Juneteenth Independence Day. Annual american holiday, celebrated in June 19. African-American history and heritage illustration. Freedom or Emancipation day

Juneteenth: Why GPO Takes Off and What it Means to Me

Learn about the history of Juneteenth and what it means to GPO's Charlee Freeman.

While the Fourth of July celebrates America’s nationhood, Juneteenth (short for June nineteenth) marks the emancipation of black lives from the shackles of slavery. And if we’re technical, Juneteenth is also the day when all American lives were officially regarded as free. Here, I will explain what Juneteenth is, what it means to me, and why GPO takes off in honor of this pivotal holiday.

What Exactly is Juneteenth (A Brief History Lesson)

On January 1st, 1863, Abraham Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation. This executive order abolished slavery in Confederate territories, but the news was slow to travel. Until Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, TX on June 19, 1865 (some two and a half years later), black individuals continued to work without wages and, to put it lightly — in poor working conditions. The Union soldiers arrived with General Order No. 3 in hand, and it stated:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”

Although the final sentence in this order implied that the road to genuine equality would be long and arduous, when eventually notified, the freedmen began to rejoice in prayer, feasting, dance, and song — much how this holiday is celebrated today.

What Juneteenth Means to Me

Juneteenth, to me, is an acknowledgment of what my ancestors endured for so long. And although many of them never made it to the other side, it was a significant milestone towards equality — where black individuals began to be regarded as human within this country.

Juneteenth is also a day to celebrate black lives, black futures, and black success. It’s where a path forward, though not without its own set of trials, became illuminated. Where our rights to live, breathe, and choose our own journeys began within this nation.

It’s a day to reflect on how far America has come and how far it still has to go. And it is also a reminder that the true battle for harmony is not won until equity and respect cover this land that we all call home.

Juneteenth, for me, is a reminder. A beacon for hope and peace.

How Can You Honor or Celebrate Juneteenth?

Growing up, my family celebrated Juneteenth much how we celebrate the Fourth of July — the ever popular cookouts, music, dancing, and laughter. One thing that always came up, however, was how my grandparents and great-grandparents endured Jim Crow. The younger generation would listen and realize that despite popular belief, this era and its residual effects were not that long ago — and in some cases, ongoing.

So how can you, black, white, or otherwise, commemorate this day and every day moving forward? Learn more about American history by reading books by black authors and watching documentaries on the African American experience. Go out and support black-owned businesses, donate to supporting organizations, and even join a celebration or parade. But most importantly, have intentional conversations about how you, the nation, and those around you can help to make this country a better place for all. And then, take action.

Why GPO Takes Off in Honor of Juneteenth

GPO supported my candidness — even encouraged it — as I, a black woman, explained the significance of this holiday. But it is important to note that my views are not those of every black individual out there.

When I joined this company and learned that we take a day off in honor of Juneteenth, I was pleasantly surprised. GPO’s desire to support and get involved was… impressive. Because the reality is this: We must all coexist — despite color, religion, culture, or background. And the exposure of working together can “help to create new bonds of friendship and understanding among us.”

Now, did I struggle to make this article more palatable for our readers? Sure. But taking the time to acknowledge this momentous holiday in the workplace is imperative to change, and GPO has afforded me that opportunity.

Although the company still has room for growth, as does the entire nation, the effort from my employer is appreciated. For this, I am proud to say that I work for GPO. A company that is open to listen, learn, and support the occasion that eventually led to me becoming more than just 3/4ths human in the eyes of this nation.

Woman with computer and phone searching on search engine

How to Optimize for Zero Click Search

No-click? No problem. Use this guide to optimize for zero-click searches.

Zero-click searches happen when a user inputs a query and receives an answer without ever clicking on a third-party webpage. The answer is showcased on the search engine results page (SERP) through various features (i.e., knowledge panels, instant answers, featured snippets, etc.), which often makes clicking through sites an unnecessary endeavor.

While these features make for a better search experience for users, they can negatively impact unprepared brands, businesses, and content creators with substantial blows to their conversions, clicks, and more.

