For better or worse, search engines judge your website by the company it keeps.
This is why establishing backlinks with popular and authoritative sites plays an outsized role in whether your SEO sinks or swims: your placement on search engine results pages (SERPs) is heavily, heavily influenced by the quantity and quality of backlinks to your site. And while most types of backlinks bolster a site’s reputation and rankings (albeit to varying degrees), others can hamper your SEO efforts.
Three key variables determine the value that a backlink contributes to your site: 1) the recognized quality and authority of the linking site, 2) whether the linking site encodes the link with “do follow” status (providing full SEO value to the link), and 3) the link’s location on the website. In short, links from respected websites, set to “do follow” status, and posted within the site’s main body content will deliver the greatest value from an SEO perspective.
Here are 14 different types of backlinks, ranging from the most beneficial to those you’re better off steering clear from:
Backlinks Most Advantageous to SEO
1) Editorial backlinks
Editorial mentions that refer to your site – and include a link placed within relevant, high-quality content – make for the ideal backlink. Commonly, editorial backlinks are created when your own content is cited as the source of specific information (such as an article or infographic), when a company representative is quoted or interviewed, or when your site is included in a link roundup on a particular topic.
To attract editorial backlinks, create evergreen content that demonstrates your status as a thought leader, such that your site and your brand earn acclaim as a go-to resource for interviews and industry insight. Create engaging, shareable content that has the legs to go viral. To build out your content strategy, leverage SEO tools capable of recognizing popular keywords and topics that competitors have been successful with – but your site has yet to cover.
2) Guest blogging backlinks
When providing well-established sites with guest posts, it’s often possible to include an editorial backlink to your own site. Practicing guest blogging outreach to solicit valuable sites for these opportunities should be a key piece of just about any SEO strategy.
3) Backlinks in business profiles
Creating digital profiles for your brand on business listing sites, social media, industry directories, and review sites most often comes with the opportunity to post a backlink (or a few). Search engines view these entries as evidence that a site is well established.
4) Backlinks from webinars
Webinars (and recordings of them) offer particularly valuable content for sites to link to. Sites will often embed webinars in their own pages along with a link and mention of your brand as well. Use tactics similar to blog promotion to achieve these backlinks: sites you target for guest blogging may also want to add your webinar as a resource.
5) Free-tool backlinks
Offering a valuable tool – for free – is another strong method of earning both attention and backlinks that have a deep and long-lasting impact on SEO. This can mean creating a simple-but-useful asset, such as a cost calculator valuable to those in your industry, or providing a lite version of a paid tool you offer. To encourage backlinks, promote the tool with sites that have a similar audience to your own (using SEO tools to uncover them), as well as your guest blogging site targets.
Other SEO-Boosting Backlinks
6) Acknowledgment backlinks
Sites often publish acknowledgements when a brand makes a donation, or has a representative speaking at or sponsoring an industry event, etc. SEO tools that recognize where your competitors earn their backlinks can help you identify and strategize around potential opportunities for earning your own acknowledgements as well.
7) Guest post bio backlinks
If a site that accepts guest blogging doesn’t allow backlinks within the content, it usually will do so within the author’s bio. Even when outside of editorial content, these backlinks still have a positive impact on SEO.
8) Badge backlinks
One clever technique for establishing backlinks is to come up with a badge to award to other brands as recognition for their status or achievement in some capacity. When those sites proudly post the badge on their sites, you get a link back to your own. Again, you’ll want to make deft use of SEO tools to recognize sites with similar audiences to yours, in order to determine targets for your badge program.
9) Backlinks derived from press releases (on topics worthy of media interest)
When your brand has a newsworthy announcement to make, putting out a press release can serve as a foundation for your PR and marketing tactics, while also producing backlinks from publications that cover the announcement and the published release itself.
10) Comment backlinks
Posting genuine and relevant commentary on content – and including a backlink – is usually acceptable if it adds value to the conversation. However, if executed in a spammy manner, this technique can end up having negative effect on your reputation with search engines. Be careful not to overdo it.
Types of Backlinks to Avoid
11) Paid Links
Search engines are built to assess your site’s value based on its genuine, earned popularity with other sites. Google warns that buying and selling links can negatively affect a site’s placements in search rankings. When you buy links in pursuit of an SEO advantage, you don’t get what you pay for.
12) Backlinks in press releases that are not newsworthy
Creating press releases solely for the sake of producing backlinks is a spammy practice, which may have a negative effect on SEO.
13) Low-quality or irrelevant directory links
Creating profiles in directories that aren’t trustworthy and respected (or in those that simply aren’t related to your brand) can be viewed as spam and harm your SEO efforts.
14) Low-quality forum backlinks
Forum posts by your brand – and especially any that include backlinks – should be limited to high-quality forums and genuine discussions. Attempts to spam links on these venues may have an effect opposite to what is intended.
Kim Kosaka is Director of Marketing at Alexa.com, whose tools provide insight into digital behavior that marketers use to better understand and win over their audience.
The post Understanding 14 types of backlinks – ideal SEO boosters + those to avoid appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Whether you’re working in marketing, SEO or content, it’s useful to know the top search trends for 2018 to learn more about your audience.
2018 is almost over and Google has compiled a list of the most popular search trends for the year.
Google search has turned 20 years old in September and it’s interesting to think how our searching habits have changed in these two decades.
That’s why their annual Year in Search is a good reflection on the changing search trends, the latest cultural moments or events that shaped the most popular searches, but also what we can learn from all of these.
Here are the most popular search trends of 2018.
People search for good
According to Google, the world was searching for “good” in 2018 in a higher frequency than the previous years. The trend was popular enough to inspire their video’s story for the year.
People searched for different kinds of queries, from “how to be a good dancer” to “what makes a good role model.”
It has been a busy year full of unexpected and sad stories but it’s interesting to notice that people are searching for good news, inspiring stories and positive ideas.
There are many brands that already benefit from this trend by focusing on social good and how they can make an impact while increasing their brand awareness.
What it’s useful to remember is that ‘good stories’ cannot be forced. If your brand is trying too hard to inspire its audience, then the result might not be successful.
What are the most popular searches of 2018?
The most popular search queries have to do with:
It’s common every year to see on the top searches popular actors, singers, movies, sudden losses, or sports events so the most popular searches are not always really surprising. However, they can still give us an idea of what makes a ‘popular search’ or how one search term is more popular than another at a global level.
Search is direct and simple
What we can also notice is that the ‘how-to’ and ‘what is’ search queries are simple and direct. People are not typing complicated queries when looking for an answer. They want to find the result as fast as possible and it’s useful to keep it in mind when updating your SEO strategy.
