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9 Reasons SEO’s Should Be Thankful This Holiday

Derek Robinson

By Derek Robinson

Category: Marketing

9 Reasons SEO’s Should Be Thankful This Holiday

9 Reasons SEO’s Should Be Thankful This Holiday

By Derek Robinson

This is the season to reflect and be thankful. Well, there is a lot you should be thankful for around you and more so in the world of SEO. As usual, the year was full of changes updates and a lot of panic button hitting. A part from all the stress and the pressure SEO’s go through every year, there is a lot to be thankful for. Below are 9 reasons SEO’s should be thankful this holiday in no particular order. You probably want to add the reasons to your thanksgiving table because they are worth a high five.

  1. Be Thankful For All Search Engines

Can you take a second to imagine where we all would be without search engines… well, it would be a hassle and searching for information online would be a pain in the neck. Search engines are the main reasons most digital marketers have something they call a job. Search engines have really changed the world of search and research and this is why you should take a moment to be thankful we have Google, Bing, Facebook and any other search engine that works well.

  1. Be Thankful For Links

We can all say a ‘thank you’ for all links bad and good. The good links have played a major role in giving our sites the authority they deserve and in ranking improvement. When you have external links, it is an equivalent of casting a vote for your website. The more the links your website will have, the more it will appear to be legitimate. This is only the case if the links are from legit reputable sites.

 

External links from the city council linking to Forbes.com will not be as effective as links from Time Magazine to Forbes. When the websites are in the same industry and share links, those are the best types of external links.

 

We can also be thankful for bad links this year.  All the competitors that use bad links to get an edge over others will be penalized and this means that their ranking will be lower giving the legit sites a chance to shine.

  1. Be Thankful For Penguin 4.0

If we are thankful for links, then it makes sense to be thankful for Penguin 4.0. The cyber world is a large one and with 1.1 billion sites and counting, it is growing larger every day. All these websites are a quite many for Google to go through and filter but with different robots, this is possible and it is done in real time.

 

Penguin 4.0 was an initiative that was directed at penalizing all the sites that have adopted the black hat techniques of improving ranks and visibility. This simply means that those who are not using spammy techniques or working with companies that do will not have a problem.

 

The thing to be thankful for is the fact that Penguin 4.0 is now working real-time. In case your site is penalized, you will find out faster and this will give you a better window to fix the problem that got it there. You should always audit your links often to track issues that might cause a penalty. As long as you have clean links and no spams Penguin 4.0 will be an added benefit to your site.

  1. Be Thankful For SEO Tools

There are many SEO tools that you should be thankful they exist.  You can track your rankings, find new keywords and keep a close eye on competition with the use of one tool. Using the all-in-one tool will save you a lot of hassle and it means you will not need different tools for different tasks which can be quite costly.

 

These tools have continuously made the lives of SEO’s very easy. There are also many tools from Google such as the Google Analytics, Google Webmaster tools and Page Speed Insight. These tools have really worked positively towards allowing SEO‘s to work faster and smarter.

  1. Be Thankful For Content

SEO plays a major part in the improvement of rankings, conversion and the provision of search query solutions. This explains why SEO and content marketing are inseparable.  A website has an opportunity to establish authority on a given topic, industry, niche and connect with the searchers. This connection leads to an improvement of search engine optimization.

 

It is important that we are thankful for content but most importantly, the writers behind it all. Bloggers and good writers can help a great deal in creating new links. Writers can provide keyword-rich content that searchers are looking for and provide the required blog, article and web content. As a SEO, you should be thankful that writers and bloggers exist.

  1. Be Thankful For Social Media

Whether or not you believe in the power of social media in relation to SEO, you should know that these platforms can increase views of old and new content. Sharing posts and links of social networks is a great way to increase traffic to your website. You can also improve sales through social media ads.

 

Social media has become one of the most efficient ways for a business to engage with its customers and prospects. It is not common for customers to ask questions or inquire through Facebook, and Twitter. The response is faster and more people now prefer to use social networks to phone calls.

  1. Be Thankful For Mobile Traffic

People are now using mobile devices to search for websites. Statistics show that about 56% of traffic on top websites is coming from mobile devices. This is expected to shoot up to 75% in 2017. This is because a lot of people are searching on the go and not waiting until they are home in front of a computer. This has translated to added traffic and more work for SEO’s.

