Thursday, April 30, 2020

5 Useful Tips When Planning a Patio

Hanging out on the patio feels relaxing. It gives you a chance to enjoy the outdoors without having to go far, especially now that we’re all advised to stay at home. If you don’t have one, take a pen and paper, and start planning your project using the following tips:

Have ample space
Experts recommend a minimum of 25 square feet of patio per person and a minimum length of 16 feet. You need at least a 6 x 6 foot area out of any traffic path for a dining table and chairs. Next, ask yourself how you’ll be using the patio. Do you want space for a grill? Lounge chairs? Planters? Source: RD

Choose the right materials
Brick, concrete, slate, and flagstone are among the most popular patio surfaces, either alone or in combination. When selecting a material, consider factors beyond just cost. It’s always a good idea to match the style of your home, if possible. And if you’ll be dining regularly, select a surface that is smooth enough to keep tables and chairs from wobbling. Source: BHG

Consider your privacy
When you start to plan, think about the best position for your patio. Where does the sun sit in your garden at the time you’re most likely to use it? Also consider how you can take advantage of any views you have, or alternatively create a private retreat so you can enjoy relaxing in your garden without being overlooked.

Stick with your home’s style
The way you choose to decorate your home and design your garden is a reflection of your personal style, while incorporating your individual tastes, remember to be sensitive to the style of your house too. A modern house will suit more contemporary paving styles, while traditional paving lends itself well to period properties. Source: HouseBeautiful

Think about lighting
Make your patio or deck livable after sunset by installing general and accent lighting.
Use brighter lights for dining and seating areas and dimmer ones to outline patio edges and adjoining paths.

You may wish to install sound speakers as well. Source: YellowPages

We can build your dream patio for you. Get a free estimate when you call us today!


Kerrisdale Roofing & Drains
8296 Ross St, Vancouver, BC V5X 4C6
(604) 360-2114

from Kerrisdale RD

Monday, April 27, 2020

What Readers Want During COVID-19: B2B Edition

Posted by amandamilligan

I couldn’t believe the response to my last post about coming up with content ideas in the B2C space during COVID-19. Thank you to all who read and commented — I truly hope it was helpful.

One piece of feedback we received was an ask to see some B2B content ideas, which, frankly, is an excellent subject. At first I was stumped about how to determine this, but then I decided that a different tool could do the trick.

Exploding Topics, the new tool by Brian Dean (Backlinko) and Josh Howarth, explores topics that are surging in popularity but haven’t hit their peak.

This time around, rather than focusing on specific keywords, I focused on overall trends so we can identify which categories might be of interest to your target businesses and their audiences. Then, you can examine whether these trends make sense for your niche and draw inspiration from them for your content.

All things remote

This trend obviously applies to B2C as well, but it’s an important consideration for B2B. Nearly everything has been either canceled, paused, or moved into the world of the virtual. For many companies and industries, this is uncharted territory, and they need guidance.

There is another category I could have included here that focuses on website and app development, programming, and the open source tools that help people build those types of assets as they lean more into digital.

If you’re not one of these B2B providers, there are still ways to gain inspiration from this data. Consider if your brand can provide:

  • The logistics of how to set up remote platforms
  • Best practices on how to make anything remote more successful and engaging
  • Comparison guides for different tools and solutions
  • The platform for people to lend the help and support they’re hoping to (like in the case of virtual tip jars)
  • Communication tips and solutions to help people stay productively connected

Shipping and delivery

Consumers are interested in having things shipped directly to them, but not everyone has the infrastructure to deal with shipping to begin with, let alone an increased order volume with the (understandable) safety limitations now in place.

Consumers and businesses alike are curious about how to make the shipping and delivery process more effective.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Guides for small businesses who’ve never had to ship product before
  • Tips on how companies can message shipping updates and delays to consumers
  • Advice on how to improve the delivery component of a business
  • UX or language tips for updating delivery messaging in apps or on websites

Transactions and payment

As we’re all staying six feet away from each other, we’re also trying not to hand off credit cards (let alone cash). Companies used to brick-and-mortar business models are also needing to adapt to fully digital payment systems.

Not all of these searches apply to business (like Venmo), but they do point to a concern everyone’s having: How do we pay for things now?

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Answers about privacy or security questions people have regarding digital payments
  • A detailed list of all the payment options available
  • Advice on how to optimize storefronts and purchasing processes
  • Explanations of how payment processes can impact sales, and how to optimize them

Design tools

This section speaks to an overall trend I touched on before: Professionals now build their own assets if they can’t afford to hire web developers, designers, etc. More and more people are trying to figure out how to keep their businesses going when they can’t keep on as much staff or hire as many contractors.

Perhaps you can identify what your target audience might be struggling with and suggest free or inexpensive online tools to help.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A list of tools that can assist your target audience in communicating, organizing, creating, etc.
  • Design advice to help them get up to speed as quickly as possible
  • Resources in how to complete tasks on a smaller team
  • Recommendations for what should be prioritized when money is tight

Ethical trends

This is perhaps the most fascinating trend I saw arise. The four brands below have something in common: they all have to do with either sustainability or a transparent, mission-driven approach.

My theory is now that people don’t have as much disposable income, they’re becoming more mindful in their shopping choices, selecting items they believe match their own values.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • A greater level of analysis on this potential trend
  • Research into how the consumer perspective has shifted during COVID-19
  • Advice on how to potentially shift marketing, branding, and advertising messaging
  • Tips on how your target audience can better understand their marketing during this tumultuous time

And finally (*sigh of relief*), marketing

Yes, as I was doing my research, my instinct that marketing would remain crucial during this time was confirmed.

That doesn’t mean you won’t lose business. We’ve had clients pull back because even though they’d like to keep marketing, keeping the company afloat by fulfilling their product orders and services and paying their employees will always (and very understandably) come first by a long shot.

But for businesses that can still afford marketing, they’ll likely need it, and they’re looking for the tools and insight they need to thrive.

Consider if your brand can provide:

  • Marketing 101 tips for smaller businesses
  • Specific how-to guides for different aspects of inbound or outbound marketing
  • Tool recommendations to help people get marketing tasks done quickly and cheaply
  • Advice on the kind of marketing that’s most successful during an economic downturn


Remember: This is only for inspiration. What matters most is what your target audience needs and wants. Put yourself in their shoes to be able to best address their challenges and concerns.

But hopefully some of these concepts spark some ideas for how your B2B brand can provide value to your target audiences. Companies around the world are looking for guidance and support now more than ever, and if you’re in a position to provide it to them, your content can go a long way in building trust.

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Friday, April 24, 2020

Content Authority: Potential Measures of Authoritative Content - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by rjonesx.

When it boils down to it, every idea in SEO can be understood as a set of measurements we use to rank one page over another. And that means that when it comes to measuring a concept like the authoritativeness of your content, there are almost certainly factors that you can analyze and tweak to improve it. 

But if Google were to use a measure of content authority, what might go into it? Against what yardstick should SEOs be measuring their content's E-A-T? In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Russ Jones walks us through a thought experiment as to what exactly might constitute a "content authority" score and how you can begin to understand your content's expertise like Google.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, folks, this is Russ Jones here with another Whiteboard Friday, and today we're going to have fun. Well, at least fun for me, because this is completely speculative. We're going to be talking about this concept of content authority and just some ideas around ways in which we might be able to measure it.

