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Google’s new BERT algorithm means search engine marketers will need to change their approach to keyword research in 2020 and focus more on intent research. Adam Bunn, the Director of SEO, Content & Digital PR at Greenlight Digital, looks at what companies should expect from keyword searches in 2020.

The way people search online is changing. The introduction of Google’s ‘BERT’ algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is evidence of this and highlights the complexity with which people have begun to utilise search engines. BERT utilises Natural Language Processing (NLP) which helps analyse natural human language beyond just basic keywords and gather more information about how all the words in a query relate to each other.

 

In this way, BERT can look at the search query as a whole, rather than focusing on independent keywords in an attempt to reveal, and then prioritise, the intent of the search. This ensures the search results are the most relevant not only when it comes to the specific topic the user is researching, but also to the user’s intention behind the search.

As a result of this change in the way search engine queries are being performed, marketers must adapt to the way they tackle Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Fréderic Dubut, Senior Programme Manager Lead at Bing, recently said that search engine marketers must change their approach to keyword research in the following year and focus more on intent research. But does this mean keywords are going to become redundant?

Voice search changing SEO terms

BERT is one of Google’s biggest updates to web search in recent years. It uses NLP to better understand the context of search queries by taking into account things such as linking words (and, the, from) or interrogative markers (how, what, which). While some users have learned to query Google using unconnected and grammatical keywords such as ‘best digital strategy SEO’, the popularisation of voice search demands that search engines understand the way people naturally speak and look beyond just keywords.

Voice search produces queries that use conversational language such as “what is the best digital strategy for SEOs” which means they require NLP in order to render the best results. BERT can also take into account previous recent searches to some extent in a similar way to how a regular conversation works. Asking “How long does driving there take?” after inquiring about the location of nearest supermarket will provide relevant results without the user having to specify the supermarket again.

In today’s fast-paced information age, users are no longer willing to spend time going through countless search results to find the page that delivers the information they are looking for. Many people don’t even go beyond the first page of Google’s search results nowadays. As such, search engines are looking to provide results which are relevant not only to the keywords a user puts into the search engine, but also to the ‘why’ behind a search query: the search intent. In other words, search engine page results (SERPs) are optimised to understand what direct action a user wants to undertake through their search result (learn, purchase, find a specific website etc.) and prioritise the specific websites that match that intent.

Shifting from keywords to intent

As search engines become more advanced, incorporating more intent-based models and practices into research should be a key focus for digital marketers in 2020. However, intent research models can be quite subjective from a classification perspective as they rely on one person’s perspective to decide the user intentions behind a list of keywords. Moreover, the main types of search intent – informational, navigational, transactional and commercial – are very broad and, realistically, not very actionable.

For intent researches to be most effective, marketers need to have reliable data metrics, such as click-through rates and conversion rates to support the agreed intention behind a keyword. This allows them to create relevant lists of purchase and research intention keywords whilst ensuring the keywords they use for a specific search intent are the most relevant to their users. Checking SERPs statistics for keyword reliability over time also provides insight on which keywords are best to target for the specific type of intent.

There is still room for keywords

Understanding search intent, and taking it into account when delivering the most relevant answer is ultimately Google’s priority. While keywords are still a big part of search queries, digital marketers must understand that relying solely on keywords is not enough for SEO anymore. Backlinks and other traditional Google rankings are still important, but if the page doesn’t meet the user’s search intent, it’s not going to rank highly on SERPs.

However, that doesn’t mean that keywords are going to become obsolete. John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst at Google, agreed that keywords are always going to be helpful, even if they are not the main focus. Showing specific words to users makes it easier for them to understand what the page is about which, in turn, provides a better user experience.

Ultimately, optimising for user experience should be key in 2020 and shifting an SEO strategy to prioritise search intent is part of that. Focusing more on intent research and enforcing more intent-based practices off the back of keyword research is definitely something we’ll see more of in 2020.

By Adam Bunn
Director of SEO, Content & Digital PR
Greenlight Digital

 

[Source: This article was published in netimperative.com By Robin - Uploaded by the Association Member: Clara Johnson]

Categorized in Search Engine

Source: This article was Published business.com By Katharine Paljug - Contributed by Member: Grace Irwin

Good content marketing, which makes use of long-tail keywords, can be key to making sure your small business ranks well on Google.

As the internet continues to change consumer behavior, more marketers are turning to content marketing to reach customers. But the rules for this new form of consumer outreach are different than those of traditional ads. Rather than creating a slogan or image to catch customers' attention, content marketing requires the careful use of long-tail keywords.

What are long-tail keywords?

Trying to figure out long-tail keywords can feel overwhelming, especially if you aren't a marketing professional. For instance, a simple Google search for the phrase returns more than 77 million results. At its core, long-tail keywords refer to a phrase or several words that indicate precisely what a user has typed into Google. If you tailor your SEO properly, you will rank high in the search results for the phrase that directly corresponds to what your customers are searching for online as it related to your business. 

 

For example, say your Atlanta-based company makes doodads that are only meant for use within restaurants and bars. Someone looking to buy those doodads might search for "where to find doodads for restaurants in Atlanta." And if you're positioned well in search results (because you've made effective use of that long-tail keyword phrase on your website), you may show up in the first- or second-page search results. 

To use long-tail keywords, you don't need to know everything about them. You just need to understand six things about the changing world of marketing, how long-tail keywords fit in that picture and where you can find them. The answer, generally speaking, is content marketing.

Content marketing has a low cost and high ROI.

Though you can still purchase ads online, one of the most cost-effective and valuable ways to reach customers is through content marketing. That involves creating online material, such as blog posts, website pages, videos or social media posts, that do not explicitly promote your brand. Instead, the messaging stimulates interest in your business and products by appealing to the needs and interests of your target customers. 

Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, bringing consumers to you and gaining their trust and loyalty. It generates more than three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing while costing about 62 percent less. 

However, blogging and other forms of content marketing aren't effective unless you make effective use of keywords, particularly long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are essential to content marketing.

When creating online content, you want customers to be able to find it. The most common way that customers find content online is through search engines. The average business website receives more than three-quarters of its traffic from search, but that level of traffic is impossible without using keywords. 

When you incorporate relevant keywords in your content, you optimize your website for search, making it more likely that customers searching for the keywords you have used will find your business. This search engine optimization, or SEO, increases your web traffic and exposes new audiences to your brand. 

Just using keywords isn't enough. To create effective content that makes it to the top of a search engine results page, you need to use a specific type of keyword known as long-tail keywords.

 

Long-tail keywords attract customers who are ready to buy.

Long-tail keywords are phrases of three or more words, but their length isn't where the name comes from. Long tail describes the portion of the search-demand curve where these keywords live. 

In statistics, the long tail is the portion of a distribution graph that tapers off gradually rather than ending sharply. This tail usually has many small values and goes on for a long time. 

When it comes to online marketing, a small number of simple keywords are searched for very frequently, while keywords that fall into the long-tail are searched for more sporadically. For example, a simple keyword that is searched for hundreds of thousands of times would be "fitness." A long-tail keyword would be "dance fitness class in Boston." Because the tail is so long and there are so many of them, these keywords account for about 70 percent of all online searches, even though the individual keywords themselves are not searched as often. 

Long-tail keywords are not searched for as frequently as simple keywords like "hotel" or "socks," because they don't apply to everyone. They're what a customer plugs into a search engine when they know exactly what they want and need an online search to help them find it. These search terms communicate a consumer's intent – especially their intent to buy – rather than their general interest. 

This means that when you use the right long-tail keywords, you appeal directly to customers who are looking for what you are selling. You want to determine what your audience might be searching and then work those phrases into your content marketing.

Look for high search volume and low competition.

