• 16/04/17 SEO

    Should You Still Focus on Keyword Rankings in 2017?

    For quite some time, SEOs have sold their clients based on good rankings. Clients look at the rankings, notice the uptick in their business, and then they decide the SEO’s worth keeping.

    But with Google personalizing search, cramming paid ads at the top of its search pages, and constantly updating its algorithm, is this really a good way to measure SEO success?

    Let’s take a closer look.

    The Problem with Search Rankings

    Really, we just discussed this. They fluctuate. A lot. Plus, rankings aren’t what you really want anyway.

    Why’d you hire your SEO?

    You want them to grow your business. So, while rankings make for a leading indicator of search success, they don’t count for much by themselves.

    You’ll want to also look at organic traffic, which increases as your search rankings grow.

    But most importantly, you want your SEO to drive conversions. You want more people contacting you through your form. You want more phone calls.

    It’s on you to close the sales from there.

    How Do You Track This Information?

    Online data is easily tracked with Google Analytics. Simply have your SEO set up your contact form to redirect to a “Thank You” page once people contact you. This is quick and easy for an SEO to do.

    Then, buy a separate phone number you use for your website only. Those two together get you pretty close to the reality of the effectiveness of your SEO’s work. Some people may walk in your physical location after reading your website, but not too many.

    Should You Use Keywords Yet Today?

    Yes.

    If you sell HVAC or legal services, you wouldn’t talk about zebras and unicorns, would you?

    Because, if you did, Google certainly wouldn’t rank you for the appropriate search terms. It would say,”What the hell is going on here? I’m putting this site near the bottom of the search rankings.

    That’s an extreme example. Many SEOs get lost in the finer details. They mention the keyword too much.

    All you need is to put it in your page’s title, and then once in the body content somewhere. You can also include 2-4 related terms. Then, you make sure every keyword sounds natural, and that the page provides a solution to a problem the searcher might have.

    You include the related terms because Google’s search is “semantic.” That simply means it also looks for words similar to your target key phrase on your page.

    That only makes sense, right?

    It’s not hard to make Google happy with keywords. But, it is hard to continually produce content that both Google and your users like over a long period of time.

    Making a website today is hard, long work.

    But you don’t have to worry about a Google penalty if you keep it simple and focus on solving problems for your users with each type of content you add.

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  • 11/04/17 SEO

    Google Rocks the SEO World with “Fred” Update

    Google pulled a big surprise on the SEO world this time. The “Fred” update, as it’s accidentally been called, has annihilated as much as 50-90% of the traffic from some websites.

    Details weren’t clear at first. However, this is what it’s currently believed “Fred” has done:

    1. Pushed websites with poor link profiles down the search rankings
    2. Removed websites really designed to make money off affiliate ads and revenues (versus genuinely helping searchers) from the top of the search rankings

    Google’s Gary Illyes provided some confirmation of the second view when he tweeted this on March 14th:

    DYK there’s no inherent problem with affiliate links? The problem is when a site’s sole purpose is to be a shallow container for aff links.

    TechTerminus.com, for example, publicly shared the fact that it got penalized. On their content pages, they have a big banner ad front and center right when you first visit them. After scrolling down about a screen or two on a desktop/laptop PC, you get hit with another banner ad on the right side.

    Plus:

    • When you read the content, it’s fairly basic stuff you can find anywhere on the web
    • It’s clearly written by someone whose first language is not English because it contains a number of obvious mistakes
    • The majority of the topics are likely based on keywords

    So, Google looks at all those factors and says,”Yikes. Not sure that searchers would really like this site. Plus, I know of other sites that answer the search query much better. So, let’s push this one down the search rankings a ways.”

    Even though Fred may or may not have included a penalty for low-quality links, it’s not shocking if it did. Google consistently works to clean up the web and get websites that searchers want at the top of the search results. That means links should be acquired “naturally,” which means the link was placed by someone who found your site interesting and decided to link to it.

    What Do You Do If You Got Nailed By Google Fred?

    If this update hits you, you’re really in a world of trouble. It won’t be quick to recover from.

    The best solution involves shifting your mindset. Change it from “I gotta make money” to “I must create the most useful website of its kind on the entire web.”

    Whether you actually succeed in that or not doesn’t matter. But if you push toward that goal, your search rankings won’t be in jeopardy.

    More specifically:

    • If you rely on ads or affiliate links, evaluate how you can reduce or eliminate your reliance on them
    • Create only the most useful content of its kind
    • Promote that content heavily to your audience to earn natural links and shares
    • Mention your desired keyword phrases once or twice on each page, and that’s it
    • Create content rich with embedded videos and images, in addition to text

    You’re best off doing these now, even if you didn’t get penalized. Google’s only going to continue to tighten its stringent standards.

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  • 22/03/17 Google's Algorithm Updates

    Should You Fear Google’s New Mobile-First Index?

    Google’s changes always shoot your stress through the roof, don’t they? Will you, an honest business owner doing your best to follow their rules, suddenly find 25% of your business gone overnight?

    It happens. Though Google seems to be getting better at wrongly punishing solid websites.

    You remember “Mobilegeddon,” don’t you? Google announced the change would “significantly impact” its search results. SEOs freaked because:

    Google almost never discusses algorithm changes before they happen
    They used the specific phrase “significantly impact”

    After all the dust settled from the update, Moz found the number of mobile-friendly web pages in Google’s search results increased just 2%.

    In other words, no big deal.

    But What about the Mobile-First Index?

    Well, you don’t have to worry too much. Google’s Paul Haahr and Gary Illyes have both publicly said they expect minimal search results changes with the mobile-first index. So, no need to have a heart attack. Save yourself some stress. Panic over other business challenges you have.

    What is the Mobile-First Index Anyway?

