Quick & Actionable SEO Tips 3/3

on Thursday 9 November 2017

Cont..Quick & Actionable SEO Tips Part 2

63. If you’re hiding divs in your CSS, stop and clean it up.

64. Fresh content can give your rankings a little boost. This content doesn’t have to be new content on the homepage. It can come from your blog content as well.

65. Adding breadcrumbs to your site will enhance not only your SEO but also your user experience.

66. Avoid long redirect chains to help search engines crawl your site faster.

67. When using images, try to get the vector format image file. These types of files scale better, giving you better image quality on multiple devices.

68. Consider getting a content delivery network (CDN) to host your images. A CDN helps speed up your website.

69. If you haven’t switched to HTTPS and you’re running AMP pages, you will need to change soon. Maile Ohye from Google shared at the SEJ Summit that HTTPS will be required for AMP, but John Mueller recently stated it is not yet an AMP requirement.

70. If you have products with very close descriptions and names, use the canonical tag instead of redirecting it.

71. Nofollow links were first created to identify paid links. Today, most sites use them for external links in case you link to a low-quality site.

72. Always nofollow links listed in forums or comments. The same goes for sponsorships, advertising, and press releases.

73. With the launch of Google Allo, you’re going to want to increase your quality reviews for your local business. The businesses in the closest vicinity with the most reviews get top priority.

74. Check to make sure your NAP across local citations is the same across all channels.

75. Google increased the character limit of title tags to 70 characters. Make sure you’re optimizing for all characters. However, be sure to check if characters are cut off on mobile.

76. Google also extended the length of meta descriptions to 200 characters on desktop and 172 on mobile.

77. While having a privately hosted domain won’t affect your search rankings, having shared hosting may cause your site to get indexed less. Search engines index based on IP address and when they are multiple IP addresses, search engines can get too many signals.

78. If you want to get seen on the first page of search results, launch a paid campaign for your non-branded and branded keyword terms that you want to appear in search. Test and experiment with these to determine what keyword terms are working for you then integrate into your organic efforts.

79. You do not need to use exact match keyword terms. Google can associate your topical keyword search terms thanks to semantic search.

80. If you’re trying to structure your keyword buckets based on density, stop. Keyword density hasn’t been a thing for many moons.

81. When you’re hyperlinking internally, you do not need to link with your keyword terms internally. But it does help if the content surrounding the link is related to your main keywords.

82. While Google AMP pages may seem bare bones, you can add forms to capture leads.

83. Personalize your call-to-actions based on a referral. You can also do this based on location and keyword search query.

84. On your Google AMP pages, you can implement Scroll Tracking with Google Tag Manager.

85. When you’re working with influencers or getting your content posted to another site, do a quick search to see when their pages were last cached by searching “cache: URL”. If it’s more than a month old, save your content for somewhere else.

86. Voice search queries for locations will continue to grow. Think about incorporating phrases like “near me” in your content and ad strategy.

87. Develop content in a conversational tone to rank for voice search queries.

88. Social bookmarks do still matter, but they are growing into communities. How you engage on your social networks is how you should engage on your social bookmarks. Social bookmarks are not a one-time submit-your-link-and-that’s-it. You need to have a conversation, leave a few comments, or upvote other content not related to your content.

89. Retailers and e-commerce brands should integrate visual search into their marketing strategy. Pinterest is leading the way for visual search. Pinterest gives you the option to highlight a section of an image then create a search for that part you highlighted. Google Lens and other applications are also stepping up their game.

90. Thanks to artificial intelligence, we see a rise of chatbots. Chatbots allow brands to interact with consumers in a more human-like way. H&M is a good example of a brand utilizing chatbots.

91. When choosing a domain name, stick to 15 characters or less. Short domain names are easier for people to remember.

92. If you’re an e-commerce site, do not use the manufacturer’s description when writing your product descriptions. Take the time to rewrite engaging product descriptions for the user and search engines.

93. If you have a sudden drop in traffic, it could be due to a penalty. Check your email and Google Search Console to see if they sent you a manual penalty notification.

94. The sudden drop in traffic could also be due to keyword loss. Check to see if your competitors have started ranking for similar keyword terms with new content they are producing.

95. Start testing with Progressive Web Apps, or PWAs, with the new mobile-first index. PWAs will deliver a mobile site if a user comes to your site from their smartphone tablet. Major brands like The Weather Channel and Lyft are already testing this, and you don’t want to get left behind. PWAs are beneficial to brands that drive revenue through ads. They are an excellent alternative to AMP.

96. If you’re a new business starting out, invest in high-quality content. Also consider switching up your metadata to reflect seasons to potentially rank for long-tail, local keywords.

97. Guest posting is not a relevant way to build links, but it is an awesome way to create content.

98. If you have multiple pages competing for similar keyword search terms, consider combining the content into one giant piece of long-form content.

99. Curious why your competitor is beating you in the SERPs for the same piece of content? Go back and fill in the blanks of your content. Conduct an analysis of the keyword terms related to your article and find out if there are any missing pieces you can add to beef up your content.

100. When you’re searching your site in the search engines ‘site:example.com’ make sure to find all the variations of your site. For example, search the following:





101. We’ve talked a lot about Google’s mobile-first index. Bing and other search engines will likely follow. But it’s still important to focus and optimize the desktop version of your website.

In the best-case scenario, you already know everything on this list. You’re stats deep into a technical audit, and you’re never at a loss for words during a client meeting.

This Post First Published By SEJ on 21.10.2017 .

Quick & Actionable SEO Tips Part 2

on Tuesday 24 October 2017

Cont..Quick & Actionable SEO Tips Part 1

Other tactics get a lot of attention. But sometimes it turns out that those new and cool trendy tactics don’t actually work for you anyway.

Many SEO tactics just don’t work anymore. If you’re using outdated tactics, it’s time to rethink your approach to SEO.

31. If you’re a local business and on Facebook, geotarget your Facebook Live posts to include or exclude specific locations.