 

We are only at the beginning of #mobilegeddon where mobile traffic is expected to redefine the playing field in a significant manner. There are now redefined web designs and Google’s AMP is making a change. The introduction of voice search will soon be surpassing the typed search we are all used to. All these changes translated to increased work for SEO’s and this is something to be thankful for.

  1. Be Thankful For WordPress Plugins

WordpPress is a complicated yet simple solution in the web development world. The overly packed themes can greatly slow your site down and this is not good for rankings. Photos will take up too much space which will affect load time especially if you are running an e-commerce site.  Luckily, you have plugins that can solve a number of issues in WordPress.

 

Plugins such as Yoast SEO are something to be thankful for. These plugins will give you an easy way to optimize web pages using basic SEO such as Meta tags, descriptions, and keyword data. You will also get useful tips to help you improve the SEO on the pages. When there is a green button next to the page you are working on, you can rest assured that everything is in order in relation to page optimization.

  1. Be Thankful For People

Without people, there would be no searchers and this means no need for Search engine optimizers. The cyber world is fueled by the need for information by people. We should all be thankful that there are people looking for information because without this, SEO‘s would have nothing to do in the Wide World Web. You should probably forget about how silly and how negative people can be online and be grateful that they exist and go online to search for information and engage with businesses. Search engine optimization is all about making sure that information is visible for the right people looking for it.

 

If you are a search engine optimizer, what are you thankful for?

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9 Tips to Optimize Crawl Budget for SEO

9 Tips to Optimize Crawl Budget for SEO

By Derek Robinson

SEO crawl budget is not understood fully and this is why we will go through the following 9 tips to optimize crawl budget for SEO.

When most people hear the word SEO, what comes to their mind is a list of factors that help in ranking such as keywords, clean sitemaps, impressive designs, proper use of tags and fresh content. Something that has been constantly forgotten in this list is the crawl budget. We will aim at understanding how crawl budget is related to SEO and what you can do to improve your site’s crawl rate.

Understanding Crawl Budget

Before we dive into the tips that will help you in the crawl budget optimization, it is important that we are all in the same page as far as crawl budget definition is concerned. Search engines and web services crawl web pages through the use of web crawler robots also known as spiders.  This is how they collect information about the pages to index them.  Good example of these crawlers is the Googlebot which is used by Google to identify new web pages and add them to the index. There is also Bingbot, which is Microsoft’s equivalent. There are many other web services and SEO tools that depend on these bots in collecting important information. Some of these spiders can crawl billions of pages in a day to gather the required data.

 

The crawl budget is the number of times the spider will crawl your web page in a given allotment. If Google hits your site 30 times in a day, the crawl budget is 900 per month. It is possible to use tools such as Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console to find out the approximate crawl budget for your website. You just need to log into craw, go to crawl stats and look as the number of pages crawled per day.

Is Optimizing Crawl Budget Similar To SEO?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Both of these optimizations are geared towards increasing visibility and improve your search engine result page position SEO works more on the user’s experience. Spider optimization, on the other hand is all about pleasing bots. It leans more on how the crawlers will access your web pages. The following tips will help you understand the different steps you need to make to ensure your site always remains ‘crawlable’.

  1. Make Sure All Pages Are Crawlable

Your page becomes crawlable only if search engine bots can access it and follow all the links within the site. This means that you will need to configure the robots.txt and .htaccess to ensure that they do not block the critical pages of your site. If there are pages that depend on rich media such as Silver light and Flash, you might want to consider providing their text versions.

 

If you do not intend to have a page show up in search result pages, you should do the exact opposite of what is stated above. It is important to state that just setting the Robots.txt to disallow is not enough to block the crawlers. If there are external links that continue to direct visitors to the page, search engines might think that it is important and index it. The only way to prevent indexing is the use of noindex robots meta tag. Keep in mind that you should not use the robots.txt disallow feature because the page will need to be crawled for the noindex command to be obeyed.

  1. Rich Media Files Should Be Cautiously Used

Some time ago, Googlebot could not crawl HTML, Flash and JavaScript. Albeit those times are long gone, Googlebot still has a problem with Silverlight and some other types of files. Keep in mind that even in cases where Googlebot can read a file, there are many other search engines that will not be able to. You should, therefore use these rich files carefully and if you want your pages to be ranked, you should do your best to avoid them.

