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On a Google Webmaster Hangout someone asked about the role of H1s on a web page. John Mueller responded that heading tags were good for several reasons but they’re not a critical element.

SEO and H1 Headings

One of the top rules for Search Engine Optimization has long been adding keywords to your H1 heading at the top of the page in order to signal what a page is about and rank well.

It used to be the case, in the early 2000’s. that adding the target keyword phrase in the H1 was mandatory. In the early 2000’s, if the keywords were not in the H1 heading then your site might not be so competitive.

However, Google’s ability to understand the nuances of what a page is about have come a long way since the early 2000’s.

As a consequence, it is important to listen to what Google’s John Mueller says about H1 headings.

Can Multiple H1s be Used?

The context of the question is whether a publisher is restricted to using one H1 or can multiple H1 heading tags be used.

This is the question:

“Is it mandatory to just have one H1 tag on a web page or can it be used multiple times?”

Google’s John Mueller answered that you can use as many H1s as you want. He also said you can omit using the H1 heading tag, too.

John Mueller’s answer about H1 heading tags:

“You can use H1 tags as often as you want on a page. There’s no limit, neither upper or lower bound.”

Then later on, at the end of his answer, he reaffirmed that publishers are free to choose how they want to use the H1 heading tag:

“Your site is going to rank perfectly fine with no H1 tags or with five H1 tags.”

H1 Headings Useful for Communicating Page Structure

John Mueller confirmed that H1 headings are good for outlining the page structure.

What he means is that the heading elements can work together to create a top level outline of what your page is about. That’s a macro overview of what the web page is about.

In my opinion, a properly deployed heading strategy can be useful for communicating what a page is about.

The W3c, the official body that administers HTML guidelines, offers an HTML validator that shows you the “outline” of a web page.

When validating a web page, select the “Show Outline” button. It’s a great way to see a page just by the outline that your heading elements create.

show outline
Choosing the “Show Outline” option in the W3C HTML Validator will show you the overview of what your page looks like as communicated by your heading elements. It’s a great way to get a high level snapshot view of your page structure.

Here are Mueller’s comments about the H1 heading element:

“H1 elements are a great way to give more structure to a page so that users and search engines can understand which parts of a page are kind of under different headings.

So I would use them in the proper way on a page. And especially with HTML5 having multiple H1 elements on a page is completely normal and kind of expected.”

H1 Headings and SEO

John Mueller went on to reaffirm that the lack of a headings or using many H1s was not something to worry about. This is likely due to Google doesn’t need or require H1 headings to rank a web page.

This should be obvious to anyone who works in digital marketing. Google’s search results are full of web pages that do not feature H1 headings or that use them for styling purposes (a misuse of the heading tag!).

There are correlation studies that say that XX percentage of top ranked sites use headings. But those studies ignore that modern web pages, particularly those that use WordPress templates, routinely use Headings for styling navigational elements, which will skew those correlation studies.

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Here’s what Mueller observed:

“So it’s not something you need to worry about.

Some SEO tools flag this as an issue and say like Oh you don’t have any H1 tag or you have two H1 tags… from our point of view that’s not a critical issue.”

H1 Headings Useful for Usability

Mueller’s on a roll in this answer when he begins talking about heading tags in the context of usability.

I have found that, particularly for mobile, heading tags help make a web page easier to read. Properly planned headings help communicate what a web page is about to a user and visually helps break up a daunting page of text, making it easier to read.

Here’s what Mueller said:

“From a usability point of view maybe it makes sense to improve that. So it’s not that I would completely ignore those suggestions but I wouldn’t see it as a critical issue.”

Takeaways about Heading Tags

  1.  Use as many H1 heading elements as you like
  2. They are useful for communicating page structure to users and Google
  3. Heading elements are useful for usability

Updated: About Mueller’s Response

I read some feedback on Facebook that was critical of Mueller’s response. Some felt that he should have addressed more than just H1.

I believe that Mueller’s response should be seen in the context of the question that was asked. He was asked a narrow question about the H1 element and he answered it.

Technically, Mueller’s answer is correct. He answered the question that was put to him.  So I think  John should be given the benefit of that consideration.

However, I understand why some may say he should have addressed the underlying reason for the question. The person asking the question likely does not understand the proper use of heading elements.

If the person knew the basics of the use of heading elements, they wouldn’t have asked if it’s okay to drop H1 elements all over a web page. So that may have needed to be addressed.

