Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller engaged in a lively Twitter discussion on what it means to create ideal web content. He answered whether Google ranked long form content higher, commented on word count and offered his opinion on what publishers should focus on.
The discussion covered the relationship of word count to the concept of being comprehensive as well as whether word count is part of a ranking factor (it’s not).
Matching Competitor Word Count
The discussion started out with a question related to competitor research. The person asking the question apparently reviewed the top ranked pages in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and discovered the word count of the top ranked sites.
Competitor research is often thought of in terms of reviewing what top ranked pages are doing and copying what they’re doing in terms of keywords used, word counts, and so on.
The problem with that approach is that just because the top ranked sites have a minimum of 1200 words in their content doesn’t mean that word count correlates to the ideal word count for ranking.
It’s just what’s there, either because that’s what they feel is best or they are copying each other.
But then there’s always that one outlier with an epic 8,000 word web page that is masterfully ranking for all kinds of keywords, that blows away any notion that 1200 words is ideal.
Google’s SEO Starter Guide says:
“Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”
Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines that states:
“High quality information pages should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive.”
The word “comprehensive” is used 30 times in the quality raters document. So it’s fair to say that Google is at least a little bit to blame for publisher anxieties about “comprehensive” content.
The concern for comprehensive content is practically a syndrome because it leads too content that is far longer than it has to be. Anyone who has ever researched a recipe can attest to that.
The work-from-home needs of employees due to COVID-19 could help drive big changes in how laptops and other devices are sold. Digital transformation and the work-from-home movement may not be the only big technology trends gaining strength due to the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. Also picking up traction in the business IT marketplace in the last six months is the Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model of acquiring hardware without having to buy, configure, and manage it. In 2015, no major PC manufacturers offered a DaaS option to acquire hardware, according to a recent report from Accenture. But by 2019, that changed dramatically, with 65% of major PC makers offering DaaS options to their customers.
To Kevin Dobbs, the leader of Accenture’s Everything-as-a-Service practice, it’s where PC makers and other hardware suppliers need to go if they want to keep up with business and consumer expectations and demands.
With DaaS, vendors take laptops, desktop PCs, and other devices and preconfigure and customize them with productivity and security applications as well as value-added services to ready them for business or consumer customers. The devices aren’t purchased outright by companies like in the past, but are paid for on a consumption model.
That may seem like a lease, but it’s not a lease, Dobbs said. “They may look similar, but DaaS is less about the device and more about the services associated with the devices.”
The work-from-home movement due to the pandemic could be a big boost for DaaS adoption in the future, he said. Companies that scrambled to send workers home to do their jobs as the pandemic spawned shutdowns across the nation were often forced into a laptop-buying frenzy.
That quickly revealed that it was easier to buy the machines fully loaded and configured and ready for workers to do their jobs from home, Dobbs said. For companies, it essentially streamlined the process of quickly enabling a large number of at-home workers that companies didn’t have in the past. DaaS arrangements also include product support from vendors or partners as needed.
“It gives an easy way to get help,” Dobbs said. “They would rather buy things preconfigured with software and security. I think a lot of the customer buying pattern is moving in that direction.”
Benefits and challenges for vendors
And while this can all be beneficial for users, the DaaS model also provides a mix of big benefits and real challenges for hardware vendors, Dobbs explained.
First, because customers use the devices until they are done with them, the vendors get them back and can collect, refurbish, and resell them to new users up to four more times over the useful life of the devices, which maximizes returns on investments, according to Dobbs.
“For vendors, it’s a great option because rather than only selling a product one time, they can sell them up to five times,” Dobbs said. “The benefit is that by keeping control of the devices and surrounding them with different kinds of services and capabilities each time you can give more to customers. In the hardware business, margins are thin, but here you sell it over and over. That’s why we think this is an exciting trend.”
It’s also something that can boost revenue for hardware vendors at a time when sales may be lower due to the growing popularity of business customers moving workloads to the cloud. When customers move to the cloud, hardware sales typically get lost in the transaction.
“DaaS becomes a more interesting way for manufacturers and channel partners to head as they are moving into the next phase of their growth,” he said.
But the challenges are there as well. To enable DaaS, vendors require complicated supply chains to collect, refurbish, and redistribute all that gear. “That means that vendors need to take a very different approach to how they sell their goods,” Dobbs said. “We’re seeing more and more companies looking at that option.”