Because long-tail keywords are so niche, there is much less competition for them. If your long-tail keyword is "dance fitness class in Boston," you aren't competing for search traffic with every dance class out there or even every gym in Boston. You are only competing with Boston studios that offer dance fitness classes. That is a much smaller field. 

 

However, you still need enough people to search for your keywords for your investment in content marketing to be worthwhile. The best long-tail keywords are low in competition but higher in search volume. High volume in this context doesn't mean thousands of searches every day. But several dozens to a couple hundred searches shows that many of your potential customers are actively searching for that keyword.

There are many tools to help you find long-tail keywords.

The best way to find low-competition, high-volume long-tail keywords is with a keyword tool. These tools allow you to plug in a seed keyword related to your business or audience, and they will return relevant long-tail keywords. 

Keyword planners, such as Answer the Public and Keywords Everywhere, are free, though the number of keywords and the information they provide about them is limited. You can also plug seed keywords into a Google search and use the auto-complete and related search term features to find new long-tail keywords. 

Paid keyword research tools, such as LongTailPro or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, return not only thousands of relevant long-tail keywords but also statistics on the number of monthly searches and the level of competition for those keywords. They also include tools for project planning, search filters, and additional traffic stats. However, these tools can be expensive, costing several hundred dollars to use. 

The type of tool you select depends on your budget and the scope of your content marketing, and the keywords that get you the best results depend on your business and your customers.

Long-tail keywords tell you what content to create.

If you know who your target customer is, you can use their interests and concerns as seed keywords to find related long-tail keywords. For example, if you know that your customers are interested in travel, you can search for those words to find related keyword such as "which travel insurance is best" or "tax deductible travel expenses." 

Once you have a list of these high-volume, low-competition keywords, they provide you with ideas for blog posts, social media, video content, web pages and more. You can create a series of blog posts comparing kinds of travel insurance. You can make an infographic about tax-deductible travel expenses. Rather than wondering what content to create, the long-tail keywords themselves can serve as your topics. 

Creating content around these relevant keywords automatically optimizes your web platforms for search. And since your initial seed keywords were based on what you know about your target customer, you are designing content that directly appeals to the people searching for a business like yours. Using long-tail keywords effectively works with search engines to bring customers directly to your website, rather than hoping that they see an ad and decide your business is worth visiting.

Categorized in Online Research

Source: This article was published martechadvisor.com - Contributed by Member: Martin Grossner

Video has become an integral part of the overall content marketing mix – a significant chunk of people’s online activities involve consumption of videos.  51% of marketers swear by video to justify the ROI on content marketing activities - and YouTube gets more than 500 million hours of daily watch time. Facebook is not falling behind with 100 million hours of the same. And these numbers will only increase in the coming time.

On the other hand, ample amount of opportunities brings the problem of saturation. How do you stand out from the clutter and the competition in the eyes of your viewers and the search engines? In this article, we will go over 5 techniques (Or hacks, if you will!) that will attract more viewers for your videos.

(Note: For our convenience, we’ll mostly use YouTube for all the examples. The tactics mentioned in this article will be applicable for most video hosting platforms and streaming websites.)

 

1. Video Keyword Search

First, let’s go over the most fundamental aspect of any content creation activity - keyword research. Before you move to create videos, generate a list of keywords and keyword phrases that you would like to rank for.

To start with, the YouTube Suggest feature will show you what people are searching for in YouTube. For instance, if you type in Digital Marketing 2018 in the search box, YouTube will present the relevant searches with that keyword phrases, and you can generate more ideas with the suggestions.

Another way to get keyword ideas is to look for keywords used in videos with a higher video count. In the screenshot below, barring the video with 150k views, you can see that videos with the keyword phrase Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 have received a good amount of views.

2. Optimize Video Metadata

To help people find your content, optimize your video content before it goes live. Here is how you can do that:

Title: Include the focus keyword in the video title along with the problem it solves. It should be engaging and should incite people to click on the video.

 

In the screenshot below, the video has to Maximize Your Productivity as the focus keyword and tells how batching your tasks can help solve the problem it talks about. Note, that the language is simple yet impactful.

Description: Use the focus keyword as early as you can in the description to tell the YouTube algorithm what the video is about (Source). 200+ words descriptions help YouTube and Google both in understanding more about your video. You can ask viewers to subscribe to your channel or direct them to your website and so on. Avoid stuffing keywords in the description box to avoid getting penalized by YouTube.

Tip: If your video runs longer (usually 8+ minutes), add timestamps in your description to help your viewers navigate through the video. Here’s how Gary Vaynerchuk does it.

Upload video transcript: Now, this will certainly help you outsmart your competition. Whenever you are uploading a video, upload the video transcript along with it, because search engine bots crawl closed captions included in the video. YouTube does automatic captioning, but try not to use it because you are at the mercy of the speech recognition technology which sometimes is not accurate.

Video Thumbnail: Although thumbnails don’t influence the SEO factors directly, an eye-catching thumbnail will certainly attract more viewers leading to enhanced SEO.

Make sure your thumbnail attracts eyeballs and tells viewers what the video is about. Here’s an example:

3. Create Playlists to Increase Your Watch Time

Watch time measures the amount of time people spend in watching your videos. It’s an important metric, because YouTube rewards videos that keep viewers engaged on YouTube. To optimize your watch time, create playlists on specific topics that would keep the viewers hooked for a longer time. Also, while working on playlists, make sure the name of the playlist is keyword-rich to reap the SEO benefits.

 

4. User Engagement

If people are liking, leaving comments, sharing your videos or subscribing to your channel, YouTube uses it as a signal that your videos are engaging. Here are 2 simple tips to increase user engagement in your videos.

a. Ask viewers to like, comment and share your videos - and to subscribe to your channel. Ask specific questions so they can easily answer them in the comments section.

b. Ensure to leave reply to the comments on your videos – select a specific time to answer all the comments. Replying to comments makes your viewers feel good and engage more with your videos leading to even increased watch time.

5. Schema Markup

Schema.org is an initiative between Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex to create a structured data markup schema. Implementing Schema markup will help videos stand out in standard search results. If you are not sure whether you should go for it or not, here is Matt Cutts himself affirming the significance of it.

You need to provide the description, thumbnail URL, upload date, and duration. Google has detailed out everything here regarding schema markups for videos.

6. Submit a Video Sitemap

Video sitemaps provide search engine bots with the placement and the metadata of the videos on your website. While the bots can crawl the content themselves, submitting the video sitemap speeds up the process.  The video sitemap should contain metadata like title, description, play page URL, thumbnail URL and the raw video file URL.

 If you have already started with video marketing and feel a little lost when it comes to getting more views, these hacks will set you in the right direction. How do you plan to implement these tactics? Let us know in the comments below!

Categorized in Search Engine

In PPC, we hear a lot about keyword search volume, yet far less attention is paid to this crucial metric compared to, say, click-through rate or cost-per-click. Although these metrics are important, search volume can be equally important – especially for SEOs.

In today’s post, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about search volume: what it is, why it’s important, and how to use it in your marketing campaigns, all with real-world examples to illustrate the main points. We’ll be focusing on these concepts primarily from an SEO perspective, but we’ll also be dipping into some PPC-related topics, too.

What Is Keyword Search Volume?

As the term implies, keyword search volume refers to the volume (or number) of searches for a particular keyword in a given timeframe. Keyword search volume is typically averaged over a set timeframe to provide marketers with a general idea of a search term’s competitiveness and overall volume. This data is often contextualized within specific timeframes to allow SEOs and marketers to see how certain keywords drive traffic over time.

 

Seasonality often plays a significant role in keyword search volume. Yes, the most diligent bargain-hunters may begin their search for “Christmas gift ideas” in July, but most people will wait until October or November before conducting this kind of search.

