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Browsers Are Fixing the Internet’s Most Annoying Problem 

January 14, 2020 No Comments

After years of invasive pop-ups asking for notification permission, Chrome and Firefox have finally taken action. 
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The Decade’s 10 Most Influential Videogames

December 28, 2019 No Comments

‘Fortnite’ was a big deal—a very big deal—but it wasn’t the only one.
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How to fix the top most painful website UX mistakes [examples]

October 8, 2019 No Comments

In today’s market of evolving website functionality, UX design has become more important than ever to businesses, globally. Here’s a roundup of top UX mistakes and how to fix them.

We want users to navigate our site freely, without obstacles and without friction. If your site makes finding information a challenge, you can bet your bottom dollar your competition already knows that, and is capitalizing on it.

Both UX and SEO are user-centric, which makes them a formidable pair when you get them right.

But get it wrong and you could see high bounce rates, low conversions and even a slight hit on your rankings as Google’s John Mu considers UX a ‘soft ranking factor’.

If you’re finding that users aren’t spending time on your site (or converting) there could be issues. We’re going to help you find out what they could be.

Cluttered navigation

Your site’s navigation is the gateway to your content and service pages. It’s where you (really) focus on building a funnel that is both frictionless and easy to understand.

Your navigation should be an architecture of well-structured, groups of pages; either commercial or informational (depending on your business).

example of cluttered navigation, bad for UX and SEO

Some of the most common mistakes we see are:

  • Links without value in the main menu
  • Excessive anchor text
  • Non-responsive (yep, it still happens in 2019)
  • Too many sub-menus
  • Relies on Javascript (with no fallback)

How to fix your site’s navigation

The golden rule here is to make your navigation accessible, responsive and clutter-free.

Think about your categories, your most valuable pages, where users spend most of their time and, more importantly, who your users are.

Forever 21 does a great job of linking through to the main areas of its site in a structured and visually pleasing way.

example of forever 21 good site navigation to main pages

 

Let’s say you run an ecommerce store for pets (because everybody loves animals).

You sell products for dogs, cats and rabbits. Here’s how you can structure your navigation…

example of good site navigation

Aesthetics are everything

People are visual creatures. We like websites to be aesthetically pleasing.

One of the biggest cardinal sins of UX is poor imagery, color choices and font selection. In fact, I’ll extend that into most areas of any online marketing; social media and display ads.

Here’s an example of all three on a single site:

example of bad site nav, has bad colors, fonts, and images

I don’t think I need to go much further into why this could be improved. But, I will go into the how.

Even the big brands get it wrong…

boohoo example of bad site navigation, how one poorly sized image affects UX of whole page

Notice how a single, poorly sized image has affected the feel of the whole page?

Fixing poor page structure

Things to consider when it comes to site layout are: margins, padding and alignment.

As you can see in the example above, alignment is a big issue and even a small amount of misaligned content/imagery can look unprofessional. Web pages work in columns which provide a structure for designers to create landing pages which can influence users’ focus and attention.

Combining text and images together is normally where layouts can become difficult to manage as we’ve already seen.

Luckily for you, we’ve put together a number of page layout examples below which make structuring your content and images simple.

  • Image aligned to the right of text:

example of image aligned to right of text

  • Text on top of image:

example of text on top of image

  • Text box overlaid on carousel image:

example of text overlaid on carousel image

Working with fonts

When you consider fonts, you need to think about how your content will appear at all sizes. From your header hierarchy to your bullet points.

We recommend limiting the amount of different fonts you use on your site. It’s easy to get carried away to give different sections of your site its own ‘feel’.

Once you’ve chosen a single font family or families, consider how you can create contrast between header and body content.

Single font selections with varying font weights can create a very visually pleasing contrast between sections of your page.

A poor font selection can even make a retail giant, such as Amazon, look untrustworthy and unprofessional.

example of poor font selection on Amazon product page

If you’re struggling for ideas on font pairing, you can find use Font Pair to put together different font types. It’s important to remember that font readability will play a huge part in how users consume content.