Maybe Google uses these ways to measure it, maybe not. But at the same time, hopefully what we'll be able to do is come up with a better concept of metrics we can use to get at content authority. 

Now, we know there's a lot of controversy around this. Google has said quite clearly that expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are very important parts of their Quality Rater Guidelines, but the information has been pretty flimsy on exactly what part of the algorithm helps determine exactly this type of content.

We do know that they aren't using the quality rater data to train the algorithm, but they are using it to reject algorithm changes that don't actually meet these standards. 

How do we measure the authoritativeness of content?

So how can we go about measuring content authority? Ultimately, any kind of idea that we talk about in search engine optimization has to boil down in some way, shape, or form to a set of measurements that are being made and in somehow shape or form being used to rank one page over another.

Now sometimes it makes sense just to kind of feel it, like if you're writing for humans, be a human. But authoritative content is a little bit more difficult than that. It's a little harder to just off the top of your head know that this content is authoritative and this isn't. In fact, the Quality Rater Guidelines are really clear in some of the examples of what would be considered really highly authoritative content, like, for example, in the News section they mention that it's written by a Pulitzer Prize winning author.

Well, I don't know how many of you have Pulitzer Prize winning authors on your staff or whose clients have Pulitzer Prize winning authors. So I don't exactly see how that's particularly helpful to individuals like ourselves who are trying to produce authoritative content from a position of not being an award-winning writer.

So today I want to just go through a whole bunch of ideas, that have been running through my head with the help of people from the community who've given me some ideas and bounced things off, that we might be able to use to do a better job of understanding authoritative content. All right.


So these are what I would consider some of the potential measures of authoritative content. The first one, and this is just going to open up a whole rat's nest I'm sure, but okay, ALBERT. We've talked about the use of BERT for understanding language by Google. Well, ALBERT, which stands for "a lighter BERT," is a similar model used by Google, and it's actually been trained in specific circumstances for the goal of answering questions.

Now that might not seem like a particularly big deal. We've been doing question answering for a whole long time. Featured snippets are exactly that. But ALBERT has jumped on the scene in such a dominant fashion as to have eclipsed anything we've really seen in this kind of NLP problem.

So if you were to go to the SQuAD dataset competition, which is Stanford's Question Answering competition, where they've got these giant set of questions and giant set of documents and then they had humans go in and find the answers in the documents and say which documents don't have answers and which do, and then all sorts of different organizations have produced models to try and automatically find the answers.

Well, this competition has just been going back and forth and back and forth for a really long time between a bunch of heavy hitters, like Google, Baidu, multiple Microsoft teams. We're talking the smartest people in the world, the Allen Institute, all fighting back and forth.

Well, right now, ALBERT or variations thereof have the top 5 positions and 9 of the top 10 positions, and all of them perform better than humans. That is dominance. So we've got right here this incredible technology for answering questions.

Well, what does this have to do with content authority? Why in the world would this matter? Well, if you think about a document, any kind of piece of content that we produce, the intention is that we're going to be answering the questions that our customers want answered. So any topic we start with, let's say the topic we started with was data science, well, there are probably a lot of questions people want to know about that topic.

They might want to know: What is a data scientist? How much money do they make? What kind of things do you need to know to be a data scientist? Well, this is where something like ALBERT could come in and be extremely valuable for measuring the authoritativeness of the content. You see, what if one of the measures of the authoritative content is how well that content answers all of the related questions to the topic?

So you could imagine Google looking at all of the pages that rank for data science, and they know the top 10 questions that are asked about it, and then seeing which piece of content answers those 10 questions best. If they were able to do that, that would be a pretty awesome metric for determining how thorough and how significant and valuable and useful and authoritative that content is.

So I think this one, the ALBERT algorithm really has a lot of potential. But let's move on from that. There are all sorts of other things that might have to do with content authority. 

2. Information density

One that I really like is this idea of information density. So a lot of times when we're writing content, especially when we're not familiar with the topic, we end up writing a lot of fluff.

We kind of are just putting words in there to meet the word length that is expected by the contract, even though we know deep down that the number of words on the page really doesn't determine whether or not it's going to rank. So one of the ways that you can get at whether a piece of content is actually valuable or not or at least is providing important information is using natural language programs to extract information.

ReVerb + OpenIE

Well, the probably most popular NLP open source or at least openly available technology started as a project called ReVerb and now has merged into the Open IE project. But essentially, you can give it a piece of content, and it will extract out all of the factual claims made by that content.

So if I gave it a paragraph that said tennis is a sport that's played with a racket and a ball and today I'm having a lot of fun, something of that sort, it would be able to identify the factual claim, what tennis is, that it's a sport played with a racket and a ball.

But it would ignore the claim that I'm having a lot of fun today, because that's not really a piece of information, a factual claim that we're making. So the concept of information density would be the number of facts that can be extracted from a document versus the total number of words. All right.

If we had that measurement, then we could pretty easily sift through content that is just written for length versus content that is really information rich. Just imagine a Wikipedia article, how dense the information is in there relative to the type of content that most of us produce. So what are some other things? 

3. Content style

Let's talk about content style.

This would be a really easy metric. We could talk about the use of in-line citations, which Wikipedia does, in which after stating a fact they then link to the bottom of the page where it shows you the citation, just like you would do if you were writing a paper in college or a thesis, something that would be authoritative. Or the use of fact lists or tables of contents, like Wikipedia does, or using datelines accurately or AP style formatting.

These are all really simple metrics that, if you think about it, the types of sites that are more trustworthy more often use. If that's the case, then they might be hints to Google that the content that you're producing is authoritative. So those aren't the only easy ones that we could look at. 

4. Writing quality

There are a lot of other ones that are pretty straightforward, like dealing with writing quality.

How easy is it to make sure you are using correct spelling and correct grammar? But have you ever looked at the reading level? Has it ever occurred to you to make sure that the content that you're writing isn't written at a level so difficult that no one can understand it, or is written at a level so low as to be certainly not thorough and not authoritative? If your content is written at a third-grade level and the page is about some health issue, I imagine Google could use that metric pretty quickly to exclude your site.

There are also things like sentence length, which deals with readability, the uniqueness of the content, and also the word usage. This is a pretty straightforward one. Imagine that once again we're looking at data science, and Google looks at the words you use on your page. Then maybe instead of looking at all sites that mention data science, Google only looks at edu sites or Google only looks at published papers and then compares the language usage there.

That would be a pretty easy way for Google to identify a piece of content that's meant for consumers that is authoritative versus one that's meant for consumers and isn't. 

5. Media styles

Another thing we can look at is media styles. This is something that is a little bit more difficult to understand how Google might actually be able to take advantage of.

But at the same time, I think that these are measurable and easy for search engine optimizers, like ourselves, to use. 

Annotated graphs

One would be annotated graphs. I think we should move away from graph images and move more towards using open source graphing libraries. That way the actual factual information, the numbers can be provided to Google in the source code.

