On-Page SEO: Definition, Importance, Practices

Home On-Page SEO: Definition, Importance, Practices
Everything you need to know about traditional On-Page SEO techniques to optimize content on your webpage, making it more relevant to search queries. The process of optimizing web sites for targeted keywords in order to boost search visibility and traffic is known as on-page SEO (or on-site SEO). It entails aligning keywords with page-specific components such as title tags, headers, content, and internal links. Some SEOs mix together on-page and technical SEO. However, I like to keep them apart. Technical SEO, in my opinion, handles issues such as page and site performance, duplicate content, site structure, schema, and indexing. To put it another way, technical optimization is concerned with your entire website, whereas on-page optimization is concerned with particular URLs. There's also off-page SEO, which includes things like link building and brand mentions that occurs outside of your website. If you want search engines to reward you, you must take your on-page SEO approach seriously. While Google still looks for keywords in your text, keyword stuffing is no longer effective since it degrades the user experience. This type of SEO characteristics that are user-focused will become more significant as the Google search algorithm becomes more complex. On-site SEO allows search engines to comprehend your content and rank the most relevant URLs for specific queries when done correctly. On-page SEO also provides structure and clarity, which consumers will enjoy. The importance of this kind of SEO cannot be overstated. With these aspects in mind, you'll be well on your path to greater organic search engine results.

How to Update Old Blog Posts for Huge ROI

update old blog posts

Did you know you’re sitting on a veritable goldmine of content right now that’s just waiting to be rediscovered? You can update old blog posts and get more out of the same content you already have. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of old blog posts could be languishing on your site — still vital but unnoticed. Think about it. You’ve spent hours — maybe even days — carefully crafting these masterful pieces of content and now they’re relegated to the dust heap.

That’s unfortunate because they’ve got a lot of life still left in them. In fact, if you’ve been serious about content creation, those old posts probably dovetail nicely with your newer material. In this nutshell guide, we’re going to show you how to update old blogs using just a little bit of TLC to add value for visitors to your site, drive organic traffic your way, and hit your return on investment (ROI) out of the ballpark. Ready?

How to Update Old Blog Posts — And Why You Should

If your editorial calendar is looking a bit hard to manage, update a few old blog posts and put them back in circulation while you whip up some clean, new information for future visitors Don’t be shy about serving up the older material, either. We’ve always taught that you should focus on producing evergreen content — you know, the stuff that stays around forever because it’s that good?

Evergreen content is meant to be present — and useful — long after you first posted it. And from what industry voices say, this is true:

“When I look at the traffic stats of any of my blogs, the vast majority of traffic each month goes to old posts. They’ve been shared more over time, have attracted more links and attract a lot of organic search traffic.”

—Neil Patel

“We’ve increased the number of monthly organic search views of old posts we’ve optimized by an average of 106%.”

—Hubspot

Who says old posts don’t have some tricks left in them? This statistic is literally screaming at you to revamp your old posts — tout de suite! That’s right. Old content means money.

Are you ready for the remodel? We’re going to walk you through a few important points and strategies for how to optimize old blog posts, so it will be totally intuitive for you by the time you get to the end of this article.

First, before we get into the eleven key points we’ve outlined, let’s jump right into the fire with a discussion on whether or not to use the original date of the post.

Save the Date?

You can find plenty of sites out there that advise you to change the date on a blog post once you’ve renewed it. We disagree.

If you’ve got repeat visitors, they’re going to know your material isn’t really “new” because they’ve read it already — particularly if it’s the kind of impactful, high-quality content we’ve been teaching you to write.

It’s critically important to always be transparent with your audience. Transparency fosters trust and authority — and there’s nothing better than that for creating a strong relationship with your customers. Besides, apparent dishonesty — like when you update old blogs and then pretend it’s brand-new material — can hurt you.

“From our perspective, from Core Ranking perspective, I’d like to believe that in some way that will hurt you. At least from, let’s say, we will not believe your dates anymore.” 

—Google’s Gary Ilyes

Besides, our advice is to be transparent and publish with the original date works. How do we know? We’ve updated old content transparently and achieved serious ROI from doing so. We earned nine new backlinks and more than 20 new comments on this piece alone. When we hit publish on the new content, we were transparent both about the new date and the original date we created the piece.

So, when it comes to fudging the dates — let’s not, okay? Be honest, be truthful, and reap the benefits. Alright then, moving on to the mechanics.

Nip and Tuck or Complete Facelift? 11 Factors to Know About How to Update Older Content (Correctly)

Want a handful of ways to update old blog posts like a champ? Choose one or more of these to take your posts from boring to blockbuster in no time.

1. Use Your Metrics

The best way to determine which content pieces will give you more bang for your buck is to take a close look at your metrics using SEMrush. Their Content Analyzer feature will allow you to compare the performance of various posts, so you can choose the most productive content to repurpose.

You might also want to check posts with declining engagement, as these can be updated and remade to increase their performance. Look carefully at trends. Did a post start off like gangbusters and slowly lose engagement over time? These are prime candidates for a blog post redo.

2. Improve Your Image

The featured image on your post is the thing that shows up when it’s shared, so make sure it’s relevant, eye-catching, and current. Include alt-tags on images that help define the material covered in the post, too, for extra ranking power.

3. Manage Your Meta

They’re short, then they’re long, then they’re short again. While you have no idea what Google’s going to do next, you can refresh your meta descriptions for improved click-through. Not to mention, refreshing your meta is a fast and easy way to give a boost to your site’s rankings.

4. Nail the Headline

Lots of blog posts have a number in the headline, such as, “5 Tips for Keeping Your Site Relevant” or whatnot. If you’re updating your content by adding tips to your list, make sure you change that number. Also, make sure your title hooks the reader by letting them know you’ve got something they are definitely going to want to read. Adjust the title and character length as necessary for best results. And, if you’re using a different keyword strategy, then change up your headline with your updated keyword(s).

5. Update SEO

Updating SEO is a great way to breathe new life into those old posts. When learning how to update old blog posts for SEO, consider redoing a keyword search on your post to make sure your old keywords are still ranking.

Perhaps your old post ranked for a short-tail keyword and a long-tail version suits your purposes better. Rewrite your content to reflect this change and give yourself an SEO advantage with more targeted content.

6. Make It a Series

A great way to update old posts as to make them the first in a series, following each up with high-quality new information that packs a punch. Serializing posts also lets you reuse your original title (with “Part 2” added) to build momentum on your old, evergreen content sources.

7. Grab ‘Em with Graphics

Has your company been rebranded? You might need to change your color scheme or logo on your old posts. Do some of your graphics look, well, vintage (and not in a good way)? Sharpen them up with a quick makeover using up-to-date techniques.

Or, take the whole article and turn it into an infographic for a fantastic redo that’s not only attention-grabbing but useful for visitors who want snackable content. And if you want to be remembered, infographics are the way to go. It must be why they’re shared three times more than other content on social media.

8. Leverage Video

Statistics show people love embedded videos — and so does Google. In fact, blog posts that include video can garner three times more inbound links! And you don’t have to shoot your own videos — just embed them.

This chart confirms that 88% of the videos for pages with Google rankings 1-10 come straight from YouTube. This is an incredibly easy way to boost your ranking and update old posts at the same time.

9. Internalize the Info

You’ve created a whole lot of content since you first wrote your old posts. Add some internal links to other, relevant info in your blog or updated site pages to keep readers engaged with your other content.

10. But Be Outgoing, Too

Did you use new research or information in your update? Link to it to refresh your connections. Above all, make sure your content doesn’t have any broken backlinks in it that can hurt your Google ranking. There are several free tools to help you correct this issue on your site. There’s also a free broken link checker tool you can add to your Chrome browser to help you find and correct these links.

11. Reconfigure Text

Depending on how long ago you wrote your post, you might want to break up long blocks of text that make it harder for visitors to read.

12. Charge Up That Call-to-Action (CTA)

Now’s the time to amplify your CTA or at least be sure it’s still relevant. You may have created new gated content since the blog was first published, so this might be an opportunity to feature it. When we revamped one of our blog posts, we added our new CTA at the bottom.  Choose a graphic element that sets off the CTA even better and grabs interest as well.

