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LastPass Data Breach: It’s Time to Ditch This Password Manager

December 29, 2022 No Comments

The password manager’s most recent data breach is so concerning, users need to take immediate steps to protect themselves.
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This MSCHF Puzzle—and the Chance of $2 Million—Brought My Family Closer

November 19, 2022 No Comments

Every MSCHF puzzle offers a potential cash prize for players. It’s infuriating—and 100 percent worth it.
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The new YMYL guidelines and what this means for marketers

September 9, 2022 No Comments

The new YMYL guidelines and what this means for marketers

30-second summary:

  • Your money or your life (YMYL) guidance has been updated to give more clarity on what Google is looking for within its quality rater guidelines
  • Focusing on reputation, both of the person creating the main content and the website hosting the main content, is key
  • YMYL trust isn’t just built on-site, off-site digital PR and link acquisition can also play a key role in building trust
  • Google also helped to clarify which websites/content might fall into the YMYL categories and how this is defined
  • E-A-T continues to play an important role across the board, alongside matching user intent and purpose and creating great, reputable content for users

In late July, Google updated its Page Quality Rater Guidelines. It does this from time to time to reinforce the key principles that it looks for when evaluating the quality of a page. While Google has held the concept of expertise, authority and trust close to the center of these guidelines for a long time, one of the major changes or updates was related to the definition of “Your Money or Your Life” websites. There was also more insight into how these pages are rated, which is ideal for anyone working in these sectors looking to better understand how Google rates their websites.

The concept of Google having very high Page Quality rating guidelines for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) websites isn’t new, but the definition of what falls into this category has changed. Previously the definition covered “pages (which) could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.” This has been updated to cover “pages (which) have a high risk of harm because content about these topics could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.” This is a much broader scope of websites with potentially a much more significant impact.

As such, for many SEOs this means re-examining the guidance to ensure that our websites are ready for potentially enhanced scrutiny.

So what are the new guidelines and what does it mean?

The new guidelines for YMYL go much further than just the definition update above. They actually go into detail around how a particular topic could and couldn’t fall into the YMYL categorization, Google has even put it in a handy table for us so we can clearly understand:

Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines - YMYL

Source: Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

It’s also not just YMYL categories that have seen the updates, but many elements that go into rating YMYL pages. Along with enhancements to key E-A-T definitions and what Google is looking for, we can also see key updates to sections that focus on “low-quality pages” or what we should try to avoid. As marketers, we’ve never had so much information available to us about what Google is looking for in a quality website. This means that Google is likely to be getting very serious about its Page Quality Rater Guidelines and as SEOs, we should be too.

Content is as important as ever

Content will already be at the forefront of many SEO minds given that Google’s “Helpful Content” update has already started rolling out. Additionally, the updates to the YMYL guidance have demonstrated that your on-site content is a key contributor to how the pages are evaluated for expertise, quality, and authority.

Google highlights in section 4.2 that the “quality of the MC is one of the most important criteria in Page Quality rating.” So we know that the main content on the website is something Google is looking at with close scrutiny, especially if your website falls into that YMYL category. Having a reasonable amount of good quality main content plays a key role in this, but so do the page’s functionality and features. Don’t just rest at making sure your content is great, ensure that any features on the website such as calculators, checkouts, and interactivity are also created to a high standard.

Content that falls into YMYL sectors is, of course, held here to a higher standard. Google gives the example that, “high E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed and updated, on a regular basis.”

If you find yourself in a YMYL category, then regularly updating, reviewing, and editing your content to ensure that it’s up to date will play a role here.

Enhancing key E-A-T signals

For most businesses refreshing your ‘About Us’ page might seem like the most unimportant task, but when you are trying to tell users about who you are, showcase your expertise and give users that sense of trust and security, this can actually be one of the most important elements of your website. In section 2.5.3 of the guidelines, Google highlights that this can be one area of your website where raters go to find information about who owns the site, which can be a key element of establishing a good reputation.

Your reviews also fall into this category and that’s not just reviews on your own website, but also reviews on external sources. In fact – the word “reviews” is mentioned 66 times in the guidelines alone. While reviews on your own website are important and it’s definitely worth promoting these, one tip I picked up from the guidelines (section 2.6.4) is to do a quick reputation search. You can then evaluate if there are any other external website reviews or reputation signals that you need to be aware of. You can do this by using a negative site search i.e. for Google you would use [google -site:google.com] which would search for the term “Google” on all sites except google.com. Doing this for your business can help identify how others may view your reputation.

