Daily Archives: November 24, 2021

Attitude of Gratitude: 3 Seer Team Themes from 2021 | Seer Interactive

By | November 24, 2021


The Persian Poet, Rumi, had a lot to say about being grateful:

Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”

Thankfulness brings you to the place where the Beloved lives.”

And one of my favorites…

Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.

The gist is, looking around and giving thanks for what you value is a practice that can make us happier.

With that, we are continuing into our 3rd year of this tradition — our team members taking a moment to reflect and share some of the things they were thankful for this year.

We’ve identified 3 gratitude themes from our team’s answers to “What Are You Thankful For This Year?”:

  1. People
  2. Health
  3. New Opportunities

Gratitude #1: People

When we collectively experience tough times, people tend to band together to support each other.

“COVID times bringing my family and friend group even closer”
Molly Q. | Manager, Paid Media

 

“My family and friends that have made these different times, truthfully, not that bad. Dare I say they have been great. I would be lost without my people:) ” 

– Renee C. | Lead, Paid Media

 

“I am thankful for Seer. Seer continues to amaze me on how giving and thoughtful an organization can be to its team and community year after year. I am also thankful for my family and friends <3

– Alex L. | Associate Director, SEO

 

Wil Reynolds Kid Photo

“Oh my goodness so much. Just being alive for another year, a lot of people lost people this year and every year I am alive is a year I can try to put more good in the world.

I got to see my mom and dad a LOT more over the past year which means my kids got to see them a lot more.

I’m thankful for an insanely supportive spouse.

Thankful for all the people who did little kind things for me this year, thank you cards, beer shipments, check-ins like “hey how you doin’”

Thankful for the parent’s google chat with other Seer parents”

– Wil R. | Seer Interactive Founder & VP, Innovation

Reach out to those you’re thankful for. Tell them. Today. You’ll be happy you did. And so will they.

Gratitude #2: Health 

Over the past two years of rapid change, being thankful for the health you have and the health those around you have has been top of mind for our team.

“I’m truly thankful that my loved ones are all healthy this year, during an ongoing pandemic.

Leena C. | Sr. Associate, SEO

 

“My partner, our pups, our home, and the heath of ourselves and our families!

– Jamie F. | Associate, Project Management

 

“So, so grateful for my health and my family!

The last two years have been stressful and scary, and I am so lucky to have my loved ones close and safe.”

– Emma W. | Associate Director, Paid Media

 

Cori Shirk Kid Photo

“My health, my family/friends, and the flexibility/options my life offers me.”

– Cori S. | Associate Director, SEO

Taking care of your health means taking care of your physical and mental health. Make a list of what you do for each of those categories to ensure balance.

Gratitude #3: New Beginnings 

Turning the thought of new beginnings into action is not an easy step. Our team stepped up to this challenge in 2021.

“This year, I’m thankful for a new job at Seer!

I joined the team in May and words cannot capture the amount of gratitude I have for this opportunity.

Many times within my six months here, I’ve left meetings and conversations in complete awe of the Seer team. The leadership, transparency, support, generosity and motivation (I could go on…) of everyone at Seer is one of the most encouraging and rewarding parts about my job.

It is a big blessing to be here and has changed my life for the better!”

Kelly W. | Manager, Data Strategy

 

“I am thankful for new beginnings here at Seer.

– Annie E. | Lead, People Operations

 

“My new job at Seer!

I’ve been slowly connecting with Seer since the beginning of 2021 and was ECSTATIC when I was given the chance to join the team.”

– Sandi G. | Sr. Associate, SEO

 

“This new opportunity at Seer!!!

– Elise P. | Associate, People Operations

New beginnings don’t have to be big lifts. Everyday is a new beginning for you to be better than yesterday. Seize it!

Bonus Gratitude Combo: People, Health, & New Beginnings 

The combination of multiple gratitudes in life is a powerful place to live.

 

“Working at an amazing company that allows me to grow and do awesome shit.

A partner who is supportive and is truly my best friend. Pups that provide comfort and **** unconditionally.

Friends and family that have traveled across the country to visit us in our new location.

Health… the list goes on.

I’m incredibly grateful for what I have.

Ethan L. | Associate Director, Data Engineering

 

“I am thankful for SO much.

Health insurance

A new job

Friends and family who got me through this pandemic (and still are)

And so much more”

– Allison W. | Associate, Project Management

No matter what it is, we all have something to be thankful for this year. Take a moment to reflect and find the highlights of this year.

Gratitude isn’t just for November. Have a look at Seer’s gratitude through the years and all year long:

Does this sound like a team you can spend your day to day with? We are hiring from associate to leadership roles, don’t wait to apply.


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Google Audience Analytics in White Label Reports

By | November 24, 2021


Making sound business decisions is all about meeting a demand that your market thirsts for. One of the basic elements in meeting market demand is understanding your customer base. The better a business understands its end-user, the better it can cater its product or service to meet customer needs and wants. Simple as this point may be, you need a data source than can provide you with potent insights. One of the most common methods of gaining such insights is Google’s Audience Interests. You can now view and filter Google’s Audience Interests data in our reports, and share any of the graphs or tables in white label reports.

Audience Interests in Rank Ranger

Customizing Google’s Audience Interests Reports

Qualifying your Google Analytics traffic data, Google’s Audience Interests gives you insights into the passions, hobbies, and tendencies of users who have visited the tracked site. What we’ve done with our Audience Interests Report is to put a unique set of customization options at your disposal so that you can display and analyze your Audience Interests data according to your needs and preferences. 

In-platform Audience Interests Graphs and Tables 

 

Google breaks down their Audience Interest data into three classifications: Affinity Category, In-Market Segment, and Other Interests. Each category provides a unique breakdown of your audience’s preferences. As such, the Affinity Category organizes users based on hobby and lifestyle, whereas the In-Market Segment breaks down users closest to making a purchase by their area of interest (the Other Interest segmentation consists of users that don’t fit into either of the other two categories). Of course, there is a natural use for such data when setting up PPC campaigns. Knowing the interests of your users, particularly those honing in on a purchase, can make for a highly effective PPC campaign. Similarly, measuring the success of utilizing Audience Interests data as part of your PPC campaigns is of equal importance, which is why we also offer a slew of reports to track such campaigns.  

