Coming soon to the Lone Star State: more office space and a data centerComing soon to the Lone Star State: more office space and a data center

We’re investing $600 million to develop the Midlothian site, which will create a number of full-time jobs, as well as hundreds of construction jobs to build the new data center. As part of this investment, we’re also making a $100,000 grant to the Midlothian Independent School District to support the continued growth and development of the region’s STEM programs in schools.

In Austin, we already have more than 1,100 employees working across Android, G Suite, Google Play, Cloud, staffing and recruiting, people operations, finance and marketing. As we continue to grow, we’ve leased additional office space at Block 185 and Saltillo—located in downtown Austin and east Austin, respectively—to accommodate our short and long-term growth.

A father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old businessA father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old business

Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary is considered a Chicago landmark. For five generations, the pharmacy has been home to a collection of unique, hard-to-find goods from all over the world. Abdul Qaiyum bought the business in 1972, managing to grow the business during a time when most independent pharmacies were giving way to large chain drug stores. Abdul’s three sons worked there growing up and today, Merz Apothecary is run by Abdul and his son, Anthony. “We’re not your traditional pharmacy,” says Anthony. “We carry everything from natural remedies to grooming products to home fragrances.”

One of the secrets to their continued success? Quickly embracing the power of technology. They turned to the internet while it was still in its early days, taking their first online order in 1997 and starting an e-commerce site, smallflower.com, in 1998. In 2001 they started using Google Ads to reach customers searching for their specialty products and their business began to double. They now have 60 employees and the web continues to play a critical role in their business. A YouTube channel has expanded their reach—videos sharing fun and informative product reviews have garnered over 1.5 million views. “I view the web as a way that we can deliver what we do, to everybody,” says Anthony. “Everyone is going online searching for information all the time. Google is the place where most of that gets done, so I want to be there and I want to be seen.”

Location Extensions Augmented Advertisements

When a Google Patent uses the word “Content” they often mean advertisements, rather than just the content on a website. That was true when I wrote about a Google patent about combining advertisements and organic results in the post Google to Offer Combined Content (Paid and Organic) Search Results

I don’t often write about paid search here, but sometimes see something interesting enough to write about. We’ve been seeing some of the features from organic search appearing in paid search results, such as sitelink extensions, and Structured Snippets extensions. Google has written up extensions, which are ways of adding additional information to advertisements “to maximize the performance of text ads.”

One specific type of extension is a location extension. Location Extensions can add information to an advertisement that you bid upon that can exhibit more information to your ad, such as:

Google Ads location extensions allow you to show your business address, phone number and a map marker along with your ad text.

.

That information isn’t shown to everyone but may be shown to people within a threshold distance from an advertiser’s location. The location extensions page doesn’t provide much in the way of details as to when location extensions might be triggered which is why I thought it helpful to write about this patent application that appears to cover location extensions.

A Google patent application was published this week about location augmented advertisements. The patent tells us about when a location extension that could be shown with an ad might be triggered to show:

The method includes receiving a request for content from a user device. The method further includes identifying, by one or more processors, a content item for delivery to the user device responsive to the request. The method further includes determining a location of the user device. The method further includes determining a threshold distance that a user is likely willing to travel when visiting a physical location associated with the content item or content sponsor. The method further includes identifying a bounding region associated with the location of the user device. The method further includes identifying one or more location extensions that are associated with the content item. The method further includes determining, by one or more processors, when one of the one or more location extensions is included in the bounding region and when a distance between the location extension and a current location of the user is less than the determined threshold distance. The method further includes augmenting, based on the determining when the distance is less than the determined threshold, the content item with the one location extension.

A Think with Google article on location extensions provides more information about ways to use location extensions.

