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27 05, 2016

How Search Engines Work

By |May 27th, 2016|Categories: |Tags: |0 Comments

The most widely used website on the internet is call Google. For those of you who don’t know what Google is, I’d just give up right about now…

Millions of people conduct searches on the Internet using search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing on a daily basis. While you and everyone else in the world use search engines every day, it begs the question… do you really know how search engines work?

Core Functionality of a Search Engine

How Search Engines Work

Basically all search engines both large and small function and operate in the same manner. Their purpose hasn’t changed much over the past couple decades. Search engines capture information from websites using what is commonly called a spider, crawler, or bot.

 

The Role of Hyperlinks

The search engine spider crawls webpages all throughout the internet, using links to find new pages. Hyperlinks determine the architecture of a website.

Understanding Search Engine Indexing

Search engine indexing is the process of a search engine collecting, parses and stores data for use by the search engine. Once the information is captured, the spider submits it to the search engine’s index. This information is utilized to store data in a logical format, making information retrieval much faster and more efficient.

How Algorithms Affect Search Result Rankings

Algorithm - a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.

Every sophisticated computer program has some sort of algorithm that it uses to work through a sequence of events. This algorithm determines which decisions it will make. In Google’s scenario, the decision is going to be where to place each webpage in the index.

Just to give you an idea, Google incorporates more than 200 different ranking factors with its algorithm. Here is a nice infographic so you can more easily visualize it.

SEO Ranking Factors

How Search Engines Are Unique From One Another

It’s all in the secret sauce, baby! Well, an algorithm at least. While every search engine has an algorithm to provide search results, each calculation is somewhat different based on the particular search engine. Each search engine may have different criteria that is used in the algorithm or the criteria may be weighted differently. This results in different rankings for each search engine results.

Ranking Factors Other Than Keyword Relevancy

There are many moving parts with search engines, especially search engines like Google. While, the core functionality comes down to relevancy and keywords, how does Google determine which website hits first page for “Ford Trucks. “

Think about it. There are only 10 spots on the first page and you get over a million search results when you Google “Ford Trucks.”

While every search engine seems to work the same in function, each search engine company keeps their algorithms a secret. The reason is because they do not want people outside the company to understand or know the specifics behind the search engine’s design or operations, especially the algorithm.

How & Why Google Favors Brands

Google favors big brands. This is partly due to the fact that bigger brands spend more time developing their content. They spend a lot of money and they abide by very strict brand guidelines. That said, bigger brands pose less of a threat to Google’s users in terms of displaying spammy or low quality content.

Hopefully you don’t feel discouraged by that because with SEO, you can still beat them. You just have to be more efficient, develop better quality content and have a solid SEO plan in place.

Google rankings are all a Popularity Contest

The other reason why it seems that Google favors brands is because Google’s ranking algorithm is pretty much a popularity contest. For instance, take the keyword “Ford Trucks” again with over 1 mm results.

While theoretically, all one million pages could have the same exact keywords and number of words on each page, but that still doesn’t help us determine the quality, validity and value of the content to Google’s users. Google’s smarter than that…

Instead, Google uses links or backlinks to help separate the most helpful, relevant content from the low quality content which provides Google users little to no value.

In fact, this idea, PageRank, developed by former Google CEO, Larry Page, was what truly separated Google from other search engines like AOL, ASK Jeeves, Yahoo, etc..

19 05, 2016

Search Engine Friendly Basics

By |May 19th, 2016|Categories: , |Tags: , |0 Comments

Learn Search Engine Friendly Basics

The basic principals on how to make your website search engine friendly

SEO is a marketing tool that enables an enterprise to improve the online rankings and visibility of its website. In order to maximize SEO, businesses need a fundamental understanding of the following search engine basics:

  • SEO drives traffic, increases rankings on search engines and enhances online visibility in an organic (non-paid) way, thereby reducing the need to rely on paid search engine marketing (SEM).
  • Effective SEO requires identification of keywords consumers frequently use to search the Internet for a specific company, organization, product, service or resource.
    • Correctly identifying, therefore, the words most commonly associated with an industry allows a business in that industry to include those words in the content it posts on its website. In doing so, it raises its rankings on search engines.

