Category Archives: Search Engine Optimisation

How to Create a Content Strategy for Both Users & Search Engines

To succeed online in 2019, you have to know how to create content that appeal to users and performs well in search engines.

But how can you do this?

The following suggestions will help get you started:

KYA –

The maxim, ’know your audience’ (KYA), while not as popular as “content is king”, is no less important.

A proper knowledge’ Gathering general Knowledge of the people you are creating content for will provide the insight you need to create the type of content they are searching for. And when you have a high amount of organic traffic from search engines to your website, it improves your site authority, earning you better search page rankings.

Study your demographic data and website analytics to see who is visiting your site, what they do when they arrive, and the pages where they spend the most time. This would help you determine what they are interested in so that you can create more of that type of content.

Do a content audit –

Carry out a comprehensive content audit to find out what is ranking and what isn’t on your site, what content is almost making it to number one on Google SERPs, and what the content gaps you need to fill up are.

Up your content style –

Since the beginning of the internet, content has played a crucial role in user engagement and search engine optimisation. Therefore, it follows that to optimise your content for human users and search engines, you have to create content that meets both their expectations.

One of the most important things you can do for the success of your online business is to use content that is original. This doesn’t mean you cannot get ideas elsewhere, but you have to own the style and form. It should also be evergreen.

It is also a good idea to consider content length. In recent years, the idea of long-form content has been gaining tremendous follower ship among website users. Search engines also are not left out as content with word count of 1000 and above tend to rank higher than content with lesser word count. The secret is to find out the word count that is already ranking for a particular keyword and use it as a guide to determine how long your content for that keyword should be.

Additionally, for your content to perform well in search engines, you have to follow the time-tested rules of optimising content for SEO. This includes using the right meta-data: titles tags, descriptions, headers and clear call to actions.

Your content will also do better with the proper number of relevant keywords, keywords that users use to search for the kind of content you produce.

Don’t underestimate multimedia –

The human brain relates better with visual content than any other form of content. For this reason, your content strategy should include a strong multimedia foundation. Videos and images play a vital role in user engagement and search optimisation.

In fact, statistics show that videos account for more than 70% of internet traffic in the past few years, and that before the end of 2019, it will account for more than 80%. Also, content with embedded videos enjoy higher page rankings and page views than content without, making it a great search engine optimisation strategy.

Wrapping up

Creating a content strategy for both users and search engines can be summed up in the following three takeaway points:

  1. When creating content, always keep the user and search engines in mind
  2. Be on the lookout for new keywords to try out, getting inspiration from the competition where possible.
  3. Regardless of the size of your online business, treat content creation as you would any professional publication.

How to Avoid SEO Issues with URL Parameters

Search Engine

Even though parameters are a good thing, they can cause a number of issues for websites, such as duplicate content and keyword issues. But we cannot just wish URL parameters away because they play a vital role in the user’s web experience. The solution is to understand how to handle them in a way that prevents SEO problems.

What are URL parameters?

URL parameters are that part of the website address that come after a question mark. They are also referred to as query string parameters or query strings.

Look at the following example URL about a content for a collection of sectional sofas:

  • http://www.example.com/category/home-furniture/home-furnishings/sectionals
  • http://www.example.com/category/home-furniture/home-furnishings/sectionals?colour=white
  • http://www.example.com/home-furniture/home-furnishings/sectionals?colour=white&style=pattern

The three URLs above point to the same content and is usually found in e-commerce websites so that users can browse products using certain filters.

But this kind of system can result in multiple URLs for the same content, and while it can be useful to users, it will confuse search engines and affect your SEO.

SEO problems caused by URL parameters

As already established, URL parameters can cause a number of problems for your website. Some of the most common SEO issues associated with URL parameters are:

  • Duplicate content
  • Keyword cannibalization
  • Poor search crawl effectiveness
  • Split page ranking signals
  • Unattractive URL that don’t enjoy clicks

Detecting SEO problems caused by URL parameters

The answer to the two questions below will help you determine if URL parameters is causing SEO problems for your website.

  1. Does the URL change but the content remain the same as the content on the original URL when you use search filters on your website?
  2. Does the URL change but the page title and meta-data remain the same or contain similar meta-data when you use search filters on your website?

