Category Archive SEO Tips

Easy Way to Reduce Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is one of those quality metrics that gets tossed around a lot in the search engine space. People are almost always talking about absolutes in terms of “this is how XYZ will reduce your bounce rate,” and so on.

I don’t subscribe to this school of thought; bounce rates need to be looked at subjectively.

While there are some general best practices, for the most part certain activities prescribed as absolute can both hurt and help websites.

Hence the title of this post. I don’t want to stand on my bounce rate soapbox and preach to you that everything in this post is going to help you, so I’m approaching this from a more realistic standpoint; the items on this list are worth thinking about, and probably trying – but this isn’t some magic wand from the land of unicorns and bounce rates under 5 percent.

A high bounce rate can be indicative of a number of things but usually falls into one of two categories:

  1. You’re acquiring the wrong kind of traffic to your page(s), or
  2. You’re acquiring exactly the right kind of traffic to your page(s).

Did number 2 throw you for a loop? Most people forget about the second scenario, since most websites tend to fall victim to the first.

But think about this for a second: if a user comes into your site and finds exactly what they were looking for; an answer to their question or solution to their problem, why should they stay a moment longer or look around on other pages?

Websites that are excellent at solving information problems quickly often have high bounce rates, for example here is a website that is designed to rank for question queries, offering specific and succinct answers:

bounce-rate-71-percent

Users come in, get the answers they need, and leave; but come back often.

On the Flipside

You have websites where it is critical to get your visitors to stick. You want them to spend time clicking around the site, perusing content, and build toward a conversion.

In these instances high bounce rates are a conversion killer, and anything you can do to increase the time on site and number of pageviews will most likely directly correlate to your site’s success and your bottom line.

Before we can approach improving something, it is important to make sure you have a firm grasp on what it is.

Bounce rate is often confused with exit rate, and the difference is important; bounce rate is a measure of people who bounced off a single page (i.e., they did not visit any other pages within your website), whereas exit rate is simply a measure of the percentage of visitors who left your site from that page.

Why It’s Important to Reduce Your Bounce Rate

Reducing the bounce rate on pages that have the highest volume of traffic from your highest converting sources means more engaged visitors and a greater chance of conversion.

What follows is a list of 20 considerations for reducing your bounce rate. These are by no means absolutes and are relative to everyone’s unique value propositions and audience, but generally speaking, these are worth thinking about.

1. You Should Probably Avoid Pop-ups

Pop-up ads annoy people. In some rare cases they offer something worth the roadblock, but usually they disrupt the user experience.

2. Use Intuitive Navigation for Important Items

Don’t make your visitors feel dumb (or think you’re dumb) for not providing them with clear and obvious paths to get the content they may be looking for.

The most common reaction to not being able to find something that should be obvious is frustration – and if you’ve ever been on a web page where you can’t figure out how or where to navigate, this is exactly how you feel.

Heatmaps are a great way to gain visibility into where user’s might be trying to click, giving you insight into what should be clickable. A great tool for this is Crazy Egg.

3. Poor Design is Increasingly Less Tolerable

I’m not just talking about gradients and drop shadows; design now transcends the whole user experience. Your content needs to be attractive; both in terms of graphical treatments and readability.

Design for your target audience, which may not necessarily be the audience you already have, or at least not the majority of it. Design has become a legitimacy signal and the lack thereof can directly impact visitors (and prospects) perceptions of the quality of your business and services.

4. Speed

This pretty much goes without saying these days but nothing really effects bounce rate like having a web page that takes 10 seconds to load.

Not only is this a confirmed ranking factor and lends directly to user experience, but it can cause your follower reach to stall, negatively impact your search rankings, and destroy your conversion rate.

5. Is Your Website Mobile Usable

I realize that is far from proper English, but I feel it makes my point. Being mobile friendly is ideal, but being mobile usable is critical.

Websites can still be effective as long as content can be accessed and used from a mobile device or tablet.

Furthermore, mobile usability does not necessarily mean from a design compatibility and accessibility standpoint, in many cases it means is the language on your site simple and clear enough that people on the go (on mobile devices) can still make sense of what they need to do to find information and at the very least contact you if necessary.

6. Design Information Around Priorities

This comes back to the last consideration, are your target conversion or content points clearly presented on your pages? Can users immediately get a sense of what they should expect to find or are expected to do while on the page?

Websites tends to have two paths to conversion:

  • Landing pages (short direct sales path)
  • A conversion funnel (longer process of qualifying visitors through a collection of pages that drive toward conversion)

Are you effectively managing the expectations of your visitors? A good litmus test for this is if you are able to trigger your primary page conversions more than 20 percent of the time.

7. Segment Information

This is another perspective on creating content that is designed to be digested and consumed. Readability is important here but so is the idea of grouping content into segments or categories – this is most often seen in blog posts where header tags are used to break apart large walls of text.

8. Optimize For Intent

This is a more detailed take on information design, and ensuring that based on the keywords your visitors are using to get to your pages, you are serving them an experience that address their expectations.

This is often talked about in paid search and display advertising, where the highest bounce rates are created from advertisers not closing the loop between the ad copy and the landing page copy and design. The experience needs to be consistent from start to finish or you risk breaking the user’s intent loop.

9. Be Mindful of Ad Placement

This is still a bit of a new idea (especially to advertisers) but if possible avoid the standard ad units. Not only have web users developed ad blindness but Google has also started penalizing pages that have too many ad units above the fold, and hint: they are looking for standard ad unit sizes.

Furthermore, from a publisher perspective, I can understand it’s great to squeeze an extra handful of impressions in per pageview, but if you look at some of the high performing niche ad networks, you will notice there publisher websites have a general lack of intrusive ads.

10. Lazy Load Third Party Content

Lazy loading, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a design pattern process for deferring the loading of objects until they are needed. Mashable is a fantastic example of this in action, notice how their pages load almost instantly and then new content is loaded as it is needed (as your scroll position advances toward those pixels).

This is done both for speed and user experience, and can be specified programmatically on a component by component basis.

11. Color Contrast

Readers need contrast. Contrast between colors can make a dull story into an exciting one and conversely can turn the most exciting content in the world into a palette of indiscernible whites and grays if not given proper consideration.

Contrast is important to consider as the web moves faster towards different mediums of content, with more and more happening on the pages, it is important to use colors and patterns to draw your reader’s eyes toward the important parts of the page.

12. Messaging is Blatantly Obvious

This is another consideration when it comes to focus and attention. Remember you only have a few seconds to translate value to a new visitor, so don’t make them guess.

Taglines are a great way to quickly translate purpose, but if you don’t have one another simple way is to place your site’s purpose in plain text in an obvious place (like the header or the top of the sidebar). If you sell something, say that.

13. Cut Out Distractions

I wish I could say this goes without saying, but I still run into website on a weekly basis that autoplay audio and video. These are distractions and intrusions that aren’t expected and break the experience.

Cutting out distractions not only leads to better bounce rates, but usually dramatically increases your conversion rates.

14. Offer Related Content Based on Personas

If you don’t offer related content on your pages, or intuitive navigation (hopefully with some sort of hook or teaser) then you’re missing out on a substantial number of pageviews and the opportunity to be more of a sticky resource.

Related content gets really powerful when you’re able to target it within the same categories or tags, as these segments of content tend to be attractive to visitors who make it through related posts in the same content stack.

15. Leverage Internal Search

If you don’t currently offer search functionality on your website or if you don’t regularly review internal search analytics, then you’re missing the boat. Web users have become so used to search that it is an easy behavioral pattern to accommodate and leverage for improved experience.

To take this a step further, you can use newer tools for crowdsourced FAQs to literally create a content roadmap for what matters most to your audience.

16. Open External Links in New Windows

This is an incredibly simple concept that is still often overlooked, but if you’re going to link out to a resource on your website, make sure you have it open a new window instead of redirecting the user off your site.

