As if technical issues with your website, such as 404 errors, aren’t frustrating enough! If you’re unfortunate enough to be one of these people, it gets even worse. High bounce rates will indicate to Google that your website doesn’t provide any useful information to users. When Google sees websites with errors, they are deemed as “unsafe”, or “lower quality” websites. As a result, your rankings in the search results will suffer.
Google’s focus is on enhancing user experience and they favour well-structured websites with no errors of any sort, giving those sites better rankings. Most of these errors can be found using Webmaster Tools. If you find any of these on your website, you should fix them as quickly as you can.
- 500 Internal Server Error
- 301 & 302 redirects
- Access denied errors
- 404 error – “Page not found”
- Duplicate META data
- Canonical errors
- Improper use of the noindex, nofollow directives
Make it common practice to regularly check your site to ensure it’s error-free. Googlebots are your friends, so stay on their good side and correct errors as soon as they arise.
For more useful information on 301 redirects and how they can affect your SEO, click here.
It doesn’t carry the same weight as it once did, and the guidelines for proper link building have changed considerably.
Prior to April 2012, before Google’s Penguin update came out, ranking positions could pretty much be “bought”. You could purchase links from a “link farm” and literally have hundreds of links to your website in a matter of days at a very reasonable cost. These websites that host your link may not have contained any relevant or useful information at all, but it really didn’t matter. Websites that had an enormous amount of links linking back to them quickly rose to the top of the search results. It was a spammer’s paradise.
But, thanks to the Google Penguin update, buying links in bulk is a thing of the past. The update is essentially a spam filter that is part of Google’s core algorithm, and it works in real time. Link building is still important for SEO, but now it’s all about the content and the user experience. It has to be quality content that is relevant to your website, thus enhancing the overall user experience. If you hurt the user experience, Google will limit your organic traffic growth and you will not likely see any positive ranking results.
- Does your website offer valuable, unique content? If it doesn’t, no amount of link building will help, and finding someone who will link to your website will be difficult.
- Does the website that your link is on have quality content? Is it relevant to your website? Is it a new website or has it been around for a while? The more reputable the website, the better.
- Are there technical errors or messages on either your website, or the website hosting your link? Technical errors are frowned upon by Google, as it harms user experience, which in turn will hurt your rankings.
- Are there other links (or ads) on their website from trusted companies? Are they spammy in nature, such as gambling websites or male enhancing products? Avoid linking with these sites, or you will surely be flagged and penalized by Google.
Proper link building is time consuming and should not be rushed or carelessly overlooked. Taking your time will make all the difference in terms of your website’s ranking and SEO efforts. For another great read on link building, click here.
Luckily, it has now become even friendlier and more effective with the help of the Yoast SEO plugin.
This powerful tool is the most comprehensive SEO-related WordPress plugin available today that helps to boost results. It’s a free plugin (with an optional paid upgrade) and it can be installed on any self-hosted WordPress site.
- Sets your targeted keywords and tracks how often they are being used on your site
- Lets you easily control titles and meta descriptions
- Provides a Google search result snippet “preview” of your meta data information as it will be seen by others in a Google search result
- Manages site maps
- Can do URL redirects
- Automatically notifies search engines once content is published
- Allows you to add a custom RSS footer for posts
- Offers integration options for major social sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Has the ability to get you verified Google authorship for your site
- Has breadcrumbs support, with configurable breadcrumbs titles
For more on WordPress and Search Engine Optimization, click here.
Before you start brainstorming those genius marketing ideas of yours, the first step you need to take is to determine what keywords you’re targeting for your campaign. Of course, this will vary from case to case depending on factors such as niche, product, location, and the ultimate goal that you have in mind. But, in any case, you need to know what’s best for your website and your business.
Using proper keywords will have a direct effect on whether or not you will be reaching your target audience. In fact, keyword selection should be done during the design phase of your website because these keywords need to be used accordingly throughout your site.
