Blog

The Best CRM Software You Should Consider Using in 2022

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Best CRM Software You Should Consider Using in 2022

The Best CRM Software You Should Consider Using in 2022

Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.

The best customer relationship management (CRM) software helps you provide better service and captures valuable insight about what your clients really want.

It simplifies everyday tasks for employees. They always know which customer they are speaking to, for one thing, and automatically store all information in the same account. Everything your team needs is at their fingertips–no more confusion or tracking down info.

Good CRM software can do a lot more than that, the idea is simple: you are positioning your employees to deliver a five-star experience, every time.

There are a boatload of CRM software options to choose from. They each have strengths that play better for different types of companies. Which one is actually going to help your teams?

To sort things out, I reviewed the best CRM software available and put together a brief buyer’s guide to help you make an informed final decision.

#1 – Zoho CRM Review — The Best “All-in-One” Solution

Unlike some other options on this list, Zoho CRM is an all-in-one solution. There aren’t additional modules to look through for different departments or anything like that. This makes it an excellent option for small to midsize businesses.

This is a CRM tool that all of your employees will be able to use. That’s really important because a CRM is only as good as the information that people put into it. With Zoho CRM, your employees are not going to need significant training in order to start taking advantage of its many features right away.

I love how much you can bend Zoho to your needs. Customize dashboards for different teams or projects, create multiple pipelines to match your different customer journeys, and whip up reports in just a couple clicks that give you deep insight into just about anything you can think of.

This platform also includes key CRM features like:

Real-time sales signals and customer notificationsBlueprint business management for both on and offline processesProspect scoring capabilitiesMass emailsInventory managementAn AI assistantAdvanced customizations

Best of all, Zoho CRM is affordable. The cheapest paid plan starts at $14 per user per month, and it doesn’t skimp on the features. If you need more customization and advanced features, Zoho’s upper-tier CRM plans run $23, $40, and $52 per user per month. 

Furthermore, Zoho offers a free forever plan with up to three users. It includes essential features like lead management, document sharing, task management, workflow rules, and a mobile application.

Sign up for a free 15-day trial to see if Zoho CRM is right for you. 

Note: Zoho also recently launched a sales-centric CRM specifically for small businesses. It’s called Bigin, and it includes a robust free plan if you’d like to try it out. Bigin’s paid plans are $7 per user per month. 

#2 – EngageBay Review — The Best CRM for Continuing Client Support

A lot of CRMs do the same things. They collect and organize your contact data, have some automation tools for sending emails and posting to social, and overall make your sales team’s lives easier.

But not all of them cater to all three core departments—sales, marketing, and service. If you need an all-encompassing tool to boost all three, EngageBay might be the best solution for you.

You get a lot of the key features you need for customer relationship management. Set tasks, build a pipeline, and place automations for email sends, SMS messages, rep hand-offs, and more.

This all happens in an easy-to-grasp interface that lets you view your funnel, social media interactions and messages, email campaigns, and everything else in one place.

Plus, EngageBay syncs up with Gmail, Outlook, and Office with no pain or stress.

But what I really love is its suitability for organizations that value post-sale relationships as much as gathering, warming, and converting leads.

There’s a whole service bay module of features and tools in EngageBay that makes your support reps’ jobs a cinch.

On EngageBay’s lowest-tier plans, you get a way to manage tickets and contacts together that carries over all the information you’ve gathered during each customer’s sales journey. That way, no one’s going in blind and your support team can really turn customers into lifelong loyalists.

But with an upgrade from EngageBay’s free plan, you also unlock macros and canned responses.

I recommend their Growth plan, though, most of all. For $29.99 per user per month, you can apply the same robust automation capability—setting triggers and events that streamline workflows—that the marketing and sales teams get to customer service.

What’s great about this is that email sequences can come back into play after a service interaction.

I can see this being a boon for SaaS and many B2B operations. Not only is ongoing support vital in those fields to building long-term clients, but you can use a new drip campaign after successful service interactions to warm an existing customer up for an upgrade or add-on.

There’s a lot of potential to unlock in all three departments with a tool like EngageBay.

Get started on their free plan to get a feel for the platform and, when you’re ready, move on up to the Growth plan to really have your sales, marketing, and service firing on all cylinders.

#3 – HubSpot Review — The Best Free CRM Software

If you’re in the sales or marketing industry, you’ve probably read HubSpot’s blog or taken one of their free certification courses. However, they also offer a robust and free CRM software to streamline your customer relationship management process. 

With HubSpot, you can gain unprecedented insight into how your audience behaves. 

Need to monitor when contacts open your emails so you can optimize your open rates? No problem. Maybe you want to see how a contact behaves on your website. With HubSpot, it’s easy. 

Furthermore, they offer a wide variety of solutions, depending on your role within your company. 

These position-specific solutions include sales, marketing, customer service, operations, and owners. 

The free plan includes a robust set of features. You get all the essentials of contact management, deal tracking, and reporting that you need from a CRM.

Combined, that gives you an incredible level of insight into your sales pipeline. And HubSpot allows you to organize and utilize that insight into creating your next great strategy or campaign.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. HubSpot’s free CRM also includes:

Scheduled emails1:1 live chatMeeting schedulerWebsite activity trackingTask managementDocument sharing

These features are hard to beat on any other free plans on this list. However, HubSpot’s paid plans are well worth their price as well. 

