TechCrunch: The sudden death of the website . “Now, almost every website looks the same — and performs poorly. Offline, brands try to make their store experiences unique to differentiate themselves. Online, every website — from Gucci to the Gap — offers the same experience: a top nav, descriptive text, some pictures and a handful of other elements arranged similarly. Google’s rules have sucked the life out of unique online experiences. Of course, as e-commerce has suffered, Google has become more powerful, and it continues to disintermediate the consumer from the brand by imposing a terrible e-commerce experience.”
Neil Patel: Local SEO is Dying. Here’s 14 Ways to Resurrect It. (WARNING: Annoying interstitial.) “Over the past few years, Google has been making it easier for large, recognizable brands to dominate local search and harder for the small, local places to stay relevant. And they make no effort to hide it.” There are a couple of things here I consider a bit on the sneaky side, but it’s a great read overall, especially if you’re doing outreach for a small nonprofit or institution.
The Register: Web searching died the day they invented SEO. “Rather than showing what you’re searching for, search results show you links that marketeers want you click on instead. The whole point of SEO today is to direct you to content you don’t want and didn’t ask for. As a result, I go hunting for a little bit of old zombie satellite code and all I can find are 47,000 links to George A Romero video clips and Walking Dead fan pages. Ho hum, does anyone have any old Fortran manuals?” Funny but some truth in there as well.
Business Insider: Google aims to get ‘diverse perspectives’ into search results. “Alphabet Inc’s Google will put more of a premium on ‘diverse perspectives’ in its search results, saying in a blog post on Tuesday that answers highlighted at the top of result pages would soon display multiple viewpoints on topics for the first time ever.”
Search Engine Land: Google publishes comprehensive guide to featured snippets. “Google has published one of the most comprehensive explanations yet of their featured snippets in a post on the search blog. Featured snippets, in short, are the quick direct answers you see at the top of the Google search results page that appear in response to some search queries. In this blog post, Google explains what featured snippets are, the various user interfaces and treatments you can get from these featured snippets and how they interact with desktop, mobile and voice search results.”
Google Blog: Facilitating the discovery of public datasets. “To provide better discovery and rich content for books, movies, events, recipes, reviews and a number of other content categories with Google Search, we rely on structured data that content providers embed in their sites using schema.org vocabulary. To facilitate similar capabilities for datasets, we have recently published new guidelines to help data providers describe their datasets in a structured way, enabling Google and others to link this structured metadata with information describing locations, scientific publications, or even Knowledge Graph, facilitating data discovery for others. We hope that this metadata will help us improve the discovery and reuse of public datasets on the Web for everybody.”
Search Engine Journal: 28 Free Tools to Help You Find What People Search For . “Getting into the groove of keyword research doesn’t just happen overnight. You need to know how people search and what they search for before you can even start to think about mapping your keywords. And with more than 6 billion searches a day worldwide, how do you know where to start It’s about finding the deepest, darkest, secret corners of the user’s search intent to find ‘the right stuff’ in a bowl full of ‘meh’s.'” Now obviously I couldn’t care less about using these tools for SEO. But I always want to learn more about how other people craft their search language, because it can give me ideas.