The One Thing Not to Change: The URL-y Bird Gets the Worm

Now that you’ve updated that content, should you change the URL? We typically recommend not to, just because you don’t want to inadvertently create any broken links anywhere. However, here’s what you should know.

If your post drove lots of traffic, you can benefit from leaving the URL as it is in order to retain the SEO advantage. But, if your post views are low, a new URL could rejuvenate traffic, as a shorter URL tied to stronger, high-volume keywords can be beneficial.

How Often to Plan on Republishing Old Blog Posts

Every site has those rock-star posts that drive engagement. But even if they’re still flying high, it’s important to keep old blog posts updated if the material begins to lose relevance. That means revisiting posts on a yearly basis to keep your data shiny and new.

Don’t go crazy, though. You want to have a nice mix of seasoned and brand-new material online to give visitors a feel for your site’s longevity to bolster authority.

Be smart about the ratio of republished blogs versus original blogs. There needs to be a balance of new and updated posts, so don’t stop publishing original content while you update your old blog posts. It’s still critical to publish posts frequently to get the most out of traffic, so remember to keep your posting frequency high for best results.

What Can You Expect from a Blog Post Makeover?

Learning how to refresh old blog posts is the perfect way to squeeze even more ROI from your high-performing posts and evergreen content. Not only that, but revitalizing your old content helps keep your site up-to-date, on-trend, and in plain sight of Google’s site crawlers.

Keeping your content evergreen by updating facts and figures helps establish authority, and being transparent about your publishing date fosters trust — letting your visitors know you’re a safe, knowledgeable source of the information they want and need. And remember, updating old posts isn’t just a chore — it’s a vital part of content strategy, so don’t ignore it.

And hey, if you need some help coming up with new keywords or breathing some life back into your old content, we’ve got a crazy-good team of content professionals standing by.

How To Diagnose Plugin Issues: A Guide

In organic search, you don’t have to continually pay to be seen, and once you’ve reached the first page of Google (and you have quality content and a trustworthy site), you’ll often stick there for a long period of time (depending on the amount of competition). Both external and internal backlinks can play an important role in any SEO strategy. Therefore, inclining towards any one of them or overdoing them is not a wise thing to do. Very often, a quick reaction can mean the difference between success and failure. On the Internet, it is pretty similar. It is extremely important to be aware of your competitor’s activities. Relevance met with analytics instrumentation is the best combination. We use search engine optimization to monitor the queries that drive traffic to a page, to improve the quality of the content on the page to better match those queries, and to modify or expand content (where appropriate) to match overlooked queries. We also use it to diagnose plugin issues and improve the user experience.

This means that the more presence you can give on the social media sites, the greater chances that your SEO will progress. If you want to get high rankings, include your keyword on the web page. Don’t forget fundamental things such as making sure that your website is mobile-friendly, meta descriptions, etc. Basically, the content needs to flow naturally and contain useful content that is in line with the overall point of the page. So, what it can do, how long it takes, how much it costs, the effort involved. There’s an expression people use in business: don’t boil the ocean.

Discover The Connection Between User Experience User Generated Content

There is a common phrase that “content is king” when it comes to SEO. In other words, good content on your site is what helps most to improve your SEO. Getting high-quality links from outside websites is key — especially if you can find a way to get .edu links. Google sees inbound links coming from websites ending in .edu as especially trustworthy. As you know, back in the day we could build 10,000 forum profile links with exact match anchor text and rank in a few days. Unfortunately, many SEOs have not changed their game to keep up with Google changes. Now 80% of your links should be brand/URL links, 10% KW links, and the other 10% long tail/nonsense KWs. Also, if you’re just starting out, build less than 50 links a day. Most SEO consults cover a local area. We really only need time, experience, and research to help identify thin and duplicate content and make them better. It includes essential elements of technical web mastering, including providing search engines with directives, annotations, and signals for them to efficiently crawl, index, and therefore rank a web page.

Consistent Doesn’t Mean Identical. When You’re Discussing Web 2.0

Gaz Hall, a Freelance SEO Consultant from SEO Hull, commented:

“Google, for example, will punish websites for keyword stuffing by means of lower search rankings when the same word is used too many times in an “unnatural” way.”

If Google decides a site no longer adheres to its quality guidelines, they may apply a site-wide penalty pushing the results down for every page. The more infractions and the greater the seriousness of the infractions, the bigger the penalty and the further the site will drop. Pick a list of words relevant to your business. Then create separate lists of these keywords for each country. Focus on “long-tail keywords” — keywords that are very specific to your business and the products/services you offer. For example, marketing is a broad keyword that will be hard to get traffic for, and inbound marketing software is a long-tail keyword with less competition that will be easier to get traffic for. Understandably, Google takes user behavior into account in their assessment of which result to rank highest. Only link to pages on other websites that you think your visitors would find helpful, valuable, and/or interesting. Most people simply ignore this part as not important – please don’t do the same. Remember the following two sayings: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are” and “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

How To Diagnose Plugin Issues

When trying to diagnose plugin issues, trust your gut where you see signs of growth. Embedded images in your content serve as important relevancy factors. Pay attention to your image’s title, file name, caption, description, and alt text. Search drives an incredible amount of both online and offline economic activity. Make your descriptive tag engaging. Google and other search platforms will use it to create that little blurb about your site. Users often read these before deciding whether or not to visit a site. Concise, descriptive blurbs draw visitors to your site, sometimes even before sites that rank higher than yours in a search. Even if you’re looking for increased brand awareness rather than clicks, organic search will provide a greater return.

Design + Splogs = Greatness

With that in mind, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your website is designed for mobile devices as well as more traditional devices. It’s not only important to diagnose the plugin issues that are relevant to the desktop user experience, mobile users are important as well. Inbound links are still very important when it comes to ranking a page. However, you must make sure that all the links are natural and are highly relevant. This year, make it a point to monitor all your inbound links so that you are positive that they are helping you grow and that all the links are only from high-quality websites. Without on-page optimization of your content which talks about your website, there will be fewer chances of your website getting authority leading to, you missing out on traffic. If you lack on-page optimization, there are fewer chances of you getting notice, which will again lead to a low conversion rate. ‘Content is the King’, it is rightly said as the ranking of the website is dependent on the content of the webpage. The content should be engaging enough that it attracts users. In fact, Search Engines penalize websites that are not updated regularly with the current information. The webmasters should make sure that while creating a website, the content should be logical and should consist of those keywords which will help the website to be easily traceable. This requires sound SEO expertise.

How Does Google View Hidden Content?

We can’t discuss hidden content without first returning to the (digital) age-old debate between SEO and aesthetic web page design. Lately, it seems that “read more” buttons and ‘click-to-expand’ tabs have been the go-to compromise. Finally, a way to tidy away text neatly but still benefit from keyword opportunities. Or so we thought.

Recently, Google has caught up with our efforts to try and outsmart its algorithm. To be blunt, it has outsmarted us. More and more Google is learning to view sites as a human would. Outdated tactics like using white text on white backgrounds to sneak keyword spam into your text are now ineffective. Gone are the days of content cloaking which were popular in the SEO stone age. Search engines are more sophisticated than ever and are constantly improving. Although it is possible to still use the likes of “read more” buttons to capitalize on SEO-optimized text while saving space, Webmasters should no longer have separate scripts for visitors and search engines. As a rule of thumb, what a person would deem relevant, useful content so would Google.

How Does Google View Hidden Content?

Not all links are seen as equal in the eyes of a search engine. Placement of external and internal links on your page could have a major impact on SEO ranking. The same goes for hidden content, it could make or break your site.

But how exactly does Google penalize your site for using hidden content? Unsurprisingly, there has been no definitive answer offered. It seems that any text on your page that loads after the viewer has taken action, such as a “read more” button, can affect your place on SERPs. Especially without careful consideration of where you place keywords.

After extensive research and consideration of the murky allusions Google has made in regards to how its algorithm views hidden content, it seems that contrary to belief, it does take hidden content into consideration. When trying to crack the code of Google’s algorithm, the first port of call is returning to the search and render tool it enabled in 2004. This isn’t breaking news to us, but we can look at this to remind ourselves of how Google really works.

