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How to Maintain Your Keyword Rankings after a Site Redesign

Posted By on : January 23rd, 2015

One of the biggest risks of doing a website redesign is losing your SEO rankings. This is why it is very important to carefully plan each step of the process and consider key elements that may affect your keyword rankings and search engine placement. Failing to take fundamental SEO principles into consideration as you plan your site re-design can cause significant dips in your traffic, which can further result to a great loss of business. A redesign should not be all about aesthetics, nor should be about following trends. It should also be about keeping with best practices and maintaining fundamental principles that will help retain good search optimization and facilitate growth.

When hiring a web consultant or an agency to help out with your site redesign, make sure that they have the right skill set and knowledge to keep your web rankings and execute a re-design that takes care of both aesthetic and technical factors. Here are ways to retain SEO rankings after doing a site redesign or launching a new website, altogether:

  • Perform a thorough SEO audit. To minimize the risk of losing your audience and slipping down on search rankings, make sure to audit your old website and identify elements that you need to keep in place in order to retain your rankings or things that you need to improve to beef the website up. Experienced agencies and web consultants have the best tools to help you analyze the state of your website accurately and quickly, and apply elements that work to your new site.

 

  • Use 301 redirects. A costly mistake when migrating your site to a newer, better domain is forgetting to redirect old pages to new URLs. Changing page locations and failing to redirect them spells a huge disaster for your search rankings because search engines will have no way of locating them. 301 redirects will help you preserve at least 90% of your link juice and ranking power.
  • Create a well-designed site architecture and make sure your on-site elements are structured with SEO in mind, from your headings to your titles, tags, meta descriptions, and keywords.

 

Why SEO Still and Always Matters

Posted By on : January 21st, 2015

Lots of debates and discussions go around whether or not SEO still has value in terms of web marketing. With newer and seemingly better and less tedious ways to gain popularity online, SEO is often viewed as old-fashioned and unnecessary. As a result, many people wonder if SEO still matters and whether or not they should invest on it for their site to rank.

SEO is very much alive and well. In fact, it is a thriving industry. It is far from being “dead” as a lot of people may think and it still and will always be an important aspect of web marketing. Search is remains to be the most common starting point for anyone looking for a product or service to find what they are looking for on the web. Besides, with the constant changes that search engines make in their ranking algorithms, it is clear that SEO will always matter. Some tactics and strategies may become obsolete and potentially harmful for a website, but there are always new ways to cope with the changing scenes. This is where you need to take a step back and evaluate what needs to be done to make your search optimization efforts more productive.

The Hummingbird is Google’s latest algorithm update, designed to make search faster and more precise. It aims to bring search closer to a more conversational level, which means results pay more attention to the reason or intent behind the search instead of simply ranking sites based on the words. It will not be long until searches can be done in a more conversational manner, influenced by different social signals.

In search, quality matters, which is why SEO will always be significant, helping websites maintain content and design structure quality, which in turn helps pages climb up the ranking ladder and become more visible to searchers.

 

Optimizing New Website for Long Tail Keywords

Posted By on : January 19th, 2015

Keyword search remains to be the basis of all search marketing, which is why proper keyword research is very important as you build upon your search optimization strategies. Nowadays, search optimizers and web marketers are bringing the focus on long-tail keywords rather than simple keyword phrases that have long taken the spotlight in terms of optimization. Long-tail keywords are basically longer keyword phrases that searchers are more likely to use or type into their search bars when looking for very specific products, services, or information. These keywords bring them closer to a point of purchase than more generic key terms. Here are some useful insights that can help you rank well for long tail keywords.

  • Know your mission and purpose. You might want to sell something, provide information, or push a really great product or service. If you know what makes your content, product, service, or website special, it is easier to make readers like and even buy your stuff. Knowing your mission or purpose leads you to knowing your niche and determining what makes your product, service, or business unique. In turn, you gain leverage as you write them down and express them in words that are understood and used by the audience.

 

  • There are some markets that are particularly hard to rank in because of the level of competition. Many small businesses suffer a great deal when trying to dominate search results, especially since they are competing with large budgeted companies that have everything it takes to launch full-on marketing campaigns. However, if your mission is clear and you are able to clearly define what makes you stand out in the market, it will be a lot easier to focus your efforts on things that make you great and target long tail keywords that are more specific to what you are offering. This also leads to better-targeted audiences and prospect clients.

 

How to Easily Debug Markup Implementation Errors

Posted By on : April 23rd, 2014

Debugging can sometimes be a tricky affair but it has now been made easier. The Structured Data Dashboard from Google Webmaster now has a new feature that helps to make debugging easier and helps users learn how Google sees marked-up data on a website.

In the feature an ‘item’ stands for a top level structured data element (excluding nested items) that is tagged in the HTML code. They are arranged according to data type and the order is by number of errors. There is also a scale for the errors themselves.

This will make it easier to make comparisons between errors and items. Any changes you make on the website can easily be traced back to the change in markup errors (whether they are appearing or disappearing).

The process

•    Click on the specific content type and you will be able to view the errors. The results can be filtered or viewed in one go.

