seo

Pigeon: Search Engine Land’s Name For The New Google Local Search Update

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Last night, Google released a pretty significant local search algorithm update. Google told us there was no internal name for the update, but now that we see that it was fairly significant, we decided to give it a name: Pigeon.

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Pigeon is the name we decided on because this is a local search update and pigeons tend to fly back home.

When the Google Panda update launched, there was no official name from Google, so we named it the “Farmer” update. A few days later, Google told us they internally named it thePanda update. So we switched names from Farmer to Panda to avoid that confusion.

Since this update was nameless at Google, we named it the Pigeon update so that we have a name to reference in the future.

For more details on this update, see our story from last night.

10 Lies You Should Never Believe From SEO “Gurus”

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1. I Can Get You The #1 Position On Google.

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Why this lie continues to perpetuate, I’ll never understand. Hear this, and hear it well: no one can guarantee rankings on search engines. Except maybe Google, but you’re not Google, and neither is that guy you hired to work on your SEO.

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines state very clearly that you should be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Be very skeptical of anyone who promises you top positioning.

2. Every Industry Is The Same In The SEO World. I Don’t Need Specific Experience In Your Field.

This is in response to your question, “Do you have experience helping companies in my industry?”

Ideally, the SEO professional you work with will have expertise in your field. The truth is that all industries are not equal in the SEO world. Some, like business services, are much more competitive for top keywords — others, like manufacturing, are less competitive and therefore easier to dominate.

Unless you’re in a very small niche that no one will have experience in, keep looking until you find an SEO expert who has a proven track record in your field.

3. Duplicated Content Is Fine.

The person or firm you hire to help with SEO may or may not also be a content marketing expert. It helps if they’ve got skills in both areas, because content is essential to your SEO strategy.

No matter how awesome or well-written it may have been, re-posting an article you published elsewhere on your own blog is not a good idea. This is due to duplicate content filtering and the effects of the Panda 4.0 algorithm which launched a few weeks ago.

4. The More Links, The Better.

Just a few years ago, SEO “experts” would use many spammy tactics for acquiring links to their clients’ websites, and Google largely permitted it. Though it wasn’t officially allowed by Google, Google did nothing to penalize those who were doing it. And the sad truth is that those tactics worked extremely well. As such, SEO was mostly a popularity contest driven by the number of inbound links you had to your website.

Those days are gone, so don’t let anyone tell you differently. While the acquisition of inbound links is still an important part of any SEO strategy, Google has shifted their emphasis from quantity to quality. Large quantities of spammy inbound links can now harm your rankings — or even get you slapped with a manual penalty.

5. The More Keywords, The Better.

While keyword density (what percentage of the total copy of a page your keywords comprised) was a major buzzword a few years ago, the focus now is on using a variety of keywords and their variations (known as long-tail keywords) sprinkled naturally throughout the body copy.

“Naturally,” you will note, does not mean that every third word is that keyword. Don’t work with anyone who tells you differently.

6. I’ll Submit Your Site To Hundreds Of Search Engine Directories.

And you’ll be wasting my time. Yes, while you can submit your site to the major search engines, this will yield absolutely zero benefit. There are not hundreds of legitimate directories you want to be found on. Honestly, there never were. This tactic can actually trigger an unnatural link warning or penalty from Google, so stay far away from anyone who says they’ll do any link building or “submissions” on such a large scale.

7. My Techniques Are Too Complicated To Explain.

You may not be a tech head, but you are perfectly capable of understanding how someone you’re paying money to can improve the rankings of your site. In all honesty, it’s not complicated at all. Good SEO campaigns are the result of the successful melding of what I call the Three Pillars of SEO: Content, Links, and Social Media. Each pillar is not complicated nor difficult; it’s just a matter of having the resources to implement each, and the expertise to implement each according to best practices.

8. You Don’t Need To Worry About Google Algorithm Updates.

The truth is, we all need to at least be aware of them and how they change the industry. In general, if you’re practicing above-board SEO strategies that involve producing useful and relevant content in order to build your brand organically and naturally, you should be fine. But still keep your ear to the ground on what Google’s up to.

Here’s a handy resource for keeping track of each Google algorithm update, when it occurred, and what it changed: Google Algorithm Change History.

9. All You Need Is SEO.

No marketing plan will succeed if it’s focused on a single marketing discipline. Your website rankings can improve through your active presence on social media, consistent blog posts, and even your offline marketing efforts. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, but ensure that each piece of your marketing strategy maximizes your SEO benefits.