The best (and easiest way) to do this is to simply add target=”_blank” into the link’s <a> tag. So for example; <a href=”http://example.com” target=”_blank”>anchor text</a>.

17. Prominently Display Your Search Box

This is a separate consideration from leverage internal search that has more to do with number 2 on this list; if you are going to offer helpful functionality like site search on your website, don’t make users have to search for your search box.

18. Offer a Helpful 404 Page

Nobody likes to think of instances where their website or pages may greet users with a 404 page, but these things happen.

The best thing you can do to turn a negative experience into a potentially positive one is a few things:

  • Use Google’s suggestive snippet for creating useful 404 pages. Visit the “Enhance 404 pages” section in Google Webmaster Tools, which allows you to generate a JavaScript snippet.
  • Add a search box and a link to the homepage
  • If nothing else, add a bit of design and humor.

19. Keep it Readable

This isn’t a duplicate of number 3. In this consideration I’m talking specifically about your page’s Flesch-Kincaid score, or the level of difficulty for comprehension of your content.

There are two tests used to determine both the ease of reading and the average grade-level required for comprehension. Both of which have been baked into a very helpful index calculator.

20. Split Up Long Posts

People have shorter attention spans than ever before. So when they see long posts they are immediately reminded of times in high school trudging through massive texts of traditional English literature.

Consider instead splitting these up either into separate posts in a series or adding pagination to break up the content into smaller and more digestible chunks. This New York Times piece does a fantastic job (with an absolutely incredible story) of consolidating their story into chapters and breaking up a substantial and engaging experience across several views and interactions.

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301 vs. 302 Redirects for SEO: Which Should You Use?

Redirects are simple. If you’re moving content to a new location permanently, use a 301 redirect. If you’re moving it temporarily, use a 302 redirect.

But you might be wondering, why does this even matter? After all, users can’t tell the difference between 301s and 302s. Both are identical in their functionality.

The answer is simple: Search engines view 301 redirects and 302 redirects differently. And choosing the wrong one can cause SEO issues that often go unnoticed for months or even years.

Here are a few common use cases:

  • You permanently change the URL of a web page.
  • You permanently migrate to a new domain.
  • You switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
  • You want to fix non-www/www duplicate content issues.
  • You permanently merge two or more pages or websites.
  • You permanently change the URL structure of your website.

Use cases for 302 redirects are few and far between, but there are some:

  • You want to redirect users to the right version of the site for them (based on location/language).
  • You want to A/B split-test the functionality or design of a web page.
  • You want to get feedback about a new page without affecting rankings for the old one.
  • You’re running a promotion and want to temporarily redirect visitors to a sales page.

There are undoubtedly other use cases, but they tend to be very specific and individual. The golden rule is that you should only use 302 redirects if you plan to bring back the old page after a short period.

You can create 301 and 302 redirects in several ways, but the most common method is to edit a website’s .htaccess file. You’ll find this file in your website’s root directory.

1 root directory htaccess

SIDENOTE.

If you don’t see this file in your site’s root directory, either your server isn’t running on Apache or you don’t have this file. You can check the kind of server you’re running with this tool. If it’s Apache, the solution is to create a .htaccess file using Notepad or TextEdit and upload it to your root server.

If you’re using WordPress, a less daunting option is to use a free SEO plugin to create redirects. RankMath has this functionality built-in, but this plugin will also do the job.

How to create a 301 redirect

If you want to create a 301 redirect from one URL to another, add this to your .htaccess file:

Redirect 301 /old-page.html /new-page.html 

You can also do this using RankMath or the Redirections plugin. Just choose the type of redirect you want, then add your source and destination URLs.

2 301 rankmath

If you’re looking to redirect the entire website, add this to your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^oldsite.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.oldsite.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://newsite.com/$1 [L,R=301,NC]

Just know that you’ll need to keep your old hosting active to redirect your site with .htaccess, which can be expensive. So it’s usually better to redirect through DNS. Most registrars allow you to select either a 301 or 302 redirect for this. If you’re using Google Domains, just hit Website > Forward domain, then enter the new domain and choose “Permanent redirect.”

3 google domains 301

How to create a 302 redirect

If you want to create a 302 redirect from one URL to another, add this to your .htaccess file:

Redirect 302 /old-page.html /new-page.html 

You can also do this with RankMath or the Redirections plugin in WordPress:

4 302 rankmath

If you’re looking to redirect the entire website, use this code:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^oldsite.com [NC,OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.oldsite.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://newsite.com/$1 [L,R=302,NC]

Just know that you probably won’t want to use a 302 to redirect one site to another. Most domain changes are permanent, so you’ll want to use a 301. It’s the same story for redirects from HTTP to HTTPS, or from non-www to www (and vice-versa).

As the functionality of 301 and 302 redirects are identical to the end-user, choosing which one to use comes mostly down to how Google treats them. And there are two things we need to talk about here:

  1. Indexation
  2. Link signals

Indexation

When one URL redirects to another, Google keeps only one of those URLs indexed.

For 301 redirects…

… that will be the ‘new’ URL. For example, if you create a 301 redirect from old-page.html to new-page.html, Google will index new-page.html and de-index old-page.html. That’s because the 301 redirect tells Google that this is a permanent move, so there’s no point keeping the old URL indexed.

People sometimes get confused about this because after creating a 301 redirect, the old URL can still show up for a while in Google when using site: searches.

For example, Moz changed and redirected their domain from seomoz.org to moz.com many years ago, but seomoz.org still shows up in Google.

5 301 site search

The reason for this is that, as Patrick recently explained, site: searches don’t tell you if a URL is indexed. For that, you need to use either the URL Inspection tool or Coverage report in Google Search Console.

For 302 redirects…

… the URL that Google indexes will usually be the original one. However, because Google knows people often mistakenly use 302s for permanent redirects, they actually assess each 302 redirect individually to try to determine what you really meant.

Here’s what Google’s John Mueller said:

When we recognize a redirect and we see it’s a 302, we assume it is a temporary redirect first and we assume you want the initial URL indexed, not the redirected target. […] However, when we recognize it is actually more like a permanent redirect and the 302 is maybe something that you accidentally set up, then we do treat that as a 301. And we say, instead of indexing the redirected URL, we’ll index the redirection target instead.

John Mueller
John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst Google

Nobody knows precisely how long a 302 redirect needs to be in place before Google begins treating it as a permanent redirect. Usually, it’s a few weeks to a few months, but it can be days, weeks, or months.

In some circumstances, Google even appears to treat 302s as 301s from the get-go.

For example, Patrick recently ran a small experiment where he implemented a 302 redirect from one established site to another. As soon as Google crawled the ‘old’ domain and saw the redirect, the ‘old’ domain disappeared from the search results in favor of the ‘new’ domain.

If you’re not sure how Google is treating your 302 redirects, here’s a quick ‘trick’:

Paste the redirecting URL into the Search Console’s URL Inspection tool. If it shows the “URL is not on Google” warning, Google must be treating the redirect as permanent (301). If it is on Google, then they’re treating it as temporary (302).

6 url is not on google

Just make sure to check the last crawl date when doing this. If this date comes after you implemented the redirect, request re-indexing and come back later.

SIDENOTE.

From our observations, Google is usually quicker to treat 302 redirects as permanent when redirecting to an ‘established’ page or site. That’s probably because the ‘new’ page or website has been around a while, so there’s a higher than average probability that you wanted to redirect the URL permanently.

Link signals

3XX redirects used to dilute PageRank, but that stopped in 2016.

Now, when you redirect one URL to another, link signals consolidate at one URL without dilution. However, the way this works is commonly misunderstood, as the type of redirect can impact where the signals consolidate.

For 301 redirects…

… link signals consolidate ‘forward’ to the ‘new’ URL.

