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Search and the ecommerce holiday season: Capturing key moments that matter

December 3, 2019 No Comments

Search is not static – people don’t consume media in silos – and those consumers demand answers and content in an instant. Customers want information how they want it, wherever they are, in formats that delight — and they want it immediately.

This is especially true during the holiday season where SEO powers insights on consumer intent, behavior and trends across all digital channels.

If the analysts are right, the 2019 holiday shopping season will be one of the biggest in recent memory: 13% YoY growth for U.S. digital revenue ($ 136B sales) and 15% YoY growth for global digital revenue ($ 768B sales). And, while the season extends through the end of the year, a full 50% of all sales will be completed by December 6th – the last day of Cyber Week.

With so much shopping concentrated around the start of the holiday selling season – Black Friday through Cyber Week – there’s a lot of pressure on marketers to get the product, promotion and channel mix right ahead of time.

Most guidance on optimizing the search and digital marketing mix revolves – correctly – around the analysis and preparation you should be doing in advance of the shopping season, especially where SEO is concerned.

BrightEdge’s research found that SEO practitioners are using an average of six tools cobbled together and four-hours a day on research, reporting, and analysis. With half the day of an SEO practitioner spent on research, reporting, and analysis, it can be hard to find the time to actually make SEO changes and drive strategy over reactionary holiday periods.

Today, preparation and real-time marketing go hand-in-hand – especially when we think about voice, visual and vertical aspects of enterprise SEO.

Holiday seasons and real-time insights

Searchers are looking for the things you offer in any given moment, including throughout the holiday shopping season. If you know what people are looking for in the moment, you can capitalize on those trends in search and other marketing channels including on your website or in your dedicated ecommerce app, or in your digital advertising, email and social media campaigns.

Holidays are a period where things moving so fast (real-time demand for products) prices move, competition is higher than normal with new seasonal entrants, changes happen in real-time consumer habits (a trended new toy or gift, an influencer, a TV ad commercial driving online searches.

Consumers begin researching their holiday purchases well ahead of Black Friday, but on the day itself, searches ratchet up and stay elevated through Cyber Week. And shoppers are not done shopping when Cyber Weekends. This influx of new search data can expose opportunities that were not visible in the run-up to Black Friday.

During a compressed, high-volume shopping period like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, there will be predictable searches for the high-profile products and doorbuster deals where competition is high and margins are low, but there will also be demand for lower-profile, higher margin surprises.

To make the most of in-the-moment search insights, it’s important that you use a real-time information source to mirror the non-linear way consumers search that also enables you to follow fully the explicit and implicit paths indicated by those searches. Competition for these opportunities will generally be lower, but taken in aggregate, they can generate meaningful revenue.

Voice

With growing frequency, consumers are searching with their voices. At the end of 2018 there were 2.5 billion digital voice assistants in use by consumers. That figure is expected to grow to 8 billion devices by 2023. (source)

Consumers are using voice search more and more to shop with nearly 50% of people researching products by voice and 33% of people expected to use voice search to purchase a product at some point in 2019. (source)

But not all voice searches happen on one type of device and there are multiple avenues to consider.

(Source PWC)

In many ways the nature of voice search aligns closely with the practical application of real-time SEO. Voice searches tend to reflect in-the-moment queries. During the holidays, consumers will ask their voice assistants for help with product and shopping questions, like:

  • What is a good gift for a 10-year-old boy?
  • When is the last day for holiday shipping on Nike.com?
  • Which restaurants are open on Christmas?

Conversational queries change so fast, that voice search becomes instantaneous. When strategizing for voice, it’s important to understand the conversational journey. What questions most frequently initiate a search? What are the three or four follow up questions someone is most likely going to ask? Because voice search advances so rapidly, real-time data is a necessity.

To do it, start with identifying all the top-of-funnel, awareness-generating question keywords and their search volume. Then, analyze the keyword landscape for which portion of your keywords contain questions, and finally, assess which portion of those searches you are winning, and which portion represent opportunity.

Visual – YouTube

Visual search in itself is whole topic and article so for ecommerce I will just focus on YouTube today.

