The Ultimate Checklist to Rank in the Google Top Stories Carousel

The Ultimate Checklist to Rank in the Google Top Stories Carousel

Google Top Stories is a powerful way to boost mobile SEO and CTR of news content. In this article, we describe a real-world implementation, what it takes to be picked up by Google and how to measure the traffic impact.    

When Google first introduced the top stories carousel it had an immediate impact on the news and media industry that started to embrace the support for AMP pages. Top Stories are a modern, ultra-performing card-style design to present searchers with featured news stories in Google SERP.

Top Stories Carousel

Top Stories Carousel in Google Search

Getting featured is far from being a straightforward process as there are several requirements that need to be fulfilled and these requirements belong to different aspects of modern SEO: from AMP support, to Google News support (not required, while highly recommended), from structured data, to content editing, image preparation and page speed optimisation.

We take on a small handful of clients projects each year to help them boost their qualified traffic via our SEO Management Service

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Let’s dive in and look at very basic by analyzing what we have done to bring this ultra-performing search feature to one of our SEO managed service clients. Before doing that, as usual, I like to show you the results of this work.

The effect of the top stories as seen from the Google Search Console.

The top stories news carousel is an ultra-performing SERP feature that strictly depends from your organic rankings.

Here is the checklist you need to follow to grab this mobile SEO opportunity.

1. Enable AMP

A top stories carousel is presented in the Google Developers Guide as a Search Feature that requires the implementation of AMP. So you need to support AMP on your website either as native or paired mode. Unless you are starting to develop a new project from scratch you are going to use AMP in paired mode. This basically means that you are reusing the active theme’s templates to display AMP responses. With this configuration, AMP uses a separate URLs, whether the canonical URLs for your site will not have AMP. You can use the AMP Test Tool to make sure that your pages comply with Google Search requirements for AMP.

1a. Comply with AMP logo guidelines

You need to make sure that the logo used to represent the publisher that is used in the structured data from AMP fits in a 60x600px rectangle, and either be exactly 60px high (preferred), or exactly 600px wide. A logo 450x45px would not be acceptable, even though it fits within the 600x60px rectangle.

Remember also when you have a logo with a solid background to include 6px minimum padding around it. Wanna see an example? Here is WordLift Publisher’s logo.

2. Use structured data to markup your articles

Google describes the news carousel as “a container that includes articles, live blogs, and videos” and what helps Google understand the content on the page is the required structured data. So the second step is to make sure that you are supporting one of the following schema types:


2a. When in paired mode, make sure to have the same structured data on both canonical and AMP pages

Depending on how you are generating your AMP you might end-up, as it happened to several of our clients, with a different structured data markup on your canonical and AMP pages. This shall be prevented, it is inconsistent and can’t prevent Google from showing your articles in the top stories carousel (we learned the lesson the hard way). The indication about using the same markup is provided in the Google AMP guide.

WordLift is fully compatible with the AMP Plugin (developed by Google, Automattic, and XWP) and AMP pages can inherit the markup of the canonical page and share the same JSON-LD. Read all about how to add structured data markup to AMP here.

3. Use multiple large images in your markup

Google in the article schema guide for AMP articles requires to provide, in the structured data markup, images that are at least 1.200 pixels wide and that have 800.000 pixels in total. This is not all – the guides also specifies that for best results publishers shall provide multiple high-resolution images with the following aspect ratios: 16×9, 4×3, and 1×1.

image requirements for AMP

This was first spotted by Aaron Bradley and it is indeed extremely important!

3a. Be specific when describing your images

Alt text are important and should be as specific as possible in order to describe images to visitors who are unable to see them.

This is an essential aspect of accessible web design and it is also strategic for image SEO. Google strives for indexing and serving high-quality and accessible content to its users and we shall do our best to support this process.

We heard of a case, in the US, where a website did not appear on Top Stories until they improved the alt text on the featured images (the main image of the article). They were (as a lot of publisher do) re-using the title of the page as alt text.

While this might work, in some rare cases, it is not considered an accessible practice and should be avoided. 