Consider:

  • Size
  • Width
  • Paragraph spacing
  • Weight

If you’re content currently looks like this:

example of how typography can go very wrong

I’m sorry, but you’re doing it wrong.

Even a minor change to fonts can cause the greatest of upsets to users. Just ask Amazon how it went for it.

Most CMS platforms will come with pre-installed fonts, but if you need more of a selection you can always use Google Fonts.

Finally, consider how your font appears on desktop and mobile.

If your font size is too big, it would take up too much of a mobile screen. If it’s too small, users will struggle to read it. It’s worth testing different sizes to cater for overall legibility.

This is an example of how Zazzle’s homepage appears on an iPhone X – using a font size of 18px.

example of site nav on mobile

Page load times

This shouldn’t be news to you by now.

There are multiple case studies available about how load times can impact conversions. So, I won’t go into that here.

The most common reason for page load times being high, is images. Images are something most site owners can change with little dev input. It ultimately comes down to saving the right file type, using the right dimensions and compressing high-resolution to preserve quality, whilst reducing size.

Savings in KB can often make a huge difference.

Take a look at what happens when image optimization is ignored.

example of slow page load times

For the sake of anonymity, we’ve hidden the brand’s identity.

However, this is the page we were greeted with for over five seconds. It’s a medium-sized ecommerce website that caters to children’s clothing.

By optimizing the images, we found that there were savings of up to 900kb – a significant weight lifted off of a browser.

Consider how this feels for users? First impressions are everything. What’s to stop traffic bouncing due to content/images not loading?

Think about that for a second!

How to fix image bloat

Firstly, you need to find if this is an issue.

You can run speed tests using Google’s Lighthouse or GTMetrix to get an understanding of which files are too heavy. It’s simple to find poorly optimized images for individual pages.

For batch analysis, we recommend using a tool like Sitebulb which has an incredibly in-depth section attributed to page speeds.

If your images are already on your site and you don’t really fancy opening Photoshop and resizing them all, you need to run batch compressions to reduce the file size.

There are a range of image compression tools available online, we recommend Compressor.io or TinyPNG.

It’s often thought that compressing images means poor quality. However, take a look at the image below and assess the quality difference  for yourselves.

example of image size reduced, image compressor
Image size reduced by 37%, over a 1.3MB saving

For those of you using WordPress, you can use the Smush.it plugin to compress and resize the images on your site.

New image formats

Google Developers introduced a new file format which is considered to be superior to its PNG and JPG equivalent.

It offers fantastic lossless and lossy compression for images.

Shaving milliseconds off your load time, especially on poor mobile connections, can stop a user from leaving your site. Google has said it actively rewards sites that are seen to make incremental improvements to site speed.

The great news?

More than 70% of browsers support this media format!

You can read more about WebP with Google Developers.

Pop-ups

No UX mistake roundup would be complete without mentioning pop-ups.

They seem to get more aggressive and more disruptive each year. You’ll find it hard to come across a website without them.

Sorry Sumo, but this is one of the worst.

example of a bad scroll-triggered popup on a website

This is considered a scroll-triggered pop-up. Whereby, the page waits for me to interact before the pop-up is shown.

There is one major rule that you must abide by: do not disrupt a user’s experience with pop-ups. We know this is a bold statement but… who likes pushy sales?

If you want to help users, do it natively.

Remember, we’re creating a frictionless journey.

How to use pop-ups — the right way

First things, don’t ever use interstitial pop-ups. It will annoy users and could defer the rendering of your page in search engines.

Both are bad for business.

We recommend using pop-ups in a more subtle manner.

Top banners

example of a brand CTA at the top of a screen

A perfect example of a branded CTA at the top of the screen. It’s non-invasive on both desktop and mobile.

Chatbots

good example of a website chatbot

Chatbots are a great way to help users find what they’re looking for, without disrupting their experience.

You can incorporate lead generation, discount codes or just offer general customer advice. It can help improve operational efficiency (reducing calls into the business) and improving conversion rates.