Traditional search engines and YouTube are complementary when it comes to product research with 80% of consumers saying they “typically switch between online search and video when researching products to buy.”

YouTube also plays a role for more than half of consumers directly in the purchase stream: “More than 55% of shoppers say they used online video while actually shopping in a store.”

All of that search behavior harbors insight you cannot get from Google search data alone. For one, YouTube product research indicates an increased level of purchase readiness with 70% of people expressing a feeling of motivation after viewing a YouTube video.

Take advantage of YouTube search behavior data to expose in real-time the performance of your videos and your competitors’ videos for any search and identify which product, category, and brand video are receiving outsize interest as well as what searches are leading consumers to them.

Armed with these insights, you can react in the moment across your marketing channels to capture share of sales. Add to that shopping ads in YouTube and SEO and PPC synergy become a must.

(Source – Google)

Vertical – Amazon

Nearly half of U.S. internet users start product searches on Amazon (eMarketer). As a marketers it is essential to know what are they searching for? What keywords are they using to search for it? Amazon may very well be the best source for insight into consumer purchase intent, so you cannot afford to ignore it.

For the products you sell on Amazon, especially if you sell hundreds or thousands of SKUs, it’s essential to track en masse the ranking of those products against your competition so that you can adapt in-platform while the selling opportunity is at its peak.

(Source – eMarketer)

Simultaneously, if there are products or product categories you don’t list on Amazon, you can still benefit from insights about searches within those categories.

Knowing this will help you understand where your biggest competitive threats lie so you can defend against them in your selling channels. It will also alert you to opportunities to meet heightened category demand via other channels.

Conclusion

Even with well-researched forecasts, there’s no way to know for sure how well a product category will perform for any sales period, but if you wait to measure that outcome and maximize sales, then real-time insights can take you all the way through to the January sales and more.

Jim Yu is the founder and CEO of leading enterprise SEO and content performance platform BrightEdge. He can be found on Twitter @jimyu.

The post Search and the ecommerce holiday season: Capturing key moments that matter appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Long tail keywords: Why they matter so much in content strategy

November 22, 2019 No Comments

If you work in digital marketing, you’ve probably heard the phrase “longtail keyword”. You might also know there’s some debate around what it actually means.

Many believe keywords that are longtail mean they have a lot of words in them. It’s the difference between “swimming pools” and “swimming pool installation in Boca Raton, FL”, the latter being considered the longtail. 

However, the length of the keyword isn’t necessarily what we’re referring to when we say “longtail”. In reality, long tail keywords just have to be extremely specific – it just so happens that longer keywords tend to also be more specific (hence the confusion around the definition).

But why do we care?

Because longtail keywords are so specific, fewer people tend to search for those particular keywords, which might deter some people from trying to rank for them, because they consider it a waste of time.

But, this is where the opportunity lies. Longtail keywords tend to not be as competitive because of their low volume, so if you’re able to create content that ranks for a variety of longtail keywords relevant to your business, the traffic you do get is much more qualified.

Take the pool example that was shared above. If someone is searching for “swimming pools”, we have no idea what it is they’re looking for. It’s so top-level that they could be looking for anything – The number of swimming pools in America? Nearby swimming pools? The cost of above-ground swimming pools? Who knows. What we do know is that they’re still in a very information-based part of their searching journey.

Now, if someone is searching, “swimming pool installation in Boca Raton, FL,” it certainly sounds like they’re looking for help installing a swimming pool. And if that’s a service you offer and you’re ranking for that keyword, chances are the searcher is going to see your website.

So, longtail keywords might not be searched often, but they’re also not as competitive to rank for, and people searching for those terms are usually much further down the funnel and more likely to convert.

Finding long tail keywords to rank for

Now that we know what longtail is it seems easy enough, but how do we find these terms? There’s not enough search volume to appear in the majority of keyword tools. And, if you’re working for a client you might not know all the ins and outs of the industry they’re in. 

This is where content creation becomes a mixture of art and science.

Look at places where your target audience spends time in order to research what they care about and how that matches your brand. I also recommend you explore the following for inspiration on what topics to cover:

  • Forums (like Reddit, Quora, and Yahoo Answers)
  • Comments on related news articles
  • Online courses (here’s a guide)
  • Google Autocomplete and related searches

No matter where you look, as yourself: What questions are my audience asking, and how can I answer them?