Keyword Search Volume seasonal keywords example

Image via Energy Circle

Other search terms are “evergreen,” meaning there’s no seasonal or timeliness associated with them, and their search volume stays steady over time. Of course, it’s worth remembering that an evergreen keyword in one country or region may be seasonal in another.

Why Does Keyword Search Volume Matter?

Search volume matters because search engines are one of the key ways that sites attract new visitors and traffic. For example, at WordStream, organic search drives about 70% of total traffic! So it’s crucial to target keywords in your content that actually have real search volume – if no one is searching for the keywords you’re targeting, no one will find your content. However, if you’re only targeting keywords with extremely high search volume, it will be difficult to compete with bigger sites and get your content ranking.

Keyword Search Volume Google Analytics traffic sources

Access traffic source data in Google Analytics by selecting
Acquisition > Source/Medium from the main
navigational menu

Search volume is also important to your PPC bidding strategy, since high-volume terms will tend to be more competitive and more expensive if they are also commercial in terms of intent.

How to Get Keyword Search Volume Data

Before you can start using keyword search volume data to inform your SEO or PPC strategy, you need to actually get your hands on it. Here are several tools you can use to find and examine your keyword search volume data.

 

SEM Rush

SEM Rush is a competitive intelligence tool that offers users a wealth of useful data, including keyword search volume.

Keyword search volume SEM Rush screenshot

As you can see in the figure above, SEM Rush offers an at-a-glance dashboard overview for specific keywords, in this case “ski jackets”. We can see the approximate average search volume, as well as the CPC and competitiveness of the query. We’re provided a graph overview of how keyword trends change over time, as well as related and phrase-match keywords that are relevant to our original query.

Note that the above screenshot was taken from a completely free search. Subscription plans are available to users who need more robust functionality and in-depth data, but it’s a solid place to start looking for keyword search volume data.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz doesn’t just run one of the best SEO and search blogs in the business – it also makes a range of ass-kicking tools that make life easier for digital marketers of all stripes. One of Moz’s best tools for SEOs is its Keyword Explorer.

Keyword search volume Moz Keyword Explorer

The above figure shows a sample dashboard from Moz Keyword Explorer for the same term we used SEM Rush to evaluate, “ski jackets”. Although there’s quite a breadth in terms of the overall keyword search volume – between 11.5k and 30.3k – we’re also provided with several other valuable data points, such as an intuitive indication of the term’s competitiveness (or “Difficulty”, as Moz puts it), suggested relevant keywords, as well as SERP analysis, which also shows both Page and Domain Authority scores (more on this shortly).

Similarly to SEM Rush, Moz Keyword Explorer can be used for free, but is bundled with the Moz Pro suite of tools for power users. Overall, one of the best ways to start examining search volume data.

Google Trends

Although it may not be as fully featured as SEM Rush or Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Trends can be used to evaluate keyword search volume data.

Google Trends offers some interesting perspectives on this kind of data, such as geographic popularity, growth and decline data for specific terms, and related topics, which can be extremely useful for identifying branded terms related to more generic keywords. Take a look at the Google Trends data for the term “ski jackets”:

Keyword search volume Google Trends interest over time

The figure above shows interest over time during the previous 12-month period for the search query “ski jackets.” This particular graph shows worldwide interest in that term, but this can be refined to display data for specific regions, as this graph does for the United States:

Keyword search volume Google Trends interest over time United States

And here’s some interesting data for both related topics and the comparative popularity of related search queries:

Keyword search volume Google Trends related terms report

As useful and interesting as this data is, it still doesn’t tell us the competitiveness of this search query. Not a bad place to start, but this isn’t inclusive or comprehensive enough for most SEOs and digital marketers.

Google Keyword Planner

You may have used Google’s Keyword Planner – part of the AdWords interface – to conduct keyword research in the past. It’s a great tool and offers a range of useful data, particularly if you’re conducting keyword research as part of a PPC campaign.

Keyword search volume Google Keyword Planner

The figure above shows how the Keyword Planner displays keyword search volume data. We can see average monthly search volumes over time (with specific timeframe parameters also available), and beneath this graph you’ll find the related keywords and ad group suggestions you’d expect from this kind of tool (not shown in the image above). You can also mouse over each column in these graphs to see tool-tip figures, which is handy.

 

It’s worth noting, however, that after recent changes to the AdWords interface, this data is now only available to users running active AdWords campaigns. If you aren’t, you’ll see a simplified, truncated version of the data, and no graphs or other visual representations of the data.

With that out of the way, let’s get back to the task at hand – working with your keyword search volume data.

Which Keyword Search Volumes Should You Be Targeting?

Whether you’re an SEO, a PPC specialist, or a digital marketing generalist, keyword search volume is a crucial metric that is often overlooked in favor of other metrics such as click-through rate. However, keyword search volume should be part of the foundation upon which your efforts should be built – but how do you know which range of volumes you should be targeting?

Balancing Volume with Competition

When it comes to keyword search volume, there are two primary factors to take into consideration: volume and competitiveness. Keywords with higher volumes mean more potential exposure (or impression share), but will likely be much more competitive. This, in turn, makes it harder to rank for these terms as you’ll probably be going up against well-established publishers and sites, or higher CPCs if you’re bidding on these terms as part of a paid search campaign.

Keyword search volume comparing average volume with competition

Evaluating the average monthly search volume for an ad group vs. the competition
of its keywords

Knowing which types of terms to target depends largely on your situation and goals. If you’re a brand-new website, you may want to begin by targeting low-volume, low-competition keywords as a starting point to establish some domain authority. Alternatively, if you’re a well-established site with strong organic rankings, you may want to delve into slightly more competitive territory to maintain your edge.

How Site Authority Should Inform Your Targeting Strategy

When it comes to SEO, there are potentially thousands of factors that can impact your rankings, not least of which include your location, the nature of your site or business, and the quality of your content (more on this shortly).

 

However, among the most important of these factors is your domain authority. Before we get into the weeds of how your site authority should inform your targeting strategy, let’s take a lightning-quick look at some of these terms.

What Is Domain Authority?

Although domain authority is a general SEO concept, it’s also a defined metric created by our friends at Moz that evaluates the strength of a website (or domain) on a logarithmic scale of 0-100. The higher the score, the stronger the site.

Keyword search volume BBC domain authority example

Sample data for the domain authority of bbc.co.uk. Image via Moz.

Moz uses around 40 ranking signals, such as the total number of links to a given domain, to determine a site’s domain authority.

What Metrics Affect Domain Authority?

While Moz examines around 40 signals to determine domain authority, one of the most important is a site’s link profile.

Keyword search volume Moz link profile data example

Moz’s data (and independent research by leading SEOs around the world) strongly suggests a direct correlation between strong link profiles and higher organic rankings. Your site’s link profile is impacted by both the number of external links to your site – links to your website from other websites – and the quality of those links.

An external link from a well-known and respected domain such as a .gov domain or a site such as BBC News is worth significantly more than a link from a tiny upstart blog hosted on WordPress.com, for example. More high-quality links means a stronger link profile.

Which Keywords Should I Be Targeting?

Now that we know a little more about domain authority, it’s time for the $64,000 question – which keywords should you be targeting?

The answer? It depends.

I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for, but unfortunately, as with virtually everything in digital marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Ultimately, the keywords you choose to target will be affected by your domain authority, your goals, and the search volume and competitiveness of the keywords you’re going after.

