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Google’s Danny Sullivan asked the SEO community for feedback on how Google could improve. The community responded with bright suggestions that made sense for Google and web publishers. While there were a few tweets with predictable complaints, the response was overwhelmingly constructive.
The most popular request was for more control over sitelinks.
Jenny Halasz made the thoughtful suggestion to bring back sitelink demotions.
Normalize Featured Snippets
Cyrus Shepard suggested normalizing featured snippets so that the title and URL were at the top. The purpose is to conform with user expectations of the way the search results (SERPs) traditionally appear but may result in more click throughs.
I can see how publishers can conclude that this might result in a better click through rate. However, by positioning the link at the top of the featured snippet, it’s possible that the user might have to scroll up to click when viewing the featured snippet on a mobile device.
But I can also see how from the user’s perspective, it makes sense to to read the information first. And if they need more, the flow of the action is to click from the position at which they stopped reading. It’s a fluid top to bottom action in which the user clicks at the moment they understand they want to click.
There’s a contextual reason for the link being at the bottom of the featured snippet. The context is that the user reads, gets to the bottom of the text and then has the opportunity to click through.
By placing the links at the top, the reader will come to the end of the featured snippet and will have to know to look up and then click. It’s less seamless and a little more awkward that way, in my opinion.
Image Results in Regular SERPs
Google sometimes shows image search results mixed in with the regular search results. But for searches of a company’s brand or product, Google sometimes shows results from competitor sites. The SEO community questions if that is a good user experience.
One of the more interesting requests is for a spam blacklist. The person who tweeted it didn’t elaborate on what they would do with the list. But I imagine it would be useful for knowing what sites not to link to. Knowing who are the spammers could be useful for publishers.
Martin MadDonald @searchmartin highlighted a pragmatic truth about a spam blacklist by playfully suggesting there are alternative uses for such a blacklist. While his suggestion was tongue in cheek, SEO blacklists have historically been subject to manipulation for the purpose of competitor sabotage. Still… right?
Improvements to Google Search Console
This kind of response makes me proud of our community. Adding voice query data to the Google Search Console would be very useful. Voice search is becoming increasingly useful. Not providing this data would leave the SEO community in an informational blind spot.
Another fantastic reply was a request for a breakdown of page performance by the type of result. Google’s using our data. It would be nice to know how they are using it, right? Some at Google might say that this information might help SEOs reverse engineer position zero results. But that’s not a valid reason because we have access to any number of results to study.
Maybe there’s a technical reason why Google doesn’t do this? No doubt many publishers would appreciate this information.
Jump Links are links to various sections within a web page. They are created by what’s called a named anchor. This enables a user to jump from one part of a page to another part of a page. Google will display these Jump Links to help users navigate to a specific part of a web page.
Jon Henshaw, Senior SEO Analyst at CBS suggested an expansion of jump links, for elements that use IDs. What a great suggestion!
What Improvement Would You Like to See at Google?
These are some interesting suggestions. Suggestions to improving Google Search Console and Google Analytics are always welcome as far as I’m concerned. What would you like to see improved? Tell Danny Sullivan on Twitter here. I would enjoy reading more of these great suggestions!
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