Man, the Holidays are right around the corner and this year needs to be much better than the last… As entrepreneurs, we’ve all been there.
Most companies want to maximize their online visibility during the holiday season. For B2C companies, the impact on revenue is the greatest. Even B2B companies benefit from being more visible during the Holidays. While perhaps business is slow, being more visible still helps your business achieve higher margins and higher revenue.
There are many ways companies can improve their search engine visibility during the holidays without too much effort. Some take time and effort while others are simply everyday actions that you may not have thought to leverage.
According to a Google consumer study, 62 percent of consumers will finish their holiday shopping before December 16, so there’s still time to power up your SEO for Christmas.
Here are eight digital marketing strategies to increase your brand’s visibility to last-minute shoppers and ensure your business is prepared for the Christmas season.
Create a Holiday Gift Ideas Web Page
A holiday gift section on your website can provide the perfect platform for holiday-related content and is the ideal place to highlight seasonal promotions and deals. Creating an entirely new landing page that’s highly visible and easy to access will quickly be crawled by search engine spiders, which will help you rank for relevant holiday queries.
Upload Your Products to the Big Ecommerce Sites
Many online retailers don’t realize the value of uploading their products to eBay and Amazon. These sites see more traffic during the holiday season, so increasing the visibility of your products on these sites can increase your website traffic as well.
Make a Holiday Guide From Old Articles
Take existing content and give it a holiday spin. For example, a consumer electronics store can reach out to shoppers by turning a list of its best-sellers into “The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for the Techie in Your Life” or “The Best Value TV to Buy This Christmas.” Content geared toward attracting consumers with buying intent will drive page views and result in more conversions.
Optimize Your Top Landing Pages
Visit the landing page report in Google Analytics to find out which pages generate the most views. You can then modify these pages for the holiday season by including special promotions and updating product descriptions with holiday-related keywords.
Research Holiday-Specific Keywords
Search Google Trends and the Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool to find out which words to target. The key is to focus on long-tail keywords specific to your niche, and avoid generic phrases. Include these phrases on holiday-related landing pages, and add them to meta descriptions and title tags in order to increase click-through rates from search engines.
Optimize Your Paid Search Campaigns
PPC ads are perfect for seasonal promotions. Set up several Google AdWords campaigns that specifically target holiday shoppers with gift ideas and Christmas deals related to your products. Remember to direct these ads to your holiday landing pages.
Social Media Optimization
Social media can play a huge role in seasonal SEO. Use your social media pages to highlight holiday promotions using holiday-themed content and visuals. Include direct links to your special offers, and try social ads to boost your presence. Remember that Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest now have “buy buttons” that visitors can use to purchase items directly through the social platform.
Double-Check the Health of Your Website
Making sure your website functions correctly is essential, especially during busier periods. Use tools like Google Webmaster Tools or Screaming Frog to check your site for crawl errors, 404 errors, indexing issues, duplicate pages, broken links, and slow page speed issues. Don’t let a substandard website deter potential customers.
There are many marketing strategies to consider during the holiday period, but SEO should always be a priority for any business with an online presence. Remember, it’s not too late to improve your online presence at this busy time of year. Use these SEO techniques to drive more potential customers to your website and you’ll hopefully enjoy a more profitable holiday season.
If you’re experienced with WordPress, there is no doubt that you’ve encountered some form of malicious attack or bot spam. WordPress is known for having security vulnerabilities, but regardless, it is still the most widely used CMS on the web, and for good reason. So for those of you who have just been hacked or want to take preventative measures, here are 5 quick tips that will keep your WordPress site free of malware and safe from intruders.
