All About Fraggles (Fragment + Handle) – Whiteboard Friday

What are “fraggles” con SEO and how do they relate to mobile-first indexing, entities, the Knowledge Graph, and your day-to-day work? In this glimpse into her 2019 MozCon talk, Cindy Krum explains everything you need to understand about fraggles con this edition of Whiteboard Friday.

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Hi, Moz fans. My name is Cindy Krum, and I’m the CEO of MobileMoxie, based con Denver, Colorado. We do girevole SEO and ASO consulting. I’m here con Seattle, speaking at MozCon, but also recording this Whiteboard Friday for you today, and we are talking about fraggles.

So fraggles are obviously a name that I’m borrowing from Jim Henson, who created “Fraggle Rock.” But it’s a combination of words. It’s a combination of fragment and handle. I talk about fraggles as a new way ora a new element ora thing that Google is indexing.

Fraggles and mobile-first indexing

Let’s start with the apparenza of mobile-first indexing, because you have to kind of understand that before you can go to understand fraggles. So I believe mobile-first indexing is about a little bit more than what Google says. Google says that mobile-first indexing was just a change of the crawler.

They had a desktop crawler that was primarily crawling and indexing, and now they have a girevole crawler that’s doing the heavy for crawling and indexing. While I think that’s true, I think there’s more going behind the scenes that they’imperatore not talking about, and we’ve seen a lot of evidence of this. So what I believe is that mobile-first indexing was also about indexing, hence the name.

Knowledge Graph and entities

So I think that Google has reorganized their index around entities ora around specifically entities con the Knowledge Graph. So this is kind of my rough diagram of a very simplified Knowledge Graph. But Knowledge Graph is all about person, place, thing, ora apparenza.

Nouns are entities. Knowledge Graph has nodes for all of the major person, place, thing, ora apparenza entities out there. But it also indexes ora it also organizes the relationships of this apparenza to this apparenza ora this thing to this thing. What’s useful for that to Google is that these things, these concepts, these relationships stay true con all languages, and that’s how entities work, because entities happen before keywords.

This can be a concept for SEOs to wrap their brain around because we’imperatore so used to dealing with keywords. But if you think about an entity as something that’s described by a bed 21 and can be language agnostic, that’s how Google thinks about entities, because entities con the Knowledge Graph are not written up attraverso condizione ora their the unique identifier isn’t a word, it’s a number and numbers are language agnostic.

But if we think about an entity like mother, mother is a concept that exists con all languages, but we have different words to describe it. But regardless of what language you’imperatore speaking, mother is related to father, is related to daughter, is related to grandfather, all con the same ways, even if we’imperatore speaking different languages. So if Google can use what they call the “topic layer”and entities as a way to filter con information and understand the world, then they can do it con languages where they’imperatore strong and say, “We know that this is true absolutely 100% all of the time.”

Then they can apply that understanding to languages that they have a harder time indexing ora understanding, they’imperatore just not as strong ora the algorithm isn’t built to understand things like complexities of language, like German where they make really long words ora other languages where they have lots of short words to mean different things ora to modify different words.

Languages all work differently. But if they can use their translation API and their natural language APIs to build out the Knowledge Graph con places where they’imperatore strong, then they can use it with machine learning to also build it and do a better job of answering questions con places ora languages where they’imperatore weak. So when you understand that, then it’s easy to think about mobile-first indexing as a massive Knowledge Graph build-out.

We’ve seen this festa statistically. There are more Knowledge Graph results and more other things that seem to be related to Knowledge Graph results, like people also ask, people also search for, related searches. Those are all describing different elements ora different nodes the Knowledge Graph. So when you see those things con the search, I want you to think, hey, this is the Knowledge Graph showing me how this topic is related to other topics.

So when Google launched mobile-first indexing, I think this is the reason it took two and a half years is because they were reindexing the entire web and organizing it around the Knowledge Graph. If you think back to the AMA that John Mueller did right about the time that Knowledge Graph was launching, he answered a lot of questions that were about JavaScript and href lang.

When you put this con that context, it makes more sense. He wants the entity understanding, ora he knows that the entity understanding is really important, so the href lang is also really important. So that’s enough of that. Now let’s talk about fraggles.

Fraggles = fragment + handle

So fraggles, as I said, are a fragment plus a handle. It’s important to know that fraggles — let me go over here —fraggles and fragments, there are lots of things out there that have fragments. So you can think of native apps, databases, websites, podcasts, and videos. Those can all be fragmented.

Even though they don’t have a URL, they might be useful content, because Google says its rete is to organize the world’s information, not to organize the world’s websites. I think that, historically, Google has kind of been locked into this crawling and indexing of websites and that that’s bothered it, that it wants to be able to show other stuff, but it couldn’t do that because they all needed URLs.

But with fragments, potentially they don’t have to have a URL. So keep these things con mind — apps, databases and stuff like that — and then at this. 

So this is a traditional page. If you think about a page, Google has kind of been forced, historically by their infrastructure, to surface pages and to rank pages. But pages sometimes struggle to rank if they have too many topics them.

