Thursday, July 11, 2019

“New edition of SEO success factors reinforces the importance of content - Search Engine Land” plus 2 more

“New edition of SEO success factors reinforces the importance of content - Search Engine Land” plus 2 more


New edition of SEO success factors reinforces the importance of content - Search Engine Land

Posted: 19 Jun 2019 12:00 AM PDT

At SMX Advanced in Seattle on June 4, the 2019 edition of the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors was officially unveiled. The Periodic Table, first launched in 2011, is updated every two years to reflect changes in Google ranking factors, emerging trends in technology and the evolution of SEO strategy.

Hundreds of SEO experts voted in Search Engine Land's online poll on the relative importance of factors like content freshness, site speed, backlinks, user experience and so on. As is their standard practice, Search Engine Land's editorial team then reviewed the poll results, added their own input, and produced an updated Periodic Table and explanatory materials, which can be reviewed and downloaded here.

Download the SEO Table.

Note: By submitting this form, you agree to Third Door Media's terms. We respect your privacy.

Onstage at SMX Advanced, Search Engine Land's editor in chief Ginny Marvin was joined by members of the editorial team, including Barry Schwartz, Detlef Johnson and Jessica Bowman, to discuss the new edition of the table and share their own views on the success factors that matter most.

The common theme throughout the discussion, and in the updated Periodic Table itself, was the importance of high-quality, relevant content, delivered to users in a well-structured, easily digestible format with an emphasis on usability.

As Schwartz noted in his introductory remarks, in the contest between content and links, it's now a settled fact that content is more important.

Content is, to be sure, one of the main categories of success factors in the chart, and has been in previous editions as well. In the first part of their discussion, the panel discussed these content-oriented factors, with Schwartz noting that Google is getting very good at determining the authority of sources, especially in verticals where authority is particularly important, such as healthcare.

Bowman emphasized the importance of training your writing staff to produce high-quality content that is at least as good if not better than your nearest competitors. Johnson reminded us that Google's increasingly sophisticated use of machine learning and neural networks is making it possible for the company to understand content on a conceptual level, rather than in terms of matching precise words.

The panel suggested that Google is also very good these days at detecting attempts to fake out its content quality criteria. Many SEOs know, for example, that freshness is one of the factors Google considers important, but this doesn't mean all content calls for frequent updating. Think of the difference between blue whales and protein bars, Bowman suggested — facts about one topic might change much less frequently than facts about the other.

A testament to the dominance of content as a success factor is the fact that it came up frequently as a theme during the panel's discussion of other factors. In discussing a range of topics around the theme of Architecture, for instance, the panel suggested that page speed, crawlability, page organization and other architectural factors are important primarily because they help to govern the extent to which Google will index the content you want it to index.

Schwartz even cited Google's John Mueller as saying that the key to solving many problems (presumably even those that might have secondary attributable causes like site architecture) is simply to make your content better.

On the next topic, HTML, Johnson offered a useful overview of the semantic markup opportunities available in HTML5, suggesting that Google is looking more closely at these tags as website developers make better use of them. Tags that allow you to identify such semantic components as nav bars, article body text, and page sidebars can help Google properly understand your pages.

Schwartz countered, however, that Google is painfully aware that most of the web's HTML is "broken," meaning that pages do not display proper markup for elements like title tags and that in light of this fact, Google has had to develop so many workarounds that semantic markup may be less effective than we would wish. In other words, Google's distrust of markup consistency may cause it to discount even valid examples.

Still, Johnson's suggestion highlights one more trend in the direction of "things not strings," a topic I've also written on recently in light of parallel developments in travel search toward a broader realization of the semantic web.

On the topic of Trust, the panel again emphasized that the best way to build authority is to adhere to Google's quality guidelines and its tenets of Expertise, Authority and Trust. Readers will recall that the core algorithm update last August brought the increased importance of E-A-T to the attention of the SEO community. These tenets, again, are merely another way of emphasizing relevant, high-quality content. Though Google likely still uses traditional signals like page rank in the background, its emphasis on relevance these days is more prominent for ranking.

The panel also suggested that some factors once considered important on their own should today be seen in the broader contexts of authority and content relevance. Bowman, for instance, suggested that if the bounce rate is too high on pages that are supposed to be engaging, the solution is to look at improving the quality of content.

The last two positive categories in the Periodic Table, Links and User, were each covered somewhat quickly. The panel agreed that quality backlinks, the core of Google's original algorithm, will probably never lose their importance entirely, despite Google's suggestion that you don't need any links these days to rank well.

As for user-related factors, Schwartz noted that Google has recently claimed they are not personalizing search results based on user search history as much as had been done previously. Whereas it used to be true that when a user searched a lot for "Jaguars" the football team, that user would eventually see fewer results for "Jaguar" the car, these days Google claims to focus only on the user's geolocation and immediate previous query when it comes to personalization.