Implementing a long tail content strategy

You may want to target each longtail keyword with a unique page, but that probably isn’t the best way to go.

You could end up creating many thin articles targeting hyper-specific terms, which makes for a sprawling and ineffective content strategy.

Fortunately, a single page can rank for several termsMapping out various H2s and FAQs on the page is going to be all that you need to do to get a couple of similar topical terms on one page. 

So, take a look at all of the longtail keyword ideas you came up with, and see which ones are similar enough to be nested under a slightly broader post. 

Getting long tail strategy buy-in from your organization

Admittedly, it’s not as “sexy” to rank for something like “swimming pool installation in Boca Raton, FL” than it is to rank for the general and very common term “swimming pools.”

Sometimes management or clients get fixated on ranking for those top-level terms because it feels like a win, but remind them about this stat from Ahrefs – 60.67% of all “search demand” is created by 0.16% of the most popular keywords.

Ahref stat showing long tail keywords search demand curve in numbers

Source: Ahrefs

So, nearly 40% of that search demand is generated by the other 99%+ longtail queries. 

Ranking for longtail keywords means you’re reaching your target audience when they’re nearly ready to buy, and if you can illustrate that, suddenly it becomes a proposal that’s difficult to halt. 

Domenica is a Brand Relationship Manager at Fractl. She can be found on Twitter @atdomenica.

The post Long tail keywords: Why they matter so much in content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The SEO metrics that really matter for your business

May 4, 2019 No Comments

Whether you are a business owner, marketing manager or simply just interested in the world of ecommerce, you may be familiar with how a business can approach SEO.

To every person involved, the perception of SEO and its success can vary from a sophisticated technical grasp to a knowledge of the essentials.

At all levels, measurement and understanding of search data are crucial and different metrics will stand out; from rankings to the finer details of goals and page speed.

As you may know, you can’t rely solely on ranks as a method to track your progress. But there are other, simple ways to measure the impact of SEO on a business.

In a recent AMA on Reddit, Google’s own Gary Illyes recently urged SEO professionals to stick to the basics and this way of thinking can be applied to the measurement of organic search performance.

In this article, we will look to understand the best metrics for your business when it comes to understanding the impact of SEO, and how they can be viewed from a technical and commercial perspective. Before we start, it’s worth mentioning that this article has used Google’s own demo analytics account for screenshots. If you need further info to get to grips, check out this article, or access the demo version of Google Analytics.

Each of these are commercial SEO metrics — data that means something to everyone in a business.

Organic traffic

This is undoubtedly a simple, if not the most simple way of understanding the return of any SEO efforts. The day-to-day traffic from search engines is the key measure for many marketers and any increase can often be tied to an improved level of search visibility (excluding seasonal variation).

In a world where data drives decisions, these figures are pretty important and represent a key part of any internet user’s session, whether that is to get an answer, make a purchase or something else.

In Google Analytics, simply head follow this path: Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Channels to see the organic traffic received within your chosen time period

Identifying traffic sources in Google Analytics

You might be asking, “how can I know more?”

Google might have restricted access to keyword data back in 2011, but you can still dig down into your traffic from organic search to look at landing pages and locations.

Organic traffic data – Filtered by landing page 

Not all traffic from search hits your homepage, some users head to your blog or to specific landing pages, depending on their needs. For some searches, however, like those for your company name, your homepage will be the most likely option.

To understand the split of traffic across your site, use the “Landing Page” primary dimension and explore the new data, split by specific page URL.

Understanding the traffic split using Google Analytics

Organic traffic data – Filtered by location

Within the same section, the organic search data can be split by location, such as city, to give even further detail on the makeup of your search traffic. Depending on how your business operates, the locations shown may be within the same country or across international locations. If you have spent time optimizing for audiences in specific areas, this view will be key to monitor overall performance.

Screenshot of search data filtered by city

Screenshot of the city wise breakdown of the search traffic in Google Analytics

Revenue, conversions, and goals

In most cases, your website is likely to be set up to draw conversions, whether that is product sales, document downloads, or leads.

