user lands on your page can positively impact the performance of the website, as it signals to search engines the relevance of your website to a specific search query.

                                                          By being able to display more data in your listing, you’re able to provide the user with much more useful information. This means that when they click your listing they have a better idea of what they’re going to get from it. When they then land on your page they are less likely to ‘bounce’ and leave your page as they already know what kind of content they’re going to get.

                                                          Not only do rich snippets help the user understand the type of content on the page, but search engines too are able to better identify of the content and theme of the page. This only furthers the crawl spider’s knowledge of your page and will help them identify your relevancy for when users next make a search. You may even notice that Google begins to pull all of this information from structured data into their Knowledge Graph on the right hand side of the SERPs.



                                                          It’s also worth noting, Google have hinted that in the future rich snippets may become a factor in their ranking algorithm, so structured data markup is definitely something to consider.

                                                          So how do I go about introducing rich snippets on my site? Well the good news is it’s really simple. Just go to schema.org and view the range of different types of mark-up available, copy the code and paste it into your website’s header – that’s it!

                                                          Google also offer several free tools (Structured Data Testing Tool & Structured Data Markup Helper) to help you create, test and manage your use of structured data if you’re not too familiar with rich snippets.

                                                          If you’re thinking of implementing rich snippets and structured data markup on your site and have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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                                                            How User Experience Impacts SEO Performance

                                                            How User Experience Effects SEO

                                                            How User Experience Impacts SEO Performance

                                                            Is the world of online search heading towards a new reign; where user experience, not content, is king?

                                                            I’m not saying that content isn’t vital – it is. You can’t sell a product you don’t have, you can’t get a click to a webpage you haven’t created, and no-one wants to read an article three years out of date; Google will still rank newer, fresher content above old. However, in an online world where everyone is creating original content, how do you get a competitive edge? User experience; it’s been estimated that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and produce as the key brand differentiator.

                                                            Stand out from the crowd by optimising your user experience! Here are some of our top tips:


                                                            Optimise For Mobile

                                                            Google’s current pet project; everything should be optimised for mobile. Their choice of undertaking is no mistake; time spent on mobiles overtook desktops & laptops in 2014, yet, according to this infographic, 96% of smartphone users have encountered sites that weren’t designed for mobile devices.

                                                            Rather than struggle through using your site 79% will search for another site to complete the task, likely a competitor, or are 5 times more likely to just abandon the task altogether. Think of all the wasted traffic and missed conversions, purely because your site isn’t optimised for mobile. Stop your audience clicking away in frustration.


                                                            Target The Right Audience

                                                            Target your audience – not someone else’s! If you type LOL, be sure you’re talking to a millennial; if your average audience is 80 years old and looking for knitting patterns, they might not understand. Use the language your audience will most appreciate, whether that is full, eloquent sentences or short text speak.

                                                            It’s not just about language – target your content to your audience’s demographics, and make sure you drill down into those demographics. Saying that your audience likes sports is far too generic; if your audience are interested in Rory McIlroy’s chip shot, but you start posting about LeBron James shooting hoops, you’ve lost them.

                                                            Engage your users with language and specific content targeted to them; entice them to stay longer and click to more pages, and you will be rewarded with higher rankings.


                                                            Page Design

                                                            Do you remember what a teenage girls’ MySpace page looked like? Hold that image in your mind, and then go the complete opposite direction. No-one wants to look at a flashy page full of gifs and a sparkly background. Not only will this destroy your page’s loading time (which Google measures and uses to rank your page) but when your audience does finally get there, they will click away before they’ve seen even one gif loop.

                                                            Your page should be clean, easy to read and pleasing to look at. Use easy-to-read colours, fonts and font sizes; have a spaced-out layout with plenty of white space, also known as negative space. White space isn’t necessarily white; it is just free of any content. Google’s homepage is over 88% white space, drawing you eye to the most important part – the search bar. Work out what’s most important on your page and, instead of making it bold or bright, make it stand out by clearing everything around it.


                                                            Navigation & Flow

                                                            Following on from Page Design, your headers and navigation panes should be straightforward to understand and use; don’t lose your audience amid a sea of irrelevant webpages. When considering how user experience impacts SEO, a digital marketer will tell you to make your website ‘flow’ and make it ‘easy to navigate’. Regardless of various sailing puns I could include in this section, this is good, if a little generic, advice.