Schwartz also suggested that Google has become more sophisticated in its analysis of the user experience offered by a web page, having developed tools over the last four years that allow for the rendering of full web pages during the crawling and indexing process, so that interface elements can be examined in a manner that is similar to the way humans interact with them.

Bowman noted that user intent, though not rated as highly in the Periodic Table as she might have expected, is critical in the sense that relevance is a measure of the match between intent and page content.

The discussion then turned to the Toxins section of the Periodic Table, which lists factors detrimental to ranking such as cloaking, keyword stuffing and obtrusiveness of ad copy. The panel noted that these and many other factors should be avoided wherever possible, though many of them remain popular. Schwartz mentioned link schemes as an ongoing problem, and Bowman and Schwartz both noted that ad-heavy content is so common these days that many SEOs must work carefully to strike the right balance between ads, often a key source of site revenue and primary content.

The final section of the chart, Emerging Verticals, lists factors that are too new (or too complex) to have a proven role in ranking. These include voice, local, images and videos.

Among these, voice is the obviously new factor. The panel agreed that voice search, though still in its early stages, brings many tactics to the fore that are critical now and will become increasingly prominent in the future. These include featured snippets that offer answers to targeted questions, and search content that understands how the needs of users differ by factors like time of day.

Schwartz noted that local was placed in the Emerging Verticals list "because it is constantly changing," but as Bowman correctly pointed out, local has been around for quite a while and has a big impact in certain verticals.

Generally speaking, a criticism that could be applied to the Periodic Table project as a whole is that it does not speak to differing use cases and the emphasis that makes the most sense for each. On the topic of local, if your goal as an SEO is to attract traffic in local markets for a brick and mortar chain, you'll be forced to think of local SEO as a central area of activity rather than a peripheral factor, and this emphasis may cause a significant reshuffling of other tactics.

Similarly, sites focused on conversion via e-commerce have very different goals from sites that hope to build authority via frequently updated content in areas like industry news and entertainment.

Certainly, though, it's useful to take the temperature of the SEO community as to the factors that currently matter most. And the theme that resounds throughout the new chart and the discussion at SMX Advanced is that Google wants relevant, differentiated content above all else.

More from SMX Advanced 2019


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.



About The Author

Damian Rollison is VP of Product Strategy at Brandify, a leading local search solution provider specializing in multilocation brands. Damian has more than ten years of experience in SEO, reputation management, and listings management, having previously served as product lead at UBL and Moon Valley Software. Damian writes a regular column at Street Fight covering various topics in local.

Google’s most searched terms around the world - WTOP

Posted: 26 Dec 2018 12:00 AM PST

The World's Most Searched Terms

Earlier in December, Google published its annual global rankings of the most-searched words and phrases. The most popular were not surprising: This year's World Cup competition in Russia, the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in the U.K. and the release of the "Black Panther" movie landed among the tech giant's most searched subjects.

But other events also were widely searched this year, such as the death of Swedish musician and DJ Tim Bergling — popularly known as Avicii. And differences developed between countries and territories.

The following were among the most widely searched phrases in nine countries and one territory.

Australia

The most widely searched "How to" topic in Australia this year was "How to opt out of my health record," a reference to the country's centralized digital health record system. Other popular search phrases: "How to delete Instagram"; "What is listeria" (a reference to a deadly outbreak of the germ tied to tainted food); "What is ligma" — a reference to a fictional disease; and "Why is it called Good Friday."

Canada

The most widely searched Canadian news event in the country was "Humboldt Broncos," a reference to the junior ice hockey team that was involved in an April vehicle crash that killed 16 people and injured more than a dozen — most of whom were on the team playing the country's national sport. Other popular search items: "How old is Dolly Parton?" and the recipe for scalloped potatoes.

Germany

Dangerous insects were on the minds of the people in Germany in 2018. The most widely asked question in the country was, "oak processionary — what to do," a reference to a moth which in caterpillar form is found in oak forests. Some schools, pools and other public venues closed earlier in the year due to an infestation of the insect, whose hairs can cause rashes and breathing problems in humans. The second most widely asked question: "What helps against wasps?"

Hong Kong

"Story of Yanxi Palace" was the most popular search term in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China. The "Story of Yanxi Palace" is a Chinese television drama and in August, a Vietnamese website acquired episodes not yet broadcast in China. Interested parties wanting to see those episodes were required to answer a question regarding islands that are a disputed territory. The correct answer, according to the website, was Vietnam, a move that triggered outrage among Chinese netizens.

David Missal in Hong Kong contributed this report.

India

One of the most popular search phrases in India in 2018 was "How to link Aadhaar with mobile number" — a reference to the country's biometric ID system, the largest one in the world. Other popular search terms were "What is Section 377," a reference to the British colonial-era law that criminalized gay sex and that the country's Supreme Court struck down this past summer. Indians also searched "What is happening in Syria" and "What is kiki challenge," a reference to the video of two farmers dancing in a rice field that went viral to the Drake song, "In My Feelings."

