Candour

AlsoAsked launches, vehicle ads now available on Google in the US, SISTRIX SERPs tools, how to debug missing pages on Screaming Frog

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What's in this episode?

In this episode, you will hear Mark Williams-Cook & Jack Chambers talking about:

  • Vehicle ads available to US advertisers on Google
  • SISTRIX’s SERPS tools
  • How to debug missing pages in Screaming Frog crawls
  • AlsoAsked v1 has launched

Show notes

Transcript

Mark: Welcome to Episode 10 of Season Two of the Search with Candour podcast, recorded on Wednesday, the 16th of March 2022. My name is Mark Williams-Cook and I'm joined by my co-host Jack Chambers, and today we will be talking about vehicle ads that are now available to US customers on Google, how to debug missing pages in Screaming Frog crawls, and the long, long awaited launch of...

Audio clip: Is it? Can it be? It is! The phenomenal-

Mark: AlsoAsked.com.

Sound effect: Crowd cheers and applause.

Jack: Search with Candour is supported by SISTRIX, the SEO's toolbox. Go to SISTRIX.com/swc if you want to check out some of the excellent free tools, such as SERP Snippet validator, on-page analysis, hreflang validator, page speed comparison and tracking your site's visibility index. That’s SISTRIX.com/swc for free SEO tools and to sign up for a free trial of their premium tools, which I'll be discussing in a bit more detail later on in the show.

Mark: So vehicle ads are now available to US advertisers on Google. This is an amazing breakthrough.

Jack: It is because we touched on this briefly with the Bing side of things a few episodes ago, and you very rightly predicted this will probably come through to Google at some point soon. And here we are, four or five episodes later, we've got some stuff coming through on Google. Very exciting stuff.

Mark: Yeah. I was reading this and I was like, "Oh cool. The car things... Hang on a minute. I read this five episodes ago." So yes, Google have just copied Bing, basically. I'll read out the Google announcement and then we will talk very briefly about it and what it is. So Google says, "Starting in March 2022," which is now, "vehicle ads will become available to all US advertisers," boo, always to the US, never-

Jack: Yeah, we never get it here in Britain.

Mark: We never get it first.

Jack: No. We do with film releases now, though, which is nice.

Mark: Oh really?

Jack: We often get them a few days ahead of the US. It used to be that we'd be weeks or even months behind the US releases, but these days we tend to get it ahead of time, which is lovely.

Mark: I would ask you why, but I feel like we're going to open up a big can of worms.

Jack: It's a whole tangent.

Mark: We'd go off on a-

Jack: Yeah, yeah.

Mark: Okay, anyway. "Vehicle ads will expand to more countries at a later date." We're not given a date so we don't know when we'll get them. But this is what Google says. They say, "Vehicle ads are a performance-focused omnichannel, lower-funnel ad format, which allows auto advertisers to promote their entire inventory of vehicles to interested customers shopping for vehicles on google.com.

Jack: "Performance-focused omnichannel, lower-funnel ad format" is my least favourite combination of marketing spiel words I've heard in a long time.

Mark: Yeah, that's-

Jack: It does describe what it does, so it's not too waffly, but, God, that's some typical marketing spiel.

Mark: So basically it's going to show vehicle ads to ones that are near you, pretty much.

Jack: Yeah.

Mark: So Google goes on to say, "This format shows customers an image of the car, plus information such as make, model, price, miles, and advertiser name." So basically exactly what you'd expect, the basic information about, well, I'm buying a car. What make is it? What model is it? How far is it driven?

Jack: Yeah, that makes sense.

Mark: So I like this bit. "Clicking on the vehicle ad takes the customer to the Vehicle Description Page." And they've put in brackets here, VDP.

Jack: It's going to be the new hot thing. All the SEOs are going to be talking about, all the PBC people will be like, "Oh yeah, I want to get on that VDP, man."

Mark: Going to optimise my VDPs. Yeah. So the VDP, the Vehicle Description Page, which again, just sounds like, I'll be honest, just a very fancy way of describing the page that is just about the vehicle with all the stuff we just said.

Jack: The landing page is what it is, yeah.

Mark: "Customers from here can perform further actions, such as contacting the dealer, filling out a lead form." It literally says, "et cetera." I guess they ran out of ideas. I feel I'm being very sarcastic.

Jack: You are. You are. You're in one of those moods.

