All posts by Paul Annixter

The SEO Playbook for Healthcare Providers

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

SEOs have primarily been using the same steps to redirect their HTTP sites to their HTTPS sites.  Granted, these steps have had their drawbacks, but there aren’t that many options when it comes to redirecting.

57991bbd2fb3c8.82160568Three main issues stand out when when it comes to changing a URL:

  • Using a 301 to automatically and permanently redirect- this is guaranteed to lose the same amount of rankings as when using an actual link to redirect.
  • Using a 302 [temporary redirects] incurs penalties from search engines for not treating the site change properly.
  • Migrating in general just plain old loses rankings- mostly because of the first two issues.

These issues tend to keep a business from changing their URL at all.  Especially for healthcare providers, who want to maintain a steady growth in rankings so that their sites are easily found by potential patients, changing from HTTP to HTTPS seems like an unnecessary drop in rankings.

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Recently, Google released their decision to not sites for using 3XX redirection methods.  They have also provided the incentive of a small rankings boost if you make the switch.  It all seems too good to be true, and it basically is, but that doesn’t necessarily make it all bad.

Google has decided that it will be risk free for using 301s, but that winds up only being for the URL.  So one link escapes penalty, which is great, but the risk free doesn’t carry over to all of the other site redirects.

As far as 302s, Google may have decided to treat them like 301s, but that doesn’t mean other search engines and social platforms have.

579910e0898242.59136524Hands down, redirecting your site from HTTP to HTTPS is going to effect traffic.  With all of the moving pieces and parts that come from this site, the potential for something to get lost in translation or done incorrectly is pretty great.   It is always recommended to practice this process on a smaller site before trying on a larger site, which obviously has more moving pieces and parts to mess up.

There are a couple of tips that been found to be helpful when redirecting a site:

  • Risks are inevitable, so don’t freak out if you see a small drop in rankings
  • You can’t make everyone happen: most search engines still prefer 301 redirects
  • If you can keep all of the other elements the same, except for the URL, chances of making mistakes become much smaller
  • The benefits that will come from redirecting your URL (for SEO) are promising for future improvement of traffic and rankings. This should be encouraging for healthcare providers, when their sites are so specific and full of “surgeon” speak and technical terminology.
    • Redirecting allows an opportunity to improve the overall structure of a site
    • It allows the opportunity to include primary keywords in the URL, which is a big deal for SEO, not to mention that specifying your practice in the URL is great for increasing traffic
    • Here’s the chance to make to make your URL easier for the user to read

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!

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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!

SEO Strategies for 2016

By | SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments

Search Engine Optimization is constantly changing, and it is vital for digital marketing experts to stay up to date with the latest information in the world of SEO. As with every year, this year there have been changes and updates to the SEO strategies previously used in 2015. While some of the adjustments have been minor and many of the tactics may have remained unchanged it is still helpful for SEO experts and novices alike to look over the key strategies outlined for 2016 and refocus their digital marketing efforts.

  1. Utilize Social Media Sites

It’s no secret that the majority of internet users are involved on social media in some capacity which means that it is no longer optional for websites to utilize the social media outlets available to them. Social Media sites such as Facebook or Twitter can greatly increase website traffic and help boost your Google rankings. If you aren’t already using these sites to improve your digital marketing, it is time to start doing so now.

  1. Have Interesting and Informative Video Content on Your Site

This step is pretty self-explanatory. Users are wanting to gather as much information as quickly as possible and having video content on your website will help them do just that. Remember, user experience is that most important factor to consider when structuring your site and having high quality video content will help ensure your site is user-friendly.
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  1. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly!

As stated above, user experience is one of the most important factors to consider in regards to SEO strategies. That being said, an increasing amount of people are opting to use their cell phones or tablets when searching the internet instead of their computer. Therefore, having a website that is highly mobile friendly is a must. Your site needs to be easy to navigate and should load quickly when accessed from a mobile device. If not, your Google ranking will be severely hindered.