                                                            What you need to do here is to ensure that you have all the usual navigation sections – navigation menu on the top or side, logo link back to the home page, a search bar etc. It has been reported in this B2B Web Usability Report that, after reaching a company’s website via a referral site, 50% of visitors will use the navigation menu to orient themselves; so make sure that your navigation menu is simple to use! When first getting to a website, 47% of people go straight to ‘Products and Services’, to your homepage and 16% to ‘About us’; have these pages prominently in your navigation menu.

                                                            Don’t underestimate a search bar; if a user wants something specific and is having trouble finding it, they will look to the search bar. Don’t give them the chance to move away from your site and go to a competitor; 61% of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site.

                                                            Flowing is harder to define – but I’ll give you an example of not flowing; imagine a site with a bright, blue homepage with a link. Clicking on that link takes you to a page all in black and dark grey – are you even on the same site? The same thing applies to content – make sure what you’re saying on one page doesn’t contradict what you say on the next.

                                                            The principle of flow is to have as few clicks as possible between the user coming onto your website to converting; whether that is purchasing a product or downloading a PDF. For example, having a best-seller displayed as a recommended product helps it be seen, clicked on and purchased. Perhaps you keep the ‘Add to Cart’ button prominently displayed on each product page or a download link on every page; customise to your website and make it easy for your audience to convert!


                                                            Media, Social Media & Links

                                                            A relevant picture or infographic is great, but have you considered having a video on your page? Having an appropriate and engaging video is just one way of ensuring users enjoy their visit to your site and, if you include social media sharing buttons, it’s a great way to get more traffic from a referral on that first users social media.

                                                            Also, link your audience to your own social media pages if they are well-kept and up-to-date. Recommendations are one of the best ways to increase your audience size, and not only on social media. Make it easy for your audience to let their friends know that you exist!


                                                            To Summarise

                                                            • Optimise for mobile
                                                            • Target your audience’s demographics and preferences
                                                            • Have a clean, easy-to-read page design
                                                            • Use clear and simple navigation
                                                            • Make use of social media, videos, infographics
                                                            • Link to other relevant pages


                                                            Your users will thank you!


                                                            If you are looking to have a UX audit of your website to identify ways to improve user engagement, get in touch with Uprise Up today to find out how we can help.


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                                                              Voice Search & Optimising Your Site

                                                              The Power of Voice Search

                                                              The Power of Voice Search

                                                              Voice search is something that is becoming increasingly popular and here at Uprise Up we believe that it’s only going to get bigger. In May 2016 at their I/O event, Google announced that 20% of mobile search queries were made using voice search, and ComScore estimate that a half of all searches by 2020 will be made by voice. This has all been fast tracked with the likes of Siri, Cortana, Google Now and Amazon’s Alexa hitting the market.

                                                              With more searches being made using voice search, optimising your site is going to be increasingly important. So what can you do to make your website voice search friendly? Here are 5 quick tips to get you on your way:


                                                              Utilise Microdata

                                                              One of the most important things to consider when optimising for voice search is allowing your site to be found by Google. The easiest way to do this is to utilise Microdata. Microdata is information such as your location, phone number, opening hours, offers, price etc. and by having this on your site Google is able to identify your value therefore making your site much more relevant for users. The use of Microdata also allows you to feature in Google’s knowledge graph which, appearing at the top the SERPs, can have a great impact on your organic traffic.

                                                              There is a whole range of microdata at your disposal, but by choosing the ones which are most relevant to your business you should start to see an improvement. You can find more information on microdata and the various types available at schema.org.




                                                              Make your site mobile friendly

                                                              If your site isn’t mobile friendly yet, this is something you should really look into. Not only is Google’s Mobile First index coming into full force, but with 20% of voice searches conducted on mobile and with this figure only looking to increase, this should be a priority. By making your site mobile friendly or responsive you greatly improve the users experience on the platform where they’re going to use voice search and as a result this will be rewarded by Google.


                                                              Optimise for Local

                                                              With mobile, people are more likely to be searching on the go and looking for services, products and information near them – this is also the case for voice search. Local search is becoming increasingly important to search engines, and this is something that Google have been putting a lot of effort into with their Possum algorithm update – helping provide legitimate relevant results by aggressively penalising non-genuine listing. By making your site optimised for local, you’ll not only improve your traffic for local listings, but you’ll also improve performance with voice search.


                                                              Using the right keywords

                                                              Whether you’re searching on desktop or mobile, the language you use when searching is going to differ drastically. As mentioned in the previous point, optimising for local search is key. Therefore including local search terms in your on page content is important.