Part of understanding the success of SEO, is the contribution to the goal of a business, whether that is monetary or lead-based.

For revenue based data, head to the conversions section within Google analytics, then select the product performance. Within that section, filter the secondary dimension by source/medium to show just sales that originate from search engine traffic.

Screenshot of the product performance list to track search originated sales

If your aim isn’t totally revenue based, perhaps a signup form or some downloadable content, then custom analytics goals are your way of fully understanding the actions of visitors that originate from search engines.

Within the conversions section, the source of your goal completions can be split by source, allowing you to focus on solely visits from organic search.

Graph on source wise split of goal conversions

If a visitor finds your site from a search and then buys something or registers their details, it really suggests you are visible to the right audience.

However, if you are getting consistent organic search visits with no further actions taken, that suggests the key terms you rank for, aren’t totally relevant to your website.

SEO efforts should focus on reaching the relevant audiences, you might rank #1 for a search query like “cat food” but if you only sell dog products, your optimization hasn’t quite worked.

Search and local visibility

In the case that your business has web and/or physical store presences, you can use the tools within Google My Business to look further into and beyond the performance of the traditional blue links.
Specifically, you can understand the following:

  • How customers search for your business
  • How someone sees your business
  • What specific actions they take

The better your optimization, the more of these actions you will see, check these out!

Doughnut graph of search volume seen in Google Analytics

Graph of customer actions

Graph of listing sources for Google my business

Average search rankings

Rankings for your key terms on search engines have traditionally been an easy way to quickly get a view of overall performance. However, a “quick Google” can be hard to draw conclusions from. Personalized search from your history and location essentially skews average rank to a point where its use has been diminished.

A variety of tools can be used to get a handle on average rankings for specific terms. The free way to do this is through Google Search Console with freemium tools like SEMRush and Ahrefs, which also offer an ability to understand average rank distribution.

With search rankings becoming harder to accurately track, the measure of averages is the best way to understand how search ranking relates to and impacts the wider business.

Graph on average positioning of the website in search

Technical metrics – Important but not everyone pays attention to these

When it comes to the more technical side of measuring SEO, you have to peel back the layers and look beyond clicks and traffic. They help complete the wider picture of SEO performance, plus they can help uncover additional opportunities for progress.

Search index – Through search consoles and other tools

Ensuring that an accurate index of your website exists is one thing that you need to do with SEO. Because if only a part of your site or the wrong pages are indexed, then your overall performance will suffer.

Although a small part of overall SEO work, its arguably one of the most crucial.

One quick way is to enter the command “site:” followed by the URL of your site’s homepage, to see the total number of pages that exist in a search engine’s index.

To inspect the status of a specific page on Google, the Google Search Console is your best option. The newest version of the search console provides a quick way to bring up results.

Screenshot of the latest Google Search Console

Search crawl errors

As well as looking at what has been indexed, any website owner needs to keep an eye out for what may be missing, or if there have been any crawl errors reported by Google. These often occur because a page has been blocked, or the format isn’t crawlable by Google.

Head to the “Coverage” tab within Google Search Console to understand the nature of any errors and what page the error relates to. If there’s a big zero, then you and your business naturally have nothing to worry about.

Screenshot of viewing error reports in Google Search Console

Click-through rate (CTR) and bounce rate

In addition to where and how your website ranks for searches, a metric to consider is how often your site listing is clicked in the SERPs. Essentially, this shows the percentage of impressions that result in a site visit.

This percentage indicates how relevant your listing is to the original query and how well your result ranks compared to your competitors.

If people like what they see and can easily find your website, then you’ll likely get a new site visit.

The Google Search Console is the best go-to resource again for the most accurate data. Just select the performance tab and toggle the CTR tab to browse data by query, landing page, country of origin, and device.

Screenshot of a CTR performance graph on the basis of query, landing page, country of origin, and device

If someone does venture onto your site, you will want to ensure the page they see, is relevant to their search, after all, search algorithms love to reward relevance! If the page doesn’t contain the information required or isn’t user-friendly, then it is likely the user will leave to find a better resource, without taking any action, known as a bounce.

