top of page

Episode 07

| October 5, 2022

More intents more problems: SEO for multiple user intents

SEO in 2022 is basically one messy map of meeting multiple needs of multiple users at multiple stages.
Mordy and George guide you through the twists and turns of SEO across multiple user intents. The pathway of users is non-linear. These people are all over the map.

So how should SEOs understand the nature of the user, as much as Google does? Know your audience, know your subject matter, and now the SERP.

Google isn’t the only place these people wander. Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Tumblr, Spotify, Reddit, we have to map all of them: Meeting these users where they want to meet you, how they want to meet you, is the name of the game. And each new platform has a special tool we can leverage: Search.

00:00

00:37:52

SERP's UP Podcast: SEO for multiple user Intents

This week’s guest

About

Ryan has been working in SEO for 7 years and has worked both agency-side and in-house as well as building his own websites as side projects. Currently he's focussed on growing Land of Rugs into an 8-figure revenue business, using organic growth as the vehicle for doing that. Of course, he's having fun and learning lots on the way too.

About

Ryan has been working in SEO for 7 years and has worked both agency-side and in-house as well as building his own websites as side projects. Currently he's focussed on growing Land of Rugs into an 8-figure revenue business, using organic growth as the vehicle for doing that. Of course, he's having fun and learning lots on the way too.

Transcript

Mordy Oberstein:

It's the new wave of SEO podcasting, welcome to SERP's Up. Aloha, mahalo for joining the SERP's Up podcast, putting out some groovy new insights around what's happening in SEO. I'm Mordy Oberstein, head of SEO branding at Wix, and filling in for our head of SEO communications Crystal Carter is Wix's own head of SEO editorial, George Nguyen.

George Nguyen:

Hey, how's it going? It's good to be back.

Mordy Oberstein:

How's it going, George?

George Nguyen:

Excellent, I always get jazz when I watch you do the SERP's Up thing, and you can't see this because it's not on video, but Mordy does this whole baseball pitch thing with his arm as he winds up for this SERP's UP.

Mordy Oberstein:

Winding up, I'm winding up.

George Nguyen:

Yeah, it's really good, and it just gets me in the mood.

Mordy Oberstein:

It's Robin Williams in Good morning Vietnam, that's my inspiration. Don't forget, the SERP's Up podcast is brought to you by Wix, where we now pull in Google's search console's URL inspection API to automatically show you the status of your pages on your site without you having to specify the URLs, because we do that for you. It's the Wix site inspection dashboard inside of Wix's SEO tool set. All right, we've got a really interesting one on this, so we're going deep into the wonderful world of user intent, Google intent, search intent. However you want to frame it, there's multiple ways to frame it, we're going to get into it. Anyway, it's the one thing about people and if there's one thing about people, it's that they are complicated. Yet, so much to the content on the web is either monolithic or overly broad and it's not very helpful, at least in my opinion. Although Google, if you look online, John Muller on Twitter every once in a while and make a statement like that, anyway.


[00:01:51] What's On This Episode of SERP's Up?

That's right, we're talking about when you can and can't target multiple audiences and intent with the same piece of content on your site. Learn when you can tackle multiple audiences with one page of content and rank well and when, well, you can't. It's everything you ever wanted to know about intent, SEO and multiple audience targeting, or maybe it's the one really important thing you really wanted to know about that and nothing else. Get it, see what I did there. SEO joke, right? I dived in which intent do you really want? [George’s drum sounds ] target getting multiple intents. Oh, man, off the rails. Anyway, plus we're going to see what we can learn about SEO from cats eating cilantro. This is George... If you don't like this one, I blame George, blame George.

George Nguyen:

I love cats.

Mordy Oberstein:

I know you do, I love cilantro. Anyway, just wait and see as we explore some fun and People Also Ask results and of course get some snappy SEO news and learn who you should be following for more SEO awesomeness this week, let's roll. Users, consumers, potential customers or clients, for everyone referred to the people that support or potentially could support your business, they are not linear, they don't have one need but multiple needs at multiple times in multiple places. So, it takes an example, it's boring and mundane and annoying, I know it's annoying because I just renewed it, car insurance or buying car insurance. Folks need to know not only what policy you have available, but they also need to know how to decide what's best for them.