Again, not criticizing Mueller, the context of his answer was focused on H1 elements.

The Proper Use of Heading Elements

I would add that the proper use of all the heading elements from (for example) H1 to H4 is useful. Nesting article sub-topics by using H2, H3 and sometimes H4 can be useful for making it clearer what a page is about.

The benefits of properly using H1 through H4 (your choice!) in the proper way will help communicate what the page is about which is good for bots and humans and will increase usability because it’s easier to read on mobile.

One way to do it is to use H1 for the main topic of the page then every subtopic of that main topic can be wrapped in an H2 heading element. That’s what I did on this article.

Should one of the subtopics itself diverge into a subtopic of itself, then I would use an H3.
Screenshot 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heading Elements and Accessibility

The heading elements also play an important role with making a web page accessible to site visitors who use assistive devices to access web content.

ADA Compliance consultant, Kim Krause Berg, offered these insights from the point of view of accessibility:

We use one H1 tag at the top to indicate the start of the content for assistive devices and organize the remainder from(H2-H6)similarly to how an outline would appear.

 The hierarchy of content is important for screen readers because it indicates the relationship of the content to the other parts of content.
Content under headings should relate to the heading. A bad sequence would be starting out with an(H3, then H1) 

Heading Elements are More than a Place for Keywords

Keyword dumping the heading tags can mask the irrelevance of content. When you stop thinking of heading tags as places to dump your keywords and start using them as headings that communicate what that section of the page is about, you’ll begin seeing what your page is really about. If you don’t like what you see you can rewrite it.

If in doubt, run your URL through the W3C HTML Validator to see how your outline looks!

Watch the Webmaster Hangout here:
https://youtu.be/rwpwq8Ynf7s?t=1427

[Source: This article was published in searchenginejournal.com By Roger Montti - Uploaded by the Association Member: Robert Hensonw]

Categorized in Search Engine

[This article is originally published in searchenginejournal.com written by Matt Southern - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Barbara larson]

Google’s John Mueller advises site owners to provide supporting content when publishing a web page with a video on it.

In other words, do not just embed a video on a page and add a title and leave it at that.

A video shouldn’t be used as a primary piece of content. Rather, a video should be used in a way that supports the primary written content.

This advice was given during the Google Webmaster Central hangout on March 5th when a question was asked about using Google’s videos on a web site.

Mueller briefly addressed the main question before providing some tips on how video should be used from a web search point of view.

Video should support the main content, not replace it

As far as web search is concerned, it’s difficult for Google to figure out what to do with a web page that only has a video on it.

It’s hard to determine what is useful about the video and why the page it’s on should be shown in search results.

Mueller recommends building content around the video, such as a transcription of the video, and adding some comments about the video.

Sounds similar to what I’m doing right now actually.

You’ll see there’s a video in this article followed by a transcription, and up to this point, I’ve more or less been commenting on the transcription.

So the video is not the main content, but it’s a useful addition to the main content.

Posting video in this way is more valuable from Google’s perspective, and more valuable to visitors as well.

Hear the full question and answer below, starting at the 45:46 mark:

“I think, in general, I would be cautious about using just a video as a primary piece of content on a web page. You should work to use the video in a way that supports your primary content, but not that it replaces your primary content.

So, for example, I wouldn’t take any of these videos and just put them on a blog post, and add a title to them, and expect them to show up highly in search.

But if you have specific content around that video. If you have a transcription of that video, and you add some comments to that transcription to the content that is shown with the video. Where you’re using that video as kind of a point of reference with regards to your content. Then I think that’s a perfectly fine approach.

But just purely using a video on a page is something that, at least from a web search point of view, makes it really hard for us to determine what is actually useful on this page, and why should we show it in the search results.”

Categorized in News & Politics

[This article is originally published in searchengineland.com written by Greg Sterling - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Eric Beaudoin]

Facebook users turned to Google search or went directly to publishers.

An interesting thing happened on August 3. Facebook was down for nearly an hour in Europe and North America. During that time, many users who were shut out of their Facebook News Feeds went directly to news sites or searched for news.

Direct traffic spikes during a Facebook outage. According to data presented by Chartbeat at the recent Online News Association conference, direct traffic to news publisher sites increased 11 percent (in large part from app-driven traffic), and search traffic (to news sites) increased 8 percent during the outage that occurred a little after 4:00 p.m., as shown in the chart above.

