Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Link building is hard, but it's not the only way to make traffic gains in Google's search results. March 2014

1. In-depth articles:

According to the MozCast Feature Graph, 6% of Google search results contain In-depth articles. While this doesn't seem like a huge numbers, the articles that qualify can see a significant increase in traffic. Anecdotally, we've heard reports of traffic increasing up to 10% after inclusion.


2. Improving user satisfaction :

Can you improve your Google rankings by improving the onsite experience of your visitors?
 Google could see how satisfied users were. … The best sign of their happiness was the "long click" – this occurred when someone went to a search result, ideally the top one, and did not return."

The idea is called pogosticking, or return-to-SERP, and if you can reduce it by keeping satisfied visitors on your site (or at least not returning to Google to look for the answer somewhere else) many SEOs believe Google will reward you with higher positions in search results.


3. Rich snippets from structured data :

Google constantly expands the types of rich snippets it shows in search results, including eventssongs, videos and breadcrumbs.


4. Video optimization :

video snippets capture more search real estate than any other type of rich snippet, even more than authorship photos. Studies show our eyes go straight to them.


5. Google authorship :

Scoring the coveted author photo in Google search results doesn't guarantee more clicks, but getting the right photo can help your click-through rate in many results.

What makes a good author photo? 

  • Use a real face, not a company logo, cartoon or icon
  • High contrast colors. Because the photo is small, you want it to stand out with good separation between the background and foreground.
  • Audience targeted. For example, young Disney fans are probably less likely to click on an old guy in a suit who looks like a financial adviser.

6. Improving site speed:

Improving site speed not only improves visitor satisfaction (see point #1) but it may also have a direct influence on your search rankings. In fact, site speed is one of the few ranking factors Google has confirmed.


7. Smartphone SEO :

Aside from speed, if your website isn't configured properly for smartphones, it probably results in lower Google search results for mobile queries. Google confirms that smartphone errors may result in lower mobile rankings.

What is a smartphone error?

  • Redirecting visitors to the wrong mobile URL
  • Embedding a video that doesn't play on a particular phone (Flash video on an iPhone, for example)
  • Pop-ups that aren't easily closed on mobile
  • Buttons or fonts that are too small on a mobile device

8. Expanding your international audience :

Does your website have traffic potential outside your existing country and/or language?


9. Social annotations with Google+:

When you share content on Facebook and Twitter, your network basically sees it only when they are looking at Facebook and Twitter.
On the other hand, when you share content on Google+, your network can see it every time they search Google.

10. Snippet optimization :

This goes back to basic meta tag and title tag optimization, but it's a good practice to keep in mind.


11. Updating fresh content :

Websites that stop earning new links often lose ground in Google search results. At the same time, sites that never add new content or let their pages go stale can also fall out of favors.
Freshening your content doesn't guarantee a rankings boost, but for certain types of queries it definitely helps. 


12. Ongoing on-page SEO :

The factors listed here only scratch the surface of earning more real estate in search results. Issues such as indexing, crawling, canonicalization, duplicate content, site architecture, keyword research, internal linking, image optimization and 1,000 other things can move ranking mountains.
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