Reputation matters

Two of the five most important factors in Page Quality Rating relate to reputation and information; that is, information about who is responsible for the main content and the reputation of that person and the website itself..-We knew from the Medic Update that authoring and author profiles have grown in importance, and as the guidelines now turn to focus on the reputation of both the websites and the authors, this has become an even more important facet of showcasing your expertise and authority.

In sections 2.6 and 2.6.1 of the updated guidelines, Google talks about reputation research around both the user and the website which has provided the main content. It also talks about the type of reputation information that is available and how applicable it is within certain industries, for example, how applicable product reviews would be in the finance sector. It’s clear that building strong reputation information that is relevant to your brand/industry would add value here.

Finally, for websites that are smaller or perhaps don’t have a huge amount of visible reputation information, Google does state that “this is not indicative of positive or negative reputation… for these smaller businesses and organizations, lack of reputation should not be considered an indication of low page quality.”

Trust is built on-site and off-site

Trust and authority are two of the key elements which go into rating a page’s quality and these are key for great YMYL. However, this doesn’t just come down to content and updates on the site, it’s also very much about what is available off-site. Digital PR has seen unprecedented growth in recent years as a great way of growing a website’s reputation as well as building high-quality, authoritative backlinks back to a website.

Whether it’s looking for reputation information or key signals about your brand, one of the biggest places people are searching is on websites that aren’t yours. That’s where digital PR can have the biggest impact on improving your reputation, expertise, and overall authority. Digital PR can help to build your website and your author reputation by sharing thought leadership or data expertise. This is a great way to build up these core YMYL factors while also gaining great coverage for your brand.

Keeping the user in mind

Regardless of whether you are looking to devise a digital PR strategy, improve your on-site content or make changes to the structure of your website, with the new guideline updates and YMYL changes, it’s clear that Google wants to see and understand the reputation of your website and its content creators.

Keeping these elements and the user in mind will help to ensure that you’re creating a great user experience that naturally demonstrates expertise, authority, trust, and any other signals that Google is looking for. As Google continues to improve and update its guidelines, this will become more important than ever.


Amanda Walls is the founder and Director of Cedarwood Digital, an award-winning Digital Marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, and Digital PR.

With 12 years of Digital Marketing experience under her belt, Amanda founded the business six years ago which was recently named the UK Small Ecommerce Agency of the year in 2021.

An expert in all things digital, Amanda has worked as a trainer for Google’s Digital Garage in the North West and has delivered digital marketing training to thousands of marketers across the region.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post The new YMYL guidelines and what this means for marketers appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Light Your Photos and Videos Properly With This Camera Gear

July 29, 2022 No Comments

Whether you’re an experienced photographer or just starting to learn about off-camera lights, this guide is filled with illuminating essentials.
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This Is How Twitter’s Edit Button Can Actually Work

April 8, 2022 No Comments

The ability to edit tweets is coming—but it’s full of risks. This is how to do it right.
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Omega and Swatch’s $260 MoonSwatch Looks Out of This World

March 25, 2022 No Comments

You read that right, $ 260. Plus this playful take on the iconic Speedmaster comes in multiple colors and is made from the group’s Bioceramic material.
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Is your business optimized for Google Discover? This guide is for you!

February 17, 2022 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Would you turn down an opportunity to acquire new customers without breaking the bank?
  • Google Discover currently supports 800M users in exploration and is a great way to attract new audiences
  • Joe Dawson covers the “why” and “how” in this comprehensive Google Discover optimization guide

Even though spending on SEO plays such a major role in the online business sphere, most web admins spend their lives attempting to crack Google’s organic page ranking algorithms. As SEOs may or may not lose sleep over the latest updates, Google Discovery is surely a dreamy-eyed way to win more audiences.

What is Google Discover?

Discover is the brainchild that replaced Google Feed in 2018 and helps around  800M monthly active users with content exploration. Discover aims to push hand-selected news and articles directly to user feeds without the need for searching. Google builds a profile of users and supplies them with content considered relevant to individual interests.

Nothing is anonymous online, and we all leave digital trails of our fundamental interests. Just as your website offers opportunities to glean first-party data, so does Google. With the average person estimated to make at least three to four searches per day, that’s plenty of information to harvest.

Google Discover - a quick look

Source: Google Search Central

Google plays their cards close to their chest about how they build consumer profiles. Experts believe that the following are factored into the creation of these blueprints:

  • Search history unique to Google
  • Browser history of websites visited
  • Activity on any installed apps
  • Location, assuming this information has not been barred in settings

That’s certainly enough material to understand what a user may be interested in. Much like social media targeted advertising, Google knows what your audience wants to see and will do all it can to meet such desires through Discovery. It’s your responsibility to optimize your Discovery presence and ensure that your content is chosen to be pushed.