32. You can have customers browse your local store within Google if you’re using Google’s Local Inventory Ad program.

33. Indexed age of your domain has always been an important factor in ranking. If you’re a newcomer, it’s going to be hard to compete against a website that’s been around for 10 years.

34. Maintain a healthy link profile because the search engines connect this to the authority and quality of your overall website and brand.

35. Get rid of thin content or rewrite it. It’s doing nothing for your site but bringing down the quality. Long-form content has proven to get higher search results.

36. Clean up duplicate content that’s hosted internally or externally. By cleaning up duplicate content, you’re removing any scraped content or duplicate on your site. If you have duplicate content on other sites, email the webmaster to have it removed or add it to your disavow file.

37. Customer citations are continuing to grow. Put together a plan to ask customers for product reviews or comments on products. Search engines use these to attribute value and result in higher conversions.

38. Track what pages users are leaving your site by analyzing the exit pages. Why are users leaving? Consider revising these exit pages to increase time on site.

39. If you see low click-through rate in Google Search Console Search Analytics report, consider rewriting meta descriptions.

40. Sometimes old content is still driving traffic. If this is the case, consider creating a new post with similar content to drive new, fresh, more relevant content.

41. Double check to make sure your money pages are indexed with ‘site: domain’. Also, check to see if you’re double-indexed. Double-indexing can lead to duplicate content.

42. One page should have one H1 tag. Don’t use multiple H1 tags on a single page.

43. FAQ pages are growing in importance; I’d suggest you spend time combing through your FAQ pages. To gain more exposure for long-tail keyword terms, rewrite these FAQ pages to incorporate more of these search terms.

44. You can no longer match your SEO efforts with PageRank now that Google has removed it. When comparing your site to other brands or competitors, use SEO tools like Moz’s Domain Authority or Ahrefs’ URL Rating. These are not a replacement for Google’s PageRank because they aren’t 100 percent accurate, but it’s a good starting point.

45. When redesigning your website, bring in an SEO marketer before you invest more time and resources in your site. Many new trendy website designs like parallax scrolling need to tailor to SEO best practices such as pagination.

46. Don’t forget to add image ALT attributes before posting. Also, try to include relevant keyword phrases.

47. You can have more than one sitemap. If you want Google to focus its crawl attention to specific sections of your site, create a separate sitemap. These are for images, videos, profiles, and blog posts.

48. Make sure all your pages have the rel=canonical tag directing search engines to the main page. Rel=canonical tags reduce confusion when another site scrapes your content, ultimately creating duplicate content.

49. If your URLs are dynamic URLs (meaning you see something like this: www.donutsaregoodforyou.com/?mode=1-list=1), you’ll want to adjust your parameters in Google Search Console to how you want Google to crawl your content. Again, this helps with reducing duplicate content.

50. When someone else is syndicating your content, make sure they place the rel=canonical tag to direct back to your original page.

51. Are you setting up Google Search Console for the first time? Remember to add both versions of your site. You should submit both www and non-www versions of your site. Once it’s finished, set the preferred site.

52. Similar to above, if you have multiple subdomains, you’ll want to submit them to Google Search Console as a new property to gain all the data.

53. Before you migrate from HTTP to HTTPS, change your internal links to HTTPS.

54. As it’s quality over quantity for content, the same goes for link building. Link building is not what it was five years ago. Link building and PR efforts are now merging to create a more authentic linking experience.

55. When creating a piece of content, think about how that content can be repurposed into a video, Facebook Live, Slideshare, etc.

56. Don’t forget to add your IP address to Google Analytics.

57. Remove pop-ups on mobile and interstitials from mobile. Ever since Google announced in January 2017 they were going to implement a penalty on sites still using intrusive pop-ups and interstitials, webmasters have been opting for alternatives to pop-ups.

58. When you’re writing content, be sure to check your spelling and grammar. Errors won’t affect your rankings, but it makes for a poor user experience.

59. Create a system to schedule in manual outreach for link building and PR. Yes, links can build themselves, but what’s wrong with a little nudge? SEO is not a one-time fix-and-leave-it job.

60. When you’re working with an influencer, always have a contract in place. You want to be clear about what the influencer expects from you and vice versa.

61. If a client comes to you and says they want to rank for the “magical page 1 keyword”, run.

62. When figuring out what type of content to write, use tools like BuzzSumo to reverse engineer your competitor’s top performing content.


Quick & Actionable SEO Tips Part 1

on Sunday 8 October 2017
Many SEO tactics just don’t work anymore. If you’re using outdated tactics, it’s time to rethink your approach to SEO.

1. Do not use “#” in URLs. Googlebot does not support index URLs with “#” listed.

2. With the new mobile-first index, use Google Search Console’s Fetch and Render tool to test how Google’s mobile search agent views your mobile pages vs. your desktop pages.

3. Do not use AJAX-Crawling scheme on new websites. Migrate any sites that are currently using AJAX-Crawling. Remember: remove “meta fragment.”

4. If you’re donating to charities and nonprofits for a backlink, this is against Google’s webmaster guidelines.

5. While your sitemaps are limited to 50,000 URLs per Sitemap, you now have the ability to have a compressed version of 50MB, compared to the previous 10 MB.

6. Google will show emojis in search results. Emojis can play a big role in local search. Just check out how you can search for a pizza place nearby using an emoji.

7. Content is king, backlinks are queen, and video may be the spawn of the two. Google integrates video into Google Maps listings. So, if you don’t have a video strategy, start developing one soon.

8. If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, utilize Google AdWords distance and store visit reports to optimize what geographic regions and user locations are driving the most in-store purchases.

9. When conducting keyword research, incorporate queries that are more relevant to voice search. Now that Google voice search is available in 30 new languages, it is available to more than 1 billion people worldwide. Voice search will continue to become more important with Google Answers and the mobile-first index.

10. Ever since Penguin is now real-time, it’s important to monitor your backlinks in Google Search Console (Search Traffic > Links to Your Site) and disavow them once a month.

