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In August 2012, Google rolls out "Frequently Mentioned on The Web" a function born from Google's Knowledge Graph algorithm introduced in May 2012. Frequently Mentioned on The Web is collective knowledge grouped by category and sub-category to make it faster to find what you're looking for on the web. It's a strip of images across the top (or down the side) of your search results. For business though, it's multiple "page 1" search results.
For now, it seems to be BIG brands and celebrities! To see an example, use this code to see Sydney's best:
or this to see the best (and I use that term loosely) info about Justin Bieber
Tourism seems to be one of the first industries being rolled out in Australia but Google promises questions such as "Female Astronauts" or "Lighthouses in Queensland" will soon bring up this same image bar result.
What it means though is that if you're not in that first block of images, you're now facing not one but several page one search results to compete with. Each of the images clicks the user away to search results - search resulsts that you're NOT included in.
You have lost any access to that user.
You may be on page one of the generic, initial search results but the big brands have the upper hand.
So, how did the guys who are there now, get there? You can try focus your website very carefully on public figures, attractions or items of interest and hope to get yourself in that magical photo line up. Not really viable for a business though.... The best hope is to top the search results for individual images in the top bar. But is it possible?
Sydney Opera House is the first frequently mentioned on the web result for "Sydney Attractions" Google says that they are using a massive pool of resources to determine what is the hottest attraction in Sydney – but how do they decide which pages to rank on these new search results? They use the old results. Clicking an image just shows up the generic search results for that keyword. It would appear that only the grouping has been impacted, not the actual search data...or has it. The Opera House is as you would expect things to be:
First, the new low-down on the right hand side is Wikipedia. Of course. The slot one result for Sydney Opera House is….the Sydney Opera House home page.
There is then a Google News result, a recent story from the Sydney Morning Herald, Wikipedia, Sydney's tourism and government websites. Beyond that is Social Media all the way.
So, what does this tell us? It means that the big powerful domains are getting the whole page one of these results put aside for them. Each of these domains have high trust scores, each has a thousands of credible links and are themselves, big brands.
These are, in fact the exact same results you'd find if you Googled Sydney Opera House directly. This allows users a "window shopping" effect to glance through individual results grouped by generic search (in this case Sydney attractions).
Under things to do in Brisbane, The Old Windmill comes in a shabby sixth. Now, as a Brisbanite, I have reported this as "wrong" (click the feedback button) as I think South Bank, Roma Street Parklands, The Kangaroo Point Cliffs, The Brisbane City Botanical Gardens, the South Bank Cultural Precinct all trump the windmill up Wickham terrace…. As it turns out, I might be right. The Old Windmill lacks the star studded line up of pages that the Opera House displays. Wikipedia is in slot one but a page buried deep, deep down on the international travel site Virtual Tourist is comfy in second slot. Virtual Tourist has a domain score of 88 which is pretty good but the page is only a 45 and has just 1 linking root domain ( PR1 international study site in Spanish) and 11 total links. It's hard to say how this SERP looked last week but for now, it's a big surprise to see this item on here, as more popular detinations CERTAINLY exist! In fact the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium shows up in the top six across the top but has just 260 monthly searches through the Google Keyword Tool! It's not just about the number of results on the web either. From left to right, the images shown are:
Missing from the list was:
What stands out to me is that the page title is this:
The Old Windmill, Brisbane | Things to Do | Virtual Tourist
Page title is exact match to the attraction and then to the original keyword minus stuffing. It's a "meaty" page with plenty of information and images, plenty of LSI keywording, lots of rich information and reviews by other users. It's only a PR2 but it's really a very good content rich page.
Also on page is a single, lonely government page and a bunch of generic travel sites like Trip Advisor (one of which has Grey PR!) Of all these, the only things they seem to have in common is their high domain authority (being massive global travel sites) and that they offer customer reviews. They don't even use exact match keywords in the page title (maybe a combo of that with content and reviews is the winning combo)
Just as Google Plus Local moves towards "real people reviews" this new change seems to favour them too. Perhaps in the future, SEO companies will be selling reviews, not links! For bloggers wanting to make their way up the individual search results that come from clicking an image, reviews and comments might help.
Unfortunately, SEO may not be there for you this time. It may not be there anymore at all. This is the next evolution of content marketing in a sense. It's about popular vote world wide, about who is talking about you and how much and how often and how wide spread the conversation goes.
While more information will come to light as SEO pros (ie. Talk About Creative and our peers) start testing the water, for now, it pays to market your business as a brand. Imagine your brand as its own celebrity, you'd find your brand name spread far and wide. It would be associated with your industry, getting plenty of branded backlinks from industry pages. It would be found in chat groups and on social media and all those places that SEOs have been selling you links all these years, only in place of keywords, would be brand names.
Frequently mentioned on the web is just another step beyond SEO, beyond content marketing and toward pop culture search. Whether that's a good thing or not (think of all those great smaller Brisbane attractions that will REALLY miss out now they're competing with so many pages) is the subject for another blog, another time.
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