They might even need to know how to decide what insurance policy is best for them. But guess what? Folks who need to know how to buy car insurance and folks that are ready to buy car insurance, they might actually be searching for the same thing on Google, buy car insurance. So, you need to be ready to meet the multiple messy needs of multiple users at multiple stages of their consumer journey, and that can be complicated.


[00:03:50] Focus Topic of the Week:  Mixed Search Intent

Do you write one master blog post about how to go about picking an insurance policy and compare the reviews and policies in one post? Do you create two different posts? When is it okay to target multiple intents, multiple user needs at one time? Can you even cater to multiple audiences all at once? If so, how? Welcome to the episode all about the messy mania that is multiple user intents and SEO. It's messy, George.

George Nguyen:

We're talking about mixed search intent, which is great because I feel like as a user, I kind of run into this all the time, maybe just says something about myself as a buyer. But let's talk about an easy example of mixed intent content, because we're seeing two different concepts that we have to reconcile here. There's the mixed intent content, which is what's on the website or what you or yourself might create. Then there's the mixed intent search engine results page, which we're just going to call SERP from this point onward. So, talking about the first one, some e-commerce sites, I'm just saying e-commerce because this is an easy example, they like to make their category pages very informative. Kind of straddles align between that informational intent, and then also since it's category page, the transactional intent or maybe the commercial intent there. It sort of depends on what brand you're talking about. You can see a thin light example at Bikes Online, which is a domain that sells mountain bikes and such.

But their category pages, if you just go to mountain bike, will have descriptions. Here we kind of see a mix here, they'll organize the content usually by features or classifications. In the case of the example I'm speaking about, you'll see dual suspension mountain bikes and a description for that. Then the front suspension mountain bikes and those actually kind of double as filters, so you see this format in a way that kind of appeals to both. There's informational text to educate visitors, but also there's that, hey, if you want to buy now, we'll get you right down this funnel, we'll convert. I consider this mix intent commercial and informational. Mordy, I really struggled here to find an example that wasn't necessarily e-commerce, because it's just so much of the internet is e-commerce. But do you have an example to pitch in here that might not be the same thing? Maybe for our listeners that don't run e-commerce sites?

Mordy Oberstein:

I have a bunch of examples and I'm just going to use one later on, it's all e-commerce.

George Nguyen:

Yeah, that's the thing, so this is a huge deal for anybody in e-commerce, because whoever is on your site potentially looking to buy, also is looking to know and understand. Let's talk about the other side of it though, there's the mixed intent SERP, this is kind of what Bing, Google, whatever search engine you use, the results they put together when they don't clearly signal an intent here. Usually, you can kind of tell what an intent is in the search term itself, question words indicate generally informational, if it's just a brand name, it might be navigational, so on and so forth. But this refers to a search engine results page that doesn't conform to what we would typically see in any of those four traditional intents, informational, commercial, navigational, transactional.

Even that model has a lot of challenges nowadays, we'll talk about a few. So, products or brands, sometimes they'll share names with other things and this can really create for a mix intents SERP. So, the example I want to go with here is for the term Air Force, so if you just go into Google type in Air Force, I'm in the United States just for reference. So, for that query, Google shows ads for Nike Air Force 1 shoes, as well as ads for joining the United States Air Force, which are two very different things. There's also information about joining the Air Force and then there's even kind of a local intent, because there's a local pack with Air Force recruitment centers. So, there you have e-commerce, and you have informational, it's a whole smorgasbord here.

Mordy Oberstein:

There's so many cases like that, so many ways that Google sort does this. You type in Badgers and you get things about the animal badgers or the Wisconsin Badgers college football team.

George Nguyen:

Exactly.

Mordy Oberstein:

But even on very, very, you would think to be commercial or transactional queries, again, buy car insurance is a great example. I did a study about a long time ago, you would think just be a bunch of websites where you could buy car insurance or buy whatever, but this was back like 2018, something around 40% of the results are informational. Meaning, Google thinks and takes the implication from your query that you're not searching for an actual product to buy, but you actually want information before you buy it about how to buy it. So, there's so many mixed intents and so many ways Google splices... It can offer you media formats, it gives you a video, not a blog post or a podcast, not a video.

George Nguyen:

The results are becoming more and more interesting, they evolve all the time. Informational intent, the straight up transactional, like peanut butter, a peanut butter jelly and mustard sandwich, right Mordy? That's Mordy's favorite, for sure.