  1. Don’t Forget About Content

Having high quality content will always be important for SEO and it is important that digital marketers are consistently updating their website with useful and interesting content. Utilizing tools such as private blog networks to further market your site and its content can also be highly beneficial. The key point to remember is to make sure your content is informative and will appeal to those who visit your website.

We’re confident that if you use the guidelines provided above as you refocus your digital marketing efforts for 2016 you will see a boost in your website traffic and Google rankings! Wishing you a successful year in SEO!

How to Make Your Site SEO Friendly

By | SEO | No Comments

Wanting to get more traffic to your business’s website but don’t know how? Boosting your online presence may be easier than you think. Check out our tips on making your website more search engine optimization friendly to ensure you attract as many potential customers as possible!

First, websites with good SEO use high quality keywords by inserting them all throughout their site. This helps grab the attention of users and also makes them aware of what your site has to offer. This is especially important to remember when naming the images on your website. Many times people will search for a particular image with specific keywords, so it is advisable that your image titles are descriptive yet to the point.

A website with good digital marketing will also be easy to navigate and highly user friendly. Make sure there are no confusing links or pointless content making your site look sloppy and unappealing. It is also crucial that your website is mobile friendly, as more and more people are opting to use their cellphones instead of their laptops or computers when conducting a search.

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Solid content plays a huge role in search engine optimization tactics as it will not only attract users to your site but it will also help your website climb search rankings. Consistently posting informative and interesting content to your site should be one of your top priorities as you try to improve your SEO strategies.

However, when creating content for your site be sure to avoid the temptation of overloading users with weak content in an effort to improve your search rankings. Just because a site is doing well in the rankings doesn’t always necessarily mean it is attracting a lot of users. While a good amount of content is important, make sure you don’t overdo it. One easy way to space out your content is by utilizing social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to post updates without adding them directly to your site. This not only will help you climb Google rankings but it will also ensure you avoid overwhelming users with information when they visit your site.

We hope the tips we provided you with above help you as you try to make your site more SEO friendly!

What a Local Business Website Should Look Like

By | Local SEO, SEO | No Comments

Many small, local business have not taken the appropriate steps to attract local customers to their website because they don’t know where to begin or they have the false assumption that search engine optimization is only appropriate for large corporations. However, they could not be more wrong! Good SEO tactics are not only reserved for those who have the money to hire SEO experts, in fact, digital marketing for local businesses is fairly straight forward and can be managed successfully by almost anyone. If you own a local business and you’re not attracting a large amount of potential customers in your area then some serious changes need to be made to the way you approach SEO. We want to help ensure success for your business, so we’ve provided a list of things to do in order to improve your site’s search engine optimization and ultimately increase your company’s profits.

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First, you need to make sure all of your contact information is up to date and can be easily located by potential clients. This is especially important for local businesses wanting to attract customers from their area. One easy way to do this is by having a “contact us” page on your site that includes all of your information as well as an option to contact you directly through your site. It is vital that you make it as easy as possible for customers to locate your contact information.

It is also equally important that you are providing clients with informative and interesting local content. Don’t give into the temptation of copying your competitors or publishing content that is useless and unhelpful. I would highly recommend starting a blog and utilizing tools such as private blog networks as you begin creating content for your company.

Another helpful tip: get lots of reviews! Reviews will do wonders for your company as they help you climb Google quickly and provide other potential clients with useful information regarding your business.

Lastly, utilize social media outlets. We live in a world where almost everyone is involved on social media, and if you are not taking advantage of the various social media sites, it’s time to start doing so! Make your company a Facebook page, Instagram account and Twitter page and start posting interesting content related to your company or products!

We hope the advice above will help your local business as you begin navigating the world of SEO!

WordPress Websites in Relation to Local SEO

By | Local SEO | No Comments

It’s fairly common knowledge that the majority of successful websites use WordPress as their platform. In fact, a recent study by BuiltWith.com reported that of the top million sites online, 50 percent of them used WordPress. When presented with this statistic, one might wonder why so many people are choosing WordPress for their site.

