Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Future of SEO with Digital Assistants

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

Many search experts have toyed with the idea of generating digital assistants to help improve search experiences for users, and now that idea is becoming more of a reality. The notion of a bot aiding people and interacting with other bots to help personalize online user experience is not as far-fetched as it once seemed.

 

Enterprise-E_LCARSRight now, our digital assistants are voice activated, these “assistants” are better known as Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri or Google Now. Voice searches are becoming increasingly popular as adjustments have been made to improve the accuracy of these services. The voice search’s intelligence increases every time it is used, making it the go-to option for many mobile users. In fact, it is estimated that by 2020, over 50% of searches will be conducted using voice search technology.

google-voice-searchSo what does this mean for search engine optimization? One of the biggest differences between a text search and a voice search is the wording. Because voice searching encourages people to be more conversational, when searching for a specific topic using voice search, users tend to be more wordy. For example, let’s say I was looking for takeout pizza in Indianapolis.

siri-is-halIf I was typing out my search all I would type would be “takeout pizza Indianapolis”, but if I used voice search instead I would be more descriptive and say something like “Find me takeout pizza in Indianapolis that will be ready quickly”. I’d use more words in my search in the hopes of finding a pizza place that fits my exact needs. This means, websites and their SEOs are going to need to be more specific in their digital marketing strategies. They should be aware of what potential clients’ needs are and how their site can best fulfill those needs.

While voice searching and digital assistants will likely evolve substantially over the next few years, it is crucial for digital marketers to stay ahead of their competitors and begin modifying their strategies to adapt to the imminent shift in the way people search. As voice search continues to gain popularity, it is now more important than ever for SEO companies to clean up their tactics and make sure they are doing all they can to provide optimal user experience.

Making the Switch from HTTP to HTTPS

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Although there are multiple benefits from switching your site over from HTTP to HTTPS, surprisingly there are still a number of website owners who have yet to do so. One of the more obvious perks of having a secure site is the added ranking benefit from Google. Google has stressed multiple times the importance of having a secure site and has even stated that they will index secure sites over unsecure ones. However, despite this fact, less than 0.1% of websites are secure. This statistic is shocking to say the least, especially when it is so easy for sites to make the switch. There are various services available such as Let’s Encrypt that offer free certificates to websites.

google-https1-ss-1920-800x450

However, even if your site is secure, it does not mean that it is unprotected. Your website will still be vulnerable to various attacks and hacks if you’re not careful. So what exactly are the benefits of switching over to HTTPS? Google explains how switching over to HTTPS can offer three layers of protection. The first, encryption, ensures “that while the user is browsing a website, nobody can ‘listen’ to their conversations, track their activities across multiple pages or steal their information.” Secondly, it offers data integrity which means that “data cannot be modified or corrupted during transfer, intentionally or otherwise, without being detected”. And thirdly it provides authentication which “proves that your users communicate with the intended website. It protects against man-in-the-middle attacks and builds user trust, which translates into other business benefits”. This means, that although your site would still be vulnerable to potential attacks, users would be able to access it securely.

Another added benefit from switching over to HTTPS is that you’ll then be able to more easily convert your site to an HTTP/2 format. HTTP/2 is a new update that is highly valuable to all websites. If you haven’t already started making the transition from HTTP to HTTPS and ultimately on to HTTP/2 you need to start doing so right away. By allowing your site to remain at HTTP you are severely hindering your site’s web traffic and ranking potential. Our advice? Start making the switch today!

The Evolution of Link-Building

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Over the past ten years link building has changed dramatically. Although link building always has and probably always will be a vital aspect of SEO, the tactics used ten years ago differ greatly from the tactics utilized today.

pins-links-ss-2910-800x449

Let’s take a look at how link-building has evolved over the past few years:

First, having bad links is no longer helpful to your search engine optimization. In fact, as most digital marketers know it can and will severely hurt your website’s ranking in Google. Having bad links will now get you penalized if noticed by Google. You used to be able to get away with having spammy links, but not anymore! Speaking of penalties, Google penalties have definitely gotten harsher in the past few years. Google’s goal has always been to provide users with the most relevant information as fast as possible. Now, Google has resorted to more severe punishments to violators in an effort to discourage any spammy tactics. If Google catches you trying any sketchy SEO practices, you’ll definitely penalized and removed from the search rankings.