  1. Redirect Chains Should Be Avoided

Each of the URL you will redirect to will waste a piece of your crawl budget. If the redirects are in a long chain, that is, many 301 and 302 redirects in a row it is possible that the spiders will abandon the crawling prior to getting to the destination. This means that the page will not be indexed. It is important that you limit the number of redirects on your site and make sure that there are none in a row of more than two.

  1. All Broken Links Should Be Fixed

Googlebot initially did not lose sleep over a broken link; however, you might want to consider one important factor. Over time, Google has leaned towards giving users a great experience.  A broken link might make things difficult for users and this will in turn attract the attention of Googlebot.

  1. Dynamic URLs Parameters

All dynamic URLs leading to the same pages are treated as separate pages by the crawlers. This means that there is a chance you might be wasting your budget. You can just go to Google Search Console then click on Craw and then Search Parameters. You will have a chance to inform the Googlebot that the CMS adding parameters to the URLs will not mean that the content of the page has been changed.

  1. Your Sitemap Should Be Clean

Sitemaps on your site assist both users and spiders alike. The maps make sure that the content on your website is easier to find by keeping it well organized. For this reason, the sitemap should be kept up-to-date. You should also strive to get rid of clutter that can cause harm to your website’s usability. This includes all the unnecessary redirects, blocked pages, non-canonical pages and 400-level pages.

 

There are tools available that can help you in the cleaning of your sitemap. These tools will clean the sitemap including all pages that have been blocked from search engine indexing. This will also help in solving the above problems.

  1. Use Feeds

There are feeds such as RSS, Atom, and XML that will provide content to users even when they are not going through your website. With these feeds, users can get notifications when you publish new content.

 

RSS feed can greatly boost engagements and readership. They are also highly visited by Googlebot crawlers. If you add new content such as new blog posts, new products or a website update among others, you should ensure it is properly indexed by submitting it to Google’s Feed Burner.

  1. External Links Are Important

Link building remains an important topic and it is bound to remain so for a long time. There might be link building elements that have been passed by time but the need for humans to connect whether physically or online will never be different.

 

The number of external links on your site has a close relationship with the number of times crawlers will go through your websites.

  1. Internal Link Integrity

Though internal link building does not directly affect the crawl rate; it is an important element that should be given the attention it deserves. As mentioned, when a site has a well-maintained structure, it is easier for the user to find the content they are looking for. Bots will also find the content and this will not waste your crawl budget.

 

When the structure is more accessible to the user such that they can find what they are looking for with a few clicks, it means that they will have a great experience. If users are happy, search engines will appreciate your website by improving your position on their result pages.

So, Is The Crawl Budget Important?

You should have noticed by now that all the efforts that improve the site’s crawlability also improve searchability. If you are still wondering whether the crawl budget is important, you should take YES as your answer. It is crucial and will most probably work together with all your search engine optimization efforts.

 

Simply put, if you make it easy for search engine bots to discover your site and index it, you will get your fair share of crawls. This simply means that you will be enjoying faster updates when there is new content published. In the process, you will also improve the user’s experience and this will enhance visibility and ultimately lead to better search engine result pages rankings.

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5 steps to optimizing your site for Google’s mobile-first index.

5 Steps To Optimizing Your Site For Google’s Mobile-First Index

By Derek Robinson

Google is now testing the mobile-first index officially. This simply means that it is a good time to actually jump in to the mobile-friendly bandwagon before it’s too late. The most important thing is to know where to start. Well, the following are 5 steps to optimizing your site for Google’s mobile-first index.

 

Google introducing the mobile-first index and testing is big news in the World Wide Web. The new index is expected to first prioritize the mobile friendly website version for ranking signals before it moves to the desktop version if there is no mobile site.

 

For some time, Google has been hinting on its move towards the mobile-first index. The first hint was about one year ago but on 4th November, Google posted more details about this index on their blog. If you have been reluctant in joining the mobile-friendly sites revolution, this would be the perfect time to do so. Mobile devices have now dominated searches and this means Google and other search engine will be prioritizing mobile. If your business does not have a mobile website; you might witness a reduction in traffic due to ranking.

 

Following the steps below will help you a great deal in putting your website in line with the new changes.

  1. Work On Speed

Statistics indicates that 2 seconds is the acceptable threshold for ecommerce websites. Google aims for half a second. This is because users have grown to look forward to fast loading sites. If your website loads fast, it will be ranked on mobile. There are a number of things that you need to consider when you are working on the page speed optimization.

Images should be optimized

large images will slow down your site.  To be on the safe side, you should ensure that all the images on your site are the right size.

