How to Use Your Competition’s "Top Pages" Data to Bolster Your SEO Efforts – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

How are you gleaning your competitive insights? We’ve got a ton of resources and tools at our disposal, and one of the best ways to learn what’s working for your rivals and how you can build your own success on top of those insights is via the top pages report. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand goes over how each data source can provide unique value and which questions you should be asking to get more out of that data.

Use your competition's top pages data to bolster your SEO efforts

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

How to Get All Your Search Console Data from the API (Plus, Learn How to Use Python)

Posted by Dom-Woodman

What will you learn from this post?

  • How to get lots of Search Console data quickly and easily
  • How to run a Python script

And who can do it? Hopefully, it should be accessible to any beginner.

Why do we use the API to get Search Console data?

At Distilled, we often want to use Google Search Console data, but getting it from the interface is incredibly clunky:

  • You’re limited to the top 1,000 queries
  • You have to apply each filter one at a time
  • The interface is slow
  • And if you want to do this regularly, you have to repeat this process often.

We can get around that by using the API. Now we can get up to 5,000 queries at a time, we can apply multiple filters instantly, and we can run multiple queries quickly and easily.

We do this with Python. Continue reading

Do We Still Need to Disavow in the Era of Penguin 4.0?

Posted by MarieHaynes

It has now been six months since the launch of Penguin 4.0. In my opinion, Penguin 4.0 was awesome. It took ages for Google to release this update, but when they did, it was much more fair than previous versions of Penguin. Previous versions of Penguin would cause entire sites to be suppressed if the algorithm thought that you’d engaged in manipulative link building. Even if a site did a thorough link cleanup, the suppression would remain present until Google re-ran the Penguin algorithm and recognized your cleanup efforts. It was not uncommon to see situations like this:

I saw many businesses that had looooooong periods of time of suppression — even years!

According to Google spokesperson Gary Illyes, the new version of Penguin that was released in September of 2016 no longer suppresses sites:

Continue reading

Seven Nagging Problems with Social Commerce

Social commerce has become a big buzzword, yet many shoppers and many sellers are holding back on “going social” with their buying and selling. Why is this?

For many of the same reasons it took many years for e-commerce to seriously compete with brick-and-mortar retail. Social commerce is an immature ecosystem and concept, and it will simply take time for it to challenge the well-oiled transacting universe that e-commerce has become today.

The issues are many, and the potential for nuanced discussion is large, but at the big-picture level, here are the six key reasons why social commerce just isn’t happening in a big way yet:

  1. There are arguments about just what social commerce is. Is it Facebook Marketplace? Is it apps like OfferUp and LetGo, which seem just a stone’s throw from Craigslist? Is it subscriptions with active communities on CrateJoy? Is it just ad retargeting on social networks? Is it sharing your eBay listings on your social media feeds? Before social commerce can take off, it needs to develop a gravity center. Amazon and eBay are that center in e-commerce. There’s nothing similar yet in social commerce.
  2. Shoppers aren’t necessarily looking for it. More than 50 percent of e-commerce shoppers famously turn to Amazon first when they shop online. You can bet that eBay takes another huge chunk of that attention. How many eyeballs does social commerce get? You can bet that it’s not the nearly half a billion that eBay and Amazon together report as user bases of active shoppers.
  3. The shopping experience—and selection—are worse. As a shopper, if you have accounts eBay and Amazon.com, you can buy just about anything that’s for sale anywhere on earth. On social commerce, product and vendor selection are still limited, and you have to go out of your way to find them, traversing multiple sites and properties. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem: fewer products means fewer shoppers and less traffic—which means fewer sellers—which feeds the problem. Right now, most sellers are opting to sell where most of the actual shoppers are, which means that’s where most of the actual products are, too.
  4. Shoppers can’t transact on social commerce without thinking. E-commerce has the the sales funnel and conversion process down to a science. Amazon Prime is probably the best example here, but eBay has taken great strides in recent years as well. Shoppers can make major marketplace purchases on impulse, with almost no friction—but the hill to climb to find a product, understand the transaction process, and complete a social commerce transaction is far steeper and less predictable. That means lower conversion rates from sellers—from an already far smaller shopper pool
  5. Transaction problems snowball more easily. On eBay or Amazon, every last detail of the transaction—seller evaluation by shoppers, order confirmation, fulfillment tracking, returns and exchanges, disputes and dispute resolution—are handled smoothly and from a single, central location that can be managed with just a few clicks. Many independent website owners have similarly invested sweat and dollars to try to compete with this level polish, and for good reason—it attracts shoppers like nobody’s business. In social commerce, wild west rules still apply, like they did on eBay in 1999. For many shoppers and sellers alike, this is not an appealing prospect.
  6. Privacy concerns are hard to overcome. Privacy concerns for most shoppers are on the increase in recent years, and it isn’t lost them that social is often shorthand for collects my data and uses it for profit. For many shoppers, social commerce sounds a lot like less privacy, more risk. It’ll take time, infrastructure, evolution, and publicity for these concerns to be assuaged. In the meantime, sellers who imagine that they’ll affect conversion rates are probably right.
  7. Shopping remains a distinct activity. This might sound like an obvious thing to say, but most social media users simply aren’t ready to mix socializing and shopping. They’ve never done it before, and there are no rules or habits in place to drive social media users to think about shopping as they socialize—or vice-versa. Consumers simply don’t yet have a social mindset when shopping or a shopping mindset when socializing. It will be years before they form this association.

If you’re a seller who’s wondering whether or not you should be in social commerce, have no fear. For these reasons, you’re probably not missing much yet. Or, to put it another way, you can probably gain at least as much by redoubling and refining your efforts on the major marketplaces, where most of the shoppers are, and where safety and predictability for shopper and seller alike are much higher.

So for most sellers, the best idea at the moment is to do what you do anyway—satisfy customers, provide great service, grow your business strategically—and adopt any new practices or target any new markets within that framework. The rest will take care of itself.


What are the Top SEO Ranking Factors in 2017?

We are working with several very large companies on improving their organic search visibility right now and are genuinely surprised at how much their previous search engine optimization is costing them, not gaining them. They were literally paying firms that were hurting their optimization.

One company built a farm of domains then popped up short pages with every keyword combination available, and cross-linked all the sites. The result was a mess of domains, brand confusion, and terrible search engine results. We migrated and redirected all of the domains into one, then built out very informative pages for each topic… and within 90 days we are not ranking well above where they were. Continue reading

Schema.org Just Released New Restaurant Menu Markup — Here’s How to Get Started

Posted by TouchPointDigital

By now, most people who follow SEO are familiar with structured data, the Schema.org vocabulary, and rich snippets. Even those who know very little about SEO appreciate the benefits of adding structured data to their websites, namely that they might be able to get rich snippets in search results.

Of course, the main benefit of structured data is that it helps search engines better understand your content, which in turn helps them rank it more appropriately in search results. But we’re not here to discuss the what and why about structured data; there are plenty of other articles online that have covered that topic nicely.

Now, while Schema.org is not a comprehensive vocabulary that specifically covers every type of business — and it’s not meant to be — any business can use it to mark up their website’s content. But there’s one industry that so far has been rather limited as to what they could do with schema: restaurants.

Sure, it’s true that restaurants could always mark up the usual information such as their name, address, phone number, hours and so on. But when it came to marking up the most important information on their website — their menu — the only thing available to restaurants was one lonely menu property. That property could either point to the URL where their menu could be found, or they could mark up their entire menu simply as text. There was no way of truly marking up individual menu items and their prices, let alone specifying different types of menus such as breakfast, lunch, dinner, and so on. Continue reading