Unique imagery

Unique imagery is obviously something that we would care about. In fact, it's actually listed in the Quality Rater Guidelines. 


Then finally, accessibility matters. I know that accessibility doesn't make content authoritative, but it does say something about the degree to which a person has cared about the details of the site and of the page. There's a really famous story about, and I can't remember what the band's name was, but they wrote into their contracts that for every concert they needed to have a bowl of M&Ms, with all of the brown M&Ms removed, waiting for them in the room.

Now it wasn't because they had a problem with the brown M&Ms or they really liked M&Ms or anything of that sort. It was just to make sure that they read the contract. Accessibility is kind of one of those things of where they can tell if you sweat the details or not. 

6. Clickbait titles, author quality, and Google Scholar

Now finally, there are a couple of others that I think are interesting and really have to be talked about. The first is clickbait titles.

Clickbait titles

This is explicitly identified as something that Google looks at or at least the quality raters look at in order to determine that content is not authoritative. Make your titles say what they mean, not try to exaggerate to get a click. 

Author quality

Another thing they say specifically is do you mention your author qualifications. Sure, you don't have a Pulitzer Prize writer, but your writer has some sort of qualifications, at least hopefully, and those qualifications are going to be important for Google in assessing whether or not the author actually knows what they're talking about.

Google Scholar

Another thing that I think we really ought to start looking at is Google Scholar. How much money do you think Google makes off of Google Scholar? Probably not very much. What's the point of having a giant database of academic information when you don't run ads on any of the pages? Well, maybe that academic information can be mined in a way so that they can judge the content that is made for consumers as to whether or not it is in line with, whether we're talking about facts or language or authoritativeness, with what academia is saying about that same topic.

Now, course, all of these ideas are just ideas. We've got a giant question mark sitting out there about exactly how Google gets at content authority. That doesn't mean we should ignore it. So hopefully these ideas will help you come up with some ideas to improve your own content, and maybe you could give me some more ideas in the comment section.

That would be great and we could talk more about how those might be measured. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks again.

Video transcription by

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Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Announcing: The Keyword Research Master Guide [New for 2020]

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

Why a new guide?

Often in SEO, we get so preoccupied with technical SEO (pagination, site speed, the latest Python course, etc.) that we forget the basis of winning SEO begins and ends with keywords.

  • Not choosing keywords before you start with SEO means shooting in the dark — a likely losing gamble if your content will succeed or not.
  • Choosing the wrong keywords means wasting your time and budget on content that will never gain visibility in search results.
  • Conversely, choosing smart, targeted keywords can help carve out and dominate a traffic niche that raises you above the competition.

No doubt, the difference between good SEOs and mediocre SEOs is often their keyword research strategy.

Here at Moz, a question we often hear after people finish reading the famous Beginner's Guide to SEO is: What do I read next?

To give people a practical place to start, we wanted to provide you with concrete keyword research workflows. It's as if you're looking over our shoulder as we do strategic keyword research.

We also included a few intermediate-to-advanced concepts, such as keyword grouping, understanding keyword priority, and on-page keyword optimization.

And finally, we wanted to make sure it was free.

If you want, feel free to jump to the guide now, or read below about what the guide covers and how it differs from any other guide on keyword research.


1. Understanding seed keywords

We call them "seed" keywords because all your other keywords grow out of them. Finding the right seed keywords will absolutely make or break your entire keyword research strategy.

Finding the right seed keywords is about asking and answering three key questions:

  1. What do you think you want to rank for?
  2. What do you already rank for?
  3. What do your competitors rank for?

After this, you validate your answers with data to find the absolute best seeds.

We also show you the exact process and tools we use to extract these seeds, such as Google Search Console (shown below).

The cool thing about seed keywords is this: they grow more seeds! Once you find the right seeds, you can reiterate the process again and again to grow a complete keyword strategy for an entire site, even one that's thousands of pages.

Read Chapter 1: Seed Keywords

2. Building perfect keyword lists

This is where the rubber hits the road. Here you expand your seed keywords into complete lists. These lists support multiple pages and topics, and can even grow more seeds.

This is also the place you want to be as comprehensive as possible, in order to uncover the opportunities your competition probably missed.

Read Chapter 2: Keyword Lists

3. Prioritizing keywords

Nearly any old keyword tool can give you lists of hundreds or thousands of keywords. The secret to success is knowing which keywords to prioritize and pursue.

Which keywords will actually prove profitable? Which keywords can you actually rank for?

To answer these questions, we do a deep dive into the keyword metrics that help us to prioritize our keyword lists:

  • Relevance
  • Monthly volume
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Organic click-through rate (CTR)
  • Priority

Understanding how to use these metrics goes a long way in choosing the exact right keywords to invest in.

Read Chapter 3: Prioritizing Keywords

4. Grouping keywords

Keywords never exist in a vacuum. Instead, they almost always appear with other keywords.

Adding related keywords to a page is a smart strategy for increasing topical relevance. At the same time, trying to target too many keywords on the same page may dilute their relevance and make it more difficult to rank.

Here, we show you techniques to address both of these problems:

  1. When to create separate pages for each keyword
  2. How to group related keywords together

We'll also show you some grouping tips to help set you up for your next task: on-page keyword optimization.

Read Chapter 4: Grouping Keywords

5. On-page keyword optimization

Very few keyword research guides ever even mention on-page keyword optimization.

We wanted to do better.

Because keyword research uncovers intent, this is a great starting point for on-page optimization. If you understand not only what your users are searching for, but also what they expect to find, you can better create your content to satisfy their expectations.

We've also included a brief overview of where and how to incorporate keywords on the page. While this section is mostly beginner level, more immediate SEOs should find the refresher useful.

Read Chapter 5: On-page Keyword Optimization

6. Tracking keyword rankings

If you’re a consultant, agency, in-house SEO, or simply work for yourself, you want to know how your keywords perform in search engines.

Traditionally, keyword tracking was synonymous with "ranking" — but times have changed. Today, with personalization, localization, and shifting competitive environments, keyword tracking has grown much more sophisticated.

In this chapter, we'll cover:

  1. Traditional keyword ranking
  2. Local rank tracking
  3. Rank indexes
  4. Share of Voice (SOV) and visibility

By the end of this chapter, you'll understand which type of keyword tracking is right for you, and how to report these numbers to the people who matter.

Read Chapter 6: Tracking Keyword Rankings

7. Keyword research tools and resources

Bonus time!

We couldn't squeeze everything in the previous chapters, so we added all our extra resources here. The crème de la crème is the Keyword Research Cheat Sheet. You can download, print, share with your team, or pin to your wall.

We've also made a handy list of our favorite keyword research tools, along with a few other useful resources on keyword research.


We hope you enjoy! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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How Google SERP Layouts Affect Searching Behavior

Posted by yetisteve

There are several studies (and lots of data) out there about how people use Google SERPs, what they ignore, and what they focus on. An example is Moz’s recent experiment testing whether SEOs should continue optimizing for featured snippets or not (especially now that Google has announced that if you have a featured snippet, you no longer appear elsewhere in the search results).

