Understanding The Basics Of SEO

It is true that many people find SEO confusing and overwhelming particularly as the ‘rules’ keep changing. There are however, a few SEO tasks that you can do that will not hurt your rankings and that will in fact help them. There is no point in wasting your time doing things that aren’t going to do any good or that could in fact harm your position in organic search.

Never underestimate the value of high quality content. The content that you add to your site or your blog must be relevant to your niche, it would be a mistake to provide content, regardless of how good it is, about a subject that has no relevance to your business. It is important to understand what valuable content actually means. The content is deemed to be valuable when it is both engaging to the reader and relevant to the niche. This is where Google’s Panda algorithm comes into play, it is being updated to be able to search your content in order to decide how well it has been written and how relevant it is to your niche. So, writing content that is full of grammatical errors will not do you any good at all. Make sure that your punctuation and spelling are correct too, it makes it easier for the human reader to understand what you are trying to convey.

Backlinks still provide a great deal of power but only if they are carefully cultivated. It is essential that links are only created with relevant niche sites and that you use a wide range of keywords for your anchor text. Using the same ones all the time is likely to attract the wrong kind of attention, so mix it up a bit and make sure that you don’t just link to the same page all the time either.

Social signals are becoming more important to rankings these days and again, it is important to use the right ones. When visitors share your content, this provides validation that it is quality, the search engines take note of this. Google +, Twitter and Facebook appear to be influential but YouTube is also catching up, so don’t discount using video as a means of providing quality content. Make sure you provide sharing buttons on your site so that it is easy for visitors to share what they are enjoying. This is another way of obtaining natural backlinks to your site.

The main message to take away from this post is, if it looks natural, it is worth doing. The search engines like things to be natural, any unnatural looking patterns will attract attention that you do not want and could see your site slip down the organic rankings or even being penalised. Remember that SEO is a bit of a marathon, it’s not a sprint, it takes time for your strategy to start to work however, providing you have taken your time at the beginning and not tried to take unnatural looking shortcuts, you should begin to see some positive rewards.

 

When experts discuss SEO, or search engine optimization, most marketers and entrepreneurs get a glassy look in their eyes and quickly send their minds to the ether for a respite. The problem is that a lot of SEO is technical and quite boring, and experts will often brush over the more basic tactics that still produce great results. By focusing on some of these small, simple methods rather than trying to figure out the more technical aspects of SEO, you can quickly raise your position in search engine results. You’ll have less of a learning curve, making it easy to apply these SEO changes now and be able to continue using them.

Choose the Right Keywords

One of the biggest problems people have with SEO is choosing keywords that actually generate traffic. While you do need to select keywords that people use and have little competition, you also need to select keywords that are relevant to your content.

You also need to select a few keywords for your blog posts. The exact number that you need will be determined by the size of your site and your industry. Most small blogs, for example, only cover one or two different main keywords, while authority sites can cover hundreds. After you have selected your main keywords, you need to find several long tail keywords that relate to your main keywords. These can help serve as inspiration for your blog posts and help you target a more niche market.

Small Things Can Count the Most

When it comes to optimizing a blog post around a keyword, search engines don’t just see how many times you used the word. Every search engine takes META data into account when they choose which sites rank higher than others. This makes sense, as META data also has a great influence on how your webpage is displayed to someone searching online.

META data is comprised of several components, but for SEO purposes, you will mostly need to focus on the title and description. Having a well-formatted URL that relates to your META data is also appealing to search engines.

To get the perfect, SEO-friendly META data that will help you get more traffic:

  1. Write a unique title that relates to the content of your post. Use a long tail keyword, but make sure your title is not just the keyword. For example, “How to write a META title the easy way.”
  1. Write a short, but catchy description that encourages people to click. Include your long tail keyword and one supporting keyword in this description. For example, “Learn how to write a META title to help you get traffic fast.”
  2. Properly format your URL so that it includes a keyword and is easy to find. For example, “examplewebsite.fakeurl.com/how-to-write-a-META-title”

The goal of META data is to entice human readers to click on your links, but to also send signals to search engines using consistent keywords.

Avoid Recycled Content

One of the first things that people learn about SEO is that search engines can recognize plagiarized content and they don’t like it! While most of us know not to steal other people’s work, we often forget that it is easy to plagiarize ourselves. Offering the same content over and over again means you will not only bore your readers, but be placed lower in the search results as well.

If you are building your website around a single keyword, you may run out of writing ideas very quickly. If this happens, you will need to explore the topic from a different angle or buying perspective. Try to include fresh news stories about your topic. Remember, not every blog post you publish needs to contain the same keyword to help you generate traffic.

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/miketempleman/2016/01/29/the-simplest-most-effective-seo-tactics-you-will-ever-learn/2/#3f7a75e246cc

SEO Poem (Created for a local business networking group)

We all know that there is more to marketing and selling your products than using the Search Engines to bring in traffic and sales (although this is obviously a VERY useful channel) and with this in mind I do a certain amount of networking with local businessess.

The challenge with such events is to ‘stand out’ from the crowd and be remembered for what you do, and to a certain extent for who you are (having a memorable personality is useful here).

With this in mind, and as they was a already a ‘poet’ in the group, I wrote this little poem that I hope shows just what we do…

“I am a little website
  As pretty as can be

But no one it seems
  Wants to visit me..

 

Mr Google came a few times
  That is very true

But he seemed not to understand me
  And left without even a to do!

 

So I sit here just a twiddling
  My little website thumbs

When what I really want
  Is lots of new friendly chums

 

But how can this goal be reached
  Just what am I to do

If I go on like this for much longer
   I’ll end up feeling really blue..

 

Of course I get lots of calls
   All a promising me

A first page position on Google
   All for a very reasonable fee

 

But I have heard they’re all rubbish
  Promising more than they can give

Some say it just cheating
  Whilst others say it’s just one big fib

 

But there is light in the tunnel
   I’m sure that you’ll agree

It’s talking to Graham Baylis
  Now there’s someone whose worth their fee!

 

He checks to see what is wrong
  A delving oh so deeply

Coming back with so much data
  That I’m afraid it makes me sleepy..

 

But the good news is that I
  Just have to listen a little

For Graham knows what to do
  And soon goes into battle!