The Starter Plan starts at $40 per month, paid annually. However, if you want to bundle all of HubSpot’s CRM software, you can get starter access to all four for $50 per month if you commit to a 12-month contract. 

So, for $10 extra dollars a month, you also get software specialized for marketing, sales, and customer service.  

However, keep in mind these prices are based on 1,000 contacts. The price increases for every additional 1,000 contacts you have. 

Sign up for a free plan to get started with HubSpot today.

#4 – Salesflare Review – Best Lead Management Tools for Small Business

Any CRM worth its salt should definitively answer one question—how does this help teams sell better?

As you see on this list, different platforms have come up with different answers to this question. Salesflare stands out for pushing lead management tools to the forefront without being bogged down with superfluous features.

If your team could use some help guiding opportunities from lead to win—and, honestly, what team doesn’t—Salesflare could be just the ticket.

It starts with the software’s intelligent information gathering. Salesflare pulls contact info, company role, and much more detail automatically from emails, social profiles, and other sources. This information is stored both in a dedicated section for each account you’re selling to and a universal contact book accessible by your whole team.

Salesflare automatically logs actions by your team—such as meetings, calls, and other touch points—and by the prospects and customers themselves, whether they open an email you sent, click a link, or visit a landing page.

In this way, Salesflare is very flexible for how your team approaches the buyer’s journey. Whether you prefer one member of your team to guide opportunities from start to finish or if you have hand-offs at various points, the information is all there.

Anyone can step in and have the latest information plus the current state of the lead based on recent actions.

When you add in the platform’s notifications for when prospects take an action or any other triggering event, your team will get really good at moving quickly on warm leads or prospects who have signaled their readiness to purchase.

The combination of simplicity and power inherent to Salesflare makes it a great tool for smaller B2B sales outfits.

Not only do you get useful automation and the tools to help really nail follow ups (and, thus, really encourage leads along the path to purchase), you get key features like:

Team-wide timeline view for tracking opportunities from lead to winPersonalized, scheduled, trackable email campaignsInsights dashboard that can be segmented by team member, pipeline, or date range

That’s all included at the base Growth plan for $29/user per month.

One step up from there is the Pro plan, for $49/user per month. With that you’ll also get:

Custom email workflow builder for multiple simultaneous campaignsUser permissions, including view-only accessCustom dashboards

There is also an Enterprise plan for $99/user per month. The main benefits of that are the additional support you get, such as a dedicated account representative and custom-made training modules for your team.

Salesflare really shines for smaller B2B businesses and the lower two pricing tiers are quite palatable for that purpose. You can give it a try with Salesflare’s free trial or request a demo today.

#5 – Freshworks CRM Review — The Best CRM for Sales Teams

Freshworks CRM is specifically built for sales teams and lead management. From cold leads to customers, Freshworks helps you make better relationships while saving time with automation. 

Furthermore, this CRM helps you find the best leads, get in touch with them via their preferred method, and close the sale. 

And Freshworks includes a built-in email and phone system to help simplify the process. 

They have a customer base of over 40,000 businesses, including some big names like Dyson and Best Western. So, despite being newer to the industry, they’re not inexperienced by any means. 

With this platform, you get:

Lead, contact, account, and deal managementTasks and appointment managementWebsite visitor trackingiOS and Android mobile apps

Organizations of any size can leverage Freshworks CRM’s detailed lead scoring and sales pipelines, allowing for better clarity and efficiency in your workflows.

It’s especially potent as a single dashboard for wrangling all your sales conversations. Team inboxes and email forwarding make sure that messages are always directed to the right people and teams can see track every interaction without them getting buried in a bunch of irrelevant emails.

Plus, Freshworks allows you to schedule emails, utilize many email templates, and set up alerts. That way you can whip up fresh messages in a snap and always be able to respond or adjust on the fly.

Aside from an impressive set of features, they also offer industry-specific solutions for 15 different industries, including retail, ecommerce, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and more. 

Their free forever plan includes access for an unlimited number of users with limited features. However, it’s a great way to try it out before investing. 

Freshworks’ paid plans are more robust, yet still affordable for businesses of all sizes. Their premium plans include:

Blossom — $12/user per month (for small teams)Garden — $25/user per month (for growing teams)Estate — $45/user per month (for large teams)Forest — $79/user per month (for enterprises)

Sign up for a free 21-day trial to see if Freshworks CRM is right for you and your sales team today.

#6 – Creatio Review — The Best Enterprise-Grade CRM Software

While some of the other CRM software on this list includes an enterprise plan, you may find them limiting if you’re managing a large operation. However, Creatio is an enterprise-grade CRM software built with businesses like yours in mind. 

They offer specific CRM solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service teams.

Marketing Creatio gives enterprise businesses everything they need to streamline their multichannel marketing campaigns and manage incoming leads. It includes features like:

Visual campaign designerWebsite behavior tracking and segmentationAdvanced trigger campaignsPersonalized email marketingEvent tracking and response management

Pricing depends on the number of contacts and the number of emails per contact. 

Sales Creatio is perfect for large sales teams taking over after marketing hands them over. It’s an end-to-end sales management platform built to simplify the process and save you time. 

