Making your first AMP Story: Google’s answer to Snapchat and Instagram

Among the many exciting announcements during AMP Conf 2018 in Amsterdam was the introduction of AMP Stories, a new format similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, implemented via a new accelerated mobile pages (AMP) component.
Unlike Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which are features within their own respective platforms, AMP Stories are going to be found in a mobile Google search engine results page (SERP). As with the rest of the AMP Project, other platforms are to leverage the format as well. These provide users with a highly engaging slideshow experience with rich media features such as video, audio, pictures and text in a format that mobile users have been known to love.
Here’s a one-minute video introducing the accelerated mobile pages (AMP) story format:

Excited yet? I am, but alas, it hasn’t rolled out to the public as of this writing. The amp-story component is still in “experimental” and development mode, and it must be enabled for the user within the AMP

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Enterprise SEO and cross-channel performance: Activation and integration

In 2018, more and more enterprise brands are beginning to build their marketing technology stacks.
In parallel, over the last year, we have witnessed the convergence of content and search engine optimization (SEO).
Intelligent marketers are utilizing these trends and building integrated marketing frameworks to provide marketing benefits far beyond the organic channel. Early adopters of these smart SEO and content frameworks are successfully implementing optimized content in paid search, email and social media campaigns and utilizing SEO insights to drive cross-channel performance.
Many enterprise brands still struggle to make their regular content highly visible in organic listings on search engine results pages (SERPs). The core challenge of marketers today is something I like to call “content congestion” — the deluge of articles, blog posts, social posts, emails, videos, glossaries and other types of content vying for customers’ attention online.
Building intelligent and smart content frameworks provides something akin to a fast lane: It packs SEO and mobile-friendliness best practices into

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Monitoring web migrations: A checklist for moving from one site to another

Whether it is a website rebranding, a consolidation of different web properties or an HTTP to HTTPs migration, when you are implementing a structural web change, it is critical to monitor the crawling, indexing, rankings, traffic and organic search conversions on both the old and new web locations. Careful tracking will enable you to fix any potential problem as they arise.
Besides establishing a relevant strategy to follow that include search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, here are the most important areas and steps to monitor during the web migration stages.  Be ready to identify any issues that could cause a negative impact, while also identifying opportunities.
Getting started
Start tracking your organic search visibility on the old and new web locations at least a couple of months before the migration takes place.  This will make it easier to identify any unexpected and inconsistent behavior when the change happens.

Old vs. new web crawling
Let’s start with the most fundamental aspects to

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Case study: On-page + off-page SEO working together = success

I encounter many people who believe the basic blocking and tackling of search engine optimization (SEO) execution is losing its value, but I find doing this basic hard work still works incredibly well.
In today’s post, I’m going to share a case study of a travel site whose business plan incorporates a straightforward approach to creating highly differentiated content on their site and then promoting that content effectively. They believe in building and marketing content with a high focus on the end user, and as you will see, the results are impressive.
Disclosure: The company discussed in this post, kimkim, is a client of my company.
Business overview
kimkim is an online travel company founded by a team of experienced entrepreneurs and engineers who played key roles at companies including TripAdvisor and EveryTrail. Their mission is to push the travel industry toward a more authentic and local experience while still maintaining high quality and consumer trust. This is achieved by partnering

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What to get right before launching a global business

Taking your brand to an international stage is exciting. You reach untapped audiences and expose your brand, product and services to a global market!
But with every great opportunity come challenges, and a global presence means time and resources must be dedicated to understanding new buying habits, laws, and, of course, online behaviors.
Today, search results are more and more personalized, and they vary by country, even if browsers, devices and search terms remain the same. With the search engines constantly changing and evolving, what happens when you add the international component to your website?
Before you kick off a global campaign, it’s important to develop a marketing strategy with a local audience in mind. Consider the following four points on how to best engage your target audience, bridge cultural differences and successfully promote your brand globally.
Become familiar with regional laws & regulations
When you market to a global audience, your brand should be aware of all regional regulations on specific

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How AI can uncover new insights and drive SEO performance

In 2015, Google announced that it had added RankBrain to its algorithm, cementing the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) in search. Fast-forward to 2018, and search marketers are starting to use AI, machine learning and deep learning systems to uncover new insights, automate labor-intensive tasks and provide a whole new level of personalization to guide website visitors through their purchase funnel. We have now fully entered the AI revolution.
For clarity and for context within this article, I find the following definitions helpful:

Artificial intelligence is a broad field, covering a range of machine applications to carry out tasks that typically require human intelligence. Human intelligence encompasses a broad range of behaviors, so it should be no surprise that the umbrella term “artificial intelligence” can be used to categorize natural language processing, chess playing, driverless cars and millions of examples in between.
Machine learning is often conflated with AI, but it is actually an application (and therefore a subfield) of artificial intelligence. In

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The unique selling proposition: A key element for SEO success

Google processes trillions of searches per year, which equates to billions of searches each day. How do they decide what is the most promising result for every single one of that staggering volume of questions?
Experience shows that you don’t have to be a huge website for a major brand to rank in the top spot for a given query. Google doesn’t care which sites show up high in SERPs, as long as the page lives up to user expectations, which is something they measure on a tremendous scale. That begs the question: What is it that makes a page stand out, as far as Google is concerned? Why do pages rank in Google in the long term?
Ask why
Google factors in hundred of signals when calculating a website’s ranking for queries in Google Search. These include everything from site speed to inbound links to page content. Above all, however, Google seems to favor sites that are popular with users.

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Looking back at 2018 in search: A time traveler’s year in review

Greetings from the future! I’m writing to you from January 2019. Since search is such a dynamic space, with every year bringing unexpected developments, I thought it would be helpful to use my knowledge as a denizen of the future to give you a glimpse into what’s to come in 2018. So for you, this is a look forward — but for me, it’s a year in review. And let me warn you, you’d best buckle up!
(Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Sorry folks, I can’t tell you which cryptocurrencies take off, as I promised some guy named Doc Brown I wouldn’t, but I can say that AI-investment programs sure do a number on it.)
The top stories in search in 2018
The big question for Search Engine Land readers, of course, is, What the heck will happen in search in 2018? Obviously, I can’t cover everything, but here are the top stories that will make

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YouTube SEO 101

Based on Alexa traffic rankings, YouTube is the second most visited site on the web, right after Google. Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketers still treat it like any other social media site. But success on YouTube isn’t about posting content, it’s about optimizing your content — just like your website.
It’s easy to find videos with millions of views and videos with almost none that are basically the same. The difference between success and failure often boils down to a few elements.
When it comes to YouTube SEO, a lot of the optimization work can be encapsulated into a process that you can apply to all your old videos and then to each video as you publish it. And you’re about to learn that process.
Here’s what you need to know if you want your content to rank number one on YouTube for the keywords you care about.
The basics
This section contains the essential background information you’ll need to understand

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5 content distribution strategies for 2018

I personally feel that the most overused digital marketing phrase is “Content is king.”
Yes, content is important. Google loves quality content. Your visitors love content. But writing content for the sake of writing content simply makes no sense. If your marketing department has a mandate that you must write x number of blog posts per month, you need to change direction — and here’s why.
On WordPress alone, 86.4 million blog posts are published every month. That’s a lot of content! Sadly, most of the content that’s posted is not well written and will never see the light of day — much less the first page of Google’s search results.
Simply put, there are only a few spots on the first page of Google, and the chances of each of your blog posts making it on the coveted first page of Google for the keywords you’re targeting are slim to none. This is especially true for brands that have

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