According to late 2017 data from the Pew Research Center:

Just under half (45 percent) of U.S. adults use Facebook for news. Half of Facebook’s news users get news from that social media site alone, with just one-in-five relying on three or more sites for news.

Algorithm change sent people back to search. From that perspective, it makes sense that when Facebook is unavailable, people will turn to direct sources to get news. Earlier this year, however, Facebook began to “fix” the News Feed by minimizing third-party “commercial content.” This impacted multiple entities, but most news publishers saw their referral traffic from Facebook decline, a pattern that predated the algorithm change.

Starting in 2017, there’s evidence that as Facebook referrals have declined, more people have turned to Google to obtain their news fix. Users no longer able to get news as easily from Facebook are going to Google or directly to news sources to get it.

Why it matters to marketers. The trends shown in this chart underscore opportunities for content creators to capitalize on well-optimized pages (and possibly ads) to reach news-seeking audiences in search. It also highlights programmatic and direct-buying ad opportunities for marketers to reach these audiences on publisher sites.

Categorized in News & Politics

SEO, search engine optimization, has come a long way over the past quarter of a century. It is now an essential element of our world. However, while businesses are expanding on a global scale, which would suggest the world is getting smaller, metaphorically speaking, there is actually in increase in people who want to return to slightly older ways, where shopping local was still the way forward. This is why there has been a surge in people starting a local SEO company, focusing specifically on delivering local services. So what is the future they envisage for SEO?

The Future of SEO

Nobody can truly predict the future, but it is reasonable to make some assumptions based on the fact that history repeats itself, and that we can predict trends. One of the biggest predictions, which is also the most likely to come true, is that there will be a more focused and niche experience as standard with all websites. The focus will continue to point more strongly towards unique, high quality content, intended for the real user.

We also know that the internet is changing itself to provide people with instant, personalized gratification. An online user now wants to type in a search term and be presented with the exact answer to what they were looking for, without having to do any work. This is why smart tech is likely to develop a lot more, and this includes wearable gadgets. People want to be connected all the time, and this is also increasing the need for predictive content solutions.

It is also believed that SEO will not stand still and that it will develop so that it can meet any emerging needs. Some suggest that search will be personalized by leveraging external platform data, which would offer added value. If you are a business, you need to make sure your brand is ready for this. Start working now on optimizing any content you have for different platforms, like mobile apps, and focus on how your users are likely to search for this. You want to drive engagement and exposure by being direct and concise, with a focus on what your users actually want.

It is also reasonable to assume that Google will be 100% dominated by SEO and that their rules on online content will continue. You need to make sure that your brand is present in all forms of social media, and that it is consistent and strong in its message. You can do this by experimenting using visual content, because it is believed that search engines will soon start to focus on this. And you must make sure that everything you post online can be accessed through any kind of device, from Cortana to a desktop computer.

What we have seen in SEO since its inception is that it is an ethical solution. This won’t change, so as long as you continue to focus on ethical practices, you should be fine.

Author: Anwar Hossain

Source: https://www.theglobaldispatch.com/what-is-the-future-of-search-engine-optimization-90511/

Categorized in Search Engine

With every passing year, search engine portals develop new algorithms and rules with the hope of combating spam links and people trying to play the system.

These new rules set by Google, Bing etc. means that every webmaster must stay abreast to the ever changing SEO landscape in order to help clients meet their search based targets.

“The most awesome stage”

Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.

According to Jayson DeMers, the new year offers a great opportunity for everyone to adjust their SEO strategy and here are some tips on how it can be done.

1. Take advantage of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

The need for more responsive pages in a bid to reduce bounce rate has been a driving force in Google’s 2016 SEO strategy.

One of the most practical solutions they came up with is the integration of AMP by webmasters.

The Benefits & Drawbacks of SEO over PPC

It’s important to note that AMPs are open-source protocols that allow pages load instantaneously on mobile browsers. AMP has become a phenomenon in the SEO community for it allows consumers load pages instantly at a reduced data rate. The average webpage uses eight times more data than an AMP when loading content.

In 2017, this trend is expected to develop further, and you can take advantage of it to provide more responsive pages for your users.

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes its presence known

Google search algorithms finally got a boost at the tail end of 2016. This boost came in the form of integrating machine learning into search algorithms with the aim of making them smarter.

