40: How You Look On Search Engines


Darryl: Hi and Welcome to “The My Bloody Website podcast” where we talk about all things online especially for a small and medium business owners or marketers. I'm Darryl King, I've been running a web agency for over 25 years and my co-host Ed Pelgen has been running his online marketing agency for just as long. Our goal is to cover things in a way anyone can understand and to help you improve how you use online in your business. We're about to record episode 40. How do you look on search engines? How are you Ed?

Edmund: I'm very good Darryl. And yourself

Darryl: excellent, very good for young fella.

Edmund: I think this is a great episode because we never walk out of; you typically don't walk out of your house unless you've had a look at yourself in the mirror right?

Darryl: Well unless your teenager. Well I’m not actually a

Edmund: So I'm wanted to (0:43) mate

Darryl: yeah; no; but that's right; it is your right; so, you know; people; last episode we talked about you know doing some things to check out how you self-audit. This one's, I guess taking an even deeper. I was going to say this is episode 40. Just reiterate that so that means we have done three quarters of a year in episodes. So 12 more episodes of the whole year right?

Edmund: we should do a big party at 50 to do it on a beach or something.

Darryl: fifty two; fifty two; three more episode; that; so twelve more episodes; anyway; so, this is one that probably sits heavily in your mind. You see a lot of this day-to-day when you're doing audits and helping people rank better. What are some of the things that; I guess we're giving people instructions

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: of how they can review how they look on search engines. Yeah?

Edmund: absolutely; and it's important because the average user probably doesn't realize the amount of variety that exists in the search results. Right? When you do; when you go into a Google search there stuff everywhere right? And the devices are changing and Google is experimenting and they've got ads and everything else and there's a lot to think about; and so;

Darryl: yeah and maybe people don't also realize too that its phrase specific. So, if you search for Pulp Fiction “the movie” you are going to get a completely different of search result than if you're searching for pool builder; Sydney

Edmund: yeah. So what, why don't we just introduced into the basically out of what's in the search results and then we can talk about the specific; you know, use case type ones to come up; what do you reckon?

Darryl: Why don't you do it rather (2:29)

Ed/Darryl: (laughing)

Edmund: When you run a normal Google search result. And let's just use desktop for an example here because it's probably simpler to start with. So when you do a Google search in the desktop, you'll typically see the paid ads. And the paid ads are (2:42) at the top and they'll typically be the first three or so listings and then beneath the paid ads you'll see what's called the organic search results listings. Now, depending on your search the phrase that you're looking for Google may very well deliver images, it may very well deliver videos. Right? And it may very well to deliver news. Right? All those little elements change depending on the search. So, that's just the very minimum. Right? Amount of variety that is available to you. Right? Other things you want to consider too for example when you do search results. Searches on Google is that the newest features are things called featured snippets. Now, has anyone ever done a Google search with a question and you see a text block that answers your question? Right? and that's; people; some people find this a little bit confronting because ultimately they want a visitor to visit their website and they get a bit upset that Google is taking information from their website and providing the answer in the organic search results which means no one has to visit the bloody website. Right?

Darryl: Yeah, but I guess fundamentally they want that they are allowing Google to take the data to rank them and link to them. But the other thing too there; I think, comes back to a content conversations. Right? which is if you offer more than just that answer the goal is, if it's a good answer it's gonna be more trustworthy to click through and read more. Right? Like,

Edmund: correct; correct

Darryl: But if you're looking for something really simple you don't really need to go anywhere else too.

Edmund: yeah and so these little featured snippets are kind of like answers to questions. And there's a couple of different formats. I take, you know; the most common one is a text block, so you ask a question it gives you an answer. Alternative variations you can see in the wild are tables. So. They’ll take

Darryl: (4:29 examples like, currency conversion or

Edmund: yeah pricing would r….

Darryl: results….)

Edmund: Things like that. Absolutely, and there are other ones too where there are lists. So, you might; you know; say top 10 XYZ, top 10 tools, whatever it is? And then if the content that answers that question best has it in a list warm up and Google will take that snippet and present it in the search results as a list. And you would; you put; you've seen it probably in a few searches where videos themselves will actually be the featured snippet answer to a question. And what's really amazing? And this is a bit scary for most people when they see it is sometimes a search result will generate a video and the search result will actually say, answer begins at sixteen point eight seconds. Right? That runs from here. So, obviously to get that sort of information in Google. You need to upload the transcriptions.