4. Remember that being part of Google News is not required but…it helps a lot!

Google can feature any article matching the above criteria in the top stories carousel based on its organic algorithmic selection but…the reality is slightly different. Let’s see why:

  1. The Top Stories Carousel is indeed a SERP feature that evolved from the Google News box and serves the same goal,
  2. While the main difference of the top stories carousel is that content is NOT restricted to outlets Google News approved in reality, as a result of the “fake news” scandal that exploded in November 2016, less-than-reliable sources (and smaller sites that are not in Google News) have been removed from the top stories carousel (NewsDashboard published data showing more than 99% of desktop news box results and 97% of mobile news box results are from Google News sites).

So unless you have the authority of Reddit, Yoast and alike there are much more chances for you to land in the news box if you are Google News approved. If you want to dig deeper on the relationship between Top Stories and Google News go follow this thread on the Google News Help Forum.

4a. Follow the editorial guidelines of Google News

Google provides news publishers with a set of content policies to ensure a positive experience for the readers. It is not only about being newsworthy and keep on writing fresh new content but it also about limiting advertising, preventing sponsored content, malicious links or anything that can be considered hateful, offensive or dangerous.

Here you can find all the editorial criteria to follow and the recommendations that Danny Sullivan from Google provided in this post titled “Ways to Succeed in Google News”

4b. Avoid article content errors

In order to be featured in Google News there are few technical aspects to be considered:

  1. Prevent article fragmentation. If you have isolated sentences that are not grouped together into paragraphs you might get an error and your article will be rejected from Google News.
  2. Write articles that are not too short and not too long. This basically means to write more than 80 words and prevent your pages from being too long to read. We usually see that between 600-800 words is a good match for a Google News article.
  3. Make sure to write headlines of maximum 110 characters.

Review all the article content errors that you need to avoid to be eligible for Google News.

4c. Focus on original reporting 

Google has updated its news algorithm to focus more on originality as is being reported on September 13th, 2019 by the New York Times: Google Says a Change in Its Algorithm Will Highlight ‘Original Reporting’. This has been also confirmed several times on the Google News Publisher Help Community.

“I would recommend doing more work, or more obvious work, on original reporting – fresh, new, original facts and information that isn’t published elsewhere.” Chris Andrews (Platinum Product Expert) answering a question related to Top Stories.  

5. Speed, Speed and again Speed

News readers want to be able to find fresh updates as fast as possible — and, especially on mobile people care a lot about the speed of a page. A top story is a mobile SERP feature that is purely organic-driven. If you get to the top 5 results of Google you can get it and it will be an extra boost for your traffic, if you are not top ranking you will not get your spot in the news carousel (in most cases at least).  Starting in July 2018, page speed has become a ranking factor for all mobile searches and this means that your website needs to be blazing fast.

How to track when you have been featured in the Top Stories

Tracking traffic generated from the Top Stories is not immediate and can only be done by looking at specific queries from the Google Search Console, using third-party tools like Semrush or RankRanger or look for specific patterns in Google Analytics.

The simplest way I found is to start from the Google Search Console by filtering results for Rich Results and AMP Articles.

Google Search Console configuration

Google Search Console configuration

When you see a spike, you can look from a mobile device the related keyword and hopefully found the matching article. Remember also that a given result might only occur in a specific country. This article here, for example, was only visible from Google in the US so we could only detect it by changing the territory in the Google Search preferences and using the incognito mode.

From Google Analytics we are also able to spot a top story by looking for a peak like the one below. As you can see that traffic, in most cases is only there for a 48-72 hours maximum.  

Google Analytics for the article that entered the carousel.

Given the relationship between Google News and Top Stories you might want to analyze these patterns by filtering top articles in Google News. This can be easily done in Google Analytics by knowing that  Incoming readers with referrers of ‘’ or ‘’ are from Google News.

Once again there are plenty of SERP feature optimization chances that we can leverage on when combining structured data with more traditional SEO factors and, they do create an enormous difference for your audience reach.

Article updated September 13th, 2019 following the change in the Google News Algorithm.