For example, if old-page.html has ten backlinks, and you redirect (301) that to new-page.html, all link signals will consolidate at the new-page.html. In other words, Google should rank new-page.html as though it has ten links.

However, it’s not quite that simple because Google treats irrelevant redirects as soft 404s:

That isn’t a problem if you’re moving content to a new URL without drastically changing it. But if the redirect is irrelevant, as is the case when redirecting an old blog post to your homepage, links to the ‘old’ page probably won’t help the ‘new’ page rank. So the golden rule is to keep your redirects as relevant as possible.

If you’re curious how Google is treating one of your 301 redirects, try this:

Go to Search Console > Links > External Links.

7 top linked pages

Next, filter the report by “Target page,” and paste in the ‘new’ URL.

top target pages new url

Next, paste the ‘old’ URL into your Site Explorer and go to the Referring Domains report.

8 referring domains ahrefs

Finally, in GSC, filter the links by “Site,” and paste in referring domains one by one.

If you do this for several referring domains and get no matches in GSC, Google is likely treating the redirect as a soft 404, and not counting the backlinks towards the ‘new’ URL.

9 no results domain gsc

If there is a match, click on the site to see the actual links. You should see something like this:

10 target url if different

Notice that the “Target URL (if different)” column shows the ‘old’ redirected URL. This tells us that Google is counting links to the redirected URL towards the ‘new’ URL.

For 302 redirects…

… link signals usually consolidate ‘backward’ to the ‘old’ URL.

For example, if you redirect (302) old-page.html to new-page.html, and new-page.html has ten backlinks, all link signals will usually consolidate at old-page.html. In other words, Google should rank old-page.html as though it has ten links.

However, things aren’t quite that simple. It depends on how Google treats the 302 redirect.

If they’re treating it as a temporary redirect, link signals will indeed consolidate backward. That’s assuming the redirected page is the same as or similar to the ‘new’ page. If not, they may treat it as a soft 404.

If they’re treating it as a permanent redirect, link signals will consolidate forward.

You can check how Google is treating a redirect with the URL Inspection tool. Just paste in the ‘old’ redirected URL. If the “Google-selected canonical” shows “Inspected URL” (as is the case below), Google is treating the redirect as temporary. If not, it’s treating it as permanent.

Let’s say that you’ve made the common mistake of using 302 redirects for permanent moves. Do you need to spend precious time swapping them all to 301 redirects?

The answer depends on how Google currently treats those redirects.

If they’ve figured things out for themselves and are already treating the ‘accidental’ 302s as permanent moves, then changing them to 301s may not impact anything. If they haven’t yet figured things out, swapping the redirects from 302s to 301s is likely the best course of action.

You can use the URL Inspection tool in GSC to check how Google treats individual URLs, as shown in the previous section. However, that’s pretty time-consuming if you have a lot of redirects. A faster method is to first look for 302 redirects that get organic traffic. After all, that’s a telltale sign that Google is still treating the redirect as temporary.

You can do this in your Site Audit. Just crawl your site, then check the Redirects report for the “302 redirects” warning.

12 302 redirects site audit

If it’s there, click to view the affected URLs, and sort the report by “Organic traffic” from high to low.

13 302 redirects with traffic

If the user-declared and Google-declared canonicals match, Google is treating the 302 redirect as permanent. If they don’t, the redirected page is likely getting organic traffic because it’s still indexed and Google is treating it as temporary. That isn’t desirable if you used a 302 redirect by accident for a permanent move. Luckily, swapping the 302 redirect to a 301 should fix the issue.

Final thoughts

Redirects aren’t that complicated. If you’re moving content to a new location permanently, use a 301 redirect. If you’re moving it temporarily, use a 302 redirect.

That said, it might be reassuring to know that even if you do happen to use the wrong type of redirect, Google will likely figure out what you meant eventually. Does this always happen? Of course not. Google isn’t always smart enough to figure out what you meant without fail every time, so it’s best practice to use the correct type of redirect where possible.

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The Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

Consumer behavior is changing rapidly and unpredictably during the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why conducting keyword research is now more important than ever to understand the latest shifts in consumer intent.

Although 100% of SEO professionals worth their salt understand how to dig insights out of Google Search Console and know which keyword tools have helped them in the past to increase traffic, rankings, and visibility in search results, this is the time to think outside the search box.

Even one new insight per fortnight can help your company or clients pivot to create more relevant content as they navigate the “new normal.”

That means taking advantage of resources that didn’t exist before March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, or using extra tools to double-check your assumptions.

Here are some places that I now visit virtually every weekday and some tools that I’ve reached for in the toolbox that I rarely used before I had to start dealing with strange things that go bump in the night.

1. Rising Retail Categories

In May 2020, Think with Google launched an interactive tool called Rising Retail Categories to help us understand:

  • Fast-rising retail categories in Google Search.
  • The locations where they’re growing.
  • The queries associated with them.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

For example, the top trending categories in the U.S. year-over-year include:

  • Sprinkler controls.
  • Sneeze guards.
  • Household disinfectants.
  • Neck gaiters.
  • Protective masks.

Or, focus on the top trending categories month-over-month to discover:

  • Food Container Covers (+100%).
  • Crayons (+100%).
  • Medical Equipment (+90%).
  • Pen & Pencil Cases (+70%).
  • Baby & Toddler Outerwear (+60%).

Then, tackle the top trending categories week-over-week, and examine:

  • Blank ID Cards (+40%).
  • Pie & Pastry Fillings (+30%).
  • Play Mats & Gyms (+30%).
  • Foosball Tables (+30%).
  • Neck Gaiters (+30%).
  • Chalkboards (+30%).

If your company or clients makes any of these products, this is your opportunity to spot a key trend and become a hero.

2. Coronavirus Search Trends

In March 2020, Google launched Coronavirus Search Trends.

There was a surge in search interest for the topic, coronavirus, from late February through early May.

Since then, search interest in coronavirus has fallen below the topic, weather, and is now roughly equal with search interest in the topic, news, but still remains above the topics of sports and music.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

3. The U.S. Economy & COVID-19

Recently, Google has added a new section of its Coronavirus Search Trends that is focused on The U.S. Economy and COVID-19.

How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected searches around the economy?

How do they compare now to searches in the past?

Scroll down the page to see search interest in the term, recession, since 2004.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

And keep scrolling down to see the spikes in search interest in other terms, like unemployment benefits, food bank, food stamps, and mortgage forbearance.

Or, look at the map of the country to see where search interest in terms like debt, bankruptcy, and “can’t pay rent” are located.

4. Shopping Insights

Google launched Shopping Insights in October 2015, but I’ve rarely used the tool before the COVID-19 recession despite the fact that it enables you to see how your company or clients stack up against your competitors, and it lets you track competing products in your category.

In these “extraordinarily uncertain” times, it’s a life saver.

Now, it’s painfully obvious that this year’s disruptions are making it hard for retailers to plan for the holidays.

But, Shopping Insights helps them stay up to date on what shoppers want and follow trends in their category.

How can Google provide these shopping insights?

According to Think with Google, in 63% of shopping scenarios, shoppers go online to conduct research before they make a purchase decision, regardless of whether they end up buying online or in a store.

With daily search data for 55,000+ products, 45,000+ brands, and nearly 5,000 categories across the U.S., Shopping Insights helps you better understand customers’ shopping intent online, and make more informed merchandising and marketing decisions across online and offline channels.

For example, the top brands in the Toys & Games category, based on data from July 17 to August 16, 2020, are:

  • LEGO.
  • Hasbro.
  • Mattel.
  • Funko.
  • Hot Wheels.

So, if you are planning for either Small Business Saturday or the entire Holiday Season, you know which brands to stock on your shelves.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

5. Market Finder

Google launched Market Finder in November 2017, but I’ve rarely used the tool in the past.

