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Content Marketing: How to Plan, Execute, and Monitor

Posted By SEOValley on : February 5th, 2016

Consumers are—for the large part—immune to traditional marketing. They either skip advertising or ignore them altogether, effectively making many forms of marketing sort of irrelevant and all the more ineffective. This is why you should be on the lookout for a better way to reach out to your consumers—and this is where content marketing comes in.
Content marketing concept in word tag cloud on white background
Content marketing is a strategic approach to marketing, focused mainly on the creation and distribution of valuable, consistent, and relevant content in order not only to attract but retain clearly defined target audiences and ultimately drive them into profitable actions. It involves the creation, curation, and distribution of relevant content with the purpose of enhancing or changing consumer behavior. Content marketing is an ongoing process that ought to be integrated into your overall strategy for web marketing. It is essentially the art of effectively communicating with prospects and customers without directly selling to them.

Did you know that content marketing is used by some of the biggest and greatest marketing organizations in the world, including Microsoft, P&G, John Deere, and Cisco Systems, to name but a few. These successful mega businesses are masters of non-interruption marketing, where they deliver information that makes buyers more intelligent instead of merely pitching their products and services to them. The logic behind this marketing strategy is that if businesses deliver consistent and valuable information to buyers, they will ultimately reward you with their patronage and loyalty—and they do!

Why Use Content Marketing?

The short answer: Because it works. A typical consumer’s buying cycle involves four stages: Awareness, Research, Consideration, and Purchase. Prior to awareness, a customer may have a need but may not be aware of the solution. Once they are aware of the solution, they perform research to educate themselves. A car buyer, for instance, may try to learn the different types and models of vehicles and compare different automobiles from different manufacturers, looking for the best quality at the best price. The purchase stage is when the consumer finally makes the decision to move forward with the deal.

Traditional marketing does a great job in seeing to the consideration and purchasing stages of the buying process, but it fails to address the first two. This is where content marketing comes to play. It influences the consumer’s buying decision early on by raising awareness of his options and educating him about products and services that he may have never known about or considered in the past.

How Do You Manage a Content Marketing Strategy?

Like a consumer’s buying process, a content marketing strategy can be divided into 4 stages: planning, execution, tracking, and measurement.

Having a solid content marketing plan is critical to the success of any strategy and it is an absolute must before launching any campaign. Without a solid plan, it will be difficult to achieve your goals. Enlisting the help of a professional content marketing company is your best course of action if you don’t know where or how to start planning and management of your strategy.

Consistency in executing content marketing activities is also crucial. Your content marketing plan ought to guide your marketing activities, but it should be executed consistently to ensure a clear message throughout the duration of the campaign. One of the keys to success in content marketing is proper execution of the marketing plan, followed through by an efficient system of tracking and monitoring its effectiveness. Determine how it is best to track sales against your content marketing initiatives. Asking consumers how they came to find you by putting surveys as part of your contact form is one way to track marketing effectiveness. There are also many online tracking mechanisms that you can use to help you know what’s working and measure your success.

How Do You Get Started?

There are firms offering content marketing services alongside other digital marketing solutions, SEO, and conversion optimization. SEOValley offers content marketing, along with an entire menu of website development, and optimization services to help you place your business on top of the online marketing game.

 

How to Use Google Rich Snippets to Effectively Position Your Website in SERPs

Posted By SEOValley on : January 28th, 2016

Many website owners and online marketers are becoming interested in microformats and other forms of structured markups. What is particularly interesting about them is that they provide publishers a means to give search engines useful information about their website. One of the oldest ways of doing this is through metatags (title & description), which were unfortunately so badly abused by spammers, especially META description, that it lost value as a ranking signal. Even so, markups still offer significant value in terms of search engine optimization.