Two things I have never seen tested are the actual user reactions to and behavior with SERPs. My team and I set out to test these ourselves, and this is where biometric technology comes into play.

What is biometric technology and how can marketers use it?

Biometric technology measures physical and behavioral characteristics. By combining the data from eye tracking devices, galvanic skin response monitors (which measure your sweat levels, allowing us to measure subconscious reactions), and facial recognition software, we can gain useful insight into behavioral patterns.

We’re learning that biometrics can be used in a broad range of settings, from UX testing for websites, to evaluating consumer engagement with brand collateral, and even to measuring emotional responses to TV advertisements. In this test, we also wanted to see if it could be used to help give us an understanding of how people actually interact with Google SERPs, and provide insight into searching behavior more generally.

The plan

The goal of the research was to assess the impact that SERP layouts and design have on user searching behavior and information retrieval in Google.

To simulate natural searching behavior, our UX and biometrics expert Tom Pretty carried out a small user testing experiment. Users were asked to perform a number of Google searches with the purpose of researching and buying a new mobile phone. One of the goals was to capture data from every point of a customer journey.

Participants were given tasks with specific search terms at various stages of purchasing intent. While prescribing search terms limited natural searching behavior, it was a sacrifice made to ensure the study had the best chance of achieving consistency in the SERPs presented, and so aggregated results could be gained.

The tests were run on desktop, although in the future we have plans to expand the study on mobile.

Users began each task on the Google homepage. From there, they informed the moderator when they found the information they were looking for. At that point they proceeded to the next task.

How the test was split up and the layouts we wanted to test for

Data inputs

  • Eye tracking
  • Facial expression analysis
  • Galvanic skin response (GSR)

Data sample

  • 20 participants

Key objectives

  • Understand gaze behavior on SERPs (where people look when searching)
  • Understand engagement behavior on SERPs (where people click when searching)
  • Identify any emotional responses to SERPs (what happens when users are presented with ads?)
  • Interaction analysis with different types of results (e.g. ads, shopping results, map packs, Knowledge Graph, rich snippets, PAAs, etc.).

Research scenario and tasks

We told participants they were looking to buy a new phone and were particularly interested in an iPhone XS. They were then provided with a list of tasks to complete, each focused on searches someone might make when buying a new phone. Using the suggested search terms for each task was a stipulation of participation.


  1. Find out the screen size and resolution of the iPhone XS
    Search term: iPhone XS size and resolution
  2. Find out the talk time battery life of the iPhone XS
    Search term: iPhone XS talk time
  3. Find reviews for the iPhone XS that give a quick list of pros and cons
    Search term: iPhone XS reviews
  4. Find the address and phone number of a phone shop in the town center that may be able to sell you an iPhone XS
    Search term: Phone shops near me
  5. Find what you feel is the cheapest price for a new iPhone XS (handset only)
    Search term: Cheapest iPhone XS deals
  6. Find and go on to buy a used iPhone XS online (stop at point of data entry)
    Search term: Buy used iPhone XS

We chose all of the search terms first for ease of correlating data. (If everyone had searched for whatever they wanted, we may not have gotten certain SERP designs displayed.) And second, so we could make sure that everyone who took part got exactly the same results within Google. We needed the searches to return a featured snippet, the Google Knowledge Graph, Google's “People also ask” feature, as well as shopping feeds and PPC ads.

On the whole, this was successful, although in a few cases there were small variations in the SERP presented (even when the same search term had been used from the same location with a clear cache).

“When designing a study, a key concern is balancing natural behaviors and giving participants freedom to interact naturally, with ensuring we have assets at the end that can be effectively reported on and give us the insights we require.” — Tom Pretty, UX Consultant, Coast Digital

The results

Featured Snippets

This was the finding that our in-house SEOs were most interested in. According to a study by Ahrefs, featured snippets get 8.6% of clicks while 19.6% go to the first natural search below it, but when no featured snippet is present, 26% of clicks go to the first result. At the time, this meant that having a featured snippet wasn’t terrible, especially if you could gain a featured snippet but weren't ranking first for a term. who doesn't want to have real estate above a competitor?

However, with Danny Sullivan of Google announcing that if you appear in a featured snippet, you will no longer appear anywhere else in the search engine results page, we started to wonder how this would change what SEOs thought about them. Maybe we would see a mass exodus of SEOs de-optimising pages for featured snippets so they could keep their organic ranking instead. Moz’s recent experiment estimated a 12% drop in traffic to pages that lose their featured snippet, but what does this mean about user behavior?

What did we find out?

In the information-based searches, we found that featured snippets actually attracted the most fixations. They were consistently the first element viewed by users and were where users spent the most time gazing. These tasks were also some of the fastest to be completed, indicating that featured snippets are successful in giving users their desired answer quickly and effectively.

All of this indicates that featured snippets are hugely important real estate within a SERP (especially if you are targeting question-based keywords and more informational search intent).

In both information-based tasks, the featured snippet was the first element to be viewed (within two seconds). It was viewed by the highest number of respondents (96% fixated in the area on average), and was also clicked most (66% of users clicked on average).

People also ask

The “People also ask” (PAA) element is an ideal place to find answers to question-based search terms that people are actively looking for, but do users interact with them?

What did we find out?

From the results, after looking at a featured snippet, searchers skipped over the PAA element to the standard organic results. Participants did gaze back at them, but clicks in those areas were extremely low, thus showing limited engagement. This behavior indicates that they are not distracting users or impacting how they journey through the SERP in any significant way.

Knowledge Graph

One task involved participants searching using a keyword that would return the Google Knowledge Graph. The goal was to find out the interaction rate, as well as where the main interaction happened and where the gaze went.

What did we find out?

Our findings indicate that when a search with purchase intent is made (e.g. “deals”), then the Knowledge Graph attracts attention sooner, potentially because it includes visible prices.

By also introducing heat map data, we can see that the pricing area on the Knowledge Graph picked up significant engagement, but there was still a lot of attention focused on the organic results.

Essentially, this shows that while the knowledge graph is useful space, it does not wholly detract from the main SERP column. Users still resort to paid ads and organic listings to find what they are looking for.

Location searches

We have all seen data in Google Search Console with “near me” under certain keywords, and there is an ongoing discussion of why, or how, to optimise for them. From a pay-per-click (PPC) point of view, should you even bother trying to appear in them? By introducing such a search term in the study, we were hoping to answer some of these questions.

What did we find out?

From the fixation data, we found that most attention was dedicated to the local listings rather than the map or organic listings. This would indicate that the greater amount of detail in the local listings was more engaging.

However, in a different SERP variant, the addition of the product row led to users spending a longer time reviewing the SERP and expressing more negative emotions. This product row addition also changed gaze patterns, causing users to progress through each element in turn, rather than skipping straight to the local results (which appeared to be more useful in the previous search).

This presentation of results being deemed irrelevant or less important by the searcher could be the main cause of the negative emotion and, more broadly, could indicate general frustration at having obstacles put in the way of finding the answer directly.

Purchase intent searching

For this element of the study, participants were given queries that indicate someone is actively looking to buy. At this point, they have carried out the educational search, maybe even the review search, and now they are intent on purchasing.

What did we find out?