Why optimize Google Discover?

Discover attracts a loyal, returning audience to your website. It allows users to follow a particular brand or business, ensuring their content will always appear on their smartphone. Naturally, you need to earn this loyalty. The usual caveats apply here. Work to attract your target audience by speaking their language, delivering content that shows your brand can be relied upon.

Deliver content that shows people can rely on your brand - Google Discover optimization guide

Source: Marketing Charts

Perhaps more pertinently, Discover knows what users want to hear about – and delivers this in spades. Imagine that a user’s five most visited websites are for their local NFL team, a health food store in their town, a website specializing in tips for joggers, a website that sells running shoes, and a food blog packed with recipes. This suggests that the user in question enjoys sports and fitness. This individual’s Google Discovery feed will reflect this lifestyle.

Somebody with more sedentary hobbies may receive articles on the latest comings and goings on Netflix or technology and gadget news. If you optimize your content for Discover, it could be your website and articles that are pushed onto a smartphone. As Discover has an enviable CTR, this is not an opportunity to pass up.

How to optimize your website for Google Discover

Now that we’ve established that Discover fast-track site traffic, and by extension, conversions – how do you achieve this optimization? This fifteen-point checklist covers hints and tips to enhance your success rate.

1. Comply with Google’s policies

First thing’s first. Do not forget that Discover is a Google property, which means abiding by the search engine’s usual rules and regulations. In essence, that means continuing to follow organic SEO and page ranking practices.

As much as keeping on top of Google’s regular algorithm updates can sometimes feel like a full-time job, it remains necessary. To optimize the potential of Discover, your website must maintain standard white hat SEO protocols. If your dedication to improving page ranking and quality score slips, your content is less likely to be selected by Discover.

2. Create a Google My Business account

Here’s another quick and simple hack to help produce tangible results. Google always wants to provide users with the finest and most relevant connections. If you’re using Discover for ecommerce, the big G will consider a GMB account as a seal of quality. You’re likelier to be selected by Discover if you have an active profile – especially one that boasts organic, positive reviews.

3. Ensure mobile compatibility

When investigating different web design possibilities, highly prioritize mobile compatibility. This sounds like a no-brainer as Discovery is a mobile-centric tool, but you may be surprised at how many fall at this hurdle. Use Google’s Mobile Usability Report to check how your site is doing.

If you build your website through WordPress, consider taking advantage of the Web Stories plug-in. This is made for use on Google – after all, Web Stories even have their own segment on the search engine’s home page – and will often pique the curiosity of Discovery.

4. Feature larger images to create compelling UX and boost CTRs

You can even feature your card images in a large format by using the robots meta tag max-image-preview setting. This is a great way to gain more screen space and win audience attention that will drive CTR. According to Google, this increased a food blog’s CTR by 79 percent and drove a weekly magazine’s clicks by 332 percent across six months.

Google Discover optimization guide - use large images to drive CTR
Google Discover optimization guide – use large images to drive CTR

Source: Google Search Central

5. Find a unique niche and demonstrate your knowledge

Like when bidding for a plum PPC spot, popular keywords can create an extremely competitive environment in Discovery. Unless you’re among the major players in your industry, you risk being muscled out by more prominent names. For example, if you’re writing about sports, ESPN is always likelier to be selected to discuss the playoffs and significant incidents in a game.

That doesn’t mean that Discover is pointless, you’ll just need to think outside the box. Come up with a topic that could be less commonplace within your niches, such as a particular player, team, or set of stats. Discuss these at length, appealing to the regulations of the E-A-T algorithm, and the results will come.

6. Consider your target audience

Discover is designed to match the ideal content with the perfect audience. That needs to be considered when creating blog posts and similar copy. Take the time to build a picture of your target audience and use analytics to ensure you are appealing to them.

Based on the results, you may need to adjust your approach. For example, emotive language may attract one type of reader but deter users likelier to convert. Equally, you may find that you need to use less prose and more images to draw users you really want.

7. Master your headlines carefully

Over 14 percent of all Google text searches include a question. Embrace this in your headlines. If you pose a question, you’re likelier to be selected by Discovery and attract an audience’s attention.

All the same, never lose sight of Google’s quest for relevance. That means not trying to pull a bait and switch. A blog headlined “how to hire an app developer” needs to discuss the trials and tribulations of this very process. An article that says, “don’t bother – here is a DIY mobile app design guide to save money,” will not be embraced by Discovery.

8. Ensure your content is of the highest quality

We’ve just established that Google Discover has limited patience for clickbait, but you may be able to slip some of this material through the net.

