Have you ever tried to search for some data online when you were multitasking and couldn’t type the text? It would be quite challenging without the opportunity to conduct voice search.
According to PWC report, 71% of respondents would rather use their voice assistant to search for something than physically typing their queries. And what’s the most important is that the differences between spoken and typed queries may cause different SERP. It means that your competitors’ voice search optimized websites have much more chances to engage most of your potential customers or subscribers.
If you want your website rank for voice queries as high as for the typed ones, this article will help you discover all the steps you should undertake.
Voice search evolution
Do you remember when voice search required calling a phone number from your mobile device and saying your search query? Well, it was in the early days of voice search (to be more precise, in 2010), and few people actually used it.
Since then, voice search has improved significantly. On June 2011, Google announced they started to roll voice search on Google.com. Once being available only in English, today there are about 60 languages supported in Google Voice Search.
With ‘Hummingbird,’ updated in 2013, the concept of typed and especially spoken search changed a lot. The algorithm emphasized natural language processing and was aimed at considering the users’ intent and the context of the query. From that moment search questions structured in sentences got more relevant answers. So, it influenced voice search, which is usually formed from long phrases, a lot.
How to optimize for voice search
Experts’ opinions about optimization for voice search differ but each of them agrees that it’s an important part of an SEO process.
Here is, for example, Jenny Halasz’s mind: ‘While voice search is certainly the future of how we will do most searches, there’s not really too much you can do to optimize for it that is different than regular SEO optimization. Because Google’s goal will always be to return the best result based on the person, location, and history, it’s hard to guess exactly what the right answer for a query will be.”
And this is what Shane Barker says about it: “Facilitated by the launch of voice-based digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, voice search now constitutes a significant part of all online searches. And its share is only going to rise to a level that SEO experts can’t deny its importance. The question is, who will be best prepared when voice search takes up a majority share of all searches? And the answer to that is SEO experts who are devoting their time to it now. However, there is another side to it. Though voice searches are likely to be a really important part of SEO in the future, it is not the case now. While my advice would still be to start preparing for it, I would advise against allocating a substantial part of your budget to it.
So, let’s speak about the ways of voice search optimization.
Due to the differences between the results of typed and spoken ways of search, your site optimization for the traditional search isn’t the same as the voice search optimization.
The most significant thing to worry about is that people using their mobile assistants to conduct voice search get only one top result. As half of the search will have been conducted by voice by 2020, half of your potential customers won’t see your website even if you’re the fourth in the SERP. Ranking the top will be the main goal for every business owner.
So, what are the essential factors for you to consider optimizing for voice search?
Have you heard about featured snippets? These are ones which Google forms from the most relevant content and places in the top of search results, like this:
The reason I mentioned these snippets is that Stone Temple Consulting claims that 30% of 1.4 million tested Google queries contain them. And you can be sure that if the results include featured snippet, your voice assistant will demonstrate it. That’s why one of your goals when willing to get ranked in voice search results should be providing such a quality data for Google to express it in the featured snippet.
Do people search for your website when they want to buy something or to find out some information? The reason a person looks for websites is called user intent. Sometimes it may be obvious and expressed in the query with the words ‘buy,’ ‘price,’ ‘how to,’ ‘what is,’ etc. Sometimes it’s only in the users’ minds.
Regardless of how the intent is expressed, due to the Hummingbird update, Google dwells into the context of the search query, investigates the sites’ content and provides you with the relevant answers. For example, if I say ‘oscar winners,’ it’s most likely I’m interested in the recent ceremony, not in the results from 20 years ago. And search engines understand it. That’s why you should consider user intent when creating the content which will enhance the relevance of your pages to specific search queries. If you want to optimize your page for a featured snippet, your main aim should be understanding user intent and giving your audience an immediate answer.
And here is what Jenny Halasz says about this topic: “Try to match your customers’ intent with your content, seek to answer questions, and provide details wherever possible. The same steps you take now to optimize for answer boxes are going to help you in voice search too.”
Long tail keywords & Questions
Searching for some information with the help of voice assistant, people behave as if they’re talking to a human. Most of them don’t simply use short keywords, but instead, they ask questions and prefer long phrases.
That’s what Shane Barker says about this subject: “Use more conversational keywords and phrases that people use while speaking, not while typing. Essentially, these will be long-tail keywords but phrased in the way people speak.”
By the way, using long tail keywords is a good practice not only for voice search optimization but also for traditional SEO. The fact is that the key phrases containing more than 2 words have the lower difficulty (or competition) level and provide the great chances to rank the top.
As I’ve already mentioned, along with long phrases, people also tend to use questions for voice search. For instance, when typing the query, a person tries to use the most relevant keywords and writes something like ‘the best coffee in NYC.’ But voice query sounds much more natural. First of all, talking to your voice assistant, you should start with ‘Hey Siri…,’ ‘OK, Google,’ etc. These phrases make you think you’re communicating with your device, not just conducting the keyword-based query. That’s why looking for the best coffee, you’re most likely to ask the question, such as ‘Hey Siri, where can I drink the best coffee?’
To find out what questions your target audience may ask and not to spend much time, you can use special services, such as Answer the Public or Serpstat Search Questions. If you go with Serpstat, simply type the word or a phrase best describing the subject of your content and see how people usually search for it.
Shane Barker: “Answer your customers’ common questions on your website or blog. Use a conversational tone for phrasing these questions, to rank well for voice queries.”
When you choose the questions you’re writing about in your post, add them to the pages around your site. Create h2 headers using these queries and provide an answer in the body text. Answer the questions concisely and make sure the main idea is stated briefly.
After you answered the question directly, you can also cover other related search questions. It’ll help you rank for as many variations of queries as possible.
Not to lose your position at featured snippets, keep your content fresh and update it regularly.
The time needed for your page to load influences whether it will appear in voice search results or not. So, if you want your page to be visible to all those people who prefer voice search, make sure its loading speed is high enough.