The location extensions patent application provides more details on how location extensions work. It points out the following features:

  1. The request for content can be associated with a search query, a map request or page request.
  2. The user device can be a mobile device, and location information for the user can be provided as part of the request.
  3. Determining the threshold distance can include evaluating requests from plural users and determining the threshold distance as a mathematical function derived from the evaluating.
  4. Evaluating can include evaluating driving direction requests received from users that terminate at a location associated with the one location extension.
  5. The mathematical function can be a numeric average and the threshold distance can represent an average distance a user would drive to visit the location.
  6. The threshold distance can be determined based on a characterization associated with a sponsor of the content item.
  7. The characterization can be based on a type of product or service offered by the sponsor.
  8. Identifying one or more location extensions can include identifying plural location extensions that are included in the bounding region and selecting one of the plural regions.
  9. The selecting can be a random selection.
  10. Augmenting can include providing the one location extension for presentation in proximity to the content item when displayed on the user device.
  11. Identifying a bounding region can include: identifying a first bounding region; determining that no location extensions for the content item are included in the first bounding region; identifying, based on determining that no location extensions for the content item are included in the first bounding region, a second larger bounding region; determining when one of the one or more location extensions is included in the second larger bounding region; and augmenting the content item with the one location extension.

The underlying purpose of this patent about location extensions is that they will show location information to searchers who are within a certain distance from an advertiser based upon travel time, and what they are offering. The patent application is:

Determining Relevant Business Locations Based on Travel Distances
Inventors: Derek Coatney, Eric L. Lorenzo, Yi Zhu, Amin Charaniya and Gaurav Ravindra Bhaya
Assignee: Google LLC
US Patent Application: 20190180326
Published: June 13, 2019
Filed: February 19, 2019

Abstract

Methods, systems, and apparatus include computer programs encoded on a computer-readable storage medium, including a method for providing content. A request for content is received from a user device. A content item is identified for delivery to the user device responsive to the request. A location of the user device is determined. A threshold distance is determined that a user is likely willing to travel when visiting a physical location associated with the content item or content sponsor. A bounding region associated with the location of the user device is identified. Location extensions are identified that are associated with the content item. A determination is made when one of the location extensions is included in the bounding region and when a distance between the location extension and a current location of the user is less than the determined threshold distance. The content item is augmented with the one location extension.

Takeaways

A query that triggers a location extension on an advertisement can be a query that includes a location such as [italian resturants in Carlsbad, Ca.] or it could involve a query that doesn’t include a location such as [French food].

It appears that to have working location extensions as an advertiser, you need to register your location with Google My business (and link that account with Adwords) and you have to set up location extensions in adwords. You can have multiple locations displayed as well if you have those.

Location extensions look like they could be helpful in attracting attention to local consumers who may be interested in what you offer on your site.


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Video SEO: New tool by Trint helps make spoken words in videos crawlable

trint makes spoken words videos crawlable

June 13 saw the release of a new tool by London-based company Trint which can assist the crawlability and visibility of video content in search engines.

The Trint Player has been unveiled at the Global Editors Network Summit in Athens where it will be used to publish video and transcripts of keynotes by Google News founder Krishna Bharat and Bloomberg Editor-In-Chief John Micklethwait.

Video to dominate traffic and SERPs

In two years, video content is expected to make up 80% of online traffic. Google is increasingly returning video content in its SERPs and delivering it in a variety of ways, depending on device used and the type of content that is searched for.

To date, search engines can only find a video based on words in the title, the description and in a small amount of accompanying metadata. The embeddable Trint Player works by automatically attaching a transcript to videos using AI.

A search engine indexing a page with a video published in the player will be able to record all the words from the attached transcript and show the spoken words in search results.

The transcript functionality is interactive. Users can click on a word and the tool will navigate to that part of the video. It auto-scrolls as the video plays and you can easily follow along or view the text without image and/or sound.

I gave the searchability of the above Elon Musk video a quick test by Googling “we have an amazing product to show you tonight.” Indeed, the page on the Trint site which is hosting the video ranks very well – just below some news sites which have manually taken some quotes from Musk’s presentation. It is also worth noting that the embed in this instance is a fair way down the page.