Mark: Basically, they've copied Bing. It's super simple. They're going to show these vehicle ads. What's interesting out of this is how you do it, which is, to participate in this, you need to upload your vehicle feed to Google Merchant Center, which is how you're getting this information across. So again, it's another thing, like we're talking about with the Bing thing, it's another place where you need to provide structured data to enable them to show these kinds of richer search results.

Google, again, like Bing, I was a bit sceptical of Bing before, as well, and Google again have given some case studies where they say, "Advertisers who complimented their existing out campaigns with vehicle ads saw a plus 25% average increase in conversions during beta testing." Again, I probably wouldn't expect that much of an uplift as a regular kind of seller of vehicles. I think these are very carefully picked ones, but again, there's no reason why it shouldn't help. But these are currently live in the US. They're coming hopefully to the UK at some point, but I think really helpful for consumers and of course anyone selling automobiles.

Jack: So let's move on to some debugging of page crawlers, shall we? It's a great little article from the fine folks over at Screaming Frog, a tool we use pretty much on a daily basis here at Candour and I've used pretty much everywhere I've worked as an SEO, pretty much. It's a pretty essential tool these days, I'd say, in terms of crawling. And they want to talk about how to debug missing pages in a crawl.

So this is a page you know is on your website, but you've done a crawl on Screaming Frog and you can't find it. And it turns out this is a very frequently asked question for people using Screaming Frog, unsurprisingly. Yeah, they go into a bit more detail and basically, they summarise how the crawler works and then go through the processes about how you may be able to debug this issue and get around and work out why it might not have been picked up by the crawler. So I'll read some of the text straight away from Screaming Frog here.

"One of our most frequently asked questions is why is the SEO spider not finding all my pages? And why is this URL or section not being crawled? Sometimes it's literally just, why is this tool not working properly? Learning how to debug missing pages is an important skill set, as an SEO, as it can help identify potential issues with crawling and indexing or, at the very least, provide you with a better technical understanding of the site setup when working to improve organic visibility. It's important to remember the fundamentals of how a crawler like Screaming Frog SEO spider works to understand why it might not be able to discover pages."

And this is interesting. They do define how the SEO spider, and for those of you who have used screaming Frog but never actually looked into the details of it, it's an interesting little thing. This is the quote from Screaming Frog, "The SEO spider discovers links by scanning the HTML code for the A tags with an href attribute from the start page of a crawl. It will then crawl these links to discover more links." So it is internal links, folks. That is how an SEO spider, like Screaming Frog, finds everything. "The crawl is breadth-first, meaning it'll crawl URLs at the present depth before moving on to crawling URLs at the next step level, meaning it will crawl from the start page first, then crawl all the all URLs that page links to, moving on further and further until it completes the crawl." They have a great little kind of infographic about how to debug missing pages. Is it linked? Is it indexed? Do I know what pages are linking to this page and all this kind of stuff? It's a really, really useful little article if you have had trouble finding why you can't crawl certain pages using Screaming Frog, or certain pages are not indexed or whatever it is. A really useful article, as of course links in the show notes, you can go to search.withcandour.co.uk and we'll link directly to the Screening Frog article there, give you all the details.

Mark: Yeah, I think it's really good fundamental knowledge for everyone to have. We've got lots of desktop crawling, especially tools now, that are quite advanced in how they discover and crawl pages and URLs. What I still like doing, apart from connecting everything up to analytics and search console, doing the most basic kind of crawl, which is just crawl the website, don't render any Javascript, just find me.

Jack: Follow all the links and just see what comes out, right?

Mark: Yeah. A tags with hrefs in the raw HTML, because that is how Google bot is working, on the most basic level.

Jack: That is the fundamental structure of that website, and that is so important for so many things we do in SEO.

So Google's said a couple of times now that, I believe, it's the median time in which they render the JavaScript after doing a crawl like this is like five seconds or something ridiculously fast now. And I was really sceptical about this for ages because I've seen and I've done tests where you maybe change something on the page with JavaScript and in some cases, it was days or weeks before you saw that page updated with the JavaScript.