•    You will then check whether the markup meets the implementation guidelines for each content type.

•    Click the URLs on the table provided and you should be able to see specific details of the detected markup the last time the page was crawled and the missing pieces.

•    Fixing the issues is now easy and a test can be done in the Structured Data Testing Tool. The pages are crawled again and reprocessed and the changes are ready to be reflected in the Structured Data Dashboard after implementation.

Structured Data Testing Tool

More error types will be added over time so as to improve debugging. Questions are inevitable with any new feature so for this case you can go to the forums on Webmaster to attain more knowledge on the details of this feature. You can also relate your experience to them and listen for feedback.

 

Expect More Detailed Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

Posted By on : April 23rd, 2014

Expect More Detailed Search Queries in Webmaster Tools

Search queries tell you the number of times that your URL has been clicked. Over the years Webmaster Tools has been rounding the figures to the nearest whole, even million. This would give a not so clear picture of the actual traffic and impressions on sites.

An upgrade was recently made that allows you to view the exact number of clicks and impressions that were made and when they were made. These statistics then remain available to you for 90 days. If you haven’t already verified your website in Google Webmaster Tools then you should.

Once it is verified and you want to see the changes in action you can log into your account. Once you log in click on a link on the left written ‘search traffic’. Go to the ‘search queries’ link on the left and click. You should be able to see the activity.

Mobile sites

Those with mobile sites can now get statistics for those sites separately from desktop sites. Accessing sites from mobile devices is gaining popularity very fast so this information cannot be clumped together with desktop query stats any longer.

Where ‘skip redirect’ is utilized (a user views a desktop URL in the search results but upon selecting it they are taken to the corresponding mobile site, the stats are also included. You can switch from mobile stats to desktop search query stats by clicking on the search queries page and then selecting the filter you would want to use to view the results. 

All this information will allow you to better understand your audience in terms of how they interact with your website. Webmasters will also be able to figure out where problems lie on their website. It could be something that the users are searching for but don’t find.

 

How to Disavow Spammy Links to Your Site

Posted By on : April 5th, 2014

To disavow simply means to deny any responsibility for something. Thus, when you ask Google to disavow a certain link, you’re essentially suggesting that you’re denying any responsibility for those spammy websites that link to you, and so Google shouldn’t penalize your site.

Here are the easy steps for disavowing spammy links to your website

1. Download links to your website

Start by looking at all the pages and sites that link to your site. Go to your Webmaster tools and look for the button known as “download more sample links”. To find this button, log in > select your website > click “search traffic” > click “links to your site” and under “who links the most”, click “more”.

googleVSjournalists_03

Review this file to identify those links you’d like to remove.

2. Create a .txt file

The second step is to create a .txt file with all those links you’d like to disavow. Google doesn’t seem to care how you name the file so you can name it something like disavow.txt or even your website.txt.

Using the file downloaded in step 1, pick out those links you would like to disavow and then add them to the .txt file. Remember to include only one link per line.

If you would like Google to ignore all the links from the entire domain such as example.com, then you can add the line “domain.com” but you should take care not to include your important links!

3. Upload to Google

Lastly, upload the .txt file to Google. After logging into your webmaster tools, you can then visit Google’s page for disavow links tool.

Before you upload the .txt file, you will see warnings in three pages. The warnings are simply a reminder that the disavow tool is an advanced feature that should be used with caution. Additionally, Google reminds you here that incorrect use of the tool could potentially harm your website.

 

Harm You Can Cause To Your Site by Using Google’s Disavow Tool Incorrectly

Posted By on : April 5th, 2014

Other than keyword density, social signals and website speed, link building is among the most crucial factors that influence SEO. Each bank link that leads from a reputable site to yours can give your site a higher page rank.

However, not all websites that link to your site are desirable.  Possibly, you’ve engaged in spammy link-building strategies in the past, and are now attempting to correct this.

Perhaps, some links to your website have strangely appeared on a forum or website you’ve never thought about.

Unfortunately, you may not be able to determine whether a third party site should take your links down. It’s here that the disavow tool comes in handy.

What’s the disavow tool?

The disavow tool is the tool that webmasters can use to ask Google to disregard certain bank links when it comes to determining the page rank of a site.

Tips-Before-Using-The-Google-Disavow-Tool

When to use it

You should use this tool if you realize that a particular website has spammy, artificial links that point to your site.

The Possible harm of using the tool incorrectly

Therefore, do not disavow any links from your website for another reason such as if it’s a low PR. This can potentially harm the ranking of your website in a way you cannot reverse.

Remember Google’s algorithms are so fine-tuned and so, you shouldn’t do anything extreme that might throw them off.

Google’sEric Kuan in a thread onGoogle Webmaster Help puts it clearly that you should use the disavow tool with caution because it can cause potential harm to your website’s performance.

Therefore, if you use the tool to disavow those links that are useful in your ranking, it will affect the performance of your site.

So, do not just blindly, disavow links because you’re afraid. Instead, you should be careful, slow, and patient with those links.