                                                              Google itself has suggested it will soon be releasing voice search volumes via search console. This could turn out to be a goldmine for certain businesses and services. Even if you don’t think you’ll get much business from voice search, optimising for it can only further benefit your business.

                                                              It’s the goal of Apple, Google and Amazon to think of their voice search engines as your very own personal assistant and this is where Siri, Alexa & Cortana come in. By giving your phone a personality, they want your experience to feel much more human and conversational. This ultimately ends up with search queries taking the form of questions. By using longer tail keywords based around search phrases and questions, Google will see your content as much more relevant to the user compared to a standard non-optimised web page.


                                                              Answer the questions

                                                              With user’s searches taking the form of questions, and easy way to optimise your site is to create content to directly answer them. Using third party tools such as Answer the Public can help identify and give you great insight into common questions and themes in your niche or business sector. By knowing what people will be looking for and what questions they’ll be asking, you can create content around them and increase your relevancy. A great way to do this is a Q&A or FAQ section on your site or even on the bottom of each topic page.


                                                              Many of these points are applicable to general best SEO practice and overall, with a general improvement to your SEO you will see an improvement in your voice search performance. That said there are definite ways in which you can further boost your performance.

                                                              If you’re thinking of beginning on site optimisation on your site and would like to know more, or if you simply have any questions on voice search, please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you and we’re more than happy to answer any questions!


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                                                                Google’s “Mobile First Index” & What It Means For You

                                                                What is the ‘Mobile First Index’?


                                                                In September 2016, Google announced that it would be separating its search index into separate versions. The mobile index, which will be regularly updated and a separate, secondary index for desktops.

                                                                Mobile compatibility and search results have always played an important role in how well a website ranks organically, but with Google shifting from desktop, mobile is gaining ever-growing importance. In October 2015, Google’s Amit Singhal highlighted this even further, mentioning that over 50% of all monthly Google searches are now carried out on a mobile device.

                                                                With the ‘mobile first index’ planned for a full roll-out, expected to be sometime in 2017, it is imperative to ensure that you are not only aware of the changes but know exactly what you need to check to ensure you are not negatively impacted by one of the major Google updates in recent times.

                                                                Below are some of the key questions you should be asking:


                                                                What if my mobile content differs from desktop content?

                                                                With the mobile first index, Google will be giving priority to all mobile pages ahead of the desktop site – this means that if your mobile content differs from desktop you may see a difference in SEO performance and ranking.

                                                                Google understand that mobile content will naturally differ from the desktop version and so are providing more weighting to expandable/collapsible content. This won’t, however, solve all of your issues. Google are currently recommending sites take a responsive approach to their site – this will ultimately mean that your content will be the same across all platforms and will also mean that your pages will automatically be mobile friendly.


                                                                What to do if you don’t have a mobile compatible website?

                                                                If you’re looking at the mobile first index thinking ‘I don’t have a mobile site or a site that’s mobile friendly, how will this affect me?’, there is little need to worry, but it is still worth being cautious. If your site isn’t mobile compatible or doesn’t have any mobile pages, Google will still index your desktop site.

                                                                We recommend making your site at least mobile responsive in preparation for the switch just to be safe. Google’s Mobile Friendly Test is a great tool to identify where your site is and isn’t mobile friendly and where you can improve.


                                                                How much will my rankings be affected by this?

                                                                Gary Illyes from Google has gone on record to say that there will be minimal  changes to rankings, even after the mobile first index is fully rolled out. However, as with any algorithm update there may be some fluctuation near launch as Google try to iron out any kinks. Ultimately though, Google don’t want to be changing rankings with this move, they are simply updating how they index – the full impact of this though is yet to be seen.


                                                                Site Speed?

                                                                Site speed and page load speed have always been an important factor in the SEO of any site, but with the introduction of the mobile first index it will be even more important. Mobile users expect pages to load quickly and as a result, Google reward pages and sites which are able to provide the best user experience. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are a prime example of this.


                                                                Other factors to consider

                                                                Structured Data – Having structured data on your site gives the search engines have a better understanding of your website. By ensuring that both the mobile and desktop versions of your website use structured data, the knowledge graph of your website/business is improved and will mean that the mobile version of your page performs at an optimum level.