 

Soon Mr Google understood me
  And now when he comes along

He no longer leaves straight away
  So I know that at last I belong

Next a sprinkle of links are added
 To make a bigger impression

And soon I see the results
  With many a friendly session

 

So if you know another website
  That is feeling lost in the crowd

Do call in Mr Graham
   I’ll know he’ll do them proud…

Top Tips on how NOT to Do Link Building for SEO in 2016

At Serendipity Online Marketing, we are always amazed at the paradox that is SEO, particularly as far as Google is concerned…

Recently we have seen that Google wants rich content, loving it seems pages that are 1,000 plus words long (which is a lot of text believe me), whilst at the same time saying that the use of ‘tabbed content’ (where the words are there for SEO by are not visible until called into being so to speak by the user clicking a button) is frowned upon.

The reason this is strange is simple in that Google also want sites to offer a great user experience. One would seem to be at odds with the other, in that the tabbed content stops pages looking like a ‘wall of words’ and thus harder to read.

Linking – Another Paradox.

The issue with links is perhaps even more strange in that Google ‘needs’ links to sites as they use them to decide what is good content or not, and yet they do not really want anyone to build them (in any artificial manner) as they want them to grow ‘naturally’ as people find and link to the content on a site.

All this is fine, but there is that large chicken and egg question here, as for new sites at least, how do people find the content (so that they can link to it) in the first place. Without links the site is not likely to get good rankings and thus cannot get links, which means it can’t get ranks…

Of course, other means can be used to get people to a site so that they can ‘like and link to it’s content’, perhaps using Google Adwords…..

However, there is a school of thought that says that building links the right way (as long as there is something good to point too – which means also attending to the content of the site as well) is a GREAT way of boosting rankings, and the tests and experience we have proves this 100%, building links the RIGHT WAY ALWAYS increases traffic.

BUT, and it is a big BUT, there is a wrong way of building links and if you do too much of any of the things below, you are more than likely steering a course for disaster, at least as far as getting rankings and thus traffic from the Search Engines (particulary Google).

For the full article on how not to build links click the link!

Link building has had a rough year. Thanks in part to Google’s John Mueller’s comments that link building, in general, is a strategy to avoid, a number of SEO practitioners have moved away from the practice.

Naturally Acquired Links are Best

More specifically, they’ve flocked to a more natural form of link building involving the creation, syndication and promotion of thoroughly researched original content; the idea here is to attract or earn links naturally without ever manually building a link on an outside source.

I’m a big fan of this approach. It’s safe, natural and can earn you a ton of links if your content is good enough. However, I still believe there’s a place for manual link building — as long as your focus is on providing valuable content to your readers.

Good and Bad Links

So what exactly differentiates a “good” link from a “bad” link in Google’s eyes? How can you be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

As long as you can avoid these seven characteristics, all of which can make a link “bad,” you’ll remain in good standing:

1. It’s On A Low-Authority Or Questionable Domain

The higher your site’s authority is, the higher you’re going to rank in Google. Links on already-high authority sites pass far more authority to your site than those on low-authority sites. If your link appears on a site with a poor reputation, it could do active harm to your organic search visibility.

Generally, unless you’re perusing spam sites or blacklisted pages, you won’t have to worry much about this. Google looks for patterns that it can verify with a high level of certainty, so a single low-authority link won’t hurt you; but hundreds or thousands sustained over the course of a month or more certainly could.

Overall, it’s in your best interest to get links on the highest-authority sources you can find, while avoiding disreputable ones.

2. It’s Pointing To A Source Irrelevant To Its Content

Context is important in Google’s modern search algorithm. It’s not enough to have a link pointing to your site — that link needs to be associated with content that’s somehow relevant to your site, as well.

For example, if you’re a manufacturer, and you post a link to your site in an article about hamburger production in a butcher shop forum, chances are it will raise some red flags.

Keep all your links context-specific, and pay close attention to the types of sources you rely on — the closer they are to your industry, the better.

3. It’s Repeated Too Many Times On The Domain

Quantity is important when it comes to links, but more links isn’t always better. Diversity is also important. If Google sees too many links pointing back to your domain on a certain site, it may flag that as suspicious.

Instead, Google likes to see lots of links pointing to your domain from multiple sources. Since each link after the first on a single domain suffers a downgrade in value, it’s in your best interest to diversify your link sources.

4. It’s A Part Of A Reciprocal Exchange

If you have a buddy who owns a similar site, it might seem like a clever idea to exchange links between the two in an effort to boost both your domains.

5. It’s Embedded In Suspiciously Keyword-Matched Anchor Text

Back in the days when keyword-focused optimization was synonymous with SEO, anchor text for links was a big deal. It was a best practice to embed your link in anchor text using the exact keyword you wanted to rank for — today that isn’t going to work.

6. It’s Isolated From Any Meaningful Content

Posting any kind of link without content accompanying it is bad—it doesn’t matter if you do it in a blog comment, forum post or any other medium.

Your links need to have some kind of semantic context to them, and preferably in the body of a detailed, meaningful post. Guest posts on outside blogs are your best friends here. Use them.

7. It’s A Part Of A Scheme

Link schemes aren’t as popular as they used to be, but somehow they’re still floating around. Participating in complex systems like link wheels or link pyramids is a violation of Google’s terms of service.

If you’re caught deliberately participating in a link scheme, you won’t just drop a rank or two — you could earn a bona fide Google penalty.
Final Thoughts

Thoroughly comb through your existing link profile to make sure none of your links possess these seven characteristics. You can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic or any other tool that functions as a search engine for links.

If you notice any that are questionable, work to remove them. It’s far better to remove a dubious link than leave it and suffer the potential consequences. Then, put safeguards in place to ensure your future link building efforts avoid these factors at all costs.

The Importance Of Correct Linking Strategy

Building links is a very effective part of any SEO strategy but it must be done carefully and naturally. It is important that the quality of the sites you are planning to link to is taken into account, you should choose sites that are in a similar or parallel niche to your own, do not be tempted to create back links with sites that have nothing to do with your niche, regardless of how good they are, using such links will only draw the wrong kind of attention to your site and you might find yourself losing places on the organic listings or being completely delisted.

