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Coming up on this week's show, we have a new SISTRIX feature, a brand-new and free SERP snippet preview tool and a new meta description generator, both of those tools, courtesy of Sam Underwood, and Google have added the new favorite-brands section to Google Search.
Welcome to episode 63 of season 2 of the Search with Candour podcast. I'm your host, Jack Chambers-Ward, and I'm all on my own this week. Just a quick little update, in between doing live shows and getting guests on the show, it's a solo episode this week. I'm afraid you're stuck with me for 10, 15 minutes or so this week.
I'm going to kick things off, of course by thanking our fantastic sponsor over at SISTRIX. SISTRIX, if you don't know already, are the SEO's toolbox. You can go to sistrix.com/swc if you want to check out some of their fantastic free tools such as their SERP snippet generator, hreflang validator, the Google update radar or checking your sites of visibility index. Funnily enough, they've added a brand-new, very handy little feature in the ranking comparison table recently. Basically, it will highlight where ranking URLs have changed so you can see if your competitors, basically, their rankings, are shifting around in comparison to yours. Basically, if you hover over the little highlighted section, you can see a little arrow that will highlight URL change, and this will basically tell where competitor pages are now ranking and what pages were previously ranking and, essentially, give you that idea of how they're moving around, how things are shifting for your competitors. Of course, you could already do this for your own pages through the rank tracker and things like that, but this is a really, really handy tool to have if you are checking out your competitors and keeping a close eye on their rankings and, particularly, what URLs of theirs are ranking as well. If you go into the comparison tool and you check out the ranking comparison table, you will see a little highlighted red exclamation mark, a little warning sign essentially that will highlight those for you. Yeah, just hover over that, and you'll be able to tell the URL change from there.
Before I get into this week's news, I want to give a little shout-out to myself because I'm going to be doing a live podcast coming up in Brighton in a few weeks' time, on Wednesday the 19th of April 2023. That's in a couple of weeks at the time of recording. It is totally free, also comes with free drinks, so come along for free drinks as well as a free podcast. If you're going to be in Brighton on the 19th of April, if you're coming for brightonSEO, this is the evening before the main conference starts on Thursday, the 20th, and I am teaming up with the fantastic SEO Mindset duo of Sarah and Tazmin, so please come and check out me, Sarah, and Tazmin talking all about how to deal with anxiety at conferences. Of course, our lovely sponsors, who I just mentioned, SISTRIX will also be there. Steve from SISTRIX and a few other members of the team will be there giving out Visibility Leader Awards to those deserving in classic SISTRIX fashion.
We're also sponsored by the wonderful Captivate, which is fantastic podcast-hosting platform, and they will be supplying those free drinks I mentioned earlier. It's at Projects The Lanes, so thank you very much, Projects, for hosting us, and thank you to Silicon Brighton for helping us arrange and schedule and, basically, build out this incredible event that's going to be happening in a couple of weeks' time, like I said, Wednesday, the 19th of April. That's 7:00 PM in Brighton in Project The Lanes. Link for all that information and how to get your free ticket is in the show notes at search.withcandour.co.uk.
Just a few bits from me, this week, I'm going to start off with a couple of cool little free tools that I think will be very useful for some of you. I know I've used them a couple of times already since their release from the fantastic Sam Underwood. You may not recognise Sam's name. Maybe you will. You probably will recognise seotoolbelt.co. We've mentioned it a couple of times on the show before. Sam builds some amazing free tools, and you've got things like sitemap generators. You've got robots.txt stuff, bulk redirecting, hreflang tag generating, all that kind of stuff.
A couple I wanted to highlight here, the SERP snippet preview tool is particularly good because you put in your your URL, you put in your title, put in your meta description, all that kind of stuff, and it will give you a full preview you can use to basically screenshot and share around and things like that. You get a preview for both mobile and desktop as well. Yeah, essentially, I find this really useful for previewing changes and things like that and demonstrating them to higher-ups and demonstrating them to companies and things like that. These little preview snippets are perfect for that kind of stuff. Here's what I want to change on this page's title to. Here's what we want to change the meta description to. Here's what it will look like on the SERP, essentially. It even gives you a little fake search box with your search query in there so it looks very legit and looks really, really cool.
Yeah, I think Sam and the team have done a fantastic job of building out and making this tool really handy, really easy to use, really straightforward. It is a perfect little way to present any changes to the page, from page titles and meta description, things like that or even a URL change to preview that in the SERP and demonstrate that to your colleagues or your clients. There's even a preview link you can include in things like presentations and things like that. It's a very, very handy little tool and, of course, it's free. You can go to seotoolbelt.co. Nice and easy, you'll find all the tools there and, of course, you can click the link at search.withcandour.co.uk as well.