Even if you’re not aiming for a popular and general keyword, it’s still a good way to understand how to simplify your keywords.
We search for answers to all kinds of questions
We have reached a point in our online habits that we use online searches to find the answer to any question. Whether it’s a practical question or a query to find a specific location, Google search is what comes to our minds first. Our mobile-first world makes us seek answers to all our questions as fast as possible.
Location-based marketing is becoming more popular every year and it’s useful to notice how people use the ‘where’ search queries to find either practical answers to a location or just to satisfy their curiosity about something that they’ve come across. Croatia’s popularity as a location, for example, had probably to do with the national team’s success in the recent World Cup.
Moreover, people also search locally to find their polling place, which is part of the trend of increasing local searches. Searches are not always general but they can be very specific and it’s useful for a marketer to consider all the opportunities that come along with local search marketing.
A closer look at this year’s search trends show that the queries are becoming more direct, specific, personal and even conversational.
People are using Google Search in a functional way and they need to find an answer to their question as fast as possible.
Marketing is pushing us to predict the search trends before they even happen or simply to act faster than our competitors.
These trends can help us plan better campaigns, content, or ads by understanding what people search for, how the search queries are changing and how we can predict their search journey.
You can explore the trends in more detail here.
If you want to keep up with what people search for, here are the right tools to try out.
The post Year in Search: the top Google Search trends for 2018 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Local SEO has never been more important for marketing because of Google’s continued algorithm updates aimed at helping small businesses attract more customers. A local SEO strategy should be a proper mix of factors like:
All these methods, trust me, are being used by all your competitors to good effect. Where webmasters tend to relax, that’s where your opportunity waits. And one method that is making waves right now is schema markup. Add it to your website and let your business reap the SEO benefits. Here’s a guide to help you out in your local SEO schema markup execution.
Understand schema markup
Put the schema markup code on your site, and help customers find more descriptive and informative results from the search engines. Consider the competitive and saturated state of the market, and you’ll figure out how schema markup helps your business gain an edge over the competition, bridging the link between browsing and converting customers.
Check out a schema markup in action below:
Enter the search query ‘SEO services’ and you immediately get a list of SEO companies in and around your location. This is one type of schema markup you are able to deploy on your site for helping visitors find a specific product or service. Let’s look at some of the different schema markup values for local businesses and how they are capable of improving the visibility of your company.
Learn how to implement local business schema markup
Read Google’s guidelines before you tinker with schema markups so you have a better idea about what to do and how to do it. Try to learn as much about coding as possible as some languages tend to be problematic, like Microdata. But simpler and more comprehensible options like JSON-LD are also available. Keep in mind that you don’t need to be a pro coder to work with schema markup. Simply follow all the instructions carefully.
Choose the correct template and adhere to it while creating code. But don’t reject the opportunity to be more descriptive and add value. Use elements, like Google Maps location, website URL, and social profiles for the best results.
Find the best schema markups for local business SEO
Use the following five schema markup values across a variety of website types to achieve the desired results:
Harness the power of organization schema markup to produce brand signals capable of improving your website snippet presence and Knowledge Graph entry in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Do not forget to signify your corporate contact details, social profile links, and logo.
Example (with JSON-LD)
Use website schema markup to view the Sitelinks Search Box feature for company SERPs. Help your website name get featured in the search results. Of course, you need to have an existing site search for enabling the Sitelinks Search Box element.
Example (with JSON-LD)
Experience the power of breadcrumb rich snippets when you generate them for your pages in the SERPs using the Breadcrumb schema.
Use the SiteNavigationElement markup to improve the way search engines understand the structure of your website and boost navigation. Also, use this to influence organic sitelinks.
Every serious marketer knows how important videos are to business SEO. This medium can prove useful when you’re trying to rank in search engines. In fact, for certain search queries, video content often outranks sites, especially when it comes to “how to” type of content.
Hosted or embedded video content can be leveraged through VideoObject schema. Just as Google mainly displays video rich snippets for streaming platforms like YouTube, this schema markup can help rich snippets from your online website show up in the Google Video Search.
What properties are necessary?
Find the most useful elements of schema to describe your video to search engines below:
Implement video schema markup
Visit Google Tag Manager and create a custom HTML Video Schema tag. Copy the format given above and alter the fields to reflect your video details. Ensure that it runs on the page containing the video by turning on the preview and debug mode. Once you’ve verified that it is firing, publish the video and give it a try in the Google Structured Data testing tool.
Maximize the potential of schema markup values
Get richer results and greater benefits from schema by sticking to a few rules. First, list all the schemas that are commonly used. Second, find all the schema types that you think will come in handy to achieve your local SEO goals. There are lots of different categories out there, so be sure to explore the full list and see which markup type fits your business better. Third, always mark up. There is a huge range of item types available, and the more content you mark up, the greater the rewards. But ensure that you mark only that content which is visible to your website visitors; marking up content hidden in page element like hidden div’s will not yield any results.
Validate the schema markup
Take your time to perfect the code and when you finally think that it is ready to be deployed, run it through the Structured Data Tool from Google. Chances are that you will find this tool to be immensely helpful and it can be a great resource when you’re quickly trying to validate the code prior to uploading it onto your site. Keep in mind that you are likely to come across numerous tools that exist solely to help you create the necessary code. But the problem is, most of them are not high quality and can feel highly dated. So, it is best if you develop a code that is entirely reliable, like the ones mentioned above, and then alter the elements to fit your requirements as and when you must.
Upload your schema markup
To simplify the process of uploading your code, always stick to the custom HTML tag from Google Tag Manager. If your business is situated across various location, it is recommended that you devise codes for each of them and then implement them on your location pages to get the desired results. As soon as the code is set up and ready in the container, all you have to do is hit the publish button and then complete the verification process via the structured data tool from Google by drawing upon the URL of your website. Now, you will notice that the Local business markup is being noticed by search engines.
Despite the impact of schema markups on local SEO, not many websites and businesses have taken advantage of it. So, pull ahead of the competition by learning and implementing the relevant microdata to enhance your search results. They may seem like a lot of work, but if you follow all the instructions mentioned above carefully, you should have no trouble putting your business on the map and attracting more people to your company.
How will the social media landscape change in 2019? Here are the key trends you need to consider for a successful marketing strategy.
Social media marketing needs to be frequently adapted to the changing trends. The rapid pace that social media platforms evolve requires from marketers to be alert if they want to maintain successful tactics.
2018 had been a busy year for all social media platforms. There were lots of positive and negative stories that had to do with their usage and it’s now time to review our social marketing strategies.
Here’s a closer look at the key trends of the year and how they will affect 2019 to help you proceed to the necessary changes to your tactics.