Link building takes a lot of time and effort, it is not something that can be done in a short space of time and nor should it be. It’s a bit like gardening, you plant the seeds, take care of them and then watch them grow before you can harvest the fruits of your labours.

There are a number of strategies that you can use to achieve quality links and here are a few of them.

The first thing you need to do is to ensure that your own website has got enough high quality unique content. This is what will make your site valuable to others which in turn will encourage linking. It cannot be stressed highly enough the importance of the content on your site. You should invest as much time and effort as you can in order to provide your site with the best possible content. You will not only build value but you will also attract larger volumes of traffic.

Now, you might be thinking that adding content is not really going to be possible because you have an ecommerce site. However, there is a lot you can do to create that valuable content, for example, if you sell makeup, you could include some advice on how to use it. Don’t be one dimensional, you could create videos as well, video content is becoming highly valuable so is something you should consider. Think laterally and keep your options open, offer that valuable information to your site’s visitors, it will pay huge dividends.

Make use of relevant directories. Most directories should be avoided like the plague, they don’t offer anything of value, so choose carefully. Look for local business directories in your area that you can submit to. Directories that are niche specific are also worth looking at, don’t discount directories attached to local newspapers either as the ‘local’ aspect can be of value.

Blogging is a very effective way of generating links. Ideally, you will submit blogs regularly in order to interest readers who will then, if they like what you have written, share your piece on social media, which creates valuable links. Again, you needn’t write your blogs, video blogging is just as valuable if it contains excellent content. If you can provide information that is seen as being expert, this will raise not only your profile but also trust. Information from a trusted source is always going to trump that of a lesser source.

As you can see, there are many ways to generate links but they all take time, there are no shortcuts and the more time you spend cultivating your linking, the higher the payoff. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, talk to us about helping you with your linking strategy.

 

Link building has had a rough year. Thanks in part to Google’s John Mueller’s comments that link building, in general, is a strategy to avoid, a number of SEO practitioners have moved away from the practice.

More specifically, they’ve flocked to a more natural form of link building involving the creation, syndication and promotion of thoroughly researched original content; the idea here is to attract or earn links naturally without ever manually building a link on an outside source.

I’m a big fan of this approach. It’s safe, natural and can earn you a ton of links if your content is good enough. However, I still believe there’s a place for manual link building — as long as your focus is on providing valuable content to your readers.

So what exactly differentiates a “good” link from a “bad” link in Google’s eyes? How can you be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

As long as you can avoid these seven characteristics, all of which can make a link “bad,” you’ll remain in good standing:

1. It’s On A Low-Authority Or Questionable Domain

The higher your site’s authority is, the higher you’re going to rank in Google. Links on already-high authority sites pass far more authority to your site than those on low-authority sites. If your link appears on a site with a poor reputation, it could do active harm to your organic search visibility.

Generally, unless you’re perusing spam sites or blacklisted pages, you won’t have to worry much about this. Google looks for patterns that it can verify with a high level of certainty, so a single low-authority link won’t hurt you; but hundreds or thousands sustained over the course of a month or more certainly could.

Overall, it’s in your best interest to get links on the highest-authority sources you can find, while avoiding disreputable ones.

2. It’s Pointing To A Source Irrelevant To Its Content

Context is important in Google’s modern search algorithm. It’s not enough to have a link pointing to your site — that link needs to be associated with content that’s somehow relevant to your site, as well.

For example, if you’re a manufacturer, and you post a link to your site in an article about hamburger production in a butcher shop forum, chances are it will raise some red flags. Keep all your links context-specific, and pay close attention to the types of sources you rely on — the closer they are to your industry, the better.

3. It’s Repeated Too Many Times On The Domain

Quantity is important when it comes to links, but more links isn’t always better. Diversity is also important. If Google sees too many links pointing back to your domain on a certain site, it may flag that as suspicious.

Instead, Google likes to see lots of links pointing to your domain from multiple sources. Since each link after the first on a single domain suffers a downgrade in value, it’s in your best interest to diversify your link sources.

4. It’s A Part Of A Reciprocal Exchange

If you have a buddy who owns a similar site, it might seem like a clever idea to exchange links between the two in an effort to boost both your domains.

Unfortunately, this could end up harming more than helping. Google is wise to this “reciprocal exchange” scheme, and if it notices an excessive number of traded links between two sources, it could negatively affect your domain authority. Again, keep source diversity toward the top of your list of priorities.

5. It’s Embedded In Suspiciously Keyword-Matched Anchor Text

Back in the days when keyword-focused optimization was synonymous with SEO, anchor text for links was a big deal. It was a best practice to embed your link in anchor text using the exact keyword you wanted to rank for — today that isn’t going to work.

In fact, it’s the quickest way to land yourself a manual penalty that can be extremely difficult — sometimes impossible — to recover from. Google has an intricate understanding of semantics and link context, and it strongly favors links in natural journalistic context.

6. It’s Isolated From Any Meaningful Content

Posting any kind of link without content accompanying it is bad—it doesn’t matter if you do it in a blog comment, forum post or any other medium.

Your links need to have some kind of semantic context to them, and preferably in the body of a detailed, meaningful post. Guest posts on outside blogs are your best friends here. Use them.

7. It’s A Part Of A Scheme

Link schemes aren’t as popular as they used to be, but somehow they’re still floating around. Participating in complex systems like link wheels or link pyramids is a violation of Google’s terms of service.

If you’re caught deliberately participating in a link scheme, you won’t just drop a rank or two — you could earn a bona fide Google penalty.

Read more: http://searchengineland.com/7-characteristics-can-make-link-bad-seo-237477

Finding The Right SEO Strategy To Suit Your Business

SEO still has its place in online marketing so when you launch your website, you will want to attract more traffic over time. It doesn’t matter how fabulous your site is, if nobody visits it, then it isn’t doing its job. The modern world is digital which means that people are used to accessing websites or information 24/7. Achieving a high place on the popular search engines is usually the goal of website owners so that their site is accessible to visitors whenever they perform a search. However, the reality is that many websites never reach the dizzy heights of page one of the search engines and they never will unless a structured and well planned out SEO strategy is formed and implemented.

