Category Archives: Search Engine Watch

A Simple 3-Step Solution To Addressing Site Issues That Impact Performance

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

Since both search engines and consumers have come to expect high performance from websites, unresolved site issues can have a significant impact on content performance and SEO.

The Detrimental Impact of Site Issues

As the web continues to evolve and expand, the risk of potential problems has expanded as well. Even minor issues, such as poor page speed, can have a drastic impact on site performance and create a damaging effect on the reputation of the company, lower search rankings, and decrease web traffic.

In addition to the detrimental effects of slow page speed, dysfunctional navigation systems increase the risk of losing page visitors. Additionally, a large percentage of people will leave a site if they consider the layout unattractive.

Auditing Your Site: The Three-Step Solution

Avoiding potentially devastating issues involves performing a thorough site and content audit and setting up a proactive system that prevents future problems. This allows brands to address errors and issues before the growth of the site is compromised.

To optimize your website and resolve errors, follow the three-step process outlined below.

Step 1: Identify Errors and Anomalies

The first stage entails running a complete site audit to pinpoint any page issues or anomalies that could be restricting the efficiency of your site. This audit should:

  • Check site speed
  • Locate page errors
  • Search for incorrect page redirects
  • Look for faulty links
  • Ensure your site pages are fully crawlable
  • Pay close attention to keyword phrases (ex: if your consumers often search “How Do I Make a Cake?”, then this exact phrase should be included on your site).
  • Any other issues that may prevent a positive consumer experience

Step 2: Prioritize Issues Based on Severity

Certain issues will have more of a negative impact than others. For this reason, it is important to address critical issues first.

Your top priority should be fixing any errors that affect the navigation or visibility of your website. For instance, if Google has accidentally blocked a page, this issue requires immediate attention. Also work on any issues with error pages, broken links, or redirects.

Next, tackle any content issues such as meta descriptions and page titles. Assure that appropriate keyword phrases have been utilized and that none of the content is duplicated or thin.

Step 3: Fix the Errors

To complete the overhaul of your site, follow these final tips:

  • Set up 301 redirects to guarantee that users will arrive at the page they intended to
  • Check all robots.txt on your site
  • If you have removed content, remove the associated link so consumers do not end up on an error page
  • Check your page loading speed using the Google Developer tool and follow any recommendations
  • Check pages for missing alt text, tags, or related makeup errors

Final Thoughts

Site problems possess the potential to damage website engagement and, ultimately, result in a loss of revenue. Given the competitive nature of today’s digital market, brands cannot afford to ignore the structure and integrity of their websites.

A thorough site audit completed at regular intervals, along with major site events, can help keep websites running smoothly and preserve a brand’s reputation and revenue.

 

Why Web Creation And Design Should Not Be An Afterthought

By | Marketing, Search Engine Watch | No Comments
We all know how important search engine optimization is to a company. Many companies around the globe make use of SEO tools, so as to improve productivity within their institutions. However, these tools do not seem to work at times, and this leads to frustration, especially by top management. As a move to discover possible loopholes, they employ you as a trusted web designer help identify problems that might be affecting their systems. After the audit process, what would you as a professional tell your client!

Some of the things you would recommend are:-

  • A complete overhaul of the company website;
  • Develop a newer and better site; and
  • Change the business model in use.

Problems in company site operations begin when an institution takes search engine optimization into consideration only after the development of the entire corporate website. Hence, this article is meant to help your organization solve any issues that might result from the auditing process.

For maximum productivity, your existing website should undergo a complete transformation in such a way that it quickly sells its agenda to members of the public. However, the creation of corporate plans occurs after a company identifies the particular product it wants to sell to the rest of the world. For instance, one of the key objectives of a company would be to develop a mission statement that tells people how you will help them achieve their goals in life.

To create a highly optimized site, it is also important for you to identify your target audience, their preferences and how they behave in and out of Internet platforms. Understanding these trends enables you to develop a website that automatically analyzes customer trends presently and in future.

Stiff competition drives every successful market across the globe. For this reason, you as an organization should understand that you might not necessarily be the ones supplying particular products to citizens within your geographical location. To this end, it is necessary that you first analyze what other companies providing similar services in your area do so as to maintain a competitive edge. It is only after integrating all these points that you will be able to come up with a brand that most clients associate.

When it comes to optimizing your website, you cannot dare to ignore the technical aspects. For instance, you should highly consider using https as compared to HTTP. The reason behind this is because the former allows online payments for services rendered.

