Providing Better Product Information For Shoppers

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information, and organizing product information for shoppers and retailers is an essential part of this mission. In the last year, we’ve introduced several new experiences that enable brands and retailers to list their products for free on Google, whether that’s on Google Search through a product knowledge panel or on the Shopping tab.

To best help users find your content and products in Search, we recommend that websites clearly identify products mentioned.

In the following sections we provide guidelines for manufacturers, retailers, and publishers on how to ensure that Google understands the products they are selling or referencing.

How Google identifies products online and offline

Google relies on accurate and trusted product data to precisely identify products that are available for shoppers.

We recommend providing clear product identification, as this helps Google to match offers to products, and to match products to relevant search queries. You can improve Google’s understanding of products by using unique product identifiers like Global Trade Item Number (GTIN™), Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs), and brand names. When using product identifiers, we recommend that the identifiers follow these best practices:

  • Uniqueness: Each product should have a unique identifier that can consistently and accurately be shared across the ecosystem and identify a product in both the physical and digital worlds of commerce.
  • Verifiability: Identity of a product (for example, who is the manufacturer) and other product data should be verifiable through a trusted source. This allows marketplaces to verify that product data is accurate and complete through global registries, the organizations that issued and manage the identifiers.
  • Global Reach: With ecommerce making the world more connected, relying on an identification system that can be used across the ecosystem globally will help keep product identification seamless for stakeholders in all countries.

Google adopted use of GTINs as the standard in 2015 so that retailers could reach more customers online.

For products that are sold through a variety of sellers and marketplaces, registering products with the GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) System provides internationally recognized standard identifiers for unique identification of products both in physical stores and on e-commerce platforms. Registration makes it possible for consumers to identify the source of the product.

Tips for brands and manufacturers

Brands and manufacturers can submit product data through Google Manufacturer Center for free, and as part of this process, share the product information to uniquely identify the products to Google. Below are some tips to ensure that Google understands the data that you are providing:

  • Ensure your products have GTINs: Your products must have unique Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) to use Manufacturer Center. To learn how to assign GTINs to your products, visit the GS1 website in your local region.
  • Don’t reuse product identifiers: GTINs should never be shared across multiple products; a single product should map clearly to a single GTIN. Reuse of GTINs can cause marketplace catalog data to become out of date and inconsistent, creating confusion. By obtaining product identifiers from unauthorized sources (for example, identifiers sold through bankruptcy proceedings), you run the risk of establishing identity on the foundation of a previously registered product or company.
  • Follow best practices for product identifiers for custom products: In certain situations (for example, artisan products, customizable products, or one-off products), a brand can adopt a proprietary approach to solve product identity by managing its products with unique Stock Keeping Unit numbers (SKUs) or Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs). The key here is for manufacturers to incorporate the principles around uniqueness, verifiability and global reach to ensure the benefits of having product identifiers materialize.

Tips for retailers and 3rd-party sellers 

Retailers should ensure accurate product identification on their websites. In addition to general guidelines around GTIN, Google recommends:

  • Submit high quality product data: Submit structured data to Google in a product feed or add structured data markup to your website.
  • Provide a GTIN, when GTINs exist: Retailers must provide GTINs when they’re selling products that have GTINs. The GTIN can be included in both the product feed as well as the page’s structured data. If a product does not have a GTIN, retailers and 3rd-party sellers should rely on brand and manufacturer parts numbers to identify the product.
  • Use valid and unique GTINs: Don’t reuse existing GTINs for a new product. Retailers should not invent GTINs and should not register their own GTINs with GS1, unless they are also the manufacturer of the product.

Tips for online publishers 

When publishers create content, like reviewing products or sharing the latest deals for a given product, it’s important that the products in those reviews be accurately identified. This allows users to find those reviews when searching for products on Google. Google recommends:

  • Use exact product names: Publishers should mention the exact name of the products that are mentioned on the page. This makes it easier for users, and search engines, to understand exactly which product is referenced.
  • Use structured data: We recommend adding structured data, including the GTIN, when reviewing products. This makes it easier for search engines to better understand when to show your pages in search.
  • Use valid and unique GTINs: GTINs should never be invented or “borrowed” from other products just to provide a GTIN identifier on the content.