Keyword search volume low competition keywords

This screenshot, taken from a Russian AdWords account, shows that the query
“jpg to pdf” has a healthy average search volume and low competition

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any rough guidelines you can use when it comes to SEO. Newer sites or those with lower domain authority may want to target lower-volume, less competitive keywords to attract external links and establish more authority in your space. Over time, you can become more confident and/or aggressive in how you target keywords, but don’t forget to ensure that the keywords you’re targeting are relevant to your business and your website as a whole.

But what if you’ve set your sights on a highly competitive keyword with enormous search volume? Read on.

How to Rank for Keywords with High Search Volumes

Whether you’re an SEO rookie or a seasoned veteran, going after keywords with high search volumes is always a challenge. On the one hand, these search terms can be immensely valuable to your business, bringing in tons of referral traffic and amassing a growing number of external links. On the other, these terms are often highly sought-after precisely because of the value they offer, meaning that competition to rank for them is intense.

Keyword search volume climbers facing a huge mountain

So how do you rank for keywords with high search volumes? By creating truly exceptional content.

High-Quality Content: The Alpha and Omega of Organic Rankings

Although it’s vital to optimize your content for maximum discoverability, your primary focus whenever attempting to rank for a keyword – regardless of its search volume or competitiveness – should be on creating the most exceptional content you possibly can. Every time, all the time, now and forever.

 

We don’t know exactly how Google’s algorithms work, or even the precise ranking signals it uses when evaluating a website or piece of content. We do know, however, that quality and relevance are two of the most important elements when it comes to organic rankings.

Think of it in the same terms you would for PPC. We know that at least some of Google’s ad auction algorithm is based on ads beating the expected CTR for a given keyword:

Keyword search volume expected CTR graph

As you can see in the figure above, AdWords accounts with higher Quality Scores typically exceed the expected CTR for a given search term. By beating the expected CTR for a search query, Google can infer that the ad in question is strong, given that more users click on those ads than others.

The same principle applies to content and SEO. Beating your competitors by achieving higher-than-average click-through rates tells Google that your content is relevant, of high quality, and deserving of greater visibility.

Although the figure above was created by examining WordStream customer data, this theory has been backed up by other sources. Check out this graph that originally appeared at Moz:

Keyword search volume position according to CTR

This graph demonstrates that search results with the highest click-through rates also occupied higher positions on the SERP. This reinforces the concept that content of higher quality will rank more highly than content with a lower CTR.

(To learn more about improving your “organic Quality Score,” check out this fascinating post by Larry about Google’s RankBrain.)

Pump Up the (Search) Volume

Keyword search volume is a complex topic, and one that varies from one business to another. Hopefully this post has cleared up some of the questions you may have had about search volume and how to leverage it in your SEO and PPC campaigns. As always, get at me in the comments with questions, opinions, or tips of your own.

Author : Dan Shewan

Source : http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/beginners-guide-keyword-search-volume-marketers-01762087#CkLXbgfK4c5l5XQz.97

Arguably the most important aspect of writing or editing an article with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind is choosing the best target keyword phrase. It can also be one of the trickiest strategies of content SEO to master.

But if you choose the right keyword phrase for a given article and weave it into an engaging and well-written piece, your article could be well on its way to a page one ranking in search engines for that phrase.

The target keyword phrase should be a two- to- four-word phrase (maybe even more words) that conveys the article’s core topic or message. While a given article might rank in search engines for a handful of different keyword phrases, the target phrase best conveys what the article is about and thus is emphasized more than other keyword phrases. If you could wish for your article to rank highly for any phrase, this would be it.

Beyond the importance of shooting for a page-one ranking, there are at least three additional reasons why the target keyword phrase is so critical.

  1. It will make up a significant portion of your headline and meta title —usually the first part of your article a potential reader will see. It’s in those nanoseconds when you’re most likely to hook or miss a potential reader.
  2. The research you put into choosing the target keyword phrase can trickle down to the rest of the article. What you don’t choose for the main phrase can become secondary keyword phrases that will enrich the article’s deck, intro, subheads, etc., further enhancing the article’s clout in search engines’ indexes.
  3. Studying the keyword phrases people search for will make you a better writer and editor. Simply put, the research gives you insight into how your potential audience thinks about and looks for information.

Below is a step-by-step look at how to choose the best target keyword phrase for an article, including a hypothetical example to illustrate the steps. There can be plenty of nuances to this setup depending on different situations, but the basic steps can be applied whether you are writing or editing and whether your article is an online-original or the digital version of your latest magazine piece.

After you have a headline with a strong target keyword phrase, don’t consider your SEO work done. The best SEO isn’t just bolted on to an article or to the editorial workflow. What you learn via keyword research can be applied throughout the whole writing or editing process to improve the article’s readability and findability.

 

The ultimate goal here isn’t to just please the search engines’ algorithms. It’s to make an article better for and more easily accessible by its potential audience.

1. Consider The Article

What is its main topic? Not broadly, but specifically. What is its main reader benefit? What questions does it answer?

Example: An article about the advantages and disadvantages of cork flooring — why it’s “green,” its pros and cons for different rooms in a house, different options of colors and textures, how much it costs, etc.

2. Brainstorm Your Keywords

Before you go anywhere near a keyword research tool, ask yourself what you would search for if you wanted to find an article on this topic. Scribble down a few phrases of varying lengths, but nothing shorter than two words (more on that later).

Example: cork flooring, cork flooring cost, is cork flooring green?, cork flooring uses, cork flooring options

3. Do Your Keyword Research

keyword-planner

My favorite resource for this step is the Google Keyword Planner. There are numerous keyword research tools out there with a variety of different options. Some of them are free; some are not. For me at least, it’s hard not to use the tool from the No. 1 search engine. When you open the (free) Google tool, start by entering the best phrase(s) from your brainstorm list in the “Word or Phrase” box. Leave the “Website” box blank, unless you want to limit the results to keywords that bring your website traffic.

4. Review The Results

At the top of the results list, you’ll see the phrases you searched for. Below that will be related phrases. The columns to the right of the phrases show search volume and trends in different ways, and there are a few options to sort and customize the information. After you have your feet wet with this keyword tool, check out those customization options. But for now, I recommend focusing on the Global Monthly Searches column.

Jot down the search volume numbers for the phrases you searched for and any of the related phrases that truly reflect what the article is about. Avoid phrases that aren’t natural language because they will be difficult to work into headlines and the text (more on that below). You may need to repeat steps three and four a couple of times to find good phrases, or you might find great options right away.

Example: cork floors (90,500), cork flooring (74,000), cork flooring pros and cons (5,400), cork flooring prices (1,600), cork flooring cost (1,000)

Even though you’re looking at bunches of numbers, don’t forget that those numbers represent real people using search engines to find the information your article might provide. If you’re unsure whether a particular phrase matches the article’s topic, or you’re looking at words that can mean different things in different contexts, Google the phrase. The results will show you what the search engine regards as relevant results for that phrase. Googling the phrase will also reveal the competition for that phrase (both who and how much).

 

5. Resist The Temptation of Big Numbers

I know I said to focus on the Global Monthly Searches column, but don’t just run with the short and broad phrase that has the highest number of searches. Your odds of ranking on page one will be higher for a more specific phrase that gets less search activity. It’s far better to rank on page one for a phrase that gets a few thousand searches a month than to be on page 19 for a phrase that gets a few hundred thousand searches a month.

The trick is to look at phrases that most accurately reflect what the article is most specifically about and then use the numbers to weigh the different options within that. There’s no magic number of search volume to choose or ignore. I’ve found that, for people who are new to SEO, choosing one phrase out of the options is the hardest part of optimizing content and that the temptation of big numbers is hard to resist. It’s really important to focus on the relevancy of the phrases and use the different search volume numbers more so as a tiebreaker than a compass.