Most business owners are not SEO experts and put their trust in companies or individuals who are experts in this field. They should be fully up to date with all the information necessary to implement a multi-pronged strategy that will help to get the site higher in the organic rankings. There is no one foolproof method, a variety of techniques need to be used in order for it to work. Do make sure that whoever you hire to do your SEO only uses white hat techniques and those methods that are approved by the search engines. Falling foul of the search engines means oblivion for your site, it will never appear in the organic listings so this is a key issue.

It can be costly to promote your website, it all depends upon what you want to achieve and how you want it promoted. Just rising up the search engine rankings isn’t enough, you need to be gaining credibility too. By becoming credible, you will gain authority and as such, this leads to better rankings. It’s all about trust, the search engines don’t want to promote sites that are not trustworthy as it damages their reputation.

Businesses worry about the high costs involved with marketing however, a carefully constructed strategy will give a very good return on investment. Increasing targeted visitors to the site who then convert to customers is the end goal, so not only has the site to be excellent but the promotion has to be suitable for the target audience.

Even a local business needs to have an accessible online profile, our world has become one where we are used to finding what we want whenever we want it. Providing the information that people are looking for is the key here, those people might then visit your business and become customers the next day. For national or international business, it is similar but they need to consider that the visitor is wanting those products or services now and as such, need a website that matches those requirements.

This is where SEO comes into its own, it is working round the clock promoting your brand and making it visible in the digital age so that you can capture those new customers and provide them with the goods and services that they are searching for.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of those things a lot of people talk about — it’s something that not only can increase your traffic and your website rank in keywords, but eventually will lead to more sales. And who doesn’t want more sales?

The problem is, with so many people talking about SEO, there are many strategies floating around as to what is the best way to go about implementing SEO on your website.

Sure, the task at hand sounds very easy at first, but using the wrong strategy will lead you to waste time and money and possibly get you in trouble with Google — which is something you definitely do not want.

To make things easier for yourself, below is a guide that essentially explains what you should be looking for in an SEO strategy. What makes one strategy better than another? Why should you ignore some strategies completely?

Here is the first step to becoming an expert at discerning what strategy may work over another.

What are the main features of any SEO Strategy?

When it comes to SEO, you need to be aware of two main components:

  1. On-page SEO
  2. Off-page SEO

On-page SEO

This type of SEO is done to your website directly; basically, it involves multiple parts of your website in determining search engine rankings. For the most part, you can make on-page SEO changes yourself, using the following list:

  • Page content
  • Title Tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headings
  • URL structure
  • Loading time on pages
  • Internal linking
  • Schema* (I highly recommend adding this into your website)

The purpose of on-page SEO is to ensure that your website is readable by search engines; the easier it is to read the structure and content of your website, the better you will ultimately rank.

Schema is important for your on-page SEO, and you will probably hear the word in conversation with anyone that works with SEO; if you don’t, show him or her the boot!

You will also likely be confused as to what Schema really is (outside of sounding really cool): Schema is a specific vocabulary of tags that you add to your HTML to improve how your page is represented in search engine result pages (SERPs). By adding Schema to your website’s HTML, you’ll be enhancing how the snippets of information will be displayed in SERPs. You’ll also make it easier for Google, Yahoo and Bing to understand what your website/page is about.

Making it easier for the search engines gives you a better chance of ranking higher.

Major Tips

  • Make sure your website loads within three seconds.
  • Make all your images web friendly.
  • Activate Gzip Compression and implement a content delivery network (CDN) into your website.
  • Make sure that the first word in your title tags is a keyword.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO occurs off your website, hence the name. It includes:

  • Link building
  • Social media shares

There are a few more tactics employed in off-page SEO, but the two mentioned are among the more popular methods, with link building being by far the most important strategy.

Off-page SEO, especially link building, is something that needs to be done right, but a lot of people take shortcuts which negatively impact their website. In life, there are no shortcuts, and the same rule applies to SEO.

In fact, link-building quality is extremely important, more so than the quantity of links. Therefore, creating high-quality content is important, in order to draw in users from other websites, to link to you.

You should not be buying links; that will be only a temporary solution. And Google will ultimately penalize you for trying to manipulate the system. To avoid any problems with the search engine giant while trying to improve the SEO for your website, grow your network organically. This involves reaching out to various contacts you have in your industry. When you reach out to people, they may agree to point a link toward your website.

You can also have people do guest posts on your site, and do the same on their sites, filling your articles with keywords that will ultimately direct back to your website. En route, remember that you do not want to guest post or have links pointing from just “anywhere.” The website of origin needs to be reputable for the effort involved to have a positive effect.

There are other link-building strategies outside of guest posting and reaching out to your contacts. Another one involves directory submissions. But I say that with some trepidation, ever since Google began going after directories. Specifically, it went after spam-like directories. Fortunately, Google does like directories edited by humans. In this context, directories like JoeAnt, Yahoo Directory and DMOZ are all worth submitting to.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252025

SEO is Changing Not Dying

Came across another interesting post today, discussing (yet again) whether or not SEO is dying or not?

It is well worth a read and is shown in part below, the full article being reached by clicking the link.

There is a lot there, but nothing really that new. What it does say, and this is important, is that Google are now taking more and more note of the way people interact with a site, whether they stay on the pages and move through the site, or whether they simply ‘bounce’ back to the Google results list.

This is all worth talking about, but it is not new (see our blog on Semantic SEO and the feed back loop) at all. Still the article is worth a read and does cover the important issue of checking your Analytics to see if visitors ‘like what they see’.

As old-style SEO techniques head out to pasture, data analytics becomes a core capability for organisations’ web strategies

The changing field of search engine optimisation (SEO) means IT professionals involved in website development increasingly need to take on the role of data analyst in order to fully understand a website’s audience and consumer behaviour.

Internet search engines rank websites based on internal algorithms that determine how relevant a website is for each user’s search request. Websites that have undergone SEO will naturally rank higher than others, as the search engine’s algorithm will determine that this is the more appropriate website.

As users rarely go beyond the first page of an internet search, typically the first 10 results, a high search engine ranking is crucial for a company to remain competitive in today’s digital markets.

Google has recently updated its algorithm that determines how it ranks search engine results. Previously, these results were based on a website’s keyword descriptions and meta-tags. These were embedded within each page of the website by SEO specialists, so that the websites with the most appropriate keywords would appear higher in the results for relevant internet searches.