You’ll quickly lose their trust and struggle to attract followers. The same applies to content that has not gone through a quality check process and is littered with typos and errors. Quality matters, so do not try to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes. Another way to create compelling, relevant content for your audience is by checking your Google search traffic and keyword research. This will help you distinguish and craft top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content for key segments of the search journey and align it with the sales funnel.

9. Keep your finger on the pulse

News and current events are the bread and butter of Google Discover. On paper, Google will always look to deliver the latest and greatest news articles to users. Criticism has been leveled at Discover, claiming that it has been top-of-the-funnel (TOFU), but it still pays to remain relevant when attempting to appeal to algorithms.

Anecdotal evidence claims that Discover ranks some search terms that SEO does not, opening new opportunities. That does not mean that you should throw together a hot take on the latest Twitter controversy and wait for the clicks to roll in. If that flies in the face of your brand values, you’ll suffer in the longer term. Just avoid shying away from existing talking points that would add value to your audiences. Also, don’t hop on this bandwagon unless you have something valuable to say as a brand.

10. Encourage users to ‘heart’ you

If you have a captive audience outside of Discover, encourage them to follow you on this platform. Discover offers a heart icon that matches the purpose of a Facebook like, which is a direct way to show appreciation for the material.

If somebody follows an article from your site in their areas of interest, it will be noted on their Google profile. They are then likely to receive more content on the same subject from your brand – as are other, unrelated users that Google considers to have similar interests.

11. Increase your brand awareness

As an extension of the point above, users are prone to discover – and follow – your Discover profile if they are aware of your brand. Use your marketing campaigns to raise your Google Discover profile, steering people toward following you on here.

12. Regularly create and post new content

Discover is often looking for the newest insights and articles to share with users. As a result, a freshly published blog is much likelier to be selected than something penned weeks, months, or years previously – assuming it meets the quality standards we previously mentioned. Evergreen content occasionally gets picked up, but not as often.

Just be aware that articles selected by Discover tend to have a shorter shelf life than something penned with organic SEO in mind. You can still look to appeal to both markets. Discover can be just as helpful for an inbound marketing strategy. Just do not expect your blog to remain on the platform longer than three or four days.

13. Include images and videos in your content

Regardless of whether a picture is truly worth a thousand words, there is no denying that Discover looks to curate variety in its content. Websites that included images and video in their blog posts saw a much greater uptake in selection by Discover than those that relied on pure prose.

Quality matters just as much as quantity here. A quick video shot on your smartphone and shoehorned into your content will not cut the mustard. Discover looks for crisp, high-definition image quality in moving and static pictures alike, so always opt for the greatest resolution you can that retains mobile friendliness.

14. Interact on social media

Discover loves social engagement. As with organic SEO, Discover is likely to select and push content that attracts comments and shares on social media. This creates a chicken and egg scenario. Will your content go viral on social media because it was picked up by Discover, or did Discover push the content because it was gaining social media traction?

In truth, the order of events matters little. Discover can sit neatly alongside the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to bolster awareness of your content and amass an army of new followers. As always, this creates a snowball effect – the more followers you gain, the more strangers will have your content pushed to their appliances.

15. Track your analytics – and improve where necessary

Finally, as with your SEO performance, you should always keep an eye on your Google Discover traffic analytics. You’ll find this in your Search Console. Do not be alarmed if your Discover traffic looks low. It takes a couple of days for these visits to hit the report so things may change in time.

Discover may not be essential if you are still attracting attention through other means. But no website should ever turn down an opportunity to boost website traffic! So if your numbers are tracking lower than anticipated, revisit points one through fourteen and implement what you can to improve performance.


Joe Dawson is Director of strategic growth agency Creative.onl, based in the UK. He can be found on Twitter @jdwn.

Subscribe to the Search Engine Watch newsletter for insights on SEO, the search landscape, search marketing, digital marketing, leadership, podcasts, and more.

Join the conversation with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The post Is your business optimized for Google Discover? This guide is for you! appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Hard-Core Home Bakers, This Is the Mixer of Your Dreams

January 24, 2022 No Comments

Committed bread aficionados will love the expert mixing and kneading skills of this Swedish countertop marvel.
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This Fallout TV Show Is a Terrible Idea—Unless It’s a Comedy

January 20, 2022 No Comments

Game studio Bethesda’s successful franchise is full of surrealist comedy, and Amazon’s forthcoming adaptation should reflect this.
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5 Tips To Running A Successful Google Ads Campaign This Black Friday

October 20, 2021 No Comments

Looking to stand out this Black Friday? Follow these five tips that’ll teach you how to prepare and run, a successful Google Ads Campaign.

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