Rich Snippet Mark-up in Search Results

Google Rich Snippets

One of the many benefits of using markups is its positive impact in the appearance of your website’s search listings. Rich Snippet is a form of on-page mark-up that appears as extra bits of text under search results. They are the bacon bits of search engines that help draw the human eye to positive highlights of your web pages, thus increasing your click through rates for such results. Modified listings like these provide an extra pop of flavor that helps differentiate your search results from the plain old potato under or even above you in SERPs. Whether or not rich snippets are worth the extra trouble of tweaking your markups is a matter of your need to make your listing stand out. If you want to get your content noticed, rich snippets will definitely do the job for you.

Searchers’ eyes are drawn towards these extra bits of text, which not only make listings look different, but provide them (as well as search engines) additional insight into what your website and pages can offer. If this isn’t enough reason to make you want to consider Rich Snippets in your SEO strategy, try doing a basic search for any topic and notice how websites with rich snippets easily beat plain old potatoes in terms of rankings.

Types of Rich Snippets and How to Implement Them

There are several types of rich snippet markups you can use for your website, ranging from breadcrumb links to events, music, organizations, people, products, recipes, review ratings, reviews, software applications, and videos. Implementing rich snippets is as easy as picking a data format and including your chosen mark-up in your content. Google recommends using microdata (as outlined at schema.org), although any of the following formats are acceptable: microdata, microformats, or RDFa. The beauty of using rich snippets is that you need no prior knowledge of these formats, as they can easily be implemented using your basic knowledge of HTML. Once your content has been marked up, you can test it using Google’s structured data testing tool.

Snippets can likewise be used by online merchants to give Google detailed information about products. Using markups will enable you to attract potential buyers when searching for items to buy via search engines, control your product information, and maintain the freshness and accuracy of your product data so consumers can find the relevant and current items they are searching for. Examples of rich snippets that can be displayed with product pages include price, review ratings, and product availability.

Rich snippets are not just a cool thing for your website’s ego nor are they just eye candies to draw users’ attention from your competitors to your results. They potentially increase click through rates and effectively lower the chances of users bouncing, since they have more information on what they can expect on your page before they even click through. Rich snippets provide quality results that are closer to their specifications.

Curious about what rich snippets and markups can do for your SEO efforts? Contact SEOValley today to know more.

 

Top 10 Strategies to Boost Local Rankings

Posted By SEOValley on : January 22nd, 2016

While local businesses are at an obvious disadvantage against larger brands in terms of paid marketing, they too, have unique competitive advantages over the latter, especially now that digital channels level the playing field for small and large businesses alike. With an effective search strategy, getting the right people to come to your doorsteps shouldn’t be as difficult. By focusing your efforts on the right strategies and building smart local SEO campaigns, it will not be long until you can outshine your competitors in local search and welcome consumers who are looking for the exact things you provide into your business. Here are top local strategies that can help any business boost their rankings in local search:

op-10-strategies-to-boost-local-ranking

 

  1. Researching the right keywords. Keywords still run the search world, and one of the first things you should do to ramp up your rankings is to find the right keywords your target customers are using in order to find you (and businesses just like you). There are numerous tools that you can use to generate keywords and key phrases that will best represent what your business stands for, taking into consideration who and where your target audiences are.
  2. Optimizing both your site and your content. Optimizing your content alone isn’t enough to get the SEO juice you need. While high quality content is indeed critical for visitors and search engines, it is equally important to optimize your website design in a way that is both user and search-engine friendly.
  3. Utilizing Google Local. Listing your business on Google Local will give you a greater chance of getting more exposure for your business. Google Places for Business was specifically developed to help website owners control the information displayed by the search engine in Google Search and Maps. This way, you can more easily be found and verified by potential customers.
  4. Creating/claiming your local listings. This means creating and claiming all listings for your business in local directories, review websites, and similar platforms. These listings represent citations, which are critical components in the ranking algorithm of search engines.
  5. Maintaining consistent listings. Keeping your business listings consistent is crucial to establishing a strong local presence as inconsistencies in your data such as your business address, contact details, and similar types of information can negatively impact your potential to rank well. Using the same details on your website and your social media profiles, review sites, and local directories, is therefore critical to maintaining a strong presence.
  6. Asking for genuine reviews. Real, honest reviews are always better than fake reviews solicited or generated specifically for your business. It will not be long until search engines and customers catch on to your feeble attempt to make your name sound great through these bogus reviews.
  7. Optimizing social profiles. The various social media platforms your consumers and target audiences are on are also excellent vehicles for exposure for your business. To boost local rankings, make sure that all social profiles that you maintain include your physical location, business name, and the URL pointing back to your website.
  8. Exploring local outreach. Another great way to drive much needed attention to your business is to get people to link to you and talk about your business. Make deals with bloggers who are willing to write about your local business or use social media and other tools to find influencers in your location.
  9. Going mobile. There are more than one million mobile devices activated across the globe on a daily basis. This means superior reach through your mobile outlets. Invest in making your website and other web assets mobile responsive so consumers can get quality user experience whenever they visit your website.
  10. Monitoring analytics. One of the greatest benefits of online marketing has always been the ability to monitor results, track efforts, and analyze strategies instantaneously. This way, you can easily adjust your campaign to fit what consumers are demanding

