Saturday, 6 April 2019

SEO Podcast Episode 1 - Importance of Storytelling in SEO Meetings

Check out the first episode of SEO in Short's Podcast series. 

The first episode covers my short introduction followed by my inputs on how important is storytelling in the SEO meetings. You can also grab couple of important SEO Tips in this episode.





Listen to all the episodes on any of the following podcast listening platforms:-

Anchor

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts

Spotify

Breaker

Overcast

Pocket Casts

RadioPublic

Stitcher

- Tejas Thakkar

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Importance of Content Parity in Mobile-First Indexing - Video 3 Mobile First Indexing Series

Importance of Content Parity in Mobile-first Indexing - Video



What is the most important factor that you need to consider when it comes to Mobile-first indexing? It's content parity. Watch our video to understand why is it so.

Content would anyways match on a responsive website. But for websites with a separate mobile version, it is important to match content on both mobile and desktop version. This reduces chances of ranking drops once your website moves onto mobile first indexing. 

Watch SEO in Short Video Series to know more about Mobile-first indexinghow is it not connected to Mobile usability and what is the most important thing you need to concentrate on when it comes to Mobile-first indexing.

Recommended article - 
Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing

Tejas Thakkar

Is Mobile Usability connected to Mobile-First Indexing? Video 2 - Mobile First Indexing Series

Is Mobile Usability connected to Mobile-First Indexing?




There is absolutely no connection between mobile-first indexing and mobile usability. Google will try to check the content parity between mobile and desktop version of a website to move it onto mobile-first indexing. It won't check mobile usability of the website which relates to how easily a user can access the website on a mobile screen.

Watch SEO in Short Video Series to know more about Mobile-first indexinghow is it not connected to Mobile usability and what is the most important thing you need to concentrate on when it comes to Mobile-first indexing.

Recommended article - 
Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing

- Tejas Thakkar

What is Google's Mobile-First Indexing? Video 1 - Mobile First Indexing Series

What is Google's Mobile First Indexing - Video




Google's Mobile-first indexing means Google will index the content available on the mobile version of a website to rank it on Google desktop and mobile searches. This is different from Google's traditional approach of indexing and ranking a website based on the desktop version content.

Google has already moved a lot of website onto Mobile-first indexing.

Watch SEO in Short Video Series to know more about Mobile-first indexing, how is it not connected to Mobile usability and what is the most important thing you need to concentrate on when it comes to Mobile-first indexing.

Recommended article - 
Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing

Tejas Thakkar

Friday, 2 November 2018

Google's Giant Shopping Ads/Knowledge Panels Seen in India - SEO to Take a Hit?

Google has been constantly experimenting with the search results layout, both in terms of ad formats or placements and organic components like top stories, people also ask, featured snippets, etc. For certain categories Google has gone ahead and completely revamped the whole search layout for the mobile devices. One such category has been the Movies! We covered an article on this earlier this year (Googled a Movie Name recently? Google testing search layout changes!)

While we aren't too familiar with the frequent changes in the Google sponsored ad formats, recently here in India we found some noticeable changes in Google Shopping ad formats. We have tried to cover a few examples here.

To begin with we will first post an example that isn't really a Sponsored ad but looks like one. Recently we started noticing Answer Box/Knowledge Graph kind of listings that seemed to have a commercial intent. But those weren't exactly ads. Just to give you an example, when we search for a query like Cotton Shirts, we see a box on the right listing a category page of Flipkart.


Moving on to our examples specific to Google Shopping Ads, if we search for a specific product say 'Note 9', we get to see a gigantic ad section on the right. Such a huge Google Shopping Ad! 


Here is another example:


We can see a lot of information for the users that includes user reviews, product details and similar products. It just looks like a Knowledge graph which is actually an advertisement!

Here is another example where we see not one but many sites listed in that sponsored section on the right. 


It provides you features such as:
  • User Reviews
  • Sellers listing with Product Price
  • Product Details
  • Filters for Product Categories (Colour and Phone Memory)
  • Similar Products

This huge ad unit is providing a lot of details to the users that would help them in making their purchase easier. One can go through the product images, user reviews, check price across various sites, check price for product variations and check similar products.

These kind of huge Google Shopping ads were seen in the US way back in 2015. Jennifer Slegg wrote a comprehensive post here

Now moving onto mobile devices. If you try to search a product on your mobile, you would see a huge Knowledge Panel (which is certainly not an advertisement as a whole, but it includes Sponsored listings in it):-


This takes a massive real estate on the Google Search results page. 

You can see tabs like Overview, Shops, Details and Reviews. If you click on either of these tabs or on the option that says 'More about Samsung Galaxy Note9' you would reach a dedicated interface for this Knowledge panel. And from there if you wish to return to the regular Web searches you have click on a button at the bottom that says 'See Web Results'.


Within this panel, users can check the images through a horizontal carousel, manufacturer information, sellers listed along with pricing in another horizontal carousel, product filters (in this particular example - colour and capacity), product details, user reviews, etc.
Search Engine Land covered this topic here in November 2017.