But, it has now become a game-changer when helping clients navigate the “new normal.”

For example, I’m working with the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) to generate applications for its Online Professional Masters in Human Resource Management program.

By entering SMLR’s URL into Market Finder, I was able to calculate which regions offer the best opportunities for growth, based on key metrics for my chosen categories.

Within the United States, they are California, Texas, and Florida.

For Rutgers, which is the State University of New Jersey, this came as a major surprise, because it represents a significant shift from the geographic trends before the pandemic.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

6. Google Surveys

Google Consumer Surveys was launched in March 2012. It was renamed Google Surveys in October 2016.

It’s become one of the essential tools in my toolkit for getting valuable insights into the minds of my clients’ target audiences.

If you haven’t used it yet, Google Surveys is a market research tool that gathers data from survey questions that you write.

Web users answer your survey questions in order to access high-quality content on the Google Display Network.

In turn, content publishers get paid as their users answer your questions. Google then aggregates and analyzes the responses through a simple online interface.

Yes, I also use Search Console and keyword tools. But, those tell me “what” people are searching for.

They don’t tell me “why” people are conducting those queries.

That’s why I’ve used Google Surveys multiple times to “see around corners or peek above walls,” as the toy periscope ads often say.

Only now, Google Surveys help me uncover search intent, which is much more valuable.

I have frequently used screening questions to ensure that the respondents to a particular survey represent the niche audience that my client is targeting, instead of anyone and everyone who used a search term.

And Google Surveys has enabled me to get answers within days instead of weeks with more traditional survey methods.

Oh, and did I mention that it was cheap?

No, it’s not free, but prices start of $0.10 per completed survey, although I typically pay about $1.50 per completed survey because I use surveys with 2 to 10 questions that are targeted at respondents of specific ages, genders, or locations.

For example, keyword research will generally help me select a keyword phrase to optimize the title and headline of a landing page.

But, Google Surveys will help me to ensure that the content on that landing page actually addresses the consumer intent behind the query.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

Why is that valuable?

Because you can do more than generate organic search traffic.

SEOs can generate organic search traffic that converts into qualified leads or online sales.

7. Google Trends

Google Trends was launched in May 2005, so it’s the oldest tool on this list.

And many SEO professionals don’t use it that often because it doesn’t provide data on organic search volumes.

But these aren’t normal times.

And finding insights that can be processed within minutes of an event happening in the real world can get SEOs a seat at the table where strategic decisions are made.

For example, I just taught a course for the New Media Academy (NMA) on “Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy” to a group of more than 100 business professionals in the United Arab Emirates.

And one of the recent articles that I shared with my NMA class was entitled, How people decide what to buy lies in the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey.

It was written by Alistair Rennie and Jonny Protheroe, who both work on Google’s consumer insights team, and it was published last month in Think with Google.

Rennie and Protheroe used Google Trends to take a look at worldwide search interest for “best” vs. “cheap” from January 1, 2004, through July 1, 2020.

7 Google Tools to Use When Conducting Keyword Research Today

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done this particular comparison before.

And I was surprised to see that worldwide search interest for “best” has increased steadily over the past 16-and-a-half years, while worldwide search interested for “cheap” had decreased steadily over the same period of time.

Oh, and the Great Recession of 2007-2009 didn’t impact these trends at all.

Now, that’s in insight worth taking to the next Zoom meeting of your entire marketing team.

As your company or clients deal with these “extraordinarily uncertain” times, this is not time to create and optimize new content for “cheap.”

You should create and optimize new content for “best,” instead.

Why?

Because that’s what your customers are searching for.

And, even though we’re facing an unprecedented crisis, it’s worth remembering that a crisis represents both a threat and an opportunity for your company or clients.

That means this unprecedented crisis represents a threat and an opportunity for you, too.

That’s why this is no time to continue using the same old tools that you learned to use five, 10, or 15 years ago.

It’s time to explore some or all of the alternatives mentioned above.

Who knows, they may help your company or clients bounce back from the COVID-19 recession more quickly, or they may even help you bounce forward to your next promotion in a shorter period of time.

How to Remove Internal Duplicate Content from WordPress Site?

Having WordPress as your content management system (CMS) is definitely a wise decision that will make your life as a blogger and business owner easier. In most of the cases, the best SEO practices are already implemented with the platform’s responsiveness and its unprecedented optimization versatility. As a matter of fact, WordPress now runs more than 30% of the pages from the entire internet!

This is because with WordPress, businesses and bloggers can create their own unique DIY experiences. As a CMS, WordPress also allows you to incorporate plugins and tools that will help you enhance content practices even more. However, as the content management process became easier, the possibility to have a duplicate content problem in your WordPress site is more present than ever.

Content duplication can be one of the leading reasons why your site doesn’t rank well in search engines and why users can decide to abandon your blog and look for content somewhere else. If you don’t want to leave anything to chance and improve your WordPress site by solving duplicate content issues, prepare to learn more about the problem and how to avoid it successfully.

WHAT IS WORDPRESS CONTENT DUPLICATION?

To put it simply, WordPress duplicate content is any copy from one page that completely matches or is remarkably similar to other copy from another page of your WordPress website. Or a content that is the same but with different URLs.

Some of the readers won’t mind if they find some duplicate content because, in the end, they got the content that they searched for. However, search engines have a tough time with duplicate content on your page because they have to choose which one is more relevant to show in the search results.

If you host more copies of your content on your website, intentionally or unintentionally, you’ll confuse Google about which version is the relevant one. Then the search engine will pick one and hide the rest from the keyword search that you target the content for and this will inevitably result in a diminishing effect on your WordPress site SEO.

This may seem like an obvious thing to avoid, but many times, one simple error or lack of creativity can yield problems that involve duplicate content. Without further ado, let’s have a look at where these issues can happen and what can you do to fix them.


CAUSES OF DUPLICATE CONTENT

In most of the cases, web owners don’t produce duplicate content intentionally on their sites. Instead, the issue happens due to technicalities, such as:

Wordpress Duplicate Content Issues And How To Fix Them

  • Session ID: If you run an eCommerce site, you need to keep track of your visitors and allow them to store items or login passwords. This requires from you to provide them a ‘session’. Some systems can’t back up Session IDs and every internal link from your page will get the Session ID which results in a new URL (duplicate content).
  • URL Parameters: http://www.domain.com/post-x/ and http://www.domain.com/post-x/?source=rss are not the same URL. Not only that these URLs make it difficult for your page to rank, but they also create duplicate content.
  • Content Syndication: Sometimes other websites can use your content without your agreement. This makes the job for search engines difficult because they have to deal with two versions of the same article. The more popular your blog is, the bigger are the chances for it to be scrapped, which increases the chances for duplicate content too.
  • Comment Pagination: WordPress allows you to paginate your post comments. This causes duplicate content by adding URLs to the original post, such as ‘ArticleURL+comment-page-1, comment-page-2, etc.
  • WWW/no-WWW: When both versions of the URL lead to your homepage, or HTTP vs. HTTPS duplicated content, where the same content can be accessed with both protocols.

PROBLEMATIC TAGS

Using tags can be problematic because when you use tags in your articles, you create a page that is full of posts with similar content. That page contains parts, links, and snippets from the posts that use that tag. Tags are not categories, and you can easily confuse search engines if you created a competitive page for your categories.

Wordpress Duplicate Content Issues And How To Fix Them

This is why overusing tags is not beneficial for your WordPress website. Luckily, it’s a problem that is easy to fix. One of the solutions is to reduce your tags or having none at all. The other one is to incorporate meta robots no index dofollow tags. With that, you can hide the duplicate content pages that you don’t want Google to index when assessing your content.

To make the incorporation of no index do follow tags easier, whether you want to isolate one post or an entire section of the posts that use a particular tag, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin for your WordPress site.