As people searching by voice are always on-the-go and don’t have time to wait, it’s difficult to overestimate the importance of optimizing your page speed. Before taking any actions, analyze your website speed with PageSpeed Insights. The service will tell you whether your site’s loading time is low enough, and what you can do to lower it. Mind that mobile speed data is the most important for optimizing for voice search. Also, to Shane Barker’s mind, you should make a website mobile-friendly because a majority of voice searches happen via mobile devices.
What is structured data? It’s code added to HTML markup and used by search engines to better understand your site’s content. Using structured data, you make search engines crawl and read your content efficiently.
With schema markup, you can better control the way you provide the brand information, and the way machines interpret it. Structured data implementation results in rich snippets which are known to increase click-through rate, drive traffic and bring you competitive advantages. Here’s the way these snippets differ from the normal ones:
Having this data can also help your pages appear in featured snippets and, consequently, in voice search results. Shane Barker also appeals to use structured data markup to provide better information to mobile devices about your website and its content.
So, if you do everything correctly and produce content interpreted by search engines as highly relevant (and if you’re lucky enough), your snippet will become featured:
Here’s what it looks like in the code:
To find out how you can implement structured data to your site, use Schema.org vocabulary. There’s a set of schemas which enables SEO experts to markup their websites.
When elaborating structured data, you should remember it’s easy to become spammy. Use the data which is relevant to the content you provide. Moreover, it’s essential to update your markup, as everything tends to be constantly changing, and your website isn’t a conclusion.
The BrightLocal report says that 58% of consumers use voice search to find local businesses. It isn’t surprising as most people conduct voice search when they’re walking or driving somewhere and willing to discover where they should head for.
For the cases when people search for something like ‘best donuts in LA’, it would be good to use the keywords including the cities or countries where your business works.
What’s the most important, conducting voice search people are even more likely to use ‘near me’ phrase. If I decided to eat some donuts, I would rather say ‘OK Google, donuts cafe near me,’ than ‘donuts cafe in Los Angeles.’ In this case, the search engine will use my location to understand which cafes are the closest to where I am at the moment. To appear in the relevant results for such queries, don’t add ‘near me’ key phrases to your content. Jenny Halasz also thinks the same way: “Keep in mind that “near me” queries are simply adding a location intent to a search. It’s not necessary to actually use the words “near me” on your site anywhere. If you want to rank for “pizza near me”, then, by all means, track that keyword’s performance on your ranking tools, but don’t worry about putting “near me” in your actual site code.”
In most cases, search robots use Business Listings information. So, make sure you’ve added all the necessary information, such as brand name, address, opening hours, etc. to Google My Business page. Shane Barker talks about this as follows: “Optimize your Google My Business listing and provide accurate and updated contact information. A lot of voice searches are for local queries and listing your business there will help you rank better for such queries.”
To wrap up
People use voice search widely. And its popularity is going to grow dramatically in the coming years. Those who already consider it in their SEO improve their content visibility significantly, as voice search results show only top pages. You can either benefit from these changes optimizing your website for spoken queries or suffer not doing anything. The choice is yours.
The post Guide to voice search optimization: Six steps to undertake in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Google Ads is an expensive game if you get it wrong.
So, we figure you’re doing what you can to measure the performance of your campaigns. But just how are you doing that?
Our best guess is you’re using your own historical data to measure your success. Of course, the inbuilt problem there is that it’s only your data. And there are few actionable insights you can get from it.
Now, we’re not saying it’s useless. These metrics will show you if you’re improving month-on-month, but the data will only show you how you’re improving against yourself.
Because when you look at your own historical data, pretty much all you can take from it is: are we doing better than we were doing before?
If the answer is no, then back to the drawing board, but if the answer is yes, you’re doing better than before, so good for you.
But how does your data stack up against the average across your industry?
We’re going to go out on a limb and say you don’t know the answer. You don’t know how you stack up against industry averages. And we’ll tell you why you don’t know…
Because that information is not so easy to get your hands on, and for most businesses it’s to all practical intents impossible.
And until you do know how you’re doing against industry averages, you’ll never know if your campaign is a true blockbuster.
Numbers: Google Ads across industry
A few years ago, Wordstream started running analysis of their client accounts to find answers on conversion rates, cost per click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), and cost per action (CPA) by industry.
We also covered this back in 2016, if you’d like to compare how the numbers have changed.
These figures are based on a sample of 14,197 client accounts in all verticals — totaling more $200 million in aggregate Google Ads spend.
Their stated goal was to establish CVR (average conversion rate) for both search and display ads.
They ran the analysis across 20 different industries including the following:
So, what is the average conversion rate for Search and Display?
On average then, Google Ads advertisers are getting conversion rates of 3.17% on the Search network and 0.46% on the Display network. These averages have climbed significantly over the past couple years, an encouraging trend for agencies and advertisers alike.
How do those figures compare to what you are seeing — are they a relief or a shock?
Benchmark figures are important to your business
Without a benchmark it really is next to impossible to say how well you’re doing.
Maybe you had a CVR of 0.5% and you boosted that up to 1.5% — if you report that based only on your own historical data then it sounds great, right? However, you now know that the industry benchmark for the Search network is 3.17%. So if your CVR is 1.5% then you’re a long way behind the industry average.
And if your campaign isn’t hitting the average, then there’s no way to dress it up. A lot of work needs to be done just to get it to average levels. Let’s be blunt, who wants to be average?
Ask anyone if they want to be average and you already know the answer you’re going to get – nobody!
Now, if you’re not even halfway to the average CVR then average might seem attractive – but you can do so much better than average. Don’t settle for it. Use the average as marker, get your campaign up to the average and then do all you can to push it over and above. Make it a super high performing unicorn instead!
Now, we know that the top 10% of advertisers are getting five times better than the average rates. Once you get past that average marker you can go onto create highly profitable campaigns.
Okay, that’s the Search network, now what about Display ads?
The top converting ads on the display network will surprise you
What do you think the top converting ads on the Display network are?
Perhaps ecommerce? Or maybe travel and hospitality because they are so much fun compared to insurance?
Well, as we said, you might be surprised.
Ecommerce along with travel and hospitality are among the very lowest of all conversion rates across all industries on Google Display ads.