Japan

Technology and the cosmos fueled searches for people across Japan in 2018. The most popular question was, "What is a virtual currency," a question reflecting how unregulated digital money became much more widely popular around the world this year. In line with that question, "What is bitcoin" was the third most-asked question by the Japanese. Squeezed between those two questions: "What is a total lunar eclipse" — a reference to the July event that drew fascination around the world.

Malaysia

The results of Malaysia's historic general election in May were the most widely searched news item in 2018. The election ushered in the first change in government since the country's independence in 1957. Also at the top of the country's most searched news topics was the "Momo Challenge," an alleged form of cyberbullying spread through mobile phones and social media.

Nigeria

People in Nigeria were curious in 2018. The most popular question asked on Google was, "How to check J.A.M.B. results," a reference to the nation's entrance exam for people hoping to attend one of the country's universities. People in the country also asked how to write a business plan, and the results of a gubernatorial vote in the state of Osun, which drew concern from international observers over how the balloting was conducted.

Philippines

Efforts to bypass the rules of video games led to the top overall searches in the Philippines in 2018. No. 1 was "MemoryHackers" and No. 2 was "Hot Shot Gamers" — both terms for cheating mechanisms in the video game "Rules of Survival."

Russia

People in Russia asked "How to become a blogger" more than any other question. Finishing second was "How to become a model," and at No. 3 was, "How to become an election observer." Presidential elections were held in the country in March, and the nation also sent people to observe the U.S. midterm elections in November.

United Kingdom

Technology fueled searches in the United Kingdom in 2018. "What is bitcoin?" was the most popular "What is …" phrase in the country, followed by "What is GDPR?" — a reference to the General Data Protection Regulation, the digital privacy law in the European Union that went into effect this year for member countries. As the U.K. approaches the March 2019 deadline to leave the EU, British citizens will be designated differently by the GDPR.

Another widely searched phrase: "How to floss dance?"

Want to Know More?

To learn the top 10 searches in the U.S, click here.

Find out how your country did in the 2018 Best Countries rankings and explore more news, data and analysis on U.S. News.

More from U.S. News

10 Countries With the Fastest Internet Speeds

The 25 Best Countries in the World

7 Good Luck Charms From Around the World

Google's Most Searched Terms Around the World originally appeared on usnews.com

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10 surprising search trends from Google's 20 years of data - Econsultancy

Posted: 27 Sep 2018 12:00 AM PDT

Happy birthday, Google!

The internet's most popular search engine is celebrating its 20th birthday today.

Officially, Google was incorporated on 4th September, 1998 – making it 20 years and a few weeks old today – but it has often chosen to mark its birthday on 27th September instead. Few people know exactly why, though The Telegraph speculates that it's because Google's first ever "birthday Doodle" was published on this day in 2002.

Whatever the reason, Google has released a slew of fun games and tools in honour of the occasion, including a video, a delightfully nostalgic Street View tour of the garage where Google was born in 1998, and a search tool looking back over 20 years of popular search trends, created by Artist in Residence Cyril Diagne.

All in all, it's the perfect excuse to spend a couple of hours of your afternoon exploring some fun but informative trivia about search over the last two decades.

And since we love fun and informative trivia, we've rounded up some of the most surprising facts we learned from 20 years of search trends, courtesy of Diagne and Google's '20 years of Google search' tool.

1. The internet loves dogs more than cats

Almost anyone who has ever been on YouTube (or Reddit, or Buzzfeed, or I Can Haz Cheezburger) will agree: the internet loves cats. The internet was made for cats. Cat gifs, cat videos, cat memes, animated cats – the internet's favourite animal is obvious. Right?

Except according to Google, we have always searched for dogs more than cats. While cats are an ever-popular second place search, there has never been a year in which we have searched for cats more than dogs, at least via Google.

Visualisation of the top animal search trends from the past 20 years, with dogs at the top and cats below, followed by fish.

Top searches for dog from the past two decades include "Dogs for sale", "Cute dogs", "Pitbull dog" and "How to draw a dog".

2. Lolita: more popular than the Bible

The Bible is, unsurprisingly, the most searched-for book on Google, and has been since 2003, with the Qur'an coming in second since 2005.

But the most popular book on Google prior to 2003 was a much less sacred text: Lolita. The controversial 1955 novel was the most-searched book on Google from 1999 to 2002, the second most-searched in 2003 and 2004, and now sits at #10 in the list of most Googled books.

Other racy titles in Google's historic top 10 include the Karma Sutra, which was #4 in 1999 and #3 in 2000.

