Google’s featured snippets are prime real estate in the SERPs, but if you want to capture them, it’s hard to know where to start. Last week families gathered together to expand their waistlines while reflecting on collective bounties and giving thanks. While most of us in the industry didn’t fight over the wishbone of turkey together, our industry family has a lot to be thankful for. Things are far from perfect in the world of SEO, but this industry is what gives many of us the means to buy a Thanksgiving feast.
Here are five things I think every SEO professional should be thankful for.
1. People in the Industry
If you have been in the SEO industry for any time at all, you’ve most likely come across people who are more than willing to help and an SEO professional should be thankful for it.
Even those of us who have been in the industry for 20+ years frequently reach out to the connections we have made just to double-check our thinking.
And when someone in the industry hits a rough patch in life, there are many who are willing to step up and help.
I have seen thousands of dollars raised through crowdfunding to help people that have medical issues or have lost a job.
I know that this happens in other industries as well, but the fact that most of us spend our days online, the social media conversations with those in our industry are basically our water cooler talk.
Whether you need help with the latest algorithm shift or are having trouble making ends meet – the search industry cares for its own.
And that is something special.
2. Google Communications
We used to have Matt Cutts.
Matt Cutts did a great job of letting us know how Google thinks, and in many cases, what Google is looking for.
He was a rockstar at every conference.
Pretty much everyone in SEO wanted to talk to Matt.
Cutts has moved on to running the government (at least that’s what I like to think).
So in steps the “godfather of search” Danny Sullivan.
He knows what SEO professionals need to know because he was the voice of SEO for many years.
Sullivan, coupled with Googlers Gary Illyes and John Mueller, communicate what Google is thinking – even if it is sometimes cryptic and not always helpful.
But the fact that these guys take the time to answer questions, speak at conferences, and debunk SEO myths is something we should all be thankful for.
Sure, we all want these guys to give us magic advice that will skyrocket our rankings to the top – but that’s not ever how this is going to work.
By debunking the bad advice and myths, these Google guys make our life easier.
At Pubcon, Bing presented some numbers that were hard to believe.
Bing said that their search engine commands a 33% share of the search pie.
I’m not going to say whether I think those numbers are real or not, but I will say I’ve never had a site that I managed to see that much traffic from Bing.
But I have seen the traffic from Bing be more valuable, pound for pound than the traffic from Google.
It’s a well-known secret that Bing traffic typically converts better than Google traffic.
I have my theories.
My foremost theory is that Bing users are typically those that are just using a PC out of the box.
These users don’t install Chrome, and they certainly don’t change their default search engine over to Google.
Most of the time, these users don’t even notice that they are using Bing.
They just search. Seo professional should be thankful to those users for reducing the burden.
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These searchers seem to be much more apt to buy quickly on many items.
The move through the sales funnels extremely quickly.
If only we could how to actually get 33% of the overall traffic to a site from these Bing users, everyone would be happy.
Regardless, Bing is good for search.
We should be thankful that Google has a competitor that has both the cash and the technology to challenge them.
4. Baby Algorithms
I wrote about Baby Algorithms last month.
Basically, a baby algorithm is how Google’s Gary Illyes described what is going on in the search algorithm at Pubcon in October.
The concept of baby algorithms is simple.
Google doesn’t treat every site the same.
A site focused on crafting is not treated the same as sites offering payday loans.
Baby algorithms are the new normal in search.
The basics of SEO remain that same, but the nuance, the stuff that makes you rank better than a competitor, is now different dependent upon the baby algorithm by which your query is affected.
This is great for SEO pros.
Baby algorithms let us flex our analytics muscles and solve problems without being dependent upon the same tactics that may or may not make sense in every vertical.
Baby algorithms make us look at real marketing as opposed to just algorithm reverse-engineering.
5. Robust Competing Tools
Does anyone remember Web position Gold?
Web position Gold was the first SEO tool I ever used.
With Web position Gold, you could run ranking reports, look at how the SERPs were behaving, and create “doorway pages” (which Google didn’t like).
Web position Gold was so ubiquitous that Google started penalizing pages that had an image filed named “blue line” as that was the default image created in Web position Gold’s doorway page creator.
SEO tools have come a long way.
Site crawlers, backlink analysis, review management, citation building – there are few tasks in SEO today that can’t be aided by a specific tool.
What used to take a team of 10 people can now be done with one person, in many cases.
Automation is certainly a double-edged sword.
There are some that have lost their jobs as automation has replaced them.
But for many of us, the rise of SEO tools has allowed us to do more with less. It has allowed us to make more money while having to do less work.
And that is something to be thankful for.
There are a few boring days in SEO.
I am so thankful to be able to work in an industry that is as vibrant as this one. Not just me, every SEO professional should be thankful for it.