                                                                Indexability – Another key factor is to check whether both the mobile and desktop versions of your website are indexable by the search engines. Check that your robots.txt file is not blocking any pages you want picked up by Googlebot.


                                                                If you’re looking for more information on Google’s Mobile first index, Google have provided a more detailed run down on their webmaster’s blog.

                                                                If you’d like to discuss in more detail how these changes may affect your site, please do contact us.

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                                                                  Google update Penguin, and add a Possum to the mix…

                                                                  Another Addition to the Google Zoo


                                                                  Not too recently I put together a post about the plethora of Google algorithms – most lovingly named after zoo animals – and ended with the closing remark that we’d be back to update you on any further changes from Google HQ. Well, they have been busy and apparently I’m a man of my word so let’s get started.


                                                                  Google Possum

                                                                  It seems like most of the community are in agreement that Google have revamped the way they filter local search results in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Specifically, businesses that fall outside a city boundary are being penalized less for ranking locally within that city. In a similar vein, the location of the searcher is becoming more prevalent for ranking within the 3-pack search.

                                                                  Local business filters for look to be strongly improved with Google Possum. For example, there are currently more than 180 businesses registered at 33 St James’ Square in London. This is clearly not genuine, and Possum will now more aggressively penalize listings at addresses like this to provide legitimate, relevant local results.

                                                                  possumGoogle Penguin

                                                                  Google have officially confirmed that Penguin, one of their search algorithms, now runs in real-time. Historically, the rankings that Penguin assigned would need to be refreshed for any positive – or negative – SEO changes to be evaluated and for any search ranks to change.

                                                                  Alongside this change is a slightly more confusing one. The official notes say “Penguin is now more granular”, continuing “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” The general consensus is that this is a somewhat roundabout way of saying that Penguin now penalizes pages for spam heavy content rather than traditionally penalizing site-wide for individual page infractions.

                                                                  Also included in their official blog post is the handy phrase, “it also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes”. This isn’t too much to shout about, it just means that every time sites get re-crawled and re-indexed, Penguin will automatically re-align its rankings instead of being manually refreshed. This puts Penguin in line with Panda, for which Google stopped commenting on once it was introduced into the core algorithm.

                                                                  The blog post closed with the phrase “webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites”. This is a hopeful goal and maybe if more people and more work went this way over learning how to falsely maintain a good ranking on a poor site, Google – and the user – would be both be better off.



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                                                                    A tour around the Google zoo…

                                                                    Google’s Algorithm Updates


                                                                    To a lot of people – myself included prior to this job – Google is some sort of magic box for every possible query and search under the sun. “How does it work?” is usually met with shrugged shoulders and a puzzled expression but not today. So let’s get into it.

                                                                    People are adding new things to the web every second of every day. A new blog, website page, a new Facebook post, a Tweet, or generally any fresh content at all. Alongside this, Google bots crawl around the web searching for and indexing fresh content, following links across the web and keeping track of everything they touch including (but by no means limited to); links to and from pages, the level of quality content on a site, any ad copy present, and the user quality and interaction.

                                                                    All of this provides the Webmasters at Google with a score of how relevant and valuable a site is, and this goes on all the time. Google are pretty good at keeping interested parties up to date with algorithm changes and overhauls and generally announce the development of any major updates so let’s look at a few of the big ones.





                                                                    Now we are in a position to dive into the development of this web-index. In 2010, Google announced ‘Caffeine’ – the first iteration. When introducing the change, Google cited radical web expansion not just web extension, saying “the average webpage is richer and more complex” and as such a better, more dynamic and intelligent algorithm was needed.




                                                                    The first overhaul to Caffeine came in 2011 with the rollout of Google Panda – named after an engineer who worked on the project. The key targets of Panda were sites with spam-heavy, duplicate or otherwise poor-quality content and the aim was to improve the quality of search results towards those sites with solid, original content. For interested readers (with some time to kill), the patent overview is available here. At the time, it was estimated that v1.0 overhauled the search rankings for 12% of all Google’s search traffic. After receiving a fair amount of backlash from Webmasters who thought they had been unfairly penalized, Google published some guidelines to help websites understand the changes and avoid being falsely targeted – available here. Some of these sites reported seeing a drop in traffic of over 90% after the rollout of Panda.