Creating and maintaining the needed supply chains to create a seamless experience for customers isn’t easy, though. “At scale, it is difficult to do these things, when we’re talking about millions of devices and being able to orchestrate them to make money for vendors,” Dobbs said. On the flip side, companies that already have such supply chains will be able to drive more value from them.
DaaS is all about the customer
Ultimately, DaaS is gaining traction because business customers and consumers want to make things easier for themselves, Dobbs said. “In the end, the customers don’t care about the device itself. They just want an outcome. If it breaks, they just want it replaced. They want service. All those things are valuable to customers.”
And that’s where the flexibility and value of DaaS can solve problems for users, Dobbs said. “This is the way customers now want to get their devices. The business buyers are expecting the same level of service and experience in their work as they are in their consumer lives. Customers want to try before buying, pay as they go, and have more of a consumption-based model, where they get charged as they go for what they use.”
By using DaaS, customers potentially pay less up-front, but could spend more over time for the overall package of devices and integrated services and support. Cost-savings aren’t usually why customers are attracted to DaaS in the first place, Dobbs said.
For hardware vendors that aren’t filling these demands in the future, it will be a challenging environment in the future, he said.
“The opportunity today is to do this proactively,” Dobbs said. “Customers want to buy it this way, so you are going to have to move this way, like it or not. COVID-19 is also highlighting the fact that more and more customers will be embracing this approach.”
Over the years of surfing on the web I have found numerous examples of people saying that you shouldn’t use the word “here” in a textlink etc. Personally I like the idea of using the word, because it is so straightforward for your visitors to know where to click.
There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence that website visitors don’t read, they scan. They scan for links to find the link they want to click on next. If your link says “click here” and the user has to read the text around the link to find out what it is for, you are adding to their cognitive load, meaning they are less likely to continue on.
The same thing holds true for “Click here for special offers” and “For special offers, click here”. You are still adding to the users’ cognitive load because now your links have additional words that are completely unnecessary.
Make the complete sentence the link and not just a word or two. For example do this – Click HERE for info about the Pet Food Pantry. From the word Click to the word Pantry is linked.
If you enter an internet search, no matter what browser you use, you usually receive results based on your location. These local search results are critical to getting found and allowing customers to review your business. Also known as Google Places, Google My Business makes it easier for customers to find information about your business online, including hours of operation, contact information and directions – all across multiple devices.
Bottom line is your business MUST be listed in Google My Business if you want to be found online in a local search. A fully complete and working Google My Business page can increase the success, for both your online and offline operation.
It is also critical to make sure that your Google Page is complete and accurate, and optimized for best results. Having one that is working correctly can have a big impact on not only traffic to a website, but for visitors to the actual physical location of the businesses as well. Put simply, a fully complete and working Google My Business page can increase the success, for both your online and off-line operation.
When users search for your product or service, the local search listings are the ones that dominate. In most cases, these local listings will be accompanied by markers for the lucky few, along with their addresses and phone numbers. Google also displays a map that points to each business highlighted in the actual search list.
Google My Business (GMB) Page Setup
Setting up a GMB page is relatively straightforward. It’s free to set up and will enable you to appear in local search results for queries specific to your products or services.
The first step is to claim your page if you have not done so already. If you are unsure whether this has been done, you can do a quick search on Google Maps to find out if there is a page for your business already created. See below for an example:
If you have no page, then sign in with your Google Account and simply create one using the easy instructions provided. You will need to get your profile up to as near completed status as possible, then verify it through a phone call or postcard code. Until you have verified your listing, you will not be able to hit 100%.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Page
Optimizing your business website is very important for online presence. So too, is optimizing your Google My Business page if you want to appear on local search results. Google’s goal is to help people find businesses close by to where they are located. This can make it difficult to attract customers from a location outside the boundaries set by Google. The closer the searcher is to your business, the higher up you may appear on the search results.
So how do you optimize your Google My Business page to get found by people outside the specified range? It can involve a complex algorithm, but also requires your business to be on other third party directory listings, like Yelp, Trip Advisor, Citysearch, and other smaller, high quality sites. You will need to make sure your Name, Address and Phone (NAP) information is consistent across all these sites for the best results in search engine rankings.
Blue Wave Concepts, LLC is an expert when it comes to optimizing Google My Business pages. Blue Wave Concepts, LLC offers our clients social media marketing packages that get results for businesses. We offer several standard packages, or we can customize a package that will fit your specific needs and goals. Contact us to discuss which option is best for you and how we can tailor it to fit your needs.