Benefits for news sites and marketers

To date, manual transcription has been a very laborious and timely job. Understandably, taking time on such a task for SEO benefit is not necessarily a big priority for journalists. The Trint Player can do this job for them with minimal legwork from the user – and with 99% accuracy according to the press materials. Trint already boasts enterprise clients in The Associated Press, NBCUniversal, The Washington Post, Vice News and Der Spiegel.

It is also easy to see the potential for marketers and brands keen to get the most from their video content. According to Vidyard, 83% of marketers say video is becoming more important to them. Webinars and demos – precisely the types of videos which include a lot of unique content – are the most common types of video marketers are investing in.

Looking beyond YouTube

The player has been available to Trint customers in beta since February. It is currently compatible with videos published on YouTube and the company is awaiting feedback from users before exploring compatibility with other video hosting sites.

It builds on existing work the company have been doing with their productivity platform which uses automated transcription to change the way professionals work with audio/video to produce content and insights.

The company has been backed by Google Digital News Innovation Fund and the Knight Enterprise Fund. The launch of the Trint Player comes on the heels of the business closing $4.5 million in Series A funding, with follow-on investment from Horizons Lab, the Hong Kong-based seed fund operated by the managers of Horizons Ventures, as well as institutional investors including TechNexus and The Associated Press.

Related reading

Five ways blockchain will impact search marketing
New visual search innovations tap human emotions and biological buying triggers
Digital marketing strategy guide for B2B industrial manufacturers

Why giving blood matters, and how you can helpWhy giving blood matters, and how you can help

My father’s journey has made me passionate about ensuring that people like him have access to blood when they need it. Although 45 percent of Americans have been personally affected by blood donation, only 3 percent of Americans regularly donate blood.

I’m personally unable to donate blood, but I’ve found another way to give back to the cause: organizing blood drives at Google. Through my work organizing 20 blood drives, I’ve encountered countless others who have personal ties to blood donation, including Googlers like Daniel Otts, who regularly donates blood in memory of his son Ferris who required plasma infusions after being born prematurely. Losing Ferris forever changed Daniel’s outlook on blood donation. “I remember how thankful I was that someone, an anonymous stranger, had given of themselves so unselfishly for the benefit of someone else, quite possibly in a life or death situation,” Daniel told me.

Through these drives, we’ve collected thousands of pints of blood. And through Google’s partnership with the American Red Cross, which uses Google Maps Platform to help people find a blood drive near them, we’ve reached thousands more people across the U.S.

This technology also helped Temie Giwa-Tubosun, a Nigerian native and founder of LifeBank, an app that uses Google Maps Platform to connect blood banks with drivers, hospitals, and patients in need. To date, Temie’s app has drastically cut delivery time of blood from 24 hours to less than 45 minutes and helped save more than 4,000 lives.

Five backlink analysis tools agencies should try out

Five backlink analysis tools

A healthy and quality backlink profile can help you stay ahead of the competition. After Google rolled out the Penguin algorithm in 2012, it became clear that the quality of backlinks matters, not just their quantity. The more is not the merrier anymore. 

Luckily, over the years, it has become easier to analyze and monitor backlinks thanks to a number of specialized tools available on the market.

Through the use of such tools, you can dissect any backlink profile and discover where the competitors reverse engineer their SEO strategy to generate new backlinks. Plus, you can find out what kind of content performs best for obtaining certain types of backlinks or social engagement.

This post focuses on five tools agencies can take advantage of to benchmark the link quality of their clients against competitors, keep an eye on specific backlinks, and discover opportunities to partner up with other websites to reach the set SEO goals.

1. SE Ranking

Backlink listing of SE Ranking

Source: SE Ranking

SE Ranking offers a complete range of tools designed to help you stay on top of your entire SEO workflow, including backlinks.

With the Backlink Checker tool, you can discover all incoming links to any website, regardless of whether it belongs to you, a client, or a competitor.

Along with the full list of backlinks, referring domains, and Do/NoFollow links, the tool provides data on the backlink’s status, specifies the anchor text, the date the link was last seen and added on, the destination URL, and the Domain Trust score. Plus, you can add filters to conveniently sort the data.