The number one winner is…
Dating and personals!
That’s right. Converting at an average of 3.34%, this swelling industry has outflanked finance and insurance to lead the pack for average CVR in terms of Display.
The top five best converting industry types (according to SEW) for Display:
And who comes in at the bottom of the pile for Display?
The very worst CVR of all industries is…
Home Goods. The CVR here is an abysmal 0.43%.
The top industry smashing it for Search CVR is dating and personals. This has a staggering 9.64% CVR on the SERPs, which is an unbelievable 2.66% higher than legal in a distant second place.
Here are the top 5 converting industries for Search:
Knowing these benchmarks is vital to your business. As we stated from the get-go, you need to know where you stand against others in your industry. This is the only meaningful way to accurately estimate your costs and ROI. If you don’t do this, you’ll take the historical data you have and maybe think you’re doing well — when really you’re way behind even the average.
Here are the rest of the numbers for Google Ads conversion rates by industry for Search and Display:
The post Google Ads conversion rates by industry: How do you compare? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Delivering a seamless user experience on your website is one important way to boost your page’s conversion rate.
This conversion rate has a lot to do with the loading speed of your website. The faster the website, the better the percentage of conversions. PageSpeed can even have a direct impact on your Ads campaigns and Quality Score.
In fact, mobile sites that load in 5 seconds earn up to 2x more mobile ad revenue than those whose sites load in 19 seconds.
The truth is that if your website takes more than 2-3 seconds to load, people will abandon it in a jiffy because that is what 40% of people do, says a report. Hence, you need to make sure that you take proper care of your site’s speed optimization.
What is the Google PageSpeed Insights tool?
To get that done, the Google PageSpeed Insights tool is a real handy tool. All new and existing website owners who are either busy in website building or maintaining a website, must definitely use this tool.
The Google PageSpeed Insights tool analyzes your site’s front-end performance and offers optimization suggestions. Providing your website a score between 0 to 100 points; a score of 85 or above indicating a well performing page, this tool can give you some great insights into the performance of your website.
Thanks to the latest update, the tool now churns up results differently than what webmasters got used to seeing. The old test really gave out frustrating results that were hard to achieve. Now it is all going to be about how your site is actually performing and about improving the user-experience and conversion rates on your website.
Now, the new updated Google PageSpeed Tool test looks like this:
Tips for getting your PageSpeed Insights to 100
Now, let’s take a look at the elements that you need to take care of, if you are aspiring for that 100/100 on your website’s Google PageSpeed Test.
1. Take care of all your speed issues
Website speed will always be a crucial factor in further improving site performance. This has been a determinant in the updated test tool as well. So, in order to make sure that you are taking care of all your site speed issues, you must take into account how the themes and plugins, along with other integrations are impacting your site speed.
Investing in a reliable web hosting service is just as important as everything else in maintaining your site’s loading times. So, it is imperative on your part to ensure reading web hosting reviews before making the choice of your web host. Make sure that you are able to implement each and every optimization move that you can take care of.
2. Give importance to visible content
As soon as a visitor lands on your website, there is this content which is visible without scrolling. Also known as above-the-fold content, this content should swiftly load on the visitors’ ends because it is a part of user experience.
Hence, it is important to ensure your HTML is presenting the content of your web page first before it is presenting other things. To get that done, you can reduce the amount of data used by your resources or simply create your HTML to load the critical, above-the-fold content first over other elements. If you are not into coding, make sure that you get yourself a theme that serves this purpose for your website.
3. Code minification is a must
If you can make your source code more compact, you can effectively tend to the site speed and user experience issues arising out of it. To do that, you will be required to remove all the code that’s not needed such as the white spaces, new lines, unnecessary and unused code, redundant formatting, comments, etc.
Here’s an example:
Minified CSS Example:
4. Optimize your images
We all know that optimizing the images present on a website can help us make our websites faster and quick to load. You can either choose to manually optimize aka compress the images on your website (but that would take up all eternity) or you could simply use image optimization plugins for your WordPress site such as Smust it or EWWW Image optimizer. For your other websites, you can use image compression tools such as TinyPNG, Compress JPEG, or other available tools.
5. Compression is the key
Simply compressing files before delivering them over the server allows your website to load faster, as simple as that. This will increase the speed to which they are transferred to the browser. Yes, we are talking about gzip compression here.
6. Implement browser caching
Your web hosting service might already have a browser caching service in place. If you still want, you can get a Caching plugin for your WordPress site such as the WP Super Cache or the W3 Total Cache plugin.
8. Accelerated Mobile Pages
Accelerated Mobile Pages helps your mobile web pages by pulling them up almost instantly, presenting the content in a decluttered matter.
AMP is short for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It helps your mobile web pages load instantly by getting rid of unnecessary formatting, content for a seamless mobile experience.
All website owners aspire for the big 100/100 in their Google PageSpeed Insights tool. However, what really matters now is how your website is actually performing and if it is offering impeccable user experience.
By following our guide above, you will definitely get steps closer to not only achieving 100/100 with the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool but also increase the traffic and conversion rates on your website.
The post Google PageSpeed Insights tool: Tips to score 100/100 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Let me start by saying I love SEMrush and Ahrefs. I use them both on a daily basis and cannot imagine my life without them.
Through their awesome technology and studies, the two tools have contributed an impressive amount of value to SEO community. If you are already using the tools, by all means keep them!
Why then explore alternatives to SEMrush and Ahrefs?
Well, I have two strong arguments behind this article:
Serpstat is one of the most successful newcomers in the SEO industry. It was introduced just a couple of years ago and already has a strong community of raving supporters (including yours truly)
Let’s take a quick look at standard SEO competitive intelligence features they are offering:
Serpstats’ best unique feature you’ll love: Text Analytics
Text Analytics is the smart extension of Serpstat’s keyword clustering feature which I talked about earlier. It analyzes your competitor’s content for your given query and returns some on-page content recommendations for you to implement:
The important thing here is, Serpstat advises against keyword density or exact-matching. It uses semantic analysis to thoroughly analyze competing content and transforms the analysis into actionable recommendations for your writing team to follow.