Example: In this case, all the phrases related to cork flooring are specific enough for consideration. But say the writer had turned in the article with a vague headline like “Great Flooring Option for Green Homes” or “Great Green Flooring Option.” “Flooring” (4 million) is way too broad and too big. “Green homes” (74,000) isn’t necessarily too big but is broader than the specific topic of the article. And “Green flooring” (6,600) isn’t specific. Say the author used a headline like “Why Cork Makes for Great Floors.” The problem with that is that it doesn’t really target any phrase. It doesn’t cover “cork floors” (90,500) because there are other words in between.

6. Choose The Long Tail

011_kw_planner_longtails

After you have experience researching keyword phrases, if you still have trouble weighing the options and/or feel the temptation to choose vague phrases with super-high search volume, try this: You can get a sense of the ideal search volume for your topics and website by using Google Analytics.

Look up the top entrance keywords for your website, then enter those phrases into the keyword tool. Then compare their search volume to the number of visitors they actually bring to your website. You might be surprised that some of the most continually productive entrance keywords for your website don’t have huge search volume. Enter the Long Tail theory.

Whereas a shorter and more general phrase may have a much higher search volume than a longer and more specific phrase, the people searching for the latter are on a more focused and determined path. Generally speaking, when people search for short and broad phrases they are in early research mode and they’re likely to refine their search quickly to something more specific. When people search for a longer and more specific phrase, they are closer to making a “conversion,” which could be any or all of the following: read the article, share it on Facebook, sign up for your newsletter, subscribe to your magazine, etc.

These days, ranking for long tail keywords is more important than ever. People are becoming increasingly savvy with using search engines at the same time as the amount of information those engines access continues to expand exponentially. On a related email exchange with Josh Loewen Co-founder at The Status Bureau, he mentioned that “Nearly 60 percent of search queries are for three words or more, and the fastest growth in number of searches is for six- to seven-word queries”.

Example: “Cork flooring pros and cons” caught my eye from the beginning. It conveys the content of the article and speaks to an audience that knows about cork flooring, but needs to know if it’s right for them. And this phrase is especially advantageous with the next tip in mind.

7. Double Up If You Can

Know that if you target a multiple-word phrase, you’ll also effectively target the words and phrases within that phrase. A win-win scenario is when a high-volume, broad phrase is verbatim in a longer and more specific keyword phrase.

Example:  “Cork flooring pros and cons” effectively covers both that phrase and “cork flooring” (74,000)

8. Write The Headline

Look at your short list of target keyword phrase options and write different headline options for the article. If you want the article to rank on page one for the phrase, odds are the phrase needs to be in the headline. Your best bet is to start the headline with the target keyword phrase.

If that’s awkward, place the phrase as early in the headline as possible. A strong keyword phrase early in the headline will please the search engines’ algorithms. It also will hook the attention of quick-moving readers when they see the exact same phrase they searched for in a headline on a search results page.

Keep in mind that your final headline needs to be clear and engaging, with natural language. The last thing you want is a franken-headline that makes the reader do mental acrobatics to understand it.

 

Example: “Cork Flooring Pros and Cons” is pretty strong. Ideal headlines for SEO are a little longer (about six to 12 words), but I think adding another phrase to this headline would make it awkward. This example isn’t an especially challenging one, but it’s not uncommon for a headline to fall into place like this once you have a good target phrase.

9. Weave It In

If you want an article to rank for a given phrase, it must be in the article. If it works naturally, use the target keyword phrase again in the deck and subheads of the article. If not, use secondary phrases. Definitely use the target phrase at least once within the article’s introduction. Then sprinkle it here and there throughout the piece.

There’s no magic number for this — too little or too much will depend on the context of the article and what the search engine considers natural for that topic. Generally speaking, for a feature-length article, aim for at least three uses in the body copy: intro, middle and conclusion. But don’t force it.

“The target keyword phrase should be a valuable phrase for the article, so using it a handful of times shouldn’t be awkward,” said to me Mariia Lvovych the founder of Getreviewed. “If you find yourself struggling to rewrite a sentence to get the phrase in there for the Xth time, stop” she continued.

Example: It should be easy to use “cork flooring pros and cons” in the introduction and in the conclusion. But it may not be natural to use it more than that, which is fine.

10. Use Secondary Phrases

Phrases from the cutting room floor are great for to use in the deck, subheads, body text, etc. You may even discover new ideas for related articles or sidebars.

Example: Phrases such as “cork flooring durability,” “cork flooring installation,” “cork flooring prices” may naturally be in the body text and lend themselves to subheads.

All of this may sound like a lot of steps, but with practice, you’ll find that the whole process generally moves swiftly and smoothly for most topics. Each time you do it, you’ll get faster, and you’ll learn something new.

The payoff can be enormous — 15 to 30 minutes of work in choosing and applying a target keyword phrase can lead to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, more people reading your hard work. Plus, you’ll become a better writer/editor because you will be all the more in touch with your audience.

Source : searchenginejournal

Categorized in Others

“Google, what are the best Italian restaurants near me?”

“Siri, where is the closest coffee shop?”

“Siri, find me a barber in New York City.”

What you’re looking at is the new face of search, and it’s coming at warp speed.

As it stands right now, voice search is growing faster than any other type of search out there. Today, 41% of U.S. adults use voice search every single day, and that number is increasing daily.

When you think about it, it’s not surprising that voice search has become so popular. As our lives get increasingly busy, voice search represents a simple, hands-free, accurate way to track down all of the things we need online – from a great cup of Joe to the answer to a pressing question.

The only potential downside of voice search is that it’s changed the way SEOs and online marketers do things behind the scenes.

Before voice search exploded to its current proportions, short-tail keyword research was enough to help companies rank well and appear for relevant queries.

As search terms get more complex, though, and voice search drives a shift toward more complex, conversational search queries, short-tail keyword research may be dying.

Read on to learn more.

 

The Difference Between Typed and Spoken Search

Do you type the way you talk? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably no. As it turns out, this is one of the biggest things search engines have had to deal with in recent years.

Say, for example, you’re looking for a place to exercise. If you’re going to type a query into Google, it might look something like this:

Screenshot

If you were going to conduct a voice search for the same query, though, it’d likely look more like this:

Voice Search Screenshot

 

In addition to the fact that the search terms are different for these queries, the search results are, as well.

This just goes to show that voice search and short-tail keyword search are notcreated equal and the companies who want to rank in the dynamic and ever-changing environment of voice search will need to adjust their strategies accordingly.

How to Adjust to the Passing of Short-Tail Keywords

As voice search continues to gain prominence, the best thing marketers can do is stop relying so much on short-tail keywords.

While short-tail keywords used to be incredibly valuable for delivering targeted, relevant results to users, today’s search algorithms are much more focused on context, value, and semantics. This means that, as search engines have gotten smarter, they’ve begun to consider the intent behind a person’s search.

For example, if I ask Google where I can work out in Austin, it understands that, in addition to some listings for gyms, I probably also want a compare-and-contrast piece that helps me decide which workout classes are the best for me. If the writers of that article were just targeting short-tail keywords, they never would have ranked for my query.

By providing results that help to answer my questions rather than just showcase what’s available, Google and search engines like it are beginning to drift toward intent-based search, and away from short-tail keywords.

While this may feel scary if short-tail keywords have been a big part of your content strategy, these tips will help you adjust.

SEO, keywords, english

1. Create FAQ Pages

Since many voice searchers are looking for quick answers to questions, it’s smart for modern marketers to implement FAQ pages. For an example of a company that’s done this well, check out PetMD, which ranked as the top result for my simple query here:

PetMD Screenshot

FAQ pages are simple, but they’re also a great way to accommodate the trends of voice search and ensure better rankings for common questions.

