Links from the show:
- Google Assistant is now on more than 400 million devices
- Google says too many subfolders won’t hurt your search rankings
- Googlebot doesn’t make up URLs
- Unusual keywords in search analytics reports might be knowledge graph related
- The most searched fads of 2017
- Four tips to gain customers’ trust
My favorite new trick is that I can be sitting in my office, both at home and at work, in range of my Google Home and ask it to start my car for me. While that’s still a bit of an edge case, the use of Google Assistant is not, as Google says there are now more than 400 million devices that run the Assistant.
Before we get into that, though, I’m Mickey Mellen and this is A Brighter Web, episode #33, brought to you by all of us at GreenMellen. Our goal with this podcast is to give you quick, weekly insights and tips to help you get more done and free up your time to do great things. We also want to thank our sponsor GoWP.com. GoWP provides white-label WordPress support for agencies and web professionals. Use code ABW for a 15% discount on any monthly plan. Today, we’ll talk more about the Google Assistant, sub-folders not hurting your SEO, unusual keywords, top fad searches of 2017, and more. Let’s dig in.
So Google says that their Google Assistant is now on more than 400 million. While Google Home devices only make up a small part of that. It’s mostly phones. It’s still an impressive number. A fun note is that Google said they sold more than one Google Home device every second since the Google Home mini started shipping in October, so around six and a half million of those. In our house, we have a ton of Assistant capable devices. We have three cell phones that run it, four separate Google Homes and now my new Pixel Bud headphones, lots of ways to access the Assistant from anywhere. It’s becoming crazy useful. As I mentioned at the top of the show, I just realized I can now yell at my Google Home to start my car and the ongoing battle with Amazon Alexa is only going to keep making both products get better and better.
Google says too many sub-folders won’t hurt your search rankings. In the distant past, a large number of folders in a URL could affect rankings because Google could see it as being further away from the homepage. For example, if you had website.com/greenapples, that would be seen as better than website.com/products/fruit/apples/green. Google has confirmed that this is no longer the case. In particular, they said, “As long as the URLs work and are linked consistently, that should be fine.”
Googlebot doesn’t make up URLs. There’s a theory out there that Google will sometimes make up URLs to try to randomly guess and find new pages that they might not otherwise discover. As Barry Schwartz says, “It seems kind of inefficient and un-Google-like,” and I tend to agree. Google’s John Mueller confirms, saying, “In general, Googlebot doesn’t make up URLs. So if they were found and not in your sitemap file, it’s likely that they were linked from somewhere within your site and it’s possible those links have been removed.” Now it’s interesting that he says in general, they don’t make up URLs. But I assume the difference there is that they only invent URLs that are similar to other ones, kind of taking off extra query parameters, that kind of thing. I don’t think Googlebot’s gonna be randomly crawling your site, looking for random pages. In most cases, you can see those show up as 404 errors if they do and we don’t. So I think John is correct with that.
Unusual keywords and Search Analytics reports might be knowledge graph related. So this is kind of an edge case too. But if you dig deep into Google Search consul, you may find some keywords that Google says you ranked number one or number two for and get a lot of impressions. But you can’t find them near the top at all and what could be happening here is that an image of yours is showing up in a featured snippet or knowledge graph entry, so showing up, getting lots of traffic, but when you search, you don’t see it. So if you’re the kind of person that likes to dig around Search Console, it’s worth reading this full article that we have linked in our show notes so you can learn more about that.
In a previous podcast, we talked about the most searched phrases on 2017 and Google’s now also released a list of the most searched fads of 2017. Lots of unicorn phrases are in there, particularly thanks to Starbucks and their Unicorn Frappuccino. The top “how to make” search of 2017 was how to make slime. With an 11 year old at home, we were certainly part of this trend. Other trendy searches were “cash me outside,” Elf on the Shelf, and acronyms like GOAT, Greatest Of All Time, and TFW, That Feeling When. The full list is in our show notes, so you can see all the fads that Google say were the most popular of the year.
The last article I want to share for this week is one from Entrepreneur that talks about four tips to gain customers’ trust and I thought it was just some good, basic tips we should all be following. Number one, give lightning fast responses. If customers have questions for you, get back to them as quickly as you’re able. Keep your inbox clean, which we talk about a lot on our website and on this podcast as a great way to do that. Number two, never underestimate the value of small talk. If you’re a small business, your biggest advantage is that you’re a person and not a big company. It’s easy to make a bit of small talk with your clients to show you’re human and show that side of yourself. It can really set you apart from others. Number three, use a time-tested internal system. Make sure you don’t let anything slip through the cracks. We at GreenMellen love Asana, but there are many other great systems out there for you to use. But make sure you use some kind of system to make sure you’re on top of everything, nothing falls through the cracks, you can follow your process all the way through. Number four, talk to your customers as you would to your boss because they’re essentially your boss. You want to treat them that way with all the respect they deserve. So it’s a simple article, but it gets into some pretty good detail if you read through and we have a link to it in our show notes if you want to dig into that and learn a bit more.
Lastly, for our tip of the week, I want to back up a little bit. Back in 2009, Dennis Crowley launched the Foursquare app, allowing people to check in at various places and do fun things that become mayor if they check in more often than their friends. For a little while, some restaurants and stuff even offered discounts if you were the mayor of the restaurant. It kind of faded a little bit and in 2014, they split the check-in aspect of the app into a new app called Swarm. Recent updates have made it a great app for some of us. In the early days of Foursquare, I tried to use it as a social app, but not enough of my friends joined it. Instead, I began to use it as a historical tracker for myself and the tweaks they’ve made to Swarm have been great. It’s focused just really on keeping a log of where you’ve checked in, how often, and a little bit of what your friends are up to. But it’s more about the check in experience. Better still, I put a setting in If, the “if this, then that” program, which takes each of my check ins and puts them on a private Google Calendar for myself. The calendar now goes back years so I can see where we went for dinner on a particular day, that kind of thing. It’s more fun than useful, but I like it. If you’ve ever used Foursquare or Swarm in the past, I encourage you to check it out again, as it could be kind of useful for you.
That’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter @mickmel or learn lots more at greenmellenmedia.com and you can find out more about the podcast, including show notes and links, as well as video tutorials and many other resources over at abrighterweb.com. Thanks for listening.