For “buy” based searches, the horizontal product bar operates effectively, picking up good engagement and clicks. Users still focused on organic listings first, however, before returning to the shopping bar.

The addition of Knowledge Graph results for this type of search wasn't very effective, picking up little engagement in the overall picture.

These results indicate that the shopping results presented at the top of the page play a useful role when searching with purchasing intent. However, in both variations, the first result was the most-clicked element in the SERP, showing that a traditional PPC or organic listing remains highly effective at this point in the customer journey.

Galvanic skin response

Looking at GSR when participants were on the various SERPs, there is some correlation between the self-reported “most difficult” tasks and a higher than normal GSR.

For the “talk time” task in particular, the featured snippet presented information for the iPhone XS Max, not the iPhone XS model, which was likely the cause of the negative reaction as participants had to spend longer digging into multiple information sources.

For the “talk time” SERP, the challenges encountered when incorrect data was presented within a featured snippet likely caused the high difficulty rating.

What does it all mean?

Unfortunately, this wasn't the largest study in the world, but it was a start. Obviously, running this study again with greater numbers would be the ideal and would help firm up some of the findings (and I for one, would love to see a huge chunk of people take part).

That being said, there are some solid conclusions that we can take away:

  1. The nature of the search greatly changes the engagement behavior, even when similar SERP layouts are displayed. (Which is probably why they are so heavily split tested).
  2. Featured snippets are highly effective for information-based searching, and while they led to some 33% of users choosing not to follow through to the site after finding the answer, two-thirds still clicked through to the website (which is very different from the data we have seen in previous studies).
  3. Local listings (especially when served without a shopping bar) are engaging and give users essential information in an effective format.
  4. Even with the addition of Knowledge Graph, “People also ask”, and featured snippets, more traditional PPC ads and SEO listings still play a big role in searching behavior.

Featured snippets are not the worst thing in the world (contrary to the popular knee-jerk reaction from the SEO industry after Google's announcement). All that has changed is that now you have to work out what featured snippets are worth it for your business (instead of trying to just claim all of them). On purely informational or educational searches, they actually performed really well. People stayed fixated on them for a fairly lengthy period of time, and 66% clicked through. However, we also have an example of people reacting badly to the featured snippet when it contained irrelevant or incorrect information.

The findings also give some weight to the fact that a lot of SEO is now about context. What do users expect to see when they search a certain way? Are they expecting to see lots of shopping feeds (they generally are if it’s a purchasing intent keyword), but at the same time, they wouldn't expect to see them in an educational search.

What now?

Hopefully, you found this study useful and learned something new about search behavior . Our next goal is to increase the amount of people in the study to see if a bigger data pool confirms our findings, or shows us something completely unexpected.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

3 Types of Roofing Shingles

Thinking about which type of roofing material to use for your dream home? Check out the following:

Clay tile is made from earthen clays molded into rolled or interlocking shapes and fired for hardness. It is often left unglazed, with the characteristic reddish-orange color; or it can be glazed and fired to form ceramic roofing tiles. Clay tile is a very good roofing material for hot climates or where salt air is present, which is why these roofs are seen so often in southern coastal regions or desert regions. Source: TheSpruce

Solar shingles offer an alternative to conventional rooftop solar panels, while also serving as a roofing material. While early versions of solar shingles and other solar roofing products used flexible “thin-film” solar technology, today’s solar shingles typically are made with rigid materials, such as tempered glass. This makes them look and perform more like conventional shingles, and most can be installed similarly to shingles and without special installation crews.

Of course, the greatest benefit of solar shingles is that they create electricity during daylight hours. As a result, roofing starts paying for itself from the day it is installed and over the entire lifetime of the system. It’s the only roofing material that offers a financial return on your investment. Source: TheBalancesMB

If you prefer the natural look of stone, slate shingles may be the solution for your roof. Like wood, slate is an environmentally friendly option. It can also help maintain the temperature inside your home, which can help with your utility bills. One of the biggest advantages of slate shingles is the longevity. They can last 80 to 100 years or longer if you take care of them well. Slate shingles hold up well against wind, hail, heat and moisture with a low risk of leaks. They also hold up well in snowy climates. Source: Hunker

We can help you choose the right material for your roof. As we have over 54 years of experience in installing roofing, you can rest assured that your investment will really last generations. Call us for a free estimate!


Kerrisdale Roofing & Drains
8296 Ross St, Vancouver, BC V5X 4C6
(604) 360-2114

from Kerrisdale RD

Monday, April 20, 2020

Why Site Speed Still Matters (Revisited)

Posted by mwiegand

The marketing stack dictates infrastructure before content

Success in an earned media channel like organic search hinges on content. Specifically, on producing helpful content that has the ability to rank. Google has focused its recent algorithmic updates largely on promoting great content and natural links, and penalizing weak content with unscrupulous links (see also: Medic, BERT, and its legacy predecessors like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird).

But as SEO professionals prioritize content recommendations, keyword research, and link acquisition strategies (the more immediate factors in obtaining rankings), they risk devaluing technical changes — including site speed — that absolutely make clients more money on their existing organic audiences.

No content or channel initiative works without infrastructure (i.e. fast websites) and analytics. They are foundational to digital marketing success.

Content marketing is undeniably effective at getting sites to rank in search engines, which might satiate a client’s curiosity about what SEO can do for their visibility. And you might even be able to get slow sites to rank consistently, but the lack of attention to infrastructure will eventually come back to haunt you in conversion rates.

Site speed study

Sending prospective customers generated by good content to websites with slow experiences erodes trust literally by the second.

Our latest site speed study refresh looked at 10 websites spanning a number of industries and 26,000 different landing pages, ranging in performance from extremely slow pages (upwards of 9 seconds) to extremely fast (under one second).

The results showed that every second you can shave off your page load speed has intense conversion rate benefits that defy differences in verticals or selling approaches.

Pages that loaded in under one second converted at a rate around 2.5 times higher than pages that loaded slower than five seconds or more.

But the gains weren’t limited to fast vs. slow pages. The difference in conversion rates between “fast” pages (two-second load times) and “really fast” pages (under one second) was also more than double. This brings me to my next point.

Users will demand even faster sites

We first ran this survey in 2014 and, compared to today, the difference between “really fast” sites and “fast” sites wasn’t as stark as it is now. When we run it again in five years, expect the difference to be even more dramatic. Why? 5G adoption.

Ericsson’s mobility report, run back in November of last year, predicted 5G coverage would cover 65% of the world’s population in 2025.

Another study run by Parks Associates last April shows that, while gigabit internet adoption has slowed in the US, worldwide broadband adoption is expected to reach one billion households worldwide by 2023.

When you factor in both those trends, the only thing throttling a mobile or desktop user’s experience will be poor web infrastructure.

Prioritizing site speed

If you’ve read this far, then you’ll agree the conversion rate benefits of a fast site are significant and the marketplace demand for fast user experiences is widening quickly. But what practical steps should you take toward a faster page speed and which of those steps should you prioritize?

