Community Corner: Spotlight on Search Engine Land Award Winners Wolfgang Digital, Metric Theory & Precis Digital

This year’s Search Engine Land Awards will mark the fourth consecutive year the SEO and SEM community has come together to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry. The 2018 event will be hosted in Seattle, Washington, on June 12 in conjunction with the SMX Advanced Conference, and it has been expanded to include several new award categories.
Started in 2015, the Search Engine Land Awards has not only recognized top-performing SEO and SEM professionals and agencies, it has raised thousands of dollars for a variety of nonprofits, including Be the Match, CODE.org, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Women Who Code.
As we near this year’s awards event, Search Engine Land is taking a look at last year’s winners in a collection of interviews highlighting the campaigns that won and the results they generated.
For our latest addition to the series, we talk to the teams that took home awards for Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative and Best

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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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10 facts about rich results that all SEOs should know

As of December 19, 2017, “rich results” is the new name for all of Google’s special search result features and enhancements, including rich snippets, rich cards and enriched results.
As a marketer, those terms probably aren’t new to you. They’re intended to make search results stand out by incorporating additional information in the form of pictures, review stars and so forth.
Below, I’ll cover everything you need to know about rich results going into 2018.
1. Structured data is generally used to obtain rich results
Structured data is coded within your page markup and is used to provide information about a page and its content. In addition to helping Google better understand your page content, structured data is also used to enable rich results.
Although not all structured data leads to a rich result, marking up content with schema.org structured data (commonly called “schema markup”) can certainly improve your chances of obtaining a rich result in SERPs. Certain kinds of schema markup, such as

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How much will privacy regulation disrupt the local search market in 2018?

Most marketing professionals don’t give much thought to the regulatory climate. In the US, unlike Europe, privacy laws are largely industry-specific and targeted toward healthcare and financial services. Thus, marketers have largely been able to rely on lawyers to provide privacy disclosures and then go on to business as usual.
Yet there are a number of indications that a tipping point may be near, giving way to new regulations that demand significant changes in business practice. These changes can have a disproportionate impact on small and medium-sized local businesses. And varying standards across state lines means that companies with local operations in different states may have to make multiple adjustments.
Below, I take a look at the current environment and indicators that major changes are due in 2018. Then I cover seven ways changing privacy laws will impact the local search market.
Deregulation on federal level driving changes on state level
With all the news on Net Neutrality last month, you

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A year in review: Search Engine Land’s top 10 columns of 2017

Another year is coming to a close, and search marketers of all stripes have had their work cut out for them over the last 12 months as the industry grappled with everything from fake news to mysterious algorithm updates to automation. Fortunately, our talented contributors were at the ready, helping our readers to navigate the shifting sands of the search marketing landscape.
Local had a strong showing in our top columns this year, as pieces with a local search focus accounted for three of the top 10 columns on Search Engine Land. These ranged from Joy Hawkins’s detailed account of the Google Hawk update to Wesley Young’s helpful tips on how to improve your Google My Business listing.
Top honors went to Sherry Bonelli for her comprehensive piece on how to rank well in YouTube’s search results. As digital video consumption continues to rise, brands are looking to take advantage of this trend by producing high-quality — and properly optimized —

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3 inconsistencies in Yelp’s review solicitation crackdown

Last month, Yelp doubled down on its war on review solicitation. Yelp has long given mixed signals about whether you can ask customers for reviews on their platform, but they seem to now be unifying their message against review solicitation.
In November, they began sending messages like this to businesses and agencies:

Disclosure: We (Go Fish Digital) received the email above. However, they must not have really done a lot of research to compile this list, as we do help clients with reputation management, but we do not solicit Yelp reviews on their behalf. We don’t do any review solicitation.
This new crackdown is a little disturbing, and in many ways, quite misleading. Here are three ways in which I view this all as quite hypocritical.
1. They LITERALLY told us review solicitation was OK
I once emailed Yelp support and asked them directly if review solicitation was OK. The wording on their website was ambiguous, so I wanted a clear answer

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