Canonical Chronicle - Episode 50 - Position 1 gets 59% of clicks

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0:27 Local Search Update to “make use of neural matching”

0:42 What Should You Do As A Local Business?

1:49 3 Major Factors In local results

2:08 What are citations?

2:25 SERP positions study shows that position 1 in the SERPs gets 19% of views and 28% of clicks

3:38 SERPs are different from query to query

5:05 Google is now confronting a broad examination of its “collection and use of data.”

6:01 Increasing Privacy and Protecting from Surveillance

7:31 California now have the CCPA which stands for the California Consumer Privacy Act

7:55 Preparing for the CCPA as an Advertiser


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- When it comes to alternative SERPs like local listings, a lot of SEOs are like.

- I'm not bothered.

- [Mike] Come on! When is--

- it's okay Mike!

- It's just that that's not--

- [Woman] Not bothered. Without being half--

- You can't-- We're not--

- Bothered--

- [Mike] You can't--

- With him, Mike, I ain't bothered!

- The thing is I--

- But a couple of weeks ago in the local SERPs, we've seen a lot of them do this. This recent update was making use of neural matching according to an official Google spokesman. So, this essentially means that they're able to take all that creepy surveillance they have on your mobile phone and conceptually understand what you're looking for. So, as a local business, what should you do? Well, Google say that the usual rules apply. And in particular, enter complete data with correct NAP, verify your locations, keep your hours accurate, and manage and respond to reviews, and of course, add photos. Now, from an agency perspective we would go a little step further and say, build citations into your GMB profile, making sure that your NAP, that's name, address, phone number stuff is correct, take advantage of the post feature and constantly post little, mini updates, and definitely get a review strategy baked into your business to encourage customers to do more reviews. And here is a nice little extra one. With the ability to now follow local guides, I would find the verified local guides in your area, and then pay them to review your place. Because the thing is, it stands to reason, if someone is a highly followed local guide and they give you five stars, even if it doesn't count to actually push your rankings, you're gonna be exposed to much, much more customers and that's gonna help your local listings anyway. So, digging into the documentation, Google say relevance, distance and prominence, are the three big things for GMB rankings. So, you get the relevance for optimising the profile with the right keywords. You get your service area defined properly. And then it's up to you to get as many citations, to increase your prominence, as possible. So, if you're kinda scratching your head working out, well, what are citations? Essentially, it's just when your business is mentioned with your name, address and phone number in another business directory. You can use a tool like Moz Citations, Yext, or BrightLocal to help you build them up at scale. A recent SERP position study shows that position one in the SERPs gets you 90% of views and 28% of clicks. On hearing the news, most SEOs were like, But what if I were to tell you that the first organic position is actually position five. And that gets 10% of the clicks. ♪ Ah love me ♪

- So, the study says the first three positions get over 59% of the clicks. It also says that fact finding and navigation queries get 5% of clicks! It's slightly better for research-based tasks, which get about 20% of clicks that are below the fold. So, its very much looking like a winner takes all scenario in Google search at the moment. But here is your silver lining.

- Let there be light!

- The study was conducted on 471 queries.

- It says floor problem.

- Okay.

- Not in my house!

- Nice try Nelson, if you want an higher CTR, then maybe just don't optimise for those 471 queries. No, I'm only kidding. But the study is quite interesting. It compares 2006 SERPs to present day. And it comes up with a theory about pinball viewing, which essentially, because the SERPs are so different, users, instead of just scrolling up and down, are going from side to side now. And because all of these different things like rich results are coming up, it's making it much more visually attractive and drawing people's eye. So, when search results pages contain complex and visually attractive elements, users are more likely to be drawn to those elements and distribute their attention across the SERPs. Now, if you can make it into the top five positions, you've got about a 40 to 80 percent chance of getting much more valuable eyeballs. But that's it, eyeballs, not clicks. It's still really important to appear within the first page of results since people aren't likely to click through to the second page at all. So, when it comes to it, if your strategy dictates that it's a good idea, then try and put some of these non-traditional elements into your site itself so you can actually get these things bubbling up into the SERP. So, I'm talking about using things like schema for your FAQs and just marking up the page so you get a lot more rich results. But be warned. If the SERP answers the question and you get no clicks, your impressions will go up but your clicks will actually stay the same because guess what, you're answering the query within the SERP and they're not coming to your page. So, take that advise with a pinch of salt. When it comes to Google's pervasive surveillance capitalism tactics, the EU are like.

- He's climbing in your windows! He's snatching your people up!

- That's right, I've been recently using the Brave browser to track and block all of these trackers on a daily basis. Here are my stats for yesterday. That's right, 12,000 tracking attempts blocked in a day! I feel the exact same way about Google as Yoda feels about seagulls. ♪ I said seagulls ♪ ♪ Mmgh stop it now ♪

- And apparently, so does the EU. Reuters reported that Google is now confronting a broad examination of collection and use of data. And separately, the company's comparison shopping engine rivals have complained to the European Commission that Google's business practises continue to harm them and violate their terms of service in 2017, ultimately causing serious antitrust problems. So, what does this means for SEOs? Well, nothing really, but if your client asks, it's good to be aware of what is going on. Also as a private citizen it's really important to protect yourself from over-reaching companies like Google. So, here some steps to help. One, instal the Brave browser. It's made by the ex-Firefox guys and it works really well. Step two, use a VPN. Mullvad gets a really good rating. Step three, use a blocker like uMatrix to stop everything from actually hitting your browser in the first place. Step four, never, I repeat, never use Facebook or Google to login to everything. Just create an account with your email address. Also, when it comes to your own data hygiene as a company, consider something like ISO compliance. That means that you're a more secure place to hold and transmit data. Really simple things like encrypting files and only giving access as required. Using password managers instead of the same password of your dog's name over and over again. Two factor authentication on all the things. You get the picture. That should hopefully increase your privacy and decrease your exposure to surveillance capitalism. So, I was pretending to be a famous composer, with the Terminator, I decided to be Mozart, and he decided.

- I'll be back.

- Well, back Arnie as the governor of California.

- California, California is California. California, the state of California, California.

- Has something very much to be proud of. Similar to the EUs GDPR, California now has a CCPA, which means that Google have had to roll out a bunch of restrictions to actually help people protect their data. The CCPA applies to businesses making at least 25 million, or processes 50,000 customer data points and gets 50% or more of their revenue from doing so. So, as an advertiser, what do you need to do? Well, things like customer-match and direct store sales uploads already cannot operate using this restrictive data policy. So, don't need to take any action. So, in Google ads the setting allow ad personalization. Same parameter will value to false. And enable restrictive data processing. So, you only need to set it up once and just apply it across all products, configured through your global site tag, usually with tag manager or some other tracker. Now, if you're not really bothered about this new law, then please be aware, the new law says that you as the advertiser are responsible, not Google. And you could get some very hefty fines as we've already seen in Europe, if you don't comply. That's everything for this week's Canonical Chronicle. If you're interested in getting a free swipe file of the week, please do subscribe to our email and newsletter. Click that like button if you really like to. And until next time, we will see you later.