Speaking of Sam Underwood and his fantastic free tools that he's been adding to seotoolbelt.co, there is a meta description generator that ties in with OpenAI. You will need an OpenAI API key for this. You put in a brand name. You put in USPs, so like free delivery, return times, guaranteed high quality products, whatever you want to do. Choose the language, which also is able to differentiate from English and American English to British English and many other languages as well. Language is optional, of course, or you can even bulk upload using a CSV and, yeah, it will auto generate, thanks to OpenAI, a bunch of meta descriptions for you. I know the one and only Mark Williams-Cook would be very happy to see this because, oh, boy, does Mark Williams-Cook hate writing meta descriptions. I think, there's a graph I know Mark has shared on social media a few times about the length of time working in SEO and how much you care about meta descriptions, and they are, unsurprisingly, inversely proportional. Mark has been working in SEO for almost two decades at this point, so he is very much on that curve, but I think meta descriptions are very handy still to have and, rather than spending your time crafting them out, blah, blah blah, this is a brilliant way to generate them automatically and just do them at scale as well, which I think is really, really useful. Like I said, go and check out seotoolbelt.co. They're not a sponsor for the show, just a handy couple of free tools I've spotted over the last couple of weeks that I recommend from Sam Underwood and the team over there.
Last of all, Google Search have added a Save Your Favorite Brands feature to Google Search. Last September at the Search On event, I remember we talked about that late last year, Google announced basically more personalised shopping results, and it will judge on what brands you shop with mostly. If you're a particular return customer to fashion brands or sporting brands or whatever it is, it will get an idea of what brands you like and save them for you so they're easily accessible from that front page of Google on mobile. You get basically like a carousel of brand logos come up, and you can scroll through this and, yeah, you can pretty much pretty quickly replicate this. It is now seemingly rolled out. Like I said, this was announced in September, and I've seen it a couple of times. I can now replicate it myself because I'm a regular visitor to a few brands, so it's picked those out for me.
I think this is interesting, right? This is interesting because Google is tying in more to the shopping side of things. It's being aware of what related queries tie with particular brands and how they relate to what you want. I think it's trying to match search intent and helping you to get to the results you want quicker and quicker rather than having you get through a bunch of rubbish and actually trying to find a particular thing. Even if it's not a branded search, if you know you're looking for running shoes or men's t-shirts, then it will tell you those brands. It will tell you those brands you've shopped up for. "Oh, you previously bought from this particular brand when you were looking for running shoes. Here's the link straight to that brand." Again, I do think there is an argument on the other side of it that this is favouriting big brands and ousting the little guy essentially and not letting the little guy compete in a way that is fair potentially because people will just go straight to those big brands and ignore the actual search results and the fully organic search results, if that makes sense, but I think this can be handy from a user perspective and especially from a shopping perspective. If you basically know what you want or maybe you've forgotten the brand you shopped at before, having a little carousel there straight on the search result is a good way of basically pointing you in the right direction for shopping and things like that. Yeah, I think it's an interesting, if not monumental, addition to Google Search, I guess, and continues Google's additions of these larger brands and things like that to SERPs. We see these SERPs and these new features being added pretty regularly, and a lot of the stuff we had announced back in September at the Search On event is now seemingly rolling out pretty much globally, pretty much universally for a lot of us and, like I said, I can now replicate this with some of my favorite brands. Maybe you can, too, if you go and check your SERPs as well.
Like I said, a very quick one for you this week, just 10, 50 minutes or so, we just moved house. We didn't have internet for a little while, so it's been a stressful couple of weeks, but me and my wife now own a house, which is lovely. I just wanted to give you a quick little update for the things I've spotted on Twitter over the last week or so. Mark and I will be back very, very soon with another one of our live streams over on the SISTRIX YouTube channel. Keep an eye out for that. We will announce that on social media very, very shortly at the time of recording.
Of course, I'll be back with more fantastic guests, including my first-ever returning guest on the show. I'm going to have Annie-Mai back on the show to give us an update on all things social media, but specifically talking about TikTok once again. I know that was the biggest episode of 2022 for us. That was our number one most-listened-to episode last year. Annie-Mai is going to bring some fantastic insights, and I'm going to learn even more about TikTok than I did last time. Stay tuned for all that stuff in the next couple of weeks. Of course, if you're going to be in Brighton, like I said, come and see me live do a live podcast. If you see me in Brighton, just come and say hi basically because I think that's what brightonSEO is all about, getting to know people, saying hello to people and, yeah, hopefully, I will see some of you in Brighton in a couple of weeks. Until then, thank you very much for listening and have a lovely week.