Messaging will grow even more
Messaging apps have already passed social media apps in usage and it seems to be a trend that will dominate 2019. People are moving beyond public posts on social media to private messaging, whether it’s simply about reaching their friends or even to stay in touch with their favorite brands.
What makes messaging interesting is that brands can find the much-desired engagement that they’re seeking by understanding how people use messaging apps.
Back from 2017, marketers believed that messaging is the first trend that will affect their social strategies.
WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, WeChat hold a large percentage of the messaging market and they already introduced additional features to go beyond messaging, from Stories and news updates to automated bots for customer service and e-commerce functions.
There is a whole new world to try out as a brand and we’re already seeing big brands and publishers tapping into the messaging trend.
I’ve asked Debbi Dougherty, Head of B2B Marketing and Communications at Rakuten Viber, on how brands can use messaging apps as a growing trend and here’s what she said:
Data breaches make trust more important than ever
The reason that messaging apps became even more popular is the growing lack of trust in social networks.
It’s been a turbulent year for Facebook, for example, which made many users uncomfortable in sharing their data.
Privacy concerns are increasing and it makes all social media platforms realize that trust is crucial. Facebook is learning the lesson the hard way that you need to be more mindful about the use of data.
As a brand, the growing discussion about social data and privacy concerns brings out the importance of building trust with your audience.
It’s useful for a brand to be transparent with its audience, whether it’s about admitting their mistakes or even to update their audiences on a recent change. Such factors can help their customers trust them and even be more open to hearing more from them in future campaigns.
Narrowing down the focus on specific channels
Social media marketing is becoming more competitive and the most successful professionals realize that you need to focus on the best-performing channels for your business.
Gone are the days when you had to join Facebook simply because ‘everybody was there.’ Nowadays, it’s more important to go after niche audiences that are relevant to your business. There’s no need to broadcast the same message to all platforms if you don’t see a successful result from it.
Don’t be afraid to limit down your work to two channels, for example, if you’re noticing that these two channels will bring you the best ROI.
We can all start the new year by making the most of our time and spending it on the channels that are only worth our attention.
The more distractions we are having, the higher the chances to lose our focus. Start by analyzing where your audience is and which channels work better for your business goals.
Review your current performance and set goals to improve it in the right direction that you want to move.
The ad spend is increasing but you’ll need to consider ad saturation
Social media advertising has been on the rise the last few years. We are now able to create social ads in multiple channels and it’s up to us to decide on the objectives and the type of ads that we want to use.
There has been an increasing success for many brands that used paid social in the marketing mix. It’s no surprise that there is a growing ad spend across marketers.
For example, Instagram’s level of engagement has intrigued more marketers to increase their ad spend to the channel, both on the feed and the Stories.
As Facebook was becoming more saturated with the existing competition, Instagram started showing up as a great alternative to promote your brand.
A growing ad spend indicates the increasing interest in a platform, but it can also signal the start of an increasing cost to promote your business.
Instagram Feed and Stories seem to bring a good ROI for many brands, but what if more marketers create ads for the specific platform?
2019 will probably see an even further increase to marketers’ social ad spend, with Instagram growing in popularity.
However, it’s good to consider that it’s not a good idea to rely too much on one platform, either for organic or paid growth.
There is only a set space for ads in each platform so the competition may push the costs to increase.
Videos, podcasts, and live streaming
Blog posts can still be effective in 2019. Long-form posts can still engage readers, provided that they are appealing and properly formatted to facilitate the reading experiences across all devices.
Content consumption though goes way further than written text, with videos and podcasts seeing great success.
From the rise of YouTube to the introduction of IGTV, social media platforms were always interested in highlighting video content.
Facebook has even adjusted their algorithm to ensure that video posts show up more frequently on our feeds.
Video marketing is becoming more appealing both for brands but also for users who notice the content that stands out.
It’s only a matter of time until videos take over the whole social media world. 2019 will be the year that more brands will experiment with different types of video among different channels:
Except for videos, podcasts have also seen a growing success. Audio content is bringing the radio days back as a great way to catch up with your favorite stories and brands when you’re on the go.
More marketers are experimenting with podcasts, either to build their own personal brand or to promote their business. What makes podcasts special is the fact that they still focus on the content rather than the promotion. People subscribe to a podcast because they are interested in the content, whether it comes from a brand or another person.
AR to become more mainstream
Social media and AR are making a good combination the last few years and it’s only a matter of time until we see an even more applied use to further channels.
We have already seen how brands involve AR to facilitate the customer experience. Augmented reality can make the brand message engaging, fun and possible more actionable. Having the option to try out, for example, a pair of glasses before buying them can lead to an increased number of sales.
Facebook is greatly investing in AR in an attempt to dominate the field, which means that they understand the potential that this investment may bring.
They have already announced the introduction of AR ads to make social commerce more appealing. Moreover, AR Camera effects are also available in Messenger to ensure that messaging and customer experience will keep improving.
The goal is to keep the users to the platform, while brands can capitalize the trend by seeing an improved customer satisfaction.
What do all these trends mean?
Social media marketing is going towards a stage that focuses more on ROI, new technologies and a trusting relationship between the brand and the customers.
The only way to survive in-between data breaches, emerging technologies and new platforms is to ensure that you:
Here’s a bold statement: “SEO in the travel industry is immensely challenging.”
The sheer number of pages to manage, complexities of properties, flights, accommodation, availability, occupancy, destinations, not to mention the crazy amount of APIs and databases to make a travel site function, can all make life tricky for an SEO, particularly when it comes to the development queue…
Having said that, there are still common mistakes and missed opportunities out there that have the potential to be really impactful and believe it or not, they don’t actually require a huge amount of resource to put right.
So, here’s a list of the six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right for 2019:
There are a LOT of facets and filters when it comes to commercial travel category pages, arguably the most of any industry.
Typically with every facet or filter, be it; availability, location, facilities, amenities nearby, occupancy etc. A URL is created with the associated parameters selected by the user.
If not handled correctly, this can produce thousands of indexable pages that have no unique organic value to users.
This is a problem for a number of reasons:
Combined, this can cause big losses in rankings, traffic and subsequently conversion!
How to identify index bloat
Go to Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) and check your ‘Index Coverage’ report or, in the old version, check ‘Index Status’ to see if you can see any spikes or growth in ‘Total Indexed’ pages. If you notice something like the graph below and it’s not expected, then there may be a problem:
If you find there is a big increase and you can’t explain why, conduct some ‘Site:’ operator searches and spot check areas of your site where this may be commonplace to see what you can find.
Here’s an example of index bloat from the page speed tool ‘Pingdom’. It seems as though every input a user executes produces an indexable URL:
Once you’ve found a problem like this, review the extent of it with a Screaming Frog crawl. This way you can see how many URLs are affected and distinguish between whether they are actually indexable or not.