Moz, of course, has a great guide on page speed best practices. From that list, you have the following recommendations:

  • Enable compression
  • Minify JavaScript, CSS, and HTML
  • Rede redirects
  • Remove render-blocking JavaScript
  • Leverage browser caching
  • Improve server response time
  • Use a content distribution network (CDN)
  • Optimize images and video

If you were to reorder those recommendations in terms of difficulty to implement for the average search marketer and impact on site speed, it would probably go something like this:

Low difficulty, low impact

Optimize images and video

Marketers at any skill level can install a WordPress plugin like Smush and automatically reduce the size of any image uploaded in a piece of new or existing content. It saves a surprising amount of time when every image on a page is appropriately sized and compressed.

Minify JavaScript, CSS, and HTML

Minifying code is another quick win. There are plenty of tools out there that minify code, like These tools essentially strip out all the spaces in the code, which can save a few kilobytes of size here and there. Those add up across an entire experience. It may take a developer to put these changes into place, but anybody can copy and paste code into the tools and send the minified version to the team doing the work.

Remove render-blocking JavaScript

Migrating to a tag management platform like Google Tag Manager can take the JavaScript weight off of your pages and put them in a container where they can load as fast or as slow as they need to without impairing the rest of the content or functionality on the page. Tag Managers are really easy to use for non-technical folks, too!

Medium difficulty, medium impact

The three recommendations below can be a little harder depending on who manages your CMS or existing web server. It could be as easy as clicking a checkbox, or as difficult as writing custom redirect rules on your setup. You’ll probably need to consult with either an IT and/or web developer to get these done.

Reduce redirects

Most SEOs can relay a URL redirect map to a client or internal stakeholder to determine server-side redirects with ease. But some sites include more complicated client-side redirect schemes using JavaScript. Working with a front end developer to tackle changes to script-based redirects can be tricky if those JS files impact the site functionality in other material ways.

Enable compression

Enabling compression in Apache or IIS is a pretty straightforward process, but requires access to servers and htaccess files that IT organizations are reluctant to hand marketers control over.

Leverage browser caching

Similarly, browser caching of website resources that don’t change very often is easy to do if you have control of the htaccess file. If you don’t, there are caching plugins or extensions for various CMS platforms that marketers can install to manage these settings.

High difficulty, high impact

Improve server response time

Common ways to improve response times include finding a more reliable web hosting service, optimizing databases that deliver functionality to the site, and monitoring PHP usages. Again, all these things fall under IT purview and require additional decision-makers and costs to execute.

Use a content distribution network (CDN)

Adopting a CDN can be time-consuming, expensive (hundreds or thousands of dollars per month per domain depending on site traffic), and require expertise that the average marketer or consultant doesn’t have to enable. But if you can do it, studies suggest Google is measuring time to first byte as a ranking factor and the payoffs can be huge.

Godspeed, everyone!

Hopefully, this inspires you to go out and make progress on site speed initiatives in your organization or for your clients. Not only is it worth the undertaking from a business perspective, but it’s actively making the internet a better place to be for the average person. Those are both things every search marketer can be proud of.

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Friday, April 17, 2020

Matter. How SEOs Can Help... Now - Whiteboard Friday

Posted by rjonesx.

As SEOs, we hold a surprising amount of influence over how the world gets its information. In times like these, when businesses of all stripes are facing uncertainty and we may be looking for ways to help, the skills you use in your day job can be your superpower. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Russ Jones outlines five ways SEOs can make a difference amid the chaos of COVID-19 — just by doing your job and doing it well.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, folks. This is Russ Jones here, Adjunct Search Scientist at Moz and Principal Search Scientist at System1. Today is my first day giving a Whiteboard Friday from my home here in Cary, North Carolina.

Unfortunately, it's with a somber attitude as many of you are at home right now realizing what's going on in the world. Normally, at this time of night, I figured I'd be having a scotch, so maybe I'll start with that. You see, we all need to relax a bit because things are tough and difficult.

But at the same time one of the things that's been troubling me a lot lately through this whole crisis has been how much do I matter? How do I make myself matter? Now, sure, I've got kids and a wife, so I work and I do things that help them to thrive.

But in my day-to-day job, most of what I do is work on search engine optimization and trying to get sites to rank, which can sometimes be really good and sometimes be really bad, and most of the time it's just somewhere in the middle. You're helping businesses do better.

How can SEOs help now?

But in a time like this, it almost feels like there's a calling for us to do something more. Today I want to talk a little bit about some of the ideas I've had on how as search engine optimizers and web professionals in general we might be able to matter just a little bit more and make just a little bit more of a difference during this pressing time.

So let's start off. How can SEOs help now? 

1. Combat misinformation

Well, I think one of the first things that search engine optimizers have the ability to do obviously is to influence the search results. But we know right now that a serious problem that's plaguing social media and search engines and really just to all information in general is misinformation, information getting out there about what works and what doesn't to try and help stop the coronavirus.

Whether this information is well-intentioned or not is of no impact if it actually does cause harm. So as a search engine optimizer, one of the things that you have the ability to do is actually try and help out the sites that deserve to rank, the sites that are providing information.

I noticed if you were to search in Google for alternate cures for COVID, the first two things that would come up were colloidal silver and garlic. It seems like for some reason everything can be cured with the same stuff that kills vampires and werewolves. I'm not sure where this came from, but regardless it's there.

It's in the SERPs. In fact, you can search right now for how to cure COVID-19 with silver, and you'll find sites that rank that try and tell you this works, and we know it doesn't. So I'm not telling you that we should Google-bomb everybody out there who has a good website that's doing the right thing and providing good information.

But perhaps when you're writing your blog posts or presenting information online to your customers about COVID-19, you should take the time to think about: Who can I link to, what sites can I link to that are going to give information that will help my customers, and not just think of them as customers, but help their families?

So when you write an article about the discount that your business is offering, perhaps you might want to link to maybe the CDC's website, which will list off the different treatments available. Or if you run a local business, perhaps you can list off the various sites which are available for COVID testing. Now there are lots of different ways that we can go about this, and I'm not going to give you a list of sites that you should link to.

But there are probably sites that you visit almost every day, checking on the stats, seeing how things are going, and perhaps you should share those with the world and share them in a way that can make Google better. 

2. Hire the best writers

Now the second thing that I want to bring up right now is actually an interesting opportunity. You see, right now, a lot of professionals, a lot of experts are simply out of work.

You see, as much as it's nice to be a search engine optimizer and work on a computer where you could be on the beach or in the basement or in a cubicle if you have to, but where you can work from anywhere, that's just not the case for most people in America. In fact, a recent study came out and said that only 40% of jobs could possibly be completed remotely, and that's possibly.

That's not meaning that they will be or that it's easy to or efficient to or effective to, just possible. That number is staggering. But there is one thing that we can tap into in these times, and that thing we can tap into is expertise.

You see, we always talk about producing evergreen content for our clients. I just gave a Whiteboard Friday a couple of days back about how it's difficult, as an SEO, to write content about things you are not an expert in. Well, for once, it turns out that there are lots of experts who need work and who would be let's just say the best opportunity you will ever have to produce truly evergreen content.

I mean think about the various areas of experts that are available to you. Hospitality, think about calling your local hotel and asking whether or not they can put you in touch with any concierge staff, even just by email. They know more about your city and about what tourists or individuals want in that city than perhaps anybody else.