It includes a wide range of features, including:

Opportunity managementCustomer profiles and buying behavior insightField sales managementPerformance and operations

Pricing starts at $30 per user per month. 

Lastly, Service Creatio is for customer service teams interested in streamlining their processes and creating excellent customer experiences from start to finish. It includes features, like:

Account and contact managementCase and knowledge managementOmnichannel communicationsService catalogContact center

Pricing starts at $45 per user per month. 

You can bundle all three CRM solutions if you need to. And you can use their online pricing calculator to estimate the total cost. 

Get started with a free trial to see if Creatio is right for you. 

#7 – Salesforce Review — The Best CRM Software for Versatility

Whether you’re a small business owner or a sales, marketing, IT, or customer support team, Salesforce has the perfect CRM solution. Known for its versatility, they offer specialized software that adapts to meet your needs. 

More than 150,000 businesses, including T Mobile, Adidas, and Yeti, rely on Salesforce to help them build strong relationships with their customers. 

They also offer specialized solutions for 14 different industries, including:

Financial servicesHealthcareManufacturingConsumer goodsEnergyCommunicationsNonprofits

The system is so versatile because you can pick and choose which apps you need to build a complete CRM solution customized to match your business. 

From marketing automation and ecommerce sales to call-center software and self-service portals, Salesforce is dedicated to providing everything you need for unprecedented customer relationships. 

Their business plans include:

Essentials — $25/user per month (basic sales and support)Sales Professional — $75/user per month (complete sales solution)Support Professional — $75/user per month (complete service solution)Pardot Growth — $1,250 per month for up to 10,000 contacts (marketing automation)

However, you can add additional features and applications depending on what you need. They also offer other plans for sales, customer service, commerce, and marketing CRM packages with varying features. 

Start your free trial to take Salesforce for a test drive today.

What I Looked at to Find the Best CRM Software

With so many options and types to choose from, finding the best CRM software for your business can feel like looking for a four-leaf clover.

Start with this. All of these products have been built to respond to problems that businesses face every day.

Yes, there are a lot of parts to CRM software, but each has a purpose.

You know the problems you face. And by reaching out to your customer service agents, sales reps, IT team, and anyone who will be using the CRM software, you can get a rich picture of their daily challenges.

There is CRM software that will help everyone at your organization make the most out of every customer relationship.

Finding it is a matter of understanding where your company is, and where it wants to go.

Business Size

The size of your business plays a role in which CRM software is best for you. If you have separate departments for marketing, sales, IT, and customer service, you need more advanced functions than a business with five employees. 

Furthermore, you need to consider who’s going to manage the software. Choosing and paying for software isn’t the same as using it to its full potential. 

You have to set it up and take advantage of its features for the investment to be worth it. 

For small teams, it may be a collaborative effort of everyone pitching in. However, large teams may have dedicated employees to set everything up and maintain the software moving forward. 

The size of your business also plays a role in how much the software is going to cost. The more user seats you need, the more expensive the software. 

Your Challenges

What’s not working? What could be working better?

Consider what systems you want to streamline and improve. It may help to think about current inefficiencies and how a CRM can help. 

Typically, CRM software helps with sales, marketing, IT, and customer service. Which of those do you want to improve, and do you have the capacity to set everything up and maintain it?

There are specific CRM solutions for particular industries.

These tend to be more expensive, but if they are the right fit for your situation, it’s worth it. Teams will have to spend less time configuring such purpose-built CRM software, which is an ongoing savings. 

Basic CRM Features

Most CRMs include a basic set of standard features. The CRM you choose should include them as well.

While the specifics of each feature vary from software to software, there should be a system in place to help you handle things like:

Contact and lead managementDocument sharing and storageWorkflow automationInteraction trackingMobile access

Look for these core CRM features before making any final decisions. It’s probably also a good idea to watch some videos of how these users manage these features.

Something like contact management is handled differently in each platform. Which one fits best with the way your teams work?

Advanced CRM Features

It’s also important to consider advanced CRM features that can have a big impact on your business.

The ability to automate routine workflows, process payments, and send invoices can save countless hours from every employee’s day.

Really rich automation capabilities are only available with high-tier plans. There’s definitely an added cost, but what about the benefit?

In the end, having advanced features for marketing automation and lead scoring can really drive revenue. Is the juice worth the squeeze?

Also, note that these advanced features are not distributed the same way by vendors. One may offer the high-end tools you need as part of a mid-level plan.

Third-Party Integrations

To really streamline and automate your business processes, your CRM tool needs to play well with the tools you’re already using to run your business.

Make a list of the tools you use and double-check to make sure your CRM integrates with them. I’m talking about:

Email platformsSocial media toolsInternal communication softwareCustomer service toolsCalling/video chat softwareShopping cart (for ecommerce)Contract/proposal softwareConnectors (i.e., Zapier)Analytics toolsCalendar

Once you have your list, you can use it to narrow down your choices to the right CRM software. You can also use it when speaking with a sales team to make sure they offer everything you need. 