 

5 Usability Improvement Strategies You Can’t Ignore If You are Serious About Conversion Optimization

Posted By SEOValley on : January 21st, 2016

It’s not enough that you have a visually appealing site that pushes all the right buttons when it comes to branding and business image. Your web asset should also be navigable, relevant, easy to use, and functional in order to optimize conversion. Usability is a key aspect of website success because a usable site can result not only in better conversions, but in greater consumer satisfaction—something that every business strives for to achieve overall success and growth. In fact, studies show that redesigning web usability strategies can significantly improve overall business metrics, which can further result in a domino effect of nothing but positive changes for websites.

Website usability offers a wide range of benefits to businesses. Not only does it help lower costs of website re-development (identifying usability problems early on will save you a great deal on redesign costs), it also enhances retention rates, reduces cart abandonment, improves brand image, and ultimately increases conversions and sales. The following are several usability improvement strategies you shouldn’t ignore if you want to make your site more profitable:
5 usability improve strategies

  • Simplifying navigation – ‘Less is more’, is a good mantra to follow when it comes to modern web design. If you want to improve your website’s usability, think simple and straightforward. The faster, the users and visitors can find and get to the information they need, the more usable they will deem your site to be. Thus, raising their satisfaction levels, and encouraging them to stay even longer to explore what else your website/business can offer. One key to website usability is developing pages that are hassle-free to navigate—ones which users can look at one time and understand immediately where they need to click.
  • Publishing relevant and quality content – Your web content quality says a lot about your business. Apart from maintaining good proof reading, spelling usage, and grammar, it is critical that you ensure your content’s readability. This means avoiding complicated vocabulary, unnecessary information, and difficult to read sentences. Content must always be concise and to the point and must tell visitors exactly what they need to know. There are readability testing tools that you can use to help you make writing improvements that will transform your content into more readable forms.
  • Thinking like your visitors – Develop a site with your users in mind. Apart from making your web asset search engine friendly, you should design it in a way that will be useful for the end users. The best way to do this is to look at things from the perspective of a potential visitor who may be entering your site for the first time. Prior testing will reveal important things you should make adjustments to in order to make your features and functions more accessible to users. If you were in your visitors’ shoes, would you enjoy navigating through the website? Would you be pleased with the design? Is it eye catching enough? Is the information organized? Would you enjoy reading from your site? Will an average user find the information they are looking for easily? These are only some of the most important questions you should ask yourself when designing for usability.
  • Arranging the content wisely – Of the time that web users spend on a web page, 80 percent is wasted at looking at information on the topmost part of the page. This is something you should remember when laying out important information you absolutely want your visitors to see.
  • Making pages accessible –More people now access websites on their mobile devices than they do on their desktops and personal computers. To address this, design your website in a way that will make it accessible to mobile users (which is most probably the majority of your target audience).