Mordy Oberstein:

By the way, no joke, because if you search for peanut butter sandwich or peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the US where it's very, very popular. I used to eat one every day as a kid and now I live in Israel and people don't eat them. You get different results, because it's a different intent, but users have different needs in different markets. So, what's very straightforward to you in one market is totally different in another market.

George Nguyen:

Totally very, very granular, very impressive that the search engines, especially Google, have been able to develop. So, we were talking about all these intents and the thing about talking about intents is that they're traditionally seen as aligning with the sales funnel. The thing about the sales funnel is it's a linear concept. Yeah, people can drop out of your sales funnel, but when we talk about it in terms of strategy, we never plan for anybody to move up the sales funnel out of a phase, going into a previous phase. But for myself personally, I feel like there's so much information, the granularity with which I'm shopping for things. For example, I'm thinking about getting a rooftop tent for my car, but you have to worry about mounting, the bracket system, the weight structure. There's so much learning that I keep going back to transactional queries and maybe getting closer, and then I'm like, "There's another consideration," so I moved backwards here.

Mordy Oberstein:

That's where we're focusing today is more on the content side, so that you can show up, and again, Google might show various intents and various types of websites, various types of results for the queries that you're targeting with your content. But we're talking about you creating content and addressing the multiple intents, like in George's case, the various things he needs about the rooftop carrier or whatever is you're trying to order, I don't know what exactly what it is. Navigating between buying that and learning about that, and you're right, people think the funnel's really simple. There's awareness or the awareness stage, but people... When was the last time you actually yourself walked through the funnel, all the steps of being aware to being ready to buy, to actually buying? You're in and out, it's really messy. I feel I need to learn more now, I have new questions. I thought I was ready to buy, I was this close. I'm like, "Wait, wait, I'm out. I need to go way back, I totally misunderstood this whole product. I'm starting all over again," all the time.

George Nguyen:

Yeah, absolutely. If you line up the sales funnel stages, so let's think about this in our mind's eye here, on the left side we're going to have a sales funnel where it's awareness, research, and transaction is how I'm going to simplify this. Then on the right side, you have your search intents and to line up with that, you generally have the research, the informational intent, and then navigational, and then commercial, and then transactional at the bottom of that funnel. Does navigational really feel like it fits there? It feels like it goes everywhere in the funnel, depending on what kind of searcher you are.

Mordy Oberstein:

We should put it in the show us, I know Google has a poll post from a couple years ago how messy the funnel actually is and how it doesn't really work in this linear way, even though everyone presents it like that.

George Nguyen:

Every time you hear Google IO or Google Marketing Live or anytime you go to a conference, guarantee you someone's going to step on stage and be like, "The funnel is messy," like this is the first time someone's ever said that. They always have this graphic that is so convoluted, and that's one of the things here is we understand, most marketers can see that the funnel is messy. The thing is, there is no other model that is as prevalent to explain customer behavior, and so while we know that there are flaws, we just haven't developed anything better.

Mordy Oberstein:

So, let's jump into this actually and figure out how you can create what you can do with your content to address multiple intents and when you can or can't use one piece of content to do that, and when maybe you should use one piece of content to do that. Because it's tricky, again, it's someone like George trying to buy something and get information. Can you have information? Can you have transaction content on the same page? Does that work? Sometimes, usually not, you kind of need separate pieces to do that. But sometimes you do need both, and in a lot of ways, let the SERP be your guide is my best advice. How do you know when you can use one piece of content to address multiple intents, or multiple topics, multiple subtopics, or even topics of different intents or subtopics of different intents? One great way to do that is go to the Google results page, I've seen this before where during a Google update, a bunch of ultimate guides fell off page one. So, that kind of told me, you know what the intent of the user here is?

They want something very specific, they don't want to full ultimate guide to whatever. They want the particular answer to the particular question that they're searching for, that's the intent here. So, that should help reverse engineer that, so I'm writing content about that, Google and their data, their machine learning, is basically telling me what they're seeing from users and what users want. That's probably what my users want, I'm not going to create an ultimate guide in this situation. By the way, when you're doing this, when you're going to the results page, they'll just go to page one and see what's on page one. Go to page two and three and see what's not on page one. So, if you see all the ultimate guides, these comprehensive long documents are on page two and three, and they're not on page one, that kind of tells you something.