What I actually learned, after much back and forth between, it was actually Martin Splitt, and I probably should have realised this, that the rendering of that JavaScript and the indexing of the rendered version are actually still two separate things. Meaning, say you had some links that were only discoverable with JavaScript and I was looking at, I know it's not the best way, but the cache page and being like, "Oh, it still hasn't found those links," It still could have rendered the JavaScript, found those links, gone off, crawled them, and it just hasn't pushed that JavaScript version to the index yet. It hasn't been indexed. That goes alongside what we've been seeing recently, anyway, which does seem to be taking ages for anything to get indexed at the moment.

Jack: And something we touched on very briefly when we've been talking about IndexNow a lot, and the fact that it's called IndexNow, again, is kind of a misleading thing. It's “crawl now”, not “index now”. And being aware of that distinction is so important when it comes to stuff like JavaScript and things like this. So yeah, I think a really interesting piece from Screaming Frog and something to keep in your back pocket, for sure.

Mark: Yeah. So this guide again is helpful because you'll probably find it anyway, because Google's good at discovering pages and, as you said, Screaming Frog is only using internal links, whereas it's very likely that some stuff has got indexed because of external links. So, fundamentally, if you have a page you want ranking and you don't link to it internally, you've got a big problem because, firstly, how are users going to find that if they can't actually click on it?

I mean, the only kind of exception to this, I guess, is if you have pages that are accessible through things, maybe like dropdowns that change URLs because search engines won't use those, therefore they'll be difficult to index, but they can get indexed if you trigger those URLs and then they get linked to externally. So there are as well kind of next steps, which you can look at.

We've talked about it on Sitebulb, doing this before, whereby you connect up Google Analytics and a really useful report is to see which URLs you are getting organic search traffic to, that might be orphaned. That's the terminology for a URL within your site structure that isn't linked to internally, is orphaned. It's just a URL that exists.

I think that's a really interesting topic, in general, to read about which is actually, when you start scratching the surface, there are lots of, actually in this case, in this case, in this case that there might be URLs, which are indexable, but not discoverable in your internal link structure. There may be URLs which are discoverable to users, which are not discoverable, even on a JavaScript crawl. There are URLs which are discoverable on a JavaScript crawl, but not an HTML crawl. So doing those different types of crawls, seeing and debugging, which page is missing is super, not basic knowledge, I'd say fundamental knowledge because it's not basic. The concept is basic, but there's a lot to learn there. So a really good guide to kick that off with.

Jack: So we touched on the free tools from SISTRIX at the top of the show. I want to dive into a few more of the paid features here, specifically looking at the SERPs side of things. So how you can analyse your SERPs and the different features that SISTRIX includes from a free perspective and from a paid perspective as well.

I was playing around with it earlier today, and have been looking at some of our clients here at Candour and using this to analyse your keyword overlap with competitors. I think that's an essential thing when it comes to working with a website from a search perspective. You might have a clear idea from your business side of things or from your sales team who your competitors are. They might not be the same competitors, from a search perspective. This is specifically looking at keyword overlap and what other websites are ranking for similar keywords to you, and basically getting an idea of who your competitors are on the search engine result pages.

You can also look at search intent and they categorise it in four different ways. I know we've touched on this previously, and we talk about it quite a lot in the studio here as well with Semrush, introducing their search intent side of things. With SISTRIX, they categorise it by Know, Do, Website and Visit, and they're four different categories and getting an idea of the intent of the user and why they would be visiting that page.

Then SERP snippets, which you can get a little taster of from the free tool side of things. You can do that one URL at a time and basically get an idea of what your page will look like on a search engine result page. With the paid version, you get that, or your whole domain, straight away, and you can scroll through and have a look at all your different pages and how they're presented there.

When you get into a bit more detail, you go down to the Compare Snippet side of things and you can see how your pages look on SERPs for different keywords so that the actual snippets themselves can change, so what the users are going to see on those search end result pages. You will see different things depending on what keyword you're ranking for, which I think is interesting and something, I think, a lot of people, I know I've kind of not been aware of that, particularly in the past, they do actually change the snippets depending on what keyword people are searching for and what search term you are ranking for. So be aware of that as well and make sure you have relevant content that makes sense in your titles and in your content.

Featured snippets, I know we've covered this before as well. You can see what pages on your site have featured snippets for relevant search terms, nice and straightforward. If you don't have them, you can go and hunt them out. And if you do, you can see what you're doing right with your structured data and all that kind of stuff. And lastly, the SERP environment. You can see they're kind of spread. So if you've got paid stuff running along with organic stuff and how it all breaks down into things like the main organic sort of text, organic results, featured snippets, organic results with site links, locations, local searches, Google Shopping, Google Ads, all that kind of stuff. And you get a percentage breakdown across your site of how that kind of breaks down. Are you mostly being seen in ads? Mostly being seen organic with site links? All that kind of stuff. So very, very useful information looking at the site as a whole, as well.