The Google RankBrain concept is expected to make search more intelligent and provide only relevant information to users of its search engine. This means that to combat the rise of AI in search, webmasters and website owners must focus on adding a unique voice to the niche they operate in.

The possibility of conning the system with black hat SEO tricks will become even less effective in 2017. This means your new year content resolution should be to use taglines, write dense articles, and make a dent with the information you post.

3. User Experience optimization has emerged

The evolution of the World Wide Web – signified by the term Web 3.0 – is slowly becoming the standard for platforms that rely on the internet. In this new world order, user experience has begun to trump all other factors.

Websites now make more user friendly platforms and search engines are beginning to take note. Google as well as Bing have escalated the need for a better user experience by integrating these experiences into helping websites rank hire and webmaster most take advantage of this.

Since 2015 search engines have been partial to well-designed webpages that get people to spend more time viewing contents on them. This means the onus to increase both the user experience and the ease of access on your platform falls squarely on your shoulders.

To do this, you should design more user-friendly landing pages, integrate the use of infographics in your blog posts and simplify your website’s navigation process.

4. Personal branding is key

Carving out a niche in a crowded space is difficult everywhere including on the internet. And this has made Google focus on platforms creatively pushing their brands against all odds.

One of these techniques includes the use of branded URLs in carving out a unique perspective for your personal business on the web.

The advantages of personal branded URLs are diverse but the most important thing is that it helps your website score top marks with Google’s search algorithms which will greatly advance your SEO efforts.

5. Integrate short branded links

One of the most important KPIs that search engines take into consideration when ranking web pages is ‘iteration’.

Iteration in SEO means that the more a content is read and shared on the web, and the more unique and credible the information it contains. And the best way to get your content shared is via ‘short branded links.’

These new link format is currently been used by Fortune 500 companies — Pepsi (pep.si), NY Times (nyti.ms) etc — to push their agenda on the internet and it’s working. Research shows that using branded links increases CTR by 35 percent. Not to mention they’re crucial on social channels that limit post characters.

You’ll note that these five trends can be integrated interchangeably into your SEO strategy for the new year. So don’t get stuck trying to figure out which single one you’ll implement, but instead implement multiple techniques to ensure better visibility for your website.

Author : VIKAS AGRAWAL

Source : http://thenextweb.com/insider/2017/01/11/5-search-engine-optimization-trends-for-2017/

Categorized in Search Engine

SANTA FE, NM--(Marketwired - June 29, 2016) - The leading provider of online reviews, CrowdReviews.com, has released a set of tips to assist businesses in finding digital marketing agencies offering exceptional SEO services based on their own needs and requirements. The tips outline different strategies businesses can use to determine whether a company has an extended history of positive reviews or not. While the tips do not provide a means to achieve guaranteed results, the tips can help reduce the risk of selecting a search engine optimization agency which consistently fails to meet their client expectations.

CrowdReviews.com first recommends that buyers consider search engine optimization agencies which have a history of in-depth reviews written by their customers. As the Internet has become a primary source for research, it has also become an opportunity for many companies to create their own reviews. It is recommended for buyers to not only try to identify reviews which may be critical of online marketing agencies, but to utilize multiple reviews and sources. Many vendors will include testimonials on their website; CrowdReviews.com provides reviews on vendor profiles as a means of allowing buyers to determine the merit which the reviews have over the quality of the service.

Second, it is recommended for businesses to receive quotes from multiple SEO companies. Online marketing agencies should be able to provide a detailed quote for the services they are offering including their search engine optimization. Being able to compare quotes between multiple vendors can identify those which pay more attention to the needs of their customers and those which put more effort into their SEO clients compared to companies that try to service as many as possible with as few resources as possible.

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/crowdreviewscom-reveals-tips-for-selecting-search-engine-optimization-companies-2138418.htm

Categorized in Search Engine

What are the differences between branded and non-branded local packs in Google, and how might ranking factors be weighted differently for each? Columnist Joy Hawkins shares her observations.

I had a unique experience a couple months ago that confirmed that Google weights local ranking factors differently for branded search terms than they do for non-branded ones.

Before I explain what happened, I need to first clarify that there are currently two different kinds of local 3-packs (branded vs. non-branded), and my conclusion is that the ranking factors for these are not the same.