Minify the code

This simply means that all unnecessary characters should be eliminated from the source code without a change in functionality.

Browser caching Leverage

Browser caching will store resource files from web pages on the local computer when users visit the web pages.

Redirects reduction

When there are too many redirects, the site will reload more and this can slow down the user’s experience.

  1. Avoid Blocking Images, JavaScript or CSS

Initially, with the earlier mobile designs, it was helpful to block these three elements. This is because they brought with them issues that led to a slow site. Luckily, today, this is not the case.

 

Today, the mobile devices that people own are actually more powerful than the computers users own. This means they can handle just about anything you throw at them. Since GoogleBots can see them and would like to categorize the same content users do, it is important that these elements are not hidden.

  1. Work on a Mobile Design

SEO has evolved from being a technical skill to what can be referred to as an art. The modern SEO has to understand how to code, the ranking signals and figure out how design can be used for the benefits of ranking.

 

Mobile design has become a form of art. Designing a responsive site is a good idea and it does not matter which process you use. There are important steps that can assist you in mobile site design optimization for the search.

Ditch Flash

It is important to note that Apple already killed flash for mobile. Most mobile phone users will not see the flash elements and it is, therefore, important to get rid of them. If you still need the cool elements on your site, you can use Java or HTML 5.

Remove Pop-ups

It is important to generate leads but you need to know that pop-ups on a mobile site will be a frustration to the visitors. Frustrated users will just leave your site for your direct competitor. Pop-ups can lead to high bounce rates and this will greatly affect your ranking.

Design For Fingers

As you design, keep in mind that your target audience will mostly be using their fingers to navigate. This tells you that your design should be as finger friendly as possible. All users want to tap with ease without having to deal with the annoying accidental taps.

  1. Focus on On-page Optimization

There is less room to work with when you are dealing with mobile search engine result pages. For this particular reason, it is important that you keep your descriptions and titles as brief and as concise as possible.

This is for purposes of allowing GoogleBot to quickly understand what your page is all about and letting your visitors know who you are. This will result in improved ranking and higher click-through rate.

  1. Don’t forget About Local Optimization

Google released Possum in September and this has become a huge update in local search algorithm. If you are interested in increasing the foot traffic to your physical store, you should pay attention to mobile search.  According to statistics by Google researchers, it is clear that most local searchers are ready follow the search with an action.

 

The statistics indicate that 50% of users who perform local searches using their phone visit a physical store within a period of one day. About 34% of those who searched using desktops or laptops did the same. This shows that local businesses will greatly benefit from the new mobile-first index.

 

To increase the mobile visibility of your website, the following are some of the things you should pay attention to:

 

City and state in the title tag

Business Name, Phone and Address

City and state in the H1 heading

City and state in the meta description

City and state in the URL

City and state in the alt tags

City and state in content

 

There is still a lot to be learned as Google is experimenting with the mobile index. The best step is to start making the necessary changes now to increase your sites visibility before the changes take complete effect.  You should not sit and wait until the changes are complete because this means your competitors might beat you to it and recovering will be a more difficult task than just starting making the necessary changes early.

 

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Accelerated Mobile Pages Will Now Be In Organic Search Results

Accelerated Mobile Pages Will Now Be In Organic Search Results

By Derek Robinson

Google announced that this change will come and true to this, the Accelerated Mobile Pages will now be in organic search results officially around the world.

 

This giant search engine works around the clock to improve the experience of the user online. The introduction of the AMP technology makes things faster for all users. In February, 2016, Google increased its Accelerated Mobile Pages support through the ‘Top Stories’ carousel which consists of pages that have been created using this technology.

 

In August, the search engine gave a clue on what step it would take next in relation to the AMP technology. It stated that it would be adding AMPs to the regular organic search results. Today, this clue has become a reality.

So What Does This Really Mean For A Publisher?

If a user makes a search through a mobile device, Google will automatically make the search results based on AMPs if the version is available. This simply means that these pages will get a significant increase in exposure. For a website owner, this translates to more traffic and possibly more sales and more revenue.

 

There are publishers who have not yet adopted the Accelerated Mobile pages technology and now the pressure is building up. It is important to state that AMP is not considered in website ranking. However, the speed at which a page loads is considered in content ranking and these pages can load fast.

 

AMPs load with an average speed of about 1 second. This means that publishers who use this technology will probably have an edge over their competitors with HTML pages. Over 3G connections, HTML pages take an average of about 19 seconds to load and use over 10 times more data. You can now see why the AMP pages are favored.