From an SEO perspective, this new Knowledge Panel on mobile certainly pushes down the organic results way down further! Currently such panels seem to be limited to mobile product queries here in India. But this can be further extended to various other categories in the near future.

Kiran Nair created a draft of this article which was later edited by me. Kiran is an SEO Strategist with more than six years of experience in this field.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

How to Fix Google Cache 404 Error? - A Step by Step Guide

Google Cache Returns 404 Error

It's been a while that SEO experts are facing an issue to obtain Google cache pages as Google returns a 404 error! This had certainly created a panic situation where people assumed their website would be deindexed or there could be ranking drops. As confirmed by John Mueller, this is an internal issue with Google Cache server and nothing to do with site rankings (Reference: https://www.seroundtable.com/google-cache-returns-404-error-seo-25565.html)

Guide to obtain Google Cached Pages:

Recently some articles are published with a workaround to obtain cache date of the site pages. One was recently published on Search Engine Roundtable. Here is a link to that article:

Bhumika Kateliya and Sujit Shukla from Logicserve Digital tried their hands on this hack and also tried attempting few more things. Here are their observations in the form of a step by step guide to obtain Google cached pages:-

Taking a random example of https://www.reliancemutual.com/

The cached version returns Google's 404 error page as shown below:-

Google Cache version returns 404 error

In order to find the last cache date, follow the steps mentioned below:-

Step 1 - Search for the site on Google. Click on 'cached' version.

google cache in search results

Step 2 - You will land on a URL mentioned here:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4r1EpKB0nuoJ:https://www.reliancemutual.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in

Replace the highlighted part above with x.xyz and hit enter:-

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4r1EpKB0nuoJ:x.xyz

This will provide you the cache version:-

Google cached version

Note - We replaced x.xyz with x.abc or a.xyz, a.abc, t.abc, x.com, x.co.in, google.com, google.co.in, etc and it worked. It seems xyz can be replaced by first or last sequence of three letters or domain names/domain extensions. But it didn't work for random letter sequences that didn't form a domain name (example x.suv, x.coin or a.lmn)

Another Option:

In case you are trying to find cache of a particular URL that ends with a trailing slash (say a homepage or an internal page), just remove the slash to obtain the cached version of that page.

Remove trailing slash (highlighted in red) from the URL and hit enter:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:4r1EpKB0nuoJ:https://www.reliancemutual.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in

You will obtain the cached version.

Another example - Remove the trailing slash highlighted in red and hit enter:
https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Uvosi4UHOGcJ:https://peachmode.com/gowns/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=in

You will obtain the cached version.

Hope this is helpful!

Bhumika Kateliya created a draft of this article which was later edited by me. Sujit Shukla also helped us with his valuable inputs here.

- Tejas Thakkar

Friday, 15 June 2018

Clearing up some Confusion around Mobile-First Indexing



Most of the Google searches now happen on mobile but Google always had a desktop-only indexing. It was somewhere in 2015 when Gary Illyes from Google made it clear that Google was experimenting a separate indexing for mobile. 


Later in November 2016, Google made it official, that they have begun experiments to make their index mobile-first. Since then there had been a lot of speculations and confusion around mobile-first indexing.

While the whole SEO community kept waiting for one more confirmation from Google on the roll out of mobile-first indexing, the speculations grew. In June 2017 at the SMX Advanced Session, Gary Illyes confirmed that mobile-first indexing won't be rolled out before 2018. 

It was on 26th March 2018 when Google officially rolled out mobile-first indexing and approximately a month after that Google started sending out mobile-first indexing notifications to webmasters through Google Search Console.

Later, as reported on Search Engine Roundtable - Google also started moving non-mobile friendly sites to Google's mobile-first indexing. This further confused people about how exactly this new indexing works and why Google is moving non-mobile friendly sites to the new method of indexing.

There were several queries around mobile-first indexing, few of them listed below:
  • Will my site be penalised if it isn't mobile friendly?
  • How would mobile-first indexing affect my website rankings?
  • I serve slightly different content on mobile version of my website, is that fine?

Let's put an end to all these speculations and confusions. Here are some important facts about Google's Mobile-First indexing that we all need to know:-

a) Google's mobile-first gives priority to mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking.

b) In one of our SEO sessions at Logicserve Digital, I explained my teammates about the importance of same content on desktop and mobile version of a page. I can see a lot of big brands that have non-mobile friendly sites and Google would still move them to mobile-first indexing. Most important point to keep in mind is mobile-first indexing is all about how Google gathers content and not how content is ranked. There are several sites that have a desktop only version. If you try to access those sites on a mobile screen you would see the desktop version. Even these sites are bound to move on the new indexing method. In their case, since they have just one version of the site, there is no question of content mismatch and hence they could be one of the early contenders to move onto the new indexing.

c) For a site that has a separate mobile version (m dot) with proper set up of alternate tags and equivalent content on both mobile and desktop version of site pages, Google will prefer the mobile pages for indexing but will continue to show the most appropriate URL (desktop or m dot) in search results. 


And now here comes Google Webmasters's official Twitter handle clearing up some more doubts around Mobile-first indexing:-



And finally, set of some useful links:-


- Tejas Thakkar