Category Archives: Search Engine Watch

Launching a New Website? Don’t Neglect These SEO Basics

By | Search Engine Watch, SEO, SEO Strategies | No Comments
You’re excited about building a new website and can’t wait to share it with the world, but how will people even know it’s there once you launch? Nobody will unless you plan a solid SEO strategy right from the start. Take a look at these essential steps for making your site stand out to visitors and search engines the moment it goes live.

Map Out Keywords
You should know by now keyword stuffing will only get your site ignored, but smart planning does just the opposite. Make a list of site pages, and choose one or two keywords to target for each. Use these phrases in the URLs, page titles, meta descriptions, and image ALT tags. Be natural when including keywords in content to maintain a consistent voice across the site.

Make Smart Connections
Users and search engines need to be able to move between the pages of your site in a logical manner. Create a link structure in which every connection is relevant and works to point visitors on the most direct route to the pages they want to visit. Use a tool like Google Search Console to perform a crawl before the site is live and confirm the links actually point where they should.

Ensure a Universal Experience
Choose a mobile-friendly responsive layout for your site, and test every page in all major browsers. Users on smartphones and tablets should have the same smooth experience as those on PCs, and visitors using Chrome, Firefox and Edge should see all pages without any errors in layout. Run your site through Google Speed Test to identify pages with sluggish load times so that you can improve the overall user experience.

Expand and Track Your Online Presence
If you don’t already have social profiles set up, create them using handles representative of your new site. Update existing profiles to include the new URL and reflect any rebranding associated with the site’s launch. Now is also the time to set up an SEO tracker, such as Moz or SEMRush, to monitor keyword performance and sign up for webmaster tools from Google and Bing to start collecting analytics data.

Enrich Content
If you can enhance any page with schema markup, star ratings or reviews, do so. These elements improve visibility by identifying page elements for search engines and highlighting popular content. Do everything you can to make your site easy to share, such as including OpenGraph information or creating Pinterest-friendly images.

Generate Buzz
Create a robust promotional campaign to let the world know your site is about to go live. Use your social profiles to talk up the impending launch. Reach out to friends, family members, clients, brand ambassadors and anyone else you know who might be willing to give you a shout-out. Influencers and bloggers in your niche may also be up to making a little noise on your behalf if you’ve developed connections through other projects.

Don’t wait until your site has languished for weeks without visitors to implement an SEO strategy. Build keywords, links and a stellar user experience into the design as the site comes together to create a final product with appeal for both people and search engines. Make every tactic work toward increasing visibility, and watch performance begin to increase.

Why Do People Misunderstand The XML Sitemaps?

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

XML Sitemaps is one of the many search engine optimization tools. However, many people fail to understand what the tool can achieve, for reasons unknown to them. There is also another category of people who hardly have any idea of what XML Sitemaps entail. Just like any other tool, individuals need some training so that they can come to terms with what these tools are capable of.

A lot of people out there commonly think that it is the XML Sitemaps that help in the indexing of your web pages. On the contrary, this is never the case. Google only indexes web pages in which its tools have had the chance and opportunity to crawl. Also, indexing only occurs after the pages previously crawled upon are found to contain meaningful content. With this misconception, many people have found themselves submitting samples of their pages to Google for review. However, they are met with shock since Google only approves pages that portray quality rather than quantity. Indexation, however, helps other individuals find your content quickly.

Sometimes, when people decide to send Google some of their pages, they happen to produce quality content but forget to update their meta robots. In such a case, they create confusion and end up not getting indexed due to such inconsistencies. Setting your meta robots to no-index and no-follow causes Google not to index your page. Thus, you should avoid the above at all costs.

Google usually indexes pages based on the type of content found in them. If your content seems to be of high quality and directly speaks to users, then Google feels compelled to index your pages. If you happen to produce ten pages of great content and eleven pages of poor quality text, Google feels discouraged to index you since it sees no worth in sending users to your portal.

XML Sitemap is, therefore, a tool that helps you discover which of your pages have been indexed by Google and which have not. In this way, you can upgrade the content on the pages that have not yet received indexation so as to improve their quality. Low ranking pages appear at the bottom page. For the best possible output, it is best if you block meta robots and robots.txt so as to eliminate anomalies that come with the use of the same. It is only after cleaning up your pages that you will start experiencing significant changes on your part.

When you submit particular content to Google, you hint to it that such information is vital to your site. Thus, Google can now index your content. For the best results, it is important that you sub-group your pages so that Google can also find it easier to index them. In so doing, you also get to know which pages have quality work and which ones need an immediate review. Something important to note is that you do not need to have an XML extension in order to submit your files to Google.

Thus, the best outcomes call for consistency in content, the ability to use XML Sitemaps with excellent efficiency, and the capacity to sub-group content for easy indexing. Hence, I believe this article will help you not to mistake XML Sitemaps for something it is not.

 

 

What Is So Complicated About SEO Redirect

By | Search Engine Watch | No Comments

SEO redirect is an aspect that eludes most experts. The reason behind this constant fear is because there are more than a thousand ways to carry out SEO redirects, and thus it would rather be impossible for an ordinary expert to understand all these processes. Besides, these methodologies often change depending on the procedures in effect. In principle, SEO redirect refers to the course of transferring digital signals from one URL to another. Today, most of us have had an experience with how Google takes you to other sites that offer you better information on topics that you have an interest in. What we fail to understand is that the above occurrences is one of the ways of handling redirects.

Redirects include the grouping of signals such that they are consolidated as links and passed from one web page to the other. Since redirects improve computer usability, it is vital that they are preserved even in future. All SEO redirects virtually center on the type of technology you are using at the time. Domain redirects happen to be quite different from web page redirects. Redirects are flexible for placement in various positions, and this is what brings these variations.

As much as redirects are useful, it is vital for you to know where to place them and at what time. It is bad practice to put many redirects on one page since this usually leads to overcrowding. You can only redirect your files at the DNS, CDN, and server levels. The process is also ideal during HTTP header response and language-based redirects.

The procedure of a redirect is more complicated for businesses as opposed to other ventures. Since a business might have many pages, it is important that you develop several methodologies that will allow you to set up a vast majority of redirects without overcrowding them. Before creating your redirects, it is critical that you understand where you intend to use them.

As you set up these tools, you have to make sure that you do not block or no-index anything. Blocking of any kind prevents Google from crawling through your content, and thus it becomes impossible for your files to be indexed. It is always good to remember that redirects vary from one aspect to the other and that each scenario requires its unique set of rules. If you happen to change your site from HTTP to HTTPS, you ought to also update your redirect settings. Keeping your data updated helps protect your systems from crashing.

Apart from the above, you have to possess some basic knowledge on web design, a knowledge that will help you integrate redirects into your sites. In the absence of such knowledge, you are prone to experience problems with your domains in future, especially 404 errors. Using the right types of codes is also imperative for redirects. It is these regulations that dictate the kind of signals your redirects will use.

Finally, you have to recheck your redirects for any errors. It is an opportunity that allows you to correct the broken links in your creation way before you start using your redirects. Since there are many ways of doing redirects, it is essential that you equip yourself with thorough knowledge of at least one method since it will make the understanding of other methods easier.

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!