11. To help prep for the mobile-first index, increase mobile search traffic, launch Google AMP or Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). Google will serve up your AMP pages or PWAs in the mobile-first index if you don’t have a mobile site, so you’ll want to make sure your primary content and links list on the AMP pages or PWAs.

12. Keep your link building white hat. If Google detects mass manipulation, it will devalue all of your links, not just the bad.

13. Many SEO marketers feel unlinked citations offer no value. However, Gary Illyes hinted in an interview that there might be a future in unlinked citations. So, any mention is a good mention.

14. Stop building a mass amount of links on directories. Stick with directories that are of higher quality (Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google+, etc.) and add relevance to your brand.

15. Stop using widget links as a link building tactic. If you’re going to use widgets, use them as a brand awareness strategy and UX experience.

16. Make sure you have a clear linking structure within your website. For example, if you’re counting on your footer links to drive your internal linking strategy, think again. Footer and header links do not hold a lot of weight. Therefore, internally linking within your body copy will allow Google to navigate your website better.

17. When migrating your site from HTTP to HTTPS, do not make any other changes to your website. Google is assuming that nothing else has changed on your website. If you change more than one thing, Google may have a hard time acknowledging all the changes.

18. Canonical tags do not save crawl budget. Search engines must also crawl the duplicates to determine they are, in fact, duplicates.

19. Keep site speed to 2-3 seconds for the user. You can use tools like WebPageTest to find your site speed.

20. Swap out your Twitter URL for Twitter Cards.

21. Same goes for Facebook; you want to add Open Graph markup to optimize how your posts are viewed on Facebook.

22. If you’re an e-commerce brand and you’re not using Instagram, now is the time to start. Based on Instagram’s early success with shopping features, they are starting to roll out to thousands of businesses that sell apparel, jewelry, or beauty products.

23. With Google Home, Amazon Echo, and more digital assistants rising, facts and local guides will become extremely beneficial for brands looking to land in the first result.

24. Google launched a trip planning feature in their Knowledge Graph so if you’re a local business or travel company, creating travel guides might work to your advantage.

25. Invest in customer service on Facebook. You can sell and purchase through Facebook Messenger. Everlane is an excellent example of a brand doing this well.

26. Test and experiment with LinkedIn ads. LinkedIn allows you to track conversions for how many users from your sponsored content and ads are converting.

27. Create “Shop the look” ads in Google AdWords to convert more mobile searchers.

28. Try creating a 360-degree video for Facebook. Now, you can live stream 360-video on Facebook.

29. Get featured in Google’s Search Live carousel results by having AMP pages, structured data markup, and an Atom XML feed. Then, complete this form.

30. Reddit is the ninth largest website in the U.S. This is somewhere you want your brand to be, and you can start by testing with their sponsored content ads.

How To Optimize Your SEO Results Through Content Creation

on Friday 1 September 2017
It’s now become pretty common knowledge that one of the best ways to increase brand exposure is through content marketing. However, the best content in the world won’t help you generate leads unless the public is able to discover it in the first place.

This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. By optimizing your content for search, you can ensure that more people will find – and potentially engage with – your organization.

1. Use Keywords Effectively

75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page of search results, which means you’ll need to get on that first page to capture people’s attention. One of the best ways to do this is by coming up with strong keywords that people looking for information about your niche would use when searching.

Chances are you’re already naturally including keywords in your content, since you’re providing information about a topic. However, there are often keywords you haven’t considered that can help you get higher in search rankings.

Try brainstorming what kinds of language potential customers might use to ask questions or describe problems associated with your product or service. Think about relevant topics to your industry, and then create a list of potential keywords for each topic. You can also use keyword research tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to come up with your keyword lists. At that point, you can optimize your content for relevant keywords.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your focus on just one or two keywords per piece of content. This will help you keep the focus of your content narrow enough to make it easier to place keywords in strategic locations – like the first 65 characters of your headline – and avoid keyword stuffing.

2. Optimize Multiple Features

Along with the beginning of your headline, there are a few other strategic locations to place your keywords in order to help you best increase the SEO value of your content.

For instance, one of the easiest – but often overlooked – areas to optimize your content is in the URL. Having a clear, simple URL with a keyword or two will help search engines easily figure out what’s on the page, making it more likely that your content will appear higher up in search results.

You should also take into account your post length when putting up written content. Although Google tends to prioritize long articles over shorter ones, which means that you should have at least 300 words or so, overly long posts can turn off potential readers. This means articles should be somewhere around 700 words, and you should try to put keywords in about 1 – 2% of your text.

Finally, images are a great way to not only make your content aesthetically pleasing, but also boost your content’s SEO value. When you upload a photo, include keywords in the file name and fill out the alt text field with a brief description that includes a lot of those same keywords. Alt text is how search engines understand what an image is about, so filling it with keywords will help your content sit higher in the search rankings. Since 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, this is extremely valuable to getting more eyes on your website.

3. Use Links To Reference Others

Out of the top results on a Google search page, about 99% of the websites have at least one external link. It’s important to place internal and external links in your content to increase its SEO value.

Internal links are helpful because they help search engines index your site, pick up on your main keywords, and overall improve the pagerank of the pages that you link. Basically, it brings other relevant content you’ve produced to the attention of search engines, giving you more bang for your buck than keeping everything separate.

External links lead to pages outside your website, which have a couple of uses. For one, they help search engines identify important keywords. More importantly, they help you gather incoming links from other websites as those content creators see you link to them. It’s generally good etiquette to provide someone with a link who links to them, especially if the content is related.

Although in an ideal world great content would be all you need to reach a wide audience, the reality is that you’ll need strong SEO strategies to expose your website to viewers in the first place. By paying attention to certain SEO techniques, you will be on your way to boosting your content and boosting your marketing ROI.

What are some other useful ways you’ve been able to boost your content’s SEO value?