DUPLICATE URLS

If you have multiple URLs that direct the users to the same content, again, it will result in a duplicate content within your WordPress site.

From all those URLs, the right one is called the Canonical URL. You can set up canonical URLs if you want to tell search engines which links they should index, a feature that is built-in within the CMS.

Canonical URLs are one of the vital features of your on-page SEO. Your URL can be accessed in the following ways:

  • http://domainname.com/1
  • http://domainname.com/1/
  • http://www.domainname.com/1
  • http://www.domainname.com/1/

Each of them takes the users to the same page and consequently create duplicate content from your URL. When you set up a canonical URL, you can redirect search engine robots to the links that you want them to index.

If you want to avoid duplicate URLs, you need to use the rel=canonical in the URLs of your WordPress site. For the purpose, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to add the canonical URL for your WordPress blog or add the following code to your theme right before the <head>:

<?php if ( is_singular() ) { ?>

<link rel="canonical" href="<?php the_permalink(); ?>" />

<?php } ?>

</head>

This will tell the search engine which link is preferred for indexing. Or, if you want to completely delete or rename your duplicates, go through the following steps:

  1. Go to Pages and sort your pages alphabetically
  2. Locate the duplicate pages
  3. If the content is different, edit the title to avoid confusion
  4. Go to the Permalinks page, remove Page Slug, and click OK
  5. Delete any pages that have duplicated content or edit the URLs if the content and the layout of the duplicated URL is the same

PREVENTING DUPLICATE URLS

If you want to avoid the issue of duplicate URLs in the future for your WordPress, keep in mind the following tips:

  • A page and a post should never share the same title.
  • If you use the Duplicate Post plugin, always change the title and the URL of the Clone page to something unique.
  • Only publish pages that you plan to use.
  • Delete unused pages and drafts.
  • Pay attention if you import demo content – it may conflict with the existing content.

DUPLICATE CATEGORIES

Just like tags do, categories feature multiple posts under one hat. The content from the links in most of the cases is displayed with snippets before users can click the link and access the post.

This problem arises when you archive pages that are created with every tag and every category. For example, “WordPress Mistakes You Need to Know” is your post and you tag it with “WordPress Mistakes” plus you categorize it with “WP Mistakes”. This creates 3 different archive pages with a duplicate content. Each of those pages is made up from the same content “WordPress Mistakes You Need to Know”.

The duplicate pages may disappear if you manage to rearrange your content in a proper way. If you have lots of tags and categories, the chances for duplicated content will be bigger.

The solution for duplicated categories is again, just like in tags, using meta robot index and dofollow tags for posts plus giving each category a unique name that is relevant for the posts that go under its hat.


ATTACHMENT IMAGE URLS

When you attach an image to your WordPress page, the image is added as an attachment URL, so if the users click on the image or open it in a separate page, they’ll be redirected to the image URL.

This causes duplicate content to be indexed on Google and it will hardly add any value for your SEO rankings. One swift way to fix this is to use Yoast SEO plugin and locate the function “Redirect attachment URLs to parent post URL”.

Wordpress Duplicate Content Issues And How To Fix Them

Keep the option checked as “Redirect”. Another way to solve this is right when you upload an image. When you upload it, make sure that you select “Link to none” or “Link to image” as optional.

Wordpress Duplicate Content Issues And How To Fix Them


WRAPPING UP

Bottom line, duplicate content happens constantly, whether because of technicalities of your WordPress site, URL redirection or content scraping. In most of the cases, each content duplicate issue can be solved easily by using the tips that we described above.

Always pay close attention and make sure that any duplicated content is removed from your site. It will improve your search rankings and guarantee that your content and URLs are properly arranged as they should be on your WordPress website.

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Easy Way to Improve Your Google Rankings

How Long It Takes to Rank on Google

A study by Ahrefs turned up some interesting information, in terms of how long it takes to rank on Google.

Among the main takeaways:

  • On average, a page that ranked in the top 10 was over 2 years old. Moreover, the average age of pages that ranked first was nearly 3 years old.
  • Among the pages that ranked in the top 10, only 22 percent of them were less than 1-year-old.
  • Of all pages in the study, only about 6 percent appeared in the top 10 search engine results for at least one keyword within one year.
  • Zooming into the top 6 percent pages, most of them were able to get to the top 10 from nowhere in 2 to 6 months.

So, based on their findings, about 94 percent of the pages in the study never made it to the top 10 search engine rankings within a year.

How to Improve Your Google Rankings

As you can see, to reach the top 10 SERPs in less than 1 year, takes lots of hard work, skill, and sometimes luck. And this takes us back to the topic of today’s discussion on how to improve your Google ranking.

So, if you want to boost sales and conversions by taking your website to the first page of Google, here are five steps you should take.

1. Start with a Sound Foundation

Poor website structure and information architecture can doom even the best SEO campaigns.

If your website is difficult for users to navigate and Google to crawl, your rankings are likely to suffer.

Think about “usability first” on a mobile platform. That is the pathway to success.

Perform a Technical SEO Audit

The Google algorithm incorporates hundreds (if not thousands) of signals, plus machine learning to determine search rankings.

That said, tending to the SEO basics will give you an advantage over many competitors.

Fix Duplicate Content

Duplicate content issues are often related to technical issues. The most common being multiple versions of the same page.

For example, http://www.yousite.comhttps://www.yousite.comhttp://yousite.com, and https://yousite.com would be considered by Google as four different pages with identical content.

This can be resolved by setting the proper redirect rules in your .htaccess file

2. Optimize for Mobile

With Google rolling out the mobile-first index, your website needs to pass the Mobile-Friendly Test.

According to Google:

“… our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content… Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking…”

In order to avoid a mobile ranking meltdown, you should double down on mobile tasks and performance.

Tasks

Think about what users want to do on your site, once they land on it. They need to be able to perform those basic tasks smoothly and without difficulties, even while multi-tasking.

What are the first three to five objectives of your site’s visitors? Ensure they can be accomplished on your mobile site effortlessly.

Performance

Do your visitors find themselves scrolling endlessly to access the services or products that you offer?

Do images bog down loading times on your website?

Did you know that Google will be using page speed as a mobile search ranking factor, starting in July?

Loading time is a huge factor on mobile devices, particularly since most of the connections on mobile tend to be slower than those of PCs.

3. Optimize for Speed

For both mobile or desktop, you must continuously monitor the speed and keep improving it.

Use the Google PageSpeed tool to benchmark performance.

Here’s how you can execute page speed optimization:

Image File Size

Use your favorite image editing program.

Before uploading, you can further optimize your image by using an image compression and optimizer tool.

Lastly, always confirm that the dimensions of the image fit into the reserved image space to retain a clean, structured look on your live webpage

Browser Caching

When a web browser loads a page, it loads a number of resources. Browser caching stores these resource files locally on the users’ computer. That way, when a user navigates to a new page, those resources need not be loaded again.

For most sites, the best way to enable browser caching is by adding code to the web host/server .htaccess file.

For WordPress, there are plugins available to accomplish this.

Script Handling

Before loading countless JS and CSS files to enhance your site, make sure that you actually need those extra augmentations as they end up slowing down your website.

You can also minify your files by stripping comments, for instance, to keep things running fast.

If it’s possible to merge several scripts into a single file, go for it. That way, there will only be one retrieving call to the server to load all the scripts.

4. Work on the Links

Both internal and external links continue to have a huge influence on how your website ranks.

Here are a few tips for polishing up your link game:

Fix Broken Links

Many website owners have a habit of ignoring broken links. This can create a less than ideal user experience.

By running a crawl on your site with tools like W3C Link Checker, you can easily spot the 404 errors and fix them.

Exact Match Anchor Text

Abuse of exact match anchor text can be poison as an external linking strategy but still plays a big role when selecting internal anchor text.