If a customer is finding it hard to find a particular area of the site, chatbots can remove this friction quickly to help retain users.

Native CTA banners

good example of native CTA banners

Another smart way to offer discounts to users is to integrate CTAs within product selections or even at category level as a header banner.

We find this to be a great way to preserve UX and still help drive incentivized clicks to sale or discount pages.

It’s always important to remember to design banners to match size and resolutions of your products.

Summary

UX is as important to your website as your content. Data shows that UX is still a bit of a mystery to many marketers, but it should be the most important factor on any site design.

Website innovation is encouraged but not at the cost of your users. When you’re considering how to improve your user’s experience, you need to remember how you feel navigating a poorly put together site.

Consider the easy fixes; fonts, images, colors and navigation first, before you think about CRO (conversion rate optimization).

Remember, we’re in a market driven by user behavior so, try your best to cater to that as much as you can and you’ll win!

Ryan Roberts is an SEO Lead at Zazzle Media.

The post How to fix the top most painful website UX mistakes [examples] appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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The Top 25 Most Influential Experts of 2019

June 3, 2019 No Comments

It’s that time of year again! The time to release our newest edition of the Top 25 and honor some of the hardest workers in our tight-knit PPC community. Find out the 2019 Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts in the world.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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ANNOUNCEMENT! The Top 50 Most Influential PPC Experts

May 4, 2019 No Comments

For the first time in the history of the Top 25 list, we decided to announce a Top 50. The Top 50 is based on votes only…meaning only those with the most votes got in the Top 50 to be scored for the final Top 25 list. Find out who made the Top 50!

Read more at PPCHero.com
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LEGO Braille bricks are the best, nicest, and in retrospect most obvious idea ever

April 24, 2019 No Comments

Braille is a crucial skill for children with visual impairments to learn, and with these LEGO Braille Bricks kids can learn through hands-on play rather than more rigid methods like Braille readers and printouts. Given the naturally Braille-like structure of LEGO blocks, it’s surprising this wasn’t done decades ago.

The truth is, however, that nothing can be obvious enough when it comes to marginalized populations like people with disabilities. But sometimes all it takes is someone in the right position to say “You know what? That’s a great idea and we’re just going to do it.”

It happened with the BecDot (above) and it seems to have happened at LEGO. Stine Storm led the project, but Morten Bonde, who himself suffers from degenerating vision, helped guide the team with the passion and insight that only comes with personal experience.

In some remarks sent over by LEGO, Bonde describes his drive to help:

When I was contacted by the LEGO Foundation to function as internal consultant on the LEGO Braille Bricks project, and first met with Stine Storm, where she showed me the Braille bricks for the first time, I had a very emotional experience. While Stine talked about the project and the blind children she had visited and introduced to the LEGO Braille Bricks I got goose bumps all over the body. I just knew that I had to work on this project.

I want to help all blind and visually impaired children in the world dare to dream and see that life has so much in store for them. When, some years ago, I was hit by stress and depression over my blind future, I decided one day that life is too precious for me not to enjoy every second of. I would like to help give blind children the desire to embark on challenges, learn to fail, learn to see life as a playground, where anything can come true if you yourself believe that they can come true. That is my greatest ambition with my participation in the LEGO Braille Bricks project

The bricks themselves are very like the originals, specifically the common 2×4 blocks, except they don’t have the full 8 “studs” (so that’s what they’re called). Instead, they have the letters of the Braille alphabet, which happens to fit comfortably in a 2×3 array of studs, with room left on the bottom to put a visual indicator of the letter or symbol for sighted people.

It’s compatible with ordinary LEGO bricks and of course they can be stacked and attached themselves, though not with quite the same versatility as an ordinary block, since some symbols will have fewer studs. You’ll probably want to keep them separate, since they’re more or less identical unless you inspect them individually.

All told the set, which will be provided for free to institutions serving vision-impaired students, will include about 250 pieces: A-Z (with regional variants), the numerals 0-9, basic operators like + and =, and some “inspiration for teaching and interactive games.” Perhaps some specialty pieces for word games and math toys, that sort of thing.