Google no longer just reads the code of the page in order to rank it. It goes much further. In fact, it renders the page to see it is like a human would, through reading JavaScript and understanding CSS.

How Does Google Rank Hidden Content?

There has still been no definitive answer within the SEO industry about hidden content. In our efforts to weigh up the pros and cons of using JavaScript and CSS, Google has only added to the confusion.

John Mueller, an SEO expert at Google, went from stating that Google “may not” index or rank hidden content, to claiming the hidden content is “discounted” in 2014. This was followed by a clarification in 2015 by Gary Illyes, a website trends analyst at Google, who explained that content of this type is given “way less weight in ranking” because it is hidden.

To summarize, it seems that Google does not treat content that is concealed behind tabs, accordions, or any other mechanism where JavaScript is used to reveal content, the same way as content that is clearly visible by default. For example, if a reader has to click “read more” to view the rest of a blog post or article, any keyword-optimized text will not have as much power as the content that was visible by default.

Any content that comes after the “read more” button does not carry the same weight as what came before. In other words, if it’s not immediately apparent to visitors, Google deems it as less important. What adds an additional layer to our understanding is that hidden content will, however, be indexed by Google.

This means that pages may rank for search terms or phrases that are related to the content that appears in hidden sections. While ‘hidden content’ is not treated equally, you could say it still holds some value when it comes to ranking.

Putting Hidden Content Theories to the Test

Image Source: Glenn Carstens-Peters

Despite the fact that comments from Google representatives seem conclusive, there has still been much debate around ‘hidden content’ within the SEO community. Rebootonline.com attempted to put this to rest. Last year they carried out a study that aimed to determine whether Google’s claims surrounding hidden content were true.

The study took place over a period of six months and tested CSS, text area, visible text, and JavaScript hiding across 20 different domains. The results showed that what Google previously claimed is in fact true. The study revealed that text behind “read more” and similar mechanisms is in fact weighted less by Google.

Yes, the “read more” buttons can be useful depending on your site’s intent. For example when it comes to data tracking, monitoring user engagement, or adding ease of use. However, keep in mind that it may push you down in ranking. When designing your webpage, you need to ask yourself: is it worth devaluing your text and, therefore it’s ranking, in favor of these minor benefits?

How Will Google’s Mobile-First Index Change This?

Another vital development to consider when deciding how and when to incorporate hidden content is Google’s Mobile-First Index. With this update, everything we have figured out about how Google sees hidden content could be set to change.

As more and more web users migrate from desktop to mobile devices, Google has followed suit. At the moment, ranking systems typically look at desktop sites to evaluate how relevant they are to the user. This becomes problematic when we consider that most people are used to searching on Google via mobile devices. While the majority of internet users currently use multiple devices, 2014 was predicted to be the year when mobile-only users would surpass desktop users.

The following year, this forecast became a reality in the U.S. Currently, mobile digital media time in the US is now significantly higher at 51% compared to desktop use at 42%. It goes without saying that we do need to remember that the majority of internet users do still use multiple devices. However, being easier, quicker, and more accessible to use, mobile accounted for 50.3% of all web traffic generated worldwide in 2017.

What’s more is that according to Smartinsights Search Engine Statistics for 2018, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. The implications of this movement towards mobile devices mean digital media has had to start evolving mobile-first approach.

Google’s answer? Switch over to evaluating mobile pages and ranking websites accordingly. This is problematic as mobile pages with less space typically have less content than desktop pages. This forces us to speculate that Google’s algorithm will have to resort to giving accordions, drop-down menus, tabbed menus, slider menus, and other forms of hidden content more weight.

John Mueller added fuel to the fire when he confirmed our speculations. In a Google hangout session, he confirmed that Google will move towards a more equal ranking of hidden content due to lack of space on smartphones and tablets. If this does happen, it will be a gamechanger in terms of web design. These changes will elevate hidden content to greater value and allow us more options when it comes to organizing content, enhancing visuals, and providing an engaging user experience.

How can Sites Adapt to Make the Most of Hidden Content?

For now, it is advisable to place crucial information and relevant keyword phrases in the most visible sections of your website in order to increase your ranking. If using a “read more” button, maximize the ranking weight of keywords by placing them in the top portion of the page where they are visible by default. Besides keeping clutter at bay and giving your site a facelift, the hidden content text should serve a purpose. You should make sure to incorporate a way of letting visitors know that there is more information there.

Not only will the user experience be enhanced, but you are showing Google that your content is relevant and valid, which will have no negative SEO implications. In preparation for any possible future changes that Google’s Mobile-First Index may bring, you should be paying more attention to your mobile versions of your site.

With the direction Google’s algorithm seems to be going in, an effort that is put into making your hidden content count now will have a huge payoff in the future. Don’t let the ambivalence and debate around the likes of “read more” buttons put you off. They can be useful additions to your website.

Hidden content is not only a great way to up your page’s ranking. If used intelligently, it can also greatly enhance the user experience your website offers. So when it comes to utilizing hidden content, don’t try to outsmart Google, try to up-smart your site.

The 4 Essential Sweet Spots of Modern SEO Copywriting

We had enough and more of that keyword-stuffed, scraped, spammy, black hat SEO that nearly toppled the internet under the weight of its disruptive practices. Modern SEO copywriting practices are drastically different from these outdated practices that corrupted the internet.

Starting with 2010 a wave of algorithm updates swept up the SEO space. Google, seriously bothered by businesses blatantly butchering its SEO game plan, whipped up a series of algorithm changes and updates such as Pigeon, Panda, Hummingbird, and Google RankBrain to name a few, to get a handle on the situation before things went out of hand. The result: The birth of modern SEO. Google’s new SEO game plan ensured that only quality content showed up in Google’s lucrative Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

According to Copyblogger, modern SEO copywriting is all about crafting content so compelling that other people want to promote it by linking to it or sharing it, which increases trust and authority and helps pages you want to rank well for certain keywords. In short, SEO copywriting performs two main functions:

  • Creating content so compelling that readers can’t resist linking to it or sharing it, thereby increasing the sites’ trust and authority.
  • Incorporating keywords strategically to make sure you rank high in search engine rankings.

Long story short, modern SEO copywriting is all about high-quality content and high-quality content alone. In other words, to create content that’s highly engaging and user-friendly. This would guarantee websites with higher click-through rates and more organic traffic.

Here are four major sweet spots in modern SEO practices. Focusing your attention on these four areas is sure to bring you optimal results in terms of traffic and conversions.

Sweet Spot #1 – Optimize for Google RankBrain

Turns out, before Google RankBrain got launched, Stone Temple Consulting carried out a study to figure out the total number of Google search queries that failed to produce the right answers.

For this, they analyzed nearly 1.4 million queries of which 163 answers seemed to be way beside the point. In other words, Google’s spiders failed to dig out the right answers for 163 search queries. We know what you’re thinking now. Isn’t that OK because it’s just a minuscule number? No.

The problem here is that the internet has plenty of rich content to address these 163 queries. But then, who knows why, Google failed to interpret the content properly and in the process produced irrelevant search results. Step in Google RankBrain. This new algorithm, backed by application intelligence and machine learning systems, got its act together and managed to improve 89 of those search results.

How to Make Your Web Copy Google RankBrain-Friendly

First, let us set this straight: writing with Google RankBrain in mind is a long-term and complex strategy of modern SEO copywriting. So if you are in for the long haul, go for it. Set aside the old-school formulas and focus on modern optimization techniques.

Image Source: Wokandapix

Forget About Single Keyword Phrases

Going all around the internet with a fine-tooth comb to find the perfect keyword for your site? Nope. Don’t do that. The era of single keyword optimization is over. Modern SEO copywriting is all about multiple keywords. For this, you could make use of Google AdWords Keyword Tool and Google Search to scope out as many keyword phrases for your web copy as possible.

And in case you’re planning to come up with a single, all-exhaustive blog post, think again. It’s now more important than ever to make provisions for a series of blog posts with a focus on incorporating multiple keyword phrases. For instance, if you are writing a web page on app development, instead of simply focusing on one keyword (e.g. create an app) focus, instead, on many keyword phrases like “iOS app development”, “android development” and so on.