As with anything, don’t be spammy, but if it’s relevant – use it.

Turn Site Mentions into Links

Get notice of mentions of your site by setting a Google Alert.

This will help you keep track of your brand mentions across the web.

In cases where the mentions are unlinked, contact the webmaster and request they turn the mention into a link.

5. On-Page Optimization

Google wants to help you out here. They have produced a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide meant for anyone interested in promoting online content via Google search.

As with website architecture, just doing the basics, as explained in this guide, will put you head and shoulders above many of your competitors.

Best Practices

Tell Google What Your Pages Are About

Do this by adding structured data throughout your site. That way, Google can easily understand what each page is about.

Schema is the format preferred by Google.

Schema types include recipes, businesses, products, authors, and more.

Create Unique, Brief & Descriptive Titles

Create a title that is natural and descriptive as opposed to a series of keywords.

Every page needs a unique title.

Craft ‘Clickable’ Meta Descriptions

Even though meta descriptions don’t have a direct impact on your website’s ranking, they play a significant role in CTR. This, in turn, can increase your traffic.

So, make sure all descriptions are both unique and irresistible to click. If you don’t use a description or if Google doesn’t like your description, they will auto-generate one.

Conclusion

As Google continues to close the door on spammy techniques and schemes, anyone serious about digital marketing needs to take a long view.

The strategies mentioned above aren’t sexy or new. They do, however, require work and a continual investment of resources.

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Tips to Improve PrestaShop SEO

The main purpose of search engine optimization is to help both users and search engines better understand a website’s content. Bearing in mind that Google ranks sites according to such parameters as site speed, used keywords, time spent on site etc, it is appropriate to optimize your SEO PrestaShop as much as possible. The more your website is user-friendly and the more original content it contains, the higher rankings it will receive from Google.

Let’s get closer to the most necessary PrestaShop SEO tips that should definitely be included in your SEO checklist.

Select strategic SEO keywords

One of the most important factors making Google rank you high is using the right keywords. The best way to define popular keywords is by using such tools as Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends.

Create appropriate SEO meta tags

Metadata is used to help web crawlers index your site in the correct manner. Meta titles and meta descriptions should be not too long or too short. The recommended length is about 200 characters. Also, make sure your metadata is not overwhelmed with keywords, otherwise Google may throw your positions way down.

Write unique product and category PrestaShop SEO descriptions

Google does not prefer displaying pages with duplicate content on the first search result positions. So you should try to create informative and original product descriptions and avoid using those provided by your manufacturers as they can appear on many other sites too.

Set SEO friendly URLs

Friendly URLs are links containing correct category and product names for a customer to be appropriately informed and guided. Unfriendly URLs consist of a mix of numbers and words giving a shopper any information about the destination of the link.

You can also enable redirecting to canonical URLs – these are original URLs, so in case your site contains duplicated URLs, a user will be redirected to the original one. In order to find the settings, rfom PrestaShop admin go to Preferences => SEO & Urls.

Speed up PrestaShop

According to statistics, an average user waits for a page to load no more than 3 seconds. So you need to take all possible measures to make your site work faster. For example, configure Combine, Compress, Cache (CCC); load images in mostly supported formats like JPEG, PNG or GIF; avoid using redirects. You can also get a content delivery network (CDN) that provides connection to local server and getting data from there.

Create PrestaShop sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file used for navigating web crawlers to reach and index particular pages of your website. It also tells the bots how often these pages need to be checked.

It is also recommended to use robots.txt file instructing web crawlers on how to track and index your site.

Integrate your site with social media

A Facebook or YouTube profile of your store having numerous subscribers can bring you a lot of new visitors and make your site more popular. So you should connect your site to social media profiles. It would be also a great idea to enable sharing your products or services on these profiles.

Set structured data markup

Structured data, also known as rich snippets, is the additional information placed next to meta title and meta description. In our case this is some important product information (e.g. rating, price, currency etc). Rich snippets can help both web crawlers and users better understand the content of your page and make it look well-presented in the search results.

Make your site mobile-friendly

Multi-screen web search becomes highly prioritized by users. That’s why having a mobile optimized website can bring your positions much higher.

Adjust your page sizes so users will not have to scroll horizontally. Also, make sure to reduce images and buttons size and make text readable without zooming.

Summary

When it comes to involving more customers to your store, search engine optimization becomes an imperative task. Having a favorable position in search results can provide your website with high traffic and increase your conversion rates. That’s why you need to make sure that all of the above listed features are in good condition. Besides, effective SEO requires constant checking and improving according to current trends.

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Tips & Tricks to Improve Your Content

As digital marketing begins to mature, businesses are shifting their focus from implementation to optimization.

With more messages sent across more platforms content needs to stand out and earn attention – even in paid media.

Facebook calls this “thumb-stopping power” – does your content cause someone to stop scrolling and engage?

If you are ready to take your content to the next level, here are 17 tips, tricks, and tools that can improve your content even more.

1. Mix Up Your Content

While video generally gets more engagements and certain types of email headlines may generate higher open rates the reality is that different people respond best to different things.

In order to reach as many people as possible with a message that is relevant to them, mix up your content.

Some people will respond to discounts, others to emotional messaging, others to action-oriented videos. This is true for all of your marketing communications.

Mix up your approach as much as possible to reach as many people as possible and maximize your impact.

2. Start with the Benefit

We’ve seen a big change in how content is crafted for digital vs. traditional mediums.

In a traditional TV commercial, the storytelling starts slow, builds to a reveal/climax, and ends with the brand. In digital people won’t stick around.

Digital content starts with the benefit or headline.

Think about recipe videos – they start with the end result – a mouthwatering dish vs. starting with the instructions.

While some brands have good enough storytelling that they can draw you in, this isn’t the case for most content. Start with what they get to draw them in and maintain attention with quick moving content.

3. Test, Test, Test, Test, Test

Many marketers still don’t build testing into their strategy, or they do it haphazardly.

As you evaluate your content plan for the year (on any channel) consider some things that you want to test.

A good testing plan goes beyond things like button colors or headline wording – these are more optimizations on a concept.

Businesses of any size with any budget can test content easily. Maybe you want to test the benefit that people respond best to, product positioning, imagery, or pricing.

All of these can be tested easily online and can step change your marketing results across channels.

4. Get Inspired by Influencers

When looking for content strategy and inspiration we often look at other businesses, but most businesses struggle to create content that breaks through the noise.

Instead, look to influencers for inspiration. They live and die by their content and know what their audience responds to. Food videos on Facebook were revolutionized by food bloggers, not food brands.

This can give you new ideas for how to approach content. Look at channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter to see the concepts and executions that influencers are using.

5. Do Less Stuff Better

While we are used to content calendars and schedules, what we know in an AI algorithm-powered world is that content that performs best (both organically or in an ad) will earn more views.

Reconsider your approach to content and aim at doing fewer things better.

Many businesses have reduced their blog post frequency and instead focus on fewer higher quality articles and guides.

6. Have Some Fun

When we look at content that performs well we see that emojis can increase email open rates, Stories are full of fun formats like Boomerangs and slow-motion and stickers are making their way into LinkedIn videos.

All of this shows that people want fun and engaging content. Whether your brand is serious or targeting millennials look for ways to add some fun into your content to earn attention.

7. Find a Real Consumer Insight

The best marketing content is driven by a real consumer or customer insight.

For example, the Snickers Hangry campaign hit a nerve because it went deeper than “people eat Snickers as a snack.” They asked why snacking is important and discovered people are crazy angry jerks or hangry when they don’t eat.

A lot of content focuses on the “what” – the product features.

Digging deeper to understand why those features are important and how they impact people will take your results to the next level and draw people into your content.

8. Strategic Analytics -> What -> So What -> Now What

Most businesses look at analytics or reports, but often the information isn’t deep enough to be actionable.