Summary

Having the right CRM software can make a huge difference very quickly. It makes staying organized easier and keeps customers happy. To recap my top picks:

Zoho CRM – Best for small to midsize businessesEngageBay – Best CRM for continuing client supportHubSpot – Best free CRM softwareSalesflare – Best lead management tools for small businessFreshworks CRM – Best CRM for sales teamsCreatio CRM – Best enterprise-grade CRM solutionSalesforce – Best CRM software for versatility

Zoho CRM, HubSpot and Salesflare are my top recommendations for most businesses. Each one offers a wide range of features suitable for teams from all departments, including sales, marketing, and customer service. 

Furthermore, they’re all affordable, easy to set up, and easy to use.

However, the best CRM software for you depends on your business’s size and the features you need. So, use the criteria we talked about above as you go through the process of making your final decision. 

Which CRM software do you use?

Microsoft Bing drops anonymous sitemap submission due to spam issues

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Microsoft Bing drops anonymous sitemap submission due to spam issues

Microsoft Bing drops anonymous sitemap submission due to spam issues

Microsoft Bing will no longer accept XML sitemaps that were submitted anonymously through HTTP requests, Fabrice Canel from Microsoft Bing announced today. The reason Bing will no longer allow anonymous sitemap submission is due to abuse by search spammers.

How anonymous sitemap submission worked. Microsoft explained that since the inception of XML sitemaps with Bing, Bing allowed for anonymous submission through using a HTTP request, such as http://www.bing.com/ping?sitemap=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.example.com/sitemap.xml.

No longer supported. Microsoft is doing away with HTTP request anonymous submission of Sitemaps starting today, May 13, 2022. Fabrice Canel wrote that Microsoft Bing is “deprecating the ability for anonymous sitemap submissions starting today.”

Why is it going away. SEO and search spammers have been abusing the anonymous submission of Sitemaps and thus, Microsoft is no longer going to support it. Fabrice Canel wrote “recent evaluations have shown that it was often subject to misuse by spammers.”

How to submit a sitemap to Bing. You can still submit your sitemaps using robots.txt on your domain name and/or through Bing Webmaster tools.

robots.txt: Add a reference to your sitemap in the robots.txt file located at the root of the host to inform all search engines. Example: Sitemap: http://www.example.org/sitemap.xml

Bing webmaster tools: Alternatively, you can submit your sitemaps in Bing Webmaster tools https://www.bing.com/webmasters/sitemaps

Don’t forget IndexNow. Microsoft Bing of course would still love for you to push content to them using IndexNow, so you have that as an additional and supplemental option.

Why we care. If you have been using the anonymous XML sitemap option for your site through HTTP requests, you should be aware that will stop working sometime today. Switch over to using robots.txt or Bing Webmaster Tools for submitting your sitemap going forward.

The post Microsoft Bing drops anonymous sitemap submission due to spam issues appeared first on Search Engine Land.

10 Best Coursera Certificates Worth Pursuing in 2022 (Reviews)

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Best Coursera Certificates Worth Pursuing in 2022 (Reviews)

Coursera partners with top companies and universities to offer accredited certifications covering a wide range of subjects. One of the most important advantages of a Coursera certificate is that it provides students with job-ready skills and resources to help them apply for related jobs. We did our research to find the best Coursera certificates that […]

The post 10 Best Coursera Certificates Worth Pursuing in 2022 (Reviews) appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter

Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter

Google Search Console had added “translated results” to the search appearance filter in the performance reports today. This filter lets you drill down to how searchers who get translated results interact with your content in Google Search.

How to access this filter. You can access this filter by logging into Google Search Console, clicking on your performance report and then clicking on the “+new” filter and selecting the search appearance for “translated results.” Here is a screenshot of how to access the filter:

Translated results report. This report will break down what queries, pages, countries, devices and so on these searchers are using when finding your content in Google Search. Again, when you filter by “translated results,” this will filter the report to show you only those who get translated results. Here is a screenshot of this report:

More on translated results. Searchers who see translated results will be those who are likely based somewhere in India and speak Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu languages. Google automatically will translate your title link and description it shows in the search results for your site’s snippet. When that user clicks on the result, Google Translate will also likely translate your page as well.

We covered this in more detail when Google released its help document on translated results last year.

As we covered there, the translated results help document explains how Google may automatically translate the search result snippets from the language it was written in, to the language of the Google Search results page. Google said “sometimes Google may translate the title link and snippet of a search result for results that aren’t in the language of the search query.”Google said it does this because “a translated result is a Google Search feature that enables users to view results from other languages in their language, and can help publishers reach a larger audience.”

These translated results work for Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu languages at the time this story was published. It should be only available on mobile devices with any browser that supports Google Search.

After the user clicks the translated search result link, Google said that “all further user interaction with the page is through Google Translate.” Google said you can opt-out of this through a meta robots tag notranslate. Here are more details on opting in or out of translated results.

Brodie Clark was the first to spot this and wrote “a new Search Appearance filter has surfaced in Google Search Console this month title ‘translated results’. The filter relates to situations where Google has translated the title link and snippet for a web page within Search.”

Why we care. Google is now giving us some idea of how these searchers are interacting with our site through Google Search. We can see what they are searching for, what pages they are accessing, on what dates, what devices and from which countries.

More data, more insights, helps us as site owners, publishers, content writers and SEOs.

The post Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter

Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter

Google Search Console had added “translated results” to the search appearance filter in the performance reports today. This filter lets you drill down to how searchers who get translated results interact with your content in Google Search.

