I have a little spare time at the moment so I decided to participate in the Power Searching with Google Course which went live on 10th of July. Split into six classes the course is due to last till July 23rd.
I didn’t expect to learn anything from the course (I didn’t as it was pretty basic) but was more interested if it would be a good tool to point people towards who are just starting out in SEO or are in-house contacts who want to learn a little more about search. I often point people to the beginner’s guide to SEO on SEOMoz or the SEO guide on Google Webmasters Central, so could the Power Searching with Google Course be a useful teaching aid? Class 1 started today here’s a little review.
The class started with 10 questions on general Google searching to gauge the knowledge of you as a Google user. Some questions included.
At the end you hit submit, but you don’t get a score.
The class is split up into 6 lessons.
Lesson 1 – Introduction
Googler Dan Russel a Senior Research Scientist runs the course, he gives you introduction about the course. The videos are short with an activity after the video, so you best be listening to the videos! It also explained that there are two tests in the course, one mid-term and one final test. Both count to an overall score.
Dan explained the objective of the course is to make you a better searcher, a maybe help you understand why you don’t always get the answer you are looking for.
Lesson 2 – Filter image results by color.
Explains how to filter by colour when using the image search, pretty simple. It’s then followed by some questions, similar to the questions in the pre-assessment
Lesson 3 – How Search Works
A section from the Matt Cutts video of how search works. With some questions afterwards, I liked this one!
Lesson 4 – The art of keyword Choices
Explaining the best way to word your queries. After the questions if suggested that if the questions where too easy then to head over to the forums for some harder tasks.
Lesson 5 – Word Order matters
Explains how small changes to the search query can make a difference the results you see.
Lesson 6 – Finding text on the web
Last one, finding text on the page you have found, e.g. ctrl + f.
There’s nothing groundbreaking for an SEO here, I’m guessing that the difficulty will increase in coming lessons. Some bits are really simple such as the ctrl + f and therefore be a tag patronising if you sent it over to someone to complete. However, if you are just starting out in SEO or PPC then there might be a few tips and tricks to pick up, especially if your going to be link building.
I must have been placed into test bucket this morning and saw a tabbed effect on sitelinks for the monster site. The first tab featured “top links”. The other tabs linked to other sections in the site (most likely the top navigation items). Sometimes it displays one sitelink with a description and then more links on their own on the right. Other times it listed multiple site links in the tabbed box.
The tabbed site links also appeared for other sites such as apple.
Marks and Spencers
Anyone else getting these?
Since I’ve been away there’s been a few tools built using Google Docs using the importXML function, I’ve linked to some useful blog posts at the bottom of this post if your interested.
Anyway here’s a tool that I put together quickly that takes 25 key phrases, checks for serps that include review / ratings displayed. It’s useful if you needed to decide if implemented rating and review rich snippets would be a useful exercise, e.g. none of the serps have them = a good opportunity to be the only one. Or if certain key phrases had a low CTR you could see if the serps are saturated by rich snippets.
The rich snippets it looks for are the ones with star ratings such as the ones below.
It’s pretty simple to use.
Add up to 25 key phrases on the first sheet, rows B2 to B26.
That’s all you need to do, it grabs the top 10 results for each serp, and then looks for the div in the search results that contains the star ratings. The function in Google spreadsheet is,
You can change the search engine version and language etc by changing the query URL’s in column C in the first sheet.
Another sheet tots up the numbers with percentages. It looks for all reviews, reviews that contain ratings and reviews that contain price information (used for restaurants). I’ve stuck a couple of graphs in the last sheet to show totals.
This is in no way a completed tool, it most likely will break. Please feel free to use, copy, and improve. If you make any improvements leave a comment with a link to the file URL and I’ll repost with updated versions.
Just open the link below and make a copy to use.
Note : It’s limited to 25 key phrases as you have a maximum of 50 importxml calls, I used two for each key phrase.
Have a read of the posts below to find out more information about importxml, the links open in new tabs.
12 months is a long time away from SEO. I’ve been out of the UK for a year backpacking around the world with no phone, no laptop and no SEO. It’s something that I would recommend to anybody, I pretty much at the time of my life (blogs are being posted a year on via www.achinesenomad.co.uk and all the pictures are in sets on flickr).
I’ve spent the last few weeks catching up on everything SEO related thats happened in the last 12 months. A lot has changed, new tools, new google features, updates to the algorithm etc, however some things remain the same. I’ve read about 1,200 blogs that have aggregated in my Google Reader account, below are the pick of the bunch, if you think there are any missing leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list if its worthy.
But for now in a summary of points of whats changed in the past year.
He’s the list of the blogs, videos etc.This is about 10% of all I’ve read.