What It Means For Users

Time is a very important factor in the fast paced world we live in today. This change will definitely save users a great deal of time especially when they are using mobile devices to search for information and businesses. When searching using cellular connections, the user will also save on data. It also means that users will not be getting what they are searching for faster than before.

 

Google will be displaying Accelerated Mobile Pages with priority and this will save users a great deal of time. Before this change, there was only a small amount of AMP pages displayed in the search results. After the change, all the indexed 600million pages and documents will be discoverable.

AMP’s Future

Rudy Galfi, the head AMP product manager at Google says that users are giving preference to links that carry the AMP lightning bolt. This trend is expected to continue as people discover that these pages are loading faster and consuming less data. Initially, after the launch, AMP technology was only being used by news sites. However, Galfi clarified this by saying that AMP is geared towards all publishers including travel, shopping, cooking, tech and any other site and not just news outlets.

 

It is expected that in future, developers might come to a point where coding will be entirely done for Accelerated Mobile Pages without a need for any other version. Galfi, however, says that website owners should consider a few things before getting into AMP with both legs. It is crucial to think about what they need to accomplish with the site and see if it can all be done through the AMP technology. You should learn what AMP is all about and if it will make sense if all your content was according to this technology and what benefits it will provide.

 

Google is not only excited with the rate at which publishers are adopting AMP, but also with the fact that other search engines are showing AMPs on their search result pages. A good example is Bing showing AMP pages on mobile applications. Content management system like WordPress are designing ways through which publishers can publish AMP content without much hassle.

 

Galfi did not disclose the hard numbers in future projections but he was confident that there will be continued success in the adoption of AMP technology by publishers and the acceptance by searchers.

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Mobile Search Is Google’s New Priority

Mobile Search Is Google’s New Priority

By Derek Robinson

Desktop searchers have been the main focus but this change indicated that Mobile search is Google’s new priority.

Google has announced that mobile search is Google’s new priority and that it is splitting its search results index into two versions, one for desktop and one for mobile. This change is expected in the coming months.

 

The split means Google will have mobile and desktop versions that will be updated frequently. The announcement was done in Las Vegas by Gary Illyes and confirmed on Twitter. The fact that the search engine is giving mobile search priority means that Google is dedicated to giving mobile users a better experience.

 

We can say that Google is prioritizing mobile which is something the engine has been working on since statistics indicated that mobile searches surpassed desktop searchers in 2015. The split is just a confirmation that mobile searches have overtaken desktop use.

 

With a separate index for mobile, Google bots will be crawling mobile versions of websites and indexing them according to the algorithms. This means that Google will be giving mobile users a better experience by giving them mobile friendly content that will display perfectly on their smart phones. The expedited index will make sure that Google will be breaking news out faster than before.

What this Means For SEOs and Website Owners

The split announcement is solidifying the fact that this search engine is giving priority to mobile searchers. Days are long gone when computer searchers were given the most attention. This is because most people are now using their mobile phones to access the internet and these numbers cannot simply be ignored.

 

The fact that a giant search engine is prioritizing mobile searches is a big enough message to search engine optimizers and website owners to do the same. At least you should have a mobile friendly or responsive site but this is the minimum have to do. Having a mobile friendly site is not enough, the speed the site loads with is very important. This is not just for the search engine ranking, It is crucial for the users too. About 53% of users will leave a web page or a site if it is not loading fast.

 

You should make sure your site is loading fast and the best way to do this through Accelerated Mobile Page technology. If you are not yet using AMP, you should consider starting because this is the future. You can use Google’s tools to test the loading speed to ensure it is fast enough for the crawlers but most importantly for the users.

 

If you are always publishing news related to your business, it is a must to get listed on Google News. This will not only increase your content’s visibility, it will also make its indexing faster.

 

It is important that site owners have these elements checked prior to the official split of Google’s search index. Though Google has not announced exactly when the split will happen, it is clear that it is in the near future and it will not break your bones to be proactive and prepare ahead.

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Google Updates Penguin, It’s Now Real-time

Google Updates Penguin, It’s Now Real-time

By Derek Robinson

After a period of 2 years, Google has finally given their Penguin another update. This is the 4th major update since penguin was introduced. The update makes it Penguin 4.0 and is the last release of this type. Google updates Penguin, it’s now real-time which means it will be processed within its core search algorithm.