Optimizing For Voice Search – Here’s How Important It Has Become

Optimizing For Voice Search – Here’s How Important It Has Become

Voice search has always been considered to be a luxury but it has now become more of a necessity as more people are searching the internet via voice commands. Who would want to sit and type out information when you can simply voice this information and voila? 😉

We’ve come a long way in this regard, from virtual assistants with the likes of Siri and Alexa carrying out mundane tasks including weather reports, trending news and scheduling appointments to real-time traffic evaluation and providing accurate pin-point GPS locations. All of this information is communicated without the need to ever press a button or input a command, at least not a written one.

In the digital market, this feature has untapped potential when it comes to closely associating to exact-keyword matches for the spoken query. The benefits involved apply to both the interested parties. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the rising significance of voice searches.

How important is voice search?

When looking at user convenience, it is important to note that thanks to the integration of voice recognition software in multiple platforms, individuals go through versatile experiences via many different channels.

The accessibility and ease of simply voicing your concerns or questions is unprecedented in describing any problem. For example, would you prefer speaking to a doctor when explaining your condition or would you write it down? The answer is quite simple as it is in our nature to seek convenience wherever we possibly can.

Not to mention, the solution to the query obtained is much quicker as well, naturally reducing bounce rates and retaining the potential consumer for longer. This way, the user is satisfied with his answer as it matches closely with the words he uttered, which in turn, is favourable for the business to improve customer relations and feedback.

voice search optimization


Here are some statistics to further emphasize on the importance of voice search:

  • 58% of consumers employed the use of voice search for finding contact details among other info for local businesses within the last year.
  • In the US, 71% of individuals lying in 18-29 age group use mobile virtual assistants.
  • Using smart home speakers, around 22% of consumers purchased a product.
  • The future holds an even more promising prospect for voice searches when the concept is applied to marketing strategies:
  • 20% of all search queries online are voice-based. By 2020, that figure is predicted to change to 50% which will make voice search technically as relevant as typed searches.
  • Voice-based smart speaker market globally is forecasted to reach $30 billion in revenue by 2024.
  • Voice-enabled shopping is expected to rise to $40 billion in revenue generated by 2022.

Google Assistant, a service that accompanies Google Home speakers, is currently the most popular voice-based software that supports 17 languages as of now, with plans to reach 30 sometime this year. This allows user to voice their commands in English, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Korean and Mandarin among others. Furthermore, it even accounts for differences in accent and phonology of English in different parts of the world including the UK, US, Singapore and India.

When looking at the e-commerce sector, Amazon’s Alexa is the clear winner with 71% of the market share in the US for its Echo speakers compared to Google Home’s 24%. It is safe to say the market is still very unsaturated for smart speakers and voice-based queries with only 39 apps of now supporting such tech. To become a part of the rising trend and embracing the future of e-commerce, let’s take a look at some of the practices or strategies you can employ for optimizing your platform for voice search.

How to optimize your content for voice search?

By now, you realize the importance and need for tailoring your on-site content such that it shows up higher in organic search results when triggered via a voice search.


Keyword research has always been important in all forms of marketing and advertising; it is no different when it comes to voice search or commands. However, you need to account for the differences as individuals are likely to be more natural (as opposed to be more direct and specific with typed searches) in their queries so long-tail keywords and more conversational words are suited for a more semantic search.

Additionally, phrases should also be at the forefront of the strategy that you will be employing to target certain keywords for voice search. Google Analytics and the ‘People Also Ask’ section of the search results are good indicative tools for tailoring your keywords to voice-based queries with the latter providing similar recommendations for any given query.

Furthermore, thanks to a greater share of voice searches belonging to local information and details, your digital platform can favour by incorporating words like ‘near me’ and ‘close to my location’ in the meta description and alt texts and tags of your content.

This provides a quick answer to the person’s query for nearby restaurants, educational institutes or petrol stations where your website becomes immediately visible.