Taking into consideration the simple fact that our own users have different data presentation preferences, we’ve made it possible to show your Google Audience Interests data both graphically via horizontal bar graphs, or numerically via a series of tables. 

Audience Interests Horizontal Bar Graph 

The Audience Interests graphs present an easy to decipher visual depicting an interest based breakdown of the users found within a given category. The horizontal columns within the graph are accented by a figure indicating the number of users within that specific segmentation, along with the percentage of overall users the segmentation represents.    

Google Audience Interests Other Category Graph

A graph displaying the top 10 sub-divisions of the “Other Category” within Google Audience Interests  

Audience Interests Tables 

Depicting your data in a strictly numerical fashion, the Google Audience Interests tables present the following metrics for each of the available categories: 

  • Sessions
  • % New Sessions
  • New Users
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pages/Sessions
  • Average Session Duration 

Each of these metrics can be displayed in either ascending or descending order. Additionally, and unlike the graphs within the report, tables can be set to limit results to specific threshold. Meaning, that unlike the graphic elements available within the report, the Audience Interests tables can be set to show a full breakdown of the interests subdivisions within an “interest category” or a specific number of subdivisions. 

Audience Interests Affinity Category Table



A table presenting various metrics related to the Affinity Category within Google’s Audience Interests 

Custom Audience Interests Display Options 

By segmenting each category of Google’s Audience Interests data, and by offering both graphic and numeric presentation options, we’re able to offer you a unique way to access your audience insights.  

Firstly, you have the option to either show or hide any graph or chart within the report. That is, as we’ve broken up the Audience Interests data by category, with each category having its own graph and chart, you can choose precisely which data you want displayed and in what format (graph, chart, or both).  

In-Market Audience Interests Graph

In-Market Audience Interests Table

The Audience Interests report set to show only the In-Market category’s graph along with the category’s accompanying chart of metrics 

Audience Interests Analytic Settings Further, and since the data being displayed is sourced in Google Analytics, our report allows you to filter your Audience Interests data in any way allowed for within Google Analytics. As such, you can show interests data according to specific segments (such as Converters, Bounced Sessions, New Users, etc.). You can further filter your audience insights by search type. Meaning, you can show Audience Interests data according to traffic source (i.e. organic, paid, social, etc.).

The result is the ability to view your Audience Interests data according to the segmentations that are most pertinent to you or your clients. Having the data available to you in this manner streamlines your ability to access the audience information that is meaningful to the context of your or your client’s business operations. As such, you are afforded the data and insights you need, in the format you need, so as to make more informed business decisions without the clutter of irrelevant information. 


Google Audience Interests Data in White Label Reports

 

With the integration of Google’s Audience Interests into our software, you can now present your data within any of our white label reporting options. Doing so offers you the unique ability to present audience insights under either your or your customer’s logo and label. In accordance with our numerous white label options, you can either share such data within automated PDF reports, as part of our active data Client Dashboard, or within our 100% white label Marketing Dashboard. 

Via the recently launched Marketing Dashboard you are able to insert your Audience Interests data within a reporting dashboard that offers you full access to the HTML and CSS. As such, your Google Audience Interests can be seen within a KPI dashboard that can be coded to look and feel like your or your client’s website. Further, you can easily combine your Audience Interests data with other Google audience measuring information, such as geo-location and audience demographics. 





The white label Marketing Dashboard displaying Google Audience Interests data along with a breakdown of audience geo-location and demographics  

Peak Your Interest with Audience Insights 

Obviously knowing the customer is of the utmost importance, and as such Google’s Audience Interests is well… of self-evident interest. The question is how to make it work for you in a way that is efficient, effective, and easy. With the custom display options we’ve built you can see the Audience Interest data that you want to see and how you want to see it. What’s more, by including Audience Interests in your white label reporting you can offer your clients a deeper look at the makeup of site traffic all while considering and catering to client specific needs and reporting preferences.   

About The Author

Rank Ranger

Rank Ranger is an SEO Platform designed to standardize management and reporting for the digital marketing world by filling the need for a comprehensive online marketing platform capable of tracking & monitoring campaign data, integrated with 3rd party software and services, providing fully personalized and customized reporting, 100% white label automated reports and a branded web interface.



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Google Explains How To Hide A Website From Search Results

By | November 24, 2021


Google says the best way to hide a website from search results is with a password, but there are other options you can consider.

This subject is spotlighted in the latest installment of the Ask Googlebot video series on YouTube.

Google’s John Mueller responds to a question asking how to prevent content from getting indexed in search, and whether that’s something websites are allowed to do.

“In short, yes you can,” Mueller says.

There are three ways to hide a website from search results:

  • Use a password
  • Block crawling
  • Block indexing

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Websites can either opt out of indexing altogether, or they can get indexed and hide content from Googlebot by using a password.

Blocking content from Googlebot is not against webmaster guidelines, as long as it’s blocked to users at the same time.

For example, if the site is password protected when crawled by Googlebot, it must be password protected to users as well.

Alternately, the site must have directives in place to stop Googlebot from crawling or indexing the site.

Where you can run into trouble is if your website serves different content to Googlebot than it does to users.

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That’s called “cloaking” and is against Google’s guidelines.

With that distinction made, here are the correct ways to go about hiding content from search engines.

3 Ways To Hide Content From Search Engines

1. Password Protection

Locking a website down with a password is often the best approach if you want to keep your site private.

A password will ensure neither search engines or random web users will be able to see your content.

This is a common practice for websites in development. Publishing the website live is an easy way to share in-progress work with clients, while preventing Google from accessing a website that isn’t ready to be seen yet.