What Does Going Real-time Mean?

Penguin was designed to capture all websites that spam the Google search results using methods that might not be detected by the normal spamming systems. Penguin has been operating periodically since its introduction in 2012.

 

The filter was run to catch the spammy sites or those considered spammy. The sites would be penalized and remain so even if they changed and improved. This would be so until the next time the filter was run and this would be after months.

 

To get the picture clearly, the last time Penguin was updated was in 2014 for Penguin 3.0. If a site was hit and penalized, it has waited for a period of two years to be freed.

 

The long delays are now in the past according to the giant search engine. The latest release and update has taken Penguin real-time. As the regular Google bots recrawl and reindex website pages, which is more frequent, Penguin 4.0 will be assessing them as well. The catching and the freeing of pages will be a regular process and this means you will not have to wait for years to be freed.

According to Google…

This change means that Penguin will be refreshing its data in real time. The changes will be highly visible and will take effect a short period after the crawling and indexing. They have also said that it will be more granular. It will take part in devaluing sites through adjustment of ranks based on the spam signal and not affect whole site ranking.

 

Previously, the filter penalized the entire site. So, the question is, is being granular now page specific? The answer is no and yes. Google has said that this means that it targets granularity than entire sites. However, this does not means that it will only be affecting pages.

 

In our interpretation, it means that penguin will be affecting specific pages on the website, sections of the site while the other pages will not.

There will no Longer be Update Confirmations from Google

Google has also said that this is the last update they are confirming. This is logical since the process is not constant and nothing major to confirm. If there are changes, they will be made as the Penguin filter works.

So, Is Penguin 4.0 Entirely Live?

Penguin 4.0 has probably not yet gone fully live. Google said it is just rolling out and did not say how long till it rolls out, but we believe it will not take long. It might just be a matter of a few weeks. If Google crawls your website frequently, then the changes might not take long before showing. If the visits are infrequent, it might take a while before the changes show.

 

Google has been giving the query percentage that are impacted by the previous versions of Penguin filter. For Penguin 4.0, the changes will be happening constantly and this means no specific percentages will be announced.

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Local SEO Basics: What It Is and How to Do It

Local SEO Basics: What It Is and How to Do It

By Derek Robinson

If you have a business website, it is likely that you have heard about SEO or search engine optimization because it is always a hot topic. A simple explanation is that it is the practice of structuring and writing web content with an aim of improving rankings on search engine result pages. Have you heard about local SEO though? It is important that you understand local SEO basics: what it is and how to do it for the best results.

 

In most cases, people are using their mobile devices and computers to search for businesses near them. This is the case even if they are not interested in buying anything online.  If you have no plans of optimizing the website for the local search, it is possible that you are locking out a lot of potential customers. The following information will shine some light on this topic.

Search Query Intent

Google has recently become all about the user’s experience. This means that it works extra hard to provide more than just results based on the keywords. Google works by determining the intent of the query by the user based on a number of elements. For instance, if you search the word ‘art’ on your computer, Google will include pictures of art, or art ideas. If you use your mobile device for the same search, the results might include art galleries near them. This is because most people searching for a business on their mobile phones are probably looking for the physical location or address.

 

In this case, Google will consider the keyword as a first priority, then, it will look at the location of the user and the device they are using to make the search. It is common for local results to appear in most searches which means you should focus on your local SEO for the sake of your business.

Advantages of Local SEO

According to statistics, about 68% of adults have a smart phone. This means that they are always accessing the internet on the go. Website searchers are not just based on online purchases; there are a lot of people using the internet to look for offline businesses that are near them. This simply indicates that even businesses that do not sell online should do their best to invest in local search engine optimization. This is because studies show that 78% of local searchers done on mobile devices end up in offline sales.

 

More than 50% of the people making local searches do not have an idea of the name of the businesses they are searching for. They simply use general categories to search. This means that with a website optimized for local searches, you can attract a great deal of traffic to your online or offline store. You just need to use relevant keywords and everything will work in your favor.

How To Improve Local Website SEO

The main reason why local SEO is used is to create pages that describe the goods and services offered and an explanation of where they are offered. This explanation should include the state, city and area. The information should be included in the on-page elements like Meta descriptions and page titles. Most importantly, the pages should all contain the address and the phone number of the business. Google bots pay attention to contact details on the pages and this makes it easier to present this important information.