Another aspect worth mentioning is the creation of a website with a unique URL. Many times internet sites are created in a poor way and end up costing a company in a big way, by duplicating web pages. By creating your website using unique IDs, you will be able to avoid the above from happening.

Speed is of the essence when it comes to website creation. Since you always want your clients to access your web pages in quick and precise steps, you ought to have it developed using fast codes. Language is also important for web pages, especially if you want to reach a global audience. Optimizing your site with multi-lingual capabilities is one of the ways you can boost productivity.

Besides, you should have your company site created in a manner that it encourages easy changes whenever the need arises. For optimal performance, integrate keywords in your system so as to always direct clients searching for some topics to your web page.

Therefore, your website will only work at optimum capacity when it is re-designed to suit needs peculiar to your organization.

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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

Boost Your Rankings with the Help of TLDs

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO | No Comments

TLDs (top-level domains) such as .LIVE or .NEWS have always been a controversial topic in the world of SEO. Some experts would say that TLDs help boost rankings with little work from you while others would claim that .COM domains are the better option for SEO. We wanted to settle this argument once and for all, so we consulted some of the SEO wizards at Indianapolis SEO to see what they had to say about this disputed topic.

attorneykeys-800x450To properly measure TLDs Indianapolis SEO used .ATTORNEY as the main test subject in the area of legal services. This study showed that when an Indianapolis based lawyer switched his website from a .COM to a .ATTORNEY domain his search rankings for multiple competitive keywords skyrocketed within a short few months. This is especially remarkable when you consider the fact that 78 of Google’s 100 most expensive keywords are related to legal services. This means that the lawyer got a significant boost in his search rankings without spending a lot of time or money. So what is the significance for sites not related to legal services that are considering making the switch to TLD?

CostPerClickExample-800x164This study proved that TLDs can be highly beneficial when used correctly in certain markets. Before making the switch to a TLD I would first recommend you do some research. Research the competitive keywords in your market and how your website ranks with them. It is also important that you consider your market and target audience to make sure that this kind of switch would indeed help boost your rankings.

TrafficBefore-800x304TLDs can seem confusing, so if you still find yourself unsure about making the change even after doing the proper research, I would advise calling a professional. SEO companies such as Indianapolis SEO specialize in helping webmasters determine which digital marketing strategies will most benefit their website. They can help better explain TLDs and their advantages and aid you as you make the switch if you decide to move forward.

TrafficAfter-800x304TLDs can be beneficial if used correctly. Make sure you do your research beforehand to ensure that a TLD would help your website more than a standard .COM domain.

Meta Title Tags for SEO Explained

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO | No Comments

What are meta title tags and why are they important? Many SEO novices have no idea what meta title tags are and the important role they play in search engine optimization.

However, before we can explain the importance of a meta title tag, we first need to define what it is. A meta title tag is located in the <head> section of your HTML and looks like this:

Example Title

Once you submit information into this title tag, it will show up in multiple locations, such as the web browser tab, the search engine results and whenever anyone shares your link on a social media website.

title-tag-in-browserSo you can see why these title tags are so important. The information you enter in your meta title tag will almost always appear whenever someone searches for your site and therefore has a huge impact on the amount of traffic your website receives.

Methods-Unsound-title-tag-So how do you make sure you write a good meta title tag? Our digital marketers have complied a quick list for you to look over before writing your title tags.

methods-unsound-Google-SearchThe Six Rules of Title Tags:

  1. Title tags should be 50-60 characters long, including spaces.
  2. Title tags should be unique for every page of your site.
  3. Title tags should describe the content on the page.
  4. Title tags should always include your company name.
  5. Title tags should have the most important keywords at the beginning.
  6. Title tags should be different from your headline.

For example, let’s say you were advertising good pizza in Indianapolis. A good title tag for this could be something like: Best Pizza In Indianapolis: 12 Restaurants You Need to Visit.

Meta title tags are one of the more basic aspects of SEO but they still have a huge impact on the success or failure of your website. Having poorly written title tags can severely hinder your site’s web traffic potential. Even if you wrote your title tags a long time ago, I would encourage you to go back and review each of them to ensure they are written correctly and are still relevant.

3 Easy Ways to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO | No Comments

Make your site more mobile-friendly with these three easy steps!

  1. Simplify your Website.

Nothing can be more frustrating than a site that takes a long time to load and gives way too much information all at once. Remember, mobile users are looking at your site through a much smaller screen, so trying to cram a bunch of content on each page will probably lead to a lot of frustration and ultimately a decrease in website traffic. Try to make your information succinct while still being informative and interesting.

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  1. Get Rid of Pop-Ups.