Tone and writing

To relate to the user better, you need to speak their language. Often at times, you won’t find an individual speaking out his query in a strict professional tone. Rather, a colloquial and informal approach is usually always favoured and so your content should match this tone accordingly as well.

While altering and tailoring the writing style to the user’s likeness, it is important not to detract from the main goal which is communicating relevant info. The solution should be satisfactory and you should be concise about it.

Q&A for featured snippets

FAQ pages and featured snippets, or the famous ‘0th place’ on the search results go hand-in-hand as Google values direct answers which match closely with the user’s query. Featured snippets are a great way to increase in-bound traffic and brand awareness.

The basics are relevant here with many people asking ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ about a particular product, service or person. Most of the snippets are related to sectors like health or medical information, commerce statistics and how-to descriptions or recipes for cooking.

Remember, above anything else, short and to-the-point precise answers will always be the key to solving the user’s problem in the shortest amount of time so modify your content accordingly.

optimize for voice search

Structured data

Alternatively known as schema markups or rich snippets, these appear below the URL of your website and give a hint to the user about the additional information within the website that they can redirect to then and there.

These details can range from pricing options to contact info, or even the different sections or hierarchy of the web. Such data is also of great use to the search engines as web crawlers or bots find it easier to ‘understand’ your website by making it clear to them the metadata or sitemap so the relevancy of the content can be figured.

Services like, SchemaApp and Google’s own Structured Data Markup Helper will allow you not only to boost SEO rankings by 30% but respond better to voice-based searches especially with’s Speakable property.

Mobile and speed optimization

Lastly, we need to consider where the actual voice searches are coming from, and how to excel at that particular channel for better results. The answer already being crystal-clear, there’s no getting to the voice-search heaven without passing the SEO river first and that’s why mobile optimization is absolutely necessary.

The most important aspect of boasting an effective mobile version of any site is to make sure your pages load in no longer than 2 seconds. Remember, users are expecting almost instant answers when they use vocal queries and a sluggish site works to the opposite effect, thereby frustrating the user away.

Google’s Lighthouse tool is great in this regard as it has runs a thorough edit of the desktop or mobile version of the site and then provides a comprehensive report including all the concerns to be addressed and potential solutions or recommendations to improve upon them.


Voice-enabled searches are here to stay and increase exponentially as we delve into the ever-expanding capabilities of technology. Quick and relevant responses, in addition to versatile and accessible options only speak in favour of such a feature. To capitalize on it, businesses can employ strategies that unsurprisingly aren’t different to those implemented for favouring SEO rankings.

The same guidelines apply which sees platforms vying for optimizing mobile versions of their site, playing closely to the keyword(s) inputted by the user, Q&As for increased relevance and where voice-search and SEO have no correlation, having an informal tone to better match the expectations of the average customer.

About the Author

Sohail Rupani is a senior SEO Strategist at an Orlando Digital Marketing Company. He specializes in SEO and SEM techniques. He is passionate about technology and loves to analyze the tech industry in his spare time and stay in touch with the latest happenings. He also writes technical articles about SEO and digital marketing. Follow @sohailrupani for more updates.

Off-page SEO techniques still work in 2019

Off-page SEO techniques still work in 2019

Off-page SEO techniques can be a powerful ally to boost the search engine ranking of your website. We’re not talking just about backlinks, but a whole SEO strategy that includes essentials SEO factors that every competitive business should include in their strategy. Let’s find out more about Off-Page SEO and the latest techniques that work great in 2019.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Unlike On-Page SEO, Off-page SEO isn’t associated with the optimization of content or the website, it rather uses certain techniques to boost the visibility of your website over the Internet. For instance, if Investopedia links with the content of your websites, then some powers of Investopedia will shift to your content link and you will acquire top ranks for that content.

Similar to this there are different development techniques used to rank websites known as Off-Page SEO. Let’s go deeper on the subject.

SEO is a way utilized to enhance traffic and conversion rates of your website by acquiring high position on SERP like Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.

Now, some CMSs are providing built-in complements with full criteria on the page on the site. For Example, WordPress have plugins such as Yoast, WordLift and SEO Ultimate.