 

In an example, let us say you have a moving business in New York. A good title for your top article written for SEO purposes should include ‘Moving Company in New York, NY’. To enhance the efforts, you can include other relevant keywords surrounding this industry. A good idea is to focus on the other services that you might offer while providing the moving services in New York. These should be the problems that customers looking for these services will want solved by a moving company. A few titles might be:

 

Packing services in Hannover, NY

Storage in New York, NY

Special Moving Services in New York, NY

Same-day Moving in New York

Long Distance moving in New York, NY

 

As you increase your list of relevant keywords, your traffic will increase with them. This is because people will be searching different things related to this industry and they will most probably come across your website if you have optimized it for local search.

 

It is important to follow the best local SEO practices to push your website up the local search engine result pages. To be on the safe side, working with a professional in SEO will give you the kind of website that your target audience will find easily and this will consequently increase your traffic and sales.

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5 Goals to Set at the Start of an SEO Campaign

5 Goals to Set at the Start of an SEO Campaign

By Derek Robinson

SEO or search engine optimization purely depends on planning. The goals you set at the beginning of this campaign will determine the direction the project takes and how effective it will be. If you make a mistake and aim for the wrong target, you will just end up wasting a lot of resources and time working towards the wrong goal. To get your campaign moving in the right direction, you will need these 5 goals to set at the start of an SEO campaign for a strong foundation and better results.

  1. Choose your Audience

The process of choosing an audience is not as easy as most people would think. You might be aware of the target demographics and an idea of the type of audience your brand is made for but there are completely different elements to consider when it comes to search. For instance, is there a part of the target audience that will be using more of search than others? Is there a direct competitor focusing on one segment of your audience?

 

It is time to ditch the strategy that only focuses on the age, education levels and sex in the demographics. The focus should be broader and include the user’s preferences and interests. Focus on the buying stage that the audience will be. What will they be thinking about when making the search? These targets should be cautiously set to ensure that the campaign sets towards the right direction right from the beginning.

  1. Think about the Niche

The next step is to choose the right niche. Search engine optimization is a competitive strategy and will be getting more competitive. This means that choosing your niche should be among the crucial steps before the campaign starts. Of course you can rank higher with money time and important resources. Keep in mind that the big companies and corporations have created a foundation in this space. This is why you should select a new niche. This should be a specialized area that has less competition and visibility. This should carefully be considered and you should look at your venture and compare it to the existing competition. Look at things that make it unique and focus on what you have that your audience cannot get from the competitors.

 

This comes to the uniqueness of your venture including targeting a unique audience and adding special element to the content. Whatever you go with, it should give you an edge over your competitors and make you stand out for more attention. It should also be something your target audience will want to see. Standing out of the crowd will make sure that you are getting more traffic than your direct competitors.

  1. Focus on the Right Keywords

Though commonly misunderstood, keywords are crucial in search engine optimization. Keywords have always been important though a lot has changed especially with Google algorithm changes and the ever evolving rules. A good example is the Hummingbird update. The keywords you choose to focus on at the beginning of the campaign will play a major role in the direction the entire process takes.

 

As you do this, you will need to get a balance between low competition rating keyword and high search volume keywords. The most important thing is that the keywords need to be relevant to your website and should be what the target audience is looking for. This is where you need to do some deep research and come out with keywords that will work for all involved aspects.

  1. Traffic

When you have your niche, target audience and keywords decided, it will be easier to execute the strategies or at least know which angles to take. The momentum of the project is driven by the intensity to execute it. For instance, most people know that content and the links they should have but do not know how much they require. You also need to know the amount and the time you should invest. The most important thing you should pay attention to is the traffic.

 

Determine how much traffic you want to drive and how fast you want to see the results of your efforts. When you understand these dimensions involving your traffic, you will know where to put your resources and how to measure the success rate of your campaign.

  1. Conversion Rate

Though the conversion rate is not directly linked to the SEO campaign, you can optimize your website to improve the conversion rate. Albeit this might not affect your ranking in any way, the conversion rate will be affected positively. This will greatly determine how profitable your SEO campaign is. Picture a situation where your site is getting over 5000 visitors in a month and none of them are buying from you. This means the conversion rate is at its lowest and your efforts to drive traffic are all for nothing.

 

This is why you should include your conversion rate as a part of the SEO strategy. Focus on all elements that can be used to increase this important rate such as designing a specific landing page and call to actions that will bear fruits.