And before we wrap up on SISTRIX, to give a little tease, because soon we'll be able to talk about the live data side of things from SISTRIX. And they've been working on something for quite a while now. I know it's been in the SISTRIX labs side of things, which is their kind of testing facility they have with certain users. And I've got a little preview here from SISTRIX. "The SISTRIX Visibility Index has been available as a live indicator for some time, but we're getting ready to roll out live keyword SERP data across the toolbox very soon. Live data is there because we want to deliver the latest data as we get it. That includes all the latest SERPs along with the minute that we crawled them, so you can be as up to date as possible. We crawl millions of keyword SERPs on a daily basis and no keyword SERP will be more than 30 days old. This will apply to all 40 countries and for mobile data and it'll always show the latest value. Particularly useful, potentially, on core update days, as things are shifting around." Like I said, this is available now in the SISTRIX Labs, if you are part of that and subscribed to that. If you are not, it'll be rolled out to all SISTRIX users very soon.

Mark: So in this part of the show, I am going to cover something that I've been wanting to cover for-

Jack: Two years?

Mark: ... two years, literally, now. That is this Monday, the 14th, so a couple of days ago we finally pushed our Version 1 of AlsoAsked.com live. Yah, yah.

Jack: Congratulations, Mark!

Mark: I'm aware a bunch of you may already be aware of AlsoAsked. For those that aren't, I just want to give a quick overview about what it is, and even for those maybe that have used it before, I just wanted to give some context as to where it sits within the landscape of various different tools and how it fits in strategically with content creation, SEO content, PBC.

Because the actual talk, basically, I'm doing this year at Brighton SEO is going to be all about zero volume and long-tail searches. And actually, the reason that I chose to speak about that topic is, over the last couple of years, the number one feature request we had for AlsoAsked is basically, can you please add monthly search volume data? Can you add search volume? When will search volumes be added? And that has told me that maybe some people are thinking about the data wrongly because, basically, if you took all of the search terms on the average tree of an AlsoAsked set of results, the sum of all the search volume would be zero.

Jack: Yeah, exactly. I think it's really interesting because so many people get hung up on search volume. It's such a driving factor for keyword research for so many people, and if it has zero, then don't even bother, kind of thing. I think I've heard that from people in digital marketing before. But what you can do with AlsoAsked and, weird enough, AlsoAsked was how I first heard of Candour, funnily enough. A little key part of my journey, coming here and ending up hosting the podcast with you.

But yeah, I think it's an interesting thing because, like you said, it goes underappreciated. And AlsoAsked allows users to get stuck into that kind of stuff without getting hung up in all the keyword search volume-y kind of stuff. You can just look at that from a, for want of a better phrase, a raw content perspective. You're looking at the questions people are actually asking, and are you able to answer them? It kind of distils it down and keeps it nice and simple in that way without getting bogged down in loads of numbers and stuff, which I think can cause people to be put off by certain things. You know what I mean?

Mark: Yeah. I think a good place to start here would actually be to reverse out and talk about actually a different tool, which is AnswerThePublic, which a lot of people will know about. And it's probably the number one question I had for ages, which is, "Oh, is this another version of AnswerThePublic?" when they talk about AlsoAsked.

So I just want to explain the differences between these two tools and actually answer your question, or the thing you posted there, about People Also Ask data. So, for those that know AnswerThePublic, AnswerThePublic is a tool that uses Google Suggest data. Google Suggest data is when you start typing something into a Google Search box, it will give you a suggestion. And what AnswerThePublic does, and what it's amazing at and what I've loved and used this tool for ages, is it prepends and appends all of these searches for you with how, what, why, and with verses, to give you a whole range of categorised different suggestions, so it does a huge amount of legwork for you. Now, that is a different set of data to AlsoAsked. AlsoAsked uses People Also Ask data, which is a different set of data, and they've-

Jack: They're on the SERP, you see the little dropdown boxes with questions and you click on them and stuff. You can see where it says "People also ask" above it. That is the data we're pulling from on AlsoAsked, right?