10. I‘ll Get Your SEO Fixed In A Month For A Flat Rate.

SEO is not a “set it and forget it” strategy; it needs ongoing attention. Remember that SEO does not happen in a vacuum. Your competitors are constantly working to improve their SEO, so if you stop doing so, you’ll fall behind. Certain one-time projects can be extremely beneficial, such as initial SEO website audits, link profile audits, and professional keyword research. But these should be treated as foundations and starting points of successful ongoing SEO campaigns.

Ultimately, you need someone who’s willing to work with your company for the foreseeable future and make recommendations for improvement as you go along.

Google’s New AdWords Editor Version Offers Shopping Campaigns Support, More Display Targeting Options

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Roughly a month ahead of the rollover to Shopping Campaigns, Google has released a new version of AdWords Editor that supports the new campaign type. Google announced the old style of PLA campaigns will be shut down at some point in late August.

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Note that support is limited to editing Shopping Campaigns that are already set up, so you’ll still need to create your new campaigns and product groups via the AdWords web interface.

Other updates for display advertisers include support for more audience targeting. Interest categories and in-market audiences are now available from the “Assign Audience” drop-down.

The “Targeting optimization” drop-down now includes “Aggressive”, “Conservative” and “Disabled” options for auto-targeting on Display Network campaigns.

The new version is now available for download, though the upgrade alert is not yet showing for everybody who already has Editor installed. Keep an eye out for that in the next day or so if you don’t see it yet. Update: Scratch that, Google says there will be no alert in AWE. You’ll need to download the new version this time.

If you are still working on setting up your Shopping Campaigns, check out these these articles for tips:

On-Page SEO Checklist

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Content

1 Content is original – copyscape checked?
2 Content is first published on your website?
3 Content has enough descriptive text?
4 Content is well researched with references?
5 Do you have a clear publishing strategy?

Pages Titles, description and formatting

6 Page titles are unique for each page?
7 Descriptions are unique and up to 150 characters?
8 Text is properly formatted using H1, H2, Bold, Italics?
9 Text is split into small paragraphs?
10 Font size is easy to read on small screens (tablets) as well?
11 Image size is optimized using smushit?
12 All images have alt tags defined?
13 Image filename is descriptive?

URL Structure

14 Permanent links use ‘-’ as separator ?
15 Website pages/posts are grouped into categories?
16 There is breadcrumb on all posts/pages?
17 There is an HTML User Sitemap?

Internal Links

18 Pages have internal links?
19 There is a ‘Related posts’ section at the end of each page?
20 Internal links use both keyword and non-keyword anchor text?

Speed and Authorship

21 Website scores more than 90% when checked by Google page speed insights?
22 Google Authorship is implemented for each and every post/page available on the website?
For website owners that are new to SEO or simply do not have the time to deal with web site optimization, you can always hire a trusted SEO firm to do the work for you. Have a look at our great range of SEO packages, suitable for every online business, customized to your own needs and requirements and at competitive prices.

SEO Techniques for Better Rankings

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2. Page titles, description and formatting

This is SEO 101 but very important as well. When search engines are reading your pages among the things they check includes the page title, the description of the page, the major headings and images. They do so because they need to understand what the page is all about and then based on other factors as well (off page SEO, domain authority, competition etc.), they will place your page in a position in their index.

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Page titles – Each page must have a unique title that will help both search engines and users understand what the page is about. A page with title “On Page SEO Tips” is better than a page with title “index.html”.

Descriptions – The page description is what the searcher will see in the search engine results page. So it has to be descriptive, up to 150 characters and unique for each page. It’s your opportunity to advertise your page and convince the searcher to click your link and visit your website rather than selecting one of the other links.

Formatting – A page needs to be properly formatted. Think of it like a report which needs to have a heading (h1) and sub headings (h2). Important parts of the report are highlighted with bold, underline or italics.

Do not just throw text on the page but make sure that it is readable as well. Besides the formatting practices explained above you also need to use a good size font (at least 12px) and split the text into small paragraphs (max 4-5 lines).

Images – Images are important but these should not increase the loading time of the website. Best practices for using images:

1) Use original images. If you need to use an existing image from the web you need to reference the source.

2) Optimise the size of the images – the smaller the size (in bytes) of the image the better. Use yahoo smush it to reduce the size of an image without sacrificing the quality.

3) Use ALT tag to describe the image – This helps search engines understand what the image is about.

4) Use descriptive filenames – Don’t just name your image ‘image1.jpg’ but try to use descriptive filenames, for example ‘Man doing push-ups’.

5) Use a Content Delivery Network – If you have a lot of images in a single page you can use a CDN service (from Amazon or Google) that will make your page load faster. In simple terms your images will be hosted and served by a number of servers and this speeds up the loading process.