Product identity is critical in commerce because it ensures that businesses and consumers accurately understand the origin and unique identity of a product. This also applies to the web and Google Search, where an accurate understanding of a product helps to show the right product to the right user at the right time.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

How I Learned Vocal Tonality

Vocal Tonality

Have your heard yourself lately?

Learn these secrets to sounding like a celebrity.

There is a saying that some people learn visually, but that’s not the only way to learn or take in information. I have always been an auditory learner. Because of that, I’ve had a real connection to audiobooks almost since they were invented. I love to learn anything. 

Audiobooks today have become such an easy way for me to satisfy that thirst for learning I have. If you’re reading this, you understand that a little. You want to learn from audiobooks too. 

One thing that’s always fascinated me about audiobooks is how the narrators use their voices to tell a story. If you are an audio learner like me, you don’t even need to see the person or the character to really get a sense of what story they are telling you. I’m intrigued by this. It is an actual thing called vocal tonality. 

Vocal tonality refers to how your words resonate, and the phonation of your voice. Phonation is what happens with your vocal cords, while resonation refers to the other parts of your mouth and throat that make up words and sounds. That includes the larynx, pharynx, jaw, teeth, and lips.

Princeton University develops speakers that they call Word Smart speakers. They are among the most brilliant voice over workers on the planet. They’ve learned this craft of vocal tonality.

I’ve checked out a few audiobooks on vocal tonality that I think you will like that can help you master this. That includes the Word Smart product. Have a look, and see what you can do with your own voice afterward.

The Sound of Your Voice by Dr. Carol Fleming

Dr. Carol Fleming is a speech pathologist, a speech expert, and a consultant with speech communication. She’s developed this book that will help you to listen to how your voice sounds, and develop it into the voice that you want it to be. She calls it “voice image.” What does your voice sound like to the rest of the world? That’s a voice image. Dr. Fleming shows you what the fundamentals of voice image are and takes you through the process of understanding your voice better.

Through this book, you will understand more what your own voice says about you. You learn how to diagnose and analyze your own voice. You begin to understand what its problems are, and how to correct them. If you want to learn regional dialects or mannerisms, the tools are here to practice those. You also learn things like how to become more confident in your voice, and how to make it sound stronger and more clear.

What I liked about this one is that it focuses more on interpersonal communication, and it is not entirely about the business sense of things. You may not learn how to speak professionally here, but you will learn the basic skill of sounding more confident when you speak to people. This is a skill that can be built upon if you want to use your vocal tonality professionally.

Vocal Awareness by Arthur Samuel Joseph MA 

For many people, the first thing they get to know about you is your voice. When you call your bank for the first time, for example, the first thing they get to know about you is your voice. Are you aware of how that comes across? This is what fascinates me about audiobooks. If you have no idea what the narrator looks like, you can get an entire perception of someone by just listening to them. Vocal Awareness by Arthur Joseph tells you how to understand this identity part of your voice so that you can control more of what people see in you when they hear your voice.

Here you learn how to master your voice and coordinate it in your life in a way that is powerful. It’s an excellent tool to become more aware of what you sound like. We don’t often get to hear what we sound like or understand our own voice identity, and I love that this book gives you the tools to do that.

Voice of a Leader by Arthur Samuel Joseph

Another thing I love learning about audiobooks and their narrators is how much we learn about a person when we hear them speak. This concept goes beyond vocal identity and picturing a certain person when we hear them. Voice of a Leader by Arthur Samuel Joseph is an excellent sequel to Vocal Awareness. This is a book that is used by a number of professionals in speaking, from politicians to corporate executives. If you’re practicing the art of vocal tonality for professional purposes, this book is a good one to hit in the middle of your journey. Start off just learning how to learn more about your voice, and you will find that you’re taking this craft to an entirely new level.

One thing I liked doing when I listened to this is I took a recording of my voice before I listened to the book, and after. After I used the principles in this book to study my voice more. I really felt like I got to know myself better. That helped me to improve my vocal tonality. This book is worth the try.