2. Block Crawling

Another way to stop Googlebot from access your site is by blocking crawling. This is done with the robots.txt file.

With this method people can access your site with a direct link, but it will not be picked up by “well-behaved” search engines.

This isn’t the best option, Mueller says, because search engines might still index the address of the website without accessing the content.

It’s rare for that to happen, but it’s a possibility you should be aware of.

3. Block Indexing

The third and final option is to block your website from indexing.

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For this, you add a noindex robots meta tag to your pages.

A noindex tag tells search engines not to index that page until after they crawl it.

Users don’t see the meta tag and can still access the page normally.

Mueller’s Final Thoughts

Mueller wraps up the video saying Google’s top recommendation is to go the password route:

“Overall, for private content, our recommendation is to use password protection. It’s easy to check that it’s working, and it prevents anyone from accessing your content.

Blocking crawling or indexing are good options when the content isn’t private. Or if there’s just parts of a website which you’d like to prevent from appearing in search.”

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See the full video below:


Featured Image: Screenshot from: YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, November 2021.





Source link : Searchenginejournal.com

SERP News: Major Ranking Event, Ad & AMP Changes

By | November 24, 2021


Frigid February was feverishly frothing with Google SERP activity. There were simply an abnormal abundance of big ticket SERP and SERP feature items to discuss. While I could go and on about just how significant and action-packed last month’s SERP was, I won’t. Instead, and in spite of the literary shortcoming, let’s just get down to business. 


Major Ranking Event Points to an Unannounced Google Algorithm Update 

When confronted about mysterious changes in rank, Google has indicated that it releases thousands of algorithm updates each year. Well, it seems they were off to an early start in 2017 as just 38 days into the new year our Rank Risk Index caught the beginning of what was a major shift in the rankings. According the index, the rollout lasted four days on desktop during which the index hit risk level high of 97. 

Rank Risk Index Google Algorithm Update

The Rank Risk Index on desktop showing a series of elevated rank fluctuations that correlated with the rollout of a Google algorithm update 

The SEO industry was abound with chatter about sites showing rank fluctuations. While there was some speculation that the rank changes were related to Panda, that an algorithm update occurred was pretty much agreed to across the board. Of course, this is not an official pronouncement as Google has not confirmed that an update occurred.  

Google Releases a New AdWord Ad Label… Again 

 

If you’ll remember, last June Google did away with a bright yellow label for its AdWords ads. In its place, Google introduced a green ad label whose color matched that of an ad’s URL. The obvious pushback, true or not, was that with an organic green ad label, the lines that separated organic and paid results would be blurred. Well, on February 22nd, Google was at it again officially releasing a new ad label for AdWords that inverted the current color scheme. Meaning, instead of white lettering on an organic green background, Google is showing ad labels with green lettering on a SERP white background. 





Google’s new AdWords ad label gets a white background with green lettering 

Most likely as a response to previous criticism for allegedly confusing users with an ad label that blended a bit too well into organic results, Google was quick to say that its internal study showed that no such confusion exists with its new(er) ad label. This however has not stopped those within the industry from voicing the very exact concern Google aimed at circumventing. I guess the jury is still out on this one. 

AMP Change Impacts the Mobile SERP with Significant Consequences

AMP, already a *** topic in the world of SEO got a lot hotter this last month. With the introduction of all AMP mobile carousels attached to organic results I decided to do a little case study about how AMP carousels appear on the SERP. What I found is that they appear alone. That is, sites that have not gone AMP do not, as a rule, display with mobile carousels when Google has an AMP alternative. Should Google show an AMP’d up carousel within an organic result, it will not show a carousel within a non-AMP result. It doesn’t matter how prominent the non-AMP site is, even sites like espn.com or rollingstone.com do not display mobile carousels when AMP results are present on the SERP (since these sites are in fact not AMP optimized as of yet). 

AMP Mobile Carousel Preference


An AMP optimized site shows with a mobile carousel while an non-AMP site displays without one

The significance of this, and the potential impact is huge. For one, the common prevailing notion has been that content is king. Here however, it would seem that page speed is king as hefty sites with the most potent content are being usurped, at least when it comes to carousels. Then there’s the issue of clicks. While Google has said emphatically that AMP is not a rank signal, more carousels for AMP sites could mean less clicks for the less speedy. 

February SERP Feature Changes

 

While there weren’t a flurry of SERP feature changes in February, the SERP displayed some interesting feature variations, just not from the usual suspects. Normally, I’d be reporting on a slew of ever mutating SERP features like Local Pack or Knowledge Panel. Not so in February! As such, I’m happy to report we’ve seen changes to Google Posts and Related Questions. 

Google Posts Sporting GIFs on the SERP 

 

Google Posts (sometimes known as Google Podium) is not a SERP feature you see often, at least until now. It seems that the SERP feature is on the move, literally. It was recently unearthed that Google is showing GIF filled Google Posts attached to brand sites, particularity sport brands (aka sports teams).

Google Posts Sports GIF

Google Posts, which some have speculated is Google’s attempt at a social media element, allows sites to push content right to the SERP, content that displays via mobile-like cards. Some of these cards are now displaying GIFs in place of images. Whereas previously it was hard to track down a SERP displaying the feature, I’ve found that direct queries for most NHL hockey and MLB baseball teams will bring the feature up, GIFs and all. 

An Endless Series of Related Questions as ‘People Also Ask’ Goes Dynamic

Previously, if Google thought your query related to questions other users have been asking Google, a finite series of related questions would possibly appear on the SERP. You would see a limited series of questions (3, 4, 5, maybe 6) within expandable cards representing questions related to your query. The series of related questions you were presented with was all you got, no more, no less. Now however, Google has upped its Related Questions game. Now, the possibilities are endless as expanding one Related Question card produces new cards related to the question you have just clicked on. It’s like your cousin’s cousin (which I guess is your first cousin once removed), it’s a related question of a related question.