3. Dora the Explorer has the best SEO

What would be your bet for the most popular children's show of the past 20 years? A classic like Power Rangers or Thomas the Tank Engine, or an animated series for slightly older audiences like The Last Airbender or Adventure Time?

While all of these are contenders, the most consistently popular kids' show by search volume in the past two decades has been Dora the Explorer. Dora has taken the number 1 spot in 9 out of the past 20 years: from 2003 through to 2007, and then again in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Dora the Explorer logo

Dora's closest competitor in recent years has been Ben 10, which took the top spot from 2008 to 2013 and again in 2017, before being knocked down to third place this year by Power Rangers. Bad luck, Ben.

4. Pluto has never come close to topping Google

Poor old Pluto – as maligned in search as it is in the solar system, apparently.

Though its planetary status has long been the subject of fierce debate – to the point where it features in Google's video looking back over 20 years of searches – Google's search trend data holds that Pluto has never been one of the most-Googled "space objects", even in 2006 when its status was downgraded to dwarf planet.

Fittingly, Pluto has consistently been the ninth-most-popular space object of the past 20 years, except for in 2010 where it slid to tenth place behind Neptune. The Sun is the internet's favourite space object to search for, followed by Mars. Clearly, Pluto needs more pop culture representation.

5. 'Peak Chuck Norris' was later than you might have thought

Chuck Norris is a long-standing internet meme, but he's never quite managed to claim the title of being the most-searched actor on the internet. So when did Chuck Norris enjoy peak popularity?

After a brief blip in 1999 and 2000, Chuck Norris really soared in search popularity in 2006, where he was the internet's second most-searched actor, behind Jessica Alba.

He peaked again at #2 in 2008, behind Heath Ledger (sob), and enjoyed the #2 or #3 spot from 2009 to 2012, where he began the slow slide into (relative) obscurity. He's currently the 9th most-searched actor on Google, with top searches including "Find Chuck Norris", "Chuck Norris Memes", and "Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris".

Top searches for Chuck Norris, from 1999 to 2018.

6. 2006: The year of Sudoku

According to Google, the most popular game of 2006 was… Sudoku. Not Pokémon, not World of Warcraft (which was #2): the most searched-for game in 2006 was a humble pencil and paper puzzle.

Possibly because no-one understood how on earth to play it.

7. 'Let it snow' was a surprise smash hit?

While browsing the data for Google's most popular songs, I was surprised to see an anomaly among the one-hit wonders and summer jams: Let It Snow, which was the most-searched song on Google in 2011.

It was more unusual given that, to my knowledge, it has never had a viral video dance routine or huge celebrity cover (at least not in 2011). So why the sudden popularity?

The answer to the mystery is actually one of Google's own Easter Eggs. In December 2011, Google created a fun Christmas-themed Easter Egg in which typing "Let it snow" into your Google search bar would cause digital snow to rain down over the screen.

Google's memory of its own Easter Eggs must be short, since seven years on, it is convinced that the public was searching for a Christmas song in 2011 and not a Google gimmick.

8. Friends has never ranked among top TV shows on Google

It was one of the most popular TV shows of the 1990s, but Friends may have been too early to make an impact on Google.

Though it was still going strong in 1998 when Google launched, finally concluding with its 10th season in 2004, Friends is nowhere to be found among Google's top searches for TV shows in the late 90s or early 2000s.

The most Googled TV show in 1999 was The Simpsons, which comfortably held the top spot until 2004. Other TV shows which enjoyed more searches than Friends in the late 90s include South ParkSesame Street and Days of Our Lives.

9. Martin Luther King Jr. is the internet's favourite author

Perhaps this won't come as a surprise to many of you, but the most popular author on the internet since Google's inception has always been Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK has held the top spot in search in Google's 'authors' category for the past two decades, enjoying more searches than William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has consistently sat at #2 since 2000, except for in 2011 and 2012 where he lost out to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, respectively. This year, his spot has been stolen by a more contemporary author: Maya Angelou.

There's no doubt that King's incredible words and legacy deserve to be the subject of hundreds of thousands of Google searches across the globe. However, the top searches for Martin Luther King Jr. reveal that he might just be the subject of people Googling to find out when his holiday is.

Top searches for Martin Luther King from 1999 to 2018, featuring several searches for Martin Luther King day or Martin Luther King Day 2018.

10. Mia Hamm beat David Beckham in 1999

Who was the most searched-for football player – sorry, "soccer player" – in 1999? If you guessed David Beckham, you were almost right.

David Beckham was the second most-searched footballer on Google in 1999 – behind American footballer Mia Hamm. If you haven't heard of her, Hamm was a two-time Olympic gold medallist and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup Champion, and was also named Sportswoman of the Year in 1997 and 1999.

Beckham took the top spot from Hamm in 2000, but she remained in second place until 2002, and in the top 10 until 2005.

To find out what the next 20 years of search have in store, download Econsultancy's market insight report, The Next Revolution of Search.

