2020 Google Search Survey: How Much Do Users Trust Their Search Results?

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Posted by LilyRayNYC While Google’s mission has always been to surface high-quality content, over the past few years the company has worked especially hard to ensure that its search results are also consistently accurate, credible, and trustworthy. Reducing false and misleading information has been a top priority for Google since concerns over misinformation surfaced during the 2016 US presidential election. The search giant is investing huge sums of money and brain power into organizing the ever-increasing amounts of content on the web in a way that prioritizes accuracy and credibility. In a 30-page whitepaper published last year, Google delineates specifically how it fights against bad actors and misinformation across Google Search, News, Youtube, Ads, and other Google products. In this whitepaper, Google explains how Knowledge Panels — a common organic search feature — are part of its initiative to show “context and diversity of perspectives to form their own views.” With Knowledge Panel results, Google provides answers to queries with content displayed directly in its organic search results (often without including a link to a corresponding organic result), potentially eliminating the need for users to click through to a website to find an answer to their query. While this feature benefits users by answering their questions even more quickly, it brings with it the danger of providing quick answers that might be misleading or incorrect. Another feature with this issue is Featured Snippets , where Google pulls website content directly into the search results. Google maintains specific policies for Featured Snippets, prohibiting the display of content that is sexually explicit, hateful, violent, dangerous, or in violation of expert consensus on civic, medical, scientific, or historical topics. However, this doesn’t mean the content included in Featured Snippets is always entirely accurate . According to data pulled by Dr. Pete Meyers, based on a sample set of 10,000 keywords, Google has increased the frequency with which it displays Featured Snippets as part of the search results. In the beginning of 2018, Google displayed Featured Snippets in approximately 12% of search results; in early 2020, that number hovers around 16%. Google has also rolled out several core algorithm updates in the past two years, with the stated goal of “delivering on [their] mission to present relevant and authoritative content to searchers.” What makes these recent algorithm updates particularly interesting is how much E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) appears to be playing a role …

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Identifying Advanced GSC Search Performance Patterns (and What to Do About Them)

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Posted by izzismith Google Search Console is by far the most used device in the SEO’s toolkit. Not only does it provide us with the closest understanding we can have of Googlebot’s behavior and perception of our domain properties (in terms of indexability, site usability, and more), but it also allows us to assess the search KPIs that we work so rigorously to improve. GSC is free, secure, easy to implement, and it’s home to the purest form of your search performance KPI data. Sounds perfect, right? However, the lack of capability for analyzing those KPIs on larger scales means we can often miss crucial points that indicate our pages’ true performance. Being limited to 1,000 rows of data per request and restricted filtering makes data refinement and growth discovery tedious (or close to impossible). SEOs love Google Search Console — it has the perfect data — but sadly, it’s …

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Search Intent and SEO: A Quick Guide

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Posted by DawnMacri Understanding search intent can be the secret ingredient that brings your content strategy from okay to outstanding. As an SEO Strategist at a digital marketing agency ( Brainlabs ), we often find clients on the brink of ranking success. They’re sitting on stellar content that simply isn’t ranking for their target keywords. Why? Oftentimes, the keywords and the intent simply don’t match. Here we’ll discuss the different types of search intent, how to determine the best intent for given keywords, and how to optimize for search intent. First–let’s iron out the basics. What is search intent? Search intent (also known as user intent) is the primary goal a user has when searching a query in a search engine. Many times, users are searching for a specific type of answer or resource as they search. Take pizza for example. Searching for a pizza recipe has a different intent …

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How Google SERP Layouts Affect Searching Behavior

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Posted by Stephen_Job There are several studies (and lots of data) out there about how people use Google SERPs, what they ignore, and what they focus on. An example is Moz’s recent experiment testing whether SEOs should continue optimizing for featured snippets or not (especially now that Google has announced that if you have a featured snippet, you no longer appear elsewhere in the search results). Two things I have never seen tested are the actual user reactions to and behavior with SERPs. My team and I set out to test these ourselves, and this is where biometric technology comes into play. What is biometric technology and how can marketers use it? Biometric technology measures physical and behavioral characteristics. By combining the data from eye tracking devices, galvanic skin response monitors (which measure your sweat levels, allowing us to measure subconscious reactions), and facial recognition software, we can gain useful …

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How Low Can #1 Go? (2020 Edition)

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Posted by Dr-Pete Being #1 on Google isn't what it used to be. Back in 2013, we analyzed 10,000 searches and found out that the average #1 ranking began at 375 pixels (px) down the page. The worst case scenario, a search for "Disney stock," pushed #1 all the way down to 976px. A lot has changed in seven years, including an explosion of rich SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features, like Featured Snippets, local packs, and video carousels. It feels like the plight of #1 is only getting worse. So, we decided to run the numbers again (over the same searches) and see if the data matches our perceptions. Is the #1 listing on Google being pushed even farther down the page? I try to let the numbers speak for themselves, but before we dig into a lot of stats, here's one that legitimately shocked me. In 2020, over …