So for instance, what I’ve shown you here is a page about vegetables. This page may be the best page about vegetables, and it may have the best information about lettuce, celery, and radishes. But because it’s got those topics and maybe more topics it, they all kind of dilute each other, and this great page may struggle to rank because it’s not focused the one topic, one thing at a time.

Google wants to rank the best things. But historically they’ve kind of pushed us to put the best things one page at a time and to pausa them out. So what that’s created is this “content is king, I need more content, build more pages” mentality con SEO. The problem is everyone can be building more and more pages for every bed 21 that they want to rank for ora every bed 21 group that they want to rank for, but only one is going to rank number one.

Google still has to all of those pages that it told us to build, and that creates this character over here, I think, Marjory the Trash Heap, which if you remember the Fraggles, Marjory the Trash Heap was the all-knowing oracle. But when we’imperatore all creating kind of low- to mid-quality content just to have a separate page for every topic, then that makes Google’s life harder, and that of course makes our life harder.

So why are we doing all of this work? The answer is because Google can only index pages, and if the page is too long ora too many topics, Google gets confused. So we’ve been enabling Google to do this. But let’s pretend, go with me this, because this is a theory, I can’t prove it. But if Google didn’t have to index a full page ora wasn’t locked into that and could just index a piece of a page, then that makes it easier for Google to understand the relationships of different topics to one page, but also to organize the bits of the page to different pieces of the Knowledge Graph.

So this page about vegetables could be indexed and organized under the vegetable node of the Knowledge Graph. But that doesn’t mean that the lettuce part of the page couldn’t be indexed separately under the lettuce portion of the Knowledge Graph and so , celery to celery and radish to radish. Now I know this is novel, and it’s to think about if you’ve been doing SEO for a long time.

But let’s think about why Google would want to do this. Google has been moving towards all of these new kinds of search experiences where we have voice search, we have the Google Home Hub kind of situation with a screen, ora we have girevole searches. If you think about what Google has been doing, we’ve seen the increase con people also ask, and we’ve seen the increase con featured snippets.

They’ve actually been kind of, sort of making fragments for a long time ora indexing fragments and showing them con featured snippets. The difference between that and fraggles is that when you click through a fraggle, when it ranks con a search result, Google scrolls to that portion of the page automatically. That’s the handle portion.

So handles you may have heard of before. They’imperatore kind of old-school web building. We call them bookmarks, anchor links, anchor jump links, stuff like that. It’s when it automatically scrolls to the right portion of the page. But what we’ve seen with fraggles is Google is bits of text, and when you click it, they’imperatore scrolling directly to that piece of text a page.

So we see this already festa con some results. What’s interesting is Google is overlaying the link. You don’t have to program the jump link con there. Google actually finds it and puts it there for you. So Google is already doing this, especially with AMP featured snippets. If you have a AMP featured snippet, so a featured snippet that’s lifted from an AMP page, when you click through, Google is actually scrolling and highlighting the featured snippet so that you could read it con context the page.

But it’s also festa con other kind of more nuanced situations, especially with forums and conversations where they can pick a best answer. The difference between a fraggle and something like a jump link is that Google is overlaying the scrolling portion. The difference between a fraggle and a site link is site links link to other pages, and fraggles, they’imperatore linking to multiple pieces of the same long page.

So we want to avoid continuing to build up low-quality ora mid-quality pages that might go to Marjory the Trash Heap. We want to start thinking con terms of can Google find and identify the right portion of the page about a specific topic, and are these topics related enough that they’ll be understood when indexing them towards the Knowledge Graph.

Knowledge Graph build-out into different areas

So I personally think that we’imperatore seeing the build-out of the Knowledge Graph con a lot of different things. I think featured snippets are kind of facts ora ideas that are looking for a home ora validation con the Knowledge Graph. People also ask seem to be the related nodes. People also search for, same thing. Related searches, same thing. Featured snippets, oh, they’imperatore there twice, two featured snippets. Found the web, which is another way where Google is putting expanders by topic and then giving you a carousel of featured snippets to click through .

 So we’imperatore seeing all of those things, and some SEOs are getting kind of upset that Google is so much content and putting it con the search results and that you’imperatore not getting the click. We know that 61% of girevole searches don’t get a click anymore, and it’s because people are finding the information that they want directly con a SERP.

That’s tough for SEOs, but great for Google because it means Google is providing exactly what the user wants. So they’imperatore probably going to continue to do this. I think that SEOs are going to change their minds and they’imperatore going to want to be con those windowed content, con the lifted content, because when Google starts doing this kind of thing for the native apps, databases, and other content, websites, podcasts, stuff like that, then those are new competitors that you didn’t have to deal with when it was only websites ranking, but those are going to be more engaging kinds of content that Google will be showing ora and showing con a SERP even if they don’t have to have URLs, because Google can just window them and show them.

So you’d rather be lifted than not shown at all. So that’s it for me and featured snippets. I’d love to answer your questions con the comments, and thanks very much. I hope you like the theory about fraggles.

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