The entire list of backlinks can then be added to a website in a single click where the data can be further analyzed. That’s where the other backlink tool comes into play.

SE Ranking's Backlink checker tool

Source: SE Ranking

The Backlink Monitoring tool enables you to work closely with the backlinks that have been added to a website, and get daily reports on any changes. This is where all the day-to-day backlink management tasks are performed.

By connecting Google Search Console, the list of backlinks will constantly get updated automatically. Otherwise, you will have to use Backlink Checker every now and then to pull up an updated list of backlinks.

Furthermore, you can switch between tabs to get an overview of the backlinks, see all the anchor texts, and set up a Disavow file to signal to Google what backlinks you don’t want it to take into account when analyzing the reference weight of the website.

Now, in addition to the parameter data provided in the Backlink Checker tool, the Backlink Monitoring tool offers a lot more information on each backlink, such as Google Index Status, Moz DA, Referring IP, Country, External Links, Alexa rank, and Social shares. This data gives you a good grasp of the backlink profile at hand.

Besides providing an array of backlink parameter data by default, the Backlink Monitoring tool gives you an opportunity to specify additional information on each backlink via custom parameters that need to be filled out manually, such as Source, Price, Anchor type, Category, Backlink manager, Setting up dates, Validity period, and Notes. Doing so will give you a convenient way to go through large amounts of data.

All in all, the tool provides comprehensive data, the interface is very clean, modern, and definitely not an eye-ache to look at. On top of that, the white label feature along with automatic reporting makes it easy to communicate with clients.

What else comes with the package

  • Website audit
  • Keyword rank tracker
  • Keyword suggestion tool
  • Competitor research
  • Page changes monitoring
  • Social media management
  • Keyword Grouper
  • Lead generator
  • Search volume checker
  • Index status checker
  • Page changes monitoring
  • API

Pricing

It’s a paid tool (starting at $39/month) but it offers a free 14-day trial. The Enterprise package suitable for agencies is available for $189/month.

2. LinkMiner

Listing of backlinking opportunities in LinkMiner

If you’re looking for a backlink analysis tool that’s specifically designed to help you find backlink building opportunities, LinkMiner is the right solution for you.

Just like other backlink analysis tools, LinkMiner also enables you to check the backlinks of any imaginable site, including your clients’ and their competitors’. Naturally, it also has a lot of other useful features.

With LinkMiner, you can analyze up to 50 backlinks a day at no cost regardless of the access level. And when analyzing such backlinks, you can click any one to get an instant preview of that website along with the highlighted anchor text, referring website title and URL — and decide whether or not it makes sense to replicate the backlink.

Furthermore, the service automatically breaks backlinks down into groups based on their category like Q&A, blog, forum, making it easier to spot new backlink opportunities and tag your favorite backlinks for later use. LinkMiner also provides a number of third-party metrics such as Citation Flow, Trust Flow, Do/NoFollow attributes to help you evaluate a link’s strength.

The provided third-party metrics can be a great way of analyzing the backlinks and determining the most valuable ones. Plus, the system will notify you if any backlinks break or go missing, but it’ll be up to you to reclaim the link from the site owner.

As for LinkMiner in general, it has some flaws that are a result of the tool being too simple for experienced SEO specialists, but it’s great if you’re just starting out with building links, so be sure to give it a go.

What else comes with the package

LinkMiner is a part of the Mangools SEO suite which also includes:

  • KWFinder
  • SERPChecker
  • SERPWatcher

Pricing

It is a paid tool (starting at $44/month) but it offers a free 10-day trial. The Agency package is available for $79.90/month.

3. URL Profiler

Screenshot of bulk data listing that URL Profiler provides at a URL and domain level

URL Profiler is a powerful software-based SEO tool that can pull bulk data from sites at a domain and URL level. Considering the fact that there are plenty of SEO tools out there like Majestic, MozScape, Ahrefs, Google, MY Addr and Copyscape, to name a few, URL Profiler was designed to group such tools to provide comprehensive insights under one roof.

