Category Archives: Search Engine Optimisation

Fact Checking Google’s Reintroduction to Featured Snippets

Sometimes, on search results page, you will find a short description at the top of the result. This short description is known as Google featured snippet. Snippets help searchers decide if a particular result is relevant to the search they are making.

Google featured snippets have gone through several evolutions over the years and will continue to do so, as it significantly affects search engine optimisation for websites all over. This helpful ‘zero position’ search result was reintroduced by Danny Sullivan in his very first blog post as Google’s new public liaison for search. He gave a lot of insight into how the feature has been developed and the improvements it provides to users.

Here are a few facts about the Google’s Reintroduced Featured Snippets

Featured snippet useful for mobile and voice search

In today’s digital society, a large percentage of search queries are done on mobile devices. Featured snippets make it possible for search users to get relevant answers fast. When you make a query using your Smartphone’s Google assistant, you will typically get a featured snippet reply and source quote.

A lot of improvement went into this section as Google included update to the Search Quality Rater Guidelines that provides more information on websites so as to avoid featuring misleading information and unsupported theories. These guidelines updates will ensure that the results that appear in Google featured snippets are authentic and trustworthy.

Video snippets introduced

Google featured snippets are not just for written content. Google recently introduced featured video snippets which features suggested videos that match a particular search query. Users now have the option of seeing a video that answers the questions they are asking rather reading the plain old boring texts. For example, a suggested video clip for “how to braid hair” will come in handy for users searching for information on how to braid hair. This visual demonstration will definitely be more useful than a regular step by step demonstration.

Multiple featured snippets

Another new improvement to Google’s featured snippets is the introduction of multiple featured snippets. This allows users to select location based featured snippets or results answering the same question but from a different perspective. Showing up more than one snippet per search can be helpful when users want to get answers on the same query but in different ways, they can then choose the answer that best fits what they want without having to leave the search results page.

What Google featured snippets mean for brands

Google is working seriously hard to provide a better search engine experience for users, and the featured snippets are just one of the methods to make this happen. As this feature becomes more prominent in Google SERP, the conventional single results system may become ineffective. Brands need to revisit their SEO strategies in order to create content that allow for featured snippets. This is not just useful in providing relevant results to users; it also helps in pushing traffic to the publishers and brands.

Top Technical SEO Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has become the basis for which many websites are updated today. This is because before a prospective customer buys a particular product or gets a service, they tend to search on Google to find information about it. As a web operator, you wouldn’t want to spend hours or days producing massive content for your site, only for it not to rank high or not be found at all by internet users.

In the course of optimising your web page, is it possible that you have made some errors with or without knowing and it has caused more harm than good to your SEO? Are there ways one can prevent them and not get penalised by search engines like Google? To help answer your questions, here are the top technical SEO mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Not using Analytics properly

When you create the best content and the design of your page allows for responsiveness, readability and provides relevant information, traffic will definitely grow on the site. However, the influx of internet users on your page isn’t all you should focus on. You need to make use of analytics to know what converts. In fact, you get more converts whilwni the traffic is lower because the prospects are carefully going through your content and navigating with smoothly. Therefore, use the analytics of your site or any other relevant metrics in measuring the success of your digital marketing campaign. It helps you to strategize better.

When you don’t use ALT-Tags for images

In a research, it was stated that the likelihood of a person reading a particular post or article is increased by an 80% when the visuals are colourful. These days, the use of images to boost user experience has become important in improving SEO. It makes your site more aesthetically pleasing and keeps the reader engaged. Therefore, when uploading images on your page, use alternative text tags to make it easy for users to find the information they seek. An image with no link should have these ALT tags so that web crawlers and internet users can access any information they seek about the image. The tags also make your site rank high in search engine results, boosts SEO and makes it for people to access the website in general.

Getting the right links

Getting links to your page from other sites is really a good way of making you an authority. However, Google and other search engines focus more on how relevant, less spam-looking and trustworthy the contents are. It’s wrong for you to buy a link, as you can get severely penalised. Also note that it’s better to have your site naturally linked within content than it lying beneath or beside a site. But there are ways to avoid all these. Build links via social media. Ensure that your content can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. This generates leads, drives traffic to your site and further boosts your online presence.

Broken links that lead to a 404 error can also be a problem. Just endeavour to audit your website and keep it up to date.