LEGO was already one of the toys that can be enjoyed equally by sighted and vision-impaired children, but this adds a new layer, or I suppose just re-engineers an existing and proven one, to extend and specialize the decades-old toy for a group that already seems already to have taken to it:

“The children’s level of engagement and their interest in being independent and included on equal terms in society is so evident. I am moved to see the impact this product has on developing blind and visually impaired children’s academic confidence and curiosity already in its infant days,” said Bonde.

Danish, Norwegian, English, and Portuguese blocks are being tested now, with German, Spanish and French on track for later this year. The kit should ship in 2020 — if you think your classroom could use these, get in touch with LEGO right away.

Gadgets – TechCrunch


Six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right in 2019

December 15, 2018 No Comments

Here’s a bold statement: “SEO in the travel industry is immensely challenging.”

The sheer number of pages to manage, complexities of properties, flights, accommodation, availability, occupancy, destinations, not to mention the crazy amount of APIs and databases to make a travel site function, can all make life tricky for an SEO, particularly when it comes to the development queue…

tough development queue

Having said that, there are still common mistakes and missed opportunities out there that have the potential to be really impactful and believe it or not, they don’t actually require a huge amount of resource to put right.

So, here’s a list of the six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right for 2019:

  1. Forgetting about index bloat

There are a LOT of facets and filters when it comes to commercial travel category pages, arguably the most of any industry.

Typically with every facet or filter, be it; availability, location, facilities, amenities nearby, occupancy etc. A URL is created with the associated parameters selected by the user.

If not handled correctly, this can produce thousands of indexable pages that have no unique organic value to users.

This is a problem for a number of reasons:

  • It can be confusing for search engines because they can find it tricky to identify the best and most relevant URL to rank and show users depending on their query
  • It can dilute domain level ranking signals drastically
  • It can cause a huge amount of duplicate content issues
  • It can waste crawl budget which for big travel sites is super important

Combined, this can cause big losses in rankings, traffic and subsequently conversion!

How to identify index bloat

Go to Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) and check your ‘Index Coverage’ report or, in the old version, check ‘Index Status’ to see if you can see any spikes or growth in ‘Total Indexed’ pages. If you notice something like the graph below and it’s not expected, then there may be a problem:

index bloat graph

If you find there is a big increase and you can’t explain why, conduct some ‘Site:’ operator searches and spot check areas of your site where this may be commonplace to see what you can find.

Here’s an example of index bloat from the page speed tool ‘Pingdom’. It seems as though every input a user executes produces an indexable URL:

index bloat example

Once you’ve found a problem like this, review the extent of it with a Screaming Frog crawl. This way you can see how many URLs are affected and distinguish between whether they are actually indexable or not.

For example, there may be a few hundred pages that are indexable but have not yet been found and indexed by Google.

How to fix index bloat:

  • Noindex – Use a page level meta ‘noindex’ directive on the culprit pages
  • Where possible redirect – index bloat can happen as a result of mountains of historical 404 pages too, 301 redirect them into the most appropriate page to consolidate
  • Canonicalisation – apply an absolute canonical tag to the culprit pages to indicate that they are duplicate
  • Pagination – where possible use rel=”next” & rel=”prev” markup to show that pages are part of a series
  • URL parameter tool – By far the easiest but arguably the most risky method is using Google’s parameter handling tool to indicate the purpose of the culprit pages, be careful though, this can cause bigger problems if implemented incorrectly

Expert tip

If any of the above are difficult to get implemented in your dev queue and you don’t trust yourself using the parameter handling tool, you can actually noindex web pages & directories in your robots.txt file. You can actually add lines reading:

Noindex: /directory/

Noindex: /page/

This could save you a lot of time and is fully reversible, so less risky if you have control over your robots file. If you’ve never heard of this, don’t worry it is supported and it does work!

  1. Unemotive meta titles

It’s pretty staggering but in the UK, there’s a lot going on in January for travel — it is certainly the biggest spike in the year for many brands, followed by ‘holiday blues’ peaks after summer.