How to access this filter. You can access this filter by logging into Google Search Console, clicking on your performance report and then clicking on the “+new” filter and selecting the search appearance for “translated results.” Here is a screenshot of how to access the filter:

Translated results report. This report will break down what queries, pages, countries, devices and so on these searchers are using when finding your content in Google Search. Again, when you filter by “translated results,” this will filter the report to show you only those who get translated results. Here is a screenshot of this report:

More on translated results. Searchers who see translated results will be those who are likely based somewhere in India and speak Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu languages. Google automatically will translate your title link and description it shows in the search results for your site’s snippet. When that user clicks on the result, Google Translate will also likely translate your page as well.

We covered this in more detail when Google released its help document on translated results last year.

As we covered there, the translated results help document explains how Google may automatically translate the search result snippets from the language it was written in, to the language of the Google Search results page. Google said “sometimes Google may translate the title link and snippet of a search result for results that aren’t in the language of the search query.”Google said it does this because “a translated result is a Google Search feature that enables users to view results from other languages in their language, and can help publishers reach a larger audience.”

These translated results work for Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu languages at the time this story was published. It should be only available on mobile devices with any browser that supports Google Search.

After the user clicks the translated search result link, Google said that “all further user interaction with the page is through Google Translate.” Google said you can opt-out of this through a meta robots tag notranslate. Here are more details on opting in or out of translated results.

Brodie Clark was the first to spot this and wrote “a new Search Appearance filter has surfaced in Google Search Console this month title ‘translated results’. The filter relates to situations where Google has translated the title link and snippet for a web page within Search.”

Why we care. Google is now giving us some idea of how these searchers are interacting with our site through Google Search. We can see what they are searching for, what pages they are accessing, on what dates, what devices and from which countries.

More data, more insights, helps us as site owners, publishers, content writers and SEOs.

The post Google Search Console adds translated results search appearance filter appeared first on Search Engine Land.

The anatomy of personalized search

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The anatomy of personalized search

The anatomy of personalized search

Buyers expect easy navigation, relevant search results, and tailored search experiences that remember their preferences and rerank products accordingly, especially for in-session browsing. Unfortunately in 2022, consumers are still experiencing null results, poor relevance and are often pointed in the wrong direction by their favorite brands. 

If you’re running an e-commerce site, internal KPIs most likely have an underlying impact on positive consumer retention, acquisition, and site revenue. All three inadvertently impact brand loyalty and therefore keep that cycle moving. 

Most of these online storefronts you manage started with a passion for the product and/or helping to solve a consumer issue. So, when improving your site’s functionality, how often are you working backward by focusing site search & product discovery efforts for your customer?

Being able to identify and implement the right AI-backed functionalities that power intentional search experiences will help your customers win, your brand’s site win and make you look like a product discovery hero.

Unlock magical experiences that foster customer loyalty online and better understand the capabilities of your site’s search engine. Continue your journey to becoming a product discovery hero by mastering the three key areas of personalized search: semantic understanding, SKU select and 1:1 and segment-based personalization. 

When you understand the anatomy of personalized search, your search bar will be able to understand your customers. It’s a win-win. 

We’re on a mission for #nomorenullresults

Get Started  >>

The post The anatomy of personalized search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Entities and E-A-T: The role of entities in authority and trust

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Entities and E-A-T: The role of entities in authority and trust

The development of Google into a semantic search engine and the increasing influence of E-A-T on rankings go hand in hand.

There is a common thread of innovation and updates that Google has been following for the past 12-plus years. Here’s a timeline of key events:

The organization of data and information around entities makes it possible for Google to rank entities of the entity type Person such as authors and organizations (publishers and companies) with regard to topics according to E-A-T.

Authors, companies and publishers as entities

Content is published by people such as authors and organizations such as companies, associations and government agencies. These organizations and people are named entities.

Google increasingly arranges or organizes content around entities. Google can draw conclusions about the credibility and relevance of the document or content via the respective entity.

In the case of online content, there are usually at least two parties involved. The author/producer who created the content and the publisher or domain on which the content is published.

The author is not always a direct employee or owner of the domain. For example, in the case of a guest article, the publisher and author are not the same.

In my view of SEO, the entity classes such as organizations, products and people play a special role, as these can be evaluated via the characteristics of a brand such as authority and trust or E-A-T.

Digital representations of entities

Entities that belong to certain entity classes, such as persons or organizations, can have digital representations such as the official website (domain), social media profiles, images and Wikipedia entries. While images tend to be the visual image of the entity, especially for people or landmarks, a person’s corporate website or social media profile is the content image.

These digital representations are the central landmarks closely linked to the entity.

Google can identify this linkage primarily through external linking of the website or profiles with link texts containing the exact entity name and/or the unique click behavior in search queries with navigational or brand or person-related search intent on the URL.

It’s all about relevance, trust and authority

The credibility of author and publisher has become increasingly important for Google. The search engine came under considerable pressure because of its fake news problem. A high degree of accuracy and relevance is a top priority for Google and its users.

Through numerous core updates and the E-A-T ratings introduced in version 5.0 of the Quality Rater Guidelines as part of the PQ rating in 2015, it is clear how important the factors of relevance, trust and authority are for Google in this regard.