Dynamic People Also Ask

Seriously, it’s addictive. You can just kind of click all day and more and more questions will show. I wonder if there’s one mega-question where all other questions stem from that you’ll eventually get back to…. one question to rule them all sort of thing. I mean just look at the case above, we’ve gone from cousins to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a few easy clicks! 

What’s also interesting is that concurrent with this change, our Mobile SERP Feature Tracker recorded an increase in the SERP feature’s page one presence. Parallel to the feature’s upgrade announcement of February 13th, we’ve seen the feature increase across the board. Mobile in particular has seen a 5 percentage point bump since the rollout of the new dynamic format. 

Related Questions Mobile Increase

Related Questions on mobile sees an approximate 5 point increase between February 13th and the end of the month

For Every Season There Is a SERP Feature Turn 

 

It seems no month is spared significant SERP and SERP feature changes. (Which for the sake of this blog series is simply fantastic!) February, was an exceptional example of the continuously evolving nature of Google’s SERP. The simple fact that Google changed its PPC ad label for the second time in less than 10 months is testament to the fact that Google views its SERP as malleable, an ever-changing experiment.

Experimenting  

What SERP concoctions does Google have stirring in the lab currently? All I can tell you is, there will be something and it will be curiously interesting. Tune in next month for my monthly SERP trek to see what exactly Google has changed and why it matters.  

About The Author

Mordy Oberstein

Mordy is the official liaison to the SEO community for Wix. Despite his numerous and far-reaching duties, Mordy still considers himself an SEO educator first and foremost. That’s why you’ll find him regularly releasing all sorts of original SEO research and analysis!



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Content Strategy vs. SEO Strategy: How to Decide Which Comes First — Serpstat Blog

By | November 24, 2021



Let’s move on to understanding why you should opt for a content marketing strategy before SEO. Here are a few reasons to do so.

  • Rank your content without SEO:

Content is imperial for SEO: Even with good SEO, you need quality content as content is what holds your on-page SEO together. So you can start with content before you move on to your SEO strategy. Also, even though SEO needs content, you don’t need SEO for other campaigns, such as social media and PPC advertising. However, you need content for them as well.

  • It helps drive targeted traffic.

When you start with content marketing, you need to understand buyers’ journey, intent, and problems. It helps you create content that matches user intent rather than simply feeding keywords to search engine bots. Because in the end, you want customers and not search engines for your business.

  • You don’t get tossed off as soon as the algorithm changes.

There is nothing more worrying for SEO specialists than sudden search engine algorithm changes. It is because a single change can topple your SERP position within minutes. However, if your content is strong, you won’t be moved so quickly. Also, if you provide quality content, users will seek your website even if it ranks a bit low temporarily.

  • It enables you to discover topics before they are popular.

With SEO, you find keywords that are already popular and create content around it. This is a good strategy, but you have to face stiff competition as other sites are already ranking on them. However, with a good content marketing strategy, you can identify topics that your audience will like even if it does not exist on the search engine before. It also increases your chances of ranking quickly on such less explored topics.



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36 Room Ideas of 8×10 Area Rugs on Sale

By | November 24, 2021

Tropical motifs befitting of a rustic hideaway cover the field of this area rug collection, which is inspired by island inspiration. Each eco-friendly accent rug combines a natural color palette to portray a relaxed and breezy aesthetic that looks extremely elegant on floors around the home, from discreet solid patterns, stripes, and striated patterning to all-over geometric shapes. Natural jute fibers give the hand-woven floor covering collection a laid-back vibe, with organic textures that can be dressed up or down to fit your environment.

Design Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Site’s SEO | SEOblog.com

By | November 24, 2021


Many designers and artists consider their craft to be above all the laws of search engine optimization (SEO). But an article published by the Association for Computing Machinery suggests that about 95 percent of the negative feedback about a website has to do with design issues. Safe to say, design significantly affects the perception of websites and, hence, their rankings.

The Latent Defect in Your Website Design

The time has come where the lines of SEO, content and graphic design have converged. All the three disciplines that were once thought out to work parallelly now work together. And while that presents a lot of opportunities in your marketing, it also opens up more risks of making mistakes that hurt your ranking efforts. There are several design aspects of your website that require attention.

Re-examine your web design and take note of these errors:

Not Focusing on Mobile

Since September 2020, Google has been on an updating spree. One of these changes is the shift to mobile-friendly websites with content that looks good and loads fast on mobile screens. Why?

  • The number of users accessing the internet from mobile has surpassed users using it through other devices in 2018.
  • If your page loads after three seconds, you’re facing a 32 percent bounce rate.

Kissmetrics found some problems mobile users face while accessing a site: 

  • Forty-seven percent of visitors expect a two-second loading time.
  • Forty percent leave if it takes more than three seconds to load.
  • Seventy-nine percent of visitors never revisit the site that performed badly.
  • If loading time increases by 1 percent, you are likely to lose 16 percent of traffic.

We believe these surveys are enough for you to understand that mobile-first indexing is the next key to your SEO success. Google has confirmed this through its recent Page Experience Update, which focuses on enhancing the user experience (UX). Page Experience is live on mobile and set to roll out on desktop Search in March 2022. 

Now, websites that factor in page experience ranking signals and UX design principles have the edge. UX design is a process of understanding how the user interacts and feels after engaging with the product. It is mainly incorporated to increase the ease of use. Google now judges a website’s design on three Core Web Vitals that together measure a website’s overall user-friendliness.

Large Images Defying the Responsive Retrofitting

Have you ever tried pouring a jug of water into a glass? The water starts overflowing as soon as the glass fills up. The same will happen if you start fitting your website design into the small screens of mobile devices.

Imagine a website having hundreds of images on its landing page. Naturally, it will be difficult for users to navigate the page. In the mobile version, everything becomes too small and illegible. 

Research conducted by Searchmetrics revealed that the top 10 websites on the search results page (SERP) had fewer than three images per page on their websites. The lesson learned is the more the mess, the harder it is for search engines.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights test may give you some ideas on how to remove the heavy content elements from the design. It will show what images need compression to make the page more SEO-friendly by more than 50 percent. 