                                                                    Panda continued merrily sifting, searching, and indexing the web for a year or so before Google Penguin arrived. The aim of Penguin was to decrease traffic to websites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These had been heavily abused since Google Panda released as Webmasters began manipulating the algorithm to falsely promote their sites. These techniques have since been referred to as ‘black-hat SEO’, one example of this is link-farming which involves cheating a ranking feature in Panda aimed at rewarding sites with quality external links. Schemes for ‘link-sharing’ began to pop-up whereby a webpage could pay for solid links to other websites in the scheme in exchange for theirs. In this way, a group of poor-quality websites could rise up the search rankings and appear above quality sites. Penguins revamp hit around 3.1% of all English searches.




                                                                    Google’s zoo of algorithm updates was then joined by Hummingbird. This addition represents the development of semantically intelligent search where the algorithm started to determine the meaning of entire queries over just analysing and searching word-by-word, with the hope that search would provide pages that answer the meaning of a question and not just those pages that hit each keyword.

                                                                    By now, Google wanted to answer simple questions within the results page itself and Hummingbird was the first step. It is Hummingbird at work when you google ‘Height of Ama Dablam’ and the following result shows inside the results page.





                                                                    Another bird to add to the roost, Google Pigeon arrived to promote local businesses in Google search. “Aimed at providing a more useful, relevant and accurate local search results” this update also overhauled the Google Maps feature to provide relevant search results based on location and local directories. Pigeon is in action in the picture below for a search about local gyms. The impact this had on local business was huge, with many looking to solidify their presence in directories and business listings to help Google promote them higher up the search.




                                                                    The aptly named ‘Pirate’ is googles answer to growing pressure from Hollywood and the entertainment industry to combat pirated content online. The algorithm identifies those sites with a large number of valid copyright notices against them and penalizes them in the search rankings for it. Alongside steering traffic away from illegal sources of media, the hope was that Google would promote the sources of genuine music, video and film sales.

                                                                    A huge number of updates and revisions have been made since Pirate was installed – Google update their engine hundreds of times a year – and we’d be here until the cows come home talking you through them – but luckily a handy changelog can be found here for the interested reader!



                                                                    So we’ve covered some of the heavy hitters inside Google HQ, the real question is what’s next?

                                                                    One thing we can be pretty sure of is that more development time will be put into updates like Hummingbird with a focus on semantic search improvements and answering searches inside the SERP itself.  Another likely bet, given the tidal shift towards mobile, is more innovation towards making web search more friendly and easy for mobile users. Whatever the case, you can be sure Google are working on something so come back when it drops and we’ll keep you updated !

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                                                                      BrightonSEO – Our Top 9 Takeaways

                                                                      Brighton SEO Highlights – September 16


                                                                      Last Friday saw the 13th Brighton SEO conference take place. Having outgrown the Brighton Dome, this year and having ‘come a long way from a room in a pub’, the conference was held at the Brighton Centre. If you’re not familiar with Brighton SEO, it’s a place where all forms of SEO geeks can gather and discuss all things SEO.

                                                                      On the programme this year there were several speakers from around the world talking about all manner or SEO topics, from the importance of local SEO to the future of SEO and the potential dystopia associated with it.



                                                                      Due to the sheer amount of information on the day I’ve decided to break it down into a nice list of the top 9 takeaways from the conference (in no particular order):


                                                                      Never stop link building outreach

                                                                      Even once you’ve hit your target number of backlinks to a page, article, post, don’t stop – there are many sites which will still link to you and not including them is just causing you to miss out. Local and regional press are a prime example – often freelance journalists write for multiple papers and sites, both local and national. By providing continued outreach and building relationships with sources, you can open doors you never thought were there.


                                                                      Site migration doesn’t necessarily always have to a big impact on site performance

                                                                      Whilst often site migrations result in lower rankings and visibility, this is usually the result of poor planning and not involving SEO from the offset. As we and other agencies have found, instances where SEO is well implemented from the start and is involved in the design process show far more consistency in performance across the migration. SEO and 301s needs to be integrated early on.


                                                                      The ever increasing importance of local search

                                                                      Local search is becoming more and more important to Google and other search engines, and as a result they are starting to put more weight behind local listings. This has led to a huge increase in the number of tools and services available to help manage listings and to capitalise on this ever growing sector – many of which featured at Brighton.


                                                                      Google don’t give consistent – or even correct advice on how the algorithm works/is being developed

                                                                      This is something that we’ve seen before, and at Brighton plenty of other agencies were also talking about where Google’s advice on things such as backlinks and 302s etc. simply aren’t borne out by the results.