The Quality Rater Guidelines list the following important criteria for evaluating a website:

The Purpose of the PageExpertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: This is an important quality characteristic. Use your research on the additional factors below to inform your rating.Main Content Quality and Amount: The rating should be based on the landing page of the task URL.Website Information/information about who is responsible for the MC: Find information about the website as well as the creator of the MC.Website Reputation/reputation about who is responsible for the MC: Links to help with reputation research will be provided.

Here, the points E-A-T, transparency with regard to the operator of the website and his reputation play a role in the domain-wide evaluation.

Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness are currently described as follows in the Quality Rater Guidelines:

The expertise of the creator of the MC.The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.

From entity to digital authority and brand

If we look at the characteristics of a brand, expertise, authority and trust play a central role.

In addition to the aforementioned characteristics, popularity is also an important characteristic of a brand, although this is not necessarily the main focus for authority or expertise.

Therefore, it can be said that a brand also combines all the characteristics of authority plus a high level of awareness or popularity.

Google attaches great importance to brands and authorities when ranking websites.

As early as 2009, Google rolled out the Vince Update, which gave large brands a significant ranking advantage.

Not surprising, given this statement:

“The internet is fast becoming a ‘cesspool’ where false information thrives. Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool. Brand affinity is clearly hard-wired. It is so fundamental to human existence that it’s not going away. It must have a genetic component.”

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Brands combine characteristics such as popularity, authority and reputation (i.e., trust). I see trust and authority as one of the most important criteria, in addition to document relevance in relation to the search intention, as to whether Google allows content to appear on Page 1 of search results.

Google cannot afford to place content from untrustworthy sources in the user’s field of vision, especially for YMYL topics.

As a result, many affiliate projects that haven’t bothered to build a brand have fallen flat on their face. Popularity alone only plays a limited role.

Amazon and eBay are very popular brands, but they lack authority in certain thematic areas. That’s why more specialized stores usually rank better than the big e-commerce portals.

Organize an index around entities

A semantic database is organized out of entities, their relations and attributes. Unlike a classic database, information is captured around entities and relationships can be created between entities via edges.

As already mentioned, entities can be provided with labels or information for clear identification and for better classification in the ontological or thematic context. 

Entities are increasingly becoming the central organizational element in the Google index. Insofar as search queries have an entity reference, Google can quickly access all stored information about the relevant entities and relationships to other entities via the Knowledge Graph.

Search queries without reference to entities recorded in the Knowledge Graph are handled as usual according to classic information retrieval rules. However, Google can now use NLP to identify entities not in the Knowledge Graph, provided that the search term contains an existing grammatical structure of subject, predicate and object (triples).

Screenshot from the Google NLP-API

I think that in the future, there will be an increasing exchange between the classic Google search index and the Knowledge Graph via an interface. The more entities are recorded in the Knowledge Graph, the greater the influence on the SERPs.

However, Google still faces the major challenge of reconciling completeness and accuracy.

The tool Diffbot Natural Language API Demo shows very nicely how text analysis via Natural Language Processing can be used to collect information about an entity and can be transformed into a Knowledge Graph. 

In an entity-based Index, you have the following components:

Nodes (Entities)Entity IDEntity NameEdges (Relationship between entities)AttributesDigital Representations (could be also own nodes/entities)Resources (documents, videos, audios, images, etc.)Entity Types or ClassesTopic Classes and their keyword clusters

The organizational structure around single entities might look like this:

Possible index structure for the entities Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn

The Structure around an entity is influenced by the entity types and attributes mined over the digital representations and documents, videos and other resources Google can crawl and analyze.

So Google can connect topics and their keyword clusters with entities.

The E-A-T evaluation is also based on these resources depending on the signals I mentioned in my article 14 ways Google may evaluate E-A-T.

Non-validated entities next to Knowledge Graph

I think Google has more entities on the screen than just the ones officially recorded in the Knowledge Graph. Since the Knowledge Vault and Natural Language Processing can be used to analyze entities in search queries and content of any kind, there will be a second unvalidated database next to the Knowledge Graph. This database could contain all entities recognized as entities, assigned to a domain and an entity type, but that is not socially relevant enough for a knowledge panel.

For performance reasons, something like this would make sense, as such a repository would allow not to start from scratch again and again. I think all entities are stored there, where the information regarding correctness cannot (yet) be validated.

Thus, Google would also have the possibility to apply the explained signals to other entities besides those recorded in the Knowledge Graph to perform E-A-T evaluations.

Overview: Data Mining for the Google Knowledge Graph

Google can recognize semantic relationships between keywords, topics, entities

Since the launch of Hummingbird, Google has sought to identify, extract, and related entities.

The relationships between entities, people and topics are important to Google because this is the way they can algorithmically determine contextual relationships, the quality or strength of the relationship, and about it, authority and expertise.

Google can recognize via co-occurrences of entities and keywords with which topics entities are in context. The more frequently these co-occurrences occur, the greater the probability that a semantic relationship exists. These co-occurrences can be determined via structured and unstructured information from website content and search terms.

If the entity “Empire State Building” is often named together with the entity type “skyscraper,” there is a relationship. Thus, Google can determine the relationship between entities and entity types, topics and keywords. Google can determine the degree of relationship by the average proximity in the texts and/or the frequency of co-occurrences.