 

Common Technical SEO Issues Found in Magento Sites

Posted By SEOValley on : January 8th, 2016

From an SEO perspective, Magento is often regarded a challenging e-commerce platform due its complex rewrite engine, its dependence on dynamic content, and its complex codebase. Though, it is undoubtedly the most robust E-commerce CMS—and one the most efficient if used properly—it is far from being SEO friendly, right out of the box.

SEO Issues Found in Magento Sites

Does this mean that you should not use Magento? No, not at all. The good news is that technical SEO issues associated with Magento can be resolved—you just need to work with an SEO company that knows what it’s doing.

SEOValley has served Magento retailers from everywhere in the world and worked on large and complicated Magento builds. Name any technical Magento SEO issue and we’ve had it resolved – we thought why not discuss some of the common issues in this newsletter.
PROBLEM #1: Same Product in Multiple Categories

This is a native issue in standard Magento installation. If you want to put a product under two categories—for instance, under “Levis” and “Jeans”— the product URL forms in two ways:

  • http://www.example.com/levis/product-name/
  • http://www.example.com/jeans/product-name/

Since, these two pages have the same product, they’ll create duplicate issues. Google and other search engines frown upon such duplicates. In fact, Google is known to ban websites that publish the same substantive blocks of content in more than one page.

SOLUTION:

If you want to display the same product in two or more categories, you have to prevent Magento from generating duplicate content. This can be done by setting proper canonical tags which will suggest Google pick the preferred version among multiple URLs for same product, and resolves duplicate content issue.

PROBLEM: #2 Filter URLs

For many Magento based websites, parameter-based pages (such as layered category pages) are duplicated when attribute filters are active. URLs formed by the filters function create duplicate issues for search engines.

Your first thought might be to get rid of the filters function altogether, but don’t. Filters are very important for users and can certainly make the shopping experience much more convenient.
SOLUTION:

The content of the category page will likely only differ slightly when filters are active, and you don’t want Google to cache these pages as separate (especially if you have a lot of text in your category description).
There are several ways to combat this issue. Some work, some don’t. We are a big fan of the Canonical Tag approach. The key is to ensure that such patterns are ‘noindexed’ for search engines or are canonicalized to category pages. This is vital because search engines would otherwise consider them as duplicate URLs.

The canonical tag is built into newer versions of Magento. What this does is, puts canonical tags within your elements, basically telling Google to pay no attention to the current page and pointing to where the master version is.

PROBLEM #3: Sort URLs

Like the filter function, ‘sort’ is another very important functionality for users. But the URLs formed from sort function are also considered as duplicates by search engines.

By default, Magento creates dynamic pages when a user sorts a page of products based on certain attributes (for example, if products are sorted by price so that the cheapest products are shown first). Upon the completion of this sort action, Magento reorders the products; it doesn’t technically add any new content. However, it creates a new URL appended with a query string parameter—and Google interprets this as a duplication.

SOLUTION:

You never want Google to index such variations of your original URL because Google will see them as duplicates, and therefore can dissolve value among them. Though there are several different ways to fix this, we again recommend using rel=canonical tag in order to lead Google to the original page.

Get Professional Help

E-commerce websites uncover unique challenges in onsite SEO because of their massive size—and Magento is no exception. One small coding error or incorrect configuration can be instantly magnified.

The main culprit of non-performing shopping websites is internal duplicate content. If you need help optimizing your Magento site, contact a search engine optimization company with extensive experience in this platform, like SEOValley.

 

3 Indispensable Google Analytics Reports

Posted By SEOValley on : December 22nd, 2015

Google Analytics can often be confusing for some business owners. Its metrics are no doubt invaluable for those who are serious about growing their business, but the overwhelming amount of data—when not handled and segmented properly—can make it difficult to find valuable insights. It can be confusing to figure out which numbers you should pay attention to and what can be ignored. It can be particularly puzzling to determine which Google Analytics reports you really need to gain strategic intelligence on your website’s performance.

Some business owners are so overwhelmed that they opt out and simply use Google Analytics to examine basic data. Don’t make this same mistake! In order to grow your online business, take advantage of the insight that can be generated by Google Analytics. You should look at these three indispensable reports if you want accurate and valuable information about your website’s performance and about your customers. They can tell you not only about how your business is doing, but also what opportunities might be available.