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The most obvious reason we’ve found is how easy it is to use. Compared to other CMSs, WordPress is very straight-forward and simple, making it easy for novices to catch on quickly with little to no confusion. So then, is WordPress well suited for local businesses and their search engine optimization? And what should you do once you’ve installed your SEO plugin? We’ve answered these questions for you in the paragraphs below!

Here’s what to do once you have your SEO plugin installed:

You’ll first want to check the settings to make sure that all the basic information is correct including your site URLs. Unfortunately, if your site responds to a large variety of the same URL this can severely hurt your website’s SEO potential. Once you choose your site URL preferences, you must then make sure you set your preferred URL in your Google Search Console and then set your internal navigation to only link to that URL.

Once you have all of your settings taken care of, you must then shift your focus to the content of your site. Your main objective as a local business is to attract as many potential customers as possible from your area. To ensure the best possible results for your site, I recommend clearly linking your services and locations on your various webpages.

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For example, if you are looking for a dry cleaning service near your home in Indianapolis, then obviously you want to find a dry cleaning service only in Indianapolis. The job of a webmaster is to make sure that Google is able to identify the relation between the service you offer and where you are located so that only local customers are being directed to your site.

I hope the two suggestions listed above will help you as you try to navigate SEO and your local business’ WordPress site!

 

Google’s Core Algorithm and How it Effects SEO

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

A recent announcement stating that Panda is a part of Google’s core ranking algorithm has left many SEO’s wondering what the “core” system is and what else is part of it.

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An interview with Google’s Andrey Lipattsev provided some clarification on the matter. Lipattsev stated, “It is less about the functionality, which means it probably doesn’t change that much over time, and it is more about how we perceive it, in the context of the algorithm”. He also went on to say, “For a user or even a webmaster it should not matter at all which components live where, it’s really irrelevant, and that’s why I think people should focus on these ‘interesting’ things less”.

So even though it may be an interesting development, the point is that knowing what is in the core algorithm is seemingly irrelevant. Nothing major has changed for search engine optimization, so SEO workers should continue conducting their digital marketing as usual. Webmasters need to focus on putting informative and useful content on their site to help it climb Google rankings.

Also, utilizing outlets such as private blog networks and social media sites can do wonders for your SEO. If you are not already using social media to help boost your website’s ranking then you need to start soon. Facebook is obviously one of the most popular social media sites to use for many reasons.

A Facebook page allows you to put up informative content for your clients to see and also has a section for satisfied customers to leave their reviews. You can also put your location on the page and link it back directly to your business’ website. Making use of all of the tools and outlets available to you will help tremendously as you try to grow your site’s SEO.

 

Regardless of what outlets you choose to use, the most important aspect of SEO is staying on top of the latest news in search engine optimization and constantly updating your strategies to improve your site’s results. Consistently checking for shifts in Google’s algorithm will ultimately help you stay ahead of your competitors.

Where to Search for the Winning Powerball Numbers

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Last Saturday night the biggest lottery drawing in US history took place, and as a result millions of Americans went to Google to search for the winning lottery numbers before and after the drawing took place.

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However, hours after the drawing took place, when users searched for the term “powerball” the winning numbers were nowhere to be found.

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News headlines containing the winning numbers popped up at the top, but the news reports were cut off before the numbers were listed on the Google search page.

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Bing also showed similar search results, with the winning numbers missing from the top of the page. Again, they had a news story that did contain the numbers if you clicked to read it, but on Bing’s search page the article cut off before the numbers were listed.

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Surprisingly, the two search engines that are showing the winning powerball numbers are Yahoo and Ask.com. Yahoo had the best results, displaying the winning numbers at the top of the page as well as the current estimated jackpot.

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Ask.com also had the numbers listed at the top of their search results along with some other winning lottery numbers.

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However, the best place to find the winning powerball numbers Saturday night seemed to be social media. Both Facebook and Twitter had direct links to the winning numbers when searching for “powerball”. Now, of course, it would be more difficult to find the numbers on either of these social media outlets but when the search for “powerball” skyrocketed Saturday night these websites were the best at promoting the numbers.