George Nguyen:

I mean, if you ever see a page one that's totally different from a page two in terms of the makeup of the results, send us that screenshot. Let us know what that query is, because I would love for things to be so cut and dry.

Mordy Oberstein:

I've seen when we covered it on the podcast, it had to do with one of the earlier episodes about logo making, a bunch of ultimate guides got pushed to page two.

George Nguyen:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, that's good.

Mordy Oberstein:

I see a bunch of health queries also, see, I have real cases behind on my madness.

George Nguyen:

With regard to like that, we should get that printed on a shirt like, "The SERP is my guide," because really when it comes to mixed intent stuff, I cannot overstate that the results page will tell you so much about what Google thinks about the query, and thus, what your competition is. That is where I go to start making my decisions generally, and let me tell you also-

Mordy Oberstein:

media formats, if you see a bunch-

George Nguyen:

Media formats, yeah.

Mordy Oberstein:

... of images on the results page, Google showing images everywhere, that kind of tells you there's an intent embedded in the query for visual assets that you should probably have on your page.

George Nguyen:

Exactly, so I go to the SERP to identify opportunities, competitors, know what you're getting into before you start planning, that's a huge deal. There's not going to be a foolproof framework that Mordy and I can offer you, because every business is so different. Also, fundamentally, I break this down into three key considerations, the first one is know your audience, second one is know your subject matter or your industry, and the third one is know the SERP for the desired keywords. That's already what you had touched on, Mordy. Your audience is the one that gets to decide whether you should be creating multiple content pieces across different intents or just one piece of content with all the intents. You're not going to have all the intents, but... Sure, for the case of my example, I don't mean that that audience actually gets to decide, but that you should know your audience well enough to predict what's likely to work.

What does your audience know your brand for? If the query is dark roast coffee and you're Amazon, users are likely not expecting for you to be in the search results page with informational content, like a buying guide, they're expecting a product page, straight up. So, who are you to really break that user experience? So, if you thinking about going for new opportunities, see if anyone else has done it, see if there are users that are in your reviews or giving you feedback that they actually want this information. Know your audience, that's a huge thing. You mentioned, Mordy, health topics, so that's what I kind of meant when I said know your subject matter or your industry. So, for your money or your life content, that YMYL content, Google heavily scrutinizes expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness, EAT.

If you're in a YMYL industry, like medical advice, evaluate your content to see whether it's serving users or it's just a thinly veiled attempt to serve your own business. This is something that we saw earlier with the Medic update and subsequent updates after. Sites that were maybe saying like, "We're holistic medicine," air quotes. In the content, they'd have answers to queries, but they'd also have affiliate links for essential oils, which caused Google to look at them sideways. I felt like a lot of brands for their lack of transparency there, they really suffered. Also, there's mixed intent here, and the integrity of the informational intent is so important in that vertical. So, that's why I say know your subject matter or your industry, lives are literally on the line in health, not so much in photography.

Mordy Oberstein:

Well, you never know, but for the most part. No, but it's a good point, and the truth is let's say a health page or a finance page, and I've seen this play out in the algorithm, while let's say a landing page for whatever for, I don't know, for buying a new camera, we'll go with the photo thing, does it need to have a lot of informational content there? You're assuming that users already got that information, now that you're here to buy? Not that I would say taking out a business loan, on the page where they're actually buying something, people want to know exactly what it is they're buying before they buy, it's super important to have that information there. So, understand the nature of the client and the user, Google does. If the demand for informational content exists to help you contextualize the purchase, then add it there. It's okay to mix intents, we're not saying it's not okay. In fact, in general, I would say as a framework, because again you're right, you can't offer particular advice.

But as a framework, it's always okay to add on accentual informational content, like an FAQ to a product page. In fact, many times Google actually prefers on a landing page that you have some kind of a bit of informational content. I've seen that there for some software products where it's not just click here, buy here, name of the product, short one or two lines. It's how do you use the product, FAQ about the product, why you need the product, so there's an infusion of informational content there and that supports the commercial aspect of the page. So, mix intents, informational content can support the commercial side of it also, don't be afraid to mix things up a little bit and to accent commercial transactional content with a bit of information. I don't think you can really go wrong there. Obviously, don't go overboard, it's not that kind of vertical. George, wrap this up?

