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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 Score As 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/
4 10, 2015

How to Install Google Tag Manager On WordPress Video Tutorial

By |October 4th, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

http://signetinteractive.wistia.com/medias/ft4w2h9rj3?embedType=seo&videoWidth=640 Installing Google Tag Manager on your WordPress site is a great idea. It helps consolidate all of your scripts and tags into one place. You install… and manage any tag your need on your website from Google Analytics to Google AdWords conversion tracking. This video will take you through the simple steps on how to setup Google Tag Manager and install Google Analytics through it in just a few short minutes. (more…)
1 10, 2015

Using Google Analytics for SEO – Part 1

By |October 1st, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

Whether you are doing your own SEO or hire someone to do it for you, sometimes it can be difficult to measure performance in Google Analytics. In the beginning of a SEO campaign, it is very difficult to measure performance because SEO is a long-term strategy that can take anywhere from 3-6 months to start seeing real results. Nonetheless, it is important for you to track and measure performance over the duration of the campaign; however, before you can do that, you need to know how to Segment your data for SEO in Google Analytics properly.

How to View Segments in Google Analytics

A segment is a subset of your Analytics data. For example, you see that 1,000 people visited your website last month, but you want to see specifically how many of them came from Google organic search. The combination of source, Google, and medium, organic, is a subset of your data, thus allowing you to create a Segment to gain insight from that online channel. When you first login to your Google Analytics account, the first view you see is from All Sessions. This set of data includes all of your site visitors. If you click on the All Sessions tab, you will notice that a large menu with a list of segments drops down. Google Analytics All Sessions Segment You may not see some of the segments I have in my account in your account because I’ve created Advanced (custom) segments that I use for specific goals I’m trying to reach in a campaign.  

Using Filters Vs. Segments

Before you can start segmenting data for SEO in Google Analytics, you have to first understand which traffic sources are relevant to SEO. You can first start by which Medium to use for our SEO analysis. Generally, the two primary mediums one would use for SEO are:
  • Organic
  • Referral
If you have access to a Google Analytics account, you can view a breakdown of your traffic by source and medium by navigating to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. Your screen will look similar to the screen shot below: Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.28.51 PM The Source/Medium dimension column lists a breakdown of every source and medium driving traffic to your website. If we only want to view the three mediums that were listed above, you can change the Primary dimension by clicking the blue medium link listed above the data table. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.36.30 PM Once the primary dimension has been changed to medium, you can create a filter that excludes all mediums except the ones you want to view. To do this, click the advanced link next to the search bar on the top right of the data table and exclude every medium you see in the table except for organic and referral. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.44.22 PM After you press Apply, you should see a view like this: Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.46.54 PM Now you see that organic traffic to the website I’m analyzing drove 6,942 visits and website/social referrals drove 4,490 visits. That’s pretty cool, but now what if you want to see more?   Using filters allows you to view specific dimension values and see metrics like Sessions, % New sessions, New Users, Bounce Rate, etc… but it limits you from being able to view your data in other dimensions. So, instead of using a filter every time you want to view your organic traffic and limiting yourself to one dimension at a time, you use a Segment.   Dimensions describe characteristics of your users, their sessions and actions. A few examples of a dimension include City, Source/Medium, Age, Gender, Interests, etc.   How to View the Organic Traffic Segment Viewing the Organic Traffic segment is easy. Fortunately, Google already provides you with that segment by default. To select the Organic Traffic segment, simply click where it says All Sessions again to view the drop down menu listing your segments. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.12.22 PM Next, deselect the All Sessions box and scroll down until you see Organic Traffic. Now, select Organic Traffic and press Apply. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.12.33 PM Once you have done this, you will see that the data has changed. Now, go back to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium, and you will notice that the list of dimension values have changed as well. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.16.12 PM Now you can view other dimensions. Let’s test it out:  
  • Expand audience menu and click Mobile.
  • Select Overview.
Now you can see a breakdown of the Device Categories used to find your website through organic search. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.21.01 PM This is the first step to using Segments for SEO, but simply viewing organic traffic isn’t enough. The Organic Traffic segment doesn’t include referral traffic, so in this case you will want to create an Advanced Segment. An advanced segment is simply a custom segment that you create.  