Word Smart Genius Edition by The Princeton Review, Michael Freedman

Word Smart is Einstein-level vocal tonality work. This comes right from The Princeton Review, and it is used by the best in the world. It doesn’t feel like you are learning Princeton-style the whole time. You definitely get the sense that this is higher-level learning at a very elevated level. However, you have examples that make you laugh, monologues you will enjoy, and little quizzes that make it easy to retain information.

You also get some good vocabulary lessons here. These are words you’ve never heard of, most of the time, and it makes the process fun. The work here is done in a very clever but easygoing way that makes the process of learning something fascinating very easy. This one is a must-have, and worth every penny.

Study Vocal Tonality Today

There isn’t one book here that I recommend over the others. They are all industry leaders developed by industry leaders. Get them all. I learned so much more about vocal tonality, and me, by working with these audiobooks. Have fun!

YouTube Achieves MRC Brand Safety Milestone

YouTube’s multi-year commitment to responsibility ensures that we protect our viewers, creators and advertisers from harm. We do this through investments in staffing, technology and policy development. Today, our ongoing commitment has resulted in an important milestone for the advertising industry and YouTube, as we become the first digital platform to receive accreditation for content level brand safety from the Media Rating Council (MRC).

The MRC’s accreditation confirms the effectiveness of YouTube’s robust content level brand safety systems. We received the accreditation following an extensive audit that reviewed the policies that determine which videos can be on YouTube and which are eligible to monetize with advertising, the technology that analyzes the videos uploaded to the platform, and our team of human raters that augment our technology’s automated classifications. 

“YouTube is the first service we’ve accredited against MRC’s Enhanced Content Level Context and Brand Safety Guidelines,” says George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC. “When we issued those guidelines in 2018, we recognized we had set a high bar for brand safety protection, and YouTube has now met that bar thanks to its years of dedication to brand safety and to the MRC audit process. This ongoing commitment presents a much needed path for other digital platforms and the rest of the industry to follow.”

“This accreditation milestone is testament to YouTube’s sustained commitment and investment to enable brands to advertise in safe environments on their platform. We hope this experience inspires others to do the same, and that progress continues towards a responsible media supply chain,” says Marc S. Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble.

Receiving this accreditation builds upon our commitment to protecting advertisers. We are committed to remaining at least 99% effective at ensuring brand safety of advertising placements on YouTube, in accordance with industry definitions. Whatever challenges lie ahead, we will remain humble and alert, enabling us to be the best possible partner to advertisers while continuing to support a responsible ecosystem.

Note: The accreditation is specific to ads sold through Google Ads, Display & Video 360 (DV360) and YouTube Reserve, including in-stream ads and excluding video discovery, masthead, YouTube Kids and livestream.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

How To Increase YouTube Views

Increase youtube views 1

YouTube is inarguably the biggest platform for video creators to potentially reach millions of people around the globe. The problem many creators face is how to get those views. 

If you’re a marketer or content developer looking to boost your YouTube views for free, the process can take time and effort. But if done correctly, you’ll be rewarded with more views, a better user experience, and opportunities to grow your content and audience. 

Like most major social media platforms, YouTube operates on an algorithm that suggests videos that a particular user will most likely be interested in to keep them on YouTube for longer. This data is collected from the user’s viewership history and engagement on videos they have watched in the past. 

Thankfully, YouTube’s algorithm considers a wide range of variables when determining which videos are the best and should appear at the top of its search results. This algorithm is vital in determining if your video makes it onto the suggested and trending page.

Whether you’re just starting a YouTube channel for the first time or you’re seeking new ways to gain viewers, it’s important to stay on top of the latest methods. 

So, here’s 10 of the best practices for getting more YouTube views (bonus: don’t miss the 3 mistakes you’ll definitely want to avoid).