However, for off-page tasks, you need to find out the high domain authority websites and develop backlinks with recent articles.

What is the main difference between On-Page and Off-Page SEO?

There is a significant difference between on-page and off-page SEO. Nowadays if you want to boost your website ranking in search engine results, you must know about all SEOtechniques, and SEO is traditionally divided into two categories: on Page and off Page.

  • On-Page SEO: the on-page SEO techniques (also known as SEO on the site) are meant to optimize different parts of a website and content that affect the search engine rankings. It’s something that you have control over and that you can change on your site.
  • Off-page SEO: the off-page SEO techniques are focuses on increasing the authority of a domain by obtaining links from other websites.

What are the latest Off-page SEO techniques?

Research on the latest content

Interesting content rules the Search Engine Optimization sphere. Developing interesting and worth sharing content is a great method to build a high proportion of backlinks to our websites and articles.

Tip: frequently research and update your content.

Infographics Submission

Develop innovative infographics. In the present scenario, infographics are becoming popular over the web. Submit your infographic to specialized websites and offer reference to your articles and webpages. The dimensions of the image vary with different websites.

Article and Press Release Submission

Submit your articles to press release and article submission directories. You can also add links to your website.

Tip: ensure that your article is 100% unique and is of top-notch quality. Low quality content and content stuffed with keywords holds higher chances of being disapproved. Select an appropriate division and offer a captivating title to your article.

Social Media Engagement

A basic off-page SEO method is social media engagement. If you desire to develop a website’s visibility, engage with people on various social media sites.

Visibility on social media will aid in expanding your business and also supports you in acquiring a greater proportion of backlinks.

Question and Answers

Generally, people look for answers on the web and various webmasters utilize this chance for link building.

Quora, being the topmost question-answer discussing the platform, offers answers to the questions of its visitors.

Tip: create your own account on Quora. Then search for questions associated with the topics you cover. If you have answers for those questions then post them and add relevant links to your website’s content. Quora’s users will check the link to grab more data.

Forum Engagement

Engage in forums that are associated with your website and establishment, so that you can develop a relationship with the community. Answer to threads, questions which people put up and offer recommendations. Utilize “Do Follow” forums.

Guest Post submission

Guest posting is a popular link building method in which content is published as a guest post by other authoritative websites.

Tip: make sure you choose appropriate websites, which are authoritative and fall in the same niche that you are in, and develop interesting articles for publishing and link them your website.

Web 2.0 Submissions

Develop a sub-domain within a high domain authority website such as WordPress,, blogger, tumbler and such.

Hacks for web2.0:

  • Always share interesting articles and blog posts
  • Upgrade the website on a frequent basis
  • Develop backlinks for already published contents.

Business listing

Google My Business is a product by Google and is available for free. Enhance this for a higher SEO position.

Hacks for a business listing:

  • Write appropriate 250-character description
  • Ensure that the most important piece of information is present in the initial paragraph with the city name
  • Upgrade your content, images, products, and offers on a frequent basis
  • Check reviews and comments and reply quickly in a positive manner
  • Use real product images under appropriate categories.

To sum up

There is a tough competition in the digital markets, and to boost up your position you need an off-Page SEO strategy. On-Page and Off-page SEO tools will help you reach a higher rank for your website on Search Engines.

While using off-page SEO make sure to restrict yourself from black hat SEO techniques.

About the Author

Manan Ghadawala is the founder of 21Twelve Interactive which is one of the best mobile app development companies in India and the USA. He is an idealistic leader with a lively management style and thrives raising the company’s growth with his talents. He is an astounding business professional with astonishing knowledge and applies artful tactics to reach those imaginary skies for his clients.

Follow him on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

How to find editorial opportunities starting from Google’s PAA

How to find editorial opportunities starting from Google’s PAA

When you think about any potential topic you can write about, as an editor (or a content marketer) you know that you have to find the right angle to catch your reader’s attention. It’s not easy to guess what your readers are looking for, but the fact is that Google knows it better than you – and any content writer in the world.