Following this update to its algorithm, Google now also take into account a website’s audience behaviour and each user’s online preferences when it comes to ranking search results. For example, Google will make a note of the different subjects written in Gmail and take this into account when relevant internet searches are conducted in the future.

Theoretically, this is good news for everyone. If someone is interested in what you do, and your content matches their search parameters, then they are more likely to see your page.

“If you want to see an unadulterated results page, look at something you Google a lot while logged in, then switch to incognito mode and try the same search,” says Dave Convery, content manager at Simple-talk.com. “You will almost certainly see some different pages, and probably a different order to your results.”

Google’s RankBrain – Is It Really That New?

I came across an article about Google making a big announcement about something called ‘RankBrain’, which is stated to be all about ‘machine learning’, or the process by which a computer program ‘learns’ what is the right and wrong way to ‘do things’.

Googles RankBrain
Public Domain from pixabay

This sort of thing is not new at all, computer devices that can learn the route through a maze being one of them. As soon as the recognise the ‘maze’ they can quickly navigate their way through.

Google have been using this sort of system for years in one form or another anyway. Take the way in which the huge test they ran on sites around the world. In this test, they rated sites for ‘usefulness’ and at the same time checked and noted certain information about the site’s pages.

Then later, they checked to see if there was any correlation between the sites rated as ‘not very useful’, like the way the things like the Meta Title were used.

It was no surprise when they found that the ‘poor’ sites demonstrated a lack of details in some areas, and using this data could therefore, with some certainty, deduce how useful a site is likely to be simply by comparing it with a list of characteristics that the ‘poor’ sites demonstrated.

This is machine learning, but it seems that the new system will be taking things one step further. At the moment you only see the sites that are marked  well ‘out of 10’, the really poor ones not getting (or even been considered for) a ranking.

But with the new algorithm, more sites may be considered when it comes to matching search terms with sites, OR, it could be that by learning what sites are best received for any phrase (that is the visitor does not bounce back to the listings after visiting a site) they can in future list sites in a better way.

Rats in Google’s Maze

However, if it is the latter, then even this is not new, Google have for some time been using its users as ‘rats in a maze’.

The process is really quite simple, if vast (Google translates 3.5billion searches a day) and goes like this:-

(1) Google have already matched sites to phrases to some degree / have a method where using current data they can return a list of sites (very quickly) for any search term.

Users are thus presented with a list of sites to choose from for any search term. This will be subtly different because of ‘personalisation’ and Factor X – this being the way in which Google include new sites every now and then to test users reaction. This Factor X, is important for (3).

(2) Google then sees what people click on from the listings. If a site/page does not get any or few clicks (poor Click Through Ratio CTR%) it may be removed from the listings for certain terms. However, if it does get clicks, Google then checks to see if people ‘bounce’ back to Google to try another site.

(3) If they bounce back in enough numbers, Google ‘knows’ that the site is not a good match for that phrase. Good matched are allowed to remain in the listings, bad ones are removed. This is why the addition of some new sites in the listings is important, as it widens the pool of data and helps Google to ‘understand’ what is ‘behind’ a users search term, why it is being used, this in turn being deduced from what seems to satisfy the request….

Of course this takes time, many 1,000’s of searches being required before any decision can be made. Google however, does have the time and the resources to do this and the entire process must be considered to be a form of ‘machine learning’, Google ‘learning’ to tell what is a good match and what is not.

All of this means that the RankBrain may not be that new after all?

The article that sparked off mine is included in part below. For the full article on Google’s RankBrain please click the link.

All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm

Google’s using a machine learning technology called RankBrain to help deliver its search results.

Here’s what’s we know about it so far.

Yesterday, news emerged that Google was using a machine-learning artificial intelligence system called “RankBrain” to help sort through its search results.

Wondering how that works and fits in with Google’s overall ranking system? Here’s what we know about RankBrain.

The information covered below comes from three sources. First, the Bloomberg story that broke the news about RankBrain yesterday (see also our write-up of it). Second, additional information that Google has now provided directly to Search Engine Land. Third, our own knowledge and best assumptions in places where Google isn’t providing answers. We’ll make clear where any of these sources are used, when deemed necessary, apart from general background information.

What Is RankBrain?

RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results, as was reported by Bloomberg and also confirmed to us by Google.

What Is Machine Learning?

Machine learning is where a computer teaches itself how to do something, rather than being taught by humans or following detailed programming.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

True artificial intelligence, or AI for short, is where a computer can be as smart as a human being, at least in the sense of acquiring knowledge both from being taught and from building on what it knows and making new connections.

True AI exists only in science fiction novels, of course. In practice, AI is used to refer to computer systems that are designed to learn and make connections.

How’s AI different from machine learning? In terms of RankBrain, it seems to us they’re fairly synonymous. You may hear them both used interchangeably, or you may hear machine learning used to describe the type of artificial intelligence approach being employed.

So RankBrain Is The New Way Google Ranks Search Results?

No. RankBrain is part of Google’s overall search “algorithm,” a computer program that’s used to sort through the billions of pages it knows about and find the ones deemed most relevant for particular queries.

What’s The Name Of Google’s Search Algorithm?

It’s called Hummingbird, as we reported in the past. For years, the overall algorithm didn’t have a formal name. But in the middle of 2013, Google overhauled that algorithm and gave it a name, Hummingbird.

So RankBrain Is Part Of Google’s Hummingbird Search Algorithm?

That’s our understanding. Hummingbird is the overall search algorithm, just like a car has an overall engine in it. The engine itself may be made up of various parts, such as an oil filter, a fuel pump, a radiator and so on. In the same way, Hummingbird encompasses various parts, with RankBrain being one of the newest.

In particular, we know RankBrain is part of the overall Hummingbird algorithm because the Bloomberg article makes clear that RankBrain doesn’t handle all searches, as only the overall algorithm would.

Hummingbird also contains other parts with names familiar to those in the SEO space, such as Panda, Penguin and Payday designed to fight spam, Pigeon designed to improve local results, Top Heavy designed to demote ad-heavy pages, Mobile Friendly designed to reward mobile-friendly pages and Pirate designed to fight copyright infringement.