Seriously, just get rid of them. I’ve found that the majority of pop-ups are so annoying to deal with on a mobile device that many users just close out of the window as soon as one comes up. While pop-ups may be ok on a desktop computer, they are often rather obnoxious looking on a mobile device and oftentimes are very difficult to close out of. My best advice is just to get rid of them all together but if you must have them then try to simplify them as much as you can. Don’t require too much information from users and make sure the pop-ups are easy to get out of. If you can, have your pop-up appear only after a user has clicked on a link for it. That way, you know they are interested in the information being presented and are less likely to get frustrated.

  1. Utilize Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) were recently created by Google and a few of their partners. AMP sites load much faster and, as a result, get top priority in the Google search results in order to encourage web designers to create them. However, AMP is still in the beginning stages and there is a chance that it could end up being terminated. If you have enough time to create them and would like to use AMP on your site then I would say go for it. If you have a WordPress site, making the adjustments is fairly simple, as they provide you with a plug-in. And, if you don’t have a WordPress site, Google provides a tutorial on how to create AMP. That being said, I would advise most digital marketers to hold off for a bit before taking the time to make them.

Use these steps to help your site become more mobile-friendly and ultimately boost your rankings and web traffic!

Making the Switch from HTTP to HTTPS

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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.

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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!

AMP Pages and How They Affect SEO

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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!

Google’s Quality Rating Guideline Takeaways

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The idea of reading through the 157 pages of Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines can seem daunting to say the least. Trying to gather information from said guidelines to help improve your website’s search engine optimization can be even more difficult. Luckily, you won’t have to analyze all 157 pages of the guidelines as our digital marketing experts in Indianapolis have combed through Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines to provide our readers with its most important information regarding SEO strategies.

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First, user satisfaction should be your main concern. This means you should no longer be obsessing over having a large amount of interesting content on your site. Yes, content is still important, but according to the Quality Rating Guidelines, the most important aspect of your site is overall user experience. Google wants to ensure that users are satisfied with the information you provide on your site and that they are able to easily find the material they were looking for.

user-intent

Another important factor stressed by Google in its guidelines is having a good online reputation. When Google assesses your website, any awards or reviews your site has received from other websites will be taken into consideration. This goes back to the overall user experience mentioned above.

positive-reputation

Google wants to know that people are satisfied with your site and the services or products you offer. Therefore, having positive reviews from other businesses or satisfied customers is crucial if you want your site to have a high quality rating.

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Google also emphasizes how important it is for websites to be mobile friendly. More and more people are opting to search the web from their phones or tablets rather than from their computers. That being said, having a mobile site that is complicated or confusing for users to navigate will severely hurt your Google ranking. Try to simplify your site by making tasks easy for users to complete. For example, if you are asking them to fill out their information to get in contact with your business, don’t require a lot of information and only ask questions that are necessary. Bottom line: if you want your website to get a positive rating, then make sure it is completely mobile friendly!

We hope the information provided above helps you as you navigate the world of SEO and make the necessary adjustments to your site to ensure a high quality rating!

Google Announces Top 3 Search Ranking Factors

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The majority of the time SEO experts are left guessing as to what factors are used the most in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, thanks to a Q&A session with Andrey Lipattsev, one of Google’s Search Quality Senior Strategists, we now know the top 3 search ranking factors. These factors are RankBrain, Links, and Content. This probably isn’t shocking news for most digital marketers but it is helpful to get reassurance that the backlinks and content you’ve created for your site are being recognized and taken into consideration when ranking your webpage in Google.

Links and content have always been two of the most important aspects of good search engine optimization practices and the Q&A session mentioned above simply reaffirms that knowledge. RankBrain, however, is a new development that is still being researched by many SEOs. Because little is known about this new ranking feature, we are left to guess as to how it will affect SEO in general. What we do know is that RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm that helps better rank webpages in Google. Its purpose is to get the most relevant pages to the top of the search results, helping Google users find the information they are looking for faster. This means that competition for the top Google spots is going to get increasingly difficult as RankBrain weeds out any less than satisfactory webpages.

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That being said, even though we now know the top three search ranking factors for Google, not much should change for SEOs. It is still important for digital marketers to focus on getting good backlinks by utilizing tools such as private blog networks as well as creating lots of informative and interesting content for their sites. However, it is now more important than ever that webmasters are ensuring a positive user experience for anyone who visits their website. This means that all SEOs need to make sure their sites are easy to navigate, and are filled with useful information that will lead to overall user satisfaction. Having a high user rating will boost your page’s relevancy and should benefit you as RankBrain assesses your site and helps decide where it should rank on Google.