Google now wants larger images for AMP articles

Google has updated its article schema document for AMP articles to require larger images in your markup. Previously, the minimum requirement for your image sizes was 696 pixels wide and 300,000 pixels in total, but now it is 1,200 pixels wide and 800,000 pixels in total.
This is specific to the markup you use for your AMP articles so that they can appear in the Google search results top stories carousel. If you are currently serving content and getting traffic from that carousel, you may want to make sure your images meet these new requirements.
Here is a screen shot of the old requirements from the Articles schema developer document:

Here is a screen shot of the new requirements that are live now:

Hat tip to Aaron Bradley for spotting this.
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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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Google adds structured data for subscription & paywalled content for new flexible sampling program

We reported earlier this morning that Google is doing away with the old “first click free” program and replacing it with flexible sampling. In short, Google is giving publishers more options for allowing search users to access their content without hurting ranking visibility in Google search results.
With that, Google has introduced a new paywall structured data element for subscription and paywalled content.
Google recommends publishers use this new markup when they are deploying flexible sampling techniques on their web sites. This will help Google understand that the publisher is not cloaking — when sites serve different content to Googlebot than users — and that it is an approved paywall.
Google says, “This structured data helps Google differentiate paywalled content from the practice of cloaking, which violates our guidelines.”
Here are the technical documents on this new structured data element. Here is the help document on the new flexible sampling for webmasters.
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Bing now supports ClaimReview markup for fact labels in search

Nine months after Google began supporting the ClaimReview markup, designed for fact-checking review of claims made or reported on on webpages, now Bing has added support in their markup documentation.
The new section for Bing’s ClaimReview says “ClaimReview annotations should be used to convey that the page contains fact check information. This may be used to display enhanced captions on Bing that help convey this information to users.”
Bing said that when you use this tag for your articles and content, it is important that the underlying page meets the following characteristics of fact-checking sites:

Contains claims and fact checks that are easily identifiable. Readers should be able to understand what information was checked and what conclusions were reached.
Citations and references should be present and transparent, including references to primary data sources.
The tag must be representative of the fact checking done within the article.

Aaron Bradley first spotted this change and said he thinks “Bing will start to annotate search results

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Google publishes new FAQ on job search postings for webmasters

Mariya Moeva from Google posted a new and helpful frequently asked questions document in the webmaster help forums around the new job search functions in Google.
Google is encouraging webmasters to mark up their job listings so that Google can show them in web search for job-related queries. Yesterday, Google published this helpful FAQ around this topic.
Here is a copy of the FAQs for job search postings for webmasters:
Q: Why aren’t my jobs appearing in this feature? As with any other structured markup feature in Search, having markup doesn’t guarantee appearing in the Search results. To debug any issues that are related to the markup implementation, go through the following:

Validate the markup in the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Check that your sitemap has been crawled and does not contain any errors. Sitemaps need to be accurate and correct in order to be processed.
Go through your Rich Card Report in Search Console to check if there are any potential issues

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Google announces similar items schema for image search on mobile

Google’s image search results on the mobile web and in the Android Search app are now showing “similar items” — i.e., if you’re looking at “lifestyle” images and click on one that you like, Google may show you additional product images from places where you can buy the item(s).
Julia E, product manager on Google Image Search, announced on the Google search blog that you need to use schema.org product metadata on your pages and schema.org/Product markup to make sure your products are eligible for inclusion on these image results. Specifically:

Ensure that the product offerings on your pages have schema.org product markup, including an image reference. Products with name, image, price & currency, and availability meta-data on their host page are eligible for Similar items.
Test your pages with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to verify that the product markup is formatted correctly.
See your images on image search by issuing the query “site:yourdomain.com.” For results with valid product markup,

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How to monitor Google Knowledge Graph changes and performance

Google’s Knowledge Graph is a very prominent part of organic search results. By now, searchers are accustomed to seeing the panel that appears on the right side of the search result page that provides information about entities such as people, places and brands.
Individuals and companies alike are striving to acquire, maintain and monitor a Knowledge Graph listing. At the moment, however, there is no easy way to report on Knowledge Graph performance and changes. In 2016, Google’s John Mueller did mention that links in Knowledge Graph panels would be counted in the Search Analytics report in Google Search Console. However, this still does not give us insight into the algorithmic aspect of Knowledge Graph rankings and changes.
Why monitor your Knowledge Graph result?
So you may be wondering why should you should care about changes to your personal or company Knowledge Graph result. Here are a couple of reasons.
You (or your business) may share a name with another entity, or maybe

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Google Rich Cards expand to local restaurants and online courses

Google has announced they have added two new flavors of rich cards for their search results, local restaurant and online courses.
You can see these richer search results by searching for [best New Orleans restaurants] and [leadership courses], for example. These rich cards are contain a new user interface, such as “carousels that are easy to browse by scrolling left and right, or a vertical three-pack that displays more individual courses,” Google added.
Here are screen shots of these two types of new rich cards:

And if you go with AMP HTML for the these two new verticals, Google said it will bring a faster user experience. Google does recommend AMP here but says it is currently not required. Here is a screen shot of how that experience is with AMP:

Google updated their technical documentation around implementing these rich cards, which some spotted the other week.
You can access these technical documents over here.
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For e-commerce success: SEO > aesthetics

The world of e-commerce optimization is vast and complex, and it demands a particular level of attention in order to function and perform correctly.
Over the last 10 years, I have had the opportunity to manage a variety of enterprise-level e-commerce websites that offer everything from athletic gear to office supplies.
Regardless of the intended audience, most e-commerce sites suffer from similar optimization issues. These issues prevent them from maximizing their exposure to qualified traffic and the related revenue.
Usually, these problems are connected to how business stakeholders approach the development of their e-commerce platform, placing user experience and aesthetics over search engine optimization (SEO).
When brands focus on building e-commerce environments that are attractive and functional but ignore or forget about SEO, they immediately lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers from organic channels.
The good news is that by adhering to the following e-commerce optimization recommendations, you can create an environment that is functional and attractive and introduces your brand

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What’s new with markup & structured data

Structured data makes certain types of web content highly accessible and understandable by search engines and other third-party programs. Because the data on the page is tagged with standardized identifying code, it’s far easier to process and interpret than a regular webpage.
For that reason, people refer to this type of data as “Linked Data” (similar to the way that the World Wide Web links billions of documents together).
At June’s SMX Advanced, Aaron Bradley did an awesome job in his presentation, “What’s New With Structured Data Markup?,” providing a detailed update of what’s going on in this area.
If you’re interested in a really detailed timeline of all the major happenings in the world of structured data markup, you can get access to that here.
The overview
In the SEO world, the most common form of structured data we speak about is Schema.org. This is because it’s a standard that was developed by and for search engines.
It’s stable, reliable and extensible. For

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