“New edition of SEO success factors reinforces the importance of content - Search Engine Land” plus 2 more


New edition of SEO success factors reinforces the importance of content - Search Engine Land

Posted: 19 Jun 2019 12:00 AM PDT

At SMX Advanced in Seattle on June 4, the 2019 edition of the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors was officially unveiled. The Periodic Table, first launched in 2011, is updated every two years to reflect changes in Google ranking factors, emerging trends in technology and the evolution of SEO strategy.

Hundreds of SEO experts voted in Search Engine Land's online poll on the relative importance of factors like content freshness, site speed, backlinks, user experience and so on. As is their standard practice, Search Engine Land's editorial team then reviewed the poll results, added their own input, and produced an updated Periodic Table and explanatory materials, which can be reviewed and downloaded here.

Download the SEO Table.

Note: By submitting this form, you agree to Third Door Media's terms. We respect your privacy.

Onstage at SMX Advanced, Search Engine Land's editor in chief Ginny Marvin was joined by members of the editorial team, including Barry Schwartz, Detlef Johnson and Jessica Bowman, to discuss the new edition of the table and share their own views on the success factors that matter most.

The common theme throughout the discussion, and in the updated Periodic Table itself, was the importance of high-quality, relevant content, delivered to users in a well-structured, easily digestible format with an emphasis on usability.

As Schwartz noted in his introductory remarks, in the contest between content and links, it's now a settled fact that content is more important.

Content is, to be sure, one of the main categories of success factors in the chart, and has been in previous editions as well. In the first part of their discussion, the panel discussed these content-oriented factors, with Schwartz noting that Google is getting very good at determining the authority of sources, especially in verticals where authority is particularly important, such as healthcare.

Bowman emphasized the importance of training your writing staff to produce high-quality content that is at least as good if not better than your nearest competitors. Johnson reminded us that Google's increasingly sophisticated use of machine learning and neural networks is making it possible for the company to understand content on a conceptual level, rather than in terms of matching precise words.

The panel suggested that Google is also very good these days at detecting attempts to fake out its content quality criteria. Many SEOs know, for example, that freshness is one of the factors Google considers important, but this doesn't mean all content calls for frequent updating. Think of the difference between blue whales and protein bars, Bowman suggested — facts about one topic might change much less frequently than facts about the other.

A testament to the dominance of content as a success factor is the fact that it came up frequently as a theme during the panel's discussion of other factors. In discussing a range of topics around the theme of Architecture, for instance, the panel suggested that page speed, crawlability, page organization and other architectural factors are important primarily because they help to govern the extent to which Google will index the content you want it to index.

Schwartz even cited Google's John Mueller as saying that the key to solving many problems (presumably even those that might have secondary attributable causes like site architecture) is simply to make your content better.

On the next topic, HTML, Johnson offered a useful overview of the semantic markup opportunities available in HTML5, suggesting that Google is looking more closely at these tags as website developers make better use of them. Tags that allow you to identify such semantic components as nav bars, article body text, and page sidebars can help Google properly understand your pages.

Schwartz countered, however, that Google is painfully aware that most of the web's HTML is "broken," meaning that pages do not display proper markup for elements like title tags and that in light of this fact, Google has had to develop so many workarounds that semantic markup may be less effective than we would wish. In other words, Google's distrust of markup consistency may cause it to discount even valid examples.

Still, Johnson's suggestion highlights one more trend in the direction of "things not strings," a topic I've also written on recently in light of parallel developments in travel search toward a broader realization of the semantic web.

On the topic of Trust, the panel again emphasized that the best way to build authority is to adhere to Google's quality guidelines and its tenets of Expertise, Authority and Trust. Readers will recall that the core algorithm update last August brought the increased importance of E-A-T to the attention of the SEO community. These tenets, again, are merely another way of emphasizing relevant, high-quality content. Though Google likely still uses traditional signals like page rank in the background, its emphasis on relevance these days is more prominent for ranking.

The panel also suggested that some factors once considered important on their own should today be seen in the broader contexts of authority and content relevance. Bowman, for instance, suggested that if the bounce rate is too high on pages that are supposed to be engaging, the solution is to look at improving the quality of content.

The last two positive categories in the Periodic Table, Links and User, were each covered somewhat quickly. The panel agreed that quality backlinks, the core of Google's original algorithm, will probably never lose their importance entirely, despite Google's suggestion that you don't need any links these days to rank well.

As for user-related factors, Schwartz noted that Google has recently claimed they are not personalizing search results based on user search history as much as had been done previously. Whereas it used to be true that when a user searched a lot for "Jaguars" the football team, that user would eventually see fewer results for "Jaguar" the car, these days Google claims to focus only on the user's geolocation and immediate previous query when it comes to personalization.