George Nguyen:

This is the last piece of advice and it seems like we're talking to e-commerce sites specifically, even though this can apply more broadly to other sites. But since you're talking about product pages, while this is tangentially related to mixed intents and you're thinking about your product descriptions, you have to know... This goes back to knowing your business and your industry, what do people use your site for? If you're selling fewer goods, maybe your own brand or a relatively obscure brand, then you're going to need to provide more information, because customers aren't going to be able to get that anywhere else. So, naturally, you're going to look like a more informative product page. But if you're like a Best Buy, where people might literally just come to do the transaction, because they know they can return in store and that's easy for them, maybe that content's not as important, because they've already probably learned it everywhere else, so know your position here as the brand or as the seller.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yep, last point, go with your gut. Build an intuition about what's out there in the ecosystem, what kind of content is out there, understanding your users, what is appropriate, what is it not appropriate, when do you need to segment topics, subtopics or different types of content, or when can you combine it all on one page, trust yourself and build up that intuition.


[00:19:36] Focus Topic Guest: Rejoice Ojaiku

Speaking about different intents and content for different intents, search, although we love search, is not the only medium out there. What about different intents and different ecosystems? What about long versus short content, and different platforms, and different ecosystems? To help you with that, we have a content strategist over at the Rise at Seven, SEO and content agency, Rejoice Ojaiku, to help you out.

Rejoice Ojaiku:

So the question I'm going to be answering is how do you speak to multiple types of users and intents on other channels such as social media? When I'm thinking about this question and thinking about the most appropriate way to sort answer it, let's start off with. Users, multiple types of users. Now, I think as a brand, you need to look at the different types of users that you have on all your channels.

So whether that is website, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, I think you need to understand the type of origins that you mostly get. So for example, on TikTok, you might find that you are mostly getting a lot of people within the Gen Z category, and that's the audience you have there. And on websites you might find that people who are on there.

Of a certain demographic or a certain location. So you have all these datas that provides you an insight into the different types of audiences you're getting, and therefore, you then will understand what type of content or what type of formats it interacts with the most. Now, TikTok only presents itself.

With mostly videos, a loss of point of view type content, a lot of user generator type content, and that can then give you the idea of the content format that is most suitable for that platform. Whereas you wouldn't always necessarily use videos on Twitter compared to TikTok, for example. Sometimes Twitter can provide a great realm for more thoughts provoking information.

People just want to read, and you do that in the form of threads. Whereas TikTok, again, is more snappy, more quick-witted type of content, so you have more shorter videos, same as Instagram with the rules and all these things and your website. I think website has a better chance of infographics and a better chance of long-form blog content.

When you are looking at creating different sort of content to target different users and different intents, it is about understanding what content or what type of content that these audiences are interacting with, And there are things that you could utilize to sort of find this information.

One of the best way to do is utilizing the search function within these platforms and seeing what type of content is coming up.  Understand how search works on this platform. I think people get confused. That search sometimes works exactly the same way as Google on the website when you try to expand it in all forms of platforms, and that's not the case.

Search doesn't have to always be quite linear. It is very much evolving and very much different when you are presented with the different types of channels.

So maybe you do want to serve the same topic across all channels and to all audiences, but doesn't mean the format of that topic has to be completely the same. So we can talk about travel. For every single audience that we have identified. But how are we communicating that now? This is where you have to be creative.

So I think that is how you speak to multiple types of users. Understand the topic. Understand what content formats they are interacting with, Understanding the tone of voice that they're used to as well. Are things abbreviated or shortened when it comes to these platforms? Does the search actually fully typed out or query, or is a query shortened?

There's so many different abbreviations of search crews in general. So understanding the tone of voice that the audiences receive quite well, and also understanding how to repurpose and understanding what is the intent that these people are actually interacting with. More so, and by all means, always playing ahead.

Always have a pool of search queries. And trust me, if you're going to go onto platforms such as social media, then you absolutely need to consider hashtags. You absolutely need to consider. What hashtags are relevant to this content, what hashtags are popular, doing quite well, and then

Do your competitor's research to see what other people are creating with this hashtag, and I think that's the best way to sort of meet your audience and meet your readers exactly where you want them to.