If the answer to both or either of the questions is yes, then URL parameters could be causing problems for your website. However, if the content on your website changes when you choose a different filter, then you don’t have a problem with URL parameters.

Avoiding SEO problems caused by URL parameters

There are a number of methods you can adopt to ensure that URL parameters do not cause SEO problems for your website. But here are the three most common solutions:

Using canonical tags –

This is the most preferred method and involves using canonical tags to tell search engines which pages are duplicate of a certain URL, and that any rankings should be credited to the original URL.

Consider the following example URLs:

  • http://www.example.com/category/home-furniture/home-furnishings/sectionals?colour=white
  • http://www.example.com/home-furniture/home-furnishings/sectionals?colour=white&style=pattern

Both should have a canonical tag pointing to the original or canonical URL at

http://www.example.com/category/home-furniture/home-furnishings/sectionals

You will find tutorials online that teach how to implement rel=”canonical” tags.

Using URL parameter tools –

If you look in Google search console, you will find a feature that allows webmasters provide Google with information on how to handle parameter URLs. However, note that you have to be very careful when making changes as you can easily exclude important pages from Google index which will result in significant loss of traffic to those pages.

Bing Webmaster Central also contain a feature that tell Bing to ignore URL parameters.

Disallow query strings using robots.txt –

Adding Disallow: /*?* to the Robot.txt in your website can discourage search engines from crawling parameter URLS, but this will not stop them from indexing the pages. However, in order not to get a result you don’t want, you have no make sure that no other page on your website carries a question mark in its URL otherwise it will be blocked also.

Final words

Using faceted navigation which results in URL parameters can be a good thing for your users, but it can also be a bad thing for your website. Thankfully, with the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to successfully avoid any potential URL parameters problems.

9 Military Veterans Who Now Serve the SEO Community

SEO

The SEO industry is tough.

With ever-changing updates to Google algorithms and complex methods, it’s not a surprise that only people with high caliber mental fitness are attracted to it.

Military veterans are top among these people.

The physical and mental rigors they’ve gone through give them the ability to push for success.

Today, we’ll peek into the lives of nine veterans who in the SEO community, and how they’ve transferred the traits they developed.

  • Doc Sheldon Campbell:

Boot camp taught him to push himself beyond his limitations.

By the time he decided to spend more time with his teenage daughter, he found digital marketing a natural fit.

He has been able to transfer motivation, a detail-oriented mindset and a logical approach to analysis to SEO and website building.

  • Bill Hunt:

He developed his high confidence and can-do-attitude from the Marine Corps.

They stem from a wide range of skills he learnt in the military, and transferred to the companies he founded. They are:

  1. Be willing to learn from diverse industries and apply the techniques to yours.
  2. Create a goal and know the resources you have to complete it.
  3. Things will go wrong. Be ready to adapt, improvise and win in the end.
  4. Communication leads to the success of your team.
  • Steve Wiideman

He learnt efficiency and effectiveness in the military.

By performing repetitive tasks and completing the job, he discovered that nothing is insurmountable – not even when you have to go through numerous keywords or complex details.

  • Brent Csutoras

He learnt how to divide large projects into micro tasks in the Air Force.

This has helped him navigate the complex landscape of SEO. He can now take risks and try out new methods confidently.

  • JP Sherman

The US Army Veteran learnt teamwork, leadership and courage.

While he was in the military in the 90s, He was introduced to SEO. He has grown to become the Manager of Search and Findability at Red Hat.

  • Jason Hennessey

Being in the Air Force brought him face to face with life-or-death cases frequently.

He quickly learnt to pay attention to detail, and stick to effective systems and procedures.

He has been able to transfer that experience into creating systems that will minimize risk and produce results for the client.

  • Elmer Boutin

He was an intelligence analyst in the Army.  The confidence, experience and knowledge he garnered has been used in his digital marketing career.

  • Angie Schottmuller

Relationships and attention to detail are key to this army veteran.

The teamwork and support she learnt has made her a great marketing optimizer.

  • Alan Bleiweiss

The most important skill he learnt in the army was extensive planning.

He created action plans and procedures for anticipated and unanticipated issues because he was always in life or death experiences.

He treats his SEO business in the same way. He ensures that his clients’ websites are always optimized successfully, so that it won’t affect their income negatively.