In this article, I want to share with you a method to find new editorial opportunities on a given topic and to understand which angle and subtopics have a chance to be showcased by Google into its PAA snippet.

Finding editorial opportunities and approaching them from the right angle is one of the most difficult – and crucial – parts of the editorial work for publishers and content marketers. Google’s related questions that appear in the rich snippet People Also Ask can be a useful tool to understand what matters to your target audience.

What are users really looking for when they search for something on Google? What are the subtopics that matter most to Google around a specific topic? Follow me and you will understand how to figure it out for every single topic you are working on.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is the PAA snippet?

PAA, the acronym for People Also Ask and also known as Related Questions, is an accordion-like rich snippet that contains a selection of questions, which help Google’s users to go in-depth a topic without even leaving the SERP. Each answer in the PAA snippet comes from a different source that Google considers authoritative about a specific subtopic.

At first, you only see 4 different questions. As you start interacting with this snippet and click on the arrow to read one of the answers, you will notice that Google populates the snippet with an apparently never-ending list of new questions.

'Family Business' SERP on Google - People Also Ask

This is the PAA that you can see on the SERP for family business, one of the main keywords for Tharawat Magazine

Actually, these questions may be a lot, but they are not infinite and, if you pay attention, you will notice that at a certain point questions become quite repetitive. In fact, there is a logic under these questions and they have a hierarchical organization.

The first four questions are used to better understand the search intent and the choices of the searcher are used to deliver a secondary group of questions, which descend from the one that the user clicked.

Why the PAA snippet matters to you?

In a context where the 10 blue links are losing a lot of their visibility and traction, because they are leaving more and more space on the SERP to rich snippets, publishers and site owners need to find any spot to maximize the visibility of their content.

The PAA snippet has a pervasive impact on Google’s SERPs. Nowadays, Related Questions appear in 84.4% of the SERPS in the USA market (source: MozCast), this makes it the first rich snippet in terms of occurrences. It is far more common than the rich snippet (19,1% of the SERPs), and it grew more quickly in the last three years.

What makes the PAA even more interesting from a publisher’s standpoint is that a single PAA can show up in 21 unique SERPs (source: GetStat).

In other words, if you get a spot on a PAA, you have your chance to be featured in different SERPs within the same semantic domain.

Let’s get back to the family business example. Google shows the same PAA when users are searching for the main keyword (‘family business’) and also when they search for other related topics such as ‘family business succession’, ‘family owned business success stories’, and much more of them.

This means that when your content is elected as a good answer by Google for its related questions, you will have great exposure and a serious boost in traffic.

So, there are serious opportunities for your website ahead! 😉

Why Google is suggesting (all these) related questions?

Search engines are eager for content to give users the best answers for different intents and needs. There was a time when Google’s aim was to give the users a set of results in the form of blue links and bring them to other websites seamlessly.

Then rich snippets entered the SERP and everything changed.

Nowadays Google plays all its cards to keep the users on its SERP as much as possible. The accordion-like rich snippet known as People Also Ask is just another way to keep the user on the SERP and investigate on the intent of the search.

So, basically, Google is trying to profile users by providing more context and guessing what they are more interested in around a specific topic. According to PageRanger, the initial 4 questions in a PAA target on average 2.8 different intents.

How to extract and analyze the PAA snippet from a SERP

As a content writer, looking at the questions from the People Also Ask, you can guess how Google is connecting entities. This quick peek into Google’s knowledge graph can give you a hint on:

  • what kind of angle you can adopt while writing on a specific topic
  • which related topics you can cover on your website to catch your target audience’s attention
  • how you can organize your content to optimize their visibility on the SERP.

Before thinking about how to craft your editorial content to answer related questions, you need to extract your list of related questions. To this purpose, there are several tools that you can do.

For example, the Italian SEO consultant Alessio Nittoli created a Pythonscript that scrapes Google PAAs giving you a list of questions in a CSV format. The code is available on GitHub.