Adding Text in Pictures That Don’t Add Value 

Text is something that Google can read, except it is coded in HTML on the website’s backend. The algorithm is unable to read the images or read text written in them. So, streamlining the text in your website is another important aspect of SEO.

It is advisable to add text not in the images but in the code of the page design. This allows the algorithm to read, identify the keywords and rank them accordingly. Even if some text is added to an image, it will get blurred when zoomed in. 

Additionally, adding text to your website comes with an advantage that most designers miss. If a visitor in another language requires any information, the text encoded can be altered while the image cannot. 

You need to work on certain aspects to get things going, such as:

Adding Alt Tags to Images

An alt tag is a description of the image coded in the HTML on the backend. Search engines read this code to understand the relevance of any image to a query for ranking. Too many graphics is going to do more harm than good. You must use the name of the image as a significant SEO tool. FYI, Google can read the filename. So, instead of using 12345.jpg, you can use the keywords describing the file, which helps spiders in indexing.

Using Proper Color Combinations

Clear images must be chosen with the appropriate color combination. It is was found in a study that more than 40 percent of all websites use the color blue in their design, followed by green. 

Not Including Certain Info

Avoid providing any contact details or useful information in images. Share the information in a subtle but prominent manner in the footer. You could also consider adding important links to your website in the footer for the algorithm to index.

Redirecting… OOPS 404 Error

Designing a broken link page seems so trivial that most SEO experts miss it. People often type the wrong URL or look for a page that is no longer available. 

Here is an opportunity for your website designer to create something that grabs the user’s attention. When visiting an error page, users tend to navigate back and forget about it. What you can do here is highlight your customer service.

They might be looking for something when they got redirected to an error page. You may add links related to the homepage of your website or several links to your services. It shows that you care about the visitors’ experience.

Some brands have turned it into an opportunity for marketing and building a positive online reputation. For example, they may have added a link to a free voucher or eBook that users can leverage.

Adding links to the error page can avoid the loss of visitors as the links added are indexed with the existing URL, thereby increasing traffic and ranking. 

This idea is a game-changer for websites that are relaunching. The old URLs are going to serve a 404 error page. So, you can attach a feedback form with each error page for users to mention the URL they are trying to locate or the information they seek. It has been tested, and webmasters who have done it received emails from people seeking the live URL.

Completely Dismissing Pop-Ups

Ethan Zuckerman still feels sorry for creating pop-up ads through JavaScript and server-side Perl 20 years ago. As annoying as they are, they drive up sales.

In contrast to a survey that found 70 percent of users considered pop-ups “irrelevant,” many businesses got to taste real profit through them. Even Entrepreneur found that engaging users through pop-ups by flashing limited offers and sales shot up their sales by 162 percent. These are amazing results for a feature that’s disliked to such an extent that Chrome has an inbuilt mechanism of blocking them. 

Pop-ups are not inherently bad. So, what are we doing wrong? Google’s Webmaster Blog says it all:

  • A pop-up ad intruding soon after the visitor navigates through the page through SERP or while they are looking for some information
  • An ad covering the entire page of the content
  • Adding a layout pop-up above the fold that takes the website’s main content away from the line of action of the user

When done right, pop-ups cannot be that bad. In fact, WebMeUp strongly suggests the inclusion of pop-ups. Why? Because it managed to get 95 percent of its subscribers through them in a few months. So, what are designers missing? 

Here are some ideas to design to make them useful for the visitor:

Pop-ups are a great way of flaunting the number of sales already made or showing any statistics that may benefit your website.

  • Offering sales, discounts, incentives and freebies through pop-ups is a great idea to engage the user.
  • The time it will flash is ideally set at five seconds. For regular visitors, the time of showing pop-up was found to be ideal after every minute.
  • Using the color red as a call to action (CTA) for submitting an email garnered a maximum number of submissions

Homepages Missing H1s

Spiders read elements like meta descriptions, title tags, alt tags, H1, H2 and HTML code to find the relevancy with a query. If any of the elements are not optimized properly, you could be losing out on major ranking opportunities. One such element is the H1.

People tend to equate H1s with title tags, which are seen on SERPs. Title tags are primarily links that take you to the web page. What’s displayed on the web page as an explanation of the query is known as a header or the H1. Headers do not appear while the result of a query is displayed, but they help the spider identify your website’s subject matter. 

Headers that may be H1, H2 and so on are deciding factors in SEO. They form a part of the HTML code that spiders read and make certain words prominent for crawlers to focus on. 

So, including an H1 is a pro tip for webmasters. Remember these:

  • H1s should contain the primary keyword of the webpage.
  • H1s should be placed above the fold. They should not be clouded by a full-page pop-up or above-the-fold advertisement.
  • Remember, you have approximately five seconds to impress your visitor. Make sure your H1s are compelling.

Thinking Google Is a Good Scroller

While users can scroll down to retrieve the relevant information in no time, a spider would not be able to do so. It will not take into account the additional content and pages that might be suitable and make your site rank-worthy. 

Google’s Martin Splitt in an online conference flagged this issue quite empathically. He pointed out that the spider reads and indexes whatever is visible to it upfront. To fix the case of lazy-loading, webmasters must refer to Google Search Central. The search engine giant mentions some fixes:

  • Chrome 76 allows website designers to use loading attributes without coding a library for lazy-loading in JavaScript.
  • A JavaScript library allows the data to be loaded while entering the viewport.
  • Paginated scrolling allows users to click on a link that will take them to the desired section of the content.

You might have invested a lot in your website. But these mistakes can have counter-productive results. Be aware of them and make the necessary steps and updates to make sure you’re on top of your SEO and content game.





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SEO certification: How can you get it and why should you?

By | November 24, 2021


Once you finish a Yoast SEO academy training course, you get a shiny certificate of completion and a badge you can embed on your site or share on social media. This way, you can let everyone know about your newly acquired SEO expertise. Awesome! But how useful is an SEO certification, really? Does it make a real difference? The honest answer: it sure can, but it depends on your needs and expectations.