10 Best Practices For Getting More YouTube Views

1.) Allow Ads On Your Videos

If you’re trying to monetize your blog, allowing YouTube to run advertisements can be a great start. But if you don’t use the right kind of ad placements for your video, it can drive away viewers. If your video is longer, it’s reasonable to run an ad in the middle. Shorter videos should stick to ads placed at the beginning or end of the video. Even though studies show that visual attention is higher for advertisements on YouTube than on TV, you shouldn’t expect viewers to watch more advertising than content. So before you check yes to placing ads in every place you can, consider the perspective of the viewer.

2.) Keyword Optimization

For each of your videos, it’s imperative to embed unique keywords in specific areas. Creating strands of keywords for each video will improve the reach of your video. It will also place your video in front of the right crowd. If you haven’t been customizing your keywords for each video, you can open the data from previous videos by going to “Videos” in your YouTube Studio Dashboard. 

TITLES:  Write Youtube Titles that are descriptive and keyword rich.  Picking a good title is critical. Your title should not give everything about your video away but should be intriguing enough that someone would want to click on it with the promise of what the title is delivered in the video.   A engaging and descriptive title accomplishes two goals: it provides keywords for the algorithm to sort for relevancy, and it attracts viewers and informs them about the video’s content.  You can do your keyword research through a keyword planner provided by Google. Go to keyword planner and select YouTube search on the far right to see how common a keyword is on YouTube. By reminding users and search engines of what your video is about, optimizing your video content for the right keywords can help you gain organic views.

DESCRIPTIONS:  The video description informs the viewer what the video is about without giving too much away. You can think of it as a meta-description except for YouTube. A description that stands out and captures the viewers’ interest increases the click-through rate, thus generating more views.  Entice users with keywords you know they are looking out for when they search for a particular video. An excellent format to follow is to have a strong introduction of approximately 2-3 sentences, an outline that is about 150 words, and links to relevant websites and your social handles.

TAGS:  Video tags help create a niche for your video and your content so that the algorithm understands what viewers may be interested in when they watch your video and those like it. Tags, therefore, push videos with relevant tags to the forefront of a user’s suggestion page, increasing viewership. The best place to put these phrases is at the bottom of your description. But also remember to change the automatically generated keywords in the “Extras” section. 

Pro Tip: It can also be useful to keep a notepad or Word document with common keywords for you to add to your videos. Keeping this list can help you generate these words faster and cut down your uploading time.

Include keywords in these places:

  • Thumbnails
  • Tags
  • Video Description

3.) YouTube Subscribe Watermark

The more subscribers you have, the more likely viewers are going to see your posts. But how do you draw viewers into subscribing? By creating a “subscribe” watermark for your videos. Creating your own “subscribe” watermark is simpler than it may look. In YouTube Studio, select Settings > Channel > Branding. From this screen, you can choose an image for your branding watermark and the amount of time you would like it displayed on your video. Make sure the image design catches the eye and matches your channel.

Pro Tip: Casually reminding viewers in your video to subscribe and click the Notification Bell can be a great way to also invite new viewers to subscribe. This method is especially effective if you make it fun or unique to your channel.

4.) Aim to Entertain or Teach

There are two reasons most people watch YouTube: to be entertained or to learn something. If your videos are doing one or both of these actions, then you’re in a good place. The more entertaining or informative your videos are, the more likely people will share them, talk about them, and gain trust in your content. Gaining consistent subscribers and viewers in the key to growing your YouTube channel.

5.) Create YouTube Playlists

If you’re a content creator that dabbles in several different kinds of videos, you may have noticed that some of your videos will get different responses. Some viewers may only want to watch certain types of videos you’ve made. But how do they find all your past videos for these categories? One way to help viewers find the content they are looking for is to create playlists for each category of videos you make. Creating playlists generates a “binge-watch” mentality with viewers. It also gains you more consistent views.

Playlists give top-performing channels an extra edge over other channels simply because of Auto-play. From a viewer’s perspective, it takes effort to pull your attention away from an entertaining video, so it is much easier for videos to keep playing. 

