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🔍 Google Posts recommends customer testimonials | Is link building dead?

Good morning, Refactual, are you making the most of your business’ positive reviews?

Google Posts has begun recommending customer testimonials for business owners to publish on their Google My Business listings. The suggestions are automatically generated based on recent four- or five-star reviews. It’s not clear which countries are getting this feature just yet, so check your inbox and keep an eye out the next time you sign into Google My Business. If it rolls out where you are, it might be a worthwhile way to distinguish your business from local competitors.

There are a number of polarizing topics in our community, and link building is one that’s been dividing SEOs for nearly two decades. Depending on who you ask, it’s either an essential part of any SEO strategy or a dead practice waiting to get buried.

Adamant that resources are better spent on crafting content that matches user intent, opponents argue that links that aren’t organically-given inherently violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. On the other side of the line, proponents channel the “if a tree falls and no one is there to hear it” thought experiment, asserting that competition is just too fierce for content to rise up the ranks without links. Whatever position you take, it’s always good to keep in mind that links are there to provide users with resources and context — not to dictate search rankings.  

Don’t stop now, you’re on a roll. Keep reading for Mordy Oberstein’s soapbox on what a mixed blessing Featured Snippets can be, Steve Costanza’s advice on setting return goals for audience segments and much more.

George Nguyen,
Associate Editor


Pro Tip

Here’s why you need to set a unique return goal for each audience segment

“It’s important to note the inherent relationship between return and revenue. Generally, a stricter return goal will limit revenue opportunities, and a more liberal return goal will open revenue opportunities,” explains Steve Costanza of Sidecar. “For instance, you might be willing to target a less efficient goal for prospects (perhaps 30-45% cost/sale), a similar or slightly more efficient goal for the new and cookied audience (25-40% cost/sale), and a much more efficient goal for returning customers (about 5-10% cost/sale).”

“Generally, with a new-versus-returning customer model, you should be willing to spend more budget and operate to a less efficient return goal to attract new customers. By contrast, you should target a more efficient goal for returning customers because you’ve already invested in this audience and you’ve determined it is more likely to convert after having purchased in the past.”

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The Secret Formula For Determining A Marketing Budget

Sponsored by Sharpspring

Determining a marketing budget can be frustrating. Are you investing enough? How do you know if what you’re doing is working? This guide from SharpSpring outlines two simple equations you can use to take a lot of the guesswork out of the budgeting process.

Read More »

Search Shorts

Hand rankings in Google – nope.

No hand ranking. Google says it does not rank web pages by hand. In addition, it said it would be impossible to do so.

URL Parameter tool. For now, the URL Parameter tool is still in the old version of Google Search Console but, when it migrates, there may be changes.

New JavaScript videos. Want Google to continue to do videos on JavaScript and SEO?  If so, let Martin Splitt of Google know what you want to hear.

#? No, Google doesn’t support special things with #s in the URL.  


Featured Snippets are not great for content creators, but there is a silver lining

The benefit of your URL being showcased in a Featured Snippet is perhaps axiomatic. Despite that, I have this absurd notion that we’re on our way to seeing Featured Snippets with diminished traffic power for content creators.

Crazy, you say? Perhaps.

However, let’s consider that Google has already presented us with Featured Snippet formats that stifle the urge to click. These include Featured Snippets that serve as Direct Answers and that present complete – not partial – lists.

Think about it this way: Google doesn’t want long-winded content within its Featured Snippets. The more the content directly answers the user’s question, the better.

Can Google actually do this? From leaping strides in machine learning to more targeted methods of indexation (such as “Fraggles”), all signs point to more refined Featured Snippet content.

But I won’t let this keep me up at night. A URL being placed before all other URLs will always be a traffic win!

Mordy Oberstein,
Marketing Manager of Rank Ranger

What we’re reading

We’ve curated our picks from across the web so you can retire your feed reader

Better protection against Man in the Middle phishing attacks – Google Online Security Blog

Explore U.S. National Parks in Google Earth – Google Blog

Facebook is reportedly developing an AI assistant to take on Alexa and Google Assistant – VentureBeat

Google May Change How NoIndex In Robots.txt Works – Search Engine Roundtable

Google Turns on “Reserve” for Trip Advisor – Where’s the Effing Off Button? – Mike Blumenthal

The One-Hour Guide to SEO: Link Building – Whiteboard Friday – Moz

Why storytelling is good for SEO – Yoast

YouTube Music is now free with ads on Google Home devices – TechCrunch


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Attend Search Engine Land’s SMX Advanced, June 3-5, 2019 for expert-led sessions, networking (including the 2019 Search Engine Land Awards), and top amenities including WiFi, delicious meals, and snacks. This is your once-a-year event to learn only advanced SEO and SEM tactics. You’ll come away with at least one tactic that you can immediately put to use… we guarantee it. View rates and register today!



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