While half of Germany are still enjoying their holidays, we are presenting the SEO News for September – with search results for DIY, the renaissance of an old SEO theory, an update to e-commerce with Amazon’s Alexa and an important technology update from Russia.

1) Bing allows direct answers to be optimised directly by users

So far, the quality community “Bing Distill”, which was launched by Microsoft around two years ago, has remained relatively quiet. Now, observations from the USA are attracting attention: Users of the search engine can directly revise the responses to commonly asked questions that are shown in the results (direct answers, e.g. “How do I change a car tyre?”) and send optimisation suggestions to Microsoft. In contrast to the fully automated Google system, which is also seeing a sharp increase in the use of instant answers, Microsoft is taking a completely different, human-based approach to ensure the quality and relevance of this popular feature. According to company information, the membership in the Bing Distill group should theoretically be open to every user.

2) Google stirs up the electoral campaign

The US search engine has, for the first time, called on around 4,500 German politicians to fill in the contents of the information box to the right of the search results with their own ideas on the election program. The politicians are given a maximum of 500 characters to present their manifestos and appeal to their voters. Additionally, each politician can make three main points, each with a maximum of 140 characters. According to a statement from the company, the offer is optional and is primarily aimed at candidates who are not yet well known at an election level.

3) SEO quality factor with Google – so yes after all?

Search guru Rand Fishkin has recently been a breath of fresh air in the discussion about an old SEO theory. Does Google have a quality factor for evaluating websites that works similarly to the organic search of the official “Quality Score” in the paid AdWords program? Here, the advertiser is informed about the quality of his advertisements, keywords and target pages – this is certainly an important optimisation aid. With regard to the organic area, Google has never commented on the speculation. The observations from previous years strongly suggest that a high level of user engagement on selected pages (click rates, average stay, clicks per visit, etc.) can have a positive effect on the visibility of entire domains. According to Fishkin, the aim should be to improve the performance of entire domains with the targeted quality optimisation of some pages. This not only includes the development of new subpages, but also the exclusion of content with low user interest.

4) With Amazon’s Alexa, SEO Score has a name

The topic of voice search is increasingly becoming a part of classic e-commerce. According to traffic reports and weather forecasts, the sale of goods and services that use voice-activated assistants is steadily coming to the fore. In the middle of August, it was announced that Google Home would be collaborating with Wal-Mart, the market leader in US retail, which clearly shows the hopes of new technology. The fact that the home assistants Alexa and Echo are direct extensions of Amazon, makes things clearer but not necessarily easier. Therefore, it is important that when receiving a spoken command, Alexa and Echo firstly browse the user’s purchase history for previously ordered items of the same type. If Alexa does not find any identical items, she automatically suggests a product from the “Amazon Choice” selection. It is therefore necessary for retailers to qualify their products for the “Amazon Choice” program. Similarly to a quality factor, the product must be available in Prime, have a high conversion rate, a competitive price and positive reviews.

5) Yandex takes off with artificial intelligence

After Google had declared the “Al first” motto at its developer conference in May and thus proclaimed artificial intelligence as the basis for its search technology, the Russian search engine Yandex is now trying to emulate it. The company announced that an update based on neuronal, self-learning networks called “Korolyov” (named after a Soviet space research centre) was being taken live. Similarly to Google’s RankBrain algorithm, using this new technology, Yanex can gain a better understanding of the intention behind rare and complex search queries and can now apply the detected search intention to entire websites in large numbers. Up to now, Yandex had only used headings of web content to match search intentions to the suitable page relevance. This is an important step towards better voice search expertise for the company.

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