Schwartz also suggested that Google has become more sophisticated in its analysis of the user experience offered by a web page, having developed tools over the last four years that allow for the rendering of full web pages during the crawling and indexing process, so that interface elements can be examined in a manner that is similar to the way humans interact with them.

Bowman noted that user intent, though not rated as highly in the Periodic Table as she might have expected, is critical in the sense that relevance is a measure of the match between intent and page content.

The discussion then turned to the Toxins section of the Periodic Table, which lists factors detrimental to ranking such as cloaking, keyword stuffing and obtrusiveness of ad copy. The panel noted that these and many other factors should be avoided wherever possible, though many of them remain popular. Schwartz mentioned link schemes as an ongoing problem, and Bowman and Schwartz both noted that ad-heavy content is so common these days that many SEOs must work carefully to strike the right balance between ads, often a key source of site revenue and primary content.

The final section of the chart, Emerging Verticals, lists factors that are too new (or too complex) to have a proven role in ranking. These include voice, local, images and videos.

Among these, voice is the obviously new factor. The panel agreed that voice search, though still in its early stages, brings many tactics to the fore that are critical now and will become increasingly prominent in the future. These include featured snippets that offer answers to targeted questions, and search content that understands how the needs of users differ by factors like time of day.

Schwartz noted that local was placed in the Emerging Verticals list "because it is constantly changing," but as Bowman correctly pointed out, local has been around for quite a while and has a big impact in certain verticals.

Generally speaking, a criticism that could be applied to the Periodic Table project as a whole is that it does not speak to differing use cases and the emphasis that makes the most sense for each. On the topic of local, if your goal as an SEO is to attract traffic in local markets for a brick and mortar chain, you'll be forced to think of local SEO as a central area of activity rather than a peripheral factor, and this emphasis may cause a significant reshuffling of other tactics.

Similarly, sites focused on conversion via e-commerce have very different goals from sites that hope to build authority via frequently updated content in areas like industry news and entertainment.

Certainly, though, it's useful to take the temperature of the SEO community as to the factors that currently matter most. And the theme that resounds throughout the new chart and the discussion at SMX Advanced is that Google wants relevant, differentiated content above all else.

More from SMX Advanced 2019


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.



About The Author

Damian Rollison is VP of Product Strategy at Brandify, a leading local search solution provider specializing in multilocation brands. Damian has more than ten years of experience in SEO, reputation management, and listings management, having previously served as product lead at UBL and Moon Valley Software. Damian writes a regular column at Street Fight covering various topics in local.

Google’s most searched terms around the world - WTOP

Posted: 26 Dec 2018 12:00 AM PST

The World's Most Searched Terms

Earlier in December, Google published its annual global rankings of the most-searched words and phrases. The most popular were not surprising: This year's World Cup competition in Russia, the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in the U.K. and the release of the "Black Panther" movie landed among the tech giant's most searched subjects.

But other events also were widely searched this year, such as the death of Swedish musician and DJ Tim Bergling — popularly known as Avicii. And differences developed between countries and territories.

The following were among the most widely searched phrases in nine countries and one territory.

Australia

The most widely searched "How to" topic in Australia this year was "How to opt out of my health record," a reference to the country's centralized digital health record system. Other popular search phrases: "How to delete Instagram"; "What is listeria" (a reference to a deadly outbreak of the germ tied to tainted food); "What is ligma" — a reference to a fictional disease; and "Why is it called Good Friday."

Canada

The most widely searched Canadian news event in the country was "Humboldt Broncos," a reference to the junior ice hockey team that was involved in an April vehicle crash that killed 16 people and injured more than a dozen — most of whom were on the team playing the country's national sport. Other popular search items: "How old is Dolly Parton?" and the recipe for scalloped potatoes.

Germany

Dangerous insects were on the minds of the people in Germany in 2018. The most widely asked question in the country was, "oak processionary — what to do," a reference to a moth which in caterpillar form is found in oak forests. Some schools, pools and other public venues closed earlier in the year due to an infestation of the insect, whose hairs can cause rashes and breathing problems in humans. The second most widely asked question: "What helps against wasps?"

Hong Kong

"Story of Yanxi Palace" was the most popular search term in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China. The "Story of Yanxi Palace" is a Chinese television drama and in August, a Vietnamese website acquired episodes not yet broadcast in China. Interested parties wanting to see those episodes were required to answer a question regarding islands that are a disputed territory. The correct answer, according to the website, was Vietnam, a move that triggered outrage among Chinese netizens.

David Missal in Hong Kong contributed this report.

India

One of the most popular search phrases in India in 2018 was "How to link Aadhaar with mobile number" — a reference to the country's biometric ID system, the largest one in the world. Other popular search terms were "What is Section 377," a reference to the British colonial-era law that criminalized gay sex and that the country's Supreme Court struck down this past summer. Indians also searched "What is happening in Syria" and "What is kiki challenge," a reference to the video of two farmers dancing in a rice field that went viral to the Drake song, "In My Feelings."