Darryl: That's a good example of what I talked about earlier where if you search; so if you search for the name of a song. Quite often you will get a YouTube video which is this song being played by the band as that rich snippet answer. Right? It's a video. You just click it right there and there and hear that; yeah, yeah; that’s the song

Edmund: yeah, (so 5:35)

Darryl: So, that’s an example of that

Edmund: yeah. So, I guess we should step back and say; okay, that's what Google's doing because they're ultimately trying to answer the question best for the searcher. So as a business owner you think yourself well, how do I access this? And it just; it just means that you need to be more aware of the fact that this is how Google is using the content in the search results. And for you to get discovery that's an opportunity for you. Right? If you're not into writing content then this is another push in the back to say, hey you should be creating content and creating it in a way that answers these questions. So be aware. So when you look at a search result; be aware of what comes up and think; how do I write my content that would give it an opportunity to be there.

Darryl: Okay. So, what are some other examples of things you might see up in the search results depending on things that

Edmund: Yeah. Absolutely. So, the most common one that most people see is what's called the local three pack. Right? Now, when you do a search which has a local component. Yeah?

Darryl: that; so, for the average user they're going to see that as the map; wedged in there

Edmund: Correct.

Darryl: So, with some businesses listed

Edmund: (I shall see it 6:36)

Darryl: They'll call it the map

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: but like technically it's known as the local three pack

Edmund: yeah. Any local search will generate three snippets and that's commonly known as the local three pack. And what those are our local businesses; closest to you; that best; that are the best answer. I guess, for your local search result and you're just got to be aware that that's an opportunity for you to get found and it's important for local businesses and the way you get in that snippet is that you need to list the business in the Google my business system. so that's just one variation of the search results that you need be aware of.

Darryl: Other things?

Edmund: yes. So, you know; there's a thing called site links - when you do a branded search for some business or the business name. Right?

Darryl: right. So, for example if I type in I reckon web design

Edmund: Correct. Then you'll see it the; yeah, they'll be the first homepage Meta description and link and then there might be several others beneath that; and those

Darryl: okay. So the further people; the example like I talked; I recommend design, the home page heading is there and that's got like contact, blog, website design development, services and there's got three tips to get the most out of like,

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: so it's actually pulling what you call site like

Edmund: That's right. Now that you can't really control these. These are these are auto-generated. And; but the way you facilitate that is by having a good logical navigation structure including things that you might think will be valuable. And these are; they actually can drive very specific traffic so just be aware that you know it just means good navigation structure and you know pages on the site that will allow them to be picked up in the site, in a site results, in the site links. Alright?

Darryl: Yep. What about other things we'll see? Well you've talked a little bit about images can show up with video. You talked about; you've talked about the rich snippet but there's another equivalent thing. Isn’t it?

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: That might use people that some of; like the knowledge panels, with a knowledge graph (8:32)

Edmund: yeah. Absolutely; I was like t

Darryl: (8:34 that)

Edmund: yeah. So a featured snippet is a piece of content that is taken from a web page and appears at the top of the search result and it's designed to be an answer to a specific question. Now when people search for a topic or an entity or something like that. It may a person, the brand or whatnot. Sometimes you'll see on the right-hand side of the search results. This thing called a knowledge panel and a knowledge panel is more comprehensive than a featured snippet and can have information from or linking to all different pieces of other content that relate to this brand this entity, this thing you're searching for. Right? And the information that that feeds the knowledge panel comes from the knowledge graph - which is kind of like Google's big database of all of these bits of information relating.

Edmund: don't confuse everyone

Edmund: yeah; yeah; that's all it is. It just means that if you think about it. Google's trying to understand the information that has its index. So it can best give you search results. so that's pretty cool and that's the one that I've; yeah; you see a lot of and I've read some pretty deep articles about entities and stuff you talk about. But you really start to see a lot more of it. Don’t you? And particularly you know in my fiction where I'm doing research and I'll put in a topic and then I'll find this; you know; Wikipedia references and other staff to a whole lot of topic things. It’s actually an interesting user experience to quickly get to where you want rather than potentially websites that aren’t necessarily about the topic that I want but they just have those words or you know not; there's not necessarily the same thing. Particularly when you get into; if you talk for a sports team or

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: Thing like that. You just get real quick access to

Edmund: yeah, and you think about too. like all of the; all of the; even movies you search from movies and you can start interacting and checking listings in the search results themselves so Google is looking at ways of fast tracking the connection between you and the information that you're after all the time and so the search results are not normal. And I mean one I should point out given that this is a podcast is that Google is talking about improving the ability to discover content in audio. Right? They’re starting to look at ways of indexing podcasts for example.