Why getting an SEO certification matters

An SEO training certification can help in several ways. Obviously, the actual proof of certification matters most to those of us who actually work in the fields of SEO or web design, or are trying to get there! In this case, you can use your SEO certification to build trust among your customers and help advance your business. However, you can also use it to improve your resume when you work in a different field.

Go Premium and get free access to our SEO courses!

Buy Yoast SEO Premium and get FREE access to all Yoast SEO academy courses:

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But honestly, the most important reason to get SEO certified isn’t the piece of digital paper you get at the end. It’s the skills you build while getting your certification. These skills are the real value you get from taking an online SEO course. That said, let’s go through the reasons why you may benefit from getting an SEO training certification one by one.

1. SEO certification helps you build trust with your customers

If it’s important to you that others know about your SEO skills, you can use your SEO certification to prove this. You can embed your badge on your website and share your certificate on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Of course, where you follow a training course makes all the difference. Especially within the world of WordPress, Yoast is a well-known, and trusted brand, which stands for quality and world-class SEO knowledge. Embedding a certificate on your website means showing that you’ve learned from the best.

2. Show that you do SEO the right way

By getting certified, you’re showing others how they can expect you to tackle SEO. At Yoast, we have very clear ideas about how you should practice SEO. We advocate a holistic and sustainable SEO strategy, built to last. And we’re known for this.

Of course, we think the world would be better off if everyone implemented a sustainable SEO strategy. In our training courses, we preach what we practice. We don’t like tricks. We want sites to rank by being the best result. By completing a Yoast SEO academy training course, you make clear that you do SEO the right way, and have the tools to do it!

3. SEO certification can boost your resume

SEO skills are very valuable! Lots of companies depend on good rankings for their revenue. A capable SEO can make a big difference. Employers know this, but how can they be sure you’re up to the task? Precisely because SEO is such a practical field, anyone can claim they’re an expert. With an SEO certificate, you can back up your claims. You’ve put in the hours, and you’ve completed a challenging training course on SEO copywriting, keyword research, or ecommerce SEO. That will improve your resume for sure!

4. You’ll learn a whole lot along the way

All of the previous arguments are aimed at impressing or persuading others. But the best reason to value an SEO training certification is that taking a good training course helps you become a better SEO. Your certificate should not be a goal in and of itself, it should be a nice reward. There’s no better feeling than having worked hard to improve your skills, and seeing the confirmation that you’ve finished a training course successfully.

And when it doesn’t…

As I mentioned before, SEO is a practical field. Our SEO certification probably is not a guarantee that you’ll get hired as an SEO expert without any previous experience in the field. You could see our training courses are the first step towards expertise, but you’ll still have to apply the principles you’ve learned in the real world.

Fortunately, Yoast SEO academy excels at preparing you for this real-life context. Our training courses allow you to practice actual SEO skills. You can practice writing code and apply your knowledge to realistic example cases. Because of this, there’s only a very small bridge to gap between the theory and actual real-life SEO. You’ll be confident in your abilities, and deservedly so. And the results will bear that out!

Conclusion

There are a lot of good reasons to pursue an SEO certification. It helps build trust and, more importantly, you’ll learn a great deal along the way. On the other hand, don’t expect an SEO certification to magically open doors. The real world asks for real skills. Fortunately, our SEO training courses make sure you’re as well-prepared as possible.

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Google’s Algorithm Update ‘Fred’ & the Larger Algorithm Picture

By | November 24, 2021


There has been a lot of Google algorithm update activity as of late, and it would be nice to get some perspective on what’s been going on, as these algorithms can seriously impact your rankings. Now, as you may well know, Google has said it unleashes and roll-outs thousands of updates a year. However, the algorithm updates that have come out of Google recently seem to be weightier than usual, and it’s important to realize that. So let’s then take a look at the recent updates, including last week’s roll-out that has become widely known as ‘Fred’, to see what these updates have in common. Perhaps we can even speculate as to what Google has in-store for the SEO industry. 

Google’s Recent Algorithm Update Roll-outs

To gain insight and perspective on the recent Google updates, it behooves us to first get the raw facts. That is, what updates were rolled-out, when were they released, and what were they all about. 


Google Algorithm Update Fred 

 

 

Starting our algorithm update journey with the most recent update, we have Fred. Taking place on March 9th (on desktop), this update seems to have targeted spammy links. Named ‘Fred’ by Barry Schwartz of SERoundtable.com, the algorithm update chatter first began within the annals of the black hat SEO forums, thus indicating that the update related to link quality. 

Algorithm Update Fred on the Rank Risk Index

Google algorithm update ‘Fred’ as represented by rank fluctuation levels on the Rank Ranger Rank Risk Index on March 9th

Now then, what friendly neighborhood algorithm, that just went “core” and therefore is no longer heralded in by Google announcements, could possibly be behind a raid of spammy links? I’ll give you a hint… it ends in ‘enguin’ and starts with a ‘P’. 

However, as time progressed, and after it appeared that Fred was a one day powerhouse, the Rank Risk Index caught another spike in rank fluctuations. After three days of ‘calm’ our index (desktop) shot up to a risk level of 78 on March 13th followed by a March 14th risk level of 100. 

Algorithm Fred - Second Spike

Google algorithm ‘Fred’ shows the start of a second spike in rank fluctuations on March 13th

Interestingly enough this ‘delayed’ spike is thought not to be a separate update, but a second round of ‘Fred’. More than that, reports have been coming in that the sites hit were content-oriented sites that were predisposed to a large volume of ad placement (think sites pushing content just so they can place ads and make a quick dollar or two). It is speculated that the lull in rank fluctuations was a result of sites being restored after rectifying their overindulgence in ads (i.e. after scaling their ads back some).    