Make sure to include the keyword phrases in the headline and subheadings. This will again ensure that your web page shows up whenever people type in app-related stuff in the Search box.

Forget About Keyword Stuffing

Modern SEO has no place for keyword stuffing. Upping your ante in terms of quality content is the only way to coax Google spiders to visit your page. That said, you need to incorporate keyword phrases to make your content relevant. In what proportion should the keywords be used? The answer is there’s no proportion per use.

Weave keyword phrases such as “app development companies”, “app development software”, “android app development tutorial”, “app development course” and others, as naturally as you can into the copy. Don’t add them just for the heck of it.

Forget About Producing Google-friendly Content

With the onset of RankBrain, Google-friendly content has swapped places with user-friendly content. Like it or not, your content has to be good in the eyes of users first and foremost. And Google, with the launch of Google RankBrain, has made it very clear that only the best content will find a place in its Search Engine Results Pages.

We know what you are thinking… How would one know whether the content created will match up to Google’s new standards? Simple – if users start sharing your content on social media pages, or start leaving comments on your blog posts, or are staying on pages for a longer time, and even checking out other pages of the website, be assured your content is working.

Rankings are good, but not good enough. Focus on content and the stickability quotient of your website.

The bottom line: generate more in-depth content, epic pieces of content to be very precise, if you are really keen on pleasing Google RankBrain.

Sweet Spot #2 – Optimize for Schema Markup

To put it simply, Schema is a code that you need to embed on your website to help search engines fetch better results for searchers. Though not much in use, it’s considered to be the most powerful form of SEO optimization today. And the best thing about Schema Markup is that SEO webmasters, unlike before, will now have greater control over what appears in the search results.

How to Make Your Web Copy Schema Markup-Friendly

Let’s say the keyword “advanced web ranking” appears in your article. The search engine doesn’t recognize “advanced web ranking” as a Rank Tracking Tool, but some random name is thrown in the article.

However, if you put in the right schema markup around the name “advanced web ranking,” the search engine would recognize it as a Rank Tracking Tool. Schema Markup is available for the following things:

  • Authorship Markup
  • Testimonials
  • Local Business Schema and Geotag
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Events
  • Recipes
  • Videos
  • Offers
  • Bulleted Lists
  • Individuals
  • Products
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Facebook Open Graph

One of the easiest ways to implement Schema markup is to directly tag the HTML code on your web pages. You could even make use of Google Tag Manager, a free tool that enables marketers to add or update tags without any basic knowledge of website coding.

According to Behshad Behzadi, Principal Engineer at Google Zurich, in a keynote at SMX West, voice search is growing fast. Interestingly, according to recent studies, 55% of teens and 41% of adults are using voice search on a day-to-day basis. This is why it is best to incorporate it into your modern SEO copywriting practices.

The appeal of voice chat is undeniable – it’s hands-free and helps with multitasking. On top of that, its error rate is just 8%, while the error rate in text search about two years ago was over 20%.

How to Make Your Web Copy Voice-search Friendly

Focus on Long Tail Keywords

When searchers type in a keyword, they usually prefer short sentences; in other words, short-tail keywords. But when they speak, they usually tend to speak in long sentences.

Let’s say you want to know “who plays the lead role in Fast and Furious”. You would simply type in “lead hero fast and furious”. For voice search, however, searchers would in all likelihood be talking in complete sentences. To reach out to these searchers use natural, long phrases in your web copy. Or, in other words, use conversational, long-tail keywords that answer user queries.

Optimize for Microdata

It’s important that your brick and mortar locations and XML Sitemaps are readable to your visitors and search engines. Why? Because mobile users and voice searchers are looking for information like this, especially from their mobile devices.

Organize an FAQs Page

Voice searchers are more prone to pose questions that basically start with “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How”. These searchers are looking for immediate answers.

To answer such queries, you could come up with an FAQ page. However, ensure that your questions start with the above-mentioned adverbs. And more importantly, remember to keep the tone conversational to match voice search.

Sweet Spot #4 – Optimize for Google AMP

Image Source: Solen Feyissa

With the increase in smartphone use, it has become really important now to make your website mobile-friendly. According to a Moz article on SEO and digital trends in 2017, mobile search these days is attracting more traffic than desktop. In fact, 20 of the 24 industry niches look at mobile as their primary source of traffic.

No wonder Google has been giving importance to mobile-first indexing. The search engine giant has made it clear – if you want your website to rank higher in search engines, make sure your website is mobile optimized.

Designed expressly with the purpose of making sure that businesses give significant importance to mobile indexing, Google launched Google AMP in 2015. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, a Google-backed project that helps websites come up with faster-loading mobile pages. So if your website is receiving large volumes of traffic from mobile search, then it’s better for you to roll up your sleeves and start digging for ways to AMP-up your site.

How to Make Your Web Copy Google AMP-friendly

The AMP project was initially built for managing news and blogs. But then, the whole point of coming up with an AMP project was to make content accessible, better, and faster on mobile for all websites, irrespective of the industry they fall in – whether it was news, retail, or travel.

By far, AMPs have proved quite successful for news and blog sites. And today, the model has been enhanced to accommodate the needs of the eCommerce industry as well. By the way, it’s considered a perfect fit for the eCommerce industry given that the goal of AMPs is to enable faster loading of pages that lead to better conversions. So the eCommerce industry should be milking it for what it’s worth.

That being said, an eCommerce website should go slow when it comes to adopting AMP fully. Start in parts by testing the performance and ROI of a particular category or page and then move on to amplify other pages.

Content features such as product descriptions, reviews, images, and others can easily be amplified today. More to the point, being backed by pre-built components, it enables you to build interactive experiences on your websites, such as carousels or instrumentation to collect analytics data.

Wrapping Up

SEO has changed for good. Google is upping its ante time and time again, through constant algorithm updates that make sure websites don’t sacrifice quality on the altar of traffic.

The methods mentioned above are the major sweet spots that could help businesses get their act together and ensure they are on the same page as Google’s algorithms.

On Page SEO Guide for Beginners in 2022

Why everyone talks about On Page SEO? And why is it important? Well, the simple answer is that, if you follow the SEO strategy from day one, you can get free organic traffic. This article is an on page SEO guide. We are going to tell you about on page SEO and how to implement the SEO strategy on your website.

Now, what is On Page SEO?

On page, SEO is the practice of boosting your website content for search engines and searchers. It means on page SEO can help your website to get more traffic and visibility.

There are three main categories of On Page SEO:

  • Create unique content
  • optimize tags, meta description, and other on-page elements
  • Inbound and outbound links

So, now the next question that comes to your mind is why on-page SEO is important?

As we know that Google is always looking for fresh content for its users. So to fulfill google needs we need to work on our website content and SEO.

On the page, SEO helps your website overall efficiency. If you have done it properly, on-page SEO can help your website to rank on the first page of google search results.

If you implement the right on-page SEO elements such as title, tags, headings, and site content then you won’t have to optimize your website on regular basis.

On the page, SERP will ensure that your website traffic is targeted and relevant to your niche.
It’s a part of white hat SEO and by far the safest option for optimizing your content.

On-page SEO strategies are:

#1 – Decide one keyword you want to be known for or rank On google search results.

SEO is a strategy in which you have to be in for long period. So instead of focusing on overnight ranking just prepare your marketing strategy.

Usually, people think that they need to find a popular keyword on which they can rank 1st on google. But a lot of times people forget about their website niche and they do their research wrong on keywords.

So my suggestion is to you that just think about your niche and then do research on keywords. The most important thing is if the term is not popular, then it’s easier to rank for that term.
But the cache here is you are not going to get more traffic from that keyword instantly but in long term, it’s really important for your on-page SEO.

On Page SEO Guide #2 – Title tags and heading

Title and heading are the most important elements of any web page in terms of SEO.
You need to include a focus keyword in your title for that particular web page.

If it’s possible then try to include it in your webpage heading. It will give your webpage extra benefits in terms of on-page SEO for this keyword you’re trying to rank for.