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How People Use Google Search (New User Behavior Study)

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We analyzed 1,801 Google user behavior sessions to better understand how people interact with modern Google SERPs. Specifically, we investigated: How many people click on ads vs organic results Percentage of clicks go to local, video and Google Shopping Average search session length Number of users that make it to the bottom of the first page Lots more And now it’s time to share what we discovered. Here Are Our Some of Our Key Findings: 1. Google searchers use one of Google’s autocomplete suggestions 23% of the time. People that search for informational and local searches tended to click on an autocomplete suggestion more often than those searching with commercial queries. 2. 50% of Google users click on their result within 9 seconds of searching. And the average amount of time it takes a Google searcher to click on something is 14.6 seconds. 3. Only 9% of Google searchers make …

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The Power of "Is": A Featured Snippet Case Study

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Posted by EricSerdar I’m not a literary scholar, but I believe it was Hamlet that said “to have a featured snippet or not to have a featured snippet?” Ever since featured snippets came onto the scene, sites have been trying to secure them. My team and I wanted in on this craze. Throughout our journey of research, testing, failure, and success, we found some interesting pieces of information that we wanted to share with the community. I’ll walk you through what we did and show you some of our results (though can’t share traffic numbers). It was Britney Muller’s webinar on Feature Snippet Essentials and the release of the featured snippets cheat sheet that inspired me to capture what we've learned. What are featured snippets? A featured snippet is the box that appears at the top of the search result page that provides information to succinctly and accurately answer your …

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Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero

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Posted by Dr-Pete In 2014, Google introduced the featured snippet, a promoted organic ranking that we affectionately (some days were more affectionate than others) referred to as "position zero" or "ranking #0." One of the benefits to being in position zero was that you got to double-dip, with your organic listing appearing in both the featured snippet and page-1 results (usually in the top 3–4). On January 23, Google announced a significant change (which rolled out globally on January 22) ... "Declutters" sounds innocuous, but the impact to how we think about featured snippets and organic rankings is significant. So, let's dig deep into some examples and the implications for SEO. What does this mean for Moz? First, a product announcement. In the past, we treated Featured Snippets as stand-alone SERP features — they were identified in our "SERP Features" report but were not treated as organic due to the …

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Opting-Out of Google Featured Snippets Led to 12% Traffic Loss [SEO Experiment]

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard Note: This post was co-authored by Cyrus Shepard and Rida Abidi . Everyone wants to win Google featured snippets. Right? At least, it used to be that way. Winning the featured snippet typically meant extra traffic, in part because Google showed your URL twice: once in the featured snippet and again in regular search results. For publishers, this was known as " double-dipping ." All that changed in January when Google announced they would de-duplicate search results to show the featured snippet URL only once on the first page of results. No more double-dips. Publishers worried because older studies suggested winning featured snippets drove less actual traffic than the "natural" top ranking result. With the new change, winning the featured snippet might actually now lead to less traffic, not more. This led many SEOs to speculate: should you opt-out of featured snippets altogether? Are featured snippets causing …

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We Need to Talk About Google's “People Also Ask”: A Finance Case Study

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Posted by barryloughran For a while now, I’ve been disappointed with the People Also Ask (PAAs) feature in Google’s search results. My disappointment is not due to the vast amount of space they take up on the SERPs (that’s another post entirely), but more that the quality is never where I expect it to be. Google has been running PAAs since April 2015 and they are a pretty big deal. MozCast is currently tracking PAAs (Related Questions) across 90% of all searches , which is more than any other SERP feature. The quality issue I’m running into is that I still find several obscure PAA questions and results or content from other countries. When I run searches that have a universal answer, such as “can you eat raw chicken?”, the answer is universally correct so there is no issue with the results. But when I run a search that should …

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Some Featured Snippets may not appear as the top organic result

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If you follow my blog, you’ll know about the latest update to Featured Snippets on Google. An update which most of us probably didn’t see coming. I found that the “Featured” aspect of a “Featured Snippet” had been drastically reduced. While the result was still boxed-in, the ranking position had been demoted. This article explores this update, assessing how far-reaching it was in search results, along with some additional context involving classification. But first, a quick TL;DR : Featured Snippets that don’t appear in the top organic position are of a specific type. They have similar features to Knowledge Panels and trigger for a very small subset of queries. Looking at data for millions of queries across various segments, I was able to find some commonalities among the new Google Featured Snippets. Here’s what I learned. How have some Featured Snippets changed? The change involves some Featured Snippets showing in …

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