As you review analytics for your content ask yourself:

  • What: What is this telling me?
  • So What: What does that mean?
  • Now What: What should I do about it?

This digital marketing analytics approach focuses on making your analytics actionable. Every time you look at analytics your goal should be to have actionable items that you can implement.

9. Build Content on Relevant Connections

One of the things that makes a lot of content fall flat is that it isn’t based on a relevant connection.

For example “Happy Holidays from Business X” or “It’s Football Season – Come Buy a New Car”. The problem with these posts is that there is no real connection to the brand.

If you want your content to breakthrough it needs to be contextually relevant.

Ask yourself how is baseball season is related to buying a new car. Make the post relevant and interesting.

10. Give Your Content More Reach on New Channels

As you look at the content you are creating (beyond marketing content even) look for opportunities to repurpose your content on different channels.

For example, my company posts a lot of our digital marketing training presentations on SlideShare.

It only takes about 5-10 minutes to add a presentation. A SlideShare can gain hundreds or thousands of views over time and rank in search engines.

We aim to cross post our videos for Facebook on LinkedIn and YouTube to gain even more ROI for our content investment.

11. Get Reinspired

Sometimes it can be tricky to come up with concepts or ideas, and most businesses and content creators get into a rut or a habit of posting similar content.

Look to different sources of inspiration like Pinterest, Google Trends, Search Data, or tools like Answer The Public and BuzzSumo.

These tools will show you what content people are searching for and sharing, which can help breathe new life into your content strategy.

12. Repurpose Your Best Content

When you find something that works – capitalize on it!

Take your best-performing blog post and turn it into a video or infographic.

Take your best-performing topic and find new ways to make it relevant to your audience.

Sometimes we feel the need to reinvent the wheel, which often leaves content creators out of ideas or fatigued.

Finding ways to breath new life into great content will give you a better chance of success and also means you don’t always need totally new ideas.

13. Immediate Attention-Grabbing Creative

Your creative needs to break through the noise and grab attention right away. With more traffic moving to mobile you have even less time to earn attention.

People scroll newsfeeds faster on mobile compared to desktop (1.7 seconds vs. 2.5 seconds) which means you have even less time to draw them in.

  • A video needs to start with a quick motion and action to draw people in.
  • An image needs to be engaging.
  • A headline has to quickly capture interest.
  • A website has to load quickly and show value.

Ask yourself if your content captures attention in only a few seconds.

14. Experiment More with Formats

Think outside of your regular box when it comes to your content and try new things. Find simple, low-cost ways to test out new platforms or formats.

For example Stories or Live format content or try video on LinkedIn if you haven’t yet. What you will find is that different people respond to different things.

As we were preparing for our Stories Training Course, we started posting more stories on Instagram and Facebook, and actually generated a lead from an Instagram story that had relatively low reach.

We hadn’t really thought that Instagram stories would be a strong channel for our audience. You may be surprised at the results, so it is good to experiment vs. assume.

15. Video

Video is getting bigger in every single platform. Even LinkedIn is prioritizing video in the newsfeed and videos can earn views and shares from second and third-degree connections.

Prioritize video in your strategy.

Into “DIY” content? There are tons of great tools like Animoto, Ripl, or even Canva that make it easy to create outstanding videos.

If you use an agency talk about how you can create and test short videos.

16. Reuse Your Best Content

Many businesses create great content – maybe a video or an infographic and promote it when it launches and then they move on and continue to the next post, ad, or lead gen tactic in their content calendar.

With digital marketing, few people in your audience see everything that you post (or remember it). Make sure that your workflow includes analyzing and reusing evergreen content.

This will also help you to justify investing more time or money in better content. If you get more leverage by reusing and repromoting a great piece of content you gain a better return on your creative investment.

17. Use Content Learnings Across Channels

For example:

  • Your best blog headline could also be a great headline for PPC.
  • A video that does well on Facebook could also be a good blog post.
  • A high-traffic webpage could create good content for Facebook.

When we approach analytics we are often focused on a single channel. Look at how your content insights can apply to other channels and test them.

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These 9 SEO Tips Are All You’ll Ever Need to Rank in Google

Why don’t planes crash more often from mechanical failure? With all the moving parts inside a plane, it seems that something would break fairly easily. So, why doesn’t that happen? One primary reason: checklists.

Before pilots push the button for taxiing and take-off, they perform an extensive pre-flight checklist to make sure everything is functioning exactly as it should be.

Entrepreneurs hoping for strong SEO (search engine optimization) rankings might take a lesson here. They can create a checklist of their own to make sure everything is perfect for their next website article. No, an SEO checklist won’t protect you from crashing and burning. But it will help ensure that your post has the best chance it needs to rank high in Google.

So, before you publish your next piece of web content, run it through the following 9-point checklist for the best SEO tips.

1. Pick a good keyword to focus on.

The first step is to simply pick the search term or phrase you want the post to show up for. If I am writing about the best dog toys for small dogs, I’ll want to find out what people are actually searching for.

The easiest way to do this is use Google Keyword Planner, a free tool that will show you an estimate for any search phrase. (Although Keyword Planner is free, you may need to set up an AdWords account to gain access.)

For example, I noticed that “small dog toys” receives 590 monthly searches — higher than any other related combination of words. However, I’m still not totally ready to start writing about this topic. First, I need to do some research.

2. Research the competition.

Now that I have a term I want to try to rank for, I’m going to go undercover and do some recon!

Jump over to your “private browsing” mode on your web browser (“Incognito” in Chrome, “Private” in Safari and Firefox, “InPrivate” on Internet Explorer) and head to Google.com. (At my company, we do “private mode” because we don’t want Google to use our past search history to influence what we see on the search results page.)

Take a look at all the content on page one of Google, ignoring any ad results at the top. The 10 (or so) results are your competition! What are they missing? Can you do better?

3. Write the best content.

Now that you know what your competition looks like, it’s time to create the content that is going to blow those folks out of the water. This is perhaps the most difficult part, but it’s the most important. It needs to be amazing.

I don’t care if you are creating a blog post, ecommerce store page or sales-landing page. It needs to be better than the rest, or else neither Google nor your audience will ever take note.

4. Put the keyword in your page title.

This should be a no-brainer, but I’ll say it anyway: Your page title should contain your keyword, but that doesn’t mean it has to be exact (though it can be).

Additionally, the title must also be interesting enough that people will actually want to click on it! A good example of this would be PT from PTMoney.com, who wrote a great post about “making extra money.” However, rather than a boring title, like “Make Extra Money,” he titled it “52 Ways to Make Extra Money.” Now that is something I would want to read.

5. Put the keyword in your header.

You can organize most webpages by having a large title at the top, followed by several sub-headers throughout the page (like the sub-headers in this post).

This organization is helpful not only for people in skimming blog-post articles, it’s helpful in showing Google exactly what your blog post is about. Therefore, be sure to use your exact keyword phrase at least once in your sub-headers.

6. Put the keyword in the name and alt-tag of your image.

Next, if your blog post contains images, you can use those images to cement the idea to Google about your post’s topic. There are two ways to do this:

  1. The image name
  2. The image alt tag

To change the image name, simply change the name of the image on your computer before uploading. Instead of a file called “2831274.jpg,” you can re-name it something like “small dog toys 1.jpg.”

The “alt tag” is something you designate after you upload the photo to your website. Without getting too technical, the alt tag is simply the text that the web browser will show if the photo can’t load for some reason.

7. Use the keyword in the URL and in the post.

Another way Google is able to determine what your blog post is about is the URL. In other words, we’re talking about what comes after the “.com” in your url (or .net, .org, or whatever you use). For example, which of the following URLs do you think Google will like better when deciding whether or not to show a certain page?