These Two New Bing Updates Will Make Your Work Easier

With a constant inflow of demand for services, getting an easy way out can be a lifesaver. I am sure you also want to find an easy yet effective way to getting results. Earlier this month, Bing introduced few updates on its blog post that enhances their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for slicker and more fun entertainment search. However, two additional updates were also launched for easier workflow.

Let’s jump into these workflow updates, shall we?

Bing Ads Overview Tab

If you are an online marketer making decisions all day on campaign ads or an on-the-go marketer going through search campaigns at intervals, taking a step backward to see a big pictorial view of the performance of your account can be handy. Imagine having this handy tool and being able to tweak and customise the tab to display solely the campaign elements that interest you.

This Overview tab is found on the main campaign page. According to Haily De La Cruz, a Program Manager at Microsoft and Bing Ads, the overview tab gives you a “bird’s eye view of performance”. This implies that you get a wholesome, high-level and detailed view of your account performance. Cool right?

The layout and design interface is completely user-friendly, giving users the ability to remove, resise or hide any tile from the three-dotted icon at the top right-hand corner. A simple drag and drop will do the trick. It also features user’s ability to apply metrics and campaign filtering to the overview page.

This means that instead of going in and out of workspace or search results, you now have everything on one page hence saving you the precious time of looking for a page or result because you know exactly where to find it.

Connecting Accounts with Bing’s Multi-Linking

Whether managing multiple accounts in Bing Ads as an advertiser or assisting a wealth of clients as an agency, Elizabeth Johnson (a Programme Manager on Bing Ads Platform) says that the Multi-linking update makes linking and managing accounts easier and more efficient. She further explained that in Bing Ads multi-account capabilities, Multi-linking is in its first phase, hence other updates will be released for better and optimal results.

Multi-Linking Will Let You:

  1. Take Over-Billing anytime: customers linked to any account don’t have to pause their accounts anymore before taking the responsibility of over-billing.
  2. Link Accounts to Any Customer: the ‘becomes an agency’ button is now irrelevant. This means you can simply link any client to an account hence saving time and energy.
  3. Control Amount of Customers Linked to Your Account: you can both link and unlink up to five managing accounts from yours.

As amazing as this sounds there are other ways in which you can take advantage of this feature:

  • Transition clients between Agencies
  • Reports run across managed accounts
  • One customer shell billing information management.

Brix Saxman, a production specialist at PPCHero informs us that Multi-linking doesn’t permit account unlinking by originating account from the entity.

Although Multi-linking is in its first phase, more than enough new features have been introduced to get you started on easy ads workflow and with the announcements being released earlier this month, hopefully, we should be up and running with these updates released in few weeks or days.

How to Use Facebook Page Insights like an Expert

Knowing the profile of your target audience as a business owner is crucial to the success of your online marketing activities. Facebook insights are a powerful tool for marketers who want to track and analyze user interaction on their Facebook Fan Page.

With Facebook Insights, you’ll know the best day of the week to post, the best time of the day and the type of content popular with your target audience. The tool is constantly updated to show patterns and developments as they form so you must constantly check them to stay in the loop.

Here a step by guide to help you use Facebook Page Insights like a pro.

How to access Facebook Insight

Once you’ve reached 30 followers on your Facebook page, you can access your analytics. Go to your business page, on the top left corner, you’ll see the icon “insights”, click it to view information such as page views, post engagement, reach, actions on page, number of friends of fans and total number of likes.

Features of Facebook Insights you should use

The first thing you’ll see when you open Facebook Insights analytics tool is the Overview dashboard. There are many areas of interest on the left side such as posts, promotions, people, events, messages and likes among others.

  • Promotions

You can boost post that are performing well to get more exposure for them and pick a budget for your boost, choose your target audience and set the length of time for the boost to run.

  • Likes

On the likes section, you see important data about your fans such as location, age group and location. If you have more female fans situated in a particular town, you can create ads and content according to those specific demographics. It also helps you build personas for your target audience, which is essential for highly converting landing pages.

  • Videos

The Facebook Video Analytics shows your total video views and lists them in order of top views and videos people watched for 10 secs or more.

  • Reach

Your content isn’t successful if it’s not reaching your fans. This section helps you identify how much of your content reaches your fans if people are sharing your page or talking about your page.

  • Page Views

This is where you know the number of people visiting your page and the areas they viewed such as posts, photos, the about area or another part of your page. It helps you determine the success of your SEO and digital marketing strategies. Data from this page should guide your boosted posts and the target audience you choose.