Having good content on your site is also more important now than it has ever been. However, that also means that the quality of content being published has risen as well, making it increasingly difficult for digital marketers to get guest posting opportunities. However, utilizing private blog networks can be a great way to make people more aware of the high quality content you are posting. In the past, one of the best types of high quality content you could post was a press release. Unfortunately, over the years this has changed and good content no longer includes press releases. Ten years ago, having a newsworthy topic was all you needed to gain attention from your press release. Now, because so many SEOs have overused this strategy to attract people to their sites, press releases will basically do nothing for your site’s digital marketing.

As mentioned above, guest posting is an extremely valuable aspect of SEO. Getting your high quality content published on another website is one of the best link-building strategies. Not only does it make more people aware of what your site has to offer but it also helps greatly improve Google rankings. Guest posting opportunities can be some of the most beneficial link building practices you can utilize.

As you can see, link building strategies have changed tremendously over the past ten years. And it is vital for digital marketers to keep up with the ever-changing world of SEO in order to best service their clients.

How to Improve Your Site Search Results Page

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

An increasing amount of users are now using site search to find what they are looking to buy. This means that it is now more important than ever to have an efficient site search on your website.

zoom_ranking

Our SEO company in Indianapolis has compiled a list of ways you can improve your site search and maximize profits.

  1. Reviews are a must.

It is extremely important that you show the reviews under each product in the search results page. Including reviews in your search results page will help customers make informed decisions about the products they are looking to purchase and, if your reviews are favorable, should prompt them to but the product they are considering.

  1. Allow Customers to Choose How to View the Results.

Let the customer pick how they view the search results. This means allowing them to pick how many results they see per page and in what order. Some customers will want to view the newest products first, others might want to see the cheapest options first. Let them have the power to decide how to the search results are sorted.

  1. Have a Filtering Option.

Large quantities of search results can be overwhelming to a customer. Having a filtering option is one of the most important aspects of searching you can include on your website. Allow customers to be able to filter out products they know they don’t want. Filtering can include size, color, price range, etc.

  1. Have Big Product Images.

Having large product images gives the customer a better picture of the products he or she is considering. This will help them as they make their selection. Having pictures that are too small almost always leads to frustration.

  1. Utilize Your Search Data.

Examining the search data from your customers can be highly beneficial. You can look to see what they’ve clicked on, how many pages they went through and what they decided to buy. You can use the information you gather to find out what products customers love the most and which ones aren’t so popular. Many companies use search data to provide recommended products to customers.

We hope the information provided above helps you as you improve your search results pages! Having informative and well-designed search results pages will help customers find what they are looking for more quickly and will ultimately lead to greater profits for your company.

The Progression of SEO

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Over the years Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has changed substantially and SEO today looks nothing like it did 10 years ago. This fact has left many to wonder how digital marketing will continue to evolve and what it might look like in the future. But first, let’s take a look at what SEO looks like now and whether or not it will keep trending in the same direction.

evolution-seo-marketer-ss-1920-800x450

Probably one of the biggest changes that’s taken place these past few years is the shift from desktops to mobile phones or tablets. Many people are now opting to use their mobile devices to surf the internet instead of getting on a desktop computer. Obviously, this change has had a huge impact on SEO and the strategies used by digital marketers. With the majority of searches now taking place on mobile devices, webmasters have to be certain that their webpages are not only mobile-friendly but that they load quickly and are easy to navigate. People want their information fast, and if your website takes more than just a few seconds to load you’ll start loosing site traffic. Additionally, if your pages are too complicated or difficult to navigate on a mobile device, users will become frustrated. It is safe to assume that the shift from desktop computers to mobile devices will continue with more and more people utilizing mobile devices to get online. SEOs should keep up with this trend by maintaining mobile friendly sites.

Another big advancement that has transformed the world of SEO is social media. Before the days of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram people mostly communicated online through email and instant messaging, both of which were nearly impossible for SEO’s to use to their advantage. However, thanks to the growing popularity of various social media sites, digital marketers now have many more outlets to utilize. If you are a webmaster and you’re not taking advantage of social media websites it’s time to start doing so right away. We can expect social media websites to continue to gain popularity, making them a great tool to use to get people more aware of the products and services you have to offer.