For example, there may be a few hundred pages that are indexable but have not yet been found and indexed by Google.
How to fix index bloat:
If any of the above are difficult to get implemented in your dev queue and you don’t trust yourself using the parameter handling tool, you can actually noindex web pages & directories in your robots.txt file. You can actually add lines reading:
This could save you a lot of time and is fully reversible, so less risky if you have control over your robots file. If you’ve never heard of this, don’t worry it is supported and it does work!
It’s pretty staggering but in the UK, there’s a lot going on in January for travel — it is certainly the biggest spike in the year for many brands, followed by ‘holiday blues’ peaks after summer.
Here’s the trend of interest over time for the query ‘tenerife holidays’ (a destination famed for its good weather all year round) to show you what I mean:
January might be a bad time to experiment because of the higher interest but, the rest of the year presents a great opportunity to get creative with your titles.
Why would you?
Simply, keyword heavy titles don’t inspire high click-through rates.
Creative titles entice users into your landing pages, give your brand a personality and increase your click-through rate. This sends strong positive relevancy signals to Google which helps towards highlighting that your website is the best for the initial user query.
Here are a few things you can try with supportive content and commercial landers:
As previously mentioned, the travel industry experiences peaks and troughs of consumer behavior trend throughout the year which causes the majority intent to switch dramatically across different months in the year.
So, having a deep understanding of what users are actually looking for is really important when merchandising high traffic pages to get the best conversion out of your audience.
In short, gaining an understanding of what works when, is huge.
Here’s some tips to help you make better merchandising decisions:
Often consumers are exposed to the same offers, destinations and visuals on key landing pages all year round which is such a missed opportunity.
We now live in a world of immediacy and those in the industry know the challenges of users cross-shopping between brands, even those who are brand loyal. This often means that if users can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they will bounce and find a site that serves them the content they are looking for.
For example, there’s an argument for promoting and focusing on media-based content, more so than product, later in the year, to cater to users that are in the ‘consideration’ part of the purchasing funnel.
Use number five in this list to pull even more clues to help inform merchandising
I grant you, this is a tall order, travel advice, blogs and guides are a standalone business but, the opportunity for commercial travel sites to compete with the likes of TripAdvisor is massive.
An opportunity estimated from our recent Travel Sector Report at 232,057 monthly clicks from 22,040 keywords and only Thomas Cook is pushing into the top 10.
Commercial sites that don’t have a huge amount of authority might struggle to rank for informational queries because dedicated travel sites that aren’t directly commercial are usually deemed to provide better/unbiased content for users.
Having said that, you can see clearly from above that it IS possible!
So, here’s what you should do…
…focus on one thing and do it better than anyone else
Sounds pretty straightforward and you’re probably thinking ‘I’ve heard this before’ but, only a handful in the travel industry are actually doing this well.
Often you see the same information from one travel site to the next, average weather, flight times, the location of the country on a map, a little bit of fluff about the history of the destination and then straight into accommodation.
This is fine, it’s useful, but it’s not outstanding.
Let’s take Thomas Cook as an example.
Thomas Cook has built a network of weather pages that provide live forecasts, annual overviews as well as unique insights into when is best to go to different destinations. It even has a tool to shop for holidays by the weather (something very important to Brits) called ‘Where’s Hot When?’
The content is relevant, useful, concise, complete, easy to use, contemporary in design and, most importantly, better than anyone else’s.
In short, Thomas Cook is nailing it.
They have focused on weather and haven’t stopped until it’s as best as it can be.
Why did they bother with weather? Well it’s approximately a third of all travel-related informational searches that we found in our keyword set from the Travel Sector Report:
Apply Thomas Cook’s methodology to something that is relevant to your audience, it could be; family attractions, adult only tour guides, Michelin star eateries, international laws families should be concerned about, the list is plentiful!
Find something, nail it.
There are some big travel sites out there that don’t have an on-site search function which is a huge missed opportunity. Travel sites are inherently difficult to navigate with such a volume of pages, site search is quite often a great solution for users.
As well as this, it can give marketers some amazing insight into what users are looking for, not just generally in terms of the keywords users might be using but also the queries users are searching on a page by page level.
For example, you could drill down into the differences between queries searched on your homepage vs queries searched on specific landing pages to spot trends in behavior and fix the content gaps from these areas of the site.
You could also use the data to inform merchandising decisions to address number three on this list.
In doing this, users are actually telling you exactly what they are looking for, at what time, whether they are a repeat visitor or a new one and where they’ve come from to visit your site.
If you spend the time, this data is gold!
If you can’t get buy in for this, test the theory with an out of the box search function that plugs straight into your site like searchnode. Try it for six months, you might be surprised at how many users turn to it and you will get some really actionable data out of it.
It’s also super easy to track in Google Analytics and the reports are really straightforward:
1. Go to Admin
2. Click ‘View Settings’
3. Switch ‘Site search Tracking’ on
4. Strip the letter that appears in your site’s search URL before the search terms e.g. for wordpress this is usually the letter “s”: www.travelsite.co.uk/?s=search-term
5. Click ‘save’, boom you’re done.
Let Google collect data, extract it monthly and dig, dig furiously!
Who doesn’t love a witty 404 page. More and more often you’ll find that when webmasters optimize a 404 error page they make them lighthearted. Here’s a great example from Broadway Travel:
There is a reason why webmasters aim for a giggle.
Think about it… when users hit a 404 error page, 100% of the time there’s a problem, which is a big inconvenience when you’re minding your own business and having a browse, so, something to make you laugh goes a long way at keeping you unfrustrated.
Time to name names, and show you some 404 error pages that need some work…
TUI & Firstchoice
404 error pages happen over time, it’s totally normal.
It’s also normal to get traffic to your 404 error page. But it’s not just any old traffic, it’s traffic that you’ve worked hard to get hold of.
If, at this point, you’re thinking, ‘my site has recently been audited and internal links to 404 pages have been cleared up’.
Users can misspell URLs, ancient external links can point to old pages, the product team can make mistakes, as meticulous as you may be, please don’t discount this one.
Losing quality users because of a bad 404 experience is an SEO’s idea of nails down a chalkboard.
Here are some tips to optimize your 404 pages:
Even if you think your 404 is awesome don’t neglect them when they pop up:
404’s are often the bane of an SEO’s life and you might think about ways to get out of keeping on top of them.
Sadly there aren’t any short cuts….
…Bonus SEO mistake
Creating a global 301 redirect rule for every 404 page and direct them to your homepage.