Conclusion

Facebook Insights helps you understand your Facebook Page unique metrics for a better online marketing campaign. You can use it to maximize promotion for your next event, pick the best time to post when it will be most viewed by your target audience and learn how to make your content better for your fans.

Google: How the use of Canonical tags can save you from SEO troubles


Sometimes, webmasters encounter basic SEO situations they need to clarify. In this case, it is about canonicalization. It can be tricky if it is not considered separately.

Recently, somebody by the Twitter handle @aasimmugal asked Google’s John Mueller an interesting question. He wanted to know if a link from http://abc.go.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=offer, would still be considered as a link from abc.com.

John answered by saying he should use the rel=canonical and other types of canonicalization if he was concerned about it. The he added later, that it was technically a separate URL, despite how Google might consider it.

Interestingly, the link points to ABC’s (the TV network) homepage, so it is true. After all, the source code on the linkin question has a canonical tag at the top that indicates the link really points to http://abc.go.com/. Therefore, the link is specifically for abc.go.com and not abc.com.

The subject of canonicalization can be confusing at times, so we will be discussing it a bit further.

What is a canonical tag?

A canonical tag, also referred to as “rel canonical”, is one way of instructing search engines to recognise a specific URL as a master copy of a page. It is used to prevent issues caused by “duplicate” or identical content that exist on multiple URLs. Simply put, the canonical tag point’s search engines to the version of a URL should show up on a SERP query.

Why is canonicalization important?

When it comes to the subject of duplicate content, SEO analysts understand how complicated it can be. Normally, when search engines crawl several URLs that appear to have identical content, it can lead to SEO issues. First, when search crawlers go through too many identical content, some of the original content may be missed.

Secondly, a significant amount of duplicate content can reduce the capacity of a website to rank well. Finally, even when the content ranks well, the search engine may present the wrong URL as the original one. Therefore, by using a rel canonical tag, you can indicate which URL has priority over others.

The thing with URLs

It is easy to wonder how or why anybody would duplicate a page. If you do not allow for this possibility, you wouldn’t bother about canonicalization and this could hurt your SEO. Search engines see pages differently from the way humans do. While we look at a homepage as a concept, search engines see every single URL as a separate page.

In the link given above, search engines might access the ABC TV network through the following ways:

  • http://www.abc.go.com
  • https://www.abc.go.com
  • http://abc.go.com
  • http://www.abc.com
  • http://abc.com

Incidentally, ABC has used the 301 redirect to point all abc.com searches to abc.go.com. It is therefore important to designate a ‘main’ page by using a canonical tag. It saves the site owner a lot of SEO hassle in future.

Google: URL Structure Not So Important For SEO

Several guides exist on the internet teaching you how to optimize your URL for Search Engine Optimization. These guides contain several tips about what to include, what not to include, what the search engine looks for, what kinds of domain and subdomains are best. Most times we dive into these guides and begin to do everything they say even before we ask ourselves the most important question: When Search Engine Optimization is the goal, does the URL structure really matter? Does your URL structure increase your overall traffic or affect your ranking significantly?

Recently, one of Google’s own, John Mueller put out on twitter that URL structure is “not so much important”. This was in reply to someone asking “How important is URL structure flat? This was a surprising answer especially with all the guides that exist targeting the use of URL structure as a Search Engine Optimization tool. A memorable quote from Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Roundtable is “The main thing is not how long or deep your URLs appear to be but how quickly GoogleBot can discover those URLs and who is linking to them.”

This may seem like news, but it’s not so surprising if you look at existing data. As far back as 2014, Search Metrics published some very intriguing data. Based on their analysis, having a keyword within a domain name and /or URL is no longer as important as it used to be in search engine rankings. Google had started placing more importance on other search factors.

Google’s nine major ranking factors as published by Link-Assistant contained not even a passing reference to URL structure as a major ranking factor. This gives you a good indication of just how much energy should go into making your URL SEO friendly. It is important to note that your URL acts as a UI for your visitors and certain tricks that make it more search friendly should not be totally ignored. However, the general consensus is that it is definitely smarter to focus more on other ranking factors, just like Google does.

Search Engine Optimization is an industry that is constantly changing. Currently, Google seems to be pushing for richer content, better quality of backlinks, a better mobile experience on websites, and a host of other technical factors such as the use of https encryption, anchor texts, and so on. It is definitely a good idea to optimize your URLs—by making use of the best practices guides floating around the internet, especially as it definitely won’t hurt your rankings.