Branded vs. non-branded 3-pack

The branded 3-pack is generally what you get when you search things like “sears dallas” or “starbucks seattle” or “state farm chicago.” (However, I frequently see Google showing branded 3-packs for non-branded queries. I’ve always concluded this means that Google somehow “thinks” the query is a branded search when it’s really not.)

You’ll get a non-branded 3-pack when you search generic categories like “shopping mall chicago” or “auto insurance baltimore.”

What’s different?

There are some notable differences between the branded and non-branded 3-packs, which are as follows:

The branded 3-pack has an ABC labeling on it; the non-branded 3-pack does not.

The non-branded 3-pack shows reviews/rating stars; the branded 3-pack does not.

The non-branded 3-pack shows the primary category for the listing (e.g., “Insurance Agency”); the branded 3-pack does not.

branded-non-branded-local-pack

I honestly have no idea why Google decided to remove reviews for branded queries. I think it’s kind of dumb, but it happened when they rolled out the 3-pack in August of 2015.

Ranking factors for the two types are weighted differently

I came to this conclusion when, one day, a client of mine popped into the 3-pack suddenly. He had previously not even been in the top seven for this query due to his physical address not being within the city limits. So when the ranking tracker suddenly showed that he was now second in the 3-pack, it was something I definitely had to investigate.

Imprezzio Marketing (my company) has a subscription to BrightLocal‘s tools, which frankly is the only reason why I was able to catch this. We have a ranking tracker that scans daily for each client and also takes screen shots of the SERPs. I went and looked at the screen shot for that day and compared it to the screen shot for the previous day, and here is what I found.

Previously, “Handyman Tampa” had always returned a branded 3-pack (even though this isn’t a branded search). My client, The Handyman Company, was nowhere in this 3-pack. However, the day he started ranking, Google changed the search results to show a non-branded 3-pack for this search term. Suddenly, he was in the second position.

Handyman Tampa Non-Branded

I double-checked the organic results. Nothing had changed in that section that could have impacted the local ranking change.

The businesses that ranked in the new non-branded local 3-pack were very different from the businesses that had previously been ranking. About a week later, the 3-pack flipped back to being branded, so this period of several days allowed me to collect information about the new businesses that were ranking, which I stored in a spreadsheet you can download here.

Based on the differences, these were the main things I noticed:

Keywords in the domain matter more for non-branded 3-packs. The top 3 listings for the non-branded pack all contained the word “handyman” in the domain.Organic ranking factors matter more for non-branded 3-packs. When clicking through for more results on the branded 3-pack, three of the top seven listings didn’t even link to a website, so organic factors couldn’t have come into play for them.

Hidden addresses may hinder ranking for a branded 3-pack. This was a really small sample size, but I did notice that all top five listings for the branded 3-pack didn’t have hidden addresses, whereas the non-branded pack included many. If this is true, it would make sense, since brands often are not service-area businesses. A simple way to test this would be to unhide the business address to see what the impact is. I have done this for a client in the past and noticed a ranking spike (only once).

Location mattered more for branded 3-packs. For the non-branded 3-pack, many of the top listings were not within the Tampa city limits. The map was also zoomed in more for the branded 3-pack. This is typical of brand searches; I often see they have tighter centroids, especially in big cities.

Keywords in the business name mattered more for non-branded 3-packs. This was the opposite of what I was expecting; there were many businesses that ranked in the branded 3-pack which didn’t contain the word “handyman” in their business title, whereas all the listings in the non-branded 3-pack included it.

Using the proper primary category mattered more for branded 3-packs. For the non-branded 3-pack, there was one listing without the category “handyman” and one listing that had it, but not as their primary category. For the branded results, every listing in the top seven had “handyman” as the primary category. I believe the idea here is that Google most likely associates one (or multiple) categories with a specific brand/keyword, and if your business doesn’t contain it, it could hurt ranking.

In summary, I realize this is a small sample size but wanted to report the findings based on the accuracy of the data. Other than this example, I’ve never seen Google do this before where every other factor remained exactly the same. I have also never seen them flip from a branded to non-branded 3-pack for a given query.

See any patterns I missed? I’d love to hear about it!

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/local-seo-ranking-factors-different-branded-queries-251124

Categorized in Others

The rules of the SEO game have changed over the years, but columnist Pratik Dholakiya has some solid strategies for increasing search visibility and authority that you can safely use in 2016.