The concept of loss aversion states that people feel more significant pain from losing something than gaining the equivalent. This can be visualized so that an individual is likely to work harder to keep $100 than earn $100. Auto-play uses this concept to keep viewers on YouTube. So instead of the ‘loss’ of clicking away from a video, a viewer would instead continue watching. Use this to your advantage by curating a playlist that the viewer is likely to watch for longer.

Pro Tip: Spend time organizing your playlists. It may seem logical to place them chronologically, but also consider the flow and topics of each video so they blend seamlessly together.

6.) Balance Following Trends and Creating Unique Content

Sometimes referred to as “newsjacking”, creating videos about current trends can generate more views for your channel easily.  Once a trend is picked up on YouTube, you’ll find everyone releasing videos about the same subject or content, hoping to catch the tailwind of viewers. The problem with many of these videos is that they regurgitate the same content without offering anything new or unique. There’s nothing wrong with creating content that people are already interested in, but try to create something unique which has your spin on it.  Be sure that what you create is true to your channel’s themes and other videos. 

7.) Create Relationships For Guest YouTuber Appearances

Creating bonds between like-minded channels can be a great way to increase viewership. Even writing engaging comments on popular posts can draw people’s attention to your own channel. Try contacting similar channel creators and ask if they’d like to do a collaboration video.  Having popular YouTuber guests on your posts can draw in new viewers, but it can also create a sense of community for both of your channels’ subscribers.  Collaborations are a massive part of the YouTube community. When YouTubers collaborate, they increase viewership by attracting viewers from all the parties involved and introducing them to other content creators similar and in the same community.  

8.) Be Present in Your Content Community

Engagement with your viewers and community is on the rise. This is because the viewer feels that they have established an authentic and organic relationship with their content creator. Doing so increases the chances that viewers care about your brand and are likely to subscribe and expand your knowledge and understanding of your particular audience.

9.) Link Your YouTube Videos on Your Social Media Pages

People that are in contact with you on other social media platforms will have an easier time getting to know your YouTube channel and the content you create with just one click. Pushing traffic from your social media profile to your YouTube channel also helps out with the algorithm as your video is seen as a source of clicks from other websites.

10.) Use cards and end screens

These tools help promote other videos from your channel and are a call-to-action. Doing so ties in with the concept of loss aversion used in auto-play. Cards are a tool that pops up at certain times during your video, relevant to what content you are going through at that moment. An end screen is a frame at the end of your video that wraps things up and suggests other videos created by you. This keeps viewers on your channel and increases the viewership of your other videos.

There you have it, ten steps that you can take to increase your viewership. Above all, focus on creating great content for your target audience. Then optimize your content with the above tips and watch your viewership grow. 

Gone are the days where YouTube trending videos revolved around funny, strange cats and dogs on skateboards. More than 500 videos get produced every minute on the platform. 

YouTube is now a thriving platform with various topics and subjects for everyone. It’s time to get your business on Youtube and start generating an additional stream of traffic to your website.

Boost Youtube Views

but what about the 3 mistakes to avoid?

3 biggest mistakes to avoid:

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Which of these tips will you put into practice?

Comment and share below!

I Grew Up on a Ranch

Central Coast Ranch Rental Vacation 112VRBO 0171

When I was just 10 years old, my father made the life-altering decision to move our family from Pasadena, California to Santa Margarita, California. Although it was only a distance of about 200 miles, it felt like we were traveling from the “Big City” to the “Wild West.” We drove past Santa Barbara, skirted the Los Padres National Forest, zipped by Santa Maria, and arrived at our destination. To say the least, I was not impressed.

My father, a contractor, had the big idea of creating a place where his family and friends could congregate on holidays and reunions, while simultaneously generating income to service and maintain the property. What looked to me like a ranch that needed a lot of work eventually grew into what is now a thriving business, Seven Oaks Ranch.

As I grew up on that ranch, I learned to appreciate the serenity of country life, and the magic of doing nothing, just sitting and listening to nature. The area only has about 1200 residents, but I eventually met some great friends, most of whom were Native Americans, and I felt fortunate to be immersed in a culture so different from my own.

Where is Santa Margarita, California?