Report #1: Channels

Path: Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels

Channels

This is a very important report showing how each marketing channel is helping to bring in traffic to your site, and how the traffic from each of these channel is holding up.

Where are your visitors coming from? This report shows you the sources, including the following:

  • Organic search – Visitors who found you in organic search results
  • Direct – People who typed your website’s URL directly into their browsers, or clicked a bookmark
  • Referral – Visitors who clicked a link on another website that pointed to you (such as blogs or reviews that mention your company with a link)
  • Social – Visitors who clicked a link that was shared via social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter
  • Email – People who click a link on your email newsletter
  • Paid Search – Traffic from your search advertising campaigns

The ‘Channels’ report show you the behavior of the visitors coming into your website by comparing sessions from each channel based on several additional metrics including bounce rate and average session duration. Behavior metrics show you the quality of the traffic coming from each of the various channels.  Quantity isn’t everything, after all.  What you really want to see is if visitors from these different channels are actually staying on your site. This report also generates conversion metrics, which show you what channels drive the visitors who ultimately make a purchase.

Report #2: Landing Pages

Path: Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages

Landing-Pages

This report helps you identify the most important front-facing pages of your website. It essentially shows how many users land on which page, ultimately highlighting which parts of your website act as the ‘welcome’ page for most people.

You might be surprised that people do not necessarily land on your homepage. For many of them, your product pages or even blogs are their first experience of your site. You might want to improve the first pages they see when they arrive.  For example, you can include information about your company or contact numbers on those pages.

The ‘Landing Pages’ report also allows you to spot check which pages are performing very poorly compared to others, so you can implement appropriate optimization strategies on them.

Report #3: Goals Overview

Path: Conversions > Goals > Overview

Goals-2

Arguably the most important report for any business owner, this shows how your online marketing efforts are influencing your bottom line. Additionally, this report shows which

Source/ or Medium referred how many conversions. Do you have multiple goals—and are some of them more important than others? Then go to ‘Goal Option’ and analyze each goal data separately.

Goals vary depending on the nature of the website. It may include buying something (in the case of an e-commerce site) or submitting contact information (in the case of a lead generation site). Defining your website’s goals is one of the most fundamental components of an analytics measurement plan. Properly configuring your goals allows Analytics to generate critical information that gives you maximum business insight. Without such information, it can be very hard—or downright impossible—to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns.

Let Us Help You

It’s crucial that you analyze your Google Analytics reports regularly to ensure that you don’t miss important traffic and conversion trends. But like most business owners, you probably don’t have the time or the technical skills to take full advantage of the insight generated by web analytics. It’s often more practical to let experts analyze and measure your website’s data and ensure that your marketing goals are met. Contact SEOValley, today.

 

How Mobilegeddon Changed the Entire Search Landscape

Posted By SEOValley on : December 17th, 2015

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, then you may be in for a rough ride. Google’s search algorithm now favors ‘mobile-friendly’ sites that render properly on the smaller screen sizes of smartphones and tablets. This development is starting to shake up the rankings, delivering major blows to companies that have yet to adjust to the new mobile landscape. If you don’t act now, you will be giving traffic away to your competition.

What Caused the Mobilegeddon?

Google estimates that a good 50% of searches now come from mobile devices, via mobile browsers and search apps. But not all websites have been optimized for mobile platforms—and this causes a lot of frustration for users.

Since Google’s main business is to ensure that users are happy with the search results, they are now weeding out non-mobile optimized sites in favor of those that are. This means that websites designed for easy browsing, even from mobile devices will start to outrank those that aren’t.

Do You Really Need to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly?

The short answer is yes. There is no use in having great content if it cannot be displayed in a readable and easily digestible manner.