Mordy Oberstein:

Thank you so much for Rejoice, totally great point. Something we didn't discuss, George, but thinking about it also for search is the type of content in terms of its length, I don't mean I'm not worried about how long a post should be, is it 200 word or 2000 words, but do they want a real quick snippet of information? Do they want a quick video? Google does show shorts on the SERP, so a great point to consider by Rejoice across all platforms.

George Nguyen:

I think one of the things that holds us back from thinking more broadly in SEO is the question of reporting. Sometimes reporting isn't always clear on things or when we're working across channels, that it's a little bit harder to do. So, I feel like SEOs inherently just want to do what they know, but thinking more broadly, definitely has advantages, because your customers don't care, they prefer what they prefer, that's how it's going to be.

Mordy Oberstein:

Totally.

George Nguyen:

All right, before we move on, I did want to give a shout out.

Mordy Oberstein:

Shout out time.

George Nguyen:

I wanted shout out Luke Carthy, who is writing an excellent piece on product description optimization, we'll be publishing it on the Wix SEO Learning Hub soon. Some of that advice earlier that I mentioned about thinking about your business in terms of how mature it is and what you sell comes from Luke Carthy. So, if that's published, then we'll put up the URL, if not, we'll add it later.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, and we'll add Luke's Twitter handle to the show notes, so you can follow him, because he's a great SEO to follow, but he's not the follow of the week, but it's a bonus follow up the week.


[00:25:51] Fun with People Also Ask

Anyway, it's time for my favorite segment. It is literally my favorite segment, it is so off the rails and I love it, it's fun with People Also Ask. So, the People Also Ask presents you with typically four questions that are related to the search you just ran. So, if you search for, I don't know, how to buy car insurance, why is that my favorite query? It's so boring, it'll show you four questions about buying car insurance. Each question is attached to an expandable tab, which when expanded, it gives you the answer to the question along the URL where the answer is sourced from.

Fun part, by the way, is when you expand one question, Google dynamically and immediately loads more questions. So, PAA boxes are a great resource of information, which is exactly why we're doing this. This fun little way to learn about how Google thinks about things. Anyway, today I'm grilling George to see if he really knows about cats, because George loves cats, loves cats. Every meeting with George we have to, "Look at the cat, everybody, here's my cat." Anyway, we're looking at the four initial PAA, People Also Ask questions that Google shows for the keyword, can cats eat cilantro, to see if George is smarter than a search engine and get some glimpses about what Google's thinking along the way. You ready, George?

George Nguyen:

I am.

Mordy Oberstein:

Can cats eat cilantro? How do we even come up with this? Okay, first question, George, what does cilantro do to cats?

George Nguyen:

I have no idea from experience, but I'm going to say that, generally speaking, cats don't show too much affinity for plants, in general. Sometimes they'll eat house plants, but usually not, and some of them are poisonous except for cat grass and stuff. So, it'll probably mess with them or they'll throw up, I'm going to say they throw up, final answer.

Mordy Oberstein:

Final answer, you want to phone a friend, cilantro, the cilantro plant can cause gastrointestinal irritation and cardiac arrhythmia in your pet, yikes.

George Nguyen:

That is much worse than throwing up.

Mordy Oberstein:

That's much worse than throwing up, which by the way, look at the intent there, speaking of intent, the query was can cats eat cilantro? The first question Google has and the People Also Ask box is what does cilantro do to cats? Meaning Google's looking at the intent of your query and thinking okay, you want to know the impact of cilantro on the cat, and that's why that's that first question. Second question, is cilantro pet friendly?

George Nguyen:

No, no way, it's too spicy.

Mordy Oberstein:

Well-

George Nguyen:

I don't know if spicy's the right word.

Mordy Oberstein:

First off, before we get to the answer, again, point about Google because it's fun, but it's also we're learning about Google, you see that Google went wider and it went off of cats and went to a larger genus or species, genus, whatever. I know science, and is cilantro pet friendly, as opposed to was it cat friendly?

So, sometimes Google will do that in the PAA box, it'll zoom out, in this case, George, cilantro actually is healthy for your dog to eat, it may actually help your dog's upset stomach. By the way, see the bias of Google search results that it went to dog, even though the question was is it pet friendly? So, sometimes the question that Google asks and the answers don't match up. So, if you're doing research, look at the question, but in this case, ignore the answer, because that's doesn't make sense.