Santa Margarita is located on California’s central coast, just north of San Luis Obispo, and in the southern foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains. The environment is clean and fresh, but the town easily mixes its rich historical narrative with modern-day luxuries. Within easy driving distance are beaches, bays, lakes, mountains and streams, as well as great wine and horse country. Even after traveling extensively, I still find this place to be one of my favorite places in the world.

The Long History of Santa Margarita

The roots of Santa Margarita are said to stretch as far back as 900 B.C. when Native Americans are first thought to have reached California’s central coast area. The first hints of European influence came with the arrival of Spanish explorers in the late 1700s. Using Native American labor, the Franciscan friars who came with these expeditions built several nearby missions including Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (eight miles south of Santa Margarita), its submission Santa Margarita de Cortona, and Mission San Miguel Arcangel (27 miles north of Santa Margarita). In fact, the 600 mile El Camino Real trail, which originally linked the 21 California Spanish missions, now serves as the city’s main street.

In the early 1800s, the Mexican government offered 35 land grants in the San Luis Obispo County area to soldiers who had fought for Mexico in its War of Independence. This led to the early formation of some of the area’s largest ranches. California became part of the United States, the Gold Rush brought new settlers, and the signing of the Land Act of 1851 all caused great changes to the make-up of Santa Margarita. By the late 1800s the railroads established a temporary terminal in Santa Margarita, bringing in an even wider variety of people.

Since these early days, the town has seen many ups and downs, but has always managed to retain its small-town charm. It now prides itself on being a quiet family community that is rich in history and adventure. Even as a 10-year-old boy, it didn’t take me long to discover that life on a ranch can be a very good thing.

Santa Margarita Today

Life if Santa Margarita today is a combination of the old and the new. Visitors can spend the morning horseback riding and then go for a zip line adventure in the afternoon. It’s a unique corner of California that offers a quiet retreat and outdoor excitement.

The Seven Oaks Ranch continues to offer plenty of activities for guests. In addition to exploring the mission trail, other local attractions include:

  • Santa Margarita Lake: With thousands of acres of unspoiled open space, this is a nature lover’s retreat. The park is home to countless species of plants and wildlife, making it the perfect location for nature study, hiking, biking, camping, boating, and fishing.
  • Wine Tours: This is wine country: Explore over 200 local vineyards including Ancient Peaks Winery, Vintage Cowboy Winery, and Soaring Hawk Vineyards.
  • The Barn Antiques and Unique: Find great collectibles and antiques, and local artisan crafts.
  • Rinconada Mine: The San Luis Obispo area was once dotted with mines. Hiking around some of the abandoned areas makes for a fun day of exploration.
  • Margarita Adventures: Features zipline tours, aerial adventures and nature/wildlife tours.
  • Shangri-La Ranch Horseback Adventures: Enjoy horseback riding into some of the most beautiful country on the Central Coast. Ride through sun-dappled forests, pristine meadows, and ancient rock formations. Some wildlife that can be spotted on these tours includes deer, bear, cougars, bald eagles, and all kinds of beautiful birds.
  • Hearst Castle: This National/California Historic Landmark was conceived by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon, and his architect Julia Morgan, and was built between 1919 and 1947.
  • Dining: Enjoy dining to satisfy every taste including Pozo Saloon, The Range, The Porch Café, and Rosalina.

Visit the shops of artists of all kinds in Santa Margarita, or take off for the beaches at Cayucos, Morro Bay, Avila and Pismo, just about 45 minutes away.

Let Santa Margarita Teach You About Ranch Life

I live in Santa Barbara now, and still like being a city guy, but some days I can’t stop thinking about Santa Margarita. It certainly contributed a lot to who I am today. It is the story of people working hard to live a good life, in a setting that is peaceful and inspiring.

Seven Oaks Ranch is still owned by my parents, and is now a popular vacation rental destination for family gatherings and weddings. Rolling hills covered with many trees of different varieties surround four seasonal ponds, and streams provide the opportunity to picnic or read a book under an oak giant that has been shading that spot for over 500 years. Visit the website, subscribe to the newsletter, and find out if you will come to appreciate ranch life as much as I did.