The following list contains a number of keyword selection tools to help narrow down your search. You need to have a list of possible keywords that relate to your business, product and website prior to using these tools. Once you’ve done that, you can fine-tune or edit your list as needed. Typically, you want to select related keywords that are highly searched by Internet users.
1. Google Keyword Planner
Google is the search king, so it’s not surprising that this is the most popular of the bunch. It’s a free program, but you need to have a Google AdWords account to use it. It produces helpful stats like monthly searches, competition level, and the average cost per click for each keyword. Another helpful feature is that it suggests tons of synonyms and variations.
2. Yoast Suggests
Yoast Suggests is ideal for long tail keywords. It starts with information from Google Suggest and then provides keywords with expansions for you to consider. They are alphabetically listed for easy scanning.
3. Moz – Keyword Explorer
“Keyword Explorer” (or KWE) is another great tool that takes users through the keyword search process. It offers 6 custom filters for keyword expansion and SERP analysis, and also has import/export functions. With this tool, you are given only two free searches daily. Anything more than that requires you to have a Moz Pro account, which starts at $600 per year. It’s not cheap, but Moz claims it has 95 percent volume accuracy.
Once you’ve established your keywords, you’re ready to go. Now you can start writing those blogs and pumping out those Google AdWords campaigns! To find out more about using Google Adwords for startup businesses, click here.
But, in today’s online marketing world, it no longer ends there. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when posting images on your website. High quality images are important – yes, but if no one sees them, will it really help to increase traffic and sales?
Hopefully, you’ve got a decent SEO strategy already in place for your website. We all know that title tags, H1 tags and links are all needed if you want decent rankings. But thankfully, there are a few ways to optimize your images, too. Optimizing your images will make it easy for Google to identify them and spider that information so they will show up on Google’s search results.
Also, regardless of which file type you are using, for the best results, make sure to resize to the size you actually need, and then compress them to the point where you just begin to see a loss in image quality.
1. Create descriptive and keyword-rich file names – The worst thing you can do is keep the default file names of photos (e.g. DSC000004). This tells Google nothing regarding what the image is about, so it will therefore not get indexed (neither in an image search, or normal search). You should always use descriptive keywords when naming your image files, as it’s crucial for image optimization.
2. Keep image file sizes small – Speed is everything in the technology world, so it’s not surprising that we are becoming less and less patient when it comes to waiting for anything. Websites are no different. Most desktop users will wait no more than 3 seconds for a page to load, and mobile users will wait no longer than 5 seconds before they exit a website. Large image files play a major role and can dramatically slow down your website’s load times. In addition to that, Google uses page load times as a ranking factor. So, if your website is not up to par when it comes to speed, it’s a double whammy for you. A general rule of thumb for e-commerce images is to keep your file sizes below 70kb. You can do this by either compressing your images, or using the “save as web” option in Photoshop. This will decrease the file size, while still maintaining image quality.
3. Use your alt tags – Using alt tags is an excellent way for your e-commerce product images to show up in Google search results (and also Google image search). Having the appropriate alt tags for your images will bring in more visitors. Be descriptive in your tags and use keywords whenever possible.
4. Use captions with your images – People tend to quickly scan content before they decide to fully read something. When we see images, we instinctively look at the caption. So, make the caption attention grabbing, in order to entice them to read on.
5. Use the proper image file type – Use the right file types at the right times. The three most common you will find are:
JPEG – for most visuals on your websites.
PNG – for high quality graphics and logos.
GIF – for icons, avatars, and animations.
For a great read on how to create better marketing images that will help increase traffic to your site, click here.
The purpose of AMP is to deliver websites to mobile users at a much faster rate by using a lighter version of HTML and delivering content via the Google-hosted cached version, instead of from your server.
Since its release, webmasters and website owners have noticed that websites that were optimized for mobile use (with AMP) were rewarded with higher mobile search engine rankings, whereas websites that were not optimized for mobile use experienced a drop in their rankings.