Authorship markup and web search – Google Webmaster Central
Supporting relcanonical http headers – Google Webmaster Central
The importXML Guide for Google Docs – Distilled
New Google Analytics: Improvements in Mobile Reporting – Google Analytics Blog
Introducing new and improved sitelinks – Google Webmaster Central
Authorship Markup – Google Webmasters Help YouTube
Introducing Multi Channel Funnels – Google Analytics Blog
Another look under the hood of search – Inside Search
Pagination with rel=”next” and rel”prev” – Google Webmaster Central
Favourite Keyword Research Tools from MozCon – SEO Gadget
What’s Happening on your site right now? – Google Analytics Blog
Making search more secure: Accessing search query data in Google Analytics – Google Analytics Blog
Improving the look of authorship in your search results – Google Analytics Blog
Introducing Flow Visualisation : Visualising visitor flow – Google Analytics Blog
Some thoughts on personalization – Inside Search
Ten Recent algorithm changes – Inside Search
Giving you fresher more recent search – Inside Search
How Intention May influence Search Result CTR – SEOGadget
New markup for multilingual content – Google Webmaster Central
30 search quality highlights with – Inside Search
Search, plus Your World – Inside Search
17 search quality highlights January – Inside Search
Page layout algorithm Improvement – Google Webmaster Central
How Google Evaluates Links – Dave N
Types wordpress plugin – Yoast
Search quality highlights 40 changes – Inside Search
Combine AWR and Screaming Frog to Spot quick Wins – SEO Gadget
The Biggest Change In SEO To Date? – Dave N
Search quality highlights 50 changes – Inside Search
Content Strategy Generator Tool – V2 Update – SEO Gadget
An open letter to new SEO’s – SEOMoz
Link Building Tools we use at Distilled – Distilled
Another step to reward high-quality Sites – Google Webmaster Central
Update to rich snippets – Google Webmaster Central
Search quality highlights 53 changes – Inside Search
Venice – More than just local extensions – Holistic Search
A Dramatic Surprise on a quiet square – You Tube
Lexi Mills – How you can get BIG links from BIG media sites – Brighton SEO
Multilingual and Multinational site annotations in Sitemaps – Google Wembaster Central
Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings – Inside Search
Building a better shopping experience – Google Commerce Blog
Search quality highlights 39 changes – Inside Search
Link building means earning hard links not easy links – Search Engine Land
Smarter Facebook pages for social success – Distilled
Conduct Browser-size analysis within Google Analytics – Google Analytics Blog
You might have read this morning Google ran another test with Google Instant Preview running on PPC ads, see http://blog.searchenginewatch.com/110420-173720. Also it seems that Google have upgraded the bot taking the preview snapshots to execute flash.
In a post a while ago I took a screen shot of Fiat’s home page instant preview.
Today we see the preview shows the home page of the site loaded.
The Samsung page also loads up which is rich in flash.
However, some pages with flash will not execute and still have the grey jigsaw peice e.g. Anyone know the difference, how it’s encoded? the version??
Even with flash being executed you still face the problem of when the screen shot is being taken, for example a page on the official pokemon (strange example to use) website the screenshot was taken straightway before the counter loaded up to 100%.
So points to take away.
From around 10:00am GMT yesterday the Google Keyword Tool seems to be no longer outputting monthly data. Great for looking at seasonality of search data you would download a csv with a monthly search figure. E.g.
From that data you can graph easily to see when search volumes are to peak, allowing you to link build ready for the key months. You can see this data in Google insights but you won’t be able to download into a csv from Google insights.
Over at the adwords forum there’s a few posts discussing the issues http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/AdWords/thread?tid=4c7cb60cb3650b7d&hl=en&fid=4c7cb60cb3650b7d00049f4afdbb923a and http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/AdWords/thread?tid=5c267a93386d6d6a&hl=en and http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/AdWords/thread?tid=764de08bfc286a17&hl=en
Anyone else not getting any monthly data? Anyone else use this data often for search campaigns?
Whiles searching along tonight I’ve noticed that google profiles are now showing up in the SERP’s with an image, a snippet of where you live, where you work and three links to external sites. Meanwhile and twitter profiles apear with a picture and one last tweet. This is testing on chrome with incognito mode.
For example for Me
John Kell – Twitter
John Mueller – Google Profile
Matt Cutts – Twitter
Pete Cashmore – Google Profile
Anyone see this before? Or seeing it now, Monday night 22:57…
Edit some more example from people I follow on twitter.
Edit : Nadeem also noticed this a little back but with Google profiles on http://www.searchnest.co.uk/blog/google-profiles-getting-more-real-estate-in-search-results-738