Here’s the trend of interest over time for the query ‘tenerife holidays’ (a destination famed for its good weather all year round) to show you what I mean:

search trend over time of "tenerife holidays"

January might be a bad time to experiment because of the higher interest but, the rest of the year presents a great opportunity to get creative with your titles.

Why would you?

Simply, keyword heavy titles don’t inspire high click-through rates.

Creative titles entice users into your landing pages, give your brand a personality and increase your click-through rate. This sends strong positive relevancy signals to Google which helps towards highlighting that your website is the best for the initial user query.

Here are a few things you can try with supportive content and commercial landers:

  • Get emotional, people buy holidays on the experiences they anticipate having. Play on that with your titles – how will products/content from this page make the user feel?
  • Where possible use a numbered list to be as descriptive as possible
  • Use strengthening words such as premium, secret, amazing, proven, guaranteed
  • Tie in emotional hooks using words like; fun, adventure, seamless, safe, welcoming, luxury, relaxing
  • Experiment with ‘price from’ and actually quote pricing in the title
  • Switch up your ‘PHP’ generated title tags for property pages and experiment with more descriptive wording and not just PROPERTY NAME | LOCATION | BRAND – but don’t remove any keyword targeting, just improve those titles.

Expert Tip

Write five completely unique title tags for the same page and test each one with a Facebook or PPC ad to see whether they outperform your current iteration in terms of engagement.

  1. Poor merchandising

As previously mentioned, the travel industry experiences peaks and troughs of consumer behavior trend throughout the year which causes the majority intent to switch dramatically across different months in the year.

So, having a deep understanding of what users are actually looking for is really important when merchandising high traffic pages to get the best conversion out of your audience.

In short, gaining an understanding of what works when, is huge.

Here’s some tips to help you make better merchandising decisions:

  • Use last year’s email open rate data – what type of content/product worked?
  • Use Google Search Console to find pages that peaked in organic traffic at different times
  • Involve the social media team to get a better understanding of what your audience is engaging with and why
  • Use Google Trend data to verify your hunches and find clearer answers
  • Use UGC sites such as Quora to find questions users are asking during different months of the year. Use the following site operator and swap out ‘holiday’ for your topic: ‘site:quora.com inurl:holiday’ and then filter by custom date range on your search

Often consumers are exposed to the same offers, destinations and visuals on key landing pages all year round which is such a missed opportunity.

We now live in a world of immediacy and those in the industry know the challenges of users cross-shopping between brands, even those who are brand loyal. This often means that if users can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they will bounce and find a site that serves them the content they are looking for.

For example, there’s an argument for promoting and focusing on media-based content, more so than product, later in the year, to cater to users that are in the ‘consideration’ part of the purchasing funnel.

Expert tip

Use number five in this list to pull even more clues to help inform merchandising

  1. Holding back on the informational market share

I grant you, this is a tall order, travel advice, blogs and guides are a standalone business but, the opportunity for commercial travel sites to compete with the likes of TripAdvisor is massive.

An opportunity estimated from our recent Travel Sector Report at 232,057 monthly clicks from 22,040 keywords and only Thomas Cook is pushing into the top 10.

travel sector graph of number of keywords ranking

Commercial sites that don’t have a huge amount of authority might struggle to rank for informational queries because dedicated travel sites that aren’t directly commercial are usually deemed to provide better/unbiased content for users.

Having said that, you can see clearly from above that it IS possible!

So, here’s what you should do…

…focus on one thing and do it better than anyone else

Sounds pretty straightforward and you’re probably thinking ‘I’ve heard this before’ but, only a handful in the travel industry are actually doing this well.

Often you see the same information from one travel site to the next, average weather, flight times, the location of the country on a map, a little bit of fluff about the history of the destination and then straight into accommodation.

This is fine, it’s useful, but it’s not outstanding.

Let’s take Thomas Cook as an example.

Thomas Cook has built a network of weather pages that provide live forecasts, annual overviews as well as unique insights into when is best to go to different destinations. It even has a tool to shop for holidays by the weather (something very important to Brits) called ‘Where’s Hot When?’