2. Make Your Seed Keyword Phrases More Conversational

While many marketers familiar with keyword research have used stuffy seed keywords, for example, “content marketing specialist Los Angeles,” now is the time to start making seed phrases more conversational.

Instead of the above example, it’s a great idea to research a phrase like “why do I need content marketing help in LA?” Since the latter phrase is more in line with what people will search for on voice-enabled platforms, it’s more likely to provide data that marketers can use to rank well in the voice search-dominated climate.

 

3. Redouble Your Long-tail Keyword Efforts

Long-tail keywords, which often correlates with long-form content, have always been a valuable marketing tactic, but they’re more important now than they’ve ever been before.

Since long-tail keywords are more detail-oriented and more in-line with the natural patterns of human speech, they’re better equipped to provide targeted search results and help your pages appear in front of the correct audience.

 

4. Ensure Your Site’s Local Data is Spot-On

If you have a map or physical address on your website (and you should), ensure that it’s accurate. This helps you appear in “near me” searches and can have a dramatic positive effect on your local ranking.

5. Use Schema Markup in Your Favor

Schema markup is a great way to boost relevance and local SEO. Designed to be placed on a website, schema markup is code that allows search engines to interpret your business correctly and deliver relevant results to Google users.

Ideal for any company with a local presence, schema markup can go a long way toward overhauling your search results.

Short-Tail Keywords, Make Way for The Future

While short-tail keywords have long since been a valuable part of marketing strategy, their time in the limelight is ebbing off. As search engines and search terms become more complex, conversational, and human-focused, short-tail keywords have been forced to step aside for long-tail phrases and semantic approaches.

While this may seem tragic, it’s actually a very good thing.

When marketers embrace the dissolution of the short-tail keyword, they position themselves to prepare more effectively for voice search, and all the things it has to offer.

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com

Categorized in Online Research

In the world of B2B digital marketing, my team members are sometimes approached by clients asking if we can get them “to the top of Google.” Frequently, much of their focus and energy is solely on keyword rankings.

This emphasis can be misleading to business owners as a focus on keyword rankings can shift attention from the true metrics that matter, including time spent on a website, multiple page visits, downloading assets and generating leads.

Why is the focus shifting away from rankings?

The issue revolves around the fact that keyword rankings fluctuate, and often. In fact, if you rank for a keyword that drives traffic, yet a visitor leaves as soon as they hit the page, then that ranking does not really matter in the end.

Sure, tracking rankings can be very informative, but high rankings only really matter if the keywords deliver true business value, like visits, traffic and conversions. While rankings can contribute to a brand’s overall success, they are not a completely reliable measurement.

Keywords Still Matter

If they are used for the right reason, keywords definitely still matter. However, a better way to embrace the power of keywords is by always keeping users top of mind.

Organizing keywords and optimizing a page really only makes the job of a search engine less difficult. Most importantly, remember that the main reason you are doing this is to get more visitors to check out your site and content, and then eventually persuade those visitors to convert to customers.

 

Should You Track All Of Your Rankings?

In a recent article published on Search Engine Land, the author states that a large majority of enterprise-level SEO platforms make their money by how many keywords entered into the system. But, the author asks, “are all keywords worth tracking?”

The short answer, he states, is “no.” In fact, according to the article, it can cost companies “an arm and a leg” to track all keywords, especially if a company’s website is large and well-established, featuring thousands or even millions of pages.

The author continues: “You should only report on non-branded keywords that rank in striking distance, all your branded keywords that delivered conversions in the last few months, and keywords that have performed well from a paid search perspective.”

He also emphasizes in the piece the importance of paying close attention to long-tail keywords, which may not drive as much traffic, but can ultimately drive conversions thanks to more specific user intent.

The Bottom Line

As the online marketing space becomes more competitive moving forward, it is becoming increasingly important for business owners to have SEO campaigns that actually work. At the end of the day, your campaign must drive high quality traffic that converts to sales and/or inquiries, directly boosting your organization’s bottom line.

At KEO Marketing, we believe that SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies available today. Improving key elements of your website can help you gain better rankings in search engines and will more easily allow you to receive more quality traffic to your business.

Source : http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/blog/business/2016/08/how-much-do-keyword-rankings-matter.html

Even before the first Apple iPhone was released in 2007, marketers were asking the question: “What should my mobile strategy be?” And it’s a question that many are still asking today. One thing is for sure, though: the mobile web is here to stay.

recent report from BI Intelligence projected by the year 2020, there will be 3.5 billion smartphones shipped worldwide. And users are increasingly shifting to mobile as their primary device for accessing the internet. In fact, Google announced last year that now, “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.”

This makes sense, because (as Benedict Evans recently wrote), “It’s actually the PC that has the limited, basic, cut-down version of the Internet…it only has the web.”

Our mobile devices have much more information to draw on than a desktop device:

  • photos
  • geolocation
  • friends
  • physical movement

As well as greater interactivity:

  • with the external world (through technology like beacons)
  • with you when you’re not using it (through notifications)
  • with your personal identity (because a phone is always signed-in and it is almost always an individual device rather than a shared one).

So how do search marketers ensure that this boom in mobile web usage won’t leave them behind? By staying on top of the basics of mobile search.

How Google Deals with Mobile Search

Google has many different crawlers for different use cases and different indexes, such as:

  • Googlebot
  • Googlebot News
  • Googlebot Images
  • Googlebot Video

For mobile search (specifically for smartphones), they use a version of Googlebot which uses a smartphone’s user-agent, so that the crawler can have the same user experience as actual mobile users (such as redirects to mobile versions, etc.).

This is the current Googlebot user-agent for smartphones:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile/12F70 Safari/600.1.4 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

For comparison, this is the regular Googlebot user-agent:

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)

It is worth noting that Google does not consider tablets to be the same thing as mobile. Although they do consider tablets a separate class of device from both mobile and desktop, nonetheless, their view is that “Unless you offer tablet-optimized content, you can assume that users expect to see your site as it would look on a desktop browser.”

 

The mobile-friendly pages discovered by the smartphone Googlebot crawler, as well as mobile page versions discovered by the desktop crawler, are indexed as usual. However the SERP may include a different set of results for a mobile user than a desktop one, and mobile-friendly pages will be given a slight ranking boost, all things being equal.

Note that Google judges mobile-friendliness on a page-by-page basis rather than across an entire website, so if you have limited resources it is best to start by making your most valuable pages mobile-friendly first and branching out from there.

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update (“Mobilegeddon”)

In 2015, Google announced a new rankings update for mobile search, which was nicknamed “Mobilegeddon”. On April 21, the rollout began, and the internet started to see the effects.

Some websites were directly impacted, losing up to 35% of mobile rankingswithin the 1st month — and some more indirectly, by the incentive to move towards mobile-friendliness before the update hit.

Google announced a 4.7% increase in the number of mobile-friendly sites in the time between announcing that the update was coming and when it actually rolled out.

Around the same time, Bing also announced they would be rolling out a similar update, although they haven’t provided as much information on the timeline of this. However, generally speaking, a site which is well-optimized for Google mobile search should perform well in Bing.

A new version of Google’s mobile-friendly update has recently been released(in May of 2016), so we can expect to see a further impact from this as a ranking factor over time.

So how do you make sure your site is correctly designed and optimized for mobile search?

Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly

There are three main approaches to making a website mobile-friendly. These are:

  • Responsive Design: the page – URL, HTML, images, everything – remains the same, but the CSS rearranges the page layout depending on-screen width.

TIP: Google has expressed this is their preferred approach, although they support the other two as well. This is primarily because responsively designed sites don’t require any additional technical implementation to optimize them for search.