Rankedy is one of the newest SEO suites out there (I think it may still be in private beta) but I strongly suggest going and requesting your trial. I am sure they are up to something really unique. They are not trying to offer competing solutions but instead working on something completely unique: applying machine learning to many standard SEO analyses they offer.
They are building some competitive intelligence features:
Rankedy’s best unique feature you’ll love: Topic Orientation
I’ve never seen this done before, so I was very intrigued to try. The tool grabs the top 100 competing domains ranking for your core queries, analyzes their content and compares it to yours. It then shows how well you did matching the topic classifications (and which areas yours needs improvement).
The goal is that your content overlaps with your competitors’ content in core concepts Rankedy has identified for you. Otherwise it may be mismatched (and it must be the reason why your page gets over-ranked).
[Example: Rankedy took the query [website building], fetched content of my top competitors, classified it and found that my competitors’ top-ranking content includes the following classes “Business”, “Machine”, “Product” and “Design.” My site content matched nothing of those, so my landing page content needs work]
I think it’s a very fresh look at competitive analysis. That’s definitely a tool to look out for.
Spyfu is one of the oldest multi-feature SEO solutions out there. Its PPC analysis is probably the smartest in the industry and it’s very well set up. Let’s go through our standard list of features:
SpyFu’s best unique feature you’ll love: Organic Ranking History
SpyFu’s Organic Ranking History is my favorite way to explore any organic query. It gives you a graphical representation of what Google organic SERPs looked like for any given domain (e.g. your competitor):
All of that overlaid by various Google updates which could have accounted for the ranking change.
Some domains are being tracked as far back as ~2008 – this is an incredible amount of data!
Check out their other project that will likely blow your mind: Nacho Analytics
I am not yet as familiar with the new suite as well I’d like to be (as it’s pretty new) but it looks awesome so far:
CognitiveSEO’s best unique feature you’ll love: Broken links research
Broken link building research has never been easier: Type in your competitor’s domain and click through “Broken Pages” tab. The tool will show you the list of your competitor’s pages that receive backlinks. Now all you need to do is build a better page and go fix those links to direct them to your site.
Sneaky? Maybe but totally ethical and even valuable (I like to think of broken link building as fixing the web!)
Ahrefs and SEMrush alternatives at a glance:
Which innovative Ahrefs and SEMrush alternative did I miss? Let’s promote SEO innovation!
Also, check out my other comparison of keyword research APIs.
The post 4 Ahrefs and SEMrush alternatives that bring innovation to competitive analysis appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
It’s that time of the year again: reflecting on the year that’s past as we prepare for 2019 lurking around the corner. In this article, we have a roundup of some of our fan favorite pieces from 2018 on news and trends from the search industry.
From alternative search engines to future trends, best online courses to algorithm updates, these were some of our highlights from the past year.
We also have a roundup of our top articles on SEO tips and tricks here.
While many of us use “googling” synonymously with “searching,” there are indeed a number of viable alternatives out there. In this article, we try to give some love to 12 alternative search engines.
Most of us can name the next few: Bing, Yandex, Baidu, DuckDuckGo.
But some on the list may surprise you — how about Ecosia, a Co2-neutral search engine? With every search made, the social business uses the revenue generated to plant trees. On average, 45 searches gets one more tree for our little planet.
2019 might be a year for a little more time spent with some G alternatives.
Human beings process visuals faster than they do text. So it makes sense that in the last decade, the number of images on the internet has ballooned.
In this post, we compare the best search engines for conducting three categories of image search on the web.
First, general / traditional image search, looking at Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Then, reverse image search, looking at TinEye, Google, and Pinterest.
Third, free-to-use image search, looking at EveryPixel, Librestock, and the Creative Commons.
As all good SEOs know, this is a never-ending process. The SEO world seems to be constantly evolving, and nearly everyone in the field has learned their snuff largely through online material.
For anyone who’s new to the scene, this can be an encouraging thought. We all started mostly just poking around on the interwebs to see what to do next. And happily, a lot of the best SEO material is freely available for all.
In this article, we look at the best online, free SEO training courses. From Google to Moz to QuickSprout and more, these are fundamentals that anyone can start with.
We also highlight a number of individuals and businesses to follow in the industry.
One third of all time spent online is accounted for by watching video. And, it’s predicted that 80% of all internet traffic will come from video in 2019.
This year was further proof that videos engage growing numbers of users and consequently have an impact on the SERPs. In fact, video has been seen to boost traffic from organic listings by as much as 157%.
In this article, we explore how the ways in which we search for video are changing. From YouTube to Google Search, Facebook to Vimeo, video — and how we interact with video content online — has seen some interesting changes.
Sneak peak: this one starts out with, “What a useless article! Anyone worth their salt in the SEO industry knows that a blinkered focus on keywords in 2018 is a recipe for disaster.”
We go on to explore why focusing on just keywords is outdated, how various algorithm updates have changed the game, and what we should do now instead.
Ps: the snarky take sticks throughout the read, along with the quality overview.
This was an interesting piece following an algorithm update from back in March. There were suspicions, Google SearchLiason tweeted a confirmation, and everyone had to reassess.
Via a simple query, “What’s the best toothpaste?” and the results Google outputted over the course of half a dozen weeks, we can trace certain changes.
What pages benefitted, what can those insights tell us about the update, and how do we handle when our content visibility nosedives?
Who couldn’t use one of these hanging around?
Google makes changes to its ranking algorithm almost every day. Sometimes (most times) we don’t know about them, sometimes they turn the SERPs upside down.
This cheat sheet gives the most important algorithm updates of the recent years, along with some handy tips for how to optimize for each of the updates.
Well, that’s it for SEW in 2018. See you next year!
It’s that time of the year again: reflecting on the year that’s past as we prepare for 2019 lurking around the corner. In this article, we have a roundup of some of our fan favorite pieces from 2018 on SEO.
From how to’s to tips to tools, these were some of our highlights from the past year. SEW spark notes, if you will.