You can also read my seo tips for beginners article for more examples of optimized titles and descriptions and for best practices about the use of images.

3. URL Structure

The URL structure is an important part of on-page SEO. Whenever I talk about URL structure, I prefer to split it into 4 major parts:

1) Permanent links – Permanent links are the URL’s of each page. Good URLs should be less than 255 characters and use hyphens to ‘-‘separate the different parts.

For example a good URL is:

https://onlinepagetraffic.wordpress.com/seo-tips-for-beginners/

A bad URL is:

https://onlinepagetraffic.wordpress.com/p?165 or

https://onlinepagetraffic.wordpress.com/seotipsforbeginners/ or

https://onlinepagetraffic.wordpress.com/123131/publish/data2/seo_Tips.html

2) Categories – Group your pages into categories to help users and search engines find what they want faster. It’s like having a warehouse with lots of uncategorised items versus a warehouse with all the items assigned to a dedicated category. You can have sub-categories as well but my advice is not to go over one level. For example a good category structure is:

Reliablesoft > Social Media > Facebook and not Reliablesoft > Social Media > Facebook > Tips

3) Breadcrumb – A breadcrumb is also important for all your pages because it allows users to navigate your website in a structured way since they always know where they are and how deep below the home page.

4) User Sitemap – One of your options in the main menu should be the User Sitemap. This is an html file that represents the structure of your website. Visit my sitemap for an example.

4. Internal linking

Linking to pages within your website is very important for SEO because:

1) It’s like building your own web: If you watch the nice tutorial by Google on how search works, you will see that the first step a search engine spider will do is follow the links they find. So when they arrive at your page, if you don’t have any other links within the text they will read your page and go but if you have links pointing to other pages within your website they will take those into account as well.

2) It’s a way to let search engines know about your other pages: As explained above when search engines find a page with links, they will go and read those pages as well so you can use this technique to tell search engines about pages of your website they have not yet discovered.

3) It’s a way to tell search engines which are your most important pages: Every website has some pages that are more important than others. Internal linking is one of the ways to pin-point the most important pages by sending them more internal links.

4) It’s a way to increase time on site – A user that is reading your post is more likely to click on a link to read more about a certain subject and thus increase both the time spend on your website and the number of pages per visit.

Best practices for internal linking:

1) Don’t use keywords only for your internal links

2) Add internal links when they are useful for your reader

3) No more than 7-8 internal links per page (this is my opinion and not based on any research or studies)

4) If applicable you can also use ‘related posts’ at the end of each post for internal linking

5. Speed and authorship

Last but not least, 2 SEO techniques that are becoming more and more important especially after the release of penguin 2.0 (or 4.0 as some people like to say it): Speed and authorship.

Speed: Google is investing a huge amount of money to make the web faster. In every Google I/O someone will talk about the importance of speed and their desire to include the fastest websites in their index. In order to ‘force’ web site owners to take speed into account they have officially added speed as one of the ranking factors.

So, we know for sure that web site speed does matter when it comes to SEO and ranking. As a webmaster your job is to make sure that your website loads as fast as possible by taking into account Google’s recommendations.

Google authorship: Google is preparing for the next generation of Search and their effort is to rank higher webpages written by people who have authority on the particular subject. One of the ways to establish authority is by correlating the content you publish on the web with your Google+ profile. Then depending on how many followers you have and who follows you, your ranking may change.

Google authorship is still at its early stages but it’s gaining ground fast so you have to create a Google+ profile and bind the profile with your content.

 

5 on page SEO Techniques for Better Rankings

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1. Content comes first

A website with brilliant content can do great with or without SEO, a website with bad content will not survive with or without SEO, a website with good content can become even better with SEO!

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So, what is considered good content?

Original Content (articles, text, images, videos, presentations, infographics, comments etc.) – No copies or re-writes of existing articles

Content published on your website first – Even if it’s your own content, if you have already published it on another website then it’s not good for your site.

Content that includes text as well – Try to have text to accompany your non-text content. For example if you post videos on your website try to add a text description as well. If you add images try to describe in words what the image is all about.

Content that is useful – Don’t publish content for the sake of publishing. Before hitting the publish button make sure that what goes live adds value to your website.

Content that is well researched – Users don’t want to read quickly prepared posts and neither does search engines. If you are writing about a certain topic or answering a question make sure that what you write is justified and covers both sites of a story. Long articles are proven to rank better than short articles.

Posting frequency – 2 things are important when it comes to posting frequency. First is to have fresh content on your website and second to establish a publishing strategy and stick to it.