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.

Monday, March 10, 2014

SEO Strategy Has Changed, But Has Your Reporting Structure?

As SEOs, we all generate ranking reports for our keywords on a regular basis. Maybe weekly or monthly,  but we all do it at some point. With so many changes in the last few years (or months, even!)  do you really think ranking reports are the only metric to track SEO efforts? I don’t think so, because:

1.Now SEOs have to use lots of keywords variation while doing link acquisition, becauseexact match anchor keywords can be dangerous.
2.Google moved entirely to secure search and stopped providing keywords data in all Analytics tools

3.Hummingbird update has changed the way it serves results. Now Google understands the user search queries and serves the results based on its understanding, instead of just keywords typed-in.

                              Old Reporting vs New Reporting2 SEO Strategy Has Changed, But Has Your Reporting Structure?

As a SEO, you put effort into increasing accessibility, content marketing, quality link acquisition, and generating social signals just to get rankings in search engines. But these efforts also help websites get referral traffic (if quality content marketing or link acquisition is done) and increase in brand awareness (if social media strategies are successful). Also, when using diversity of keywords in on-page and off-page optimizations, you also help increase search engine rankings for other (non-targeted) keywords. Are you all reporting these metrics to your clients or bosses? If not, you are undervaluing yourself and your work.
So, how do you make sure you are reporting all of the benefits of your work? The reports I recommend for any SEO Campaign are as follows.
Activities Report :
Pretty self explanatory, but often overlooked. This report should include all the activities you completed. For example, what content you marketed and where, what infographics you distributed and where, and any other action you took that resulted in benefits for the client. 

activities reporting SEO Strategy Has Changed, But Has Your Reporting Structure?

Ranking Report
Ranking Report should not be limited to targeted keywords, but must be on wider scale.
                  keywords ranking reporting SEO Strategy Has Changed, But Has Your Reporting Structure?

Friday, March 7, 2014

As Google Upgrades Google Maps Business Listings, Conflicts Happen Including Duplicate Listing Issues

Google has been automatically upgrading Google Place listings from the old system to the new Google Places dashboard. With this upgrade, there may be conflicts that prevents the upgrade from completing. The latest conflict is that there are duplicate listing issues and Google needs you to step in, fix the issue and then complete the upgrade process.

Google has recently began sending out notices of the duplicate place listings conflict via email to those impacted by this issue. The email reads:


We’d like to inform you that Google Places no longer accommodates more than one authorized owner per business location. Your account contains one or more listings that have been identified as duplicates of other listings and as a result, some of the information you provide will not be shown to Google users anymore…
Jade Wang from Google posted a detailed how to fix this issue in the Google Business Help forums where she summed up the issues two-fold:

(1) Your account and another account that you don’t control became verified for the same business using the old Places dashboard.

(2) You may have verified the page multiple times using accounts you control.

Each has their own method of resolving, which Google has either emailed the business owner or you can read them below in more detail.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Are You a PPC Expert? Then You Should be Using These Advanced PPC Tactics

Apply On-Page SEO Best Practices to The Landing Page Where You Drive Your PPC Traffic

The ultimate goal is to achieve the highest possible AdWords Quality Score, as it is extremely important to an ad campaign. Although it officially exists to ensure that users are only served ads that are relevant to their search queries, it also plays a role in your ad’s position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and in determining the costs your campaign is charged for keyword clicks. The higher your ad’s Quality Score, the more visible your ad, and the farther your budget will reach. The most successful PPC professionals also look at the on-page SEO elements of that target landing page. Optimizing the landing page using the same keywords used in the ad and the ad group will help AdWords recognize the relevancy of your page, improving your Quality Score.


Focus on High Value Keywords
Most AdWords groups use multiple keywords, sometimes hundreds of them. If you have a really high-level keyword, though, dedicate an entire group to it. No long-tail keywords, no similar keywords, just that one individual term. This tactic allows you to perfectly align the ad copy to the keyword, which will help improve your ad’s performance. Furthermore, dedicating an ad group to that keyword allows you to monitor its performance from the ad group level, giving you a deeper insight into that term’s success.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

10 Mistakes We’ve All Made on Social Media (And How To Fix Them)

Whether you’re using social media as a way to keep in touch with friends and family or as a marketing tool, you’re likely well aware of how powerful social media channels have become. When used correctly and mistake-free, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product. If you have a major hiccup, you can harm your reputation, both personally and professionally, for years.

1. Treating All Social Media Platforms the Same

We’re almost 100% sure that you don’t have to be a social media genius to realize that every social media platform is different. Each format varies from channel to channel by offering different languages to different audiences. In fact, just take a look at your social media accounts. 

2. Posting at Inappropriate Times

We’ve all had those times when the thought process was just a bit impaired – either because we’re tired, emotional, or had one too many drinks. If that’s the case, posting should probably be avoided

In short, you don’t want to be active when no one else is online. After all, that defeats the point of being on social media. In the future, try to be aware of the best times to post. For example, on Facebook, engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays. As for Twitter, weekdays have 14% more engagement than weekends with 5pm having the highest amounts of retweets.

3. Placing Quantity Over Quality

Quality should always be your focus; not how much you post or how many friends/followers you have in your network. You should be sharing great content and searching for people who will engage and support you or your brand. 

4. Not Taking Advantage of Bio

It’s not uncommon for the first item for visitors to spot on you social media page is a bio. Since this the norm, make sure that you complete this section with vital information, like location and website [URL]. And, have a little fun with it. If you’re creative and interesting, this will give others more of an incentive to follow or like you.

