Gnome Likes: SERP Shrinkage, Local Citations & BECAUSE AWESOME

Every week, I’m forced to make tough decisions about which posts actually make it into this weekly recap. But this week was especially difficult because there was an avalanche of great content.

The following posts represent a very small sample of the content I really enjoyed this week.

SERP Crowding & Shrinkage: It’s Not Your Imagination

One of this week’s biggest news items revolved around Google showing SERPs that only contain 7 results. Here is an example of one of these SERPs:

Google SERP - 7 results

In this post, Dr. Pete was one of the first to quantify this phenomenon. Using Mozcast data, he identified a spike in the number of SERPs that contain 7 results on August 13 (10.7% of the data set) and August 14 (18.3% of the data set). The following graph clearly illustrates these observations:

Google SERPs - 7 results

In addition to the shift to SERPs with only 7 results, Dr. Pete also noticed something he labeled, “SERP shrinkage.” Basically, for the past four months, he identified steadily declining domain diversity in the Mozcast data. It’s not a huge difference (5 or 6 percentage points), but it’s a noteworthy observation.

Unfortunately, as Dr. Pete notes in this post, there’s not really anything that can be done about these changes. If Google decides to present SERPs with 7 results, there’s no magical button we can push to increase them back to 10. We just have to roll with the punches.

For more information about these Google SERP-related developments, you can also read Danny Sullivan’s post: 7 Is The New 10? Google Showing Fewer Results & More From Same Domain.

Catching Up with your Local Competitors & Automating Citation Discovery

If you’ve spent any time working on local SEO, you know that citations are an extremely important ranking factor for local search. To rank well, your local business needs as many structured citations (i.e., citations containing a NAP — name, address, and phone number) as possible, and those citations need to have consistent information.

In this post, John-Henry Scherck describes a semi-automated approach for identifying citation opportunities. Here’s a summarized version of the approach:

  1. Create a list of local keyword phrases (e.g., “Dallas bar”, “bar Dallas”, “bar in Dallas”, etc.).
  2. Search for the local keyword phrases using your favorite search engine, and scrape all of the corresponding local results (e.g., Google Local’s 7-Pack).
  3. Search for your competitors’ NAPs in your favorite search engine, and scrape all of the citation sources.
  4. De-dupe the list of citation sources, and begin building citations!
  5. To spy on your competitors, create Google alerts for your competitors’ NAPs. Then, as they acquire new citations, you’ll immediately know where they’re coming from.

Creating citations is a very tedious (albeit necessary) process, but this approach definitely makes it less painful.

BECAUSE AWESOME!

This was my favorite post this week (maybe even this month). Why? BECAUSE AWESOME!!! (And because it’s incredibly random and extremely useful at the same time.)

The post was written by FAKEGRIMLOCK, and admittedly, it can be a little difficult to understand at times. Fortunately, I am here to translate! I’m going to present a few of his finest points, followed by my translations. Exciting, right?! Let’s begin…

WHOLE POINT OF COMMUNICATE? THEM. WITHOUT A THEM THERE NO COMMUNICATE. IT JUST OTHER WORD END IN “ATE”.

Translation: Far too often, we are consumed with our own message and how we’re going to promote our message to others. Instead, we should be consumed with what our audience wants to hear and how we can have a positive impact on their lives!

LIES LIKE CANDY. TASTE GOOD. TURN YOU FAT AND STUPID. WORLD FAT AND STUPID ENOUGH. GIVE IT DIET PLAN OF TRUTH.

Translation: The world is full of people spinning lies and peddling half-truths. Don’t be one of those people. Instead, focus on honesty and integrity.

FILL WORLD WITH USEFUL TRUTH. LIFT WORLD FROM FAIL, GIVE IT BEAUTIFUL THING YOU MAKE FOR IT.

Translation: Be honest about what you have to offer. Ask not what your customer can do for you; ask what you can do for your customer!

4 Tips For Your Mobile SEO Strategy – Whiteboard Friday

In this week’s edition of Whiteboard Friday, Aleyda Solis offers 4 tips for your mobile SEO strategy. The Web is clearly going mobile so don’t miss out on these valuable tips…

Now It’s Your Turn!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s recap, and I’d love to hear from you in the comments!! What were some of your favorite posts this week?


steve
About The Author:  is an SEO audit specialist at Web Gnomes. He received his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech, where he published dozens of articles on Internet-related topics. Professionally, Steve has worked for Google and various other Internet startups, and he's passionate about sharing his knowledge and experiences with others. You can find him on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.


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