Learn how this phenomenon came to be and what strategies your brand can implement to stay in the game of zero-click searches.

Why Do Zero-Click Searches Occur?

In 2019, over half of Google searches worldwide ended without a single click. Not a single one. And in 2020, according to data from Similar Web compiled by Sparktoro’s Rand Fishkin, that number has risen significantly — with 64.82% of searches yielding the same results.

So why does this happen?

With zero-click results on the rise, there’s much speculation surrounding the topic. So much so that Google has decided to step in and provide some insight. Non-click searcher activity could be caused by these factors:

  • Seeking quick facts such as “World population,” “Peso to Dollar,” or “UK time to central”
  • Looking up definitions and encyclopedic information
  • Finding general or local brand locations — map search
  • Interacting with businesses directly (i.e., seeking business hours, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Utilizing voice search through platforms like Google Home, Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa
  • Reformulation of queries for more relevant answers
  • Navigation to apps as opposed to web pages

The number of zero-click searches is expected to climb as Google continues to optimize zero-click search results and brands continue to optimize their content for zero-click searches.

How to Optimize for the New World of Zero-Click Search

Brands must adapt their strategies in order to remain competitive in SERPs dominated by instant answers, featured snippets, maps, and local packs.

By focusing your energy on optimizing your site and satisfying users’ search queries with useful information, you can position yourself as an authority on position zero. According to MOZ, there are tons of Google SERP features you could focus your sights on.

Just to name a few: featured snippets, image packs, knowledge cards, knowledge panels, local packs, news boxes, related questions, and shopping results.

If your brand wants to stay in the zero-click search game, these tips are a great place to start.

1. Ensure that Your Site is Mobile Friendly

Zero-click searches occur predominantly across mobile devices (77.2%) and voice search queries. And with Google’s recent shift to mobile-first indexing, revamping your site (if you haven’t already) to mobile-first indexing is a must-do in the world of Google ranking and surviving the zero-click surge. In short, it’s time to go mobile or get out of the game.

2. Add Schema Markup

Schema markup (or structured data) is code placed on your website to help Google’s search engine crawlers understand and categorize the content on your page. By adding applicable properties, you may rank better than companies without structured data and boost your brand across prized SERP features.

3. Leverage Content

By following basic SEO best practices for your content, you can position your brand to show up in featured snippets, knowledge panels, and more. According to Ahrefs, over 12% of search queries have featured snippets in their SERPs. So if you need a place to start, begin by optimizing your content for featured snippets, and you may organically appear across other features where applicable. Use these tips:

  • Do your keyphrase research
  • Limit redirects
  • Keep things clear, concise, and to the point
  • Add headers, subheaders, and lists as often as possible and where applicable
  • Use descriptive title and meta-description tags
  • Include external links and citations in your articles

4. Optimize Images

Optimizing your images can help improve page speed to prevent loss of searcher interest. It also allows Google to crawl your pages quicker for Google Image Search, it can decrease page load time, and can even improve a page’s authority — all of which can improve your ranking in SERPs.

According to Google, here are some practical strategies you can implement to optimize your images:

  • Utilize proper file formats
  • Decrease file size and compress your images without sacrificing quality
  • Use images with relevant alt text
  • Provide detailed titles, captions, filenames, and text for your site’s images
  • Use structured data
  • Implement image sitemaps
  • Lazy load images when applicable

5. Prioritize Your Local Listings

Google’s local packs provide searchers with everything they need to know about a business near their vicinity, typically without ever having to click on the webpage. Increase brand exposure and connect to local consumers by amping up your listing management strategy:

  • Hop on the GMB bandwagon — the primary ranking factor for Google’s local pack
  • Maintain an up-to-date presence across all of your local listings.
  • Provide all essential business information, including your brand name, address, number, website, social media and booking links, categories, business hours, etc.

Is it time you got help with your zero-click search strategy? Reach out to GPO, and we’ll help you keep your brand in the zero-click game.