 

Setting these goals is not an easy task and being accurate is not obvious. However, it is better if you set these goals with support of research and reasoning. Make sure if there is any guesswork, it is limited to the minimums. The benefit of setting goals is that you will know what you are working towards. If by any chance there is a target that is not working as planned, then you have a chance to change things as you see necessary.

 

Setting these goals is not about perfection, it is all about ensuring that you are on the right path and creating a framework that you can work on for better results and growth.

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Google Will Lowly Rank Sites With Pop-Ups

Google Will Lowly Rank Sites With Pop-Ups

By Derek Robinson

This move involves devaluing sites that use interstitials and pop-ups. This includes fake interstitials. From early next year the search engine will not be ranking site pages that have intrusive interstitials as high as those that do not have. This will include sites with pop-ups that will trigger as a user views search results of navigating through the page.

 

The main reason behind why Google Will Lowly Rank Sites With Pop-Ups is the complaining by searchers. When Google first introduced signals that resulted in pages with app interstitials losing their boost in search engine results, most sites started using fake interstitials. This is something that looks like an interstitial that leads users to believing that an app is required for the content viewing. If the user scrolls, the real content appears. This was against the app interstitial change.

 

From 10th January 2017, the fake interstitials will be ranking lowly. This is therefore an early warning. Site owners have nothing worry about until after the end of year festive season.

 

The changes will also target pop-ups. Mobile pop-ups are more obtrusive since they are difficult to close. In some cases, it is impossible to close a pop-up on a mobile phone. For site owners and managers, it means that pop-ups will have to be served on second page views when the user clicks from mobile search results. This will however not affect desktop pop-ups. It will however cause some inconvenience for sites with responsive designs that need to use pop-ups on desktops.

 

The following is what you need to know:

 

The examples below show techniques that are known to interfere with the access to content for users:

 

– The display of pop-ups that cover the main content when the user is going through the page or after the user navigates to the pages from search results.

 

– Displaying interstitials that need to be closed prior to accessing the main content.

 

– The use of layouts where the portion of the page above the fold appears to be similar to an interstitial and the original content is lined under the fold.

 

Google has pointed out that there are interstitials such that those for age verification and cookies notice will not be affected by the changes. the change mainly targets the interstitials that give users a bad experience.

 

Yelp was one of the early users of fake interstitial tactics and continues to use this tactic. Other sites such as Pinterest also followed suit. Most probably, these big sites will be in the first lane to make the necessary adjustments. You can still use banner app installs on pages.

 

Amidst all the changes, Google has announce that user intent will continue being strong. This simply means that a page will rank highly even with the interstitials if the search engine feels that it is an important page. Pages from reputable brands will still be high in ranks even with interstitials

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Google dropping mobile friendly tag

Google Dropping Mobile Friendly Tag

By Derek Robinson

Considering that about 85% of results are mobile-friendly, Google dropping mobile friendly tag is a move that will work positively towards ensuring that the search results are cleaner. Initially, when only a few pages were friendly to mobile devices, the tag was very useful. Today, almost all pages are mobile friendly and this tag does not make any sense anymore.

 

To be clear, 85% of pages do not mean that 85% of websites are friendly to mobile devices. However, this number clearly indicates the significant rapid growth of mobile friendly sites. Most website owners are now working towards reworking their sites to be friendly to devices with smaller screens.

 

Google added the mobile friendly tag about 2 years ago as a message to web publishers and users about the direction the web was heading. In the past one year, mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches. The main reason behind this increasing number is the increase in the people using smartphones which can conveniently access the internet.

 

Though Google dropping the mobile friendly tag is big news, it will still maintain the ranking boost for mobile searches. Albeit this is the case, you will no longer be required to use the tag that tells users that the page is mobile friendly. When this change happens, webmasters will need to use the mobile friendly test to check if the site is mobile friendly.

 

This also means that the search results will have more room for lengthier descriptions. This is because the mobile friendly tag that appears in front of descriptions will be removed. The room can now be used for more characters and SEO keywords. This is space most search engine optimizers will be very happy to have back.

 

The announcement by Google made it clear that websites being mobile friendly is still a very important ranking signal. You will no longer see the sites that are not friendly to mobile devices because they will be lowly ranked. As mentioned, the popular sites and sites of the reputable brands will still be highly ranked. This simply means that Google dropping mobile friendly tag will most likely affect the small websites which is why you should ensure that your business site is friendly to mobile devices.

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