As the browser wars continue, Google Chrome begins to take more of a share away from Internet Explorer, but the latest announcement that Google searches done via Chrome would utilize SSL layers has many SEO pundits up in arms.
According to the Chromium Blog, this change will hit with Chrome 25 which is currently in development and it will occur with both users who are signed in to Google and now with users who are not signed in to Google. To be fair, all browsers have implemented this action and most have been utilizing it for over a year now. The change protects users from information being seen by anyone malicious who might be trying to intercept their queries and use them accordingly. Once the newest version of Chrome hits the market, it’s affect on keyword research could take a nasty hit.
The problem that this creates is that it hides the keyword the person used from analytics programs, so instead of being able to see what the person is searching for, the keyword is shown as simply “not set” or “keyword not provided” since the data is hidden and not passed on after the click. Since a majority of searches are done via Google, this will make it increasingly difficult to analyze what keywords are working and which aren’t.
It’s said that Google Analytics shouldn’t take too much of a hit, but we found completely otherwise in our research with “not provided” showing up more than any others and increasing every month. Some report double digit increases every quarter. As for external programs such as IBP, Webtrends, SAS and others will become less dominant in that field making any keyword research data culled from Google searches useless. And what choice do the other search providers like Yahoo! and Bing have but to also follow the same trend or be seen as “not secure” and for the most part, they have already followed suit.
It’s hard to argue against user security, but it will make the task of keyword research even more difficult to pinpoint when trying to assess what works and what doesn’t. How are you planning to accommodate for this change in your keyword research strategy or will this even affect you at all?
You can see the Google results pages literally changing right in front of you. What used to be plain text and links now have photos, reviews, and a wealth of useful additions that make it much easier for you to get to the true information that you want. Welcome to the world of rich snippets. How can your business take advantage of these coding wonders, what are they, how do you use them, and what can they do for you?
A rich snippet is a simple coding alteration that tells search engines a lot more specifics about what information is on the page. The practice has been around for a couple of years now, but don’t feel like you’ve missed the boat. Search engines have really just started to fully utilize that data to alter the results and experiment with new uses for it every day.
A good example would be the recipe snippet for the brownie recipe example below. All 3 listings in the example use rich snippets to show you calories, cooking time, photos, reviews for their brownie recipes, and other data. All of which are wrapped in rich snippet coding in the backend of their pages.
What may have even caught your eye is that Google can also analyze the data on those pages and separate out certain specifics which allow them to then provide the additional search options that you see on the left hand side giving the searcher the ability to then narrow their search by cooking times, calories, ingredients, etc. And all of this is brought to you courtesy of rich snippets.
Rich snippets can also envelope product reviews…
…contain information on specific people like positions, titles, and companies…
..show event listings for venues…
…have on page clickable links to media such as song clips…
And so much more….
But what’s even more amazing is that you have the capability to apply this to your own websites and get the advantage of having a better visual search result which will give you an amazing advantage over your competitors.
Implementation of snippets into your coding may be the most time consuming of the tasks, but the impact it offers is huge. You need to be somewhat familiar with HTML coding and if you’re familiar with CSS, you’ll find that it’s pretty much the same type of format.
A product page about a blender may normally look like this:
<b>Price: </b> $100<br>
<b>Description: </b>The best blender ever.<br>
<b>Reviews: </b>”This is the best blender ever!<br>
This code is obviously generic and not typical, but an example of what that same block of code would look like after you implemented rich snippets would look like so;
<div itemscope itemtype=”http://www.schema.org/Products”>
<span itemprop=”name”><h1>Super Blender</h1><br></span>
<span itemprop=”name”><img src=”best-blender.jpg”><br></span>
<b>Price: </b><span itemprop=”price”> $100<br></span>
<b>Description: </b><span itemprop=”description”>The best blender ever.<br></span>
<b>Reviews: </b><span itemprop=”review”>”This is the best blender ever!<br></span>
As you can see, you would simply reference the schema that you’re using (in this case, the one at http://www.schema.org/Products) and then wrap each piece of information (name, price, description, etc.) to properly identify it to the search engines. The search engines then take that data and use them in a variety of different ways. A direct result of its use is the beautification of the search results that has been in place for quite some time now. But what may come next is unknown and it doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Google has released a bunch of videos to help you through the process, so re-explaining it here via text when humans like yourself are visually stimulated would be pointless. So take a look at the videos here and start coding your site accordingly. We’ve also included a great infographic from BlueGlass that provides even more visually stimulating info on the topic.
The diference that you will experience in the way your results look all the way down to clickthrough increases can be immense. It’s time to get coding!