 

Using the Improved Public URL Removal Tool for Better Results

Posted By on : March 22nd, 2014

Information is constantly changing and this requires changes to be made on various websites and searches. Google has a way of ensuring that the content you see is updated so that search results actually bring up valid results.

They have updated the public URL removal tool. It allows you to request changes or updates on third party sites that may not be reflected on the search engine yet. It could be content that was removed from a particular site (if you choose that URL on the search engine you will not find the content you are looking for) or some small changes that were made to the URL.

Requirements

You’ll need to sign into your Google account in order to submit all the removal requests. The page is supposed to have a 403, 410, or 404 result code (this can be confirmed via a good HTTP header checker), a noindexMeta tag if not the robots.txt. Soft 404 errors are also recognized but not preferred.

How to go about it

First enter the exact webpage’s URL that you’d like to remove. The URL removal tool should confirm that the page is indeed gone and then prompt you to complete the submission. That’s it! With regard to parts of a page that have been changed or removed you will need the URL and a word that was there initially but is no longer there.

This tool makes it easier to make changes and is to be used wisely and carefully.

 

Google’s Manual Penalty – Site-wide matches vs. Partial matches

Posted By on : March 22nd, 2014

In the last few years, Google has introduced a number of major algorithm updates such as Caffeine, Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird. All these are efforts by Google to improve the user experience.

In August 18, 2013, Google added another feature called “Manual Actions” under its “Search Traffic” section found at Google Webmaster Tools (GWT).

What is manual action?

Manual action refers to the penalties imposed against a website after real humans from Google web spam, review and find that the website violates the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines

If you have a penalty resulting from manual action, Google will reveal whether this penalty affects specific URLs (partial matches) or whether it affects the whole site (site-wide-matches).

How to know your site has been penalized

To find out whether your site has been slapped with this manual penalty, you should look out for the following:

  • Drop in organic traffic
  • A decrease in your site’s performance
  • Your website doesn’t show in the search results

What to do next

Unless Google sends you a notice, the next step should be to head to your Webmaster Tools account and check through the Manual Action page just to confirm the penalty.

If you’ve a penalty, then Google will specify whether it affects certain URLs (partial matches) or whether it affects the entire website (site-wide matches).

How to identify and fix the penalties

If the manual action has been listed, you have an idea of where to check and start fixing your website. Here are common things you can look for:

  • Use Fetch as Google tool from GMT to find out how Google sees your particular web pages.
  • Compare the content fetched by Google and the one that human visitors can see to find out whether the two are different.
  • If the two contents are different, then you should remove the part of your website that serves different content to bots and users. To do this, go to the server and look through the site’s code.
  • Check whether the site has any URLs that direct visitors to a different place than where they expect
  • Find out whether there’re any URLs that redirect users from specific locations or redirect users that come from Google SERPs.
  • If your website has any of the two redirects, remove the site’s portion that uses these links. You may do this by changing the site’s code from your server.

After making these changes, you may send a reconsideration request to Google describing the specific changes you’ve made to solve the issue.

Promise not to repeat the same in future. Google will then confirm that all is good and revoke the penalty.

 

The Definitive Guide to Link Building with Infographics

Posted By on : March 12th, 2014

Check the best blogs in your niche and chances are you will come across one infographics after another, every day. In the recent years, many people seem to be using these pieces of content to deliver a visual punch. According to the latest stats:

  • Between the years 2010 and 2012, infographics increased Google searches by 800 percent
  • 90 percent of information that gets into the brain is visual. We are visual beings!
  • Those using infographics get up to 12 percent more traffic

Therefore, infographics are excellent when it comes to content marketing and link building. They are not only a powerful way to tell a story, but are colorful and able to deliver tons of information fast.

Here’s a guide on using infographics for effective link building:

1. The Data

Infographics stands on solid data. The info part is as important as the graphic part. The data used should be relevant, updated, and useful. You can choose good data from:

  • Authority sources within your niche
  • Research firms such as Gartner, econsultancy, Pew and others that publish in many fields
  • Statistical sites from global bodies, government agencies and NGOs
  • Your own (online) surveys

2.The Graphics

You should convert the research into something appealing to the eye. You can choose various visuals to deliver the information. These may include:

  • Icons and vector form of art
  • Graphs and charts
  • Clean illustrations and photos
  • Animations

These aspects should all work together to bring out your data’s main points. Things to consider are:

  • Choose the first image carefully – It’s the visual headline and will determine whether they’ll at everything else.
  • Let the flow of your images tell a story
  • Keep your design simple yet harmonious – Separate different areas using different backgrounds and use similar format for graphs and charts.
  • Use colors that compliment each other when used together.
  • Use shapes, colors, arrows, and lines to guide the reader through different parts

Seek inspiration from other infographics and you can search Pinterest, for example.

3.The Writing

In addition to the images and data, you need to use the correct words to:

  • Come up with headings and subheadings in the infographics sections
  • Highlight any interesting facts
  • Call out or caption data.

Pay attention to the infographic’s title as that’s what will motivate people to click. Do the same to subheads and captions.