#3 – Meta description and tags

Meta descriptions or tags are not going to help you rank in search engines. However, they are important in terms of describing your articles. The meta description will be read by people, while they are doing their query on any search engine. Therefore, you need to present your meta description as simple as possible so that it matches with user queries and they read through them.

On Page SEO Guide #4 – Check for copied content

Like it sounds, If you are using copied content on your website then it’s not good for SEO. Surely Google or any search engine will not penalize you for this but it will affect your ranking.
So try to provide something new that brings value to the users.

#5 – Image alt tags are necessary for On Page SEO?

Image alt tags are used to provide information about your images. It helps the search engine understand what your web page is about and tell them that you might have better content than just plain text. Simply just enter alt text in your image that describes the meaning of the image. Try to avoid copied alt text.

On Page SEO Guide #6 – Highlight your keyword once in your post

Highlighting your keyword in an article or webpage has little impact on SEO. Just highlight keyword once in an article do not try to highlight more than one it will bad for on-page SEO.

Inbound links are used within your website to boost up your Pages. You can do this by simply linking to other articles from within your content. So, don’t think that adding tons of inbound links helps to boost the SEO of your web page. Search engines are aware of these situations. It can end up hurting your SEO efforts. If it makes sense to create a link then do so otherwise you don’t have to create.

While on the other hand outbound links are kind of the same as inbound links but the major difference between them is:

In inbound, you create a link to your web page but in outbound, you give reference to another webpage. If you’ve made it this far, congratulation now it’s time to implement them on-page SEO strategies on your website that can help your pages get found on the search engine result page.

Have questions? Feel free to discuss below.

Here Is The Optimum WordPress Site SEO Setup

While having a website that is properly set up for SEO does not guarantee SEO success, having one that is designed and/or set up poorly can guarantee failure. While the bulk of the work of SEO is publishing quality content at regular (and preferably frequent) intervals, it’s critical the SEO setup of your WordPress site be done well.

This post describes how to set up a WordPress website for strong SEO. At the end of this post we include stuff that is important for conversion because as you know unless you’re selling advertising, visitors are not enough. You need website visitors to take actions that drop them into your sales funnel. You need website visitors to become leads.

This post assumes familiarity with WordPress. As such, WordPress concepts are not explained, and details on how to navigate within the WordPress dashboard may be missing.

WordPress Site Setup Important for SEO

Settings

There really is only one setting that is critical, and that is how you set your permalink, which defines the structure of the URL for your blog posts.

The URL of your blog posts should contain the relevant keyword phrases. The best way to do this is to:

  • Set your WordPress permalink so the URL of the post contains the blog post category name, and so that the URL of the post contains the title of the post.
  • Choose blog post category names that are relevant SEO keywords.
  • Create strong SEO friendly blog post titles that contain the relevant keyword phrases.
  • Per the image below, set your permalinks to “Custom Structure”, and set the Custom Structure to “/%category%/%postname%/”.

This causes two things to happen:

  • The blog post category name will appear in the URL.
  • The blog post title will appear in the URL.

Both of these provide an SEO boost. The importance of the blog post category names is discussed below in the section titled Topic.

Plugins that Provide SEO Benefits

There are five types of plugins that provide SEO benefits as you setup a wordpress site. The last one listed is the one that allows you to set the SEO metadata for your pages and posts. We list it last not because it’s the least important, but because most people focus only on SEO metadata, and fail to attend to other important aspects of the SEO of their WordPress site.

Maintain an up to date sitemap.xml file

The sitemap.xml file is a list of all the URLs on your website. When a website search robot visits your site, it looks for this file. The existence of the sitemap.xml file makes it easier for the search engines to crawl your site, and also provides an ability to index pages that are not linked to somewhere on your site.

We recommend Google XML Sitemaps By Arne Brachold.

This plugin creates an updated sitemap.xml file every time your website is updated.

There is only one “caveat” with this plugin (and we believe all the XML Sitemap plugins), and that is after you install it, you must manually initiate the creation of the initial sitemap.xml file, which you do by selecting Settings > XML-Sitemap.

We’ve never found any reason to modify the settings of this plugin from their default values.

Redirection of 404 “Page Not Found” Errors

There is a belief among SEOs (and somewhat supported by Google) that the SEO ranking of your site is hurt by excessive 404 errors. While there is no definitive definition of what “excessive” is, and not everyone agrees with this idea, installing this plugin is quick and easy, and makes the issue go away.

In case you need a refresher, a 404 Error is Page Not Found. It occurs when someone attempts to load a non-existent URL. A common way this can occur is if you have a blog post which someone else has linked to, then for some reason, the URL of the blog post changes. Either you’ve changed the category name, or changed the blog post title (even slightly) and the web page URL along with it.

We recommend Redirection By John Godley

After you install this plugin, when your website is presented with a non-existent URL, it returns the home page rather than a 404 error.

A broken link is a link from a web page on your site to a URL that no longer exists. When you have a broken link on your site, someone reading the page with the broken link selects the link (not realizing it’s broken) and is presented with a 404 Page Not Found error.

404 Page Not Found errors hurt your SEO because this hurts the user experience.

We recommend Broken Link Checker By Janis Elsts, Vladimir Prelovac.

This plugin compiles a report of all broken links on your site. It makes it easy to find them and fix them. By default, a check is run every 72 hours, but we’re a little extreme and we set ours to run every 24 hours.

This allows you to know: 1) which post (or page) contains the broken link, 2) what the anchor text in the post is, 3) what URL you’re linking to, and 4) what error is being returned. With the above report, it’s really easy to find and fix broken links.

Displaying Related Posts at the Bottom of Every Blog Post

These plugins need to be configured, but there is no one right way. You have great flexibility and how you set things up is mostly a matter of preference.

The SEO benefit of this plugin is that the TITLES of other related blog posts are displayed at the bottom of every blog post. While you must not keyword stuff posts, the post itself is only part of the web page real estate.

Google has a concept of Main Content as well as Supplementary Content.

By displaying the titles of other blog posts at the bottom of every blog post, you somewhat keyword stuff web pages without keyword stuffing blog posts.

We recommend Related Posts By iLen.

Set the SEO Meta Data for Posts and Pages

There are two critical fields of SEO metadata: Title Tag, and Meta Description. The title tag is sometimes called the SEO secondary title and it should be different from the blog post title. The SEO metadata is the description that appears in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). See below.

We recommend SEO Ultimate By SEO Design Solutions.

We know Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin by far, but the truth is Yoast WordPress SEO asks that you setup far too many things. As recently as 4 years ago the various things the Yoast plugin looks at made sense. But as Google tightened its algorithm to focus more on content quality (which is the ULTIMATE source of inbound links), most of that detail is no longer relevant enough to spend time on. That being the case, we’re recommending “out of sight and out of mind”.

We recommend SEO Ultimate as it is by far the simplest SEO plugin we’ve seen.

The two fields displayed above ARE what’s most important for the SEO needs WITHIN your post. H1, H2, etc headers do provide some SEO benefit, but it’s so small the time spent worrying about it would be time better spent on writing other content or doing link-building outreach. Keyword density can get you in trouble. It’s best to stick to the basics while taking a more “holistic” view of the SEO requirements of your website.

So install SEO Ultimate, accept the default settings, and start publishing.

Plugins that Provide Conversion Benefits

Image Source: mohamed_hassan

For conversion, what matters is: Call to Action buttons, forms, contact DBs, and keeping people on your site.

Let me first talk a little about Forms and Contact DBs. What we suggest below is the simplest method of capturing lead information. The form generator and the contact DB are local to the WordPress site.

A better solution is to use an email marketing or marketing automation solution where they provide both the ability to generate forms and a place to capture contact details. All the major email marketing and marketing automation providers have this ability.

But when you’re first starting out, using WordPress plugins for this makes sense.

Contact Forms and Contact DBs

We recommend Contact Form 7 and Flamingo (Both By Takayuki Miyoshi).

Contact Form 7 is a plugin that allows you to create forms. Flamingo is the companion plugin that stores the contents of the submitted form. Significant setup is required to create a form and have it routed to the email address of your choice, but the setup is pretty straightforward.