Mark: Exactly. And the difference, in terms of the usage here, is AnswerThePublic, for me at least, I use that to pick a topic, to pick a set of intent to write about. AnswerThePublic will generally only work well with one or two word key phrases because it is expanding those key phrases itself, and the topics it will give you back, there'll be some overlap that needs clustering, but generally, there'll be different pages of different content.

Whereas, with People Also Ask results, and therefore the results you get from Alsoasked.com, I use that for, once you have picked, "This is the topic I'm going to write about," when you then Google that topic, the questions essentially are very tightly related to that question or that key phrase search.

Jack: It's a lot more focused, from my experience. I'm using both tools. And like I said, I used them independently before I started working here at Candour, so take this with a pinch of honesty, the opposite of a pinch of salt. I was using both tools independently before I came and worked at Candour and had noticed the difference, objectively, before I was behind the curtain, behind the scenes at Candour and understanding how the actual thing works.

But I think it's a very clear difference. If you really, really look at the results and you just have the two side by side and you are searching for similar kind of things around a topic that your site is relevant for whatever it is, you can quickly tell there is a big difference between how focused AlsoAsked is compared to the more general kind of categorizable stuff that you get from Answer The Public.

Mark: To give you an example, one I recently used for a client was I used AnswerThePublic to search for, say, jigsaw puzzles. And it will return topics such as, what is the jigsaw puzzle with the most pieces? What are the benefits of doing jigsaw puzzles? So they, for instance, would be two separate things I would write about. But then I'd take that question, like "What's the benefit of doing jigsaw puzzles?" And if you search for that in AnswerThePublic, you'll get no results, because that's too long for it to handle.

But if you put that in AlsoAsked, then it'll give you questions like "What are the developmental advantages for children doing puzzles? Do puzzles increase your IQ?" All these really specific questions, which are essentially just little tangents from the main question. And why it's so powerful is that the search engine is essentially saying to you, "This is the kind of things that people also want to know," literally what's on the tin, people will say-

Jack: What they have also asked.

Mark: But that, to me, is a search engine is trying to rank the best possible answer and there's going to be a probability in that, i.e., "Here's two articles. I think, probability-wise, this one gives the best answer." So for me, it's absolute 101 that you should be considering those questions because they increase your chances of ranking, not even necessarily getting in a PAA, but actually just ranking.

Jack: I think it comes from a more general kind of marketing term, the "They Ask, You Answer" terminology that a lot of people use. So if you know your customers and, in this case, people who are searching for things relevant to your site, are asking these questions, if you can provide the answers, then you can be there to provide value to your users, whether that's directly through answering the question or using that as a way to bring them onto your site and get them to go through a particular user journey and convert or whatever.

It's very, very key information to know what your customers are asking about your products or your services or related topics or whatever it is, and get an idea of how you can answer them best through your service pages or your product pages, or even a blog post or an FAQ, even. Having multiple ways of answering these questions can be so key for getting new users in and bringing new customers to your site.

Mark: So when we get these PAA results, generally you'll normally get around four of these questions. And if you've used them before, you'll know when you click on them, what happens is they kind of concertina out and then you get another little branch of questions coming from that question. So basically what AlsoAsked does is you put in one of these questions, these key phrases, and it will build a visual graph for you of the first couple of branches of those questions and related questions. And the way it works, as a service essentially, is there's three tiers. You pick one, you get between 100 and 1,000 different searches a month. You can export those images, which I found are amazing for client pitches.

Jack: Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Mark: So if you're pitching content to a client, if you don't really know anything about their niche, you don't need to, because it gives you such a great way of saying, "Well, look, here's some content that you've written," you put it in AlsoAsked, and then immediately you're like, "Oh look, you could have answered these five things, as well."

Jack: Absolutely. Like I said, I had used this before I came working here at Candour and had used it for precisely that purpose of explaining, you have content on your site but you are not answering the questions that people are asking. And, because the AlsoAsked data is so visual with their image export, it works so well as part of presentations and stuff like that. It's such a clear thing. You can see the branches coming off from each other, essentially, and you can delve deeper. You can click on those little nodes and go further and deeper into particular topics, as well. It's a really interesting way of visually explaining that rather than just kind of... Because you can also do a CSV export, as well, right, Mark? So you can lay it out and include it in a more kind of data-driven way. But I think having that visualisation side of things is really, really useful, especially if you're getting people to buy in, higher-level people, kind of like what Tom Critchlow and I talked about a few episodes ago, that getting the executives to buy in, getting the new clients to come on board as part of a proposal, or whatever it is, that kind of stuff. And having the visual representation that it's not just a bunch of, as I said, SEO numbers and data just chucked at people. You can actually explain it visually. It's really, really useful because communicating to people who are less technical and not necessarily inside the SEO industry.