If you missed these pieces throughout the year, they’ll be worth a read. And if you’ve already read them, never hurts to refresh!
On Monday, we’ll have a roundup of our top articles on search industry news and trends.
If you have launched a new website, updated a single page on your existing domain, or altered many pages and/or the structure of your site, you will likely want Google to display your latest content in its SERPs.
While Google’s crawlers are obviously pretty good at their job — indexing countless new pages simply from natural traffic and links from around the web — it never hurts to give Googlebot a little assistance.
In this article, we look at a few ways to alert Google’s crawlers to new URLs on your site.
Because one can never have enough Google Analytics insight, right?
One of the most useful features in GA, event tracking lets you capture all kinds of information about how people behave on your site.
In this article, we go step by step through two different ways you can set up event tracking: first, by adding the code manually, and second, by using Google Tag Manager.
This is a great tutorial for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with the task.
Meta tags help search engines and website visitors determine what the content of your page is about.
They’re placed in the <head> section of a HTML document and need to be coded into your CMS. Depending on the platform you use, this can be quite less intense than it sounds.
Many “out of the box” solutions provide extremely user-friendly, labelled sections such as “meta description” calling your attention to exactly what goes where.
In this article, we take a look at why meta tags are important, along with the six main types of meta tags to focus on for SEO.
For anyone who’s ever had questions about what SEOs should do with Single Page Applications (SPAs), this article is for you. Long, thorough, entertaining, and full of resources.
This article is bit of a coming to terms with that reality, accepting SPAs as part of our SEO future, and even dipping our toes in, if you will.
We look at what developers like about JS, how it was never intended for web page content delivery, common SEO problems of SPAs, and a host of other questions you might be asking.
Finally, we end with eleven recommendations for further reading — really, this could become the whole rest of your holiday break — on how Google treats SPAs, core principles of SEO for JS and for SPAs, and more information than you could want.
Domain Authority (DA) serves as a handy heuristic in the SEO industry. It helps tell us how likely a site is to rank for specific keywords, based on the SEO authority it holds.
Many SEOs use Domain Authority to sense-check the quality of their inbound links and to understand how these are affecting their own’s site’s SEO health.
In this article, we round up some of the best ways to check out domain authority. We look at what factors go into DA, and how these tools go about calculating it.
‘Domain Authority’ was devised by Moz and they have naturally taken ownership of this name. Their suite of tools (some of which are discussed in this article) will reveal the authority of particular domains, but dozens of other free tools use Moz’s API to show these scores too.
This is another quite popular deep dive into SEO tips. We know “improving search rankings” gets a lot of fluff, but this is not that.
Here, we look closely at what makes RankBrain tick, and 15 ways to use that to your fancy.
Sections cover tips around optimizing keywords, optimizing title tags, optimizing descriptions, and reducing bounce rates and dwell times. Fun fact: research by HubSpot and Outbrain found that titles with brackets performed 33 percent better than titles without.
Questions about how to add LSI keywords? How long should long-form content really be? Benefits of long-tail vs medium size keywords? How much difference in clicks will a few characters too long in a headline actually make? All of that and much more (along with lots of screenshots) here.
This article is a roundup of exactly what it sounds like — 30 ways to market your online business for free. It covers everything from emails to social media, from Google Analytics to Search Console, from forums to guest posting, from metadata to Schema.org.
While a few of the ways could be updated — posting to Google+, for instance, might be less helpful anymore — the list still provides some hefty inspiration to anyone needing a little boost of ideas for what to do online.
This was a quite recent article that has soared. As we know, for SEO these days we need content that includes related concepts, satisfies intent, and provides value. The days of exact keyword matching are far behind us.
In this article, we have four great tools to use when optimizing for related keywords — and of course, how to use them.
For instance, the first tool in the list is TextOptimizer. It takes a term you give it, looks at the Google search results page, extracts snippets, and applies semantic analysis.
With that, it ouputs a list of all the related topics, terms, and concepts that form your topic cluster. From that cluster, it recommends you choose 15-25 of the words for a higher rank.
Lest we forget: local search.
For those looking to rank higher in searches tied to a user’s location — i.e. users that might be quite near your store and itching to buy something — a Google My Business listing is an essential first step.
This article gives a how to guide for first setting up your listing, claiming and verifying your business, filling out the information, and adding photos. From there, we go over gathering reviews, posting updates, monitoring your profile, and tracking data from Insights.
Of all the many, many things to do in SEO, optimizing a Google My Business listing is very straightforward. It can have a profoundly positive effect on your SEO — a whole wealth of ranking opportunity up for grabs.
Facebook has decided to test Search Ads in selected industries in the US and Canada. What does this experiment mean for the search advertising industry?
Facebook is always eager to try out new monetization ideas. This time there’s a really interesting one with an attempt to test search ads.
It was back in 2012 when Facebook tried Sponsored Results for the first time, but the experiment didn’t last long.
This time, Facebook is re-introducing Search Ads in its search results and Marketplace, which takes them into direct competition with Google.
More details about the experiment
Facebook has decided to test a small set of advertisers from the automotive, ecommerce and retail industries in the US and Canada.
These advertisers are able to pick the placement of ‘Search Results’ in Ads Manager and they are currently not charged for the specific placement. A business cannot currently run a search ad without running a news feed ad first. Thus, it currently serves as an extension to an existing ad, but it can still offer useful insights to Facebook about the success of this experiment.
Moreover, there is no option yet to target specific keywords or phrases in the beta phase, which could change in the future if search ads roll out to more advertisers.
The ads are repurposed news feed ads of image or carousel format since videos are not currently supported. Search ads won’t appear on desktop and they will have a clear label of ‘Sponsored’ tag to help users understand why they are seeing the specific result. Users are currently able to opt out from seeing the ads but they are able to hide them temporarily.
Facebook has not shared screenshots yet of how the ads look like.
The idea is to test the search ads to a selected audience before it rolls out to more advertisers globally.
Is Facebook competing with Google?
This is an interesting move from Facebook and we’re expecting more similar experiments to come from the big social network. Google may be dominating the search advertising industry, but Facebook is not shy of its attempt to increase its advertising revenue.