Call to Action Buttons

If your WordPress theme does not allow you to create Call to Action (CTA) buttons, then you need a plugin that does. For these plugins, there are no settings per se, but you have to create buttons (at least one) which you will place within blog posts and/or pages.

We recommend Max Buttons By Max Foundry.

All the CTA buttons on this website are created with MaxButtons.

This plugin is by no means necessary and all it does is when someone selects a link to a webpage that is NOT on your site, it opens that page in an external window (a new browser tab). This allows the visitor to leave your site without leaving your site. When they close the browser tab, they’re back on the page where they started from.

We recommend Open in New Window By Keith P. Graham.

Plugin for Monitoring and Measuring

Another important aspect of WordPress site SEO setup is monitioring and measuring your optimization to ensure the best results.

We recommend Smart Google Analytics Code By Oturia.

This plugin makes it very easy to set up your site for both Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools). You will be using both of these tools, so you need to set up your website to do so. This plugin is simply the easiest way to set up both that we’ve found.

Topic

This is a topic (no pun intended) about letting the search engine robots know what your site is about. When your site is very very large (such as Wikipedia, or Facebook) it can be about many things and Google won’t get “confused”. But when your site is smaller it needs to be ABOUT something and when it’s about too many things, the search engine robots take longer to rank your site. Sometimes much longer.

What follows is not settings per se, but things you set within WordPress that allow the search engines to know what your site is about. we’ll go into each one in more detail below, but there are four areas where you tell Google what your site is about:

  • SIte Title
  • Tagline
  • Blog Post Category Names
  • Blog Post Titles

We know someone who calls this The Golden Thread, and that’s a good name. What matters is that you create a “thread” of your website topic(s) through those 4 things.

Site Title

Set in Settings > General. This should be 2 to 4 words that provide a very broad idea of what your website is about.

Tagline

Also set in Setting > General. This should be a sentence that includes relevant words and phrases to help search engines “focus in” on what your website is about.

You have limited real estate, so be sure no word is used more than once. When some word is used twice, you’ve eliminated the ability to use a different word, and you want as many different (and appropriate) words as reasonably fit into a proper sentence.

Blog Post Categories

You set these as Posts > Categories. They are relevant to SEO because you’ve set your permalink to display the category name in the URL, and that part of the URL provides some SEO benefits. Some, but this is something you set once and leave alone, so it’s worth doing.

You want no more than 12 blog post categories. Maybe 13, but do not get carried away.

Blog Post Titles

These are the individual titles of the individual blog posts. They are the last layer of the golden thread. It should be obvious which category a blog post goes in, and if it’s not you may need to rethink either your category names or your blog post topics. These are relevant to SEO for two reasons:

The title shows in the URL because of how you’ve set permalinks, and this provides an SEO benefit. Your title IS your H1 header, and that provides SEO benefits as well.

Blog post titles should be 55 to 70 characters long (70 characters is the limit of displaying titles in Google SERPs), should contain words and phrases people are likely to use in search queries and use each word only once.

Like your Site Tagline, your blog post titles provide limited “real estate” and when you use one word more than once you give up the opportunity to use another word. You want your blog posts to match as many search terms as you reasonably can.

In Closing

While this may seem like a lot, for the most part, WordPress Site SEO setup is something you do once and don’t need to continue doing. It will setup your WordPress blog site for SEO success, provided you publish a sufficient stream of quality content others find good enough to link to.

We want to emphasize that setting up your WordPress website for good SEO does not guarantee SEO success, but rather it is where you start.

Sometimes an improperly setup site kills the SEO benefits of the highest quality posts. The search engine robots never index the posts and pages and hard work is wasted (not permanently). But, doing this basic setup in no way relieves you of the responsibility to publish, which is the real work of SEO and Content Marketing.

Anchor Text Rituals – Useful Tips From Experts

We have put together some useful tips from experts in anchor text rituals.

Naming your pages with strong keywords provides an easy-to-follow map of your site. A particular web page or content can be retrieved from the database by using a keyword or a related search string. Search engines make a wide variety of data available that can provide detailed insight into the intent and motivation of potential customers. Some CMSs allow you to access the same content via multiple URLs if you don’t set them up correctly.

This causes issues when search engines don’t know which is the best version to choose.

Fortunately, unless you are being spammy, most duplicate content issues don’t cause a site to be penalised. Not only will a great linking setup be useful when proving your authority to Google, Yahoo and Bing, but it can also create a much more complete interaction with your potential customers.

High advertisement ratio can be mitigated by using walled garden sites:

In the early days of SEO, you could get a site to rank fairly easily by buying a bunch of low-quality backlinks, keyword stuffing (including the same keyword on a page a bunch of times), or by buying a domain address (website name) that exactly matched the keyword you wanted to rank for.

In order to please both the search engines (who will reward you with high rankings over time) and potential customers and return visitors, you need to offer value above and beyond search engine optimization. When it comes to writing effective SEO content, you should always begin by thinking of the perfect headline.

However, an effective headline can do wonders for not only SEO purposes but also for your social media and website visitors as well. By correctly using header tags in the following order H1, H2, H3, H4 all the way to H6 (if necessary) when inputting copy, you’re helping crawlers navigate each page of your site easily and understand its content. Heading tags are also a great way to break up the copy on your page to make it more readable for your visitors. If you notice that the ranking has fallen precipitously through many pages within a very short time, there is a serious problem.

Anchor Text Rituals – Google ranking factors can be affected by citations:

These can help people to quickly scan the page and find the information they’re looking for. But, there’s still more to it. Do not copy another site’s content without asking permission first. It’s bad for you, the site you’re copying from and the reader too. Keyword research can be done using free tools.

There are plenty of things that you can do to optimise your content as part of your blog roll or your on-page content. SEO factors have varying weights and no SEO consultant knows the exact weight of each or when these weights change. We’re not going to talk about every SEO factor. This is because Google has over 200 SEO factors and over 10,000 sub-signals for ranking. That is way too much information to digest and remember.

Anchor Text Rituals – Analyse your existing link bait:

We asked an SEO Specialist, Gaz Hall, for his thoughts on the matter: “SEO has the potential to promote companies, without them having to pay anything extra for advertising.”

As a rule of thumb, the easier you acquire a link, the less value it will likely have. You have to think outside of the box (link building is not just guest posting). Creating content that consistently drives traffic to your site is a win; however, not all traffic is created equal.

The challenge is finding a balance of content that is interesting, sustainable, and relevant to your business interests. Based on your business goals, searcher data, and competitive landscape, you can refine the initial list of target searches to subsets that are most likely to convert and that are reasonable areas for your business to initially compete in.

The internet marketer then starts optimizing their websites for the search engines by creating good content, manipulating HTML code, such as Meta tags and descriptions, writing great web page titles and keyword dense content, and creating natural back links to their websites.

Useful tips from experts in anchor text:

If you want to rank for a high-value, high-competition blockbuster phrase, don’t worry about it. Just start writing high ranking content for lots of related topics. You first need to fill your site with link magnets.

A backlink to your site is when another website provides a link to your site, and a good SEO campaign aims to get trusted websites backlinking to yours to demonstrate its credibility to search engines. This can hurt user experiences and impact search rankings.

Your site should be free of broken links and configured to signal broken links to crawlers using a 404 response status code. There are enough studies done by leading SEO experts out there that suggest that there’s a high correlation with optimizing them and higher rankings in SERPs.

If you want a better SEO ranking and more happy returning customers, you have to make sure that they get the very best user experience. Reliable hosting and a fast website are the two most important (yet very affordable) investments any website owner should do.

Anchor Text Rituals – Having fun with metrics:

Leveraging exceptional content is the right way to engage your audience. SEO combines art with science, and content is the way to get maximum results. It can help you create your brand, draw backlinks from relevant quality sites, build relationships, and position yourself in your industry.

Keep in mind that quality and consistency are crucial. Building a strong site architecture and providing clear navigation will help search engines index your site quickly and easily. This will also, more importantly, provide visitors with a good experience of using your site and encourage repeat visits.