How Mobilegeddon Changed the Entire Search Landscape

Put yourself in the shoes of people who will visit your website using their smartphone. Do you find it extremely hard to navigate the site on a small screen? Do you need to zoom in and scroll around to be able to read the text? Do your pop-ups dominate the screen? Then your website is not optimized for mobile devices.  Your visitors are extremely frustrated when browsing your content—and they will leave without buying what you are offering.

What Should I Do Now?

Mobilegeddon has already hit thousands of small businesses that rely on Google to get traffic. Whether you’ve already been hit or are just starting to see your traffic decline, you need to act fast.

The good news is that you can get your rankings back—provided that you are willing to invest on responsive web design. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your website is doing, and the PageSpeed Insights Test to gain insights on what you need to fix from a technical standpoint. Your goal should be, to show Googlebot that your website is mobile friendly. To begin with, make sure that:

  • Your content can automatically resize to fit the user’s screen so that they don’t have to zoom in or scroll horizontally.
  • You do not use uncommon or unnecessary elements on the site, such as Flash.
  • Your text is easily readable without the need to zoom.
  • Your links are highly distinguishable and are far apart enough, so that users can easily tap the correct one.

These are just the basics. You might also need to simplify your page design, put critical information (such as your contact details) above the fold, and design big, easy-to-tap, and fat-finger-proof buttons.

Preparing for the Future

Ultimately, your goal should be to future-proof your site for new devices that may go mainstream in the next few years. Put website redesign on your priority list so that you are always ready to reach consumers not only via their laptops and PCs, but also on their phones, tablets, and more.

Let SEOValley Help You

SEO Valley can set you on the right path by implementing a comprehensive mobile search strategy for your website.

Many months before Mobilegeddon, we have already applied mobile best practices to our clients’ websites to ensure that they survive this update.

SEOValley conducted a massive audit to determine which websites needed treatment. Our teams then planned and executed the necessary improvements—whether it was creating a new mobile site or making the current site responsive.

We also planned proper re-directs to ensure that mobile users land on the correct (mobile) version of the site. Finally, we checked and made sure that important site files such as Javascript, CSS, and images were not blocked for the site to render properly on mobile phones and appear correctly for Googlebot.

Don’t swim against the tide. Mobile is the new reality. Talk to us at SEOValley to discuss your options moving forward.

 

An Adventurous Jungle Camp to Kathotiya

Posted By SEOValley on : December 16th, 2015

There are innumerable ways to add fun and thrill to our corporate life. You can simply plan for a get together and chat over lunch, or go for an outing with your colleagues. If you are planning for something usual and spooky yet enjoyable, you can plan for Camping. We at SEO valley always rack our brains to do something unique and entertaining, for we sincerely believe – ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ So, this year, we embraced the winters with fun, excitement and adventure – we planned for a Jungle Camp at Kathotiya.

Bookings were made in advance, a bus was arranged and 21st of November, 2015 was fixed as the auspicious day. We, the SEO Valley family gathered in our office. From where we started our journey. The journey to the Kathotiya Village was full of merriment and fun. Before, we could even hardly realize that we had spent almost two and a half hours commuting, and we had almost reached our point of destination. The picture of a tiger and a little note stating that tigers are present in the notice board at the entry gate of the Kathotiya village was enough to give goosebumps to the SEO Valley family. Though we are all aware of the insignificant number of tigers in our country, we still felt the thrill tickling down our spine. But, one need not worry for protection and security is provided.   

Kathotiya village nestles among the Sylvan Hills away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. It is situated 25kms away from the capital city of Bhopal. It is a small tribal village that is still untouched by the modern ways of living – that includes proper electricity and communication; that adds to the thrill.  The serenity of the place is occasionally broken by the chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves. On arrival, the SEO Valley family were warmly greeted and were served with nice and crispy pakoras and a cup of garam chai (cup of tea).

It was not only the warm welcome but also the aura of the place that completely mesmerized the members of SEO Valley. The little information that had we gathered from our Guide Arun had injected more live and excitement. We got to know that the Kathotiya village is inhabited by the legendary Bhil and Bhilala tribes, the tribes mentioned in many Indian scriptures. The tribe has gained much significance in history for their creative contribution – rock paintings. Once hunter gathers have now settled and taken up agriculture as their means of living. Though their meagre earnings are still significantly supplemented by forest, produce collected from the abundant forest resources around. With these amazing and interesting information, we headed forward to unravel the jungle and into the mysticism.