- Ensure that there is not an admin account named “admin” in the system – it is the most popular username out there and should not be used
- Use https (ssl certificate) for the site to prevent data theft when logging in – requires ssl certificate that can be bought for about 200 per year
- After a hack, change all passwords for your users and make sure they are strong
- Keep wordpress up to date with latest version
- After hack, run a virus scan on site – can be accomplished with available plugins
5 Tips to Keep Your WordPress Site Safe From Hackers https://t.co/ukf4tE2FNT
— Joshua Belland (@JoshBelland) April 27, 2016
There are a lot of questions regarding how Google tracks backlinks. When a website has a number of links coming from the same IP address even with different referring domains, it does not look natural. In fact, it looks very spammy and fabricated. Google figured that out a long time ago. What else is Google looking at?
1. Total Number of Inbound Links
Looking at all of the competitors in this matrix, we can see that some of them have massive amounts of links. This information is completely useless. I’ve seen spammy blog networks hit websites with 100k backlinks and take their traffic down by 30%. What is more important is the referring domains.
2. Referring Domains
When comparing the amount of referring domains to total links, I typically look at the ratio. For instance, dizzyheights.com has 116,714 links coming from 63 referring domains. This means absolutely nothing to Google! If anything, it’s most likely hurting their rankings. It appears spammy and completely fabricated. Going deeper, we step into the referring IPs.
3. Referring IPs
Many websites share IP addresses. When your hosting multiple websites on the same server, in many cases you’re sharing an IP address with the same IP address. You can use a reverse IP domain check to see other websites you’re sharing an IP with. You not only want your links to be coming from different domains, but different IPs as well, otherwise anyone could manually build backlinks which wouldn’t be good for Google.
4. Referring Subnets
To take it a step further, Google checks to see if your backlinks are all on the same subnet. Even with different IP Addresses, they can still be on the same subnet.
5. Deep Link Ratio
When people naturally link to a website, they usually link to a relevant page. If all of your backlinks are pointed to the root domain, chances are that it’s either a bunch of directories or backlinks are being manually fabricated. The higher the deep link ratio, the better.
While there is still a lot of buzz going on about the Hummingbird and Penguin 2.1 algorithm updates, and how it affects ranking. On October 3rd, Barry Schwartz posted a blog about specific dates where there were noticeable ranking changes and conducted a survey asking how SEOs and webmasters were affected. He discusses the results of the change in the video below.
Barry Schwartz Discusses a Poll On How Rankings Were Affected By Penguin 2.1
There were over 1600 responses to the poll. These were the results:
- 63% of the respondents said that their site was hurt bad.
- 21% said that their site had no change at all.
- 8% said that their website recovered from the previous penguin update.
- 6.2% that their rank gained with more traffic.
This shouldn’t be surprising to most of us. When we look at historical SEO tactics, it’s easy to see that yesterday’s white-hat is today’s grey-hat/black-hat. Guest posting used to be one of the most effective ways of manually building links, but even that has become more challenging. So with these new updates, what do I do next? Is SEO dead?
The Guidelines Never Changed
As SEOs we’ve all tried to “manipulate” rankings. I mean… isn’t that part of our job? Some of us have tried riskier tactics than others. Now, it’s just getting to the point where these old tactics aren’t working for us anymore. Sigh… so what do I do now? The same thing that Google has been saying since the very beginning! Create great content and let links build naturally!
Yeah… yeah… yeah… so you’re one of those “link building is dead” guys? No, I love link building. In fact, it’s what I am most passionate about. Link building isn’t dead, just the meaning has changed.
What Link Building Means Today
With today’s link building there are some very specific “Dos” and “Don’ts.” Let’s go over a few, shall we?
Link Building Don’ts
- Keyword Filled Anchor Text- Instead, use your brand in your anchor text.
- Guest post byline links with keyword anchor text. Again, use your brand name or domain name.
- Buying links- This has been the case for a long time now, but people are still doing it.
- Blog Networks- Google is on these like the DEA is on drug cartels. Stay away from them.
- Press Releases and Ezine Articles- You should read John Lincolns article discussing this.
There are a lot of don’ts… in summary think about it like this. If you can buy it or you can manually submit it, then it’s probably going to hurt your rankings or it’s not going to benefit you much.