Author AJ Agrawal is the founder and CEO of Verma Media

Check Your Mobile Site Has Alt Text Tags on Images

on Thursday 17 August 2017
Most site owners are pretty good about ensuring their images have alt tags, especially ones that might also be used as links, as Google will use that alt text for SEO purposes.  But John Mueller had an interesting side note about the use of images when they are on a mobile site, which could have a pretty big impact for the upcoming mobile first index.
Specifically around images in general, so not specific to image links, but images in general, especially on mobile, make sure that your images on mobile also have an alt text.
This does make me wonder if this might be an issue Google is seeing as they are crawling and comparing desktop versions of a webpage with a mobile version, in preparation for mobile first index, where Google will be swapping over their search index from the desktop version of a page to the mobile version.  We do know that links in general is one issue with mobile first, so it is likely that it is something they are seeing with links as images as well on mobile.
Bottom line, when auditing your website in preparation for mobile first, checking that your images have appropriate alt tags should be on your list.  And don’t forget it isn’t strictly for SEO purposes, it is for usability purposes too, for those who can’t load images due to internet connection speed and for web accessibility reasons.
By : Jennifer Slegg

Google: Position & Weight of Internal Links for SEO Value

on Thursday 13 July 2017
An interesting question came up in the last Google webmaster office hours, with Google’s John Mueller being asked about internal links, and how Google weights those links for SEO purpose.
While one use for internal links is for users to enable them to easily find their way around a site, there is also a great deal of value in those links for SEO as well, especially for signalling to Google and other search engines which of your internal pages are more important than others.
For example, would a footer link be weighted as high as one in the navigation?  Or would there be more SEO value in an internal link placed higher on the page or HTML?
So position on a page for internal links is pretty much irrelevant from our point of view.  We crawl, we use these mostly for crawling within a website, for understanding the context of individual pages within a website.  So if it is in the header or the footer or within the primary content, it’s totally more up to you than anything SEO wise that I would worry about.
So looks like all those internal massive footer links we see on some sites might not be that bad for SEO, even if it does look pretty awful for users.
That said, there definitely are sites that aren’t using the full value of their internal linking structure to ensure Google weights internal pages properly.  While this isn’t as much of an issue on smaller sites, sites with a massive number of pages should consider their internal links for SEO purposes, including showing Google the importance of specific pages and for crawl budget purposes, regardless of where they end up getting placed on those pages.

By : Jennifer Slegg

Basic Tips For The SEO Beginner

on Monday 19 June 2017
SEO is a complex topic that sounds simple, so let’s clarify what it means before we get into the meat of the issue. SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engine optimization refers to how search engines determine which links are shown first to users.

This determination centers around certain factors in the case of the results stemming from an organic search (non-paid). That’s not all. The benefits and profitability of SEO are even increasing with respect to mobile platforms. SEO refers to the set of factors that determine the search ranking of your landing page and other links in relation to many factors.

Framing the issue is important before getting into the question of why SEO is so important in the first place. Most people intuitively understand that the higher their site’s landing page shows at the top of a search engine’s results page, the more traffic they will receive. In reality, the influence that search engines have over the results you see and the frequency at which search engines are used may surprise you.

The fact of the matter is that search engines generally dictate what gets shown and what doesn’t get shown. Nowadays, search engines appear to have taken on a referencing role based on website relevance in addition to a simple search function. Interestingly, search sites like Google act as both gateways and gatekeepers to the rest of the Internet.

Google controls seven out of every ten searches. Because of this, Google is a gateway that most people use to find other sites that they need. On the other hand, Google is also a gatekeeper based on how it organizes and ranks the links of various websites.

This article will go over five ranking factors used by Google to shed insight into the details of that ranking process. In other words, by reviewing the features of the gatekeeping process, we can implement more robust and effective SEO measures.

1. Provide Useful Content

The more accurate, helpful, and reputable your content is, the better SEO results you’ll get. Simple, right? In theory, good content leads to higher rankings. The problem here is that machines are sorting through and making judgments on what’s good or bad. So you’re really trying to hit a number of things that mimic or approximate good content in your SEO quest. Making small, impactful, and targeted changes is key to creating the type of content attractive to search engines.

2. Write Suitable and Attractive Anchor Text

What’s anchor text? It’s basically the blue underlined stuff that you click on when you browse the Internet that takes you to another related site. Essentially, the HTML code specifies a section of text and associates it with a link to create the hyperlink that we are all familiar with.

So how do you add a bit of flair to your anchor text beyond its depressingly default color of blue? Moz gives a number of suggestions, but in general you just want to want your anchor texts to be pithy, unique, simple, and relevant to the linked page.

3. Backlinks

Backlines are exactly what they sound like, but like all important SEO features on your site there are both good and excellent ways to use backlinks. The concept behind a backlink is incredibly simple. It refers to the sites that link to your site, or any other site. Let’s say the Wall Street Journal made a link to your website. That’s a backlink.

There’s a number of key things to do when considering backlink quality. These tips relate to making your backlinks more useful to site visitors. You can accomplish this by evaluating a site’s link relevancy through a number of factors like content and online tools. Focusing on real websites, or websites that experience a lot of traffic along with using authority sites will also boost your rankings.

4. Make Your Site Easier to Navigate

This one’s pretty easy to grasp too. Just don’t fill your site up with a much of unnecessary clutter. Clean simplicity is one of the reasons that Google was so successful as a search engine in its earlier stages. You want your site to get to the point. You want to capture your users and have them understand the purpose of your site within seconds. Finally, you’ll need to arrange buttons and widgets around a theme or style that appeals to the visitors for maximum ranking results.

Even Google itself thinks organization and navigation clarity are important in its SEO guide. It emphasizes things like the relationship between clean navigation and search engines and makes suggestions like planning your site around your homepage in order to make visitor browsing more convenient.

5.Consider RankBrain’s Algorithms

The significance of technology appears to have subtly increased to a great degree over the years. Google’s RankBrain is an example of an algorithm has been making waves on the issue of search traffic and rankings.