    At this point, Google’s got a bit of a problem. It sees more mobile searches than desktop ones. But, prior to the mobile-first index (which it’s rolling out now), it only ranked your site based on the desktop version.

    Google does an amazing job of meeting searcher demands. So, they’re working at meeting this change in behavior.

    The mobile-first index is a separate index from the desktop one. Google treats a mobile-first version of a web page as the primary version to index ahead of the desktop one. You also get a slight rankings boost for having a mobile-friendly (aka “responsive”) website.

    Most searchers will get mobile-first search results. And eventually, the desktop-only search results will go completely away.

    What Should You Do, If Anything?

    Fortunately, you don’t have to panic about unexpected costs in this case. If you’re my client, I’ve made your website “responsive,” so it offers a fluid user experience on both desktops and mobile devices. Since that’s the case, you don’t have to do anything.

    On an ongoing basis, it’s important to check and make sure your website displays properly on your smartphone and tablet PC. It should be easy to press buttons so users can take actions. Your site should load in a couple seconds. Simple things like that.

    Some companies have a desktop and mobile version with different content. They’ll have to make some back-end SEO changes with structured data to avoid a rankings loss.

    But you? You’ll be fine. No need to worry about the mobile-first index at all!

    Read More Articles

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  • 02/03/17 Google's Algorithm Updates #

    All You Need to Know about Google’s Intrusive Pop-Ups Penalty

    How do you feel about the pop-ups that ask you to subscribe to email newsletters you encounter on many websites?

    Do you want to punch the website’s owners? Or, do you just click the “X” in the upper right corner and go on with your day?

    Well, Google’s sensitive to the fact that many users can’t stand pop ups. On the other hand, many websites continue to use them (even after the introduction of this penalty) because they do help build email lists quite well.

    Anyway, Google’s publicly said this about intrusive popups:

    “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

    And this is kind of a big deal because email lists do an awesome job of engaging and selling across all industries (consumer and business-to-business).

    What Does This Mean at a Practical Level?

    Google calls intrusive popups “intrusive interstitials.” They use this term to refer to those popups that block your entire screen before you can take an action. That could include a popup to join an email list or a banner ad that suddenly hits you before you can go to the next level in a game.

    Searchers, and Google, do not like ads that disrupt their browsing experience. They want one click to get to your content. They don’t want to click on your listing and then click down a popup or two to get to what they want. That frustrates them.

    There’s a Simple Alternative

    Fortunately, this change simply forces you to use content to guide your visitors through your buying process. Web searchers and Google don’t mind that at all, as long as you’re not pushy and obnoxious about getting people to buy.

    And list-building? Yep, you can still do it. You simply embed the email sign-up form in various places throughout your website (at the top of the pages, after the end of blog posts, and in sidebars are key areas).

    The cool thing about building an email list is that it protects you from rankings changes. Once you have people on your list, Google can’t do a thing to remove people off them. Only you can influence whether they stay or go. And people on your list already love you. So it’s much easier to sell something to them than people who come from search.

    Google’s intrusive pop-ups penalty? It’s not a surprise at all. And you don’t have to worry about it a bit.

    More articles are found here.

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  • 28/01/17 Content Marketing , SEO

    New Study Reveals Content Gaining Ranking Power, While Links Losing It

    A new study by Searchmetrics reveals content relevance is gaining cred with Google, while backlinks are declining as a ranking signal. If you follow that link, you can read a summary of the major highlights of the report. It also contains a link that gets into gritty, nerdy details. Anyway, you get the gist.

    Continue reading

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  • 21/01/17 SEO

    4 Benefits of Bing Ads Over Google Adwords

    If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me mention Bing Ads as an alternative to Google Adwords.

    …But why?

    Isn’t Google the god of search?

    Well, yes. With search results they rock.

    But Bing Ads really is an awesome alternative to Adwords.

    Continue reading

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  • 13/01/17 Social Media

    How to Make Facebook Work for Your SMB in 2017

    One of the funniest things about businesses is that they get upset and surprised when Facebook changes how it works so your posts show up to fewer people when you publish them. You call this “organic reach.” And the reason it’s silly to be surprised that Facebook does this is because it’s a publicly traded company. On its IPO, it traded at $38.23. Then, its price plummeted all the way to $18.06 shortly thereafter.

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  • 3 Easy Ways to Promote Your Content to Boost Your Search Rankings 
    28/12/16 Content Marketing

    3 Easy Ways to Promote Your Content to Boost Your Search Rankings 

    How do you get your amazing content the attention it deserves? It’s getting harder but it’s not impossible. Learn how to promote your content so you shoot up the search rankings while your competitors scratch their heads in confusion. Have you ever thought about how much content is online? As you probably have guessed, it’s quite a bit. No one knows a precisely accurate number. Consultant Maurice de Kunder estimates the size of the indexed web at about 48 billion pages.

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  • Adwords Expands Headline Length – Why Should You Care?
    11/11/16 SEO

    Adwords Expands Headline Length – Why Should You Care?

    Google Adwords now gives you 5 more characters in the headline and 10 more in the description. This could mean thousands more in revenue. Find out why. All right, so Google made some new changes. At least this time, they’re not taking away your search rankings! Instead, you get a positive change. And if you take advantage, you can grow your business quite nicely…

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  • Website Owners Rejoice! Google Penguin Real-Time Is a Big Win
    10/11/16 Google's Algorithm Updates

    Website Owners Rejoice! Google Penguin Real-Time Is a Big Win

    Google’s really getting some things right with Penguin 4.0 Real-Time. Learn why, and what it does, in this post. Did you know that it’s been more than 700 days since the last update to Google Penguin? At the time in 2012, the first Penguin update was earth-shattering event for SEOs and webmasters. Now, Penguin’s changes will come much faster and with practically no warning.

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