Darryl: So we might get some new listeners.

Edmund: We may, very well; I mean, right now for example on the Google app; the Google podcasts app or the Google; sorry; the Google Search app on Android will start to show podcasts and actually show episode listings. Now, you need to mark up the RSS feed so there's a little bit of nerdy technical stuff. When we can have a link to the developer page if you want to dig into it but just be aware that it's coming and a lot of Google people are talking about; you know, how do they facilitate indexing or figuring out what's in audio files so that they can show it in the search results

Darryl: excellent; okay, so we've talked about how these are the things that are in desktop results that we're gonna see it and I know that as we go through this we'll probably talk about it. It can be quite different in mobile but that’s; so that's the summary of; you know, the beginning; this is what you would likely see; when you see a search result but we did say how do you look on search engines that

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: this was about and so I guess the thing there is we want to instruct or give people guidance some things that they can do practically to check how they look on search engine. So why don't you then talk us through some steps. I mean like; I think you've got

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: like, five or six steps that you think would be useful

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: ways for people to do it. What's the first one?

Edmund: yeah. So, I would suggest that people go to the; to the; to Google on a mobile device or on the desktop and do a search for their business. First thing.

Darryl: brand; brand;

Edmund: brand; it’s called brand

Darryl: Yeah. Type your business name in

Edmund: Yeah. And have a look at how your business appears. Right? check the page titles, check the descriptions that are appearing, check any links to internal pages that may come up in the site search, check even the listing; the links to your business on third-party Directory Sites. Just have a look at the whole of page one about your business and see what's showing up. Check to see whether any other content, you know there might be some images or other resources that appear. So just be aware of how your business looks on the net and what Google knows about you whether it's on your site as well as on the third-party sites. All right?

Darryl: Okay. What’s next? What’s another thing? What should be the next thing? I assume you're going to start talking about topic queries or stuff.

Edmund: Well, what I would do then also is to have a look at before we get into topics is to actually have a look at your competitors like search for their brands as well and see how they appear. Right? And just make that comparison so you can see what appears for them. And then the third thing I would suggest to do is to start to search for the keyword phrases that you think are relevant to your business. The ones that you actually want to get found for. Now whether you rank on page one or whether it's your competitors you still want to see what page one looks like when you do those searches.

Darryl: Okay. So, when you say what it looks like; I mean, you obviously; you're talking about how you'll see Rich Snippets and things there but when I see the block of organic results. What am I actually looking at? What; you know; what; what do either site owner want to look at when I'm looking at the people that are showing up in the top ten organic results?

Edmund: Yeah. Well, if your website is there you want to have a look at the page titles and the description that appears in the search results snippet. Right? Just find out, are they helpful, are they compelling because the whole like

Darryl: So you could; sorry;

Edmund: no; no; go for it

Darryl: So part of it is you can compare yours then with the others if you're there and if you're not there. What does everyone? What are these look like and how useful this and this (14:03)

Edmund: Yeah. The reason this is important is because, let's say you're on page one and you've got a competitor that's on page one as well. Right? The searcher has to make a decision as to which of these snippets I'm going to click through. So how they do that? they look at the title, the description, the text that appears there and they look at the Meta Description that little block of snippet of text that's underneath the title and they read it and they see what is most compelling and if you have a generic Meta Description that said; that; that's taken from the page automatically or you haven't invested any time and writing something compelling. They may not click to your website. So even though you're on page one you may not get the traffic because the next guy down has written a description that just totally speaks to the end user. So have a look at that and look at it with that in mind. I'm a user there I am on page one which one would I click on.

Darryl: awesome. Okay, what other things can I check? I guess when we do the branded search

Edmund: yeah

Darryl: before were gonna see your local; if you have my business listing show up. So what should people be looking at Ed?

Edmund: Ahh; absolutely; so, when you do a branded search, you want to make sure that your Google my business listing appears on the right-hand side and it's really critical because Google my business is adding a ton of new functionality you know with the ability to put posts and offers and events and all that sort of stuff that appears there. So, if someone is searching for your business name, heck take the opportunity to fill out your Google my business listing properly; you know, good, quality, relevant images, offers make sure all of it is fully completed and it just gives you; you know; heck they're searching for your business. Right? Add some value, give some value to them so make sure the listing is comprehensive and filled out and if it isn't; go and log into your Google my business listing and fill it out properly, make sure it's complete.