It’s worth considering that Google is also increasingly paying attention to user experience, including mobile optimisation and site speed. Ensure the number of new site visitors arriving via organic search is growing, month to month and year over year. Both Google and Bing take page-loading speed into account in their website ranking algorithm. SEO is a time consuming effort which most people running an online business do not have.

Using SEO For Ecommerce – How To Guideline

With the current state of the web, you can literally order anything online and have it delivered to your front door. Yes, even bread, eggs and milk. If you are starting your own e-commerce business, then get ready for a major challenge. E-commerce sites often have thousands of pages, making them an extremely challenging SEO issue. Properly linking these pages together, and especially obtaining links to the actual product pages from external sites, is a very difficult and time consuming task. Using SEO for ecommerce is not as intimidating as it may seem.

In many ways, this makes SEO for e-commerce sites a whole different beast from trying to rank a blog. Here are a few things you can do to make this task more manageable.

Using SEO For Ecommerce #1 – Create an SEO Keyword Field In Your Database


Inevitably, an e-commerce site is powered by a database complete with product names, prices, and other variables. Include a keyword field in this database so that it is always immediately clear what keyword you are trying to rank this product for. This is extremely useful for your link building efforts, your product description and title optimization, and countless other tasks.

#2 – Optimize Your Product Detail Page

This is by far your most important content. All product pages must have the following pieces:

– A Product Name – The title of the page should be the product name, which should include all relevant keywords in as few words as possible. Every product name should be unique and it should be clear to users what each product is.

– Price – The price should be easy to find and prominent, or you will end up irritating your users who are trying to shop. The price is one of the first things that users look for, so be sure to put the “buy” button right next to the price so that it is easy to find as well.

– Buy Button – The buy button should be prominent, colorful, and easy to spot. It should almost always be “above the fold” so that users don’t need to scroll down in order to find it. Keep in mind that words can have different meaning in different cultures. “Add to basket” is more appropriate than “add to cart” in the UK, for example.

The product name and title tag should be closely related or identical, and certainly contain the keyword. All content on the page should be crawlable. Avoid duplicate content at all costs, and for the same reason do everything you can to avoid using the manufacturer’s description as the product description, since all of the other e-commerce sites will be using the same content.

Using SEO For Ecommerce #3 – Avoid Session ID Duplicate Content

If your site uses session IDs, it’s possible that your site has duplicate content which could cause it to be penalized and buried in the search results. Session IDs are used for security reasons and to make sure that all transactions are traceable, but they also create a unique URL for every visitor who starts making a purchase.

Be sure to edit robots.txt so that the search engines don’t end up getting confused by all of this extra content. Even if your site doesn’t get penalized by duplicate content, it can make your site’s structure unclear in a way that harms rankings.

#4 – Product RSS Feed and Site Map

By submitting your RSS feed to relevant aggregators you can pick up tons of backlinks which can help improve your site rankings. Google Base is a good example of the type of aggregator to submit to. Site maps can also be incredibly helpful for e-commerce sites since their indexes are so large and there is always the possibility that certain pages won’t get crawled and indexed.

Using SEO For Ecommerce #5 – Find a SEO friendly shopping cart

Finding a SEO friendly shopping cart software can actually be quite a difficult process. Look for shopping cart software that is explicitly marketed as being SEO friendly. Don’t assume that this is taken care of just because your shopping cart software is expensive. Obviously there are incredible solutions on the web at affordable prices, but just because the first one sounds good does not mean it’s the best.

#6 – Go Social

Be sure to add social sharing buttons so that your best products can spread by word of mouth. Allow users to leave their own reviews in order to improve participation and to get feedback. Pay attention to your analytics to see where the buying funnel leads. Make sure that your site is fully integrated with analytics so that you are capturing all of the relevant data.

Conclusion

E-commerce sites are very difficult to optimize for SEO, but they need it perhaps even more than any other type of site. These tips should provide a good road map to get you started, but be sure to do your research and test everything extensively.

Did you enjoy this article? Got any feedback regarding this industry? Don’t be shy, comment below and let us know!

6 Website Redesign Questions To Save Your Ranking

Questions to ask during your next website redesign or update. If you are currently involved in or are planning a website redesign, then we’re sure the title of our post caught your attention. We’re not prone to strike fear into people about SEO, but in our experience, website redesigns (or even website updates) have a knack for hurting Natural Search rankings. It actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. During website redesigns, many companies try to make noticeable and impactful changes. You might add more interactivity and rich media, you might use the latest coding techniques to enhance the user experience, you might remove older web pages that you don’t believe need to be on the site anymore, you might change your URL structure, so on and so forth. But, and this a significant but, if you don’t look at your redesign through the lens of SEO, then you have a distinct possibility of hurting your search rankings. Actually, you can crush your rankings if you aren’t careful.

So, we decided to write this post on website redesign questions to help you stand out as the person that saves the day. The person that flies in with SEO on your chest, swoops down and identifies SEO issues with your redesign and then corrects a potential disaster in the making.

Note: These are actual SEO scenarios we have come across. Also, there are many more issues that can pop up, but we decided to focus on these 6 for the post. And don’t laugh when you read each item, this might be happening as part of your next redesign. 

Without further ado, here are 6 questions you can ask during your website redesign that can save your search engine rankings:

1. Are we using Flash in the right ways and only when we need its unique power?

If you know us at all, then you know we’re big advocates of Flash. But, replacing HTML content with full Flash pages or a significant amount of Flash can really cause problems SEO-wise. Run a cache command on a full flash webpage and you’ll see the problem quickly. That is unless you want to rank for “big blank white space”! 😉 If you do add more flash content to your site, then definitely utilize SWFObject 2.0 to provide search engine-friendly alternative HTML content. There are several variables that can impact how Google and Yahoo crawl your SWFs (the two engines working with Adobe now). Our tests and recommendations were backed up this week at SMX during the Flash and SEO session with Adobe, Google, Yahoo, and Live Search. What’s our rule of thumb with Flash? Use it where you need the unique power of Flash. Do not, we repeat, do not use Flash for your entire site or entire pages of content. Use it for web page elements only.

2. Did we analyze the Search Equity of web pages marked for removal?

If you will be removing content from your site, make sure you determine the Search Equity of your pages. Your current rankings are heavily based on the quality and relevance of your inbound links. You’ve worked hard to build those links, so why would you throw them away?? This happens all too often when you don’t take into account which pages are important from a Natural Search standpoint.

Campaign landing pages are a great example of this. Let’s say you launch a new product and use a wide range of marketing channels to promote the new product and landing page. When the campaign ends, you decide the page isn’t needed anymore, so you just delete it. But hold on… if you had taken a look at the Search Equity of the page, you would have realized it built more than 5000 links for you, mostly from industry-relevant blogs and websites! It earned a Pagerank 5 and you just threw away all of those links by deleting the page! We hate when we see this happen. Do your homework before deleting pages.

So what should you do? You should either keep the page as-is or 301 redirect the page to a corresponding page on your site. That might be the product category page or a similar product page. 301 redirects are the proper way to pass link power from one URL to another. It’s a permanent redirect and tells the engines that Page A has moved permanently to a new location (Page B).

Tip: Do not use 302 redirects when you remove a page. 302’s are temporary redirects and are not search engine friendly. We can write an entire post about redirects, but just remember that 301’s are good and 302’s are bad.

3. Are we changing our URL structure during the redesign? If we are, did we make sure the engines know where the old pages will reside on the new website?

Similar to the website redesign questions above, be careful if you decide to change your URL structure. If you change a URL from abcd.asp to efgh.asp, the engines will look at the page as NEW, even though the same content has been around for a long time (and has built up links and search power). Basically, the new page won’t automatically inherit the search power of the original page. Now imagine the impact if you change thousands of URLs, tens of thousands of URLs, or even more?

For example, let’s say you decide to include target keywords in your URLs, such as a product name and category. The old URLs that have built up a nice amount of Search Equity will all be changed to your new taxonomy during the redesign. That’s great, but again, all of that search power will, unfortunately, be lost unless you tell the engines where the new URLs are. Based on what we mentioned above, you can probably guess that it’s Mr. 301 redirected to the rescue again. You can redirect your old URLs to your new ones and safely pass their link power. We’ve seen this overlooked plenty of times, and again, the results can be devastating.