The tool can actually be used to perform a number of SEO tasks that include the audit of content, social media, and Google penalties, link prospecting, keyword rank tracking, and, most importantly, backlink analysis.

URL Profiler analyzes the quality of backlink profiles, allowing you to quickly go through a huge number of links by analyzing various data such as location, link type, and the anchor text for spamming and unnatural use of keywords.

Since there’s a lot of data to work within this tool, it is up to your knowledge and experience to select the metrics that you value most.

Once you fill everything out, the tool produces an Excel file with multiple sheets containing a detailed analysis of every specified URL. You can look at the link score together with its explanation, view a list of URLs on Google’s blacklist, automatically get the contact info of all the sites you want to reach out to, and a number of other metrics.

With the power of this data, you can make informed decisions regarding every single backlink. To facilitate data analysis, you can customize the settings and look at URL and domain data separately to have a clear grasp of why certain URLs rank higher.

To sum up, URL Profiler is a tool for advanced SEO professionals as there’s a learning curve newbies will have to go through. Moreover, if you’re already using a number of the biggest SEO tools on the market, then URL Profiler is a what you need as it puts everything in front of you in a single data-rich, but, unfortunately, boring interface.

What else comes with the package

  • Keyword tracking
  • Analytics
  • Data export
  • External integrations
  • Link tracking
  • Data import
  • Multi-user

Pricing

It is a paid tool (starting at $19.95 + VAT/month) but it does offer a free 14-day trial. The Agency package is available for $64.95/month.

4. Monitor Backlinks

Monitor Backlinks' dashboard that helps keep track of backlinks and Google keyword rankings

The name is an instant giveaway, but, either way, Monitor Backlinks was designed to help professionals check their and their competitors’ backlinks.

With this tool, you can find and keep track of backlinks, and Google keyword rankings on autopilot via email notifications. So, whenever a competitor successfully uses a keyword to obtain a new quality backlink, you’ll have a chance to act quickly and not let your clients fall behind.

Monitor Backlinks gives you an overview of your backlink profile, providing details on the domains that are helping your SEO efforts, and those that are not. Additionally, the tool sends out reports full of insights on the competition, highlighting what keyword resulted in a high Google rank, as well as backlink data. With data like that, all that’s required from you is to reverse engineer the process to devise a solution that works for your clients.

The tool is aimed at helping you build a strong backlink profile and come up with an SEO strategy to foster business and traffic growth. To help you achieve this, the tool is packed with the most critical SEO metrics that give you all the data you need in one neat interface.

The graph in the dashboard deserves a special mention. It allows you to measure keyword-based site traffic dynamics, as well as the efforts to build a healthier backlink profile. Such graphs provide information to clients that they can easily visually comprehend without doing any digging.

What else comes with the package

  • External link count
  • Backlink status
  • Import/Export
  • Bookmarklet
  • Expiration date
  • Disavow links export
  • Tags and notes

Pricing

It is a paid tool (starting at $24.90/month) that offers a free 30-day trial. For agencies, you can request a custom quote, if you want to control more than 10 domains ($187.43/month).

5. Mention

Monitoring and managing web and social media brand reputation in Mention

The last tool from this roundup is a web and social media brand reputation management and monitoring solution called Mention. Evidently, unlike the other tools described here, this one isn’t a backlink analysis tool per se.

In fact, we included it in the list because it can really help you get good topical backlinks by notifying you of all online mentions you’re interested in. Say someone is discussing a client’s brand, product, service, or content, but doesn’t link out — join in on the conversation and request that a link to the target website be added.

The tool can easily keep track of keyword-based mentions in over 40 languages across billions of sources online in real time. But what you want to be on the lookout for are articles that mentioned your client but did not link out to the site. Plus, the tool’s influencer discovery features can assist you in finding popular people who can help you get the word out.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do this work manually. Set up to receive daily email alerts of all mentions on that day, or, alternatively, get notified via the desktop/mobile app. Plus, you can get laser-precise results by filtering them by sentiment, location, and gender.

The best part for agencies is that all the data, reports, and mentions can be white-labeled with the client’s logo and sent to them automatically.