Link Building Do’s
- Write beautiful, amazing, and compelling content.
- Build an outreach network of people in your industry.
- Focus on building a strong social following.
- Link to other authorities in your industry.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss your opinions.
- Be an innovator, not a follower!
In summary, the guidelines with Google have not changed. When they warned us, we did not head the warnings. Google’s focus and goal has been the same since day 1, and that is to provide it’s user’s with the best experience possible. They are doing a good job at it. So, follow the guidelines, focus on building your content for the users, network like crazy, and be social!
Part of our jobs as SEOs includes gather data for campaigns we’re conducting research on. Most of us have a collection of sources bookmarked or we subscribe to a service to speed up the process. One way of gathering data is by submitting queries to Google to get keyword ranking data, collect information on competitors and collect historical data to help us understand Google’s algorithm changes at a deeper level.
With some knowledge of web development, there is an API solution that up until now hasn’t been heard of. It is currently in beta testing and requires you to apply for an API key, but is free to use for the time being if your application is approved. If you are a big data geek like me, you are going to want to check this out.
To give you an example of how this API can be used, I’ll tell you about an application I’m working on. It basically allows you to match multiple keyword queries (up to 10,000 queries per hour) with certain advanced search operators to pull in bulk data. I won’t go too much further into detail but hopefully this gives you an idea of the capabilities the API offers.
Sure, roll your eyes OR check it out for yourself. Happy programming!
Every SEO knows that links are an important factor for ranking. Google algorithm changes have made link acquisition more difficult with every update. At one point in time, article directories, directories, web 2.0, and even paid links were link building tactics that actually worked; however those days are long gone now. With social metrics and Google even cracking down on guest posting, link acquisition has become more about the quality of the content and relationship building. The first step to building a relationship is understanding how to find the right people to build a relationship with. With that in mind, here are 8 ways to use search operators for link building building relationships.
- ‘keyword’ + inurl:write for us While guest posting seems to be a dying breed, there are still effective ways to go about it. One way is by leaving out your author byline and submitting it as an article. Many publishers are more than happy to do this for you in exchange for quality content.
- ‘keyword’ + intitle:write for us This will serve the same purpose as tactic #1, however, sometimes the url doesn’t always have the exact keywords in it, so sometimes you can find more relationship opportunities by using the title as well.
- ‘keyword’ + intitle:Google+ Many people under-utilize Google+ in their link building strategies. This can be one of the most effective ways to find authoritative writers in your industry. Use Google+ to build a strong social following. When you share content, others will share it as well which will not only send your content social signals, but also encourage others to link to it as well.
- ‘keyword’ + site:https://plus.google.com #3 will pull up Google+ profiles and articles written with Google+ in the title, but this method will literally only pull up Google+ profiles (businesses and personal).
- ‘keyword’ + inanchor:”submit site” This is a method for finding niche directories. While you have to be careful with directory submission tactics, niche directories are still valuable to your link building campaign. Just whatever you do, carefully review the site to make sure it is moderated before submitting the link.
- site:.edu “write for us” The oh-so coveted .edu backlink is possible to acquire. Many schools allow students and professors to host their own blogs on the school’s servers. They are looking for people to supply them with content just like any other blogger. Try using different combinations of keywords and search operators to for your .edu link building campaign. You can find tons of opportunities.
- link:competitor.com If you already know of a competitor or authoritative blog in your industry, why not try piggybacking on their strategy? Using the ‘link:’ search operator will should all of the indexed backlinks of the site you follow it with.
- related:website.com After finding a few sites that you are already targeting, you can find related sites by using the ‘related:’ search operator. This may give you a broader view, but you can still find some great link acquisition opportunities this way.
Half the battle of link building is learning how to do the research correctly. Connect with other authors through social media, and share their content. People appreciate that and will return the favor. Organic link building, especially post hummingbird can be tricky and time consuming. However, if you connect with the right people and build those relationships, overtime it will become much easier.