Or you could talk about travel agents, and the same sort of information could be available to your website. You can understand how that if you're an SEO that works with a lot of local businesses, works with say a couple of different restaurants, well, then this concierge can then help provide you with third-party, unbiased information about these types of restaurants.

Then you can assist in the process of helping these restaurants move to an online and delivery service during their time of need. The same thing is true with entertainment. Recently an old employee of mine offered to fix the jingle, to come up with a new intro for some video production that Moz had made in the past. He's an incredibly talented individual. Luckily, he's also an SEO, so he can work remotely. But at the same time, maybe there's an opportunity to work with a truly talented artist or a truly talented musician to make the kinds of changes to your brand that you've always wanted to but have never been able to get access to.

Maybe the same thing is true if you're an information website and you write about sports, for example. Just because games aren't going on doesn't mean that the history of the sport doesn't need to be reported on and that there isn't an opportunity to produce some of the best content, the most reflective content that's ever existed on the web.

3. Adwords SMB credits

Then third I think we can tap into almost any kind of sales representative out there. These people not only pride themselves on the knowledge, but the knowledge that they have of the products that they sell is what makes them able to sell it. These types of sales reps, whether they're in technology, whether they're selling who knows, audiovisual equipment, it doesn't really matter.

What matters is the fact that they are experts and they have the unique capability to write about content better than anybody else. For once, for this short period of time, they're looking for that opportunity. So that's one thing that I want you to really focus on is the opportunity here for you to serve yourself and your customers and those in need all at the same time.

It's possible if you only look in all of the right places. Now that's not all that we can do. Now one of the things that has been really interesting has been the response of a handful of the larger companies or organizations across the world. One of them — or two of them, for that matter — have been Google and Facebook.

Both of them have announced just enormous sums of money that they are going to pour into free credits for small and medium businesses inside of their representative ad platforms. But here's the thing. They can't really distinguish between the small businesses that are going to suffer and the small businesses that are going to do well during these times.

They're not necessarily sure whether or not the local store that's advertising on their website is already set up for e-commerce or whether or not they're just trying to bring people to the front door. Well, here's a unique opportunity, and I normally give a lot of grief to people in the paid search space because I think search engine optimization is just so wonderful.

But this is really for you paid search folks out here. What kind of opportunities are there amongst your clientele where you can co-market, where you can work with your customers who are healthy in this time of need to co-market on behalf of the customers who are not? You see, people are going to wake up with credits in their account.

Some of them are going to need it, and some of them are not. You are in a unique position to put those people together. Right now, if you're thinking about how you can help, I bet most of your customers are wondering how they might be able to as well. By simply putting them together, maybe, just maybe you'll have an opportunity to do well by all of your customers and hopefully help some people out who really need it.

4. Healthy business? Help out by making your offer free

The fourth thing I want to bring up is something we've seen a lot, which is how healthy businesses of all sizes are responding. A lot of them are providing some sort of discounts or offers. I want to be really careful here because I don't want to say that providing discounts and offers in these times is in any way let's say taking advantage or not giving respect to what's going on.

It's actually really important that we seek out opportunities to help those in times of need. But I think that you really ought to be careful and be thoughtful and respectful of those who you will be helping in this manner. So one of the first things that I want to say is that if you are going to offer something, do your best to make it free.

You see, there aren't lots of businesses right now who are going through just a little bit of hurt. There aren't a lot of people out there who are just going through a little bit of hurt. We're talking about a lot of people going through really difficult times. The deeper you can dig, even if it's carved out specifically for the individuals or businesses that are in the most desperate of times, the better it's going to be for them in the long run.

Don't set time traps

Now one of the first tips I want to say is don't set time traps. I don't know what the word is for this, but I call them time traps. They're popping up left and right, which is, "Hey, we're going to give you the first X number of days free. Put in your credit card." It's a subtle but pretty obvious attempt that, over time, these individuals will forget about the credit card and hope that they end up just rolling into some payments that they otherwise wouldn't make.

Don't do that. If at all possible inside of your payment system, make some free trials or some free tools available to people that just don't require a credit card. That credit card right now is often meaning food for some of these people. So let's just be thoughtful. 

Do target those most affected

Now what you can do is target those who are most affected.

For example, a lot of businesses are offering services and discounts specifically for the families of first responders, doctors, and any kind of individual who's been identified as an employee or a place of business that must be open, like your pharmacy. Now the reason why you want to target these people is they're having to put their lives on the line literally every day, even though that's not something they really signed up for when they got into the business. So the least we can do is offer them our biggest discounts. 

Do target those most helpful

Third, we've got to be able to target those who are most helpful as well. You see, it's not just about the people who are in need. It's about the people who are helping those in need. I'll give you an example. Right now there's a serious crisis with domestic abuse in America.

You see, the quarantine has meant that people have had to stay home. It's, in that time, meant that the abused have had to spend more and more time with their abusers. Now there's probably a dozen domestic shelters within your area if you live in a larger city and certainly those across the state.

But how easy is it for those resources to be found? How much can they actually handle at this point? What do they need donations of? Do they need money? Do they need food? These are things you can find out and take advantage of.

But most importantly, as an SEO, you can help these organizations be easily discoverable, which is incredibly important right now, because people are in dire situations and need information fast. So there are opportunities here for you to offer services yourself, for the businesses that you support to offer services, and for you as an individual to simply contribute to all sorts of different individuals who are doing their best to get us through this crisis.

5. Online transition army

Now the fifth thing I'd like to think about is some sort of online transition army. Now most of us here are some sort of web professional or we own a business that has a website. But in all that we have done, there is some degree of experience that involves putting a business online or putting an organization online.

Whatever that skill is that you've developed — maybe it's e-commerce, maybe it's shipping, maybe it's paid search, who knows what it is — it's time to pick up the phone and start calling the organizations that don't have this kind of representation and help them make the transition.

We know that there are tens of thousands of talented SEOs across the country and even more search marketers and even more web designers and developers. We know that they've got free cycles. I know I do. I'm recording this right now at I think it's about 9:30 EST. It was either this or Netflix.

We have the opportunity to make a really big difference. So whether that's helping a local business create an e-commerce version or helping them with shipping or even more often than not helping nonprofits collect donations online, there are just tons of opportunities for you and your organization to get involved and help make a difference for the companies that aren't already online.

Now I know you could think about this from the other direction, which is to say my business and my clients are online, and now is our chance to win because our competitors just weren't prepared. This is one of those times where I think you've got to question whether or not you really want to bring that karma upon you.

Now is the opportunity to matter. 

The last thing I would recommend is to let your employees and your benefactors and your deeds speak for themselves. You don't need to go out touting left and right all of the things that you're doing.

Certainly you should advertise the offers that you're giving so that you actually extend the reach. Certainly you should advertise the fact that you're looking for nonprofit organizations to help out online. While you should do that, the question you should ask yourself before you put out any kind of information about what you've done, about how you've helped is whether or not the time you're spending putting together that information and the dollars that you're spending putting out that information is worth the cost of the good that you could have done with that time and money doing something else.