One of the search engine basics businesses often overlook is that successful online marketing requires more than simply maximizing results based on keyword usage. Additional factors to consider include:

  • A website must be simple to navigate. Site architecture that search engines have difficulty understanding will not rank highly and, therefore, not attract much traffic.
  • The website should load quickly.
  • The site should be formatted for access via mobile devices.
  • Search engines utilize proprietary algorithms that read online data to determine which results are most relevant to the search.
    • Businesses are not given access to these algorithms, thereby preventing them from developing workarounds designed to circumvent the purpose of SEO.

Regardless of product, service, or mission, few organizations can hope to succeed without a comprehensive marketing program. And for most businesses, online marketing has become a necessity. But, what is so great about online marketing?

User Experience

When a company has a website that is easy to find, easy to navigate, and engages visitors, this makes that website visible, credible, and a lead generating machine . Sounds simple enough. However, if it was, all online marketing campaigns would be successful. Clearly they are not.

The Key to Successful SEO Campaigns

The key to success is, of course, online traffic and the key to online traffic is effective use of search engines. Consumers won’t become customers of a business if they can’t find that business. This is one of the most fundamental of search engine basics and is why so much emphasis is placed on search engine optimization (SEO).

Mobile

Google is moving to mobile first indexing in the near future. This is a big move, as no one has ever experienced this type of change before. Mobile first indexing requires a website to be mobile friendly, load quickly, and stay consistent.

Other Resources

What is SEO?

Technical SEO Checklist for 2017

16 05, 2016

5 Signs Your Business Needs a Rebrand – And How To Launch One on a Budget – Design School

By |May 16th, 2016|Categories: |0 Comments

Design at work doesn’t need to be hard.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: designschool.canva.com

If you think that you may need a rebrand, perhaps you do. Jacqueline Thomas provides you with several guidelines and tips on how to rebrand with simplicity in mind. 

 

As she tells the story of how you can approach your next rebrand, she provides beautiful visual logo examples and elements to solidify the message. 

15 05, 2016

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

By |May 15th, 2016|Categories: |Tags: , , , |0 Comments

What is SEO?

“Search engine optimization”. A mystery to most, but mastered by few individuals who possess the ability to make money fall from the sky. All you need is a computer, internet and a lot of time. If you have all of those things, you can master the art and science of Search Engine Optimization.

Briefly, here’s what you need to know about search engine optimization (SEO):
  • SEO is a marketing tactic companies or individuals can leverage to improve the rankings and visibility of its website (as well as online presence in general). This is done by improving the on-page and off-page factors search engines consider important.
  • Imagine the power of having your company’s website listed at the top of Google for every keyword that your customers search. That’s pretty powerful because your customers are already looking for a company like you, and now, you are the first website they see.
  • If you are not on 1st page or near the top of 1st page, chances of anyone finding you is slim to none. The fact is that 85% of search engine users do not click beyond the 1st page of Google. That said, the company’s website would be buried too far down the rankings to be of much benefit.

Perhaps more important than asking “what is search engine optimization” (especially for small and medium-sized businesses), is why is SEO so important?

Why is SEO Important?

In a nutshell, employing a well planned SEO strategy can drive serious traffic, increasing rankings which result in brand visibility and awareness, all through organic search results (natural search results. Not Ads).

A comprehensive online marketing strategy requires more than simply maximizing results based on keyword usage; however, designing site architecture that simplifies navigation is a key factor to improving search rankings.

  • Fix all technical errors. Google has a hard time reading your website when there are a lot of technical errors on your site. If you have a lot of technical issues, more than likely, you will have trouble ranking.
  • A strong Mobile User Experience is essential. This means creating a mobile website with lightening fast page load times and easy to navigate.
  • Search engines use algorithms that read data found on the Internet and determine which results are most relevant to the initial search.

Each algorithm is constructed using numerous factors, most of which are proprietary and, therefore, not available to businesses so that they can deconstruct them and develop workarounds.

When it comes to increasing search rankings, which then drive traffic to a website, the site’s content is the factor that most influences algorithms to rank some results higher than others.

So, what is search engine optimization? It’s the best, most cost-effective way for companies to market themselves and what they sell or do if they produce content that is unique, informative and related to topics for which Internet searches are conducted and the website it is easy to view and use.