  • www.ExampleDogToyWebsite.com/9124824834-1
  • www.ExampleDogToyWebsite.com/small-dog-toys

You’re right if you guessed the second one. While the former might not completely kill your SEO efforts, the latter definitely helps show Google exactly what the post is about.

8. Insert internal links.

If you aren’t talking about your best content, why should anyone else care? For this reason, it’s important that your best SEO content be linked to internally by other pages on your website.

Yes, this means you may need to go back and edit some older posts to include links to the new, incredible content.

9. The most-important SEO tip: Get external links.

Okay, finally we’re finally at the big one: external links.

External links are links from websites other than your own. Google relies heavily on external links to determine how good a post is. And this makes sense, doesn’t it? You can talk about yourself and your own skills all day long, but no one will believe you. But as soon as other people begin bragging about you, others take notice.

While producing incredible content may get you some links, the truth is, you are going to have to do some “link building.” This means reaching out to other website owners in the space to ask for links.

The above nine-point checklist may not include everything a person could know about SEO, but by simply following this checklist, you’ll be miles ahead of the competition and will likely see your posts get significant SEO traffic.

Cheap Zikula 1.4.2 Hosting Recommendation

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Strategies With Umbraco

Cheap Zikula 1.4.2 Hosting RecommendationSearch Engine Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website on organic (“natural” or un-paid) search engine result pages (SERPs), by incorporating search engine friendly elements into a website. A successful search engine optimization campaign will have, as part of the improvements, carefully select, relevant, keywords which the on-page optimization will be designed to make prominent for search engine algorithms. Search engine optimization is broken down into two basic areas: on-page, and off-page optimization. On-page optimization refers to website elements which comprise a web page, such as HTML code, textual content, and images. Off-page optimization refers, predominantly, to backlinks (links pointing to the site which is being optimized, from other relevant websites).

Sending Google snapshots of html that has been processed by your JavaScript

Once a sitemap.xml or robots.txt file is created, you can use grunt-html-snapshots to snapshot the files.

How to make sure your dynamic content is indexed

This snapshotting technique also can apply towards content that is dynamic in nature, such as content that is rendered by a database. For best results, it is important to design the infrastructure in a way that enables the content that is displayed to depend upon the URL provided. This strategy operates best with RESTful content and is very compatible with web design patterns, such as Model-View View-Model (MV-VM) or Model-View-Controller (MVC).

Process of developing FAQ pages

Several years ago, a consultant from Webtrends suggested that I follow this pattern:

  1. Start with a set of keyword phrases that you want to target.
  2. Choose one or two keywords that you want to form the base of your targeting.
  3. Choose 30-50 keyword phrases that contain your base keyword.
  4. Construct questions from these keyword phrases. Ensure that the keywords are contained in the questions.
  5. Create a web page for each phrase. Place the keywords in these html tags:
  • Meta keywords tag
  • Meta description
  • Title
  • H1 tag
  • body text (paragraph tag)

How to prevent the site from appearing like spam to search engines

Ensure that you apply some variation in how you use your keywords. Otherwise, your site content may appear like spam to Google. For example, in your H1 tag, use the keywords in a sentence. Be sure to answer the question to the best of your ability.

Glossary pages

Glossary pages attract a very specific type of user, so it is very important to consider how the person will be using your site. Glossary pages are best when you are trying to provide a resource for people that will frequently refer back to your site. These pages tend to obtain high bounce rates, but if done correctly, they also tend to cause individuals to repeatedly come back to your site. The goal here is not necessarily to obtain an instant conversion. Instead, your goal is to provide a valuable informational resource to people on a particular subject. As people land on your site, they quickly obtain the desired information and usually leave. However, with some strategy, you can still convert these visitors into people that explore your site in greater depth.

Strategy for converting visitors from glossary pages

However, to effectively design glossary pages, it is critical to also offer provide internal links to additional articles for interested readers. This allows casual readers to get desired information and leave while also providing additional resources for more interested readers.  This technique also allows us you to track conversions as people that click on that particular link. The best way to create glossary pages is to create one glossary page for each keyword or keyword phrase that you are targeting.

SEO Tips for WordPress - Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

SEO Tips for WordPress – Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

SEO Tips for WordPress

SEO Tips for WordPress - Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

As a beginner to search engine optimization (SEO) you need to understand that there is no magic way to rank your web site in the first page of Google, Bing or Yahoo. Search engines are governed by complex algorithms and it takes a lot of effort to ‘convince’ them that your web site or page deserves one of the top spots.

Nevertheless, there are certain rules you can follow to optimize your web site and provide the bots with the necessary signals.  While the web is floated with SEO tips and advice these are explained in a theoretical level and not how they can be applied in practice. In my opinion, this is why most web site owners are confused and they either give up with SEO or simply do not get the expected results.

Easy Way To Increase Your WordPress Traffic

What sense does it make to have a beautiful theme and a killer portfolio that isn’t search engine optimized?  Google, Bing, and Yahoo could care less about your pretty photos and web design.  They care about things like alt tags, file names, keywords, and hundreds of other really, really boring tech things.  Understanding those “boring tech things” might bring you new success.  Misunderstanding them could help to put you out of business.

Make the website about one thing.

It can be about other stuff, too, but choose one primary topic that is most essential to your message.

This step is important, so you may want to do a little keyword research before choosing a topic.

Mention keywords where they matter most.

Include your “one thing” in the site title, domain name, description, tagline, keywords, blog categories, page titles, and page content.

If you’re on WordPress, you can change a lot of this in the General Settings or through a plugin like All in One SEO Pack (which I use).

Link to internal pages on your site.

A lot of content management systems automatically do this, but if yours doesn’t, you’ll want to be intentional about linking to your most important pages directly from your homepage and cross-linking them with each other.

Use a permalink structure that includes keywords.

Some sites have “ugly” permalink structures that use numbers to identify pages.

Don’t do this. It’s bad for SEO and just doesn’t look good.

Use a URL structure that includes text, and make sure you include keywords in your URLs.

So instead of having a page’s URL be this:

http://yoursite.com/?p=12

It should look more like this:

http://yoursite.com/coolpage/

Remove anything that slows down your website.

Page load times are important, so get rid of any non-essentials that bog down your website.

These may including music players, large images, flash graphics, and unnecessary plugins.

Use keywords in your images.

Include words that reflect your site topic in the image title, description, and alt attributes.

Also, re-title the file name if it doesn’t reflect your main keywords (e.g. writing-tips.jpg instead of d1234.jpg).

Link to other websites with relevant content.

You can do this by including a blogroll, link list, or resources page on your website.

Of course, do it sparingly, as each outbound link is a “vote” for another site. However, if you do it well and people click your links, this tells search engines you are a trusted authority on your particular topic.

Update your website frequently.

Sites with dynamic content often rank higher than those with static content. That’s why blogs and directories (like Wikipedia) do so well on search engines. They are constantly being updated with new content.

Make sure your website is indexed in search engines.

A lot of search engines will automatically find and index your content, but don’t count on it.

You want to be sure engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are crawling your site, so that people are finding you online. (You can add them directly, if they’re not.)

Have other websites link to you.

This is really, really important, when it comes to SEO. The bummer is that it’s not something you can necessarily control. Other than creating excellent content, the only thing you can do is ask (which occasionally works).

My counsel is to spend the time you would trying to convince somebody to link to you on just writing great content. And, start guest posting on other blogs.

Regardless of what you do, know that inbound links are essential to SEO.

Stop changing your domain name.

The age of your URL is a factor in your site’s search ranking, so be patient.

If you’re launching a new blog every six months, you’ll never see your site get the value it deserves.

Write like a human.

None of the above matters if you create content that sounds like a robot wrote it.

Write great stuff, follow the steps above, have patience, and you’ll see results.

I realize that many of you have already started blogging, but many of these tips can be applied retroactively. And once if you done this, you can start writing regular content.

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