  • RESS/Adaptive/Dynamic Serving: the URL remains the same, but the server sends a different version of the HTML (and CSS) based on what type of device is requesting the page.
  • Separate Mobile Site: as the name implies, this is when you simply create a second, “mobile-friendly” website for mobile users. Separate mobile sites usually sit on a subdomain (e.g. m.domain.com) or sometimes a subfolder (e.g. www.domain.com/mobile).

 

When creating a separate mobile site, the best approach is to keep all the same pages and content in the same structure (e.g. www.domain.com/first-page and m.domain.com/first-page). This makes it easy to redirect based on user agent/device, and also to indicate to Google what pages are equivalent on the mobile vs desktop version.

But since it’s a separate set of pages, you could choose to have a completely different site structure, in which case the mobile URLs might be different.

Capture

If you’re wondering how best to implement a mobile-friendly design for your site, check out this guide from my company, Distilled, on “Building Your Mobile-Friendly Website”.

How to Figure Out if Your Site is Mobile-Friendly

Here are a few tools you can use to check whether your site is mobile-friendly:

SEO for Mobile Search

If you have a responsive site which is optimized for search, you won’t need to do anything different for the mobile crawler. Note that when you are auditing the site, it is worth crawling it using a mobile user agent in addition to your regular crawl. This will allow you to identify any crawl issues which only occur on mobile.

Site performance (around things like speed and page load time) may also impact results for mobile search. An effective responsive site serves appropriately sized assets for the user’s screen size, even if the underlying HTML/CSS is the same. It’s worth checking site speed separately for mobile and desktop (and easy to do with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool!).

If you have a dynamically served site or a separate mobile site, you’ll also need to add a couple of things to your pages to make sure that Google understands that the two versions are connected.

Optimizing an Adaptive Website for Mobile Search

An adaptive (or dynamically served) site uses a single URL, but serves a different version of the HTML/CSS depending on the type of device requesting the page.

While basic SEO principles remain the same as for a responsive site, you also need to make sure you avoid the appearance of cloaking.

Cloaking is when you show one thing to a search engine, and something different to a human user, and Google will devalue sites that are doing this for SEO gains. (Note that visually hiding or minimizing content for UI purposes, such as including a menu which is collapsed on load, do not count as cloaking as long as the content is accessible to users and crawlers alike.)

In the case of a dynamically served site, you want to signal to Google that you are showing different content based on user agent to provide the appropriate version of the page for the device accessing the page, rather than to trick the Googlebot user agent for nefarious SEO purposes.

 

To make it clear that this is what you’re doing, you should use the Vary-HTTP Header.

Using this header has two additional benefits:

  • It will let the mobile crawler know there is separate mobile content on this URL, and therefore encourage it to crawl the site.
  • It will signal to caching servers that they should consider the user agent (e.g. the type of device) when deciding whether to serve a page from the cache.

Optimizing a Separate Mobile Website for Mobile Search

A mobile site on a separate URL is effectively a different site, so you’ll need to optimize these pages in addition to optimizing the desktop version. Again, the basic SEO principles remain the same, with a few extra guidelines:

  • Create a parallel URL structure

Unless you’ve built your mobile site with very different content than your desktop site, the URL structure for your mobile site should mirror the relevant pages on your desktop site as closely as possible. So www.example.com/funny-story should become m.example.com/funny-story, not m.example.com/different-page.

  • Add mobile switchboard tags

A separate mobile site with the same or similar content as the desktop version could potentially be seen as a case of duplicate content, which may be suppressed by search engines.

This is where the mobile switchboard tag comes in. This tag indicates to Google crawlers that this is an alternate version of the site intended for mobile devices. A version of this tag is placed on both the desktop and mobile versions of the page.

To set up switchboard tags correctly:

  1. On the desktop version, place a mobile-specific rel=”alternate” tag indicating the relevant mobile page.
  2. On the mobile version, place a rel=”canonical” tag indicating the relevant desktop page.

These annotations can be included in the HTML of the pages themselves and sitemaps (but you don’t have to do both).

As an example, where the desktop URL is http://example.com/page-1 and the equivalent mobile URL is http://m.example.com/page-1, the tagging for this example would be as follows.

In HTML:

On the desktop page (http://www.example.com/page-1), place the following:

<link rel=”alternate” media=”only screen and (max-width: 640px)”
href=”http://m.example.com/page-1″>

and on the mobile page (http://m.example.com/page-1), include:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.example.com/page-1″>

The rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile URL indicating the desktop URL is always required.

In Sitemaps:

You can place the rel=”alternate” tag for desktop pages in your sitemaps, as follows:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″?>

<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9

xmlns:xhtml=”http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml”>

<url>

<loc>http://www.example.com/page-1/</loc>

<xhtml:link

rel=”alternate”

media=”only screen and (max-width: 640px)”

href=”http://m.example.com/page-1″ />

</url>

</urlset>

The required rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile URL must still be included in the mobile page’s HTML.

  • Consider user-agent redirects

Some visitors will arrive at the wrong version of your site for their device, and you may want to redirect them. Use server-side redirects rather than Javascript redirects. You may use either 301 or 302 redirects.

  • Additional guidance for handling redirects to a mobile site:
  1. Don’t redirect all desktop pages to the mobile homepage; instead, point them to a mobile page which is relevant to the original.
  2. Include a link to ‘view desktop version’ on your mobile site (and vice versa). Use cookies to ensure that if a user clicks on this option the user agent detection will be overridden, and they will not be redirected again (unless they choose to switch back via the ‘view mobile version’ option).
  3. Send tablet users to the desktop site, rather than the mobile site (unless you have a tablet-specific version). Tablet browsing patterns typically resemble desktop browsing patterns more than mobile.

 

  • Keep both versions crawlable

Make sure you’re not blocking the Googlebot smartphone user-agent from your desktop version in robots.txt and don’t block regular Googlebot from the mobile version.

Schema.org, Rich Snippets, and Rich Cards

As Google shifts towards more of a card-based format in the SERPs, and especially on mobile devices where the screen height means limited screen real estate, any steps we can take to obtain enhanced results like rich snippets and rich cards (through the use of structured data markup) becomes increasingly valuable.

visual of rich snippets and rich cards

If you aren’t sure what type of structured data might be right for your website, you can use my guide for performing a structured data audit.

Other Key Mobile Search Trends from Google

In addition to trends around mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, Google has been working towards a few other key trends which relate directly to mobile technology and user behavior:

  • The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to improve site speed and page load times for mobile content, and allow this content to be cached and served directly within a SERP (rather than sending the user to the original website)
  • Removing sidebar ads from the desktop SERP layout for a more streamlined, “mobile” look
  • Integrating app content with web search through support for app indexation and app streaming

We don’t have space to go in-depth on these topics here, but here are a few recommended resources you can check out if you’d like to learn more:

AMP

SERP Layout

App Indexation and Streaming

Conclusion

Mobile technology is changing rapidly, and this has created major shifts in user behavior and mobile web usage worldwide. More than ever, mobile search is becoming the future of SEO, and with that comes a host of new challenges. But the key principles remain the same: ensure that crawlers can access, read, and understand your content, ensure user experience is working well for all devices, and keep testing and iterating for better results.

 https://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-guide-an-introduction-to-mobile-seo/168488/?utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedpress.me&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+searchenginejournal

Categorized in Search Engine

It’s time for the first meeting with the customer. You may be a seasoned search marketer, but you’re still a little nervous. How do you achieve that perfect balance of getting the information you need while still exuding an aura of consummate professionalism, knowledge, and generally make yourself seem like the search Dalai Lama?

First, realize that the real Dalai Lama feels no need to prove himself, he just *is*. Project an aura of confidence, and realize the most elusive concept in our industry. It is not about you, it is about the customer.