Mark: I like using the visuals anyway just for kind of general inspiration, as well. But yeah, the CSV export is there for when you do just want to dump data on people and maybe put it into other tools. On the top tier on the Pro Account, we've got bulk searches, as well. So you can export potentially keywords from another tool, upload them as CSV and that will kind of churn away and just email you a big zip file of CSVs with all of the questions for all of the topics.

Mark: And we will be releasing API access eventually for the Pro. We haven't done that yet, for a bunch of reasons. PAA is if anyone's tried and not the easiest thing to wrestle from Google, but they are important. So I'm going to link in the show notes to an SEMrush study on PAAs. And there's just some really great facts in there if you are considering them from a strategic perspective, which is that, in general, they appear on around about 50% of searches. So any random search, one in two will have PAA.

Jack: That is higher than I was expecting. I mean, we've talked about percentages of searches before for like, "Oh 2%. That's a lot," because there's millions of searches. 50% is a significant number.

Mark: Well, what's really cool as well is they've done a breakdown of questions. That means queries start with things or contain things like "Can, does, are, why," et cetera. And the percentage of SERPs with PAAs then are generally over 90%. So when you have these specific kinds of intent questions, Google knows there's a whole bunch of other questions and they've given some other data as well about the probability of triggering featured snippets and PAAs with the number of words in a query. And it's just this really nice linear increase as you go. If you've got a one-word search, a one-word query, there's a 16% chance, from their study, of producing a featured snippet with a PAA, all the way up to, if you've got 10 words, of pretty much any search term.

Jack: A really, really long tail search there.

Mark: Yeah. You're up to 70%. And actually, these searches as well, the majority of searches will tend to be more detailed nowadays. So while you do have a high monthly volume of these generic searches, there's loads and loads of the searches that, especially now, and I'll touch on this at Brighton SEO, but all these Google updates we've had around BERT and -

Jack: I was just about to bring up BERT, absolutely, yeah.

Mark: This has really opened up the Google lens on what they can discover and what they can rank and them understanding the content actually increases your chance of ranking. Now, whereas before they were leaning quite heavily, they still do, but they used to lean a lot more heavily on things like link metrics and just be like, "Well, we don't really know what you're asking precisely, but here's a site with a lot of links."

Jack: And I think that comes with more and more people just googling something or using a search engine. I know googling is now a verb for it, because of course it is. But more people are using that just on a day-to-day basis all the time. And people grow up using search engines nowadays. I know Mark and I are old enough to remember days before search engines, but I know some of the younger listeners probably grew up using them in your childhood and, to go through these more complicated, more complex search terms, I remember the days when you would just type in three or four words and just hope for the best and just be like, "Where buy car?" And be like, "Uh-oh."

Whereas now you can like, where to buy a specific model in this specific era with this type of thing and this amount of mileage and all this kind of stuff. And we touched on vehicle ads earlier. So maybe more of an ad-focused thing, but you can go for much longer queries and much longer questions these days. And what's the percentage of new searches every day? I know you-

Mark: It's around 15%.

Jack: 15% new searches every single day. That is a staggering number, and I think long-tail searches are becoming more and more common. And I think the example we touched on a few episodes with BERT, as you mentioned, Mark, is such an interesting side of Google and then trying to understand what people are looking for. And this ties very neatly into all of that, as well.

Mark: I've held on for many years to my book, which is called The AltaVista Search Revolution. It was all about basically using AltaVista to explore the internet. And I've kept it because I thought it was just really interesting, like a whole book as a concept of explaining to people how to use a search engine. I just remember this one bit and it's like, "Imagine you want to discover some local dancing lessons to you or some more information about dancing in your area, you could go to AltaVista and try the search 'Dancing.'"

Jack: Can you imagine trying that in Google in 2022?

Mark: It just seemed so quaint because the internet, or the web, I should say, was so much smaller. It even gives the top 1,000 most-searched-for things on the internet and they're all just really like quaint little things people are searching for. Because search engines have got so much better and expectations have gone up, et cetera, et cetera. Searches are way more complex and nuanced now. You're not just searching for dancing anymore.