What else comes with the package

  • Filter out online resources you don’t want to track
  • Share alerts with clients and assign tasks to colleagues
  • Get notified about priority alerts
  • The service studies your behavior to hide irrelevant alerts

Pricing

It is a paid tool (starting at $29/month) but it has a free 14-day trial that allows you to track 500 mentions for 3 search terms. The Enterprise package is available for $600/month or even more.

Summing up

Although all of these tools aren’t free, they offer some type of cost-free trial. For this reason, we’d recommend trying them all out before choosing one solution for your backlink analysis and monitoring needs.

The bottom line is that you should consolidate the data from all these tools to get a clear picture of your clients’ and their competitors’ backlink profiles. Even some of these solutions with huge amounts of data are lacking in user-friendliness and design, and may even provide different crawl depths, index stats, and other valuable metrics for the same URLs.

So, if you’re serious about backlink analysis, it’s best to start using several of the mentioned tools and deciding on those that suit your needs most as you go along.

Diana Ford is a digital marketing specialist with writing expertise that spans across online marketing, SEO, social media, and blogging. She can be found on Twitter @diana_ford.

Related reading

How to understand searcher intent to boost SEO rankings
How to master technical SEO Six areas to attack now
Image optimization for SEO Everything you need to know for success

Banks, governments and tech need to work together to digitize economies and increase financial inclusionBanks, governments and tech need to work together to digitize economies and increase financial inclusion

That’s more possible today than ever before because of the smartphone.Smartphones are likely the first electronic device that all of humanity will possess. There are about four billion internet users in the world today, with another one billion coming online in the next few years. Almost all of them will be using smartphones. And here’s what’s amazing about the smartphone in your pocket: Today, it has more computing power and access to information than NASA had in 1969 when they put a man on the moon.

One of the biggest opportunities in front of us is how we apply that technology to the world of money. Whether you are an individual, a business or a country, your ability to access modern financial systems is pivotal to your success.

Unfortunately, in today’s smartphone-enabled, always connected world, payments don’t work  for everyone. Younger demographics find banking experiences too antiquated. A recent study showed that 48 percent of millennials in the U.S, are considering moving to a digital only bank, and one in three millennials plan to switch banks in the next 90 days.

On the other hand, there are 2.5 billion adults in the world who are unbanked or underbanked—and the majority of them are women. This lack of access has huge implications for families, children, commerce and society at large. Besides consumers, payment challenges have an outsized impact on small businesses, the backbone of every economy.

We need to use technology and deploy it at scale to solve these hard and real problems. Doing so will help move countries from cash to digital, accelerate economic growth, and drive financial inclusion in economies.

At Google, building for everyone is a core philosophy. We know that we do better when everyone is invited in. Because Android is open source, there are 2.5 billion active Android devices today, made by over 1,300 different companies. And because Android is an open ecosystem, there are more than one million apps on the Google Play store. 

How to Strategically Think About Technical SEO – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BenjaminEstes

We’ve all agreed that technical SEO is integral, and many of us know at least a little bit about the subject if we’re not already practitioners. But have you considered that the way you think about technical SEO could be hindering or helping your success? Today, Ben Estes from Distilled shares the agency’s tried-and-true framework for tackling technical SEO quandaries strategically.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi. Welcome to another Whiteboard Friday. My name is Ben, and I’m a principal consultant at a company called Distilled. Today I’d like to talk to you about how we think about technical SEO at Distilled. Now, technical SEO is something that a lot of people know a lot of stuff about.

You accumulate knowledge over time from a lot of different sources, and that’s where a lot of the value that we deliver comes from. But not everyone can think about technical SEO from a strategic perspective, and that’s the skill that I think we should talk more about. 

Framing the problem

Let’s start by framing the problem. So look at these charts. Now, I would argue that most people’s mental model of technical SEO matches this first chart.

So in this chart, the solid black line is the actual traffic that you’re getting, whereas the dotted line is the hypothetical traffic you could be getting if all of the technical problems on your site were resolved. So some people see this and say, “Well, you know, if I can just keep fixing technical things, I can keep getting more traffic to my site.”