What then of the reviving of ‘Fred’ and the second round of fluctuations? I speculate that Google turned the juice up after missing sites it had intended on demoting. In other words, after giving sites the chance to make a correction, Google went back to work by demoting additional sites. 

As such, my final diagnosis is that ‘Fred’ is a mix of Penguin and Panda. Again, this is my own speculation as Google has confirmed nothing thus far. However, I don’t see the initial report of the update being related to link quality as being inaccurate. In fact, sites with poor content usually also have poor linking practices, and are also usually overloaded with ads. It’s almost as if Google tracked these sites down using Penguin and Panda, and then demoted them on the basis of a third criteria, advertising overindulgence (as opposed to poor content and spammy links per se). 

February’s Significant Algorithm Update Roll-out 

 

Almost exactly a month before ‘Fred’ was released, Google rolled-out another major update. Unlike ‘Fred’ the roll-out was a multi-day event that ran from February 7th through the 10th. Like ‘Fred’, there was some early chatter that the update was link quality related. However, though no official Google statement was released, SearchEngineLand theorized that the update was related to Panda, yet another part of Google’s core algorithm.

An Early February Algorithm Tweak 

 

Of the three changes to Google’s algorithm, this one was seemingly the least impactful. In this early February tweak, our Rank Risk Index, while showing increased rank fluctuations, did not present overly-alarming fluctuation levels. That being said, the fluctuation levels on the index were elevated, and the industry did recognize that something had shifted over at Google. Again speculating as to the nature of the algorithm change, SearchEngineLand reported that the Penguin algorithm may have been altered, changing how it goes about discounting links thought to be spam. 

February 2017 Google Updates on the Rank Risk Index

The Rank Risk Index shows both a moderate and significant spike in rank fluctuations during February

What Google’s Recent Algorithm Updates Indicate

 

Obviously keeping tabs on the updates Google releases is important, it could explain why your rankings have suddenly shifted. However, it would be quite helpful looking to the future if we could understand, or simply get a glimpse into a sort of algorithm update pattern. If there is a trend within the recent updates, that could help us maneuver our SEO going forward.  

Algorithm Changes

The Timing of the Updates

Firstly, it’s important to note that all of these updates have occurred in 2017. It’s also important to note, that the listed algorithm activity represents all of the more notable Google algorithm activity in 2017. In other words, the algorithm changes listed here represent Google’s more substantial roll-outs since the new year started and thus it is safe to assume (in my opinion) they thereby represent Google’s focus for the new year, at least a part of it. 

Core Algorithm Updates

 

The second thing to notice with these updates is that should industry speculation hold true, they are all related to parts of Google’s core algorithm. In other words, Google, over the past month or so, has seemingly gone back to basics, particularity those basics that deal with poor content or links to it (i.e. Panda and Penguin). Though they have seemingly taken it one step further (rather logically actually) by demoting sites based on criteria that straddles both algorithms, over-advertising.  

Combining this revelation with my previous point regarding Google’s timing, it would seem that Google is intent on demoting sites that either harbor or facilitate bad content. That the focus, as the year has started, is to significantly shake things up when it comes to poor content and links to such content. As the new year began, Google was quick out of the gate to target sites that employed sub-par content as well as those sites linking to sub-par content. With three updates all related to this topic within the span of a few weeks, and all at the start of the new year, this seems to be a safe pattern to bet on.

Handling Your SEO Going Forward

Looking to the Future

This is a shining example of why it’s important to keep an eye on what Google is rolling out. Going forward, it would seem that it is more important than ever to shore up your content and links, ensuring they are of the highest quality. The content and link quality police are on the prowl, this is not the time to test the boundaries and see how far you can push the envelope (not that I’m advocating that there is ever a good time to do so). Google has shown a flex of content, link quality, and ad placement muscle as the year has kicked off. With three updates in a row, all seemingly aimed at one purpose, it would be prudent to stay off of Google’s poor content/link quality radar, and ensure that everything on your site is copacetic.

About The Author

Mordy Oberstein

Mordy is the official liaison to the SEO community for Wix. Despite his numerous and far-reaching duties, Mordy still considers himself an SEO educator first and foremost. That’s why you’ll find him regularly releasing all sorts of original SEO research and analysis!



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One-Stop Guide for Selling on Amazon – 10 Things You Need to Remember

By | November 24, 2021


Selling on Amazon is an exciting experience, especially if you’re looking forward to expanding your market reach and taking your brand to the next level. Nowadays, e-commerce is taking the lead on physical stores, so if you’re making the switch from your brick-and-mortar store to an online marketplace, it’s going to be a big adjustment. 

There are a lot of differences between selling in physical stores vs. selling online. In person, you can develop a whole customer experience that is personable, tangible, and visible, allowing customers to see, touch, and feel your brand with ease. On the other hand, there are a ton of perks to selling online—massive reach, sky-is-the-limit creatives, and simply, the convenience of it all. That said, even though selling on Amazon can help take your brand up a notch, there are still a lot of technical factors to keep in mind when selling digital, especially since the space has become incredibly competitive.  

When selling on Amazon, you have to consider a slew of things, including account setup, optimization, shippings, and more. Of course, it can get a bit overwhelming at first, but we’ll help cover the basics. Here’s a quick list of the ten things you need to remember as an Amazon FBA seller.

1. Create a Seller-Fulfilled Prime account for free shipping.

There are two kinds of Amazon accounts to sign up for: the Individual and Professional ones. Amazon limits your selling privileges to 40 items per month with no monthly sales volume requirements as an individual seller. So if you’re making decent sales on Amazon, it’s probably time to make the switch to a professional account.

With the Professional account, you can sell unlimited items and enjoy increased monthly sales volume requirements at $39,000 or more per month (for North America). You’ll also get access to Amazon Prime and FBA programs – which provide your products with fulfillment services for customers who subscribe to Amazon Prime.