Sidebar: Even if you’re an in-house marketer, you can still use these techniques. Pretend your VP of Product Development or someone similarly entrenched in the product/service is your “customer”.

Similarly, that first meeting should be all about the customer. This is your best chance to get an outsider’s perspective of how your customer views their products and what language they use to describe them.

After this first meeting, you’ll be an insider, and asking some of these questions will make it seem like you don’t know what you’re doing. So let your customer do most of the talking.

As you listen to the answers, jot down key phrases, jargon, and abbreviations they use to inform your keyword research later. Don’t forget to ask them to clarify anything you don’t understand.

 

Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of questions you should be asking; merely a sample of questions for keyword research purposes.

Question 1: I’ve reviewed your website, and have learned about your business. However it always helps to hear you explain it in your own words. So, Mr. Customer, how would you describe what you do?

The answer to this is likely to be the same words you read on their website or see in a brochure. Point out any jargon that you don’t understand, as this will set the stage for later, when you tell them they need to change the way they describe their product.

Question 2: In your opinion, what is it that makes your product/service special? What differentiates you from your competitors?

These are their value propositions; the key elements that need to come across on their pages to compel a conversion. If one of them is that they offer the lowest cost, then you know to research keyword modifiers like [cheap], [low cost], [price]. Alternatively, if they’re not low cost, you know to avoid these keyword modifiers. More on this in my next article.

Question 3: What do you think are similar services/products that you do not consider competitors?

The keywords that come out in this answer will help you refine the research. Often, keywords that are very similar may have a completely different meaning in a particular clients’ industry.

For example, “phone lines” and “phone trunks” are very different and each appeal to a distinct target market. You’ll only want to explore the right one in your research.

Question 4: Which products/services are most profitable for you? Are there other reasons (inventory, seasonality, location) that you would want to push one product/service over another?

Again, the answer to this question will help focus your research. Spend the most time expanding and refining the products that the client indicates are most important. This can sometimes save you from exploring an entire product line, if the customer says something like, “Product A is a necessary evil. We have to carry it, but we also have to price it below cost.”

Obviously, that’s not an area you want to focus on. You’ll include some keywords to be thorough, but you’ll spend more of your time on the “money” keywords.

Question 5: What do you think are your top ten most important keywords?

Ask for ten keywords. The reason for this is that some customers think they need to rank for their entire keyword universe of 1000 × 10100 keywords.

 

On the flip side, there are clients that think they only need to rank for one keyword and it will solve all their problems. Chances are that’s a virtually unattainable keyword like “tablet”. This question will help you determine which type your customer is, as well as let you know what keywords absolutely must be included in your final research.

Asking these five questions will complete a formidable amount of your keyword research before you even sit down at your computer. It will also help you focus priorities and set realistic expectations with the very first client meeting.

http://searchengineland.com/5-questions-to-streamline-your-keyword-research-106817

Categorized in Online Research

As search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, we obsess with search data from a wide variety of resources. Which one is best for our clients? Which keyword research tool reveals the most accurate search behaviors when rebuilding a site’s information architecture? Does our web analytics data validate our keyword research?

And, more importantly, did these tools provide your most desired information? Some answers might surprise you.

Keyword research data

I love keyword research tools. I use all of them because I can discover core keyword phrases, which are commonly used across all of the commercial web search engines. And I can also tailor ads and landing pages to searchers who typically use a single, targeted search engine (and it isn’t always Google, as one might imagine).

However, keyword research tools are not a substitute for a knowledgeable and intuitive search engine marketer. All too often, website owners and even experienced search engine optimization professionals launch into a site’s information architecture without gauging user response. As good SEO professionals, we should understand when it is appropriate to implement keywords into a site’s information architecture: when keyword usage overwhelms users, and when keyword usage needs to be more apparent.

This situation occurred recently when I was performing some usability tests on a client site’s revised information architecture. This particular client website is being delivered in multiple languages. We were testing American English, British English, and French. Therefore, the test participants were American, British, and French.

All of the keyword research tools showed the word “student” or “students” (in French, “étudiant” or “étudiants”) as a possible target. The appearance of this word in both keyword research data and in the site’s web analytics data led my client to believe that we should make this area a main category.

If we had relied on the data from keyword research tools, we would have been wrong. If we had relied on the data from web analytics software, we would have been wrong.

The face-to-face user interaction gave us the right answer.

 

The facial expressions were enough to convince me. Almost every single time the word “student” or “étudiant” appeared during the usability test, I saw confusion. When I asked test participants why they seemed confused, they said that the particular keyword phrase was not appropriate for that type of website. They then placed the student-related information groupings in one of two piles:

  • Discard – Participants felt that the information label and/or grouping did not belong on the website at all.
  • Do not know – Participants were unsure whether the information label and/or grouping did or did not not belong on the website.

The discard pile won, with over 90% from all three language groups.

Now, imagine if this company did NOT have one-on-one interaction with searchers during the redesign process and only relied on keyword research tools. How much time and money might have been wasted?

Keyword research data is not the only type of data that can be easily misinterpreted.

Web analytics search data

One search metric that clients and prospects inevitably mention is “stickiness.” In other words, one of their search marketing goals is to increase the number of page views per visitor via search engine traffic, especially if the site is a publisher, blog, or news site. Increasing the number of page views per visitor provides more advertising opportunities as well as a positive branding impact. The average time on site (if it is longer than two minutes) is also commonly viewed as a positive search metric.

Or so it might seem. Here is an example.

Many SEO professionals, including me, provide blog optimization for a wide variety of companies (ecommerce, news, software, etc.). Not only do we provide keyword research for blogs, we must also monitor the effectiveness of keyword-driven traffic via web analytics data.

Upon initial viewing, the blog’s analytics data might indicate increased stickiness. Searchers are reading more blog entries. Searchers are engaged. Therefore, the blog content is great…that is a common conclusion.

 

For an exploratory usability test, I ask test participants to tell me about a blog post that they found very helpful. I asked them why they liked the blog’s content, and I listen very closely for keyword phrases. Audio and/or video recording makes this job a little easier.

When I asked test participants to refind desired information on a blog on the lab’s computer, I did not hear, “This blog content is great!” Comments I frequently heard were:

  • “I can’t find this [expletive] thing.”
  • “Now where could it be? I saw it here before….”
  • “I think this was posted in [month/day/year]….”
  • “Where the [expletive] is it?”

As you might imagine, the use of expletives became more and more frequent with the increased number of page views.

Sure, searchers who discover great blog content might bookmark the URL, or they might link to it from a “Links and Resources” section of their web site, or they might cite the URL in a follow-up post on another website. All of these actions and associated behaviors make it easier for searchers to refind important information.

However, when I review web analytics data, I often find that site visitors do not take these actions as frequently as people might think. Instead, with careful clickstream analysis combined with usability testing, I see that the average page view per visitor metric is heavily influenced by frustrated refinding behaviors.

Conclusion

I have always believed that search engine optimization is part art, part science. Certainly, keyword research data and web analytics data are very much part of the “science” part of SEO.

Nevertheless, the “art” part of SEO comes into play when interpreting this data. By listening to users and observing their search behaviors, having that one-on-one interaction, I can hear keywords that are not used in query formulation. I study facial expressions and corresponding mouse movements that are associated with keywords. I see how keywords are formatted in search engine results pages (SERPs) and corresponding landing pages, and how searchers react to that formatting and placement.

 

I cannot imagine my job as an SEO professional without keyword research tools and web analytics software. In addition, I cannot imagine my job as an SEO professional without one-on-one searcher interaction. What do you think? Have any of you learned something that keyword research tools and/or web analytics data did not reveal?

http://searchengineland.com/when-keyword-research-and-search-data-deceives-14613

Categorized in Search Engine
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