Creating an Advanced Segment

  Creating advanced segments can get pretty complicated and deep, but the one you will create for SEO doesn’t require much customization. First start by opening the list of segments again. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.58.58 PM Click the red New Segment button. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.59.25 PM Name your segment Organic and Referral Traffic. Using specific naming conventions will help you tremendously down the line.   Now follow these steps: Click Conditions. Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.06.38 PM  
  • Change the dropdown selection from Ad Content to Medium. Then, type in organic.
  • Once you have it set to Medium contains Organic, press OR on the right.
  • Once you see the second row for your next condition, change the selection to Medium again and type referral in the empty field.
Your screen should look like this: Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.12.14 PM   Click the blue Save button and now you are done.   This is the first step to using Google Analytics for SEO. Now you know how to view Segments and create custom segments. Part 2 of this series will go over more advanced audience segmentation and analysis to help you understand how to better measure the performance of your SEO campaign and make data-driven decisions.
15 06, 2015

Dad, You Inspire Me #DadInspires

By |June 15th, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

Jeff James started a cool Father’s Day campaign called #DadInspires. All you have to do is record a video of yourself holding a sign with one or two words conveying how your dad inspired you. Once you record the clip (up to 30 seconds), just post it on twitter or facebook with #dadinspires. Check mine out!
2 01, 2015

Semantic Search SEO Strategy Case Study

By |January 2nd, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

When building out a new web page, you need to be thinking about how your users receive the message and how Google reads it. The fact is that you want to engage your readers by making it simple and interesting to read, but at the same time, keywords still do matter… No matter what the “SEO is Dead” protestors say.

Keyword optimization has changed

In the past, Keyword Optimization was a calculated approach to finding the right densities to get your content to rank higher. As Google continued to come out with algorithm updates, this changed drastically bringing many more factors into play. So now, in 2015, it’s important to understand how Google reads your content. Simply put, your target keywords hold much less value than the related keywords (semantic keywords). Based on some simple testing with a free tool I like to use called LSIKeywords.com, I’ll show you how I came to this conclusion. The first step is doing some basic keyword research to find your main high traffic keywords. In this case, I’m working with a dental client who wants to be found for porcelain veneers Houston. So, to get an idea of the search volume, I will either use SEMRush (Paid) or Google Keyword Planner (Free). For this demonstration, I’m going to use SEMRush because it also gives me an idea of who my competitors are. When I login to SEMrush, I will simply type in porcelain veneers Houston and SEARCH. keyword search Now it’s time to analyze the results in the Phrase Match Report. phrase match report screenshot As you can see, the search volume isn’t super impressive and SEMrush only yields two results in the Phrase Match Report. We will now direct our attention to the Related Keywords Report. You will need to view the full report to see all of them, but for this example I will show the top 10. related keywords report SEMrush provides keyword search volumes for the entire U.S. While this particular campaign is going to be local, these metrics still provide a list of the most prominent related keywords. By integrating these keywords with the website content, the primary keyword rankings can be improved. Pro Tip: Keep in mind, that keyword phrases can be spread out in a variety of ways. Use Google’s universal search results to your advantage by implementing these keywords in image alt tags and file names for image search, video titles and descriptions (self-hosted using a video xml sitemap) for video results, and of course- titles, meta descriptions, headings, anchor text, and website copy for organic search.

Using LSIkeywords.com for semantic search strategies

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)  is an indexing and retrieval method that uses a mathematical technique called singular value decomposition (SVD) to identify patterns in the relationships between the terms and concepts contained in an unstructured collection of text.
  LSIkw-porcelainveneers   LSIKeywords.com is effective because it shows you the keyword densities of top ranking competitors for your primary keyword. I have personally had success ranking webpages by simply mimicking keyword patterns collected from top ranking competitors. This doesn’t always get you instant success due to other factors like backlink profiles and website architecture, but it certainly can give your rankings a boost. Give this strategy a shot and let me know how it works. Read the top three ranking competitor’s copy all of the way through to get a better idea of where they are placing their keywords. Then, once you’ve implemented them, wait a week and see if you notice any improvements.    
12 11, 2013

5 Main Factors to Look At When Doing A Backlink Analysis

By |November 12th, 2013|Categories: , , , |Tags: , |2 Comments

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?  
Competitive Site Audit Analytics SEO

Get your own free competitive site audit with Analytics SEO

 

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.
17 10, 2013

Hummingbird, Penguin 2.1 – The Guidelines Are Still The Same

By |October 17th, 2013|Categories: , , , |Tags: |0 Comments

HummingbirdWhile 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!
16 10, 2013

Game Changing API for Big SEO Data

By |October 16th, 2013|Categories: , , |Tags: |0 Comments

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!
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