Thomas Cook where's hot when?

The content is relevant, useful, concise, complete, easy to use, contemporary in design and, most importantly, better than anyone else’s.

In short, Thomas Cook is nailing it.

They have focused on weather and haven’t stopped until it’s as best as it can be.

Why did they bother with weather? Well it’s approximately a third of all travel-related informational searches that we found in our keyword set from the Travel Sector Report:

travel sector graph number of searches and ranking

Apply Thomas Cook’s methodology to something that is relevant to your audience, it could be; family attractions, adult only tour guides, Michelin star eateries, international laws families should be concerned about, the list is plentiful!

Find something, nail it.

  1. Ignoring the gold in on-site search

There are some big travel sites out there that don’t have an on-site search function which is a huge missed opportunity. Travel sites are inherently difficult to navigate with such a volume of pages, site search is quite often a great solution for users.

As well as this, it can give marketers some amazing insight into what users are looking for, not just generally in terms of the keywords users might be using but also the queries users are searching on a page by page level.

For example, you could drill down into the differences between queries searched on your homepage vs queries searched on specific landing pages to spot trends in behavior and fix the content gaps from these areas of the site.

You could also use the data to inform merchandising decisions to address number three on this list.

In doing this, users are actually telling you exactly what they are looking for, at what time, whether they are a repeat visitor or a new one and where they’ve come from to visit your site.

If you spend the time, this data is gold!

If you can’t get buy in for this, test the theory with an out of the box search function that plugs straight into your site like searchnode. Try it for six months, you might be surprised at how many users turn to it and you will get some really actionable data out of it.

It’s also super easy to track in Google Analytics and the reports are really straightforward:

1. Go to Admin

google analytics add searchnode search box to your site

2. Click ‘View Settings’

google analytics view settings

3. Switch ‘Site search Tracking’ on

google analytics site search tracking on

4. Strip the letter that appears in your site’s search URL before the search terms e.g. for wordpress this is usually the letter “s”: www.travelsite.co.uk/?s=search-term

5. Click ‘save’, boom you’re done.

Let Google collect data, extract it monthly and dig, dig furiously!

  1. Ignoring custom 404 errors pages

Who doesn’t love a witty 404 page. More and more often you’ll find that when webmasters optimize a 404 error page they make them lighthearted. Here’s a great example from Broadway Travel:

broadway travel 404 error page

There is a reason why webmasters aim for a giggle.

Think about it… when users hit a 404 error page, 100% of the time there’s a problem, which is a big inconvenience when you’re minding your own business and having a browse, so, something to make you laugh goes a long way at keeping you unfrustrated.

Time to name names, and show you some 404 error pages that need some work…

British Airways

british airways 404 page not found

TUI & Firstchoice

TUI and Firstchoice 404 page not found

Expedia

expedia 404 page not found

Momondo

momondo 404 page not found

404 error pages happen over time, it’s totally normal.

It’s also normal to get traffic to your 404 error page. But it’s not just any old traffic, it’s traffic that you’ve worked hard to get hold of.

If, at this point, you’re thinking, ‘my site has recently been audited and internal links to 404 pages have been cleared up’.

Think again!

Users can misspell URLs, ancient external links can point to old pages, the product team can make mistakes, as meticulous as you may be, please don’t discount this one.

Losing quality users because of a bad 404 experience is an SEO’s idea of nails down a chalkboard.

Here are some tips to optimize your 404 pages:

  • Hit them with something witty but don’t be controversial
  • Feature the main site query forms prominently so users can conduct another ‘base’ search
  • Feature a site search option as well – an error page is a perfect opportunity to get users to conduct a site search to give you some insight into what they are looking for (number five on this list)
  • Include curated links to most popular top level pages such as destinations, guides, hotels, deals etc. This will allow users to start from at the top of each section and it will also allow search engines to continue crawling if they hit a 404 page
  • Re-emphasize branding, USPs, value proposition and trust signals to subconsciously remind users of why they’re on your site in the first place

Even if you think your 404 is awesome don’t neglect them when they pop up:

  • Review the 404 page data in Google Analytics behavior flow to find broken links you may not have known about and fix them
  • Keep on top of your 404 pages in Google Search Console and redirect to appropriate pages where necessary

404’s are often the bane of an SEO’s life and you might think about ways to get out of keeping on top of them.