This is surprisingly common but is poor SEO practice for a number of reasons, firstly you won’t be able to identify where users are having issues on your site when 404 pages pop up.
You may also be redirecting a page that could have originally had content on it that was totally irrelevant to your homepage. It’s likely in this situation that Google will actually override your redirect and classify it as a soft 404, not to mention the links that may have originally pointed to your 404’s.
Save your users, build a 404 page!
No site is perfect, and although it might appear as though we’re pointing fingers, we want you to be able to overcome any challenges that come with SEO implementation — there’s always a bigger priority but keep your mind open and don’t neglect the small stuff to stay ahead of the game.
The post Six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The appearance of Google CEO Sundar Pichai in front of Congress yesterday has been eagerly anticipated by those of us following the company’s tumultuous year in the face of criticism from international press, human rights organizations, and its own staff.
The hearing – lasting more than three hours – was titled Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices and promised to give Pichai an opportunity to publicly clarify the search giant’s position on consumer rights in regards to privacy in an increasingly data-dependent world – as well as reflecting on its openness as a business in the political context at home and abroad.
Overall, the hearing was a bit of a mixed bag. This was less to do with the substance of Pichai’s answers and more to do with the flawed questioning from the assembled. Here are what I took away as good and bad responses from the Google chief, as well as a few of my frustrations.
Some of Pichai’s most substantial answers came when asked about issues of diversity, the wellbeing of ethnic minorities, and the rights of women.
He reiterated Google’s commitment to diversity and made reference to the fact that the business were the first to publish a transparency report on their diversity. He also pointed to combating the spread of white supremacy content on YouTube and made clear his and the company’s zero-tolerance attitude on hate speech.
This was obviously comforting to the assembled congress men and women – particularly as the US has seen hate crimes rise by 17% last year, and online media is argued to be adding to the normalization of hate speech in the mainstream.
Pichai was also asked about forced arbitration within the business – a subject that came to the fore last month as staff in Google offices around the world staged a mass walkout ‘to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace that doesn’t work for everyone.’
His response was that the company have already enacted changes where forced arbitration for sexual harassment is concerned. This means that if employees want to bring sexual harassment charges against someone they now have the right to do so outside of the internal arbitration structure of the business (via a class action lawsuit, for instance). Pichai also expressed commitment to make changes (ultimately removing forced arbitration, I assume) outside of the realm of sexual harassment – giving more options and rights back to the employees.
As we expected, a number of questions during the hearing were focused on the rumored development of a new search product for the Chinese market.
Pichai was initially quite firm that Google had no plans to launch a search product (currently referred to as Dragonfly) in China, but the more he was pressed on the subject, the more woolly that stance became. ‘We have undertaken internal effort,’ he said, adding later: ‘It’s our duty to explore possibilities to give users access to information.’
Answers here were less substantial than those given in a recent Q&A with Pichai at the Wired 25 Summit in October. But we can see that internal development on a tool for the Chinese market is ongoing – even in the face of calls from staff to shut it down. Pichai’s stance is that pursuing work to give access to information for consumers everywhere (including China) is the human right he, and Google, is focused on. He did commit to being transparent as this work continues, but I have my doubts.
Some of the other more difficult questions for Pichai concerned internal messages and discussions from Google staff regarding domestic politics.
He was pressed on potential bias when a staff member admitted in an email to the company helping to get the Latino vote out in key states and not others during the 2016 election. Pichai denied such activities happened – at least in terms of Google itself working to do this. Another congressman questioned whether it was right that there should be a forum for the Resist (anti Donald Trump) group on Google’s staff network. Pichai said he was not aware of the group.
As we’ve seen, some of the questions on bias at Google are justified – although they frequently simmer down to semantics of the language used by staff when discussing politics on company time and in staff forums. Who is ‘we’ in the case of getting the Latino vote out in key states? Is the content discussed in the Resist group too political?
There were also plenty of frustrating moments where the capacity of congress members to understand how an algorithm which takes into account a vast number of metrics (including freshness, how linked-to the content is, and previous individual search history) can sometimes deliver results that appear more or less conservative or liberal.
I felt sorry for Pichai as he spent several minutes assuring one congressman that while his search for Donald Trump gave mostly negative results, the algorithm itself is neutral and the best content for the search query (in terms of quality and relevance) just so happens to not present Trump in a positive light. A few moments later, a congressman (presumably on the other side of the fence) expressed his disgruntlement after a recent vanity search to find most top ranking sites running stories about him were from the right wing news press.
All too often congressmen were seen to bark at Pichai, “it’s a yes or no answer,” when it could never be. Some held their iPhones (not Android devices) aloft and expected Pichai to know whether any Google apps on it were saving location data. These instances managed to be both depressing and humorous, but they highlighted a number of dualities Google must contend with as it moves into 2019. As a business, it has to be at the forefront of technology dealing with the complex issue of the world’s information and data, while still making sure every day consumers can use it safely and successfully.
At the same time, Google must be neutral in what it delivers to consumers – while having a staff that is always likely to lean one way politically more than the other, and also striving to be progressive in how it operates.
And ultimately, it still has a mission to provide users – wherever they are – with the best search information. It is clear that in the case of China, some negotiation with a government known to operate surveillance has to happen. In the case of the US, the company has to answer to a political class that is so binary that it, by comparison, can seem very outdated.
The post Google’s Pichai answers to Congress: The good, the bad and the frustrating appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Adhering to the whims and fancies of Google’s unpredictable nature can be a tasking ordeal for content creators around the world.
What once seemed like a harmonious relationship, the bond between consumers and producers of content has become somewhat volatile, asking marketeers to be agile in their approach to content. As click-through rates and organic opportunity steadily drops, what are we required to do with our content to compete in the SERPs?
In this post, we’ll reflect on the recent ‘zero results’ update, mobile web, featured snippets and Google’s ‘biases’ can inform the next steps for 2019, ensuring a bright content-filled future for all.
Mobile web has been subject to immense change in recent times, and while the stats may prove daunting, the stakes have never been higher for producing valuable content on the platform.
In years gone by, Google has appeared to be giving preferential treatment to mobile over desktop. In 2015, the mobile-friendly update or ‘Mobilegeddon’ as it became informally known, paved the way for mobile-friendly content creators to rank higher. Since then, we’ve also seen the Mobile-first Index and a number of other activities aimed at bettering the consumer experience on mobile.
Fishkin does not make this statement in an attempt to expose some form of conspiracy, but merely to draw attention to how the SERPs are changing and those who produce content must do more to compete for clicks. In early 2016, almost 60% of searches produced clicks to an organic result on mobile, with an even higher percentage for desktop (65.56%). Since then, while desktop web remains the same, the statistics for mobile give a very different picture, with organic clicks dropping just under 20%, and no-click searches now in the majority.