That’s one way of looking at it, but I would argue that it’s not the best way of looking at it, because really there are only so many technical things that can go wrong with your site. There’s a finite number of problems. It’s not an opportunity so much as an issue that needs to be resolved. So what I try and encourage my clients and colleagues to do is think about it in this way.

So it’s the same chart and the same situation. Here’s the actual traffic that you’re getting and the hypothetical traffic you could be getting. But really what’s happening is your technical problems are keeping you from realizing the most potential traffic that you could be capturing. In other words, there are technical issues preventing us from capturing all the traffic that we could. Now, once you’ve framed the problem in this way, how do you solve it?

So some people just say, “Well, I’ve got this big problem. I need to understand how all the things that could be wrong with this site. I’m just going to dive in. I’m going to go through page by page, and I’ll finish when either I run out of pages or more realistically I run out of time or I run out of the client’s budget. So what if there’s a better way to actually solve that problem and know that it’s been solved?

Well, that’s what this framework that I’m going to present to you is about. The way that we would recommend doing that is by taking the big problem, the overall problem of technical SEO and breaking it down into subproblems and breaking those down again until you have problems that are so small that they are trivially solvable. Now, I’m going to explain to you exactly how we accomplish that, and it’s going to be a little bit abstract.

The approach

So if you want something concrete to follow along with, I’d recommend checking out the blog post at this URL. That’s dis.tl/tech-audit. Okay. So when you have a big problem that you’re trying to break down, many people’s first attempt winds up looking something like this Venn diagram. So we take one problem, break it down into three subproblems, but there’s some sort of overlap between those problems.

Once there’s overlap, you lose a lot of confidence. There is, are you duplicating effort across these different areas? Or did you miss something because these two things are kind of the same? Everything just gets a little hazy very quickly. So to get past that, what I’ve used at Distilled is this consulting concept called MECE.

Mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive

MECE stands for mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive. That’s a lot of fancy words, so I’ll show you pictorially what I mean. So instead of having a Venn diagram like this, what if each of the problems was completely independent? Now they still cover the same area. There’s just no overlap between them, and that’s what MECE means.

Because there is no overlap between them, they are mutually exclusive. Because they cover all of the original problem, they’re comprehensively exhaustive. So what does this mean in technical SEO specifically? Now remember the problem that we’re dealing with is that there are technical issues preventing us from capturing traffic that we would otherwise be able to. So what are the three ways that that could happen? 

  1. Maybe our content isn’t being indexed. There’s a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed. 
  2. Our content doesn’t rank as well as it could, and therefore we’re losing this traffic. 
  3. There is a technical reason our content isn’t being presented as well as it could be in the SERPs.

This is things like having rich snippets, stars, things like that that could increase click-through rate. These things seem kind of trivial, but actually all of the technical problems that you can find on your site contribute to one or more of these three categories. So again, that was pretty abstract. So let’s talk about an example of how that actually plays out. This is actually the first technical check in this audit at that blog post.

An example

So, for instance, we’re starting by considering there is a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed. Well, what are all the ways that that could happen? One of the ways is that URLs are not discoverable by crawlers, and, again, that is a whole thing in itself that can be broken down further.

So maybe it’s that our XML sitemaps aren’t uploaded to Google Search Console. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that we have a problem. But if there’s a problem down here, there’s a pretty good chance that that trickles back up to a problem up here that we’re really concerned about. The beauty of this isn’t just that it winds up helping us create a checklist so that we know all of the technical issues we ought to be looking at.



But it also helps us convey exactly what the meaning is of our findings and why people should care about them. So this is the template that I encourage my colleagues to use at Distilled. “We are seeing ________. This is a problem because something.You should care about that because something else.” The way this works is like Mad Lib style, except we work like inside out.

So we start with this point here. We are seeing that our XML sitemaps aren’t uploaded to Google Search Console. This is a problem because maybe URLs are not discoverable by crawlers. We should care about that because there is a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed, and that right there is exactly the message that you deliver to your client.