However, focusing too much of your marketing efforts on URL structure to the detriment of other SEO factors can and will hurt. This is because factors such as content quality, backlinks, mobile usability, and so on will have a greater impact on your rankings than a bad URL structure.

3 Easy Landing Page Updates to Improve Quality Score

If PPC is central to your overall marketing plan, then quality score is a term you must be familiar with.  Actually, a lot of advertisers have heard about quality score and how important it is, except that they’re not so sure how to high rank with it.

For clarity on what quality score is, let’s review how Google explains it: “Quality Score is an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.”

Although not much detail was provided, it is safe to assume QS is mostly about driving traffic to your site landing pages. So, to improve QS, your focus should be on improving the feel, behaviour and content of your landing pages.

Google recently announced some key changes to their QS algorithms to offer website owners a better understanding of how to rank high on the metrics, and then act on the new insights with ease.

Why is that so important? The truth is that except your site and contents rank well on Google, you won’t achieve much success with your organic traffic flow, customer conversion and brand awareness goals.

Optimise for keywords: Include them in the titles and in the article in the right density

The first and most important factor in your SEO and quality score objective is to make sure you use the right keywords and in just the right density.  But what keywords should you rank for? You may need to do some SEO experiments to be specific about them and make sure you track updates, so you can keep improving on them.

Your relevant keywords must be properly distributed in your contents. Make sure to include it the headings, in the first one or two paragraphs and a few more times in articles. But be careful to avoid keyword stuffing. Ensure you’re writing for humans, not computers; so, include your keywords in a natural way.

Improve your site speed

Experienced internet marketers know how important the load time of website is to customer traffic and conversion. No one will hang around forever waiting for a website to load; which is why improving your site speed must always be a priority. Don’t forget too that when determining QS, AdWords always reviews the load time of the landing pages; and a slow website is a big fail.

Ensure easy navigation

It’s not enough to drive traffic to your site; you need to also ensure they can easily find what they’re looking for on your landing pages without having to spend too much time and energy groping around. Just like slow load time, if website users sense a landing page does not have easy navigation, they will bail in a blink of an eye and go somewhere else for the information they’re seeking.

A Comprehensive Checklist for Your SEO Audit

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An SEO audit is important for any website seeking to increase traffic. Thorough website audits are helpful for planning future strategies relating to keywords and creating more effective content. If you are planning an SEO audit for your website, you need to follow our comprehensive checklist to ensure nothing is left out during the process.

What Should an SEO Audit Cover?

Attention should be given to five main areas in order to complete a successful SEO audit.

Technical Analysis

For your website to be listed, it needs to be able to be identified and indexed by search engines. When checking SEO, focus on the following:

  • Analysis of how duplicate content is being identified.
  • Sitemap validation using XML sitemaps which make available information for search engines such as last updates, page hierarchy and public pages to be crawled.
  • Assessment of site speed and studying the load time, which is critical.
  • Analysis of backlinks i.e. the links leading into your site. Links coming in from poor quality sites or unrelated sites where your niche is concerned can harm your SEO.

Review Page Design

This includes evaluating ease of use, CTAs, overall design, and inter-page connection for a seamless flow on the website. This component is important in an SEO audit because it makes search engines able to make sense of your content. It also increases your chances of getting found by visitors.

Usability Audit

This involves measuring how easy your users find it to make use of your site, and to navigate to the information they seek. Incorporate the following into your usability checks on your website:

Relevant internal linking –internal links on from one page to another on your site is a great idea for reducing bounce rate and maintain the interest of visitors. During an SEO audit, make sure your pages are not overly saturated with links, and that the links present are not optimized over the top, which is unadvisable in SEO practice.

Easy navigation – the goal is for visitors to be able to find what they are looking for. There is no right or wrong way to present a site structure as long as the important features and information are easy to locate.

Semantic mark-up – with semantic mark-up, search engines are better able to index your site more accurately, creating rich snippets which users make use of to locate information that interests them.

Analyse Site Content

SEO requires organised and well-written content. Industry or brand-specific content that is focused on providing value to site users attracts more users and higher rankings. During SEO audit, assessment of content should be based on consistency and value.