So how does Google do it? The larger category of technology is called artificial intelligence, coding computer to perform tasks that only humans normally handle. But with the arrival of a type of artificial learning called machine learning, RankBrain has certain elements that are capable of rewriting their own software to get better at ranking the most relevant sites.

The real impact of RankBrain manifests in its ability to interpret human meaning (in searches) to an extent: “RankBrain is designed to better understand the meaning behind the words a person uses and types into his or her search engine because 15 percent of queries per day had never been seen by Google” (Broadbent, 2017).

With the powerful machine learning technologies guiding SEO and the calculations behind the rankings of site relevance, focusing and studying up on the latest SEO trends across popular platforms has never been more important.

Author : AJ Agrawal , Contributor (Forbes).This article was  first published on forbes.com .

The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors by SEL

on Tuesday 13 June 2017

What the SEO table covers

There are two major classes of factors:
  • On-the-page SEO: These are factors largely within the control of publishers.
  • Off-the-page SEO: These are factors influenced by others or not directly tied to a publisher’s site.
Within these two classes are seven categories of factors, which are:
  • Content — Factors relating to the content and quality of your material
  • Architecture — Factors about your overall site functionality
  • HTML — Factors specific to web pages
  • Trust — Factors related to how trustworthy and authoritative a site seems to be
  • Links —  Factors related to how links impact rankings
  • Personal — Factors about how personalization influences rankings
  • Social — Factors on how social sharing impacts rankings
Overall, there are 35 individual factors, which range from making use of descriptive HTML title tags to whether a site has success with visitor engagement. Here’s a close-up of the table, focusing on just the factors:

How to understand the table

Each factor has a two letter symbol. The first letter represents the category a factor is part of, such as “A” for Architecture. The second letter represents the element itself, such as “m” for Mobile, giving “Am” its symbol.
Each factor also has a weight. This is a relative guide to how important it is to focus on a particular factor versus others and overall. Those with a +3 are most important, with +2 and +1 indicating factors of lesser importance.
It’s also important to understand that the factors work together. No single factor guarantees success. But several factors working together, even if they are minor ones, can increase the odds in your favor.
Violations are negative factors, spam activities that can harm your visibility. Don’t do these! Violations, unlike the other elements, all begin with “V” regardless of what category they are in, so that they can more easily be identified as violations. Factors marked -3 are considered worse than -2 and -1.

Factors with weight increases: Mobile, speed & direct answers

Am: Mobile — Google continues to push for content to be mobile-friendly, no surprise given that more than 50 percent of Google searches are done on mobile devices. In addition, by the end of this year or in 2018, Google will use a mobile-first index, even for desktop users.
All of this made us feel the mobile factor should increase to +3, a rise over the +2 it had in 2015 and the +1 when it was first added to the table in 2013. Those surveyed agreed, giving it a 2.8 average weight.
As: Speed — Google has continued to emphasize the importance of speed as a ranking factor, including widely implementing the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) format that it backs. AMP didn’t even exist when our SEO table was last updated in 2015.
With so much attention on speed, it made sense to increase this factor’s weight from +1 to +2. Those surveyed gave it an average weight of 2.6, but we decided to be conservative with our increase.
Ca: Direct Answers — Both Google and Bing are increasingly showing direct answers that are culled from web pages above regular listings, something Google calls featured snippets.
Some publishers worry these are harmful, because if an actual answer is shown, why would people bother clicking to the source page? However, many others compete to be an answer, finding they do indeed drive traffic. Google’s featured snippets also serve as the single spoken answer that’s often given by the Google Assistant on mobile devices or in Google Home.
This factor was added in 2015 with a conservative +1 weight. Given the increasing prominence of direct answers, it made sense to raise the weight to +2. That also matches up with survey respondents, who gave it a 2.1 average weight.

Factors with weight decreases: Site and personal search history

Th: History — Google seems to have downplayed, in public statements or a lack of them, the importance of a site’s age or history versus years past. Given this, we felt dropping this factor from +2 to +1 made sense.
The factor was raised to +2 for the first time in 2015, when we agreed with the average survey response of 2.0. This year’s survey saw that drop to 1.8, giving us further reason to feel a decreased weight was in order.
Ph: History — Someone’s personal search history also felt to us like a factor that has decreased in importance. That’s why we’ve dropped it from +3 to +2. Survey respondents put it at 1.7, further reassuring us that the decrease was justified.

Factors that were dropped: Site identity and personal social sharing

Ti: Identity — We heavily debated dropping site identity as a factor when doing the 2015 edition, because Google had ended support for Google Authorship, which was the primary way identity seemed to be having an impact. However, those surveyed then gave it a 1.6 average score. Google also suggested that authorship was still being determined in other ways.
Since then, Google has backed away from authorship entirely. This year’s survey also saw it drop slightly to a 1.5 average. To us, there seemed little reason to continue listing this factor at all. We decided to drop it.
Ps: Social — Google+ was the primary way Google was using personal social sharing to influence someone’s search results. Google+ might continue in name, but its impact on Google’s search results seems all but gone — along with the users and brands that were active on the service. Because of this, we decided this factor deserved to be dropped. Survey respondents gave it an average weight of 1.6.

Factors considered but not added: App indexing and AMP

We wondered if we should add new elements for app indexing and AMP pages. People were asked to rate these on the survey. The average for app indexing was 1.7; for AMP, it was 1.8. We ultimately felt those were better considered as part of the existing mobile factor (Am) and decided not to add them as new elements.

Not changed but notable

As shown above, we don’t always go with what our survey suggests for a factor’s weight. Ultimately, we try to be a bit more cautious than what the survey suggests, plus we take into account things we’ve seen the search engines say or do.

Here are some notable diversions from the survey, where factors did not have their existing weights changed.

Au: URLs — The survey had keywords in URLs at 2.1, but we felt keeping it at +1 was fair.

Ah: HTTPS — The survey had the impact of running a secure site at 2.0, but we felt it was
appropriate with its existing lower weight of +1. However, this could change in the future — and there are good reasons beyond SEO to make a site secure.