Improving your rankings isn’t as simple as it used to be. As businesses have become more invested in SEO, search ranking algorithms have grown smarter and more sophisticated. The result is that many techniques that used to be acceptable are now considered gray-hat or black-hat — and in some cases, can even earn you a traffic-throttling Google penalty.

Still, the challenge remains: We need links, we need traffic, and we need rankings. How do we achieve this in an ethical manner?

Luckily, there are still powerful white-hat strategies you can leverage to improve rankings. Here are five of the best that we at E2M use successfully to this day.

1. Guest posts

Guest posting has been contested territory for some time. Back in 2014, Google’s then-head of webspam, Matt Cutts, advised that guest posting was increasingly ineffective at building links. If you’re doing a lot of guest posting, he warned, “you’re hanging out with some really bad company.”

It’s easy to see why guest posting has come under fire in recent years. After all, guest blogs used to be a really easy way to get backlinks — maybe a little too easy. All too often, the standard guest post is 500 words long, includes no links to sources (other than the author’s own website) and presents no thoughtful commentary or new insight.

I’m not saying you can’t have a worthwhile 500-word post. Of course you can. But the majority of guest bloggers aren’t looking at readers’ concerns. They don’t care whether you derive value from the post or not. They care about getting a link, and they’ve nailed the absolute bare minimum required to achieve that end.

That drags the name of the “guest blogger” into the mud. But it also gives you an opportunity.

Rather than focus on acquiring links, guest blogging can help with SEO in other, less direct ways. By consistently posting excellent, in-depth content on relevant blogs, you’ll drive up authority and get more social shares, along with signs of quality that Google takes seriously. You’re also more likely to get actual traffic to your website from high-quality content — which is what link building is supposed to be about anyway.

Stuffing low-quality posts with links to your site — or paid third-party links — may be a thing of the past. But guest blogging is still a powerful tool to increase authority and search visibility.

2. Infographics

Infographics are a powerful way of getting a point across quickly and intuitively. That’s one reason why they’re so popular. But they’re also an effective way of getting high-quality backlinks quickly.

The trick to getting that to happen is in the embed code. After you create your infographic, you can use a tool like the SeigeMedia Embed Code Generator to build the code. This is the code that people who want to post your infographic to their own site will use.

So include a request to link back to your site, and make it easy by bundling exactly the URL you want them to use into the infographic’s embed code. That way, they can’t avoid seeing it. Sure, some people will ignore it, but most people will attribute your infographic when they post it — and make the attribution a hyperlink back to your site. Bingo!

To get your infographic in front of more people, use infographic publishers (Visual.ly is one). Most will want a 70-or-so-word description of the infographic; then they’ll store it, and when other content marketers and bloggers want a graphic, they’ll be more likely to find yours. The free infographic publisher landscape changes quite quickly, so to make sure you’re not putting your content on dead sites.

Want some extra juice? On those sites, you can search for infographics on the same subject as yours, then reach out to users who have accessed those infographics and ask if they’d be interested in yours. Our annual infographic on Google’s algorithm updates (now in its fourth year) was picked up by Entrepreneur, Social Media Today, Marketing Land and more!

E2M Infographic

All in all, infographics are a great way to get quality backlinks from a range of relevant sites.

3. Personal blogs of the CEO & other employees

Blogging lets you connect with your readers. Most blogs are written in an informal, conversational style that’s a long way from what you’d see in a newspaper or magazine. And that’s true of professional blogs, too.

Using personal blogs at work — the CEO’s blog, for instance — can be a way to generate content that feels natural and personal. These people can blog about their own interests, and those interests are bound to overlap with the company’s targeting.

Blogs like this are also a way to offer specific insights, because certain employees will know things no one else on your team knows. For example, what are the legal implications of the product you’re developing? Get someone from legal to blog about it. Suddenly, readers in a similar position at other companies suddenly have a reason to read this content.

Personal professional blogs can be done one of two ways. You can offer a multi-voice blog on your company website, either as posts within the larger company blog or as separate sections with their own visual branding. Or you can have team members blog on their own domains and occasionally refer back to the company blog when it’s appropriate.

4. Beat the champ

How do you become the champ? By beating hundreds of could-have-been-a-contenders? No. You have to seize the top spot from the person who’s already there.