Coincidence? Not likely. With the rise of mobility use and Google’s focus on improving user experience, it will likely become a key ranking factor in Google’s books.
- Slower-loading web pages have higher bounce rates, and approximately 40% of visitors are likely to abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
- On average, AMP pages load 30 times faster than non-AMP websites.
- Mobile web pages using Google AMP for business see approximately a 200% increase in click-through rates.
- US mobile search accounts for more than half of total search volume in 2016.
At this point, it’s uncertain if AMP is an actual ranking factor or not. Most would agree that it is. The AMP project has more than 860,000 domains that publish over 35 million AMPs per week, according to stats shared by Google. Google also noted the expansion of AMP to more than a billion additional users in China and Japan.
Now that mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage, we should be adopting the “mobile-first” mentality. If you happen to have a WordPress website, AMP can be installed in minutes by installing a couple of plugins. If you need help with implementing AMP on your website, contact The Best Media – the digital marketing experts.
SEO techniques that worked several years ago may not play much of a role today. And, with new technology becoming popular, such as virtual assistants, Google’s search algorithms will surely continue to change.
Perhaps one of the biggest changes over the last couple of years is the massive increase in the use of mobile devices. Today, there are more people accessing the Internet with mobile devices than with a desktop PC. As a result, Google has changed their ranking signals, giving more weight to websites that are mobile-friendly, and this is just the beginning.
It’s all about achieving an optimal user experience. Slow websites are frustrating because nobody likes to wait. Reading a poorly-written article that lacks any legitimate message is annoying. And websites that are not mobile-friendly are difficult to view on a mobile device. These are the types of things that Google tries to remedy with new algorithms.
1. Build a strong presence on Social Media. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, make your posts interesting and fun, and don’t just jibber-jabber. Post frequently, but don’t overdo it to the point where it becomes annoying to your friends and followers.
2. Be mobile-friendly. Mobility is king today, so make sure your website or blog is mobile-friendly. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to view a website on your phone, and it doesn’t fit on your screen.
3. Turbocharge your website. Google doesn’t like slow websites and neither do users. Make sure your site loads fast. If it’s slow and lags, consider optimizing your images or changing servers.
4. Build quality links. Link building is not what it used to be. The question is no longer how many links you have – it’s how good (in quality) are those links? Also, don’t just exchange with anyone. Ensure that it’s relevant to your website and its contents.
5. Switch your website from HTTP: to HTTPS: Google favours websites that use SSL, so secure sites are definitely the way to go. Once again, this is all done in the name of user experience. Secure sites have extra layers of security, preventing hackers from doing what they do, and obviously that benefits users.
For more interesting SEO tips and how to optimize a mobile-friendly website, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/seo-tips-for-your-mobile-friendly-website/
Not too long ago, creating professional videos involved spending thousands of dollars hiring a video production team, and buying expensive equipment in order to get the level of quality needed for a business marketing video. But thankfully, the cost associated with creating quality videos today is incomparable to what you would have paid 10 years ago.
The megapixels on today’s gadgets are so high, you can make a professional-looking video with almost any of today’s smartphones. Paired up with a good video editing program, you’ll be amazed at what you can create at little to no cost.
1. Windows Movie Maker 2.6 – This is a free software program offered by Microsoft that works with Windows 7, 8, Vista, XP and Windows Server 2008. You can create and edit videos, as well as publish them on OneDrive, YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Flickr with multiple file formats to choose from. It also offers a large selection of tools, effects and transitions (it’s expected to be replaced with Windows Story Remix by late 2017).
2. Avidemux – This is a free video editor that is capable of non-linear video editing and applying visual effects. It supports many file format types such as AVI, DVD, MPEG, MP4 and ASF. It’s designed for simple cutting/pasting, filtering and encoding tasks. It can also insert audio into a video file or extract audio from video files.