Japan

Technology and the cosmos fueled searches for people across Japan in 2018. The most popular question was, "What is a virtual currency," a question reflecting how unregulated digital money became much more widely popular around the world this year. In line with that question, "What is bitcoin" was the third most-asked question by the Japanese. Squeezed between those two questions: "What is a total lunar eclipse" — a reference to the July event that drew fascination around the world.

Malaysia

The results of Malaysia's historic general election in May were the most widely searched news item in 2018. The election ushered in the first change in government since the country's independence in 1957. Also at the top of the country's most searched news topics was the "Momo Challenge," an alleged form of cyberbullying spread through mobile phones and social media.

Nigeria

People in Nigeria were curious in 2018. The most popular question asked on Google was, "How to check J.A.M.B. results," a reference to the nation's entrance exam for people hoping to attend one of the country's universities. People in the country also asked how to write a business plan, and the results of a gubernatorial vote in the state of Osun, which drew concern from international observers over how the balloting was conducted.

Philippines

Efforts to bypass the rules of video games led to the top overall searches in the Philippines in 2018. No. 1 was "MemoryHackers" and No. 2 was "Hot Shot Gamers" — both terms for cheating mechanisms in the video game "Rules of Survival."

Russia

People in Russia asked "How to become a blogger" more than any other question. Finishing second was "How to become a model," and at No. 3 was, "How to become an election observer." Presidential elections were held in the country in March, and the nation also sent people to observe the U.S. midterm elections in November.

United Kingdom

Technology fueled searches in the United Kingdom in 2018. "What is bitcoin?" was the most popular "What is …" phrase in the country, followed by "What is GDPR?" — a reference to the General Data Protection Regulation, the digital privacy law in the European Union that went into effect this year for member countries. As the U.K. approaches the March 2019 deadline to leave the EU, British citizens will be designated differently by the GDPR.

Another widely searched phrase: "How to floss dance?"

Want to Know More?

To learn the top 10 searches in the U.S, click here.

Find out how your country did in the 2018 Best Countries rankings and explore more news, data and analysis on U.S. News.

More from U.S. News

10 Countries With the Fastest Internet Speeds

The 25 Best Countries in the World

7 Good Luck Charms From Around the World

Google's Most Searched Terms Around the World originally appeared on usnews.com

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10 surprising search trends from Google's 20 years of data - Econsultancy

Posted: 27 Sep 2018 12:00 AM PDT

Happy birthday, Google!

The internet's most popular search engine is celebrating its 20th birthday today.

Officially, Google was incorporated on 4th September, 1998 – making it 20 years and a few weeks old today – but it has often chosen to mark its birthday on 27th September instead. Few people know exactly why, though The Telegraph speculates that it's because Google's first ever "birthday Doodle" was published on this day in 2002.

Whatever the reason, Google has released a slew of fun games and tools in honour of the occasion, including a video, a delightfully nostalgic Street View tour of the garage where Google was born in 1998, and a search tool looking back over 20 years of popular search trends, created by Artist in Residence Cyril Diagne.

All in all, it's the perfect excuse to spend a couple of hours of your afternoon exploring some fun but informative trivia about search over the last two decades.

And since we love fun and informative trivia, we've rounded up some of the most surprising facts we learned from 20 years of search trends, courtesy of Diagne and Google's '20 years of Google search' tool.

1. The internet loves dogs more than cats

Almost anyone who has ever been on YouTube (or Reddit, or Buzzfeed, or I Can Haz Cheezburger) will agree: the internet loves cats. The internet was made for cats. Cat gifs, cat videos, cat memes, animated cats – the internet's favourite animal is obvious. Right?

Except according to Google, we have always searched for dogs more than cats. While cats are an ever-popular second place search, there has never been a year in which we have searched for cats more than dogs, at least via Google.

Visualisation of the top animal search trends from the past 20 years, with dogs at the top and cats below, followed by fish.

Top searches for dog from the past two decades include "Dogs for sale", "Cute dogs", "Pitbull dog" and "How to draw a dog".

2. Lolita: more popular than the Bible

The Bible is, unsurprisingly, the most searched-for book on Google, and has been since 2003, with the Qur'an coming in second since 2005.

But the most popular book on Google prior to 2003 was a much less sacred text: Lolita. The controversial 1955 novel was the most-searched book on Google from 1999 to 2002, the second most-searched in 2003 and 2004, and now sits at #10 in the list of most Googled books.

Other racy titles in Google's historic top 10 include the Karma Sutra, which was #4 in 1999 and #3 in 2000.

3. Dora the Explorer has the best SEO

What would be your bet for the most popular children's show of the past 20 years? A classic like Power Rangers or Thomas the Tank Engine, or an animated series for slightly older audiences like The Last Airbender or Adventure Time?