George Nguyen:

I've seen this happen a few times where the answer is... It is the answer to a different question, while related, it's not quite what's labeled there.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, so it's interesting that great question, but the answer's probably not what you're looking for. All right, next one, question number three, are any herbs toxic to cats?

George Nguyen:

There's got to be.

Mordy Oberstein:

Clock is ticking, George.

George Nguyen:

I don't know if they are off the top... There's so many herbs, there's so many herbs, like coriander, I don't know, they can't all be safe.

Mordy Oberstein:

English ivy's toxins cause vomiting and stomach pain, poinsettia is only mildly toxic, affecting some cats with a temporary bout of vomiting.

George Nguyen:

That's important, because that's something you could have in your house.

Mordy Oberstein:

Quick point here, check out what Google did here, both in the previous question, is cilantro pet-friendly Google, zoomed out and went to all pets. Here it's taking cilantro now and zooming out and going to all herbs. So, cool way of getting to how Google is thinking,

George Nguyen:

Just switching Out. The object here.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, and it knows which one to switch.

George Nguyen:

Yeah.

Mordy Oberstein:

Sorry, I thought you were commenting on what I was saying. Yeah, and it knows to switch.

George Nguyen:

I am, it's switching the subject in a sense, because it knows that doing this in this minor way causes enough of a meaningful difference but adds enough value that it's worth putting in a PAA box.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, and then it switches to the next thing, goes from the animal to the plant and zooms out that way. Anyway, I interrupted you.

George Nguyen:

The question really is, are cats safe for cilantro?

Mordy Oberstein:

I don't know what that means. What herbs are cats allowed to eat?

George Nguyen:

Cat grass.

Mordy Oberstein:

Okay, it's a list-

George Nguyen:

And not cilantro.

Mordy Oberstein:

Cat thyme, camomile, licorice root, cats claw, dandelion root and golden seal. Sure, I don't know what any of that stuff means. But again, interesting you're taking the original query of can cats eat cilantro and now it's going to what herbs are cats allowed to eat? Meaning it's again zooming out, going wider with the intent saying, "Okay, if you're interested in knowing if the cat can eat cilantro, maybe your next question is going to be, "Well, if they can eat cilantro, then what can they eat?" So, Google's trying to predict the intent and the next question of the user with the PAA questions, which is why it's such a great keyword research tool.

George Nguyen:

And you never have to leave the search results, which is kind of not so great for brands. But also, I mean, this is this is search in 2020.

Mordy Oberstein:

Well, different question, different time. Different question, George, different time. Not kidding, I'm not stepping on that landmine in this episode. You know what I am stepping on?

George Nguyen:

That's the one landmine you're not going to step on in this episode.

Mordy Oberstein:

That's the one, that's it.

George Nguyen:

That's the hill you're not going to die on today. Okay, understood.

Mordy Oberstein:

We all have to have our-

George Nguyen:

Boundaries, nice.

Mordy Oberstein:

Yeah, boundaries are important, George. Two things are important here, one, you are not smarter than a search engine. Two, although the truth is, those are very broad and that's hard to answer in all fairness to George. But we're not being fair to George, and two is are you ready for some Snappy News?

George Nguyen:

100%. Snap it off.


[00:31:49] Snappy News

Mordy Oberstein:

Okay, then it's time for the Snappy News. Snappy News, Snappy News, Snappy News, big news this week as Google held its Search On event and made a heap of announcements. Some were not entirely new, some are cool, but I don't think are a huge deal for search. For example, when translating with Google Lens, which by the way is amazingly cool. If you haven't tried it, you can translate an image text via Google Lens. So, Google said they're going to do a better job of keeping the quality of the original image up, very cool, not a big deal for search. There are things like a new search refinement aide they'll be rolling out. Essentially, you start typing a query, and Google offers a word in various blocks, and as you click on a block, you build a query that way. It's cool, I think it says more about what Google can do with predictive content more than anything.

There are indeed some things that are significant for search, for example, coming on the e-com side, buying guides for products on the SERP. There are page insight via the Google app, which when you're on a product page, for example, they'll pull up other content related to that page or product, so you get a more holistic understanding of the page or the product. There's a whole lot coming around personalization and shopping, so if you engage, for example, the filter to see just kids clothes on the SERP, or let's say you only want to see certain kind of brands, Google will let you personalize the SERP that way, so you get very specific shopping results, very cool. There are a few good articles covering all the updates, Barry Schwartz has one at Search Engine Roundtable covering everything, all the announcements. He's got another one at Search Engine Land covering the big stuff, Brooke from Search Engine Journal has a piece covering all the shopping features.