This rise suggests that users are getting all they need from Google without having to leave the page they’re on. The response, however, should not be to disregard mobile web, but to prioritize it and find ways to optimize your work in a way that adheres to the biases Google shows towards certain things. This is less about seeing SEO as one big game but creating content for a certain type of searcher and making the most of the space available.
Snippet in the bud
Making data instantly accessible for users is part and parcel of Google’s service with regard to SERPs. Google’s remarkable comprehension of what its users want is symbolized by additional features such as the featured snippet that sits in ‘page rank zero’. Results from queries such as ‘Ryan Gosling height in feet’ give us little reason to leave page one on Google or even scroll down the page, as we can instantly find what we’re looking for.
Incredibly, Google extends this service beyond the height of random celebrities, giving immediate responses to searches about news, facts and even recipes. Optimizing for featured snippets allows your content to be scraped by Google and repurposed for the user, whether it’s a paragraph, list or table. Its presence in the SERPs appears to be more relevant than ever, with featured snippets and related questions appearing in 40% of queries according to HubSpot.
Producing content with this feature in mind must force you to treat Google as your customer, giving them what they want to then pass on to their customers through their own services. This strange cycle of events to achieving an appearance in the featured snippets becomes even more convoluted in the realm of link building, however. Content marketers such as us at Kaizen face the constant battle of relying on other sites to link to our content in a way that can be optimized by Google.
Fortunately, a critical feature of virtually all the content we produce, is to integrate data into the work. Content that answers existing questions that people are likely to ask is one of the few ways to find yourselves ranking in the featured snippets.
Two example campaigns for featured snippets
Below are two campaigns we launched last year which still currently appear in the featured snippets.
The first was a data study of seaside ‘Staycation’ towns in the UK for Credit Card checking service Marbles, whose coverage on House Beautiful appears in page rank zero.
Secondly, was a study we carried out on the world’s most and least reliable airlines for medical travel insurance provider Get Going. In addition to being covered in the likes of Yahoo and the Independent, it was the link on the Reader’s Digest site that appeared in the featured snippets for the query of ‘most reliable airlines’.
Achieving visibility in the featured snippets through our content’s coverage is a handy by-product of content marketing, but serves to show the occupiable spaces in the SERPs for your brand or client, bolstering the credibility of their content through data.
In an AHRefs study of the most frequently used terms in featured snippet queries, ‘Best’ and ‘Vs’ ranked 2nd and 3rd. While there may never be a set formula for appearing in the featured snippets, these findings imply Google’s leaning towards data, or simply the content that a searcher is looking for.
Answer the question
To conclude, the production of visual content that appeals to the nuances of Google’s scraping is not going to be possible for everyone given the varying nature of content, but it’s important to recognize where it’s possible.
Ultimately, your content needs to answer a question people are asking. What seems like such a rudimentary action for any marketeer is often lost in the wave of what seems like a ‘good idea’ at the time.
Content is made for many different reasons and for many different audiences, but Google’s growing dominance demands that we consider them at all stages of production. Google will always endeavor to embody the user in all that they do, meaning that it is our job to treat them as one. Then we’ll all live happily ever after.
Nathan Abbott is Content Manager at Kaizen.
SEO moved beyond exact keyword matching long ago. These days, in order to rank, we need to create content that includes related concepts, satisfies intent and provides value.
With such an important and complicated task in front of us, there’s never such a thing as too many tools.
Every keyword tool below has something new to bring to the table when it comes to helping you understand the topic better, expand your keyword list and diversify your organic rankings:
TextOptimizer is probably the most interesting tool on the list. For any term you put it, it will look at Google search result page, extract search snippets and apply semantic analysis to generate the list of all related topics, terms and concepts that form your topic cluster.
For example, for [grow tomatoes] it will generate the list of the following terms:
If you already have a page that you want to rank for that query, the tool will compare your existing text to the snippets Google returns for that query. It will then score your text and recommend expanding your content to include some of those suggested terms:
The thing is, Google generates its search snippets based on which sentences from the ranked pages do the best job satisfying the query. This means that Google search snippets represent the best (in Google’s opinion) summary of the query topic.
By semantically analyzing those snippets and extracting related terms and topics from them, you will get a better understanding of what you need to include in your content.
It also shows subtopics and related questions (i.e. niche questions for each query you run) which helps you structure and format your content better.
Overall I have found the tool extremely helpful for creating more indepth content as it does a good job urging the writer to include the variety of related and neighboring terms (in order to increase your score)
2. Serpstat Clustering Tool
Serpstat Clustering Tool is another innovative tool that uses Google to better understand and analyze relevancy.
This tool should be used to make sense of your long keyword lists. Instead of simply word-matching, the tool analyzes Google SERPs for every single term in your list and groups them based on how many overlapping URLs each query triggers in Google.
The logic is simple: The more identical results two SERPs have, the more related the search queries are.
This way, instead of creating a group based on a common modifier, the tool will form groups based on each keyword meaning and let you discover keywords which have no words in common, yet can (and should) be used within one copy:
3. Spyfu Related Keywords
Spyfu has a separate tab listing related keywords to the one you put in. The nice thing about the tool is that it excludes phrases that contain your core term.
You can play with helpful filters to see more popular or less competitive keywords.
Read more about Spyfu related keyword analysis here.
4. Google: Related Searches, Google Trends, Google Correlate
Google is kind enough to provide us with lots of useful data that can be used for content planning and optimization. Here are three Google tools that are useful for discovering related terms:
According to Google in the tool’s documentation,
In our case, we don’t have the data series, but the tool can also work with keywords: Simply put in your search term, and Google will calculate the trending pattern and show matching patterns.
Mind that correlation does not necessarily equal causation, so you may come across some funny terms. Don’t be discouraged! Keep running the tool and put together a list of related terms that do match your topic.
My favorite thing about the tool (and why I do use it) is that you can exclude your initial search term from the returned list which means you can prevent the tool from phrase-matching (which you already did when doing your traditional keyword research) and force it to come up with related phrases instead:
Google Trends is a more straightforward tool: Simply type in your core term and scroll down to “Related queries”, i.e. “Users searching for your term also searched for these queries”.
The nicest thing about this tool is that it shows “Breakout” queries, i.e. queries that “had a tremendous increase, probably because these queries are new and had few (if any) prior searches.” These could be an opportunity for trending content!
Google’s “Searches related to”
Finally Google’s “Searches related to” can give you some ideas where to expand your core terms. Notice how Google is helpfully showing new terms it’s suggesting in bold:
IMN Featured Snippet Tool collects those results and organizes them by (1) query they are triggered by and (2) popularity (i.e. based on how many queries trigger them):
Expand your keyword lists! This will help you create more indepth content, diversify your rankings and generate expsoure from other Google search result sections, like featured snippets and “People Also Ask.”