4. Are we using Vanity URLs or custom domains for our campaign microsites?

Note, this is one of the website redesign questions that doesn’t fall under something that will crush your current rankings, but it sure can impact how your site builds more power based on your hard work.

Let’s say you have a new marketing campaign going live soon and someone on your team wants to register a bunch of new domain names for the microsite. You know, something like www.TheBestDarnBagelOnThePlanet.com or something catchy like that… Here’s the problem. It will be a brand new domain that needs to build its own search power versus inheriting the trust from your core domain, which is why We’re bigger fans of using subdirectories, such as yourdomain.com/campaigntitle. Then your campaign will leverage your trusted domain, rank faster, and help build links for your trusted domain. It’s a win-win.

5. Are we replacing keyword-rich text content with images or Flash in order to achieve an aesthetic advantage? AKA, we want things to look pretty…

Image Source: Christopher Gower

Your design team went nuts with the redesign, the new site looks incredible, and it uses all sorts of images and flash content in place of text content. You know, because the standard browser fonts aren’t sexy enough. We get that, we really do… but the SEO impact can be serious. For example, taking keyword-rich text content on each page and throwing it into images to get the desired look. Take your text navigation and place it in Flash or images. Again, this happens all too often. Text links are still the best way to get the bots to all of your content. And, using descriptive anchor text, you can tell the engines what they will find at the other end of the link. For example, using a text link with the anchor text Adidas Running Sneakers is much more powerful than using an image that holds the text Adidas Running Sneakers. Even if you use alt text with that image, it’s a much better idea to use descriptive text links. And, if you use Flash, then you’ll run into even more problems, which is why you should use SWFObject to provide an HTML version of your navigation. And for those of you who are saying, “I’ll just provide an XML sitemap to the engines and I’ll be fine”, keep in mind that the optimal way to get the engines to your pages is via a traditional crawl (as noted by a Google engineer at SMX this week). 🙂 XML Sitemaps are a great supplement and help with more than just content discovery, but they don’t replace text links and navigation as the best way to get the bots to your website pages.

6. Did we do such a good job at coding that we essentially removed key pages from our website? i.e. Where one page now handles the equivalent of 10 pages. The URL doesn’t change, but the content does!

Your developers did a great job of streamlining your code. They did such a good job, that 10 pages of content can now be handled dynamically by just one page. That one-page post back to itself and dynamically provides the content of 10 pages from your old site. Code-wise this might be outstanding, SEO-wise, it’s a nightmare. Beyond removing 10 pages from your site that might have built up Search Equity, you cannot optimize a page for each of the 10 items that will be presented on the fly. You are going to have a heck of a time getting those products to rank if they cannot be crawled! In addition, you cannot optimize the typical HTML elements like you normally would. For example, the title tag, h1, h2, body copy, inline links, etc. since the information will be loaded dynamically. Coming from a development background, we totally understand why you would want to code this way. However, from an SEO standpoint, it can cause all sorts of issues. We would make sure you can present each of the 10 pieces of content in an optimized web page with a distinct URL. You can still use code to streamline the process and delivery, but try not to handle everything at one URL.

A quick example would be a category page that dynamically presents each product within that category. This might happen when you click each product image (and this all happens at one URL). The engines would only see one URL and crawl the initial content. Not good.

So there you have it, 6 questions you can ask to save the day during your next website redesign or website update. Keep in mind that you will probably have a challenging time when you first introduce these questions. There will be pushback and requests to back up your recommendations. But once you do, and everyone involved starts to understand SEO best practices, the problems we mentioned will be less likely to occur. If they are less likely to occur, then you have a better chance of keeping your organic search power. If you keep your organic search power then you can keep driving natural search traffic to your site. If you keep driving natural search traffic to your site, then you can reap the benefits of that traffic, which can increase exposure, customers, and revenue.

Digital Content Strategy: Does Content Rule Alone in SEO?

Ask any search expert how they think a digital content strategy affects SEO, and nearly all of them will probably say content is vital for achieving ranking results. The common mantra, “content is king,” has become a rule of practice in most SEO circles, though its origin dates back to an essay by Bill Gates before Google was even founded.

The issue here is that digital marketing is a complex, interconnected web of different strategies that affect one another in different ways. For example, search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) can be classified as two different strategies, while content can complement and enhance most other digital marketing strategies, including SEO, SEM, social media, PPC, affiliate marketing, and email marketing.

We know that content is vital for an SEO campaign to succeed, but let’s try to flip that logic around. Is it possible for an SEO campaign to succeed through the use of a digital content strategy alone?

The Roles Content Plays

First, let’s examine some of the most important roles that digital content strategy plays in an SEO campaign: 

  • Indexable pages. Producing more content means adding more indexable pages to your site. Quantity doesn’t matter nearly as much as quality, so merely adding pages won’t increase your rankings, but over time, if you keep your quality consistent, you’ll gain more meaningful real estate on the web.
  • Perceived authority. If you keep your quality high across your site, your content will increase Google’s perception of your authority. In other words, Google will view you as a provider of high-quality content, and will reward your content with higher rankings and visibility.
  • Contextual relevance. Content is a crucial factor in providing contextual relevance for your pages. Google’s semantic search analyzes the meaning of the natural language of pages more than it scouts for individual keywords; adding rich, concise content to your site gives Google more clues about what those pages mean and how they can be effectively tied to user queries.
  • Interlinking. Content also gives you more opportunities to interlink the pages of your site. The closer linked your pages are, the higher your authority will be.
  • Inbound links. Inbound links are necessary if you want to rank in search engines; they serve as external indicators of your trust, authority, and relevance as a brand. It’s possible to build these independently, but it’s far better to earn those links naturally by producing content that people naturally want to link to. This way, you’ll avoid a penalty and still earn those all-important authority building links.
  • Off-site publishing opportunities. Content can also be your gateway to building relationships with outside authorities, who in turn, can increase your own domain’s value. You can only succeed here if your content is good enough to publish and distribute on these channels.

Gray Areas

Aside from these key areas, you could argue that digital content strategy also plays a role in the following areas (though semantics and technical nitpicking could override this influence):

  • Meta data. Your title tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, and other forms of “meta” text are important indicators for the pages of your site to rank. Since they’re written for search engines almost more so than readers, you could argue that they’re only peripherally related to content marketing, but they still require mindful writing to successfully execute.
  • Site mapping. The page names, URL structures, and navigation of your site could be considered technical elements. However, they still require an intimate knowledge of your users, and messaging that caters to them.
  • Social signals. Social signals, the act of socially sharing content from your site, are small ranking factors, but they’re still important. These actions rely on strong content to succeed.

Where Content Isn’t Necessary

Now, let’s take a look at just a few of the “necessary” SEO strategies that don’t require content in any capacity:

  • Technical structure and indexation. The technical structure of your site matters–it needs to be in an indexable format, allowing search crawlers to read it fully and properly. Avoiding antiquated technologies like flash, including Schema.org microformatting, and ensuring the proper formatting of pictures and video are just a few of the considerations to bear in mind here.
  • Site performance. If your site doesn’t perform well, it isn’t going to rank well. Check to make sure your site is mobile-optimized, reduce your loading time, and add a layer of encryption to keep your users’ data safe.
  • Robots.txt. Your robots.txt file tells search crawlers what to crawl and what not to crawl–it has no bearing on your content strategy, and vice versa.
  • Technical issues. Even seasoned SEO experts are vulnerable to occasional technical issues, such as pages inexplicably going down or duplicate pages being indexed. These issues tend to arise independently of your content strategy, and must be solved independently as well.

The Final Verdict

Yes, content is king–it’s either a sole or partial contributor to the vast majority of tactics you need to be successful in SEO. However, there are some strategies that are imperative to your ranking potential that have nothing to do with content whatsoever. If you focus exclusively on a digital content strategy, you’ll miss these critical factors and sabotage your long-term potential. Accordingly, content should be one of your biggest priorities–it just shouldn’t be your only priority.

Exit mobile version