In the military, you know that you’ve got to complete a job successfully. That’s the motto these 9 veterans follow.

Major Google Ranking Drops for Ripoff Reports

Search Engine Result Page

Ripoff Reports has been experiencing a major rank drop in Google since November 2018.

Ripoff is a complaint website where anyone over the age of 14 can write a negative report about a person, business or website anonymously.

This allows for genuine consumer complaints and business defamation by competitors.

The site does not guarantee that all reports are accurate and truthful. Some people claim that they accept complaints without verification or proof.

Ripoff has a ‘no removal’ policy.

They don’t remove a negative report, even when it was posted by mistake. A counter complaint, rebuttal or sending a message to the company won’t help. The author of the complaint can’t remove it either.

They, however, accept payment ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 for investigation of complaints and reports, and to remove negative statements from reports. The process is called VIP arbitration.

Ripoff was founded in 1998 and has been known for its good SEO. It always obtains a good position in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Unfortunately, once a person complains about your company on Ripoff, it appears at the top ten search results on Google for the brand.

This has become a huge pain for most businesses. Many have lost millions of potential deals as a result.

The site has been known to not adhere to court removal orders, or search engines removing its URL from the SERP.

It simply creates another URL with the same content months later, and the content will reappear on Google or Bing.

Since November 2018, however, Ripoff and some other complaint sites like Pissed Consumer, Consumer Affairs and Complaints Board have lost their visibility on Google.

Organic searches for company names do not show a Ripoff report at the top ten results.

Pierre Zarokian, who first discovered the Google ranking drop, says it might be caused by an algorithm update.

He called it the ORM update because he was searching for keywords related to Online Reputation Management when he noticed that Ripoff was no longer ranking among the top ten in Google.

He investigated by trying out several keywords and checking out other complaint sites. He went on social media to research the ranking drop. He asked his colleagues and they confirmed it.

He suggested that the ‘SERP punishment’ might be because Ripoff does n’t honor court-ordered removals.

Google hardly targets websites individually or remove them from its SERP anymore.

It tweaks its algorithms to disfavor certain actions. This reduces the rankings of the sites.

It seems Google has received a lot of reports about these complaint sites and is targeting them.

Nevertheless, Ripoff has been known to bounce back on its feet.

It has seen similar ranking drops and came back to the top of the SERPs weeks later.

If this is truly an algo update, will the complaint site bounce back this time around? Or will several businesses and people be happy that their Ripoff review will no longer be number 3 when their name is Googled?

Study Shows Web Security Directly Affects SEO

Search Engine Optimisation

Most internet users rely on Google search to provide them with the results they need; which is why over 93% of internet users conduct their searches on Google. In return, they trust that Google will not only provide the results they need for their queries, but that they would be satisfactory. This means web owners have to focus on creating quality content, optimise their site’s responsiveness to all device types including mobile; generally all the things we have come to understand as basic SEO best practices.

However, most people haven’t really considered site security as one of the factors that affect search engine optimisation. It is clear why web security can directly affect SEO since Google’s main goal is providing users with access to quality content in a safe environment. Studies have shown that web security is no longer an indirect factor that affects SEO (since say a hacked site can’t easily be accessed by Googlebot), but a necessity.

A Godaddy report shows that 73.9% of all web hackings are done for SEO proposes; which means the hackers go as far as adding links to sites or an entire webpage whose content might cause your site to get blacklisted. What is more, some of them even show a different website to Googlebot, which leads to a significant decline in your search ranking.

Once this occurs, the effects are crippling so that the only available option is to be proactive and monitor your website’s security. See the exercise as one of the critical SEO efforts for your site. While protecting yourself, also protect the interest of your visitors. If they find that their devices are often infested with viruses after visiting your site, they won’t come back.

The same applies to your use of WordPress plugins. Ensure you conduct a thorough check on every plugin and script you intend using on your site. Run background checks on the companies you buy from through Google and find if the plugins are frequently hacked. It is common to find businesses who purchase plugins from their authors, then add hidden links in them which will serve their own purposes against the interest of the new owner.

In most cases, finding out that a site has been compromised is impossible for most owners. Some of them rely on Google’s ban notification to know if their security has been breached. Such practice is not recommended. Not only does it show you are not proactive, but only a few hacked sites get banned. In fact, study shows that only 10% of compromised sites get banned and consequently notified. The rest will have to figure this out themselves and put appropriate measures in place.