For example, Zalando is closely related to other entities such as fashion brands (e.g., Tom Tailor, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and Marco Polo) and product groups (shoes, dresses, bikinis).

These relationships can vary in strength. Google can use the strength of these relationships to assess expertise and, above all, authority and incorporate them into the E-A-T concept.

Recognize authority and entity relevance via the domain

As already explained, the website is a digital representation of an entity. Google Keyword Planner can be used to display keywords related to a domain.

The keywords are output in a list sorted by relevance, as shown here in the example of the domain footlocker.com.

The keyword combinations in which footlocker appears together with products and topics are interesting. They show in which context users search for the brand Footlocker.

Keyword List based on Footlocker.com

If you then remove all keywords with Footlocker from the list via the filter, you get a list of generic keywords that are still sorted according to a (semantic) relevance in relation to the domain.

Keyword List based on Footlocker.com without Footlocker

Exciting? I leave it to everyone to speculate further.

In my experience, domains for these keywords and topics have it easier to rank in Google search.

What this all means for SEOs and content marketers

Brand and authority are playing an increasingly important role in search engine optimization. This ensures that SEO techniques can no longer influence search results alone. It is just as much about marketing and PR.

In addition to the well-known SEO fundamentals of ensuring crawlability, indexing control, internal linking optimization and website hygiene, it is primarily the triad of relevance, trust and authority that needs to be considered.

For findability on Google, but also in general, SEOs and online marketers should focus not only on content, link building, crawling and indexing control but also on the effects on ranking through brand building. This requires collaboration with the people responsible for branding and PR. This way, possible synergies can already be taken into account during the campaign conception.

Relate your brand to topics/products for which you want to be found

Do this in all marketing and PR activities, with a view to Google ranking. Be it marketing campaigns, marketing collaborations such as Home2go or Footlocker have been done to promote certain search query patterns.

One should try to generate cooccurrences and links from topic-related editorial environments via PR campaigns or content marketing campaigns.

In general, owning content via owned media and signals via co-occurrences or brand and domain mentions in certain topic environments can increase the authority of a brand and thus the ranking for keywords located in these environments.

The more clearly Google can identify the positioning of the company, author and publisher, the easier it will be to rank the thematically relevant content linked to this entity.

The post Entities and E-A-T: The role of entities in authority and trust appeared first on Search Engine Land.

15 Best Link Building Tools (Free & Paid)

Posted by on May 13, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 15 Best Link Building Tools (Free & Paid)

Link building is an SEO process you cannot run without a tool. Choosing the right link building tool is crucial for finding and capturing high-quality links that can make a difference to your rankings. In this guide, we’ve reviewed and compared the best link building tools, so that you can pick the best one for […]

The post 15 Best Link Building Tools (Free & Paid) appeared first on reliablesoft.net.

Google Search Console to release new video page indexing report

Posted by on May 12, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Search Console to release new video page indexing report

Google Search Console to release new video page indexing report

A new video page indexing report is coming to Google Search Console in the near future, Dikla Cohen, a Web Ecosystem Consultant at Google, announced at Google I/O today. The new report shows you a summary of all the video pages Google found while crawling and indexing your site.

Video page indexing report. The video page indexing report will be found in Google Search Console, under the “Index” tab, under “video pages.” At the time of writing this, this feature does not seem live yet – but it should be coming soon.

This report shows you a summary of all the video pages Google found while crawling and indexing your site. It will help you:

See how many video landing pages Google discovered and in how many of them a video was indexedExamine reasons for unindexed videos in landing pagesUse the list of affected video pages URLs to debug and fix issuesValidate fix to initiate recrawling of known affected URLs

What it looks like. Here are screenshots from the presentation:

Why we care. Video is an important aspect for many web sites, and these reports will help you discover how important those videos are for you related to Google Search. Google Search Console’s new video indexing reports can help you find indexing issues with your videos and how to debug those issues.

Check back to find out when this report goes live.

The post Google Search Console to release new video page indexing report appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Link building: the least favorite part of SEO

Posted by on May 12, 2022 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Link building: the least favorite part of SEO

Link building: the least favorite part of SEO

There are plenty of reasons to love SEO. I certainly do and have since I started my SEO journey in 2007. 

But every job has unique challenges – aspects that can be frustrating, difficult, tedious or even downright painful. 

That’s why, earlier this week in the Search Engine Land newsletter, I asked readers: What is your least favorite part of SEO?

Well, we have a winner. Or loser?

It’s link building. More than 20% of respondents said link building was their least favorite part of SEO. 

Let’s dig into the results. 