So again, this is exactly the framework that we use for our technical audits at Distilled. It’s given us a lot more confidence. It’s given us a lot more insight into how long this process should take for our analysts and consultants, and it’s also got us better outcomes particularly because it’s helped us communicate better about what we found. Thank you very much. I would love if more people use this, and feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any thoughts or questions.

Thank you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Cloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in MayCloud Covered: What was new with Google Cloud in May

As May flowers bloomed, we watched our garden of blog posts grow. New features in Android phones and Gmail cropped up, and we’ve got some updates for cloud developers. Plus, check out photos and details about our new machine learning supercomputers. Here’s what was new.

Android phones help add security.
Android phones (versions 7.0+, Nougat) now come with a built-in security key. This is the FIDO type of security key, an industry standard that can be used for two-factor authentication—an extra verification step on top of a password that makes your sign-ins resistant to phishing scams.

Calendar now comes in dark mode.
When you’re looking at your Google Calendar, or at Keep, our task management tool, you can now see it in dark mode. This is nice in low light, for those of you checking the next day’s schedule in the dark, since it reduces screen brightness. Whether it’s enabled by default will depend on your version of Android and your settings. Plus, we announced the launch of Gmail confidential mode last month, so you’ll soon be able to send messages with built-in information rights management controls. This means you can create expiration dates and revoke sent messages, plus these messages can’t be forwarded, copied, printed or downloaded.

Learn lots more about these and other topics in the brand-new G Suite Learning Center.

Supercomputers for machine learning arrived.
Machine learning (ML) can help with tasks ranging from image recognition to disease research and medical diagnoses. Machine learning requires data scientists to build a model and train it with examples so that the computer can eventually learn a pattern. This requires a lot of computing power. Super powerful and expensive data centers full of servers were not enough to handle the growth of AI workloads and computational horsepower, so we created TPUs, our own hardware chips, just for the purpose of speeding up machine learning. Now, those TPUs are publicly available in pods, which are essentially stacks of these TPUs linked together to form an AI supercomputer. Data scientists and researchers can use them to do machine learning tasks much faster, in minutes or hours compared to days or weeks previously. Make sure to take a look at the photos in the post—when it comes to massive modern supercomputers, a picture is worth a thousand words. 

What cloud developers are learning about
Behind many of the apps and websites you use everyday are these things called APIs (short for application programming interface), which essentially allow these apps and sites to talk to each other. Think of a website that has a Google map embedded, for example—there’s an API in use there. API design is a hot topic among developers, since they have to make sure that different applications can all talk to each other to make a website or app run more smoothly for users. One popular post last month was about a newer way to design APIs that is simpler and requires less documentation for developers and software.

That’s a wrap for May. Stay tuned to the Google Cloud blog for more.

With 4-H, helping more students learn computer scienceWith 4-H, helping more students learn computer science

As our CEO Sundar Pichai announced today in my home state of Oklahoma, we’re making our largest ever computer science education grant from Google.org to support 4-H, the largest youth development organization in the country. This $6 million grant—made as part of Grow with Google’s efforts to ensure that everyone has access to future opportunities—will help provide more than 1 million youth across the country with computer science skills, plus computer science training for their educators.

4-H is a second home for students like Decklan Thomas, a high schooler from Bruceton Mills, West Virginia (population 86). Following three generations in the trucking industry, Decklan was certain that he was on a path to becoming a diesel mechanic. The field was appealing not only because of family tradition, but also because it allowed him to do something he liked: identifying problems and fixing them.

One day, he learned about computer science through his local 4-H chapter. He didn’t even know he was coding at first—it just felt like solving a puzzle on the computer. As he began to do more coding, he quickly saw the parallels between the skills you need to be a mechanic and the computer science he was learning at 4-H. He says, “You see something wrong, then fix it—and end up with something amazing.” Decklan is still enthusiastic about becoming a diesel mechanic, but he’s now also exploring other opportunities like becoming a biomedical engineer or even going into the Navy.