Keep in mind that scraping Google without permission is illegal, as Alessio states in his disclaimer:

⚠ DISCLAIMER: This software is not authorized by Google and doesn’t follow Google’s robots.txt. Scraping without Google explicit written permission is a violation of their terms and conditions on scraping and can potentially cause a lawsuit

This software is provided as is, for educational purposes, to show how a crawler can be made to recursively parse Google’s “People also asked”. Use at your own risk.

When you have your list of related questions coming from the PAA snippet, you can move to the editorial strategy around your chosen content.

How to spot and organize editorial opportunities from a list of ‘People Also Asked’ questions

Spot new content opportunities

While analyzing the questions that come out your topic research through PAAs, you will notice that some questions are repeated frequently with slight variations that represent different intents. Other questions are logically connected: from generic concepts to more specific subtopics.

Depending on how these questions are related and how much you can get in-depth, you can plan a new article about a concept and then add more specific subtopics as paragraphs, or you can write a page about a concept or an entity and then write an article to cover each specific subtopic.

Here in WordLift, we adopt this latest model, that we have named the Entity Based Content Model: it develops around an entity and explores the relations that connect it to specific subtopics and to other entities.

The Entity Based Content Model

Rearrange and organize your content

If you have been writing around a specific and narrow topic for a while, chances are that the content that answers the questions can already be on your website – but it may need to be rearranged. For example, you can add new headlines and paragraphs to highlight your answers and make them stand out of the content. A good practice could be to build an FAQ page.

Wrapping things up

Google PAAs are becoming so much pervasive, that if you get your spot on the Google PAA of your main keyword (and on some related long-tail keywords), you’ll get the chance to have a great boost in visibility and clicks.

Once you extract the related questions, you can use them to enrich, refine and improve your editorial plan and to optimize existing content.

In WordLift, we are using the Entity Based Content Model to organize different pieces of content around a specific topic and offer to search engines and readers what they need to know.

If you want to know how to apply this model to your website content and to your niche, write us a few lines about your editorial project and let’s talk!

How Tharawat Magazine Leveraged SEO to Grow by 321% In 5 Months

How Tharawat Magazine Leveraged SEO to Grow by 321% In 5 Months

Ramia Marielle El Agamy has dedicated her professional journey to her family’s business. Through activities in education solutions, publishing, content marketing and family business networking the El Agamy family is growing its companies between Europe and the Middle East. Ambitious, business-focused, and charismatic, Ramia is the consummate modern leader.

Ten years ago she co-founded Tharawat Magazine, a quarterly family business magazine, with her family. In 2015, the editorial project went online with the aim of inspiring family business owners and entrepreneurs globally. Two years later, she added a new branch to her business with Orbis Terra Media, a content studio enabling brands to achieve narrative consistency across multiple platforms to reach their audience.

Back in 2017, Ramia was looking for a solution to reach a wider online audience to establish Tharawat Magazine as the preeminent publisher on family business topics.

That’s when we met. Tharawat Magazine’s team wanted to introduce an SEO approach in their editorial workflow.

She had a conversation with our business developer Gennaro — at first, she was sceptical. She tried WordLift, however, and after using it for a few months, she became one of our first VIP clients, adopting our tailored SEO services as a part of Tharawat’s editorial workflow. Joining forces has proven highly beneficial: in the last 5 months, Tharawat Magazine has grown by +321% in terms of traffic.

We also had the chance to refine a bespoke workflow built around a rich and well-organized editorial plan, but this is another story.

We spoke with Ramia to learn more about the fascinating world of family business.

Let’s begin with a very simple question: what is Tharawat Magazine, and how is it structured?

Today, Tharawat Magazine is one of the world’s foremost publications on family-owned businesses. With over a decade of experience and a thousand published articles, we have established our publication as a source of inspiration for business owners and experts alike.

Family businesses and their sustainability is integral to economic stability worldwide. We tell family business stories to teach, inspire and celebrate their successes.

Today, Tharawat Magazine is a part of Orbis Terra Media (OTM), a global content production and marketing studio based in Switzerland. OTM is a family-owned company operating with a decentralized team. They add significant value and a global perspective to the organisation.