Ah: Titles — The survey gave keywords in title tags a 2.3 average weight. We kept it at +3, viewing it as an easy and still important area of focus.

Ah: Headers — The survey gave the use of header tags (H1, H2, etc) a 2.2 average weight. We felt that was too much and kept it at +1.

Ta: Authority — The survey gave the idea that a site or page has authority that helps with ranking a 2.4 weight. Google has certainly downplayed the idea of site or domain authority, as we covered recently. But it has given even further emphasis to the idea of page authority. We felt keeping this factor at +3 made sense.

Ln: Number of links — Those surveyed gave an average weight of 1.9 to the idea that sheer number of links is an important ranking factor. We remain conservative on this, keeping it at +1.

Pc: Country — Survey respondents gave a 2.1 average weight to the importance of someone’s country on the impact of the search results they receive. It’s easily demonstrated that country location has one of the most important influences on search results. Just ask anyone in a country different from the one you’re in to do the same search. They’ll usually have widely different results. We kept this at the highest +3 weight.

Pl: Locality — The survey gave a 2.3 average weight to the importance of someone’s city or locality on the impact of search results. As with country, we know — and anyone can easily test — that a city or regional location can have a huge impact. We kept this factor at +3 weight.

Ss: Social shares — The survey gave a 1.6 average weight to the idea that the sheer number of social shares can have an impact on search rankings. Social is generally an indirect benefit, in terms of Google. It has repeatedly said that it doesn’t try to measure social signals from Twitter or Facebook to rank results. But social sharing might lead people to link to and engage with sites, which are direct factors. Overall, we felt remaining conservative here with a +1 score made sense.

Vd: Piracy — The survey put the impact of having pirated or copyright-infringing content at -2.6. Sites with pirated content can indeed be hit hard by Google, but most sites don’t do this and so don’t need to worry about it. Hence, our lower weight of -1.

Va: Heavy ads — The survey put the impact of having sites heavy with ads or intrusive interstitials at -2.4. We agree that Google certainly seems to be looking harder (and penalizing) for this. Still, we decided to remain conservative and keep it at -1. However, there’s an excellent chance this could change in the future.

Vp: Paid links — The survey average for buying links was -2.1. We think that underestimates the negative impact on a site that’s caught doing this. We kept this at -3.

Factors not mentioned & the importance of quality

Above, we’ve only covered factors that had changes from the last edition or where we deviated from how survey respondents felt. There are many more factors than these, however — so please do review them all.

More than anything else, Cq: Content Quality, remains the bedrock of success. It’s the first factor on the chart and heavily weighted for a reason. If you have great content, all things good SEO-wise flow from that. Survey respondents agree, giving it a 2.8 average.

Original Published By Danny Sullivan on June 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm on Searchengineland.com

SEO Tips to Optimize Your Mobile Marketing

on Wednesday 7 June 2017

Websites without a mobile version or with a poorly optimized mobile website will slip even further in search engine results pages (SERPs) as the rollout encompasses more sites. The good news is that some mobile SEO tasks are very easy to do yourself.

If your content performs inconsistently across mediums, you’re missing an audience engagement opportunity. Mobile SEO, much like traditional SEO, is about creating and tagging content in a way that makes it stand out online. Use this list of DIY mobile SEO tips to protect your brand from search engine penalties and maintain online visibility:

1. Create a Google My Business listing.

One of the most important listings businesses owners can create, Google My Business accounts are free and simple to set up. Fill out the information to the best of your ability, and include as many images of your business as possible. When people enter a search for your business online or via a Google app, they will likely see this information first. Make it count.

2. Frequently review all directory listings.

Beyond the Google My Business account, mobile users may use other websites and applications to find your brand. Frequently review and update all listings for your business online. Update listings on Yelp, local websites, TripAdvisor, Facebook, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau and other popular business directories. These listings will ensure searchers reach the right information when they search for your name.

3. Get social.

On mobile devices, social media sites drive a significant amount of traffic. Around 80% of social media users spend their social media time on mobile devices. If you want to maintain visibility with mobile users, prioritize your social media marketing strategy. Use platform-specific advertising, engage with users, and/or post prolifically to ensure your brand stands out.

4. Take advantage of plugins.

If your business uses WordPress or another platform, take advantage of the plugins designed to make your mobile site more user friendly. WordPress offers plugins to improve site speed, optimize images, and take care of other important mobile SEO tasks. WPtouch is a somewhat ubiquitous WordPress plugin that will create a Google-approved mobile-friendly version of your website. If you’re not currently using a professional to update and optimize your website, look into how plugins can help you maintain visibility online.

5. Use keywords for content visibility.

Mobile users search differently than desktop users. Optimize for mobile keyword searches to keep your content in front of the right people. While you can purchase tools to find the right keywords for your content, you can find keyword comparisons by device in Google’s Search Analytics.

6. Optimize images.

To improve page loading times on mobile devices, optimize images for mobile users. If you don’t use a plugin to help with images, identify the ones that present a problem using a page speed tool and then compress or change the dimensions for faster loading times.

7. Prepare your content for mobile.

In addition to searching differently on a mobile device, many people digest content differently. Readable and scan-friendly content tends to work better on mobile devices, but testing is the only way to know for sure. Consider using a basic A/B test format to determine which types of mobile content perform better.

8. Optimize for local searches.

You may not want to dive into detailed code optimizations that can boost search rankings, but you may want to consider a few basic activities. To optimize for local searches, include both the city and state in title tags, the URL, the H1 heading, and Meta description.
Mobile SEO will soon trump desktop SEO. Consider working with a professional or attempting a DIY head start today to ensure your site maintains visibility in mobile and desktop searches. A few simple tweaks can boost your digital presence and bring local customers to your door.

Author:John Boitnott

The 7 Most Common Negative SEO Attacks

Here’s what you need to know to spot the 7 most common attacks, fix them and protect yourself in the future.