The post Four tools to discover and optimize for related keywords appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
It’s a well-known fact that there are over 200 ranking signals used by Google. And every year it keeps on tweaking and refining its algorithm introducing new ranking signals and changing priorities.
I know that the idea of having to optimize for all of them will probably make you shiver with horror. The good news is there are not so many ranking signals optimizing for which is simply a must.
Please note: in the light of mobile-first indexing, according to which mobile websites are being indexed in the first place, it’s most important that mobile sites are optimized for the below listed ranking signals.
So, without further ado, here is the list of the most important ranking factors for you to dominate search in 2019.
I guess it’s more than obvious for any SEOs out there that Google is going nuts about getting into people’s heads and providing them with the most relevant search results. Now that we live in the age of semantic search, Google aims to figure out the meaning behind a certain search query to provide the most precise search results. Besides, Google also considers such factors as users’ search patterns, search history, location, and time.
Of course, when searching for something, users have certain intents in mind. And Google’s ultimate task is trying to figure them out in order to supply users with the most relevant search results on the top positions. Ranking-wise, the more relevant your page is to a certain query, the higher position it gets in the SERPs. What’s more, satisfying search intent almost always results in high CTR.
If you want to understand what search intents hide behind your keywords, consider experimenting with various queries. After typing them in the search box, have a look at the first result pages and try to figure out their search intent. If you see that some of your pages don’t really match the designed search intent, it may signify that these are not the right pages to be optimized for such keywords. So, if that’s the case, consider finding corresponding pages and adding more relevant content to them or creating some new ones that would be relevant to the implied search intent.
CTR is one of the strongest relevance signals for Google. And there’s no doubt CTR has high correlation with rankings as an increase in CTR almost every time entails a significant ranking boost.
If you want to get an idea of what people tend to click on the SERPs to reach your site, you can use Google Search Console’s Search Analytics report. Pay your special attention to pages that rank high but have low CTR. It may be a flagger that your title tags or meta descriptions are not relevant enough and need to be worked on. To understand where you stand with your CTR, have a look at this summary of CTR data sorted by position in Google search.
If there’s anything I know for sure, rankings and content have always belonged together. Basically, your content is the very reason for people visiting your site. What’s more, Google has rolled out Panda and Fred updates aiming to make the web more helpful and beneficial content-wise. However, even well-written content pages are not always enough. With Google constantly raising its standards, your piece of content should also satisfy the below listed ranking factors.
In 2019 keywords in the title tag still remain a powerful ranking signal as this is one of the ways Google decides whether your page is relevant to a given query or not. What’s more, the closer your keywords are to the beginning of the title, the better. And of course, your most important keywords should be present in the page’s body, alt texts, and H1 tag. But please make sure that you’re not overusing them because you don’t want to be penalized for keyword stuffing, do you?
Of course, except from your main keywords, you need to be optimized for some related terms that would accompany them. Just in case you still haven’t collected such keywords, here are some advice on how to nail keyword research these days.
As I’ve mentioned before, Google is going nuts about improving the quality of search. With Hummingbird, Google now prioritizes pages that match the meaning of the query rather than separate keywords. That is why you need to aim not for just filling your piece of content with keywords but for making it as comprehensive as you can.
In order to optimize your content for comprehensiveness, consider using TF-IDF analysis, which can help to calculate how frequent certain keywords are used on your competitors’ pages. By doing this, you can get lots of relevant terms and concepts used by your top-ranking competitors. Luckily, there are now plenty of tools that have TF-IDF analysis in them. By the way, here is a nice guide for you on how to improve your content’s comprehensiveness with the help of TF-IDF.
Publishing mistake-free content is yet another signal to Google that content is of good quality. There’s not much to say there. Just make sure you proofread your piece of content before publishing it or use online grammar checkers like Grammarly.
By organizing your HTML markup in a clear way, you make it much easier for the search engines to understand what your content is actually about. Yes, search engines still rely on HTML structure and its semantic markup. So, no matter how cool your content is, if your page has messy HTML, peaky search engine spiders may think it’s of bad quality and down-rank it. Luckily, there is now a whole variety of plugins (including WordPress’ ones) that can help with cleaning and optimizing your HTML.
To make your HTML even more structured, consider implementing schema markup. Structured Data Markup Helper can offer you a helping hand with that. Doing this will help search engines to understand your content better, identify the most important information on your site, as well as make your snippets look more attractive. You can also preview your snippets with the help of Google’s Testing Tool to make sure everything is displayed correctly.
Just as much as Google appreciates uniqueness it also penalizes sites with duplicate content. So, in order to improve your rankings and get Panda off your site, make sure it has no duplication issues. By the way, here’s a nice guide on how to spot and deal with various types of duplicate content. What’s more, you should also watch out for external duplication. So, if you suspect some pages on your site may have it, go ahead and check them with Copyscape.
If you work for one of those industries that simply cannot publish unique content every time (like online stores with many product pages), try to make your product descriptions as diverse as you can. Another good way to solve the problem is by utilizing user-generated content.
I guess it’s of no surprise to you that backlinks have been ruling ranking for ages. The reality is they still remain the strongest indication of authority to Google. And it’s safe to say that it’s hardly going to change in 2019. That is why quality link building should be your primary concern if you want to make it to the top. By the way, here are some powerful link building strategies for you to get some inspiration from.
Of course, one of the coolest tactics is to spy on your competitors’ linking profiles. One of my favorite tools for this kind of activity is SEO SpyGlass. With its help you can compare your linking profile with the ones of your competitors as well as see where your links intersect. By doing so, you will get priceless insights of new link building strategies that you can arm yourself with.
Although Google definitely appreciates quality more than quantity, the total number of backlinks still remains a powerful ranking signal. Please note that links coming from a single domain carry much less weight comparing to those that come from various domains. So, just have a look at the total number of backlinks and total linking domains parameters in whatever SEO tool you are using and see if your linking profile is in need of some improvement quantity-wise.
No matter how many links you have, they need to be of good quality. Otherwise, they’ll most probably get you in trouble (Penguin is watching you) rather than bring you good rankings. That is why in order to maintain quality of your links, you need to carry out regular backlink audits. Fortunately, there is a huge number of tools that help with identifying links’ harmfulness. So, if you’ve spotted some spammy links, make sure to contact the website owners who linked to you asking politely for removing them. If it didn’t work out, just disavow these reputation damagers and forget about it. What is more, if you spot some sudden spikes of links, make sure to check them as there is always a chance that your competitors could be pointing spammy links to you.