The last major shift we’ve noticed in SEO tactics involves links and how digital marketers use them on their websites. Gone are the days when the quantity of links was all that mattered; now quality far outweighs quantity. The quality of the sites your website is linked to is far more important than the amount of links you have. In fact, having too many links that appear unnatural can actually be a huge hindrance to your site. Again, we predict this trend will progress as Google continues to crack down on spammy links and sketchy SEO practices.

How to Outrank Your Competitors in Google

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Want to draw website traffic away from your competitors and redirect it towards your site?

LONDON, UK - SEPTEMBER 3, 2010: Google search concept with hand holding magnifying glass against Google home screen (illustrative editorial)

Use the 5 simple steps listed below to boost your rankings:

  1. Take your opponents’ high-quality links.

Utilize a tool like ahrefs to see the companies that are linking to your competitors then contact said companies about linking to your site instead. Explain that your content is of a higher quality and therefore would be more beneficial for them to be linked to. It’s no secret that having high-quality links is crucial for website traffic and search rankings. So, taking those links from your competitors will not only push them down on ranking order but will also help you get ahead.

  1. Pay for your Advertisements.

Reaching a large amount of potential clients organically is becoming increasingly difficult, especially on social media sites such as Facebook. Paying a small fee to get your Advertisements noticed by your target audience is an easy way to boost website traffic and ultimately increase profits.

  1. Boost your Domain Authority

Try utilizing a tool such as the Moz Toolbar to get your Domain Authority score and the scores of your competitors. Having a high Domain Authority score will help increase your website traffic. Using solid digital marketing tools such as private blog networks will help boost your Domain Authority score and make more people aware of your website.

  1. Make Higher Quality Content that Targets Their Keywords.

Use SEMRush to find out what keywords your competitors’ are targeting. Once you know the keywords they use, it’s time to start making better content that contains their target keywords. This will slowly start taking traffic from their site and redirecting it to yours. But remember, high quality content is key, without it this strategy will be ineffective.

  1. Content, Content, Content!

As previously stated in a few of the steps listed above, having solid content is one of the most important aspects of exceptional SEO practices. If you want to get ahead of the competition then you need to start putting up interesting and informative content that will draw users in. And, while have a lot of content is helpful, it is important to focus on the overall quality of the content you are putting up. Having boring or unreliable content will only hurt your site and its rankings.

Google Sends Out Outbound Link Penalties

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

This past weekend, Google sent out outbound link penalties to numerous sites. To see if you’ve been penalized, it is recommended that you check your Google Search Console message center. Google sent out manual actions to websites whom they concluded were utilizing “unnatural outbound links”. If Google determined a site tried to manipulate the search engine through linking to other sites, that website was penalized and all of its links were deemed untrustworthy and therefore irrelevant.

google-penalty-justice1-ss-1920-800x450

The email sent to those penalized read:

“If you see this message on the Manual Actions page, it means that Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to the affected portions of your site. Actions that affect your whole site are listed under Site-wide matches. Actions that affect only part of your site and/or some incoming links to your site are listed under Partial matches.”

google-unnatural-links-outbound-1460374556

It is strongly recommended that you check your Google Search Console message center if you haven’t done so already to make sure your site hasn’t gotten hit with a manual action. If you do discover you have been penalized, there are steps you can take to correct this issue. Just go to the Google Search Console help center and search for unnatural links. There they will explain to you how to remove these links from your site and how to prevent this from happening again. Once you remove the unnatural links the manual action will be lifted and your Search Engine Optimization should no longer be affected. If you do not take the appropriate steps to correct this matter you will unfortunately see a drastic decline in website traffic in the near future.

It is also recommended that you talk to your SEO about linking practices to make sure they are not using unnatural outbound links in their digital marketing strategies. Although Google has not yet commented on this penalty, it is safe to assume that they are becoming increasingly strict in an effort to prevent faulty SEO practices.

7 Link-Building Outreach Mistakes to Avoid

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

One of the key steps in link-building is reaching out to various webmasters who might be interested in your services. However, many people rush through this task and do not take the time to do it correctly, making many mistakes along the way. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of the most offensive and unfortunately common mistakes people make when reaching out to other webmasters.

outreach-hands-ss-1920-800x450

First, it is important to remember to avoid trying to push content to someone who already has it. For example, if you have an article on the trendiest restaurants in the Indianapolis area, and you try to reach out to someone who already has an article very similar to the one you are offering, it is probably not going to be very well received. It is important that you do your research beforehand to make sure that the people you are contacting do not already have your content or articles similar to the content you are proposing.