I Thought The Google Algorithm Was Called “PageRank”

PageRank is part of the overall Hummingbird algorithm that covers a specific way of giving pages credit based on the links from other pages pointing at them.

PageRank is special because it’s the first name that Google ever gave to one of the parts of its ranking algorithm, way back at the time the search engine began in 1998.

SEO Tips That Will Give Your Site A Boost

 

Content marketing and building links are incredibly different subjects, however, there are indeed ways by which you can use 1 for the development of the other. Basically, articles or blog posts marketing are the reason you are willing to make use of link-building strategies.

Listed here are several ways through which it is possible to build links by making use of content marketing:

Guest Posting: Guest blog websites draw in visitors. However, it is important to reach for high quality written content that happen to be packed with information and facts appropriate for your niche. This will help to appeal to viewers and also build links to your site.

Press Releases: Important updates and information and facts about your business could be publicized by making use of press releases. They are effective at obtaining the focus of media and bloggers therefore you might obtain backlinks from influential organizations and web sites.

Interviews: Among the best ways to spread a word is as simple as carrying out interviews. Either in-person or by telephone or e-mail, an audience conducted can help you to develop connections that will ultimately aid your objective. You can increase your network and stay involved with important industry experts.

Establishing Faulty Links: Making use of Search engine optimization tools and checkers you can easily verify if there are any faulty backlinks in any domains that contain links to your own website. Then you may point it out to the individual site owners and suggest them a web link of your website to replace the damaged links.

Focussing on Infographics: many top SEO experts make use of Infographics to boost promotion. Despite the fact that these are alone not sufficient, however, content rich pieces along with essential keywords and phrases tagged together with visual representations have the power to achieve momentum.

Creating Guides: Content is the most important feature of an internet site that draws audience. Guides, which are a natural part of content, are specialist write-ups that appreciate their struggles and give your visitors a knowledge or how-to for their difficulties.

Connect to Your Community: Answering your followers in the feedback and emails can certainly make your website well-liked by the audience not to mention help obtain their trust.

Getting Listed on Directories: Detailing your business on a local website directory will help obtain links. It is important that your company name and contact details are consistent in all the directories in which they are submitted.

The aforementioned techniques are enough to take your organization to a level where you will find many audiences visiting your site. If carried out properly, these could be boons for advertising your brand and you will experience steep development and popularity.

 

 

Gone are the days when search engine optimization was enough to land your website onto Google’s good graces.

Now you must to add content marketing to your arsenal of digital marketing tool if you want to gain search engines’ approval and ultimately win the heart of online users.

Given the important role content marketing now plays in the success of online business, it’s time that SEO ties the knot with content marketing.

The two digital marketing tools that were once viewed as separate entities are now an inseparable couple, promising to inch businesses closer to the proverbial “overnight success. ”The amazing duo can greatly help your online business reach the pinnacle of success and outwit your competitors.

Here are 10 ways you can ensure that the two digital marketing tools work in harmony:

1. Set common goals.

Setting common goals is the first step to make SEO and content marketing work together to bring additional revenues.

Ask yourself what activities overlap between the two digital marketing techniques. Is it increased online traffic, rankings or links? How can you align the activities to achieve common goals?

The answers to these and other similar questions will give you a starting point in creating an integrated SEO and content marketing strategy with clear and focused goals and strong communication.

2. Establish key performance indicators.

Another way to optimize synergy between SEO and Content Marketing is to establish key KPIs that will track performance, and ensure that it is on track for achieving common goals.

These KPIs include content sharing, links to content, online user engagement, call-to-action conversion rates and several others.

3. Understand your target audience.

Understanding your audience is the key part of an SEO and content marketing strategy. Create personas of the target audience and develop a unique digital marketing strategy for each group. The personas can be based on age, location, gender, hobbies or interests.

Don’t undertake any digital marketing activity without considering what your audience wants, and also what you want them to do in return of fulfilling their demand.

4. Create SEO-optimized content.

Google places great emphasis on quality content. You can make the content more relevant for the search engine by incorporating high-impression keywords. Optimizing the content in this way will allow your Web pages to become visible to online users by appearing on the search results.

Avoid overstuffing keywords into website content. In order to play it safe, limit the keyword density to 1 percent or less. This will ensure that your site doesn’t get penalized by the search engine, decreasing online traffic.

5. Research high-impression and relevant keywords.

Include high impression and relevant keywords in the website. Each keyword that you select should be researched properly using online tools such as Google Planner, Google Trend, Word Stream and other similar tools.

Optimizing your content in this way will ensure that your online content is able to attract maximum number of online users.

6. Attract online consumers through link building.

Another way you can make SEO and content marketing work together is through link building. Link building is a pure SEO strategy that results in distribution of online content to a large number of targeted, qualified audiences. You can greatly increase your content’s effectiveness through these efforts.

The links pointing to the published online content is placed on various high authority and high page ranked sites. These sites attract thousands of online visitors that can be diverted to your site by placing targeted links on the site they first visited.

Enlist SEO professionals to enhance your link building strategy. Here are some reputed SEO companies, based on user reviews:

7. Focus on internal link building.

Internal link building works wonders in increasing your website’s ranking along with your published content. Moreover, creating internal links will also result in improved user experience due to easy navigation around the site.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251522

What is Unique Content and Why Is It Important?

When it comes to getting better rankings you will hear all SEO’s saying, “you need Good Unique Content as that is what Google wants now“. But what does this really mean?

Many have taken this to mean that all sites have to do is to create copy which is not duplicated somewhere else on the web and is also a good read, using proper English throughout.

Can Google Really Tell What is Good?

When you think of it, that should (and maybe is) enough for Google in that their systems however powerful, cannot really deduce what is ‘good’ and ‘useful’ content, that is still really a job only a human can do.

So, the first step is to write some good copy, that is not itself used anywhere else and make it is over 1,000 words long (that seems to be lowest level that Google seems to ‘like’). If you can then include some images and if possible video on the page and link out to a high power site (one in the same niche / market area), one that provides some ‘back up’ to the page, i.e. a page that provides the facts and figures referred to, being the best.

You will then need some links in to the page, but before we come to that, we need to work out why links are needed?

