All Google’s animals can help your SEO

For some, all the Google algorithms and trying to understand what they all mean can be a huge challenge. Google wants to be able to provide an excellent range of answers to all the searches made so you can maybe understand why they have done what they have. This however, is no comfort for anyone who has had a problem with these algorithms. Many businesses focus on having a high ranking on the search engines so that they can be found. Having a high ranking is one thing but having high volumes of traffic is quite another and is actually what most site owners should be aiming for. Of course there will be those who want it all and want it now and perhaps they will achieve that for a short while but what you need to understand is that using SEO is a marathon rather than a sprint and it takes time to build your website’s rankings.

There’s a joke going around based on Google’s many, many recent changes.

Q: Why are all of Google’s updates—Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird —named for animals?
A: Because managing SEO has become a frickin’ zoo.

How funny you find this joke depends on how badly this stampede of animal-themed algorithm updates—as well as the increase in “Not provided” traffic to your site—has hurt your brand and your business. And I suspect for many of you, it’s not funny at all.

But, does this mean that you’re screwed, done, cooked? That SEO, for you anyway, really is dead?

Of course not.

Instead, to manage in this environment, the real questions worth asking are:

  1. What connects these Google updates?
  2. Why do they matter to you?
  3. And, most important, what do you do about them?

So, What Connects Google’s Recent Updates?

Customers. Your content has to focus on the needs of your customers. Whereas search engines traditionally have looked at various signals about your content to rank pages—inbound links, keyword placement, keyword frequency, etc.—these new algorithms and engine updates look at what customers value and rank your content in the search engine accordingly.

However, this isn’t really new. Google’s been providing this same guidance for years. As Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land notes in his Hummingbird FAQ:

“…Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important” [Emphasis mine.]

Why Does This Matter?

This one’s simple. Your site undoubtedly depends on Google for traffic, because your customers depend on Google for answers to their questions.

Now, here’s the best part. While some of Google’s most recent moves may be less “Do No Evil” than expected from Big G, in this case, you and Google have the same objective. Your customers use search engines to answer questions and uncover solutions to their problems. As such, they don’t want a “search” engine; they want a “find” engine. The better job your content does at answering those questions, the more customers will value your content.


Further information

SEO 2014 roadmap: adopting semantic markup

The advanced guide to SEO

How Much Time Should You Spend on the Different Part of SEO?

My researcher found this article when searching for interesting things to Tweet about in the world of SEO and I thought it was well worth mentioning again on this blog.
It tells of the shift in the way that businesses talk about SEO and what SEO means today. I am not sure that business owners (in the UK at least) do talk of the ambitions for their site in the same way as the ones (in the USA?) do, but the day in question sure does speak the truth in that they should be speaking in that way..

Below is some extracts from the article, but be sure to visit the site in question for the full story.

Today’s meaning of SEO (search engine optimization) is not the same as a year ago and completely different from five years ago. “I want to rank on the first page of Google” has evolved to “The process of enhancing the visibility of a brand’s web presence in organic search through multiple social channels and engaging customers so they share this content.”

Instead of focusing on technical aspects like algorithms or on-page SEO, I am going to focus this article on what we refer to as “content marketing.”

How much time should be spent doing what for SEO?

After a decade of currying favor with search engines, I’d apply about this much time to specific tasks.

  • 5 percent on technical SEO fundamentals. On page keywords, adding title tags and hyperlinking. Don’t overdo it, or Google will banish you to page 50+.
  • 10 percent on keyword and competitive research. Google is phasing out making keywords available but the best place to get keywords is your own company. What do your customers say? Have your receptionist write these phrases down.
  • 20 percent on researching and analyzing what people are looking for in terms of information.
  • 55 percent on creating a content marketing plan and the content for that plan.
  • 10 percent on publishing and sharing your content, then paying attention to social signals. In other words, what are people saying and how are they engaging?

If you currently have someone doing your SEO and they are not producing content and marketing it for you, ask for a list of what they are doing. You deserve to know what they are doing each month.

Is this split a good one for all business types, well of course not, but it is a good start and does cover the important areas of analysing what people are looking for, both keywords wise as well as ‘question wise’. It then goes on to cover the creation of the content that covers those keywords / questions and then the ‘announcement’ of that content, this of course with the aim of getting it all shared.

All Good stuff and worth a read…

Please click here for the full article on SEO.

Making the most of your WordPress blog

Everyone has a blog these days or so it seems and in order to keep your customers up to date with what you are doing, industry news and anything else you wish to share, having a purpose built blogging site is important. WordPress is one of the popular platforms on which to build your blogging site and as it is so easy to use, is one that anyone can use successfully. It is easy to add text, embed video, pictures and infographics. There are lots of free tools that you can use to enhance your blog and of course, it can be shared on social media. You can employ a number SEO strategies to get your WordPress blog found by the search engines.

What You’re In For

With all the hype around cloud computing and no-configuration-required hosted services, you don’t hear about the joys of running great software on your own server very much. The fact is, if you’re just a casual user who doesn’t know if you’ll stick to blogging over the long haul, or if you don’t want to spend a little time maintaining WordPress, you should sign up for a hosted blog at or Blogger or TypePad. (Also, this tutorial is not for you.)

But if you’re willing to keep WordPress updated religiously, you get access to a whole world of WP plug-ins that add features to your site, the opportunity to create and tweak custom WordPress themes, and a huge sense of accomplishment. In the most recent version of WordPress, keeping your installation up-to-date is a matter of clicking a link when you get notified to do so.