On-Page Audit

On-page SEO factors to consider include title tags, Meta descriptions, and headers and sub-headers. Ignoring these could make you miss out on the opportunities a comprehensive SEO audit offers.

 

Google Takes the Fight to Fake News and Offensive Content with Project Owl

8-fake-news-Owl-algorithm-fcdGoogle is certainly unrelenting in its fight against fake news and content that is considered offensive, disturbing, or clearly misleading, as it officially announced the Project Owl algorithm. According to the search engine, their algorithm was being updated in order to boost, authoritative content while penalising low-quality content, specifically with queries that could display offensive or misleading material.

Further, Google introduced a feedback mechanism for featured snippets and auto-complete suggestions to swiftly obtain feedback from users on search results that are not in line with their guidelines. Google’s search quality rater’s guidelines were also updated to aid the fight and check that the algorithms were working accordingly. Meanwhile, what do the new changes mean?

Boosting authoritative content

As a way to fight the fake and offensive content that appear in search results, Google is keen on pushing for authoritative content. Google tags as offensive, any content that encourages violence or hate against a group of people based on a number of criteria ranging from gender and race, to religion and disability. Also tagged as offensive is any content that contains racial slurs, detailed how-to information about dangerous or harmful activities, and other types of content users in a particular locale would find intensely upsetting.

Featured Snippets feedback form

A Featured Snippet is an informational box displayed at the top of search results, designed to have a profound influence on the search experience. Featured Snippets are becoming even more important with the rise of voice search as they are the default answer to a user’s question. Google introduced a feedback form that lets users pick from a variety of tags that can be used to describe the content, and a space to make comments or suggestions. While individual snippets are not going to see immediate removal, Google will use the data to adjust the algorithm to effect the necessary changes.

Autocomplete feedback link

Designed to save time and help make searches faster, autocomplete suggests possible queries to users, drawn from the most popular searches. While it is a useful feature, occasionally, autocomplete may offer suggestions that are offensive or inappropriate. Google has now introduced a new “report inappropriate predictions” link that lets users flag predictions as violent, hateful, sexually explicit, or any other tag the user feels describes the suggestions.

Conclusion

It will take some time before Project Owl will be seen to impact search results; nonetheless, Google is clearly determined to present users with legitimate results. Meanwhile, new sites are not expected to find it more difficult to rank higher in search; neither will big brands have any advantage over smaller ones.

Was There A Google Algorithm Update On Monday & Tuesday? Unsure.

Making useful information available and easily accessible is the main goal of Google and it dedicates itself to this cause by constantly seeking to improve the users’ search engine experience.

Google updates its algorithm from time to time with multiple updates happening within a day sometimes. The number of changes is between 500-600 updates per year. The updates are mostly minor and the results almost unnoticeable but there are some that cannot occur unnoticed because of the relative impact such updates have on the on page rankings in the search engine.

It is important to Google that black hat SEO practices by webmasters and search marketers are curbed.

Whenever there is an algorithm update, Google may announce and give hints here and there about the impact of such updates while other times, the updates are done without any form of admittance or detail on the implication of such update from Google.

What is most important is whether the updates have noticeable impact on SERP.

The main question now is that, was there an update on Monday or Tuesday, June 19th or 20th?

The drift is nobody is sure what happened. We all know Google can be pretty secretive about their updates but most of the automated tracking tools;(Mozcast, Accutracker, SERPMetriccs, Rank Ranger, SEM Rush) except for Algoroo revealed that the algorithm may have been tweaked on either of the two days. They showed massive spikes and activity but not many people seem to catch up to it.

Updates with impact cause a lot of chatter that may have resulted in a lot of satisfaction or dissatisfaction among the SEO community but the expected activity that is supposed to be the immediate result of such massive update is missing. No one is screaming foul or livid about penalties.

The SEO community always give an insight into the impact of huge updates.

Barry Schwartz gives an insight into what may have happened but even that isn’t conclusive.

Below is a screenshots of the Mozcast tracking tool showing huge changes in search engine results observed

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As earlier stated, these should stir conversations but nothing has been observed from the white and black hat SEO forums or Google Forums.

It is quite irregular not to have the regular noise that would have preceded or accompanied the kind of activity noticed on the automated tracking tools.

It is somewhat uncertain the kind of impact this update has and if it is an update or a change in Google’s user interface. it is certainly not related to the Google Owl as believed by some.

Did you notice the change? How has it affected you?