Link building and outreach. It’s time-consuming. It’s tedious. And success is never guaranteed. These are a just few of the biggest complaints from SEOs about trying to build quality links that we saw from Search Engine Land readers:

“Getting backlinks – it is the equivalent of a vampire sucking your soul for very little return.”“Obviously, getting natural links is nice, but when you’re out there fishing for them, it may or may not be fruitful. It’s so time-consuming and there’s no guarantee you’ll see the results you want.”“Too much work to get any reward. It often feels pointless.”“Dealing with websites that used xyz backlinks in the past. Sometimes, I’ll inherit a client whose previous agency did so, and I end up having to clean it up because it looks bad on my end if potential clients or fellow SEOs are looking at my clients’ backlink profiles to see how we do SEO at my agency.”“There is nothing more tedious and frustrating than reaching out to website owners who are getting spammed 24-7 by all and sundry to try and build a relationship in order to promote an asset your team has spent loads of time creating to either be ignored or to have to go through the awkward process of negotiating only to end up having to chase for weeks or even months to get the link live. It’s like, ‘Head, meet brick wall…’ This is a direct result of so much bad practice out there coming back to impact people who are trying to get it right.”“It takes so much time, thought and care to build lasting links, especially at scale in the B2B space.”“It’s the most abused area of SEO.”

Google. Yes, Google. There were a range of complaints. A few were specific to Google Business Profiles:

“Way too many spam listings outranking actual, quality businesses. Legitimate reviews are being removed. If you happen to get suspended for no reason, support is a nightmare to deal with to get your listing back up. And yet, you’ve got deal with GBP, at least in local SEO, because of its prominence in the SERPs.”“Lack of control. Such an important listing for local businesses, yet so volatile. Make it paid already and give us more control and better customer service.”“Too many businesses are able to create spam websites and GBP listings, which makes it a volatile space. The world would be a better place if spammers didn’t exist. Now I have to fight spam each day to help my client be in the position they were supposed to be in.”

But our readers shared other Google-related complaints, ranging from algorithm update timing to GA 4:

“Google releasing algo updates right before the holidays.”“The metrics for the so-called “Page Experience” are so ambiguous in testing and evaluating.”“They’re trying their darndest to keep everyone in their ecosystem instead of allowing clicks through to sites. Their profits last year say it all.”“Dealing with and understanding white lies coming from Google representatives.”“It took me a while to set up Google Analytics and it’s my 24/7 go-to for monitoring traffic to my online fashion store. I’m not looking forward to moving to the next generation, GA4, especially while all the features I currently use are not yet available. I’m sure I’ll eventually adapt but it will take some time.”

Proving the worth of SEO. Have you had to convince your organization that SEO is a smart investment? The answer should be as simple as, “Have you heard of this thing called Google.” Well, now you can point them to this article: Why SEO is a great investment, not just a cost.

Defending the value of SEO shouldn’t be such a struggle anymore. It’s 2022. Yet here we are:

“People not taking SEO seriously or understanding the worth of its investment and time.”“The expectation that results will be immediate and positive every time.”“Having to work double as hard as PPC managers to prove SEO’s worth.”“Explaining to clients why an automated report they received from a cousin’s, best-friend’s former roommate has no context and should be ignored.”“The constant doubting from other ‘SEO experts’ on the marketing team is demoralizing and demotivating. It’s hard to feel confident as an SEO, because the foundations keep shifting.”“Pushback from uneducated executives or ones who have been jaded by snake-oil SEOs in the past. Makes it really tough to execute on what you know will work, especially when the proof of whether your tactics work or not can take so long in coming to validate your strategies.:“The amount of effort and time sometimes necessary for clients to implement the changes needed for them to be successful in organic search.”

More least favorite parts of SEO. Finally, a few randoms. These answers didn’t fit into any of our other buckets, but they are all valid reasons for these being called out as a least favorite part of SEO:

“Technical optimisation. Never straightforward as to what exactly is causing the issues, and more often than not you need help from a developer. It’s rewarding once the problem is solved but the process is a bit of a maze.”“Watching what appears to be a well-optimized page rise and fall sporadically in the SERPs. It’s maddening.”“The uncertainty of what actually influences SERP position. It seems like a mystery and a moving target which makes it hard to manage.”“Keyword analysis, hangs me out of my throat. Uses 5 different tools, and has trouble stopping when enough is enough.” “Reporting. Nobody reads reports sent by the SEO team. You could send the same report every month and nobody would notice it. I like reporting by exception.”“Cheap, unappreciative clients.”“Digging through tons of articles on SEO topics posturing as new insights, that actually contain old platitudes or even bad analyses, just to find those few pieces a month that actually bring some new insight.”“Trying to find unique product titles for 2,000 products made with the same metal (jewelry). When I see squiggly or zig-zag on a site, I know I am not alone!”“Identifying expertise among agencies.  When everyone starts with a similar checklist of best practice recommendations, it’s difficult to know who will be able to transition into an individualized strategy for our business.”“Dealing with developers. It’s always hard to convince them about how important stuff is and to have them added to their backlog soon.”“Keeping up with technology and UI changes in all the different platforms. I’m fine with keeping up with best practices, trends, evolving standards, strategies, and explaining them to internal and and external stakeholders. It’s adapting to all the menus and paths in all the different software and platforms in order to get things done. Every day, I’m closer to becoming my dad struggling to reprogram the VCR.”“Well… it depends.”

(Note: you can read even more answers to this same question on Twitter. Google’s John Mueller asked the same question.)

Why we care. It’s good to share our frustrations with our peers. Clearly, many of you are experiencing some similar pain points in the SEO world. Just remember, it’s completely normal to not like parts of your job all the time. That could go for certain tasks, projects, clients or co-workers. And if you love link building? We salute you!

The post Link building: the least favorite part of SEO appeared first on Search Engine Land.