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 1,600 (16.6%) of the searches we analyzed had #1 positions that were worse than the worst-case scenario in 2013. Let's dig into a few of these ... What's the worst-case for #1? Data is great, but sometimes it takes the visuals to really understand what's going on. Here's our big "winner" for 2020, a search for "lollipop" — the #1 ranking came in at an incredible 2,938px down. I've annotated the #1 position, along with the 1,000px and 2,000px marks ... At 2,938px, the 2020 winner comes in at just over three times 2013's worst-case scenario. You may have noticed that the line is slightly above the organic link. For the sake of consistency and to be able to replicate the data later, we chose to use the HTML/CSS container position. This hits about halfway between the organic link and the URL breadcrumbs (which recently moved above the link). This is a slightly more conservative measure than our 2013 study. You may also have noticed that this result contains a large-format video result, which really dominates page-one real estate. In fact, five of our top 10 lowest #1 results in 2020 contained large-format videos. Here's the top contender without a large-format video, coming in at fourth place overall (a search for "vacuum cleaners") ... Before the traditional #1 organic position, we have shopping results, a research carousel, a local pack, People Also Ask results, and a top products carousel with a massive vertical footprint. This is a relentlessly commercial result. …

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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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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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A Simple Guide to the SERPs

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The SERPs (search engine results pages) are the listings you see whenever you type a query into a search engine. For most of us (63%, plus 90% of mobile searches), that search engine will be Google, so if your website does well in Google’s SERPs, you’re going to see a lot of organic traffic. When it comes to digital marketing, organic traffic is something of a Holy Grail. Why? Because as opposed to paid advertising, where you pay to get eyes on your content, organic clicks = free clicks. However, the SERPs aren’t as straightforward as they once were, and there are several ways they can influence the amount of organic traffic you get. So, let’s take a look at some of the different forms of traffic, how the SERPs affect them, and how you can get your website noticed in SERPs. What Types of SERP Results Are There? When …

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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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Understanding & Fulfilling Search Intent - Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by BritneyMuller Google houses the world's information, and it's their goal to serve the best answers to searchers' questions. That means that understanding what your target audience is searching and why is more important than ever — but how do you effectively analyze and fulfill true search intent? In this brand-new Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares everything you need to begin understanding and fulfilling search intent, plus a free Google Sheets checklist download to help you analyze the SERPs you care about most. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we're going to be uncovering understanding and fulfilling search intent, and this is a really important topic to understand and better prepare your content around. I want you to think about this idea that Google houses the world's …

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Understanding & Fulfilling Search Intent

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Posted by BritneyMuller Google houses the world's information, and it's their goal to serve the best answers to searchers' questions. That means that understanding what your target audience is searching and why is more important than ever — but how do you effectively analyze and fulfill true search intent? In this brand-new Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares everything you need to begin understanding and fulfilling search intent, plus a free Google Sheets checklist download to help you analyze the SERPs you care about most. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we're going to be uncovering understanding and fulfilling search intent, and this is a really important topic to understand and better prepare your content around. I want you to think about this idea that Google houses the world's …

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There's Gold In Them Thar SERPs: Mining Important SEO Insights from Search Results

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Posted by AndrewDennis33 There’s gold in them thar SERPs…gold I tell ya! Now, whether that phrase takes you back to a simpler (maybe? I don’t know, I was born in the 80s) time of gold panning, Mark Twain, and metallurgical assay — or just makes you want some Velveeta shells and liquid gold (I also might be hungry) — the point is, there is a lot you can learn from analyzing search results. Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the mountains we’re trying to climb as SEOs to reach the peak (number one position). But these mountains aren’t just for climbing — there are numerous “nuggets” of information to be mined from the SERPs that can help us on our journey to the mountaintop. Earning page one rankings is difficult — to build optimized pages that can rank, you need comprehensive SEO strategy that includes: Content audits Keyword research Competitive …

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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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The MozCon Virtual Video Bundle Is Here (Plus, Our 2019 Videos are FREE!)

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Posted by cheryldraper This year's MozCon was unlike any other. In the midst of a global pandemic, we pivoted from planning our traditional 1,600-plus in-person shindig to an online conference that ended up bigger and more well-attended than anything we'd done before. MozCon Virtual was a delightful journey into the unknown. Just a few of the practical lessons we learned: How to collect, assemble, and ship high-quality at-home filming kits to our speakers How to reimagine online networking (they weren't held over delicious entrees at lunch, but our Birds of a Feather virtual sessions were a big hit!) How to get the most out of an online conference while also caring for your needs and being aware of Zoom fatigue And while it may have felt a little different this year, with 21 industry experts covering topics all the way from easy-to-implement machine learning to effective content promotion to crafting …

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