When Considering SEO You Have to Think Like a Computer

Here you have to start thinking like a computer, looking at things logically and asking yourself the question, “If I was a computer what would I look for if I was trying to decide if this page was any good or not?”

We have seen above that Google checks the words on the page, but that does not give it any idea about the real value of the content, only humans can do that, and as far as Google is concerned, this is signified by a page having been shared, liked, linked to or otherwise mentioned by others on the Web.

Finally, it seems that Google then, being a lot cleverer than it used to be, now also checks to see how many visits a page / site gets, this for the simple reason that a site/page cannot get lots of links or mentions if it has not been visited in the first place. Whilst this is not strictly true ( a site can get a lot of links from a Press Release without a single visitor going to a page) it is an indication that all is how it should be and that the site/page has not been subject to (too much) manipulation in SEO terms.

As you can see, there is a lot more than first comes to mind when considering what you should add to your website…

To read more on the subject of what makes unique content please click the link.

Modern criteria for content

So let’s start by talking about our modern criteria for content, and I have a slide that I like to show a lot that kind of displays this, and many other folks in the field have as well. So if I’m going to be producing content, I need to meet these five criteria.

One of a kind

One of a kind is basically what we meant when we said old unique content, meaning that the engines have never seen those words and phrases and numbers and visuals and whatever in that order on a page on the web previously. It’s been written for the first time, produced and published for the first time. Therefore, it is one of a kind, doesn’t appear elsewhere.

Relevant

Relevant meaning it contains content that both searchers and engines interpret as on topic to that searcher’s query or their intent. Sometimes you can be on topic to the query, meaning you’ve used the words and the phrases that the searcher used, and not be on topic to their intent. What did they actually want to get out of the search? What question are they trying to answer? What information are you trying to get?

Helpful

This one’s pretty obvious. You should resolve the searcher’s query in a useful, efficient manner. That should be a page that does the job that they’re hoping that that content is going to do.

Uniquely valuable

This is the one we’re going to be talking about today, and what we mean here is provides information that’s unavailable or hard to get elsewhere — I’m going to dive into that a little bit more —

Great user experience

This means it’s easy and pleasurable to consume anywhere on any device.

You meet these criteria with your content and you’ve really got something when it comes to a content marketing strategy or when it comes to content you’re producing for SEO. This is a pretty solid checklist that I think you can rely on.

Unique value and you (and your website)

The challenge is this one. Uniquely valuable has been a really hard concept for people to wrap their heads around, and so let’s dig in a little more on what we mean when we say “unique value.”

So these are kind of the three common criteria that we mean when we say “unique value,” and I’m actually going to show some examples as well.

1) Massive upgrade in aggregation, accessibility and design

The first one is a massive upgrade versus what’s already available on the web in aggregation, accessibility, and/or design. Meaning you should have someone who views that content say, “Wow. You know, I’ve seen this material presented before, but never presented so well, never so understandable and accessible. I really like this resource because of how well aggregated, how accessible, how well designed this resource is.”

Good examples, there’s a blog post from the website Wait But Why on the Fermi Paradox, which is sort of a scientific astrophysics, “why are we alone in the universe” paradox concept, and they do a brilliant job of visualizing and explaining the paradox and all of the potential scenarios behind it. It’s so much fun to read. It’s so enjoyable. I’ve read about the Fermi Paradox many times and never been as entranced as I was as when I read this piece from Wait But Why. It really was that experience that says, “Wow, I’ve seen this before, but never like this.”

Another great site that does pure aggregation, but they provide incredible value is actually a search engine, a visual search engine that I love called Niice.co. Not particularly easy to spell, but you do searches for things like letter press or for emotional ideas, like anger, and you just find phenomenal visual content. It’s an aggregation of a bunch of different websites that show design and visual content in a search interface that’s accessible, that shows all the images in there, and you can scroll through them and it’s very nicely collected. It’s aggregated in the best way I’ve ever seen that information aggregated, therefore, providing unique value. Unfortunately, since it’s a search engine, it’s not actually going to be indexed by Google, but still tremendously good content marketing.

2) Information that is available nowhere else

Number two is information that’s available nowhere else. When I say “information,” I don’t mean content. I don’t mean words and phrases. I don’t mean it’s one-of-a-kind in that if I were to go copy and paste a sentence fragment or a paragraph and plug it into Google, that I wouldn’t find that sentence or that paragraph elsewhere. I mean unique information, information that, even if it were written about thousands of different ways, I couldn’t find it anywhere else on the web. You want your visitor to have experience of, “Wow, without this site I never would have found the answers I sought.” It’s not that, “Oh, this sentence is unique to all the other sentences that have been written about this topic.” It’s, “Ah-ha this information was never available until now.”

Some of my favorite examples of that — Walk Score. Walk Score is a site that took data that was out there and they basically put it together into a scoring function. So they said, “Hey, in this ocean beach neighborhood in San Diego, there are this many bars and restaurants, grocery stores, banks, pharmacies. The walkability of that neighborhood, therefore, based on the businesses and on the sidewalks and on the traffic and all these other things, the Walk Score out of 100 is therefore 74.” I don’t know what it actually is. Then you can compare and contrast that to, say, the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego, where the Walk Score is 88 because it has a far greater density of all those things that people, who are looking for walkability of neighborhoods, are seeking. If you’re moving somewhere or you’re considering staying somewhere downtown, in area to visit for vacation, this is amazing. What an incredible resource, and because of that Walk Score has become hugely popular and is part of many, many real estate websites and visitor and tourism focused websites and all that kind of stuff.

Another good example, blog posts that provide information that was previously unavailable anywhere else. In our industry I actually really like this example from Conductor. Conductor, as you might know, is an enterprise SEO software company, and they put together a phenomenal blog post comparing which portions of direct traffic are almost certainly actually organic, and they collected a bunch of anonymized data from their platform and assembled that so that we could all see, “Oh, yeah, look at that. Sixty percent of what’s getting counted as direct in a lot of these websites, at least on average, is probably coming from organic search or dark social and those kinds of things, and that credit should go to the marketers who acquire that traffic.” Fascinating stuff. Unique information, couldn’t find that elsewhere.