In some cases, one visit may be all that is needed, therefore a bounce isn’t an issue. Make sure to view this metric in the wider context of what your business offers.

Mobile friendliness

Widely reported in 2015, was the unveiling of mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor. This is crucial to the evolution of browser behavior, with mobile traffic, often greater in volume than desktop for some sites.

Another report in the ever useful Google Search Console gives a clear low-down of how mobile-friendly a site is, showing warnings for any issues. It’s worth saying, this measure isn’t an indication of how likely a conversion is, but more the quality of your site on a mobile device.

Graph for tracking the mobile-friendliness of a website

Follow your metrics and listen to the data

As mentioned at the start of this article, data drives decisions. In all areas of business, certain numbers will stand out. With SEO, a full understanding comes from multiple data points, with positives and negatives to be taken at every point of the journey.

Ultimately, it often comes down to traffic, ranks, and conversions, the numbers that definitely drive business are made up of the metrics that don’t often see the light of day but are just as important.

As a digital marketer, it is always a learning experience to know how data drives the evolution of a business and ultimately, how successes and opportunities are reported and understood.

Matthew Ramsay is Digital Marketing Manager at Digitaloft. 

Further reading:

The post The SEO metrics that really matter for your business appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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5 Things That Matter To Brands When Working with An Agency

October 22, 2018 No Comments

We wanted a better pulse on what attributes brands consider the most important things when working with an agency, as well as the things they wish their agencies were better at. So we asked! Click through for the results.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


Midterm attackers cited Black Lives Matter in false flag Facebook rally

August 1, 2018 No Comments

Unknown midterm election attackers that Facebook has removed were hosting a political rally next month that they pinned on Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other organizations, according to third-party event websites that scraped the now-removed Facebook events.

Facebook provided an image of the deleted “No Unite The Right 2 – DC” event as part of its announcement today that merely showed its image, title, date, location and that a Page called “Resisters” was one of the hosts of the propaganda event. But a scraped event description TechCrunch discovered on Rallyist provides deeper insight into the disruptive information operation. Facebook won’t name the source of the election interference but said the attackers shared a connection through a single account to the Russian Internet Research Agency responsible for 2016 presidential election interference on Facebook.

“We are calling all anti-fascists and people of good conscience to participate in international days of action August 10 through August 12 and a mass mobilization in Washington DC” the description reads. “We occupy ICE offices, confront racism, antisemitism, islamaphobia, xenophobia, and white nationalism. We will be in the streets on August 10-12, and we intend to win.”

But what’s especially alarming is how the event description concludes [emphasis mine, in full below]. “Signed, Black Lives Matter Charlottesville, Black Lives Matter D.C., Charlottesville Summer of Resistance Welcoming Committee Agency, Crimethinc Ex-Workers Collective, Crushing Colonialism, D.C. Antifascist Collective, Future is Feminists, Holler Network, Hoods4Justice, The International, Capoeira Angola Foundation-DC (FICA-DC), Libertarian Socialist Caucus Of The DSA, March For Racial Justice, Maryland Antifa, One People’s Project, Resist This (Former DisruptJ20), Rising Tide North America, Smash Racism D.C., Showing Up for Racial Justice Charlottesville, Suffolk County DSA, Workers Against Racism, 350 DC.”

It’s unclear if the attackers effectively “forged” the signature of these groups, or duped them into signing off on supporting the rally. The attackers were potentially trying to blame these groups for the rallies in an effort to further sow discord in the political landscape.

Facebook initially provided no comment about the description of the event, but then confirmed that it was originally created by the attackers’ since-deleted Page “Resisters,” which then later added several legitimate organizations as co-hosts: Millennials For Revolution, March To Confront White Supremacy – from Charlottesville to DC, Workers Against Racism – WAR, Smash Racism DC and Tune Out Trump. Strangely, those co-hosts have relaunched a new event with a similar name, “Nazis Not Welcome No Unite The Right 2” and similar description, including a similar but expanded “Signed by” list, and now including BLM Charlottesville and D.C. as co-hosts.