With an advertising revenue that exceeds $33 billion worldwide in 2018, Facebook is looking for new ideas of monetization. As its user base grows, there are more searches taking place every day. Although not all searches are commercial, there is still an opportunity to capitalize its popularity.
Instagram ad revenue seems to be on the rise and Stories are quickly turning into an engaging type of content. Search ads can now open a new path for revenue growth that will bring Facebook in direct competition with Google.
Should Google worry then?
There is no indication yet that Google should be threatened. It’s not clear yet if this experiment will quickly roll out to all countries and advertisers. However, it gives us an indication of Facebook’s next plans and they cannot be ignored.
Going beyond Google, it can be an interesting disruption in the search advertising industry. More advertisers could be willing to try out Facebook’s beta phase to reach an audience that goes beyond Google and Bing. Facebook has already established a powerful position in social advertising so it shouldn’t be really hard to expand its services in new territories.
After all, showing search ads in the Marketplace can enhance the ecommerce marketing tactics in the platform, right before the decision process.
Keeping both users and advertisers happy
Facebook users have already adjusted to seeing ads in the news feed, which means that there may not be a hard time adjusting to another placement.
It’s just on Facebook to make sure that there is a balance between user engagement and revenue growth. It’s critical to keep the ads in context with the searches to avoid having bigger problems with the trust among users.
2019 should be an intriguing year in the clash of the tech titans so we can’t wait to see how this experiment will turn out.
The post Facebook is expanding into Search Ads. What will this mean? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
To be honest, Search Engine Optimization is not everyone’s cup of tea. To help our websites scale better in terms of their search engine rankings, we often end up hiring expert SEO professionals or agencies that do the deed for us.
Even if we begin to take on the SEO tasks all by ourselves, there is always a time for seeking professional help when we are stuck at difficult points in our SEO journey. This further implies the importance of SEO professionals in the life of website owners. Now, that brings us to the relevance of the career as an SEO professional.
If you have substantial SEO knowledge and had always wanted to be an SEO professional, it’s worth considering going the freelance way. We bet you might have even given this a thought, at least once.
A freelance SEO career can be a fulfilling experience in terms of the kind of work contribution and finance as well. Hence, it is a great way to take charge of your career in your hands and be a professional success, working on your own terms.
So, how do you exactly start a freelancing career as a Search Engine Optimization expert? Let’s find out.
Gauge the understanding of your SEO expertise
If you choose to impart your services in SEO as a freelancer, you will have to be equipped with all that is about SEO. Once you have gauged that understanding of your skill level, you must then ensure that you are in possession of proper resources, tools, and software that would be needed to meet the SEO needs of your clients.
You must be skilled to handle the SEO of all kind of websites, regardless of the website builders they are built on. This understanding will help you reach out for the right projects that fall under your skill set and perform better.
Get a website and list your services
Before establishing yourself as a freelance SEO professional, you will need a website to market your skills and your services. Having a website puts your credibility on the right front and brings you forward as a reliable candidate for potential clients.
Again, listing your services is beneficial in terms of staying clear about what SEO services you offer. This will save time off your grid as well as that of the clients who might get in touch with you to get their project started.
List yourself on freelancing portals and start bidding
Once you have made up your mind regarding your career as an SEO freelancer, you will have to look for leads for getting hired on projects. Very similar to putting out your business on an ecommerce platform, you can sell your freelance SEO service as well.
Finding the right leads can be an overwhelming job for many new freelancers in situations where they are not aware of the sources of these leads. Here are a few Freelance bidding platforms that can help you get hired easily.
Look at what the leading SEO freelancers are doing
In order to be able to perform well as a freelance SEO professional, you are obligated to work like one. Studying the professional work ethics of successful or in-demand freelancers will help you create better job cover letters, make better bids, and seal in on great project deals.
You can even try being an active part of Freelance communities so that you can stay aware of the changes in freelancing trends and even create a strong union of like-minded professionals who can help you in dicey situations such as an event where your payment gets clogged by a client.
Commit to a work schedule and stick to it
Freelancing is not always all fun. It requires commitment like no other daily profession.
Being a freelance SEO, you will be expected to quickly churn rankings for your clients. This means that you will have to put in all your efforts into that direction. All these efforts require you to timely deliver work as per the client’s expectations and work on a schedule.
Begin with a small budget and garner reviews
Starting out on your freelance SEO career, you might not always catch the bigger fish. But in order to land up with bigger projects, good work recommendations, and client reviews can come to your rescue.
These reviews are really important in building your credibility as a reliable freelancer. You can start taking up smaller projects and as you finish them, you can request the client to provide you with feedback as well as reviews.
The feedback will be helpful in enhancing the quality of your work, whereas the reviews will help you get more projects.
Sell your freelance services with complete dedication
By asking you to sell your services with complete dedication, we mean that you should build a very strong cover letter strategy so that you can increase your chances of getting hired for a project or a job that you have applied for.
As an SEO freelancer, your cover letter will be quite different from that of the other freelancers. Your cover letter should talk about Online content strategy, Keyword development, Website analytics, Organic and paid traffic, Web traffic management, and growth, ROI analysis, SEO best practices, Social media platforms etc.
Keep adding a new set of skills
Once you have started your freelancing career, you will gain a lot of working experience. However, since all your working time will be involved in completing and working on projects for your clients, you might run out of new skills/technical knowledge that has just happened to brace the market.
Hence, it is important for you to stay informed and work on adding new skills to your existing skills set and expand your knowledge of SEO. This will help you be competent enough to expand your work horizon and take on new projects that you might have earlier not even thought about.
Know your worth
All of us go for the freelance life only because of two beneficial factors: the freedom to work at one’s own will and financial gain.
It is true that an established freelancer is capable of making more money than other regular work professionals. But, that will only be possible for you when you know your real worth and are able to gauge the pricing of your projects as per them.
SEO is a flourishing industry, thanks to its growing digital prominence. This also brings about the fact that there are more professionals involved in the competition than ever. This competition has a negative effect on the pricing on the projects because a lot of SEO professionals are ready to work at real low rates than average. This affects the pricing in the SEO industry overall and the clients tend to go for cheaper SEO professionals.