Tharawat Magazine Editorial Team is focused on creating and delivering quality content

Tharawat Magazine Editorial Team. From the left side: Ramia El Agamy (Editor in Chief), Sam Harrison and Alice Fogliata Cresswell (both Senior Editors), and Brianna Lish (Brand Manager).

In 5 months, your organic traffic has grown by a staggering +321%. This is a 64% increase month over month – how did this happen?

We attribute this success almost entirely to our collaboration with the WordLift team. When we came across the WordLift solution two years ago, we were under-utilizing the wealth of content we had. WordLift stepped in, cleaned up and structured over 1000 articles to increase their visibility. The accelerated returns over the last 5 months are a result of our editorial team’s understanding of how to read the traffic data to make editorial planning more SEO friendly.

Speaking of the editorial team, how do you organize their work?

We are fully decentralized; OTM team members work from around the world and come together around our magazine. We work with SaaS like Asana and HubSpot to coordinate our workflow and are also fully integrated with the WordLift team on Slack. We create original content, so we always start with the audio from recorded interviews, which is then transcribed and worked into written articles for the website and print and then resourced for our podcast the Family Business Voice.

We also field submissions from all over the world — the work of experts and academics who wish to share their latest insights on matters related family business.

From WordLift, we’ve learned the importance of creating SEO friendly content like industry-specific listicles that allow easy structuring and get rewarded by high rankings on Google SERP.

Tharawat Magazine is devoted to a very specific vertical: family business. To its credit, Tharawat Magazine also is a family business. Does it make your editorial work easier?

My family owns Orbis Terra Media, and we founded Tharawat Magazine. So let’s just say we really know what we are talking about when we publish family business stories.

However, the real force behind the success of Tharawat Magazine is our editorial team and the many family businesses who agree to share their stories with us.

Tharawat Magazine is the editorial side of a larger project, Orbis Terra Media, which you define as a content studio. Why did you decide to leverage your experience in content creation to provide a set services?

We founded Tharawat Magazine around 11 years ago in the middle of a major disruption in the publishing industry. After a few years, it became apparent to us that publishing alone would not result in the growth we wanted, and so we thought about what our strengths were. We knew that our skills in creating high-value and original content lent themselves well to content marketing services. So, we built Orbis Terra Media, which is now a global content studio. Coupled with a company culture keen on integrating technology and involving strategic partners such as the team at WordLift, we provide these services combining the best of our creative and editorial capabilities with data-based insights. At the end of the day, whether it’s for Tharawat Magazine or OTM’s content marketing clients, our goal is to create content that moves.

What type of Structured Data I need for the Homepage? 👨‍🏫

What type of Structured Data I need for the Homepage? 👨‍🏫

Some types are beneficial for most of the businesses out there. If you have a website you want to help search engines index its content in the most simple and effective way and to do that you can start from…well, the most important page: your homepage. Technical SEO experts like Cindy Krum describes schema markup (as well as XML feeds like the one that you can provide to feed Google Shopping via the Google Merchant Center) as your new sitemap. And it is true when crawling a website (whether you are Google or any other automated crawler you might think of), getting the right information about a website is a goldmine. 

Let’s get started with our homepage. We want to let Google know from our homepage the following:

  • The organization behind the website (Publisher)
    • The logo of this organization 
    • The URL of the organization 
    • The contact information of the organization 
  • The name of the website 
  • The tagline of the website
  • The URL of the website
  • How to use the internal search engine of the website
  • The Sitelinks (the main links of the website)

We can do all of this by implementing the WebSite structured data type on the homepage of our website. A few more indications from Google on this front:

  • Add this markup only to the homepage, not to any other pages
    • 🚨very important 🚨and unfortunately on a lot of websites, you still find this markup on every single page. It should not happen: it is unnecessary.
  • Always add one SearchAction for the website, and optionally another if supporting app search (if you have a mobile app – this will help users searching from a mobile device to continue their journey on the mobile app).

Let’s have a quick look at a couple of examples:

Ready to automate the structured datamarkup on your website? Contact us!

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