3. Lightworks – Lightworks has both a free version, and a paid version. This software program is currently available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It’s a professional, non-linear editing system (NLE) for editing and mastering digital video in many different formats, including 2K and 4K resolutions. Hollywood production movies such as “Pulp Fiction” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” have used this software. It offers real-time effects, advanced multi-cam editing, importing of multiple file types and the ability to export to Vimeo and YouTube.
4. Blender – This is a professional, open source 3D content creation tool used for creating animated films, interactive 3D applications, visual effects, video games and 3D printed models. This powerful program allows you to edit, create 3D graphics, sound effects, and add special effects, such as fluid and smoke simulation, texturing, and soft body simulation.
5. VideoPad Video Editor – VideoPad offers both a free and a paid version. It includes a sound editing program, a sound mixing program, and an image editor. It supports frequently used formats, such as AVI, WMV, and DivX, and videos can be directly uploaded to Facebook, YouTube and Flickr.
For more information on video marketing, check out: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/why-video-marketing-is-bigger-than-you-think/
If you’re a new entrepreneur and have just launched a website, building a solid reputation is key. SEO is just as important for a new website, of course, but here we will be talking about building trust and a good reputation with your readers or customers. The reality is that it’s an ongoing process and it will not happen overnight. Knowing where to start is the first step.
1. Social media – The most obvious tool that businesses and people use to capture their audiences’ attention. Through the use of likes and shares, it’s an ideal and cost-effective way to rapidly build relationships and trust with users.
The content you post on social media sites can make or break your business. Insults, swearing, and bullying are obvious no-nos (or at least they should be obvious). Your content should always be positive and, more importantly, informational. Creating content that is informative and answers questions that customers frequently ask will make all the difference.
When users have a question that they need answered, the majority of them will turn to Google to look for their answers, thus providing an opportunity for you. Once users see that your business provides a solution to their problem, relationships start and trust-building begins. It’s also noteworthy to mention that the content you post on social media sites should be posted on your website, as well, either with a blog, or perhaps a FAQ page.
2. Review sites – They are there because they work. Consumers want to be assured that they are dealing with a trustworthy, reputable company before opening their wallets. When a potential customer searches for “Best Home Renovators” on Google, review pages such as Consumer Reports, Angie’s List, Yelp, or Bing Places will appear. These testimonials will make all the difference, so be sure that your website appears on these sites. According to BrightLocal.com’s 2016 Local Consumer Review Survey, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
3. Advertise your past clients and partners – While this is also a kind of testimonial, they can be even more powerful. Showing that your business is good enough to work with other reputable websites/businesses speaks volumes to potential customers when it comes to trust.
Has your online reputation already been damaged? To read more on how to recover, and how to rebuild that trust, click here.
Despite the format change being a relatively simple thing, if you want to make sure that you maintain your site’s ranking and authority, this is where things can get a little tricky. But, if you adhere to the following guidelines, then you shouldn’t have any problems.
One of the more common reasons for switching URL formats is to create a more user-friendly site. Perhaps you have thousands of pages and you want to reduce it to a few hundred by combining some of the related pages. But, when you do this, Google will treat the new URLs as brand new pages, causing you to lose any keyword rankings you may have had for those previous pages and suffer a drop in organic traffic. Therefore, when doing this, you need to ensure that you apply proper SEO redirects from the old URLs to the new URLs.
When dealing with larger websites with hundreds of thousands of pages, applying redirects for all the pages can become extremely complicated. But, if you decide to go ahead with it, make sure to have a digital marketing expert or experienced webmaster do it for you.
External and internal links are another aspect that is often overlooked when there is a shuffle in a website’s URL structure. Having links that point to old, inactive URLs (dead links) is disastrous for your site’s search engine optimization. All of these old links must be changed so they point to the new URLs. That also goes for any external links you may have on other websites, blogs or forums.
Need help from a digital marketing professional? Visit www.thebestmedia.com for all of your digital marketing needs.