search engine optimization

The number one driver for organic conversions isn't usability or price it's intent. For that reason, I think it's great to see Google's Analytics guru, author & super nice guy :), Avinash Kaushik blogging about "intent". Engine officials rarely discuss "intent" outside academics or IR for obvious reasons. Analytics folks tend to avoid this topic altogether because analytics measures user action but not what users intended to do. This has always been a major disconnect between analytics, design, usability, PPC and the complex realities of organic search.

Back in May, Google introduced support for Rich Snippets in SERPs. These snippets can be extracted from structured data annotations provided to search engines via microformat or in RDFa embedded by webmasters. These structured data annotations can provide not only quality signals but also reviews, personal information, product details and even business contacts. Obviously, when this data appears in SERPs it's going to have a direct impact on click-through rates. As a result perhaps, Google has launched a new tool for webmasters to preview Rich Snippets. The new Google Webmaster Rich Snippet Testing Tool according to Google, is to help webmasters enhance "search results by marking up web pages with Microformats or RDFa." This kind of structured data could help improve the quality of SERPs and is already being used by sites like beu blog, Google Profiles, LinkedIn and others....

Rich Snippet SERP example

As you know Google recently caused havoc for some analytics platforms by including #anchors (aka pound signs, fragment identifiers) in SERP URLs. Just a quick post today to mention they're back! Noticed #anchors in my SERPs this morning and I've been seeing them on and off all day.

Update - Matt Cutts confirmed this issue last week but I haven't seen any hints of the new testing until now. Hat tip to Barry for the 411! :) Thanks to Ionut Alex Chitu for emailing to also point out that Google's new Wonder Wheel feature launched earlier this week, always uses AJAX URLs with #anchors. It's going to be interesting to see what impact this change has on various tools, something to be aware of for sure....