15 05, 2016

29 Free Online Design Tools for Creating Stunning Visual Content for the Web

By |May 15th, 2016|Categories: |0 Comments

Get all the free tools and resources you need to kick your visual content up a notch. 29 Free Tools inside.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: blog.hubspot.com

One of the biggest things that some SEO practitioners will forget is the importance of having quality content. Visual content is the most compelling and shareable; video- even better. 

 

27 04, 2016

5 Tips to Keep Your WordPress Site Safe From Hackers

By |April 27th, 2016|Categories: , |0 Comments

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.

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. After a hack, change all passwords for your users and make sure they are strong
  4. Keep wordpress up to date with latest version
  5. After hack, run a virus scan on site – can be accomplished with available plugins
Let’s chat!
27 04, 2016

3 Easy Ways Secure Your Website’s CMS on NGINX

By |April 27th, 2016|Categories: |0 Comments

Many website CMS platforms, especially WordPress, are vulnerable to certain attacks performed by malicious hackers. In some cases, these hackers seek to gain SEO benefits, while others may have other intentions in mind. Either way, here are 3 easy NGINX web rules that will help you prevent these attackers from injecting malware or gaining control over your website:

If you use WordPress, you may be interested in 5 tips to keep your WordPress site safe from hackers.

19 10, 2015

8 Technical SEO Tactics You Need to Know in 2015

By |October 19th, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

As Google’s algorithm becomes more focused on detecting User Experience behavioral patterns, technical SEO is becoming more important each day. Many people overlook technical SEO and focus solely on content. If that is you, then frankly, you need a better strategy. Without a solid technical SEO foundation to stand on, you are setting your campaign up for failure.Technical SEO is normally executed at the very beginning of an SEO campaign. If you are optimizing a website being redesigned, you should first start off with a SEO website redesign audit, which involves some additional steps in your SEO process prior to launching the website. That said, here are 8 technical SEO tactics you should be implementing on every website you optimize.

1. Make Your Website Mobile Ready

A website that is mobile ready means more than using a responsive framework. There are several additional technical factors that come into play. Be conscious of the fact that mobile devices that aren’t hooked up to wi-fi don’t load data as quickly, so it’s important that your website is blazing fast. Today’s standards suggest that your page load time should be less than 1 second.Google provides a free tool called PageSpeed Insights to help you test your website.Pagespeed Insights ScoreAs you can clearly see, Mobile website factors go far beyond a responsive design. Fixing the items listed in the image above will help your site perform better and load faster. Items like enabling compression and leverage browser caching are simple to implement. It simply requires some minor additions to your .htaccess file (using Apache).If you find that your website is failing the PageSpeed Insights test, follow the instructions listed in the report and read the documentation provided. If implemented correctly, you will surely start seeing faster page load times.

2. Consider Using HTTPS

More and more studies have begun to show that websites using HTTPS are beginning to gain share of urls ranking on 1st page. Even if you don’t require a secure encryption, using HTTPS can provide your website with some ranking benefits, especially if you are in a highly competitive niche.

3. Avoid Duplicate Content With Canonical links and 301 Redirects

This is important because Google considers the www – version of your home page and the non-www version of your website’s home page as two separate pages. This is because www is just a subdomain. So to prevent your rankings from being hurt due to duplicate content issues, create a 301 redirect going from the www version to the non-www version or vice-versa.If you are nervous about doing that, and you don’t have a developer on hand to help you, at least use a canonical tag. Canonical tags tell search engines which version of the page you prefered to be displayed. That way Google can ignore one version of the page and index the version you specify in your canonical tag.

4. Plan a Strong Website Architecture

A strong website architecture not only leads to a better User Experience, but it also helps you rank better. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and that your interlinking structure makes sense for the user.Moz does a great job explaining this concept in one of their Whiteboard Fridays.

5. Make Use of Structured Data Whenever Possible

If you aren’t familiar with structured data, now is a great time to start learning. Use schema.org as a reference guide. They provide examples on how to implement and properly use structured data.One example of a situation where you would benefit from using structured data is if your local business website has contact information such as your Company Name, Address and Phone Number. In this case you would use Local Business schema markup which specifies each piece of your contact information (e.g. Name, Address, City, State, Postal Code, etc…)Google recommends that you use structured data throughout your website and has mentioned that it will be even more important moving forward.