You can do the same thing with link building and SEO content marketing. Look at content that’s already performing well in your vertical. Find a piece of content that a) you think is awesome, and b) is performing well in organic search. Drop the URL into the usual suspects — like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer — and see which sites are linking to it. Download all the linking sites into a spreadsheet.

Then, pick the post apart.

Would it work better if it were longer? If you’re looking at the “10 best ways to get more traffic with your blog,” maybe you should write the 20 best ways, or the 100 best ways.

Would it work better if it were more detailed? Maybe do the same number of methods, but in crazy, inch-by-inch detail.

Remember that content is content. Your content doesn’t have to be a blog post. It could be an infographic, or a YouTube video, or a Vine. It could be a stand-alone resource page.

But that’s only going to be a winner for you if you’re getting your content seen. Once you’ve created your super-linkworthy content, you have to reach out to the right people.

All too often, reaching out to people is a stab in the dark. “You might be interested in something along these lines… ” Yeah, but probably not. The success rate of these attempts is often very low.

But you already have the lowdown on the people who would be interested in content like this. Remember when you used Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer or the tool of your choice to find out who was linking to the content you just improved upon? Check the spreadsheet you put together earlier, and then do a quick sanity check. Pages that don’t make sense, like article directories and forums (Yes, they still exist) can go.

What are you left with? A list of people who are actually very likely to be interested your content.

5. Giving interviews

CXOs and other employees are great subjects for interviews. Everyone else has to produce content, too, and the word of someone in the field (especially an expert) is worth a lot. So if you’re a high-level company spokesperson or an extremely knowledgeable subject matter expert, you’re likely to be approached more often than you’d actually prefer.

You can’t take up an offer for an interview and sit there like a stereotypical used car salesman, hard-selling your own product. But you can sell your brand.

When you’re in front of the camera, or on the page, you are your brand. If you’re confident, insightful and open, viewers relate. Remember, even in B2B, the buying decision isn’t made by highly sophisticated algorithms. You’re still selling to human beings.

Viewers or readers need to see you as someone who understands the problems they’re trying to solve. That’s partly competence and partly a hard-to-define “she gets it” factor.

Interviews also offer the opportunity to talk directly about your company’s offerings. You can mention new initiatives, updates, new products or ventures. Talking about these in interviews gets them exposure. Add a link to the interview text if you’re being interviewed by email, or spell the URL out in a video interview.

Recently, my colleague, Rohan Ayyar, who knows a lot about remote work best practices from his project management days, was interviewed along with other experts by the guys at Proofhub, from which he managed to get a link to our executive branding service, Preceptist, all the while keeping it relevant and non-promotional. See what I mean?

Conclusion

It’s still possible to improve your rankings with careful strategy. Increasingly, it’s about leveraging content marketing to improve linkability. That can be done by targeted outreach, by encouraging social sharing or by using content itself to encourage linking. But it all helps drive up ranking.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/5-contemporary-strategies-help-improve-rankings-250902

Categorized in Business Research

Columnist Brian Harnish discusses in detail canonicalization issues that may not normally be covered in an SEO audit -- and how to effectively address them.

For those who are unaware, “canonicalization” refers to the practice of making sure that for every instance of duplicate content on a site, one version is specified as the “preferred” or “source” URL to the search engines. Basically, you are telling Google, “Of all the URLs that contain this content, this is the URL that you should consider the authority. No other.”

When a proper audit identifying canonicalization issues is not performed, you can run into snags later when Google identifies your site as being a source of duplicate content, which can lead to algorithmic ranking losses, or even manual penalties.

Canonicalization issues generally occur when attempted canonicalization is not executed properly. Following are some common canonical issues that, once resolved, can result in rankings boosts to the site because of consolidated link equity.

Issue: Home page does not canonicalize properly
Many websites wind up with multiple versions of the home page that resolve on different URLs, such as:

http://www.domainname.com/

http://domainname.com/

http://www.domainame.com/index.html

When you have many different versions of the home page — all of which have inbound links pointing to them — this can cause canonicalization issues that will impact rankings.

In order to fix this, choose your preferred home page URL and 301 redirect all the other versions to it. For the www vs. non-www versions, take it a step further by specifying your preferred domain in Google Search Console.

Implementing redirects to the preferred version of the home page will consolidate your link equity, which can potentially enhance your search engine rankings.

Issue: URLs don’t resolve to a single case

This is a big one. URLs that don’t resolve to a single case can result in duplicate URLs, leading to duplicate content issues that put your site at risk.