As a new seller, you might want to start with the Individual account and upgrade later down the road. Keep in mind that if you create a Seller-Fulfilled Prime account, your products can have free shipping, which is particularly useful when dealing with holiday sales or seasonal events like Black Friday

2. See to it that the products you’re trying to sell are all eligible. 

Amazon has specific policies on what you can and cannot sell on their platform. For example, they don’t allow the sale of hazardous materials, including explosives, combustibles, flammables, or fireworks. Nor do they allow fake IDs, counterfeit items (with Amazon’s name stamped on it), ******* goods/stolen property, or infringing content.

It is best to familiarize yourself with what’s permittable to sell on Amazon before listing your products. This way, you’ll save a lot of time and effort from dealing with chargebacks later on, which could even lead to the suspension of your account.

3. Sell in bulk quantities if possible – you can list up to 20 items at once with the same listing.

One of the best time-saving features available for Amazon FBA sellers is the bulk upload. This feature saves you a lot of time from listing your items one by one, allowing you to add up to 20 products or variants under an existing listing at once.

4. Consider selling used products but see that these are in good condition and are priced accordingly.

Not everyone wants to buy new products, especially if they’re on a tight budget. For those looking to spend less but still get quality items, used goods are a perfectly acceptable selling option on Amazon (as long as your items are in good condition and reasonably priced). 

If you are looking into selling used items, assess the product first to help you create your listing:

  • Analyze its value by examining for damages
  • Considering how old the product is and if newer versions exist
  • Find out what the selling point is for this product as new. 

Once you’ve figured these out, use this information to help determine a reasonable price point for your used product to sell on Amazon. Unfortunately, some people are hesitant to purchase used items, so brands use emotional marketing to sway them. Pair this with an optimized listing, and you’re good to go! 

5. Use Fulfillment by Amazon so that all of your orders are shipped directly from Amazon’s warehouse.

Fulfilling orders is one of the more time-consuming elements of selling on Amazon, which is why many sellers use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This service ships orders directly from an Amazon warehouse on your behalf, reducing storage and shipping costs. It’s also a great way to offer your customers same-day or two-day shipping options, which isn’t possible with the standard Amazon platform. 

The best thing about FBA is its ability to lower fulfillment costs significantly. Thanks to their economies of scale, they can ship more orders with less effort handling them. With this, you can focus on other parts of your business while Amazon handles fulfillment.

6. Do your research, plan and organize your information so that you know what kind of costs are expected of you in the future.

If you’re just getting started with selling on Amazon, be sure that you stay organized and have all your resources effectively planned out ahead of time. Doing research and strategizing is a great way to stay ahead of your expenses before they sneak up on you.

Consider the fees and costs of purchasing your products, using different services, hiring people, building your brand, and more. These are the things that, if not planned well, could lead to overspending and losses. 

This is why it’s essential to draw up an estimate of what will be required of you to have a better idea of what’s to come. 

7. Include detailed descriptions and photos to attract attention and increase sales.

To increase your sales opportunity, you need to have your listings well optimized. For example, Amazon listings should have descriptions and photos of your products clearly outlining their features and benefits. This allows shoppers to get more information about what they are about to order, increasing their chance of purchase. By adding a detailed description, you’re providing more value to the shoppers, giving them a better reason to purchase your product. 

In addition, by effectively optimizing your Amazon product listing, you are increasing your chances of visibility on the marketplace. With the right phrases and keywords, you can help your listing rank much better among competitors giving your product the advantage. 

This is why it’s so important to invest in your product listings. In some cases, sellers hire professional Amazon copywriters to build their listing so that it’s effective in earning the shopper’s attention and Amazon’s algorithm to rank on search results. That along with a graphics team to help build a cohesive brand/color scheme for your site and listings, and you’re off to a great start. 

8. Don’t forget about customer service – it doesn’t matter how great your product is if people can’t get their questions answered or problems fixed!

Even if you had the best product in your category, it wouldn’t matter if you didn’t provide the customer service to support it. Customer service provides an outlet for customers to voice concerns and ask questions concerning your brand or product.  As a seller, customer service is essential to ensuring that you meet buyer expectations and handle any issues they may come across.

Delivery times and shipping updates are one of the most common inquiries when running an e-commerce business. As part of the customer experience, ensure that your customers are sent the products correctly and on time. Should there be any issues with the delivery, be sure to address them ASAP! 

Remember to always respond to your customers as quickly as possible! This can help negate wrong impressions or even negative reviews. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring additional help or outsourcing!

9. Plan for inventory management – this will help prevent stock-outs which could result in lost revenue.

A reliable inventory management strategy is a must, especially if your products are seasonal. By having your product’s quantities planned ahead of time, you can prevent out of stocks, saving you from missing sales and loss in sales rank. 

You definitely don’t want to end up in a position where your products are in demand, and you’re caught up without enough product to meet the anticipated orders.  If your products aren’t on time or arrive too late, then the obvious choice for them is to purchase elsewhere! Make sure you have your inventory planned out for the year so that you don’t miss out on anything important.

10. Keep prices competitive but not too low.

When you’re selling on Amazon, it’s easy to get absorbed into worrying about your brand, but remember to keep an eye out. As a seller, you should constantly scour through the competition to evaluate what other businesses in your category are doing. 

Healthy competition is always an essential aspect of doing business because it keeps the market alive. On a platform like Amazon, you should always be aware of your competitors’ possible strategies in play, product improvements, and most definitely, price changes. 

 Are they offering higher or lower prices? Are these prices justifiable? These are the questions you should consider when you’re monitoring price changes. Then, use this information to make price changes of your own as you assess the market. 

If, in any case, your margins are tight, try offering other exciting offers as an alternative to drawing customers towards your direction. For example, promotions or bundles! These small things can help entice a customer to buy from you instead of others. 

Final Thoughts

With these ten simple tips, you can start selling on Amazon and take advantage of the benefits that come with being a registered seller on the largest e-commerce platform. FBA will help you focus on the bulk of your operations while Amazon handles orders, fulfillment, and shipping challenges. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your online empire today and start selling on Amazon! 



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