Since, the Jungle is wide spread, and it had a lot to offer and as usual it was the race against time. We were divided into two groups. While one group headed towards the rock paintings amidst the jungle. The other opted for Rappelling. The groups were asked to gather for lunch in the afternoon. On completing our first camping activity, we returned to the camp for lunch. The SEO Valley family was served with well-cooked food. A table of gourmet meal that consisted of Indian dishes was laid.  After lunch, we had again set out to make our way to the other destination. 

Rappelling

On reaching the hill top for rappelling after much struggle through the jungles and rocky mountains, we were endowed with a rich and picturesque landscapes. The guides patiently demonstrated the techniques of rappelling. We all watched with gazing eyes and butterfly in our stomach and waited for our turn to gain a first-hand experience at rappelling. It was fun, adventurous and also a nice opportunity to interact with our colleagues. Rappelling – the leap of faith. Though it was scary to climb down the mountain only with the help of a rope, it was fun. And once you have climbed down it was indeed an achievement, it was ecstasy.

Rock Paintings

The rock paintings are still visible on the mountain walls situated amidst the jungle. Though much of the paintings are not visible, but even the few remains shows the creativity that flourished. On reaching the spot, you can take an adventurous and heritage walk along the ancient rock paintings. The paintings are very similar to those that are also found on the ancient and historical caves in Bhim Bhetka.

We, the SEO Valley family left the sun behind us and made our way back to the camp. Where a nice cup of tea was awaited. And, of course with the completion of our journey came the time to capture those moments of togetherness and merriment. Though tried, we all were much amused as Sini and Arun hummed some beautiful tunes and played the guitar. As the beautiful tune of the guitar and the songs drew the curtain of the great day, it also added and marked a sweet and unforgettable memory to the diary of SEO Valley family.    

 

Google RankBrain: 5 Things You Need to Know

Posted By SEOValley on : December 15th, 2015

Google has always been a forerunner in search engine technology and just recently, the search giant has announced the addition of another layer to their increasingly complicated ranking algorithm. This time, the update is more focused on machine learning—something that has been paving its way into search engine algorithms for quite some time now, with more IT giants embarking on their own forays into the connection between machine learning and search. Google’s brand new update is called RankBrain and digital agencies, business owners, and web administrators should always be on the look-out for the changes that the company enacts, particularly when it comes to their search and ranking algorithm. Failure to keep up with these changes and updates can mean your website’s downfall in terms of search rankings. What is machine learning and what does it have to do with search engine algorithms, the following are the key things you should know:
RankBrain

  • RankBrain is the name of the artificial intelligence that Google has been using to handle and decipher different search queries. A very large fraction of the search queries that users type per second (this accounts for millions of queries per second) are being interpreted by this new AI system. At least 15% of the new searches that RankBrain receives had never been seen before. The system guesses what words or phrases may have a similar meaning to the searched terms and then filters the results in order to make the engine more effectively in handling never-before-seen searches. This way, listings can be more reliable and relevant to the search. When tested against human/manual interpretation/guesses (eyeballing which websites Google search users will rank on top), humans (Google engineers) guessed right 70 percent of the time, while RankBrain (the new AI) had an 80 percent success rate, which shows that Google searches are becoming much more reliable and thanks to these brand new innovations.
  • RankBrain is an effort to remove as much human element from search algorithms because humans can only process what we know and recognize, and collecting/gathering data to learn from is still a very manual process. All rules governing how current search algorithm works, ranging from content crawling to link tracking, and all other activities were all written by a human being and human beings wrote them because they recognized patterns and adjusted algorithms accordingly. It is true that humans have exceptional capabilities to recognize patterns but are still very slow at doing so, not to mention prone to errors. This is why enlisting machines to help govern rules that run these algorithms is important to speed up the process.
  • RankBrain is still a computer program—an incredibly powerful computer program, running on previously written protocols and taking predetermined actions, but with some level of learning, which theoretically allows it to evolve processes over time, albeit gradually. Just the same, a human is still responsible for spot-checking its evolution and watching over its progress.
  • Google has expressed that signals coming from RankBrain are considered the third most important of all the signals that they base their rankings on. RankBrain looks at the intent of the search. This means that searching for “homes in so-and-so” will follow a synonym code to bring up results matching “houses in so-and-so place.” These codes are still largely written by humans. The hope is that as searches come, the AI will be able to track which results users are clicking on and begin making these correlations without needing the manually written code. This will help the engine to keep up with the never-before-seen slang terms, new topics, and trending queries.
  • This update will not affect SEO a whole lot just because it is an algorithm change that allows users to have a better experience. It shouldn’t change how marketers tackle their SEO but website owners should focus on well-designed and fast-loading pages that give searchers great user experience and offer excellent content.