Meanwhile, Facebook also shared an image of a November 4th, 2017 “Trump Nightmare Must End – NYC” event, also without details of the description. A scraped version on the site AllEvents shows the description as “History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late. There is only one force that can stop this nightmare: we, the people, acting together. On November 4 we’ll take to the streets demanding that Trump regime must go! We meet at Times Square (42 St and Broadway) at 2 PM!”

The co-opting of left-wing messaging and protests is a powerful strategy for the election interferers. It could provide the right-wing with excuses to claim that all left-wing protest against Trump or white supremacy is actually foreign governments or hackers, and that those protests don’t represent the views of real Americans.


Social – TechCrunch


The ultimate guide to meta tags: why they matter and how to optimize them for impact

June 26, 2018 No Comments

Whether you work in an agency or in-house, SEO success has a lot to do with influencing other functions, for example, web development, site merchandising, content marketing, PR, etc. As SEO professionals, we do have our own secret sauce to cook with: meta tags.

Although meta tags are only used for search engines, they are still an essential part of Google’s core algorithm and must not be ignored. We will go through the most common meta tags and highlight their usefulness so you can easily check if you’re spending enough time where it counts.

Meta tags defined

Meta tags, or HTML elements, are codes of text that help search engines and website visitors better understand the content found on a website page. Meta tags are not the actual content that is featured on the page.

The purpose of meta tags is instead to describe the content. Therefore, these HTML elements are found in the <head> section of the HTML page, not within the <body> section. Since meta tags need to be written in the HTML code, you may or may not be the one implementing the tags, but knowing what’s most essential will set you up for success.

Why is it still important?

We know that SEO is evolving and the importance of keywords has changed, but let’s keep in mind the impact of the actual query that is being searched for. A search query is formulated in words, and search engine users are essentially scanning the SERPs for the words they entered into the search bar.

Search engines understand that their users are expecting to see results containing the exact words they entered. Let’s say I’m thinking of starting a business and run a search for the query “how to come up with a business name.” As I scan through the SERPs, my eye is looking for pages that contain the words “come up with business name.” While search engines may indulge in semantic search and latent semantic indexing, serving up results that contain the exact words of the search query will remain a strong asset.

Must have meta tags

Title tags and meta descriptions are the bread and butter of SEO. These are essential HTML elements that are needed for a page to rank well organically. As a refresher, let’s look more closely at them and why they are on the list of must haves.

Title tags

A title tag is an HTML element that describes the topic of a page. It is displayed at the top of the browser in the title bar and in the listing titles of a search engine results page. The presence of a search friendly term in the title tag is still a strong relevancy signal for search engines. Also, search engines will bold keywords from the user’s search in the title. This helps attract a higher click-through rate because internet users scan search results looking for their search term. If they don’t see it, then they are less likely to click on the listing, therefore, reducing CTRs.

Title tags must be relevant to the content on the page. The main keyword should be the first word in the page title, and the closer to the start of the title tag a keyword is, the more helpful it will be for ranking purposes.

Meta descriptions

A meta description is an HTML meta tag that provides a brief description of the page. Although it is not visible to users on the site, search engines often use meta descriptions as the brief snippet of text underneath a title tag in the search engine results. Well-written meta description tags, while not important to search engine rankings, are extremely important in promoting user click-through from search engine result pages.

Meta descriptions should be written using compelling copy. Since the meta description serves as advertising copy in search results, this is your chance to draw searchers in. Describe the page clearly and use a friendly marketing voice to create an appealing description that will attract a higher click-through rate.

Alt text for images

Alt text is an attribute added to an image tag in HTML to help search engines understand what an image is about. Although search engines cannot see the images we post on our websites, they can read what is featured in the alt attribute. While most searches are not image related, there is still a strong opportunity to acquire organic search engine visitors and boost brand recognition through impressions earned for images.

Alt text should be written clearly and contain text that describes the image. If your image is of an object, consider using adjectives like the color or the size of the object to provide more details on what exactly the image is displaying. Moreover, alt text is not for search engines only: they represent a necessary element to meet basic accessibility standards. Alt text provides a clear text alternative of the image for screen reader users.