Although nowadays link anchor text is a bit less important than the two above mentioned link parameters, keyword-rich anchor text still firmly stays an important relevance signal for Google.
To be on the safe side, your links’ anchor texts need to be semantically relevant to the topic of your content and also maintain diversity. On top of that, don’t over-optimize your anchor texts with keywords, especially with the ones that are somehow connected with monetization, as this will definitely get you under Google’s Penguin penalty.
With Google now being obsessed with user experience more than ever, the pressure on website owners and SEOs is really high. You are supposed to have super fast and uber convenient website to make your visitors stay and compete for high positions in the SERPs. So, here are three major user experience ranking signals for Google that I want to drive your attention to specifically.
Of course, the very first thing that comes to your mind when you think of user experience is page speed. And I’m sure you’re aware of Google’s Speed Update that has officially made page speed a ranking factor for mobile.
Another speed related change that took place recently has to do with the PageSpeed Insights tool which now evaluates websites according to two criteria: Speed and Optimization. The Speed parameter is now calculated based on real-user measurements: FCP (First Contentful Paint) and DCL (DOM Content Loaded) which are extracted from CrUX database. And Optimization score has to do with technical parameters like redirects, compression, minification, etc.
In the light of all these recent changes, our team has conducted a research aiming to figure out the correlation page speed has with rankings. Surprisingly enough, it turned out that Optimization score has huge influence on rankings these days.
So, in order to get yourself an idea of how your websites is performing speed-wise, go ahead and test it with PageSpeed Insights. Pay your special attention to the Optimization parameter and fix technical issues (if you have any). If you’re not sure how to do it, please consult this guide on Optimization score improvement.
In case your Optimization score is perfectly fine but the Speed parameter leaves much to be desired, the only thing you can do is to make it less “heavy” and sophisticated by minimizing the amount of images and scripts. You can also consider implementing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for your mobile pages as it will make them load almost instantly.
Another two ranking signals that are closely connected with user experience are dwell time and bounce rate. To be completely honest with you, both of these metrics depend massively on the type of query. When it comes to bounce rate, for instance, a user may receive an immediate answer by visiting only one page of your site. This will still be considered a bounce, although it doesn’t mean that your page is not good enough. But as a rule, researching something takes a user more than just one page to open.
Speaking of dwell time, the longer a certain user stays on your page, the more relevant it seems for Google. Just like with bounce rate, a user can spend only 5 seconds on your site and be fully satisfied with the answer at the same time.
So, although both of these parameters depend on what exactly users type in the search box, the combination of these two parameters allows Google to evaluate pages’ relevance pretty accurately.
So, to make your visitors stay for longer, try to engage them as much as you can. Think of providing your users with some additional content links so that they are sent to some related posts on your site, for instance. Another good idea is to implement so-called “breadcrumbs”. These are small text paths at the top of the page that improve website navigation and help users to understand where they are on you site. What’s more, you can add comment sections under your posts, that may win you another couple of minutes.
I guess it goes without saying that PageRank is one of the strongest authority signals for Google. The thing is, except for external PageRank, your page is also influenced by the internal one. So, if you want to improve rankings of some pages that are performing not so well, it’s better not to hide them deep in your site structure. The best practice is for every single page of your website to be not more than 3 clicks away from your homepage.
However, if you need to boost rankings of a page that is buried in your site structure, the best thing you can do is to point some internal links to it. But just before doing that, look at your site structure with the help of WebSite Auditor’s Visualization feature to see how internal link juice is distributed within your site and what pages need to be worked on in the first place.
Caring about user’s safety is yet another Google’s concern these days. Back in 2014, Google has made HTTPS a ranking signal. Since that having an HTTPS site is not a recommendation but a must as Chrome browser now marks sites as “not secure” in case they are not HTTPS. For you to be safe and provide your users with safe experience, learn how to migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there is an enormous amount of ranking factors that directly or indirectly influence your position on SERPs. But in 2019 I would definitely suggest setting a course for creating great content, quality link building, and improving user experience. Besides this, it’s always nice to carry out competition research to see how your top competitors optimize for the following ranking signals to borrow their tactics and reinforce your weak spots (if there are any).
The post 14 ranking signals you need to optimize for in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Page speed has been a part of Google’s search ranking algorithms for quite some time, but it’s been entirely focused on desktop searches until recently when Google began using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches as well.
Have you checked your page speed scores lately?
How do your speeds match up against your competition?
If your pages are loading slower than competitors, there’s a chance you’re taking a hit in the SERPs. While relevance of a page carries much more weight than page speed, it’s still important to ensure your pages are loading fast for users and search engines.
Here are 5 ways to increase page speed and improve SEO results.
Large image files can have a significant negative impact on page speed performance. Images often represent the largest portion of bytes when downloading a page. This is why optimizing images generally returns the biggest improvement in speed performance. Compressing your images using an image compression tool will reduce their file size leading to faster loading pages for both users and search engines, which in turn will have a positive impact on your organic search rankings.
Leverage browser caching
Google recommends setting a minimum cache time of one week (and preferably up to one year) for static assets, or assets that change infrequently. So, make sure you work with your web developer to ensure caching is setup for optimal page speed performance.
Decrease server response time
There are numerous potential factors that may slow down the response of your server: slow database queries, slow routing, frameworks, libraries, slow application logic, or insufficient memory. All these factors should be taken into consideration when trying to improve your server’s response time.
The most favorable server response time is under 200ms. SEO marketers should work with their website hosting provider to reduce server response time and increase page speed performance.
Enable Gzip compression
You will need to determine which type of server your site runs on before enabling Gzip compression as each server requires a unique configuration, for example:
Again, your hosting provider can help you enable Gzip compression accordingly. You’d be surprised how much faster your pages load by having Gzip implemented.
Avoid multiple landing page redirects
Having more than one redirect from a given URL to the final landing page can slow page load time. Redirects prompt an additional HTTP request-response which can delay page rendering. SEO Marketers should minimize the number of redirects to improve page speed. Check your redirects and make sure you don’t have redundant redirects that could be slowing load time.
SEO marketers must be analyzing and improving page speed. A great place to start is compressing images, utilizing caching, reducing server response time, enabling file compression, and removing multiple/redundant redirects.
I urge marketers to periodically use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool to check your load time and compare your website to competitors’ sites. The tool also provides specific, recommended optimizations to increase your site’s page speed performance.
As Google continues to favor fast-loading websites it’s crucial that SEO Experts take necessary steps to ensure your site’s pages are meeting (and beating) Google’s expectations. Today, improving page speed is an essential aspect of any successful SEO Program.
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.