We're going to link to all of those in the show notes, have a look, explore everything that Google did. For me, my big takeaway, forget all the bells and whistles, forget all the updates and the features, if you watched the event, Google kept coming back to this theme of making search more fun and more natural and more intuitive, over and over and over again. If they're doing that, I don't think we should ignore them. So, to me, that focus is more important than any particular update, Google sees, in my honest opinion, the SERP as you and I know it as being a bit obsolete. It wants to get more layered, more immersive, offering a deeper experience that fosters real exploration. I wrote a whole post on this a while back for Semrush, I'll link through that in the show notes as well. Because there are a heap of implications and it's too much to get into right here, right now, because we need to keep things snappy. With that, that is this week's Snappy News. Well, that was news-delicious, hey George?

George Nguyen:

Man, every time you try to think of one of those ways to segue after a segment, I'm just like, "Here it comes."

Mordy Oberstein:

Well, I'm making them up on the spot, so I don't plan out the segments, let me rephrase!  I plan out the segments, I don't plan out the pivots.

George Nguyen:

This is the fourth podcast you're doing concurrently, so I had expectations.

Mordy Oberstein:

The answer to that is don't, don't have expectations.


[00:34:59] Follow of the Week

But if you are going to have expectations, if you're going to follow Glenn Gabe, our follow of the week, and I just ruined it's Glenn Gabe, then you can expect awesome Twitter SEO content. How's that for a pivot, George? In all seriousness, Glenn Gabe is a fantastic follow on Twitter, and it's @glenngabe, that's G-L-E-N-N, two Ns in Glenn and Gabe, G-A-B-E, Glenn Gabe on Twitter. Fantastic, fantastic follow. George, you know him, you follow him.

George Nguyen:

Yeah, I do. So, I would say that in the Twitter SEO realm, there's the people who live in Breathe SEO and talk nothing but that, and there's the people who kind of mix in their day to day lives. If you're more into the former group, that's Glenn Gabe, he shares things about how the search results work and how features work, that I'm like, "Wow, almost no marketing use case for this whatsoever, just super interesting to know." He gets granular and his writing is topnotch, for sure.

Mordy Oberstein:

Totally topnotch. Totally topnotch, so check out GSQI, where Glenn runs a blog. It's absolutely great, as George mentioned, on things like Google updates and well beyond. He's super active on Twitter, breaking you all sorts of digital marketing news and commentary on that news, along with some great examples of what's happening in the rankings and on the SERP. Glenn is a super follow, a must follow, Glenn Gabe.

George Nguyen:

I wish I could emulate the way he thought about search, that's definitely something that strikes me is the way he thinks about search is very Glenn Gabe.

Mordy Oberstein:

And he's a Yankees fan, which is, hey, for me, it's a total edited bonus. Anyway, you don't care about that, George. Sports ball.

George Nguyen:

Go sports team, go local sports team. There are no professional sports teams in Rhode Island, where I live.

Mordy Oberstein:

Which is neither a road nor an island. Discuss. And with that, thank you for joining us on the SERP's UP podcast. Are you going to miss us? Not to worry, we're back next week with an all new episode, diving into all new SEO goodness. Look for it wherever you consume your podcasts or on the SEO Learning Hub over at Wix, at wix.com/SEO/learn. If you like what you had to hear, don't forget to give us a positive review over on iTunes or a rating over in Spotify. Again, if you're looking for more SEO information, check out all the great content, all the great webinars on the Wix SEO Learning Hub at you guessed it, wix.com/SEO/learn. George?

George Nguyen:

I am always glad to be here, Mordy, I run the Wix SEO Learning Hub.

Mordy Oberstein:

You do.

George Nguyen:

Had some love.

Mordy Oberstein:

That's true, how did we not say that. You do run the Hub. Well, until next time then, peace, love, and SEO.

George Nguyen:

And cats.

Mordy Oberstein:

And cilantro.

Related Episodes

Don’t miss out on any new episodes

Thanks for subscribing!

Share

Share to Facebook
Share to Twitter
Share to LinkedIn
Subscribe
bottom of page