Share your ideas in the comments

Now I want to end on a positive note. These are difficult times. But if there's one thing that I've seen time and time again is that people in our industry care and they're trying to make a difference. Now these are just some of the ideas that I came up with, and I'm betting in the Moz audience and across the Twittersphere and Reddit and all of social media that there are people who have other excellent ideas.

I want you to fill the comments with those types of ideas, and we'll do our best to promote them. Thank you again for spending another Whiteboard Friday with me. God bless. Be healthy and I'll see you soon again. Bye.

Video transcription by

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

3 Quick Solutions for a Leaking Roof

Do you have an emergency roof leak and you can’t find a professional to repair it right away? Try out these easy fixes:

Cover with a tarp
A quick and very temporary fix for a leaky roof is to cover the damaged area with a plastic tarp. When using a tarp to cover your roof, the key is to cut the tarp so that it adequately covers the damaged area. Leave at least an extra four feet of tarp on each end to cover the roof damage. You will need to secure the tarp so that it does not blow off the roof. Using treated 2-by-4 boards is one way to secure the tarp to the roof. You can staple or nail the tarp to the boards, but be sure to use nails that are not so long that they will go through your roof. Source: Homesteady

Use sealants
If the leak is due to faulty or missing flashing, sealants might be the cure. Use sealants on all flashing around skylights and protrusions like a chimney or vent. You should never use them to fix shingles permanently. It may work as a stop-gap measure to fix broken or cracked shingles until you have time to replace them. Source: HomeAdvisor

Replace shingle

If part or all of a shingle is missing, head to the hardware store to find a matching replacement. To remove the broken shingle, carefully lift the edges of the shingle above it with a pry bar. Use a hammer to remove the nails at broken shingle’s 4 corners, slide it out, then scrape the area beneath to remove any leftover roofing cement.

If necessary, use a blow dryer to make the surrounding shingles more pliable. After removing the old shingle, use a sharp utility knife to round the back corners of the new shingle; this makes it easier to install.
Slide the new shingle into place, gently lift the shingle above, and drive 114 inch (3.2 cm) galvanized roofing nails into the new shingle’s corners. If you removed any nails that secured the shingle above the broken one, replace them.
Finally, use a trowel to apply roof cement over the nail heads and edges of the new shingle. Source: WikiHow

Even though you’re able to keep the roof from leaking using the tips above, don’t forget to schedule an appointment with us. We will provide a more permanent solution, so you won’t have to worry about roof leaks again. Call us!


Kerrisdale Roofing & Drains
8296 Ross St, Vancouver, BC V5X 4C6
(604) 360-2114

from Kerrisdale RD

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Opting-Out of Google Featured Snippets Led to 12% Traffic Loss [SEO Experiment]

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

Note: This post was co-authored by Cyrus Shepard and Rida Abidi.

Everyone wants to win Google featured snippets. Right?

At least, it used to be that way. Winning the featured snippet typically meant extra traffic, in part because Google showed your URL twice: once in the featured snippet and again in regular search results. For publishers, this was known as "double-dipping."

All that changed in January when Google announced they would de-duplicate search results to show the featured snippet URL only once on the first page of results. No more double-dips.

Publishers worried because older studies suggested winning featured snippets drove less actual traffic than the "natural" top ranking result. With the new change, winning the featured snippet might actually now lead to less traffic, not more.

This led many SEOs to speculate: should you opt-out of featured snippets altogether? Are featured snippets causing publishers to lose more traffic than they potentially gain? 

Here's how we found the answer.

The experiment

Working with the team at SearchPilot, we devised an A/B split test experiment to remove Moz Blog posts from Google featured snippets, and measure the impact on traffic.

Using Google's data-nosnippet tag, we identified blog pages with winning featured snippets and applied the tag to the main content of the page.

Our working hypothesis was that these pages would lose their featured snippets and return to the "regular" search results below. A majority of us also expected to see a negative impact on traffic, but wanted to measure exactly how much, and identify whether the featured snippets would return after we removed the tag. 

In this example, Moz lost the featured snippet almost immediately. The snippet was instead awarded to Content King and Moz returned to the top "natural" position.

Featured Snippets Experiment

Here is another example of what happened in search results. After launching the test, the featured snippet was awarded to Backlinko and we returned to the top of the natural results.

Featured Snippets Experiment Examples

One important thing to keep in mind is that, while these keywords triggered a featured snippet, pages can rank for hundreds or thousands of different keywords in different positions. So the impact of losing a single featured snippet can be somewhat softened when your URL ranks for many different keywords — some which earn featured snippets and some which don't.

The results

After adding the data-nosnippet tag, our variant URLs quickly lost their featured snippets.

How did this impact traffic? Instead of gaining traffic by opting-out of featured snippets, we found we actually lost a significant amount of traffic quite quickly.

Overall, we measured an estimated 12% drop in traffic for all affected pages after losing featured snippets (95% confidence level).

Featured Snippets Experiment Results
This chart represents the cumulative impact of the test on organic traffic. The central blue line is the best estimate of how the variant pages, with the change applied, performed compared to how we would have expected without any changes applied. The blue shaded region represents our 95% confidence interval: there is a 95% probability that the actual outcome is somewhere in this region. If this region is wholly above or below the horizontal axis, that represents a statistically significant test.

What did we learn?

With the addition of the “data-nosnippet” attribute, the test had a significantly negative impact on organic traffic. In this experiment, owning the featured snippet and not ranking in the top results provides more value to these pages in terms of clicks than not owning the featured snippet and ranking in the top results.

Adding in the “data-nosnippet” attribute, not only were we able to stop Google from pulling data in that section of the HTML page to use as a snippet, but we were also able to confirm that we would rank again in the SERP, whether that is ranking in position one or lower.

As an additional tool, we were also tracking keywords using STAT Search Analytics. We were able to monitor changes in ranking for pages that had featured snippets, and noticed that it took about seven days or more from the time of launching the test for Google to cache the changes we made and for the featured snippets to be overtaken by another ranking page, if another page was awarded a featured snippet spot at all. The turnaround was quicker after we ended the test, though, as some of these featured snippets returned as quickly as the next day.

However, a negative aspect of running this test was that, although some pages were crawled and indexed with the most recent changes, the featured snippet did not return and has now either been officially given to competing pages or never returned at all.

To summarize the significant findings of this test:

  1. Google's nosnippet tags can effectively opt-out publishers from featured snippets.
  2. In this test, we measured an estimated 12% drop in traffic for all affected pages after losing featured snippets.
  3. After ending the test, we failed to win back a portion of the featured snippets we previously ranked for.

For the vast majority of publishers winning the featured snippet likely remains the smart strategy. There are undoubtedly exceptions but as a general "best practice" if a keyword triggers a featured snippet, it's typically in your best interest to rank for it.

What are your experiences with winning featured snippets? Let us know in the comments below.

Join Moz SEO Scientist, Dr. Pete Meyers, Wednesdays in April at 1:30 p.m. PT on Twitter and ask your most pressing questions about how to navigate SEO changes and challenges in a COVID-19 world. Tweet your questions all week long to @Moz using the hashtag #AskMoz. 

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