No follow tags

Google defines “nofollow” as a way for webmasters to tell search engines not to follow links on a specific page. The rel=”nofollow” attribute can be quite beneficial in ensuring that PageRank is not being transferred across links found on your site. Nofollow tags are essential if you are participating in any kind of paid sponsorship with the intent of earning links.

No index tags

The “noindex” tag is used to notify search engine crawlers not to include a particular page in it’s search results. These tags are essential if there is content on your website that you would like to keep out of the search results. Noindex tags can be implemented either as a meta tag or as an HTTP response header.

Nice to have meta tags

In a highly competitive organic search landscape, “nice to have” meta tags, while not as essential as those listed above, should not be overlooked.

Canonical links

The canonical link element is used when a page’s content is available through multiple URLs, creating duplicate URLs. In order to consolidate the duplicate entries and help the search engine select the best URL, we recommend using a canonical link to indicate which the indexable URL should be.

Simply identify a single preferred URL (generally the simplest one), and add the rel=”canonical” link element, using that preferred URL, to every variant of the page. When Google crawls the site, it will consolidate duplicates within it’s index to the preferred URL.

 

 

HTML heading tags (H1-H6)

HTML heading tags are a key component of semantic search, as they provide key contextual clues to the search engines and help them better understand both a page’s content and its overall structure. Search engine bots use the order of heading tags (<h1>, <h2>, etc.) to better understand the structure and relevance of a page’s content. Therefore, HTML heading tags should be ordered on the page by their importance (h1 is considered the highest, h6 is the lowest). In the absence of sectioning content tags, the presence of a heading tag will still be interpreted as the beginning of a new content section.

Meta robots attribute

The meta robots attribute is a piece of code used to instruct search engines on how to interact with a web page. Similar to a robots.txt file that informs search engines on how to crawl a web page, the meta robots attribute provides parameters to search engines on whether they should crawl or index a page’s content.

The “only if” meta tags

Meta keywords

Only necessary if you want to provide your competitors with a list of the keywords you are targeting. In the earlier days of SEO, the meta keyword tag was an element used to describe the keywords that the web page was focused on. Until 2002, the meta keywords tag was used by some search engines in calculating keyword relevance. It was abandoned because it was too difficult for many website owners to identify appropriate keywords to describe their content, and because unscrupulous marketers stuffed the tag with unrelated keywords in an attempt to attract more organic search traffic. All modern search engines ignore the meta keywords tag.

Social meta tags (open graph and Twitter cards)

Social meta tags are used when you want to control how the content of a page shows up when it is shared on social media sites. Open graph tags are a set of meta tags that can be added to any page of a website, and help define the content of the page, such as the title, description and image via social media.

Such information is expressed via two protocols: Open Graph (for Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest) and Twitter Cards (for…you can easily guess), and is used by the respective social media to present the snippet of the pages that users share. Through Social Meta Tags you can for instance make use of a title, description or image specifically targeted for social media audiences, in order to boost CTR from this channel.

Hreflang attribute (commonly referred to as Hreflang tag)

Only if…you have a global website with multiple countries and languages being featured. Google recommends using hreflang tags to specify language and regional variations of your pages (regardless of where they are hosted: subfolders, subdomains or separate domains).

The objective of having Hreflang tags on your site is to provide Google with the most accurate information on localized pages, so that the search engine can serve the relevant language version in search results. There are two ways you can implement the Hreflang tags: directly in the HTML document or in your sitemap.

As you’ll see, meta tags come in many forms and some are more critical than others. But they truly are easy wins that provide great ROI, simply as they require a low amount of resources and still have a high impact. We hope you’ll use this ultimate guide to meta tags as the foundation of your SEO strategy for continued success.

 

Johann Godey is SEO director at Vistaprint.

 

 

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Facebook wants to make you secure no matter how hard you make it

November 13, 2016 No Comments

lex Stamos, CSO, Facebook at Web Summit in 2015. When you have a billion people using your service, you have an obligation to keep your users secure, even when they behave in unsafe ways. Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer (CSO) at Facebook, speaking at Web Summit last week, told a quick story to show what his company was up against when it came to security. “The family car was not designed to be driven into a wall at 100 kilometers… Read More
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