Darryl: checking just before this episode. One of my clients just seeing how their things were going and I noticed on that Google my business .that someone had asked a question in the Q&A section the questions and answers. and they hadn't replied to it though they replied to reviews they got but I think people aren't aware about this question/answers and stuff that's there and that you can; you can answer them; the people asks; it's obviously like responding on Facebook but you can actually ask your own question and answer your own question to put if I queues up there which isn't

Edmund: that's a really sneaky approach but I guess you’re

Darryl: What? You’re allowed too. They actually allow you to do it. So because it's basically answering a question. I'm gonna jump in with a point here. I talked about it Ed before is to make; we; in the last episode one of the tips; It was tip 2, check your site on mobile - is check all these things that Ed’s talked about before. Do the same thing on mobile don't just do it on desktop and vice versa. if you were checking on mobile check on desktop as well but really make sure you do check the search results and look at them on mobile, look at your competitors on mobile, what are they doing anything different so a really good example of that is that on desktop so Ed knows who I'm going to talk about here. a coffee supplier there are no images but when you do a mobile search it displays product images in the results if the things are set up properly, same results everyone that's there is the same but there's a different display so there's a really good example of why you want to compare them and not assume that the photo shows up at this top of and then; oh; mine doesn't have a photo; my competitors do; how do I resolve that?

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: And then; page titles and descriptions. How do they wrap and read on mobile? They'll; you know, are they as compelling on mobile as they are on desktop etc. and obviously what is my Google my business result look like on mobile. So, I think that's really really important

Edmund: Yeah. And do it regularly because; you know, Google is experimenting with this stuff all the time. They keep changing shit left, right and center. Right?

Darryl: Okay, anything else you got lists in your tips?

Edmund: yeah. I would just you know look at it with the mind and say, hey; especially when you're looking competitors. Just look for opportunities. Where, they are and I'm not. Why I'm not there? And that's your opportunity and then go and chat to someone who can help you out.

Darryl: Okay, that's really awesome. So, a bit of a wrap up on this is first of all you need to understand the search results and you need to understand them better and I; we can put a link up on the show notes; there's a Raven tools example guide to search but I'm gonna challenge my co-host here to do a quick video walkthrough but you obviously stick on his YouTube channel but will link to it. Which is just to look at and particularly from an Australian perspective but it's; you know, it's still clickable; a walkthrough of a couple of results just a quick video chat, highlighting what those things are to the user; you know, and even shrinking the screen just to talk them through. So there'll be a video we could link to. You up for that challenge Ed?

Edmund: easy peasy,

Darryl: okay. So, just to do that; so understand the search results and then Ed's tips were you know view those results and read them. Actually understand what's on the page, do competitive search, look what your competitors are and even if you're not on page one. What is page one? Who are those competitors? But also do branded searches with your competitors’ names and see what results they get. Look at your page titles and descriptions make sure they're used for the user. Check your Google my business results, make sure you check on mobile and desktop not just on one of the other. And then really be aware of what opportunities might exist for changed. Is that (19:13)

Edmund: good wrap up and we'll link to that Raven tools article. Which is a really great article on you know what it all looks like? What all the pieces are?

Darryl: (19:21) of is hearing of your deep masculine voice Ed

Edmund: Yeah

Darryl: so, I think that's an excellent episode there. Just, you know search engines they're super important to talk about before in Australia. It’s pretty much all Google but in other countries there's a mix; you know, Bing and other things have an influence. If you are being shown up and if you're getting results from DuckDuckGo. Have a look, how do you look, why are you getting results? If you're getting results from Bing. You know, understand that. So great episode Ed. (19:49 is that it; did we cover everything?)

Edmund: Awesome, I think that's it for the day mate. Alright, thank you for listening to this episode of “The My Bloody Website podcast” for everything that we're talking about check out bloodywebsite.com and when you get there make sure you click on this subscribe by email button on the top so you don't miss anything that bloody website related. If you'd like to check out the show notes for this episode or any past episodes and all of that can be found on the website. If you'd like to reach out to Darryl or myself you've got a question you can find ways to talk to us on the about page of the site. And lastly if you want to support the show you can do that by telling someone, another website owner about those

Darryl: tell your friends

Edmund: tell your friends and yeah, anyone. Anyone who's got a site. Tell your friends and share it and yeah, absolutely; and then the second thing you can do is visit Apple podcasting leave an awesome review. It’s goodbye from me

Darryl: And it’s goodbye from him