1. Auto-complete SEO attack
The principle is simple, but this negative SEO attack is very difficult to defeat. Practitioners simply search your brand name numerous times with words like ’scam’ included in the search. Do this enough times, and users who type in your brand name will get an auto-suggestion including the negative term. This might seem petty – and it is – but it can have a big impact on your brand perception.

You can spot this attack by keeping a close eye on your search queries. If unusual terms start to appear, you’ve probably been a victim of this negative SEO technique. You can’t do much to stop this happening, but a smart content marketing strategy can help you rank positive content for those negative terms.

2. Link removal attack

Backlinks constitute an important SEO ranking factor, so it’s little surprise to see these targeted by SEO saboteurs. This technique sees attackers emailing the webmasters behind your best links and requesting that they’re taken down – usually masquerading as you. The sheer number of legitimate link removal emails means that these imposters can escape without proper scrutiny and you lose your best links in the process.
Diagnose this attack using link-monitoring tools such as Majestic or Monitor Backlinks. If a link is unexpectedly taken down, you can investigate immediately and resolve the problem before your rank is badly affected.

3. Hack attack

Unlike some of these other attacks, SEO hackers aren’t normally looking to damage your ranking. Rather, they’re jockeying off your authority to build their own. Aside from being unfair, the unfortunate by-product of this attack is often penalisation for your site. This technique is when a hacker-attacker hacks into your site and buries spammy links in your content to build their own backlink profile. They might even create a series of new pages that drive traffic back to their own site.
This attack is noticeable if you start to recognise strange anchors for keywords you’ve never tried to rank for. If you suspect you have been hacked, you should investigate promptly to discover how the hackers got in so you can shut them out the next time they try. You can help prevent hacking before it happens by installing plug-in updates as soon as they’re available and using double authentication for your back-end users.

4. 404 Error attack

If Google detects that many  of your pages are getting a 404 error message, they’ll generally drop your site like a hotcake, before you can deliver a terrible user experience. Unfortunately, negative SEO practitioners know this and can manipulate that knowledge to attack their competitors. They simply create thousands of links back to pages on your site that don’t exist, so when Google tries to follow those links, a 404 error is generated:few things can adversely affect your ranking so quickly.
You can spot this attack by closely monitoring your ‘Crawl Errors’ through Google Webmaster. If you see a sudden leap, that’s a good sign that you’re being targeted.

Luckily, you’ll generally find that a pattern emerges so you can easily spot which URLs are involved in the attack. Then you can request that your site delivers a 410 ‘Gone Forever’ message instead, to cut down the number of 404 messages being issued.

5. Redirect attack

As you may or may not know, redirects allow link equity to be passed to a new domain. Negative SEO attackers use this knowledge to redirect negative link equity to your domain, so you’re penalised for their bad links. In its most basic form, this is simply pointing a penalised domain link back to your site so you get the penalty. In its more complex form, a committed negative SEO attacker might copy your entire website, add canonical tags and then bury spam links in the content. The spam links will be penalised and the canonical tags ensure that penalty is transferred to your original site.
You can spot this attack in several ways. Firstly, keep a close eye on your link-monitoring tool. Majestic reports redirected links in the same way as normal links, for instance, so you can quickly spot any issues and disavow. You can also search Google for copied versions of your content and check manually whether the canonical tag has been used.

6. Spam links attack   

This is one of the most common negative SEO attacks, as it’s one of the easiest to implement. An attacker simply creates an unnaturally large number of links pointing to your site, which triggers Google’s Penguin tripwire. Google assumes that you’re engaging in black-hat SEO yourself by creating unnatural links in order to improve your rating and it penalises you accordingly.
This attack is all about volume, so it should be pretty obvious if you’re a victim. If your intelligence platform tells you that you’ve suddenly received an unusually high number of links, often on the same day, it’s probably SEO attackers at work.

Often all links will point to the same page on your site – to allow the attackers to quickly create links. They’ll often come from very similar sources, with a similar authority ranking. If you’re using Majestic, you get a Trust Flow report telling you how trustworthy the linking site is. Often this ranking will be very similar.
You might also notice that links are using the same anchor text, making Google think that you’re playing the system. In the Google universe, over-optimising your focus keywords is a punishable offence and negative SEO attackers use that to their advantage.
To combat the link spamming attack, add those links you’ve identified to your disavow list, so their link equity doesn’t count towards your ranking. You might also register a spam report with Google which  identifies which domains are involved in the link spamming.

7. Fake parameter attack

This is an insidiously effective attack that targets your URLs. Basically, an attacker creates multiple links that point back to legitimate URLs on your site, but using fake parameters. (www.mysite.com/legitimate-url?spam-fake-parameter.)
These links then create duplicates of your legitimate pages, which can flag a Panda penalty. The keywords used can also indicate that your site isn’t relevant, which is one of the fastest ways to incur Google’s wrath. Say you run a property firm, for example, then a URL littered with keywords like ‘viagra’, ‘gambling’, or ‘discounted storage solutions’ is a pretty sure sign of irrelevance.
These URLs will often achieve a 200 OK response, so they are treated as normal, genuine pages. As such, this can be particularly difficult to spot and you’ll find it more productive to stop this attack before it happens. The best way to do that is to use the canonical tag, to identify which pages should be ranked. This makes sure that no other pages using that URL can rank and cuts the SEO attacker off in their tracks. You could also configure your server to recognise and ‘noindex’ any unknown parameters.

Retrospect is a wonderful thing though, so if you’ve already been a victim of this attack then you can manually exclude those fake parameters through Google Webmaster.

This article was published on receptional.com in march 2017.

Google sent 9M web spam messages in 2016,Just double than 2015

on Thursday 20 April 2017
Google said they received less than half the 2015 number of user-generated spam reports in 2016.

Image Courtesy - Google
Google has sent out over 9 million messages related to web spam in 2016; that number was more than double the 4.3 million messages in the 2015 report. 