Mark: Anyway, we digress. One thing I want to finish on, I guess, is just again, talking about some other tools and one that's come up a couple of times is Searchresponse.io, which is another tool that provides People Also Ask information. And there's a couple of other tools like it that people have kind of compared to AlsoAsked. Especially now AlsoAsked has obviously got paid plans, but Searchresponse.io is still in their beta. I don't know if they'll be in beta as long as us. That would be a challenge.

Jack: We hold the record now, do you think?

Mark: I think so.

Jack: SEO tool record.

Mark: But they're a neat little tool that's in beta. And I had some people say to me, "Oh, well look, you're trying to charge money now so we're going to go and use that tool," which my sponsor's always like, "Cool, fine. If you want to do that, that's fine." But they are fundamentally different, as well. And while I understand, obviously, some people will always want kind of like a free version, I just want to explain very quickly the differences between these tools. So, as I said, AlsoAsked.com, it works by essentially going and getting the live People Also Ask result from the time at which you did the search, and one of the reasons that's very important is those PAA results can change hourly.

Jack: Yeah. We talked about this in the studio a few weeks ago, I think, where somebody went to an event or something, there was a big gala. I think it was Kim Kardashian, as an example, and you put "Kim Kardashian" in and suddenly all the PAA stuff is "What was she wearing? What's the dress?" all this kind of stuff. And that shifted. Minute-by-minute, you could almost see it's like, "Oh, now somebody else has come out onto the red carpet," and now everybody's talking about their latest film or the thing that they're wearing at this gala and all this kind of stuff. And I think having that, if you want to stay topical and you want to keep on those topics and trends as quickly as you can, having live data is pretty essential, right?

Mark: Yeah. So having a first-mover advantage in content or SEO is always a big advantage, even if it's not news. And this is why when we talked about SISTRIX earlier and they're talking about, that's pretty amazing, they're going to keep everything within 30 days, search result-wise, for all these keywords. Again, there's a different place for AlsoAsked because, essentially, there's pretty much unlimited versions of these questions you can ask that you can't track on a SERP tool like that.

So it's very like spearfishing for these questions. But that's one reason which is you get this live data. That's what AlsoAsked does. So Search Response and a couple of other tools, what they're actually doing, and this is what some of the bigger tools are doing with their PAA data, is this is a pre kind of scraped database of these are just the PAA questions we've seen while we've done other searches.

So, while searches have happened, they've seen the four or five questions and just grabbed them. Which means if you did a search, say, for "Best running shoes," what would happen with AlsoAsked is it would search for best running shoes, it would get the PAA. I had a look at this result yesterday and, in the third level of the branch, you get "Is this a good brand of running shoe? What shoes does Usain Bolt wear?" These kinds of questions.

Because of the way these tools work, like Search Response that scrape the PAAs and store them in a database, the way they match them is just by saying, "Which of these queries have we seen contain the words "best" and "running" and "shoes?" Why, in my opinion, that's not good is because matching the string is not the same as matching the intent.

But if I am trying to understand which are the best running shoes, my question might be "What are the top brands of shoes?" Or "What are the best jogging shoes?" Or "What shoes does Usain Bolt wear?" None of those questions will ever show up in those tools because they don't contain the word that you've searched for, "Best running shoes."

So you're actually missing out on serving the intent that we should be including in our article. And the other downside as well is of course for the new search terms, you just don't get as many results because the database didn't update. That said, if they are free, if they are cheaper, there's no reason you shouldn't use free tools. There's no downside to using a free tool, right?

But the point, for me, of AlsoAsked is to better understand searcher behaviour, searcher intent, which again for me, long term, is the core to writing good content and the core, essentially, to ranking well. And that's how you best do it. So again, I'm not overly worried about which tool people want to use, but I just want people to be aware there is a massive difference. And that's why it took us a long time to develop this tool because there is a specific reason we're doing it that way and we've worked hard to make it work that way because that's, I think, the highest value data you can get to write the best content to make stuff better than your competitors.

Mark: And that is everything we have got time for in this episode. We'll be back, of course, in one week's time, which will be Monday, the 28th of March. For myself and Jack Chambers, we both hope you have a lovely week and hope you tune in then.

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