Woman use smartphones to find what they are interested in. Searching information data on internet networking concept

How to Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets

Learn to optimize your content and snag those coveted Google Featured Snippets.

There are many benefits to appearing in Google featured snippets, such as increased brand awareness, higher conversion rates, more search traffic — the list goes on. So how can your brand earn such coveted placement? You start by understanding featured snippets and learning how to optimize your site’s content to make them work for you.

Buckle up for this crash course on Featured Snippets — we’ll discuss what they are, why they’re important, how they’re formatted, and what you can do to optimize your content for a prized spot in position zero.

What is a Featured Snippet?

Featured snippets are short text excerpts on a SERP that appear below ads and above organic search results. To quickly deliver the most accurate information possible, Google will pull short, bite-sized chunks of text from a web page to answer a searcher’s query. This information is then placed in a snippet containing the website’s title tag, URL, and summarized answer.

Why are Featured Snippets Important?

Over 50% of all Google searches are executed without a single click to any SERP results. This is known to folks in the digital marketing space as a “zero-click search.” One reason for this is increased voice assistant usage.

When searchers ask their Google Home a question, for example, the answers they receive are pulled from featured snippets at least 40% of the time, according to Brafton. What’s more exciting — these numbers aren’t expected to decline any time soon.

With zero-click searches and voice assistant utilization on the rise, you’ll want to gather as many featured snippets as possible for your site. It’s becoming more important than ever to create well-structured, relevant content that is easily digestible by searchers and search engines alike.

Types of Featured Snippets

Featured Snippet Paragraphs

This format is the most common as Google pulls content or meta descriptions directly from your site to answer a searcher’s query. These usually include a featured image and the URL to your page.

Featured snippet example can landlord ban candles

Featured Snippet Numbered Lists

These are used for step-based queries such as recipes and how-to tasks. Google will pull the bulleted list from your site and present it with a link to the relevant web page.

How to tell if your car is leaking oil featured snippet list

Featured Snippet Bulleted Lists

These are used for ranking or listable queries, such as “top pro-athletes in history” or “habits of a highly skilled strategist.” Google will pull these directly from a webpage or compress and format the headings of a list-style post for a more manageable, easy-to-read structure.

featured snippet bulleted list example

Featured Snippet Tables

Google may present a table to provide the consumer with information regarding competitive pricing, rates, or other numerical data. This table doesn’t need to be pulled directly from your content because Google can re-format information from your web page to make it more succinct — if your content is well-structured.

Featured snippet table example SERP result

How to Optimize for Featured Snippets

Since you’re unable to mark a page as a featured snippet, the next option is to optimize your content for them instead. Start by writing relevant content for your users, and then put the steps below into action to increase your chance of reaching position zero:

  • Craft content for a 7th to 8th-grade reading level. Ensure that the average 15-year-old could consume the information on your web page without much difficulty.
  • Add structured data (i.e., headers, subheaders, lists) to your web pages so that they’re easier to crawl. Google Search Central states that this is a great way to get featured.
  • Avoid long, chunky paragraphs and large blocks of text. According to Fernando Angulo of Semrush, you’ll benefit by sticking to about 40-60 words per paragraph.
  • Follow basic SEO best practices in order to rank for the first page of a SERP. Basic SEO includes incorporating keyphrase research, optimizing for mobile, limiting redirects, and sculpting your site’s link structure, to name a few.
  • Use a descriptive title and meta-description tags for every web page you’d like Google to consider.
  • Include external links and citations in your articles.
  • Use images with relevant alt text.

All of which we’ve done here.

To optimize your site in its entirety, ensure that your domain uses (HTTPS) and not (HTTP), and make sure that your page speed is up to par by doing things such as reducing redirects, optimizing images, and enabling compressions.

As zero-click searches continue on their upward trend, it’s becoming increasingly important to optimize your site and the content your brand puts out onto the web in order to stay in the game. Need support with reaching your maximum featured snippet potential? Reach out to GPO today.