 

5 Pitfalls that Kill Local SEO

Posted By SEOValley on : December 12th, 2015

Web site owners largely rely on organic search traffic to attract new business and a sudden drop in search rankings is a legitimate fear for business owners to have. When organic searches are among your principal channels for potential clients, keeping its health is critical. While it takes much for a tenured, established website to slip and fall into SERP oblivion, a lot can go wrong to mess up your search visibility. Other times, it doesn’t take a lot to get penalized and be excluded by search engines in their indexing. In many of these cases, carelessness and ignorance are to blame for their local search ranking’s fate. The most costly page performance killers can be extremely technical or incredibly basic and eye-opening. Don’t fall victim to the following mistakes that website owners all too often make, unknowingly but effectively sabotaging their search visibility:

  • Bad landing page – One fundamental mistake that many businesses make is not directing their high-value traffic to a targeted, dedicated, optimal landing page. Instead of automating the generation of your doorway pages, optimize creation by formulating good copy. Fresh, relevant, and useful copy is the lifeblood of landing pages (and all website pages for that matter). You can have a phenomenal-looking landing page but a boring headline or a bad/irrelevant body copy will put all your efforts of designing in vain. Copy is extremely important that even the smallest changes, like tweaks to a single keyword can bring about a huge difference to your page performance and in turn, your conversion rates and the bottom line. Some warning signs of crappy landing page content include high bounce rates, few to no comments, lack of social shares, and short-lived average visits, low-quality content isn’t only boring, but also devoid of value.
  • Bad redesign – Another common mistake that results in great fluctuations in search rankings and visibility is a premature or an ineffective website redesign. Making significant changes to your website’s content, design, architecture, navigation, and internal linking relationships, among others, can have equally significant effects on your website’s search performance. Essentially, if you have a website that is different from what a search engine has first crawled and indexed or has a copy of its new form may not include the same keywords, content, and crawlable links that you have already established. When making significant changes on your website, make sure that the new design will not impact your search visibility.
  • Bad/lost inbound links – If content is the king in SEO, then linking is the queen. Links are truly essential mechanisms that search engines use to discover pages and measure ranking signals. Proactively and organically acquiring links is always a better approach than buying them, because purchased links almost often lead to a bad link profile, which may cause your site to get penalized. The way to an excellent link profile is active and efficient content creation, content marketing, and social participation.
  • Bad management of duplicate content – Serving up and maintaining duplicate content under different URLs confuses search engines. Mobile or printer friendly versions of web pages, other language versions, or outright duplication of contents can lead to this issue and anything that causes search engines confusion or inefficiency can result in poor search rankings and performance for your site.
  • Bad/black hat tactics – it is easy to be tempted to perform black hat techniques in order to beat your competition online. While many bad SEO practices do work, they can only lead to issues and problems down the line, especially now that search engines are keen in implementing best practice standards and stricter algorithms. By forgoing manipulative techniques and using ones that follow the best practices, you avoid being an SEO spammer and allow your site to attract business organically.