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So what does that mean for search engine optimization? Not much honestly. But it is important for SEO workers to be aware of the varying results from each search engine and social media outlet. Digital marketers should use this little bit of news as a reminder not to focus all of their attention on Google alone. Other search engines can be valuable in promoting your site and, as most people already know, so can social media. A good SEO company should be promoting their website on all possible outlets in order to receive the most favorable results.

How to Locate and Clean Duplicate Listings

By | Local SEO | No Comments

Locating duplicate listings can seem difficult if you’re not sure how to begin or where to look. In the article below we’ve provided the steps you need to take in order to find duplicate listings and how to clean them up!

Locate and Clean Duplicate Listings

For this list we’ll use a bakery in Indianapolis, IN as an example.

  1. Go to Google Map Maker and search for Indianapolis, IN.
  2. Enter the bakery’s phone number in the search bar. This will provide you with every business in the Indianapolis area with that specific phone number.
  3. Open each business’ website in a new tab and write down the URL’s with the corresponding business name as well as phone number, street address, suite #, city and ZIP code.
  4. Be sure to highlight any information that does not match up so that you are aware of it.
  5. Now you must find the “CID”. You can do this by selecting “View Page Source” then pressing CTRL+F and searching for “CID”. You should find a long number. Replace the number we’ve bolded in the following url with the number you find: http://maps.google.com/maps?cid=389725787473153472. Record that as your maps url.
  6. To find out if there are any duplicates go to google.com and type in your information in the appropriate categories: “street number” “beginning of street name without prefixes” “city name” “contact” inurl:about site:plus.google.com. Also, be sure to include &filter=0 to ensure nothing is filtered out.

Using the steps provided above you should be able to successfully locate any duplicate listings. Once you are aware of the duplicate listings you must begin to clean up your listings. To do this you need to make sure that all of your information is consistent and your business name doesn’t contain any keyword stuffing. Also, check to see that you are not overlapping any categories or including categories that shouldn’t be included.

You must also look through the various listings and decide which ones you want to have indexed high on the Google rankings. The best listings should have the strongest url included in them so that they rank the highest on Google.

I hope that the information we’ve provided you with above will help you better locate any duplicate listings and ultimately help you improve your website’s SEO!

Most Popular Keyword Research Tools of 2015: A Beginner’s Guide

By | Keyword Research Tools | No Comments

The majority of site owners are currently using keyword research tools to help boost their search engine optimization. But it can be difficult for aspiring webmasters and SEO beginners to know which keyword research tool is the best for identifying the most profitable keywords. A survey released by a popular SEO website will give SEO novices an inside look at the most popular and presumably the most successful keyword research tools of 2015.

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Here is the complete list of the top keyword research tools of 2015:

  1. AdWords Keyword Planner (84%)
  2. SEMRush (54%)
  3. Ubersuggest (39%)
  4. io (36%)
  5. Moz Keyword Difficulty (33%)
  6. SimilarWeb (18%)
  7. Other (17%)
  8. Spyfu (16%)
  9. Bing Keyword Research Tool (12%)
  10. KWFinder (6%)
  11. Wordstream Keyword Generator (6%)
  12. Wordtracker (5%)
  13. Jumpshot (1%)

Of these results, 63% said that they pay for their keyword research tools. So what does that tell newbies? That you get what you pay for. If you are at all serious about your site’s digital marketing, then you need to be using a solid keyword research tool to help you sort out valuable keywords. Judging by the survey results listed above, it seems that most SEO experts would agree that the more well-known keyword research tools such as AdWords and SEMRush still yield the best results for websites.

Once you have utilized one of the tools listed above to help you prioritize keywords for your site, you must begin plugging them into your content in order to climb Google rankings. There are many strategies you can use to add content to your site as you try to work in profitable keywords. These strategies include using private blog networks and social media sites to promote your content and create a positive online reputation.

I hope the information provided above will help you as you try to navigate the every changing world of search engine optimization! Finding the right tools to help you can seem daunting at times, but with enough hard work and diligence you’ll begin to see the results you want for your website!