5. Not Posting Enough vs. Posting Too Much

As you may have picked up by now, there’s a certain rhyme and reason with how much and how minimal you post on your social media platforms.We all have that person we’re following on Twitter who will send out 20 tweets in the span of one minute. And, we probably have that friend who logs onto Facebook once a month only to vent about how awful their life is going. Neither extreme is productive. Posting too much comes across as spam. Posting too little means that you’re easily forgotten. 

6. Using Automated Messages

you should at least make the effort to interact with people as often as you can with a personal and sincere message. Knowing that there’s a real person there who took the time to respond can go a long way in establishing trust and engagement.

Also, while not always the most pleasant of circumstances to deal with, you also may have to personally respond to negative messages or compliments. Instead of ignoring the problem, try to work out your differences. If you don’t think it is important, just be aware that LiveOps discovered that 85 percent of consumers feel how a brand handles issues on its website or social channels is a good indicator of its quality of support.

7. Not Proofreading

We’ll be honest, and so should you. At one time or another, we’ve all posted a message in a hurry, which in turn, is full of misspellings. While there are occasions where auto-correct takes over – even if you didn’t ask - grrr – always take the extra time to proofread your message. You’re not writing a novel here, so it shouldn’t take that long. And, it’s one of the easiest ways to protect your reputation

8. Using Social Media Only as a Megaphone

Social media is a two-way street. This means that it can’t be just one person talking all the time. It’s a conversation. You need to be active on all platforms. Don’t just talk about yourself or only share your work. Post content that will generate discussions. Pay attention to the people in your network

9. Not Properly Using @, # and Images

When only using @, Twitter sees this a reply, which means you and the other person you’re replying to can see the messages. By placing a period, or even ‘the’, will make the message visible to everyone in your feed.

Speaking of symbols, how about #? While including hashtags can boost engagement, please, please don’t overdo it. Posting irrelevant and trending hashtags is just tacky and won’t assist in lead generation. 

10. Saying Too Much

We’re all busy people. And we don’t have time to read War and Peace every single time we login into a social media account. Keep things short and to the point. This is especially important on Twitter where the 140-character limit is perhaps its most well-known feature.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Are Links Losing Value in Google's Algorithm?

In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand explores both sides of the argument, offering some concrete advice to SEOs on how they can navigate today's waters.Here's the link to coverage of Google's testing removing links from the algorithm, and to the roundup post where links as a ranking signal are discussed (in particular, check out Russ Jones' reply in the comments). For reference, here's a still of this week's whiteboard!

So Google recently came out and talked about how they had tested a version of their search engine, of search quality algorithms, ranking algorithms, that did not include links as a ranking signal. Of course, a lot of SEOs went "Wait, they did what?"
But it turns out Google actually said they really did not like the results. They didn't like what they saw when they removed links from the ranking elements. So maybe SEOs are going, "Okay, can I breathe easy, or are they going to keep trying to find ways to take links out of the ranking equation?" Certainly, links for a long time have been an extremely powerful way for SEOs and folks to move the needle on indexation, on rankings, on getting traffic from search engines.
I'm going to personally come out and say that, in my opinion, we will continue to see links in Google's rankings systems for at least the next five and probably the next ten years. Whether they continue to be as important and as powerful as they've been, I think is worthy of a discussion, and I do want to bring up some points that some very intelligent marketers and SEOs have made on both sides of the issue.
So, first off, there are some folks who are saying, "No, this is crazy. Links are actually growing in value." I thought Russ Jones from Virante made some excellent comments on a recent blog post where some experts had been asked to do a thought experiment around what Google might do if links were to lose signals.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Google Give Tips For Identifying If Your Site Has Been Hacked, And How To Fix It

post went up on Google’s official Webmaster Central Blog last night from a representative of the Search Quality Team providing tips for how to find out if your site has been hacked, as well as fix it and prevent future incidents.
Adding spammy pages are the most common way hackers take advantage of vulerable sites, Google says. Hackers add spammy pages to redirect users to undesired or harmful destinations. For example, Google says they have seen a rise in hacked sites redirecting visitors to online shopping sites.

hacked site 637x269 Google Give Tips For Identifying If Your Site Has Been Hacked, And How To Fix It

Here are some tips Google provides to help you identify hacked content on your site:
  • Check for for shady looking URLs or directories: You can check for any kind of shady activity on your site by performing a “site:” search of your site in Google, such as []. If there are there any suspicious URLs or directories that you do not recognize, they may have been added by a hacker.
  • Check the Search Queries page in Webmaster Tools for unnatural looking queriesThe Search Queries page shows Google Web Search queries that have returned URLs from your site. Look for unexpected queries as it can be an indication of hacked content on your site.
  • Turn on email forwarding in Webmaster Tools: Google will send you a message if they detect that your site may be compromised. Messages appear in Webmaster Tools’ Message Center but it’s a best practice to also forward these messages to your email.
Here are some tips Google provides for how to fix and prevent hacking:
  • Stay informed The Security Issues section in Webmaster Tools will show you hacked pages detected on your site. Google also provides detailed information to help you fix your hacked site.
  • Protect your site from potential attacks: Prevent attacks by keeping the software that runs your website up-to-date, sign up to get the latest security updates for your website management software, and choose a provider that you can trust to maintain the security of your site.

Flying Twitter Bird Widget By