3) Content presented with a massively differentiated voice or style

The third and final one that I’ll talk about is content that’s presented with a massively differentiated voice or style. So this is not necessarily you’ve aggregated information that was previously unavailable or you’ve made it more accessible or you’ve designed it in a way to make it remarkable. It’s not necessarily information available nowhere else. It’s really more about the writer or the artist behind the content creation, and content creators, the great ones, have some artistry to their work. You’re trying to create in your visitors this impression of like, “I’ve seen stuff about this before, but never in a way that emotionally resonated with me like this does.” Think about the experience that you have of reading a phenomenal book about a topic versus just reading the Wikipedia entry.

The information might be the same, but there are miles of difference in the artistry behind it and the emotional resonance it can create.

Why Linking Is So Important In Any SEO Strategy

In order to achieve success in the organic searches, there are some rules that should be followed. Many people think that SEO is about submitting as much content as they can or they haven’t a clue and it’s all jiggery pokery.

The first think you need to do, is to take a good look at your website. Your website is the first point of call for many customers and if it doesn’t tell them much or isn’t well laid out, they won’t hang around, they will go off to one of your competitors. Make sure that your site has relevant, high quality unique content that provides information that the visitor wants. It is important that you have a wide selection of relevant keywords interspersed in the text and that all your tags contain at least 1 relevant keyword. Every page on your website needs to have a suitable title that reflects what the page is about.

Take a good look at the sort of phrases that people are using when they make a search for the products or services you sell. This is a significant factor and it is why you must do a thorough keyword research project before you implement your SEO strategy. If you are using keywords and key phrases that people are using when they perform a search, you are more likely to appear in the search results.

Linking is still very important and the number of links to relevant highly rated sites is more important than ever today. The number of inbound links your site has will be a factor in its ranking on the search engines. If you compare your site to a celebrity, the more you are talked about, the more popular you become. When the people talking about you are important, this means that some of that importance rubs off onto you. The number of important websites that refer to your site is what determines how important the search engines consider it to be.

The quantity or inbound links isn’t enough to get you noticed, the links have to be good quality. What this means is that the sites containing links to your site, need to be relevant to your niche and be important themselves. They need to rank as highly or higher than yours on the search engines. As such, these links are very valuable.

Social media has its place, after all, if you have written a piece for your blog and millions of people are liking and sharing it, then it must be good. The think with social media is that it does require work and it is only one part of an SEO strategy, it cannot be the only thing you do to promote your business.

Video is a becoming more popular and businesses should consider making use of it as another string to their bow. The videos can be as serious or light hearted as you want however, they must be in keeping with the type of business you run. It would not be appropriate for a serious business to be producing silly videos, this does not mean that they can’t show the lighter side of that business but anyone looking for those particular services are probably wanting to see something informative and straightforward.

There are many facets to SEO and lots of people think that they can beat the search engines by taking short cuts, this will I’m afraid only lead to disaster. There are no shortcuts, this is why Google has developed and continues to fine tune its algorithms.

 

Landing high-quality backlinks from within your local community to aid your SEO effort is an important consideration for any small business, and a topic I’ve written about before. But the problem is, many local business owners assume all links are created equal, and that’s not the case at all.

In fact, this misconception often leads businesses to SEO firms that deliver what those businesses initially wanted — links — but in the long run the low quality and spammy links they receive cause more harm than good.

When local business owners receive a $500 monthly quote from one SEO consultant and a $2,000 monthly quote from another, the difference may seem to be $1,500 — but more is at stake here, because there aren’t any push-button solutions. What’s needed is a combination of outreach and relationship-building, and this takes time as well as experience.

So, to secure high-quality links, even with a limited budget, first understand what a high-quality link is by targeting backlinks with the following characteristics:

  • They’ll be seen by potential customers and therefore drive targeted referral traffic back to your website.
  • They have high-quality metrics, which will help increase your website’s authority.
  • They help improve your company’s image — so seek only link opportunities from websites you want your business to be associated with.

Now, here are five sources of links that are of high quality for your local SEO effort — and valuable as such, because links are the most influential ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

1. The Better Business Bureau

This is a link any local business can acquire, as long as it meets the requirements to be an accredited member of your local BBB. A regular BBB listing doesn’t include an outbound link in the listing, while an accredited one does.

Even though there is an annual fee for that status, the benefits exceed just links. A coaching client told me, “I don’t really want to pay over $500 for a link,” but then I explained the additional benefits: credibility, trust and the reality that many consumers still make decisions based on whether or not a company is accredited by the BBB.

The added benefits beyond a link are particularly important for service-related businesses, such as plumbers, contractors, electricians and landscapers.

2. Local media

Local media outlets provide an abundant source of link opportunities. Imagine if you owned a local home-security company and your area was experiencing a large enough number of home invasions to warrant a news report. As soon as you see local media pick that story up, you should be contacting them with an offer to provide content for their website and information for their broadcast.

By staying connected with local media, you get a nice link and valuable branding and advertising for free. Even if you can’t watch the local news daily, give media websites a daily scan and be alert to what is happening in your area.

Another opportunity exists, beyond a breaking news story that relates to your business. Using the same home-security company example, you might consider contacting local media outlets and saying, “I own XYZ home security, and we just put together a 10-step home security checklist that I think would greatly benefit the community. Would you like me to send it over so you can put it on your website?” Most local outlets would take you up on the offer.

3. Local schools and nonprofits

Local schools and nonprofits often have sponsorship opportunities that highlight all donors on a dedicated page of their website. If you spend a couple of hours searching for these, you can typically uncover amazing link opportunities.

Find local school websites with Google, and use GuideStar to identify local charities and nonprofits to explore further. Even if a particular website doesn’t have a donor page, it never hurts to ask. A quick phone call or email can reveal opportunities that will cost as little as a $10-to-$25 donation.

4. Local partners and suppliers

The first thing I do when I work with a local business is to ask for a list of its suppliers. So, a restaurant’s list for example, will often include local produce companies, butchers and supply companies. These are established relationships — sometimes decades old — which makes the request easier, since it’s an established relationship. A simple, “Hey, since we have been working together for so long, we would love your listing us as one of your preferred buyers” can often be all that’s needed to secure a nice link.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250794