Everything you need to know about installing WordPress is right here. Got it up and running? Let’s get to customizing.

Initial configuration

The Beginner's Guide to Tricking Out Your WordPress Blog

The first thing you want to do on your WordPress blog is set up a new author with administrative access. Don’t use the default “admin” user to write your posts; create your custom username and give it admin privileges. Then, log out of WordPress and back in as your new username. For security reasons, some folks like to delete the admin user completely (as some WordPress attacks have used it to do bad things to your blog). Once you’ve got your administrative account working, add other authors to the list of users who might be posting to your blog. Click here to continue reading

5 basic tips to improve WordPress for SEO and user experience

27 WordPress SEO pluggins


Making SEO work with responsive design

With the rise in mobile devices being used to browse and access the internet, website owners have had to make changes to their sites so that visitors can view their site regardless of the device they are using. The most common method of adapting websites is to use responsive web design. This means that the site can be viewed on virtually any size of screen without losing scale or clarity, so is a huge advantage for site owners whose sites are being accessed from mobile phones. Responsive sites still need to be properly optimized and have the same high quality content, keywords and links so that they are placed well on the search engine rankings and do not fall foul of the Google algorithms. Keeping up with all the changes can be difficult, as there seem to be changes every other week these days. Here are some tips on SEO for responsive web design:

Responsive design is obviously a big deal; such a big deal that Mashable has hailed 2013 as “the year of responsive design.” Most web professionals understand this — responsive design is changing the way that the Internet looks, feels, and works.

There’s something less obvious going on, though. Responsive design also changes SEO. When we look beyond the CSS of responsive design, we see a major shift in search practices that is exerting an impact on both mobile and desktop searches.

What are the SEO issues brought about by the advent of responsive design? Here are five.

1.    Google likes responsive design, meaning that search results will likely favor sites that employ responsive best practices.

While we hesitate to declare baldly that Google is in love with RWD, we can identify a strong affinity for RWD best practices. After Google’s blog post about Responsive Design, SEO Round Table published an article outlining the reasons why Google likes responsive design. The three reasons — non-duplicated content, no canonical URL issues, and no redirect problems — are all part of a strong SEO arsenal.

When Google flinches, everyone jumps. So it is with responsive design. Since Google actually wrote the Mobile Playbook, it only makes sense to give them due respect for their mobile and responsive proclivities. As algorithms continue to be tweaked throughout 2013 and beyond, we will probably see more and more nods to sites that successfully employ responsive design.

If Google prefers responsive design, that’s a huge game changer for search.

2.    Mobile users crave a good experience, and responsive sites deliver optimal site quality for mobile users.

That point above is a bit convoluted. Nonetheless, it’s an important point for SEO. Here’s how it works.

More and more users are mobile. Your website is now receiving more mobile visitors than ever before. Trust me; check the analytics. All those mobile users need a good experience. The better their experience, the better your SEO

Further information

Why responsive web design matters for your SEO

Matt Cutts talks responsive design impact on SEO

How common are SEO problems with responsive web design?

SEO for local businesses

Not every business wants to be a multi-national, some want to offer their goods and services to a more local audience and as such, the way they run their online campaigns will be slightly different. For these businesses, having websites that can be viewed from mobile devices is essential as often, people looking for them will be using their mobile phone or tablet. Making use of local directories, local review sites, social media and local business group sites such as Chamber of Commerce, are great for getting a business known in a particular area or community. Using long-tail keywords using local geographical terms will help with the search engine listings as well. Video can be particularly useful and as many people view these from their mobiles and then share them with their friends, this is an area that should not be ignored.

Here’s a local search optimization tactic that is a staple in the repertoire of many professional SEOs: YouTube Optimization. It’s particularly effective in local search since relatively few businesses have created and published video promotions for themselves.

Before launching into the technical tips for optimizing your YouTube videos for local search, it’s worthwhile to mention the content itself. While my tips below will provide benefit somewhat independently of whatever the video is actually about, all benefit derived from the work will be magnified if the video is compelling. So, subject matter and the way it is conveyed are of primary importance. I don’t mention “quality” (although that can contribute) because there are many videos of poor production quality or low resolution that are extremely popular. The subject matter of a video and the way it’s conveyed — its “interestingness” — are more likely to determine whether people will watch it, whether they’ll watch all the way through, and whether they’ll share it with friends.

YouTube Local SEO

Some businesses simply make an ad about themselves when they do a video. While these can be informative for prospective customers, they are typically not all that imaginative (and usually not as effective as less overtly promotional videos).

A better approach would be to publish a series of brief videos over time about aspects of your industry, its products, and its services. Provide how-to videos that demonstrate how to do what you do. Obviously, if you sell a service, you won’t make money off of do-it-yourselfers, but these videos are typically more popular and will therefore convey more ranking potential to your business. They can also serve to establish you as an expert — and sometimes, when you show what’s involved in what you do, it will persuade people to pay to have it done.

Other types of videos can teach consumers about how to select the sorts of products you sell, or tell them how to discern qualities about services offered. These “public service” sorts of videos may train consumers in how to be more discerning and, in the process, train them to choose you instead of your competition. Click here to continue

Further information

5 simple steps to improve your local SEO

2013 local search ranking factors

Local SEO tips for small businesses post Panda/Penguin