                                                                      The continued direction from Google (and other search engines) is to pull the data that users are looking for into the search engine rather than serve people to a different site

                                                                      Ecommerce is moving in this direction too and we expect the ultimate goal to be where the products of Tesco, Asda and others are pulled into Google and the entire journey, including payment, is kept within Google – in a manner closer to Amazon or eBay. With Google’s phenomenal reach, this would place the search engine in an exceedingly powerful place across all ecommerce.


                                                                      Our job is increasingly becoming the role of a scientist

                                                                      The algorithm is too varied, inconsistent across sectors and quickly evolving to implement ‘best practice’ any more. This was a main topic of a very good Keynote speech by Will Critchlow at Distilled. For us as an agency, we are moving away from an ‘audit to pass on to clients’ model and more into a proactive way of working with clients where we can implement most of the changes ourselves, keep on top of changes to the algorithm and test what we work on with clients, making the amends needed as we go.


                                                                      Content duplication for eCommerce is a big no-no

                                                                      Whilst this might seem common sense for most sites, it is often overlooked when it comes to ecommerce and shopping and can even result in a penalty from Google if you’re not careful. Unfortunately for ecommerce, canonicals won’t cut it either, so avoid duplicate content at all costs! If you have a product that covers multiple categories, it’s recommended to use long-tail flat URLs e.g. www.upriseup.co.uk/Black-Silk-Evening-Maxi-Dress as opposed to having both upriseup.co.uk/Black-Dress/Maxi-Dress and upriseup.co.uk/Evening-Dress/.


                                                                      Descriptions are crucial for Shopping

                                                                      The 150-character Product Titles are what’s going to entice the user to click on your ad or product, so they need to be fully utilised and filled with relevant info and keywords. By using an ad redirect option on the Merchant Feed you can also send top-of-funnel searches to a ‘category page’ to direct users to the top items. Speaking of which, by ensuring that the most relevant top-selling item is the most relevant item you’re able to further boost potential sales.


                                                                      The future of HTTP & HTTP/2

                                                                      Currently, if your website is performing badly on HTTP, the upgrade to HTTP/2 isn’t going to fix your site – it will still perform badly. To even be able to use HTTP/2 your site will also need to have HTTPS so if you’re thinking of making the jump, this is a big deciding factor. Many agencies have described the move from HTTP to HTTPS as essentially a new site migration which can cause massive issues down the line if not implemented properly. You can see the effects of HTTP/2 here.

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                                                                        AMPing up mobile page load speed…

                                                                        Mobile Page Speed

                                                                        Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

                                                                        The attention of web users is hard enough to grab on a desktop display, and now as mobile web overtakes desktop as the most common user interface, the attention of the mobile user has to be taken into account.

                                                                        The processing power of a mobile device is much less than a laptop or desktop computer but more and more frequently people use their mobiles and tablets for information. Every time a webpage takes too long to load and the user bounces from the webpage, that site loses a visitor, the advertisers lose an impression and everyone loses the opportunity to earn any money.

                                                                        The good folks over at Google HQ realised this was an issue for everyone on the web – most of all the user who expects fast, reliable content anytime on any device. After discussion with content providers, publishers and companies, Google announced an open-source project called ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ or AMP. The aim was to streamline UX across the web, and especially on content rich pages with video, graphics advertising.

                                                                        The importance of this functionality is paramount on pages like BBC breaking news, or the live commentary of a sports game. When news and information is updated in real-time across a multitude of devices, the framework for that delivery has to be robust enough that no user is disadvantaged and no updates are delayed.

                                                                        Google released an official blog introducing the AMP changes that can be found here, AMP also have an extensive FAQ section on their website which covers a lot of information about purpose and implementation. To give you an idea of scope, the companies below are just a handful that listed as publishers of AMP.

                                                                        AMP companies

                                                                        So how will this impact digital marketing and online advertising?

                                                                        A report from Google/SOASTA found that 40% of consumers will leave a page if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds, but it also found that in July the average retail site in the US loaded in 6.9 seconds. This friction between service and user expectation only hurts digital advertising and online business. The report continues with two key findings regarding conversion rates on mobile pages; the more elements on a page, and the number of images present. Google define pages like this as ‘heavy’, leading to cumbersome load times and a slow user experience, it was found that sessions with converting users had 38% fewer images that those non-converters.

                                                                        The full google report can be found here, and continues with a section on bounce rate factors and another with action points for the mobile marketer.AMP blog logo


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