Also, always make sure that if you are including a webmaster’s name in the email, that you get their name right! It is highly unprofessional to send an email to someone and misspell their name or worse use the wrong name entirely. Always double check your spelling and if you aren’t sure if you have the right name, use a generic title such as “webmaster”; it might not be as personal as using someone’s name but at least you reduce the risk of offending those you are emailing.

People also make the mistake of sending out emails that are too wordy or vague. Try to avoid going into too much detail that isn’t important or conversely not providing enough information to those who you are reaching out to, leaving them confused as to why you contacted them to begin with.

Lastly, avoid annoying people with too many emails! There’s nothing wrong with a follow up email, but contacting the same people over and over again trying to get them to try your services is just rude. All you are doing is wasting your time and theirs by continuing to email them. Understand that not everyone will be interested in what you are offering and avoid bugging people with your never-ending emails.

I hope the tips provided above will help you as you continue your link-building outreach!

HTTP/2 and SEO

By | SEO | No Comments

HTTP/2 has been a great help to digital marketers around the world who are able to use it to their advantage. HTTP/2 is an upgraded version of HTTP/1.1 as it has a much faster loading time and better browser-server communication than that of its predecessor. Additionally, if you do decide to upgrade to this new version and for whatever reason your site is not compatible with HTTP/2 you will automatically be downgraded to the normal version. So there really is nothing to lose in switching to the updated version!

How-Will-it-Affect-Your-SEO.jpg

This newer version is also supported by Google’s updated algorithm, giving you the opportunity to improve your search engine optimization tactics even more. And while HTTP/2 will give you the opportunity to improve your SEO, the truth is not much should change in your digital marketing strategies. Let’s go over a few aspects of SEO you should be focusing on as you make the switch to HTTP/2.

First, you need to utilize your Google Analytics tool as much as possible, as it is one of the most beneficial tools you can use to find the holes in your SEO work. Use this feature to help you identify problems such as slow loading times and poorly performing webpages.

Also, thanks to HTTP/2 and its faster loading times users are now able to gather the information they are looking for much more quickly than they were able to in the past. This means that it is now even more crucial for webpages to be user friendly and easy to navigate. Important information should be easily accessible and site owners should avoid cluttering their webpages with useless information or unhelpful links. Positive user experience has become increasingly influential in the world of SEO and webmasters should be doing everything they can to ensure site visitors are pleased with the information they are presented with.

Lastly, having good content has always been a vital aspect of effective digital marketing and that hasn’t changed even with all of these new updates. Having informative, useful content that engages users is still one of the best ways to improve your site’s SEO. Additionally, utilizing back-linking tools such as private blog networks will also help boost website traffic and improve your search ratings.

I hope these suggestions will help you as you upgrade to HTTP/2 and continue your SEO work!

AMP Pages and How They Affect SEO

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO | No Comments

Google AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages will now help users find the information they are looking for even faster, thanks to a new design that highlights stories on AMP-enabled websites. AMP websites load four times faster than normal sites and load almost instantly, making them extremely user-friendly. Now when you search for news articles, Google has a carousel pop up that appears at the top of the search results that provides you with the latest articles found on AMP- enabled websites. This means, users everywhere will be able to get the latest news faster than ever!

amp-project-header-640x438

So, what does this mean for search engine optimization? For starters, Google has noted that about 40% of users will leave a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. But with AMP enabled on your site, you are guaranteed never to have this problem as articles typically load within a half of a second. And while AMP is not yet a ranking factor for Google, it does have a large affect on website traffic and overall user experience. The AMP carousel appears at the very top of the search results page before any of the organic listings, which means that if your site is not AMP enabled and your competitors’ are, you’ll notice a decrease in website traffic fairly quickly.

So we now know how AMP will affect organic search listings, what about paid search results and local search results? Paid search listings should expect to see an improvement in Ad quality and an increase in search competition. Google has stated that Ads will be more attractive and have faster loading times thanks to AMP. Local search results will also be affected by AMP, with the most relevant content appearing in the carousel on top of the search results page.

While there is still plenty to learn about Accelerated Mobile Pages it is safe to assume that websites that aren’t AMP enabled will see a substantial drop in their search rankings. Thankfully, Google has released a tutorial on how to create a Google AMP Page so that webmasters can begin enabling their sites as soon as possible. Speeding up your webpages’ loading time with the help of AMP will ensure continued high search rankings!