If you’re a beginner SEO, it is important to consider that duplicate content doesn’t always mean that the same content is duplicated from page to page. It happens quite often that URLs cause duplicate content issues simply by existing in the first place.

Here are some examples of a URL that doesn’t resolve to a single case:

https://www.domainname.com/page.html

https://www.domainname.com/pAgE.html

https://www.domainame.com/PAGE.html

https://www.domainname.com/PaGe.html

If you input all of these variations in the address bar of your favorite web browser, they will all bring up the same page. This can become a problem because without proper configuration, Google will spider and index these pages, resulting in non-canonical pages being indexed.

The best way to fix these issues is to 301 redirect all of these URLs to the main canonical URL that you choose. It may be beneficial to perform a server side redirect using Apache, .htaccess, or whatever server technology your server uses, to avoid adding 301 redirects all over the place. Over-redirecting with 301 redirects can also cause problems.

Alternatively, you can also use the rel=”canonical” tag to specify the canonical version of the page. That means putting a tag on the page that looks like this:

link rel="canonical" href="https://www.domainname.com/page.html" />

Issue: IP address doesn’t canonicalize

In a perfect world, your IP should properly canonicalize back to the main domain name of your site. If it is not, you risk indexation issues because of the inability for search engines to correctly determine which of your website’s URLs they want to index. In addition, duplicate content issues can arise from a search engine wanting to index both your IP address and the URL of the website.

If you determine that you have IP canonicalization issues, speak with your server administrator and discuss potential solutions to the issues.

Issue: duplicate URLs

Duplicate URLs can be just as dangerous as non-canonical URLs. When you have duplicate URLs, and they have no canonicalization in place, Google will have no idea which version to index. This can lead to the indexation of duplicate URLs serving the same content, diluting your link equity and page authority.

Duplicate URLs can take the form of the following, usually resulting in multiple versions of the same URL regardless of the file name extension:

https://www.domainname.com/page.html

https://www.domainname.com/page.htm

https://www.domainname.com/page.aspx

https://www.domainname.com/page/

The best way to fix all of these is to implement a sitewide redirect redirecting all of the duplicate URLs back to the main canonical URL. This will help consolidate link equity and result in a performance boost overall.

Issue: URLs can be accessed through both secure (https) and non-secure (http) versions

This appears to be a pretty simple problem, but you would be surprised how often this creeps up in website audits. Usually this results from improper setup of the non-secure and secure version on the server. Google Search Console does not play a role in terms of how URLs are accessed via the browser.

The best, simplest way to determine this issue is trying to access both the http:// and https:// versions of your site in the browser. If they both load just fine, then you have some issues that should be cleaned up as quickly as possible.

The best way to avoid this problem is to make sure you properly make the switch from HTTP to HTTPS to begin with. (Patrick Stox has written an excellent and comprehensive guide on how to do that here.)

It is my recommendation to get the proper highest-level secure certificate you can, and make sure it comes with wild card options. This way, you do not cause any unforeseen canonicalization issues arising from not having the proper secure certificate with the right settings installed.

Issue: trailing slash canonicalization

Similar to duplicate URLs, improper trailing slash canonicalization can also become an issue. For example:

https://www.domainname.com

https://www.domainname.com/

or

https://www.domainname.com/page-name/

https://www.domainname.com/page-name 

If you have been promoting your website using versions of your URLs both with and without the trailing slash, you could cause indexation and duplicate content issues as a result. Choose one format (I recommend the non-trailing slash version) and stick with it in all of your link building and other promotional efforts. Then do the following:

301 redirect all variations of the URL using a wildcard redirect back to the canonical URL, and/or
Set the canonical tag to always point to the non-trailing slash version of the page.
The redirect is the preferred solution, but using both is the best option because it removes any ambiguity on Google’s part.

Dive deeper into your audit to find major issues

Canonicalization issues can be a major source of headaches for many SEOs, but if you dive deep enough, you can find and fix many issues plaguing your client’s site. In addition, focusing on these areas can give you a great performance boost that you may not otherwise have been able to obtain with just the usual on-page SEO.

This is because canonicalization factors impact link equity, which, when managed properly, can translate into a major performance boost for your website.

Source:  http://searchengineland.com/diving-deeper-auditing-canonicalization-issues-250866

Categorized in Online Research

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