6. Prevent 404 Crawl Errors After Launching a Website Redesign

Now this is a pretty big one. If you are redesigning a website with new content, architecture and url structure, you will need to create a 301 redirect plan prior to launching the new website.When you launch the new version of your website, Google doesn’t eliminate the old page urls from their index right away. Therefore, anyone who clicks on your search result will end up finding themselves on a 404 Not Found page. To prevent this from happening, you should create a document listing all of your redirects, and apply them to the .htaccess file as soon as the new redesigned website launches.Even then, you should be using Google Search Console to monitor crawl errors closely over the next few weeks. Sometimes there will be pages you missed that you can fix as soon as Google detects it.

7. Configure Your Robots.txt File

Robots.txt files come in pretty handy when you have specific pages that you don’t want being indexed in Google’s search engine. For instance, maybe you built a custom Content Management System and you don’t want your admin area to get indexed… or maybe you have a directory with important documents that you want to keep out of Google search. This is where robots.txt files can help you. It’s a simple txt file containing a series of commands for robots like GoogleBot and other crawlers to follow.In some cases, you may find that your Title tag in the search results isn’t displaying the way it’s supposed to. This could perhaps be the effects of Google using your DMOZ title over the one you set in the head of your page. To prevent Google from manipulating your title tags, you can use the META NOODP and NOYDIR tag.

8. Create and Submit Your Sitemap.xml File

This is a commonly known SEO tactic, but also very important. Always create a sitemap.xml file and submit your sitemap to Google using Google Search Console. You can specify which pages take priority of importance over others and help Googlebot understand the intended structure of your website.There are many other technical SEO factors to be aware of. This list will definitely give you a good start though.
12 10, 2015

Google Adwords Will Allow Advertisers to Target by Email

By |October 12th, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

AdWords users can use Customer Match to target a particular email address with advertising. Google will show your PPC ads to a list of email addresses you provide. When the users associated with those addresses log into Gmail, they will have your ads matched to them while using Google online properties. With this type of personalization in your arsenal, you can develop separate lists as the various audience you desire to reach.As an example, you can add email addresses of people who signed up for your automotive sales newsletter to your AdWords audience to which you want to market vehicles. When these users log into Gmail, they will see your vehicle ads in search, YouTube, and Gmail, giving you a chance to fine-tune your message with unprecedented precision.

Advantages of Customer Match

The Customer Match feature will help businesses reclaim old customers, exclude current customers from advertising campaigns, cross-sell to existing customers, and find similar customers. The power that Customer Match offers will inevitably attract business customers who need to get more results for their PPC budget.

Disadvantages of Customer Match

Despite the attractive features of Customer Match, Google has added some negative attributes to the program. A requirement for users to have email lists of at least one-thousand customers before they can use the new feature. Many smaller AdWords customers will not have the opportunity to use the feature because they do not have enough qualifying customers to target.

Motivating Decisions

Some reports suggest Google has taken the drastic step of allowing the targeting of particular people as a response to similar personalized targeting features enabled by Facebook’s Custom and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences. Although Google’s AdWords reach transcends most other PPC advertising programs, Google might not want to see customers leave AdWords to get personalization options.

Privacy Concerns

Now that Google has taken the bold step of selling it Gmail user base to the highest bidder, analysts wonder how the firm will preserve the privacy and security of its user base. Although queried on the topic, Google so far responds that the company will manage the customer match program in a way that preserves safety and privacy.
6 10, 2015

Is Authorship Going to Come Back?

By |October 6th, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

On October 1st, 2015 at SMX East, Gary Illyes from Google stated that Authorship still has a purpose on your website. Without divulging too much information, Illyes advised everyone who currently has authorship markup on their site to keep it on. “You never know when Google may start to use it again,” he said.Well over a year ago, Google announced that authorship would basically be useless from here on out, but apparently that is not the case anymore. This begs the question, will it be presented in the same fashion it was before? Will author’s faces still appear in the search results? Many believe the primary reason Google eliminated authorship was because authorship took away from their ppc ad revenue. Regardless of the reason, it will be interesting to see what comes of it.Source: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-may-still-do-something-with-authorship-markup-in-the-future/142328/
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