The other metric that stood out was that hacked sites continue to rise, this time by 32% from 2015 to 2016,but it was a 180 percent increase from 2014 to 2015 in the previous report.

Major web spam activity 2016 

  • Website security continues to be a major source of concern.Last year we saw more hacked sites than ever 32% high compared to 2015.
  • Over 9 million messages sent to webmasters to notify them of web spam issues on their sites.
  • Structured data manual actions taken on more than 10,000 sites.
  • Over 180,000 user-submitted spam reports from around the world, down from 400,000 
  • Of those 180,000 spam reports, 52 percent of those reported sites considered to be spam.
  • More than 170 Google online office hours and live events around the world to audiences totaling over 150,000 website owners, webmasters and digital marketers.
  • More than 67,000 questions in the Google support forums.
Ref: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/

Not set Vs not Provided Keyword - Google Analytics

on Wednesday 1 March 2017
(Not Provided) = Organic visits from a keyword search

In 2011 Google switched to a secure server (https) which encrypts search results. Meaning anytime you’re logged into Google (i.e. Gmail, Calendar or YouTube) your searches become protected – Leaving all keyword data as (not provided) in Google Analytics.
We’re noticing most accounts have more than 50% of all keyword information replaced with (not provided).

(Not Set) = A direct visit or a referral from another site

This is a little more complicated, but basically refers to a catch-all for information Google Analytics wasn’t able to identify.

For example, if you see landing page = (not set), it probably means that session didn’t have a page or screen view. The session could have been triggered an Event or an E-commerce hit type.


Google’s ‘not provided’ data is a controversial topic, and there’s no failsafe way to access the data. However, if you’re losing a significant amount of statistical data to ‘not provided’, it’s certainly worth investing some time to overcome the problem. Implementing one or more workarounds may help you to improve your understanding of organic keywords and get a better insight into your missing statistics.

Basics of Mobile SEO

on Tuesday 7 February 2017
Mobile optimization is the process of ensuring that visitors who access your site from mobile devices have an experience optimized for the device.

Every year people spend more and more time on their mobile devices and tablets, but many websites still aren't designed to account for different screen sizes and load times. Mobile optimization takes a look at site design, site structure, page speed, and more to make sure you're not inadvertently turning mobile visitors away.

Best Practices 


If your site is already well optimized for search engines, there are only a few additional things that you need to think about when optimizing for mobile.

Page speed


Because of hardware and connectivity issues, page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you'll want to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects. More information on page speed can be found on our SEO Best Practices for Page Speed page.

Don't block CSS, JavaScript, or images


In the old days, some mobile devices couldn't support all of these elements, so webmasters of mobile sites blocked one or all three. But for the most part that's no longer true, and the Smartphone GoogleBot wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do. So don't hide it. These elements are also critical to helping Google understand if you have a responsive site or a different mobile solution.

Site design for mobile


Mobile devices are simplifying and revolutionizing the ways sites are designed. "Above the fold" has no longer meaning in a world where we scroll endlessly.

Don't use Flash


The plugin may not be available on your user's phone, which means they'll miss out on all the fun. If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead.

Don't use pop-ups either


It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close these on a mobile device. This might lead to a high bounce rate.

Design for the fat finger


Touch screen navigation can lead to accidental clicks if your buttons are too big, too small, or in the path of a finger that's trying to get the page to scroll.

Optimize titles and meta descriptions


Remember that you're working with less screen space when a user searches using a mobile device. To show off your best work in SERPS, be as concise as possible (without sacrificing the quality of the information) when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.

Use Schema.org structured data


Because of the limited screen space, a search result with rich snippets is even more likely to stand out than on a desktop. Read more about Schema.org structured data.

Optimize for local search

If your business has a local element, remember to optimize your mobile content for local search. This includes standardizing your name, address, and phone number and including your city and state name in your site's metadata.

Mobile site configuration

Probably the most important decision you'll make when setting up a site is deciding whether you want to use a responsive, dynamic serving, or separate site configuration. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Google prefers responsive design but supports all three options as long as you have set them up properly.

Responsive web design


Responsively designed sites use CSS3 media queries to serve the same content to mobile and desktop users using a fluid grid and a flexible design to automatically adapt to the size of a user's screen.
Responsive designs use media queries to target the layout based on screen width, orientation, and resolution. For example, you could use the following CSS to instruct browsers how to display content for a screen that's 420 or fewer pixels wide:

Dynamic serving


If you don't have the resources for a complete site redesign or want to display different content for mobile visitors than you do for desktop ones, one solution is to use one URL to display different sets of HTML and CSS depending on what type of device your visitor is using (also called detecting user agents). This can be useful, for example, if you're a restaurant who wants a mobile visitor (who might be wandering your neighborhood) to see a sampling of reviews and a map to your location, instead of your full website.
Displaying different content based on the user agent is called dynamic serving and it's done using the Vary HTTP header, which looks like this:

Vary HTTP Header


GET /page-1 HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
(...rest of HTTP request headers...)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html
Vary: User-Agent
Content-Length: 5710
(... rest of HTTP response headers...)

Example from the Google Developers Blog.

Simply put, this means that the content displayed will vary based on the user agent requesting the page.
Dynamic serving is not the perfect compromise that it might seem to be. For one, it relies on having an updated list of user agents, which means that every time a new mobile device comes to market that list needs to be updated. And it's not uncommon for desktops and mobile devices to be wrongly served with the HTML for the other device.

Separate mobile URL


Another option is to create a second, parallel site for mobile users. This allows you to create completely custom content for mobile visitors. To avoid URL confusion, most parallel mobile sites use an "m" subdomain.

Parallel mobile sites can be as imperfect as dynamic serving sites at sending visitors to the right version, so be sure to make it easy for visitors who end up in the wrong place to click over to their preferred experience.

You'll also want to make sure that your site redirects are all in place and as lean as possible to decrease page speed. And to avoid duplicate content issues, you'll need to set up rel="canonical".

Post credit : SeoMoz.