Tag Archives: SERPs

Chrome Extensions for SEO – Local Search Tool

Search results can vary considerably from town to town, often dominated by local businesses and interests. Searching for a business type or professional will most often give rise to different search results, in some cases there is not a single URL on the first page of the SERPs that is shared between locations.

 

For example, the search term: dog walking

 

Results for that query will produce local independent dog walking businesses for each search location.

 

The Chrome Extension below, allows multiple location search and displays the rank positions for each location.

 

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/search-intent-by-location/iakinikaphedeadbcddgnchjhnnjblop

 

A screenshot of the Chrome Extension is below:

 

Screenshot for Chrome Extension
Screenshot showing Chrome Extension download page

 

To use the extension once installed:

 

1. Go to Google.co.uk

 

2. Enter a search term

 

3. Start the Search Intent Tool

 

4. The status should read: “Step 1: Please change location in browser”

 

Screenshot showing Extension at startup
Screenshot showing Extension at startup

 

5. Follow the instructions by returning to Google.co.uk and using the ‘Search Tools’ menu, enter any location that is different from the current location shown. Changing the location in Google will initialise the extension and change the status shown to read ‘Ready to Search’.

 

Screenshot showing location change
Screenshot showing location change

 

6. The Chrome Extension should have updated automatically to reflect the current search term too:

 

Screenshot showing search term currently used
Screenshot showing search term currently used

 

7. At this stage, you can change the default search locations to places you wish to search. When edited, press the button beneath and results will be displayed beneath as they are gathered.

 

Screenshot showing interface as results come in for each location
Screenshot showing interface as results come in for each location

 

8. Once all the results are loaded, the URLs are shown alongside their position in the SERPs for each location. Depending upon the search term, the results can vary dramatically, the following screenshot shows major differences in SERPs for the term ‘dog walking’. Not all positions are visible in the image below.

 

Screenshot showing SERPs for dog walking in six locations
Screenshot showing SERPs for dog walking in six locations

 

Download the extension and give it a try for your preferred locations.

 

You can keep changing the locations to search again, adding to the results shown each time.

 

Let me know what you think of it !

 

 

 

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Quality Issues and Content Hijacking Messages

SEOs around the world have been following DEJANSEO’s recent hijacking experiments. Some may have been tempted to try the content scraping technique for themselves, perhaps with a meta refresh or javascript location switch, in order to send a visitor to the preferred target. Hijacking has been around for years, however this technique exposed interesting side benefits and insights available through webmaster tools:

However, it seems Google has caught up with the content scraper hijack today (Saturday 17th November 2012):

http://dejanseo.com.au/google-against-content-scrapers/

and issued DejanSEO with a warning message.

Quality issues message from Google Webmaster tools

The red circle highlights the crux of DejanSEO’s hijacking test. Content from the target was copied verbatim to a new domain, then that new domain was given an authority link (in order to give it higher page rank than the source) and thereby displace the original source in SERPs. The really interesting effect of the hijacking was that it also gave visibility (through Webmaster Tools) of the backlinks to the original source page – very handy as an additional source alongside MajesticSEO, ahrefs, Blekko et al.

Quality Issues Message in Webmaster Tools – Copied Content

On average (according to Matt Cutts), only about 10 sites a day are sent unnatural links warnings (July 27th 2012). So I’d suspect even fewer can expect to receive the low quality issue message specifically mentioning copied content. It may be that DejanSEO raised awareness to the extent that he has received a personal message from Google…

Please comment on this post if you have seen or received a message worded in exactly the same way from the Google Search Quality Team as the one shown above. It’d be interesting to gauge the extent of these messages.

Quality Messages from Google – Hidden Text

The evolution of warning messages is fascinating. When hidden text was the ranking technique of choice up until July 2007, Google’s first messages to be delivered in Wemaster Tools looked like this:

Quality issues message for hidden text in 2007
Back in 2007 – Hidden text warnings

Notice that Google is very open about the impact of using hidden text – stating removal from search results for at least 30 days. Google is less open now about the penalties applied to sites and pages found in violation of the guidelines. So SEOs must use knowledge and experience.

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Rank improvement by changing URLs

Back in December 2011, almost one year ago, friendly URLs were introduced in order to improve CTR. The old parameterized URLs were indexed, but even when ranking highly, the CTR was far from impressive.

The switch to URLs with clear and appropriate keywords to provide a logical structure has helped encourage additional visitors to click, and there has been a corresponding increase in rank. Of course, whether this is a causal relationship is up for debate – but either way, the statistics are interesting…

The following graph shows the steadily improving position in SERPs for the friendly URL since their introduction at the start of the year:

Rank improvement from friendly URLsThe chart shows a starting rank of around position 50 in Google back when the URLs were changed. As of last week, the URL is in the top 20 and has featured in 5th position regularly in recent weeks.

This positional change is not due to link building to the page:

No new backlinksThe backlink chart above suggests that no new links are being built in easily discoverable parts of the internet. The total number of backlinks reported has remained zero throughout the period of the rank improvement.

Similar improvement in rank is seen across other friendly URLs.

One explanation is that Google tests URLs for CTR. Those exhibiting favourable metrics e.g. low bounce rate, time on site before returning to search again could be used to indicate results that are the most valuable to search. Those results should be promoted to better positions. This promotion in search results takes time.

Even before Penguin, there have been alternative approaches (beyond simply building keyword rich anchor links) to improve rank. Improving the appearance of snippets to increase CTR is one of those techniques.

 

Is link building dead ?

The appearance of fresh links may provide a useful signal to Google – to test a URL higher up in the SERPs – but if that URL doesn’t engage the visitor, then other metrics will be poor and the URL is more likely to slip in the ranks than climb.

Heavy linkbuilding may simply hasten the decision to demote a poor performing site, based on the engagement metrics of the URL targeted.

What do you think?

Please leave a comment below.

 

 

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