However, what cannot be overlooked is the significant negative impact security breaches have on your site. Most web owners would rather redesign their sites and rework their content than pay attention to the security needs of their site. Today, web security has come to be a crucial SEO necessity which has to be incorporated in your website for optimal performance.

4 Ways of Optimising Websites for Multiple Keywords

search engine optimization

Ranking high on search engine listings is the sole aim of most search engine optimisation companies today and how to effectively optimised keywords relevant to their websites is a question often asked. How exactly does a website get optimised? Context is more important than keywords in today’s search engine optimisation, because you can adequately evaluate the success of a websites ranking based on the particular phrases and terms a user searches that is available on the website. Getting good traffic to a website is carried out best using search engines, but how exactly does it work, the following methods will show you just how.

Selecting a Relevant Keyword and Linking That Key Word to Your Site

Do not make the mistake of squeesing too many keywords at a time on the pages of your website; rather concentrate on picking a particular keyword for each page. The goal is to make sure that the relevant keyword is captured by the page without any distractions. Search engines especially Google take notice of the title tag that contains the link to your site, therefore pay attention to your title tag and make it relevant to your website!

Make the First Hundred Words of Any Age Count!

The first hundred words of your page must be loaded with keywords to achieve optimisation. Search engines come up with various algorithms to rank websites and when these key words are searched by a user it has to come within the first hundred pages. It is therefore wise to make the left column of your website keyword rich or make your title, website description and web copy visible within the first hundred words of your website.

Keywords Must Be In the Description and Title Tag

Meta tags also known as headers tag is a feature a search engine uses to better understand the content of its page. These Meta tags are usually in the source code of the page. Tweaking the source code of the page ensures full optimisation of the website; this is achieved by inserting the keyword in the title tag (Google shows the result when your website is listed). A catchy description containing the relevant keyword(s) is important because the Meta tag description contains information that is listed immediately after the title tags when using a search engine. A catchy description (keyword embedded) makes your website have an edge over other listings.

Keyword(s)-Embedded Web Copy Like No Other!

An essential aspect of optimising websites for multiple keywords is to create a keyword(s) embedded web copy.  Make use of the hour glass template; which is including majority of the keywords at the top and bottom of the page and adding just a few keywords in the middle. The total make up of your web copy page should be between 400 words to 600 words, with the keywords making up about 6-14% of the entire words of the web copy page.

Follow these four steps and notice an upgrade in your keywords ranking on search engines.

Google Rich Results Testing Tool Adds Support for Events, Movies, and TV Shows

Firstclick Digital

Aaron Bradley of Semantic Search Marketing posted on Google+ that Google rich result testing tool now supports testing of structured data markup for movies, TV shows and events. He went further to state that he has conducted tests to confirm that the tool is able to validate TV, movie and event code and did provide a preview. So in addition to supporting job postings, recipes and course, it now also supports these three new additions.

The list now covers:

  • Job posting
  • Recipe
  • Course
  • TV and Movie
  • Event

What are Google rich results?

There are different ways web pages can be used and even more ways to structure and code it. This can make it difficult for search engine crawlers to identify and understand what each web page is about. What rich results do is to highlight important information contained on a web page which will help search engines better understand the purpose of the page and so index it appropriately. This reduces the guesswork for Google bots and makes it easier for users to get the most relevant results.

Google rich results typically appear at the top of the search engine results page, in what is known as ‘position zero’ above the regular search results.

So what’s new?

Google rich results contain results that are different from the usual blue text links and this includes content such as images, carousels and other non text elements.

For example, if you make a search for “open mic night weekend”, you will get a result of related events happening close to your location as indicated by your device. Google is able to present the results you will see by reading the structured data markup of the relevant event pages. At your end, if you are hosting such an event, you will need to use the markup for your event to appear on Google’s rich results page.

What Google rich result testing tool does is to help website owners check that their structured data is correctly implemented so that their content can be featured in rich results for relevant search. Presently, Google rich result testing tool does not support every rich result markup, but additions are made on a regular basis. Using Google rich result testing tool to validate your markup data is the one sure way to tell if Google can read your markup.

Google’s structured data guidelines shows the different types of rich results and the best way to markup your content.

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.