This makes it an obligation for you to work on stipulated rates as per your skills and not accept projects at any rate lower than that. This will also be a great way to freelance for you as only credible clients will associate with you, assuring absolute timely payment.
Beginning your career as a freelance SEO specialist will be full of challenges and opportunities. Before you make the move and sacrifice a significant amount of time and effort into making the transition, it is important for you to assess if you are the right fit for this kind of work opportunity. Search Engine Optimization is a task that requires dedication and time.
Make sure that you are able to deliver that. Be aware of your self-learning process and determine if you can adapt to Algorithm changes quickly. If all the answers are in positive, you can definitely get started with your SEO freelancing career in a jiffy.
Interested in learning more about SEO in 2019? Here are the key trends you need to follow to improve your search optimization skills.
It’s easy to get confused by the information overload when you’re just starting with SEO. Too many tactics can discourage you from practicing your skills. However, it doesn’t have to be scary to learn more about search engine optimization.
That’s why we’ve analysed the key SEO trends for 2019 and what they mean to someone who’s just getting started with search engine optimization.
1. Start with optimizing your site for mobile devices
Mobile optimization is critical when you’re getting started with SEO. Start by testing your site’s performance and load speed across all devices.
Every delay in browsing may be a missed opportunity to engage a new visitor.
People are spending more time on their phones every year, which means that a new SEO strategy cannot ignore mobile optimization. Moreover, it goes beyond improving e.g. the site speed on your site. SEO in 2019 is about understanding the ‘mobile consumers’ and how their searching habits differ when they are on the go comparing to a desktop user.
Think of your own searching habits when you’re in a rush and you’re looking for a fast answer. Or think of the search result that grabs your attention. Chances are, it’s mobile optimized and it takes into consideration that you’re looking for a clear and quick answer without further delays.
2. Understand how users search
We tend to assume which keywords will perform better over others. Keyword testing is always a good idea but SEO nowadays is focusing more on understanding the search intent. It’s not enough to find an effective keyword that leads traffic to your site.
A long-term SEO strategy relies on search intent and the reasoning behind every search. Once you start understanding how your target audience is using search engines, then you’re able to optimize your site more successfully.
Searches are becoming more dynamic and it’s not enough to rely on assumptions. Start testing how your optimization can affect your search traffic and start applying more conversational queries to your keyword mix.
3. Write for humans, optimize for search engines
A successful SEO strategy does not ignore the human element when optimizing a site. We are not just picking good keywords to improve our site’s rankings. The goal is to pick the right keywords that your audience would use in a way that the content remains relevant and engaging.
Always start by thinking of your audience when creating your content. Your content should be both interesting and relevant to them so that they want to read more about it. Once you start understanding the content that your readers want from you, it’s time to focus more on its optimization.
It’s not enough to create good content if you don’t get people to read it. That’s why you want to optimize your content to reach higher in the SERPs.
There’s no need to start adding keywords in your content simply to appeal to search engines. Google and the rest have become way too sophisticated to reward such techniques.
On the contrary, the quality of your content and its relevance, for example, can help you increase your search traffic. Find the right balance between quality content and search optimization for the best results.
4. Analyse your existing search traffic
If you’re not sure how to get started and what to test then start by having a closer look at your current search traffic.
What are the best-performing pages? Which keywords is your audience using to access your content?
Analyse your top 10 posts and what they all have in common. Is it the quality of your content? The length of each post? Did you follow the best practices of on-site optimization?
Find the posts that work well as evergreen content and think of new ways to update them. A closer look at your search traffic and current SEO performance can even help you update your content calendar with topics that your audience would appreciate.
5. Stay up-to-date with the latest changes in SEO
If you want to master SEO, you need to follow the latest trends and the algorithm updates that might affect your tactics. As with every new skill, it’s useful to keep reading about it to stay informed about any recent changes.
Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced professional, it’s still important to keep reading about the latest SEO updates and what they mean to your strategy.
6. Learn the most important ranking factors
As we’ve just mentioned in the previous tip, it’s useful to dedicate some time every month to catch up with the latest SEO updates.
A great starting point is to read more about all the ranking factors that affect your position in the SERPs.
From the relevance and the use of the right keywords to the page speed and the use of backlinks, it’s good to learn how each ranking factor can affect your optimization tactics.
The list may be long, but here are some important ranking factors to help you optimize your page in 2019.
7. Never underestimate UX
User experience is becoming more important for SEO year over year. As Google is evolving, search results are becoming more personalized and the goal is to offer the best experience to the users.
The quality and the relevance of your content are very significant, but you also need to ensure that your site’s UX is appealing enough to encourage people to keep reading.
A good post cannot be engaging if your page is not, for example, optimized for mobile or if it doesn’t facilitate longer reads.
What you need is the right balance between great content and even better user experience. None of the two alone can lead to great SEO success.
Start analyzing your current bounce rate and the time spent on site and see how these compare with your site’s load speed.
Test your site’s performance across different browsers and devices and start improving all the issues that may risk you losing your readers.
8. Discover the link between social media and SEO
Social signals may not be among the ranking factors, but it’s still useful to understand how your social presence can affect your search results.
As social media becomes a bigger part of our lives, it can define a big part of our online presence and authority. The same occurs to all brands with an existing social presence.
Google has started integrating social results to the search answers in an attempt to present a more holistic idea of an online presence. By indexing more content to the search results, users are able to find the right answer to their questions as fast as possible. Thus, it’s good to keep in mind that your online presence and authority are not limited to your search results.
Similarly, social networks are turning into their own search engines where users are still looking for an answer to their questions. YouTube and Pinterest have become very popular visual search engines, while Twitter and Facebook can be helpful for finding more information about a person or a news event.
This means that our searching habits are changing and it’s useful to understand all the different ways someone can find your content on various channels.
9. Understand how voice search works
Voice search will be the biggest trend to shape SEO in 2019 and 2020. It is already seeing a growing adoption rate and more consumers are expected to use voice commands in 2019.