While all of these are contenders, the most consistently popular kids' show by search volume in the past two decades has been Dora the Explorer. Dora has taken the number 1 spot in 9 out of the past 20 years: from 2003 through to 2007, and then again in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Dora the Explorer logo

Dora's closest competitor in recent years has been Ben 10, which took the top spot from 2008 to 2013 and again in 2017, before being knocked down to third place this year by Power Rangers. Bad luck, Ben.

4. Pluto has never come close to topping Google

Poor old Pluto – as maligned in search as it is in the solar system, apparently.

Though its planetary status has long been the subject of fierce debate – to the point where it features in Google's video looking back over 20 years of searches – Google's search trend data holds that Pluto has never been one of the most-Googled "space objects", even in 2006 when its status was downgraded to dwarf planet.

Fittingly, Pluto has consistently been the ninth-most-popular space object of the past 20 years, except for in 2010 where it slid to tenth place behind Neptune. The Sun is the internet's favourite space object to search for, followed by Mars. Clearly, Pluto needs more pop culture representation.

5. 'Peak Chuck Norris' was later than you might have thought

Chuck Norris is a long-standing internet meme, but he's never quite managed to claim the title of being the most-searched actor on the internet. So when did Chuck Norris enjoy peak popularity?

After a brief blip in 1999 and 2000, Chuck Norris really soared in search popularity in 2006, where he was the internet's second most-searched actor, behind Jessica Alba.

He peaked again at #2 in 2008, behind Heath Ledger (sob), and enjoyed the #2 or #3 spot from 2009 to 2012, where he began the slow slide into (relative) obscurity. He's currently the 9th most-searched actor on Google, with top searches including "Find Chuck Norris", "Chuck Norris Memes", and "Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris".

Top searches for Chuck Norris, from 1999 to 2018.

6. 2006: The year of Sudoku

According to Google, the most popular game of 2006 was… Sudoku. Not Pokémon, not World of Warcraft (which was #2): the most searched-for game in 2006 was a humble pencil and paper puzzle.

Possibly because no-one understood how on earth to play it.

7. 'Let it snow' was a surprise smash hit?

While browsing the data for Google's most popular songs, I was surprised to see an anomaly among the one-hit wonders and summer jams: Let It Snow, which was the most-searched song on Google in 2011.

It was more unusual given that, to my knowledge, it has never had a viral video dance routine or huge celebrity cover (at least not in 2011). So why the sudden popularity?

The answer to the mystery is actually one of Google's own Easter Eggs. In December 2011, Google created a fun Christmas-themed Easter Egg in which typing "Let it snow" into your Google search bar would cause digital snow to rain down over the screen.

Google's memory of its own Easter Eggs must be short, since seven years on, it is convinced that the public was searching for a Christmas song in 2011 and not a Google gimmick.

8. Friends has never ranked among top TV shows on Google

It was one of the most popular TV shows of the 1990s, but Friends may have been too early to make an impact on Google.

Though it was still going strong in 1998 when Google launched, finally concluding with its 10th season in 2004, Friends is nowhere to be found among Google's top searches for TV shows in the late 90s or early 2000s.

The most Googled TV show in 1999 was The Simpsons, which comfortably held the top spot until 2004. Other TV shows which enjoyed more searches than Friends in the late 90s include South ParkSesame Street and Days of Our Lives.

9. Martin Luther King Jr. is the internet's favourite author

Perhaps this won't come as a surprise to many of you, but the most popular author on the internet since Google's inception has always been Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK has held the top spot in search in Google's 'authors' category for the past two decades, enjoying more searches than William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has consistently sat at #2 since 2000, except for in 2011 and 2012 where he lost out to Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, respectively. This year, his spot has been stolen by a more contemporary author: Maya Angelou.

There's no doubt that King's incredible words and legacy deserve to be the subject of hundreds of thousands of Google searches across the globe. However, the top searches for Martin Luther King Jr. reveal that he might just be the subject of people Googling to find out when his holiday is.

Top searches for Martin Luther King from 1999 to 2018, featuring several searches for Martin Luther King day or Martin Luther King Day 2018.

10. Mia Hamm beat David Beckham in 1999

Who was the most searched-for football player – sorry, "soccer player" – in 1999? If you guessed David Beckham, you were almost right.

David Beckham was the second most-searched footballer on Google in 1999 – behind American footballer Mia Hamm. If you haven't heard of her, Hamm was a two-time Olympic gold medallist and two-time FIFA Women's World Cup Champion, and was also named Sportswoman of the Year in 1997 and 1999.

Beckham took the top spot from Hamm in 2000, but she remained in second place until 2002, and in the top 10 until 2005.

To find out what the next 20 years of search have in store, download Econsultancy's market insight report, The Next Revolution of Search.

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