This means that search optimization should change to understand the new kind of search intent. People tend to use longer questions and more conversational queries in voice search. The challenge is to understand which keywords will be more relevant to your audience and how to measure the success of your strategy.
Although the measurement is still at an early stage, it’s still useful to understand the difference between text and voice commands.
The more we think as consumers, the higher the chances of answering their questions in the most relevant way.
SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. You can start the new year by boosting your skills to try out new ideas.
One step at a time can help you improve your site’s optimization. The best way to get started is to pay attention to your readers’ online habits.
We all know Google Analytics is a powerful tool for serving up actionable data. And one of the quickest ways to get that data is to be clear about what all those terms mean.
What does bounce rate mean and is it connected in anyway to exit rate? And how about sessions and page views?
If those questions sounds familiar but you’re not sure of the answers, read on…
Because as soon as you understand all the Google Analytics terms, you can begin to get closer to the actionable data you need, the kind of data you can use to increase visitors, sales, and sign-ups.
Google Analytics can show what pages you need to improve in order to rank higher in organic search. It shows you if your copy needs tweaking, keywords need updating, or meta-descriptions re-writing. It also tells you if your call to action button is converting or not.
What Google Says:
A user could leave a site because they lost interest, were confused, didn’t find the answer to their query, or did already found the information they were looking for.
The right kind of thinking here is this: What was the person expecting to find after searching for a keyword or key phrase. And does my site provide it?
If the bounce rate is very high, this is an indicator the site has a significant problem. Here are some helpful tips on ways to reduce bounce rate.
Alternatively, if the content is awesome and people spend a long time interacting with it, then that is known as “sticky” content.
If you’re just starting out with GA, here’s something to help get you started:
The number of times people click on your link from the search results page is the number of clicks that appears on Google’s SEO report.
Clickthrough-Rate (CTR) is the number of clicks to your site divided by the number of impressions. Impressions are the amount of times your search link is shown to a searcher. So if CTR is high, the meta description is doing its job and converting searchers to visitors. However, if CTR rate is low then it’s worth testing different headlines.
Note that these clicks are not related to Google Ads clicks. These appear in Google Ads reports.
If your site has more than one page then it has different entrance points, and Google records those separate entries.
Perhaps a blog post is performing well and bringing in traffic. Great. It might also show pages you want to be traffic-heavy are not performing properly.
Events are certain user actions that happen on the site, and are created in line with KPIs.
For example, a site might offer a free download after pressing a button. So an event gets recorded each time the button is pressed. Now we have an event, we can extract actionable data. We know how many visitors the page had, and we know how many of those people we converted into button pressers.
If an entrance page is where people arrive at your site, an exit page is where they leave.
A visitor may click through from the SERP, read the article, click on an internal link to read another article, then leave. Are there weaknesses on the exit page? This is easy to spot if one page stands out with a high leave rate.
Exit rate (% Exit)
The exit rate is calculated by dividing the number of ‘exits’ made from the page by the number of page views. However, a page with a high % exit rate may not necessarily have a high bounce rate.
But — and we said front and center these terms are confusing — a page with low exit rate is more likely to have a low bounce rate. That’s because users are probably heading to other pages on the site rather than exiting.
A hit is a request made to a web server to show a certain file. This could be a web page, an image or other things.
An event is considered a hit. A page view is a hit. All of these hits are grouped together in what Google calls a session. A session is a group of hits from one user. Google uses hits to determine the interaction between the user and the web page.
If the user takes no action for 30 minutes then Google ends the session.
We first spoke of impression when looking at clicks. Impressions occur when your link is served up in the search results.
According to Google’s SEO Reports, impressions do not include impressions by paid Google Ads campaigns, which are recorded separately.
In short, when the user can see your link in the search results, that’s counted as an impression. And as you know, we use impressions and clicks to calculate the CTR.
Landing or entrance page
Both of these terms are used by Google to indicate the very first page a user lands on at the beginning of each session. This means in GA you can check which pages users most arrive at your site.
Page views are the number of times a visitor lands on any page of your website – these are called screen views on mobile.
Within page views, we first have unique page views. Google does not count multiple views of the same page by the same person in the same session as individual views. Instead, it counts them all as one unique view.
Then we have pages per session, also called ‘Average Page Depth’.
APD is the average number of pages viewed by a each user in one session and inside the analytics it includes repeated views of a single page.
We encountered sessions earlier on. You already know that a session is the complete amount of time a visitor spends on your website.
You also know that each action a visitor takes is recorded as a hit. And all those hits are recorded within the session. This means in a 24 hour period you might have 100 sessions and 300 hits. The hits figure is equal to or higher than the sessions number.
There is a time limit on sessions. With standard GA settings, a session is ended after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Average session duration is the average time of a user’s session and the calculation to get this is to divide the session duration by the number of sessions.
Time on page
Time on page is the average amount of time that particular visitor spent on the page. If a page is text-heavy then there’s much more chance of each session producing a greater amount of time on page.
Google records average time on page. This is a simple calculation of dividing time on page by the number of page views, minus the exit number.
Users, visitors, or traffic — which one do you need to know?
Each of these terms describes visitors who access your site. Google uses these terms as and when they want.
There is, of course, a self-evident distinction between a new visitor and a returning visitor. Traffic generally expresses the total volume of people visiting the website. But traffic is split down into categories…
Direct traffic is when someone sends you the full URL to a website and you click on that link to go directly to the site. No search has has taken place. Direct traffic is common when sending out a link to your email list. Each person would directly access the site.
Next, we have organic search traffic. Organic traffic is free and targeted, and comes about from SEO efforts to rank the site as high as possible in those all-important Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If the site is showing little to no organic search, then go back to the drawing board on the keywords in use.
Paid search traffic means the number of people who visited the site via Google Ads.
Pleasure to introduce my self i am Sean Webb i am 27 years old from Manchester, UK.I am doing affiliate marketing and have spend lots of time learning how to rank easy to medium competition keywords. I have recently started PPL and Video Marketing and learning more about it.