Sadly there aren’t any short cuts….

…Bonus SEO mistake

Creating a global 301 redirect rule for every 404 page and direct them to your homepage.

This is surprisingly common but is poor SEO practice for a number of reasons, firstly you won’t be able to identify where users are having issues on your site when 404 pages pop up.

You may also be redirecting a page that could have originally had content on it that was totally irrelevant to your homepage. It’s likely in this situation that Google will actually override your redirect and classify it as a soft 404, not to mention the links that may have originally pointed to your 404’s.

Save your users, build a 404 page!

Final thoughts

No site is perfect, and although it might appear as though we’re pointing fingers, we want you to be able to overcome any challenges that come with SEO implementation — there’s always a bigger priority but keep your mind open and don’t neglect the small stuff to stay ahead of the game.

The post Six most common travel SEO mistakes to get right in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Most Common Mistakes of Automated Bidding

November 3, 2018 No Comments

By avoiding these mistakes, you’re more likely to succeed when testing new bidding strategies through Google Ads (formerly AdWords).

Read more at PPCHero.com
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7 common SEO mistakes most WordPress bloggers make

October 16, 2018 No Comments

WordPress initially started out as a ‘blog-only’ platform and now that it has extended as a full-fledged Content Management System, it remains a popular blogging platform. WordPress.com blogs have over 409 million monthly viewers who looked at 22.4 billion pages per month this past year.

This standalone fact is enough to justify the popularity of WordPress as people’s favorite blogging platform.  

WordPress does provide a lot of helpful features for blogging enthusiasts who are looking to start their own blogging website. However, inexperienced bloggers do commit some mistakes in spite of all the online help available. In this blog post, we will review the most common SEO WordPress mistakes that bloggers commit out of either ignorance or sheer carelessness. Regardless of the reason, these mistakes affect the search engine ranking of their blogs and even their online reputation. 

So, let’s explore seven of the most common SEO mistakes made by WordPress bloggers. 

1. Not using the right SEO optimized blogging theme 

If you are new to blogging, you might have missed out on the information that WordPress offers SEO optimized themes for your blogs which are highly helpful when it comes to the quest of online rankings. If you are not using an SEO optimized blogging theme, you are obviously a step behind than the others who are relying on them. There are a lot of SEO optimized blogging themes for WordPress that you could choose from such as DiviMagPlusJevelin etc.  

2. Missing on an SEO optimized contact form 

Even if your WordPress blog is in its initial phase, it needs to provide a point of contact to its followers, even if they are less in the count than expected. A contact form serves the purpose just right. Your contact form is a conversion driver and optimizing it for the right SEO keywords will help your visitors easily find your blog, hence amplifying the traffic. 

3. Not buying a domain 

Are you running your free blog using WordPress with the default blog address you were allotted with? If the answer is ‘Yes’, you might not be pleased with what we are about to tell you. A blog or even a website runs well only when it runs as per the need of its target audience. A proper domain name provides an identity to your blog and prepares a path for the visitors to lay their expectations. Not buying a domain can damage the traffic expectations of your blog and kill its overall Search engine ranking. 

4. Not optimizing blog images 

A great blog comes to being only when its relevant content is paired with original and high-quality images. However, a lot of WordPress blog and website owners forget to tap the optimization of these images. It is very important to optimize the images you use in your WordPress blog. It helps your site load faster and even enhances your Google PageSpeed score. 

To optimize your blog images, you can seek help from WordPress image optimization plugins such as Smush ItEWWW Image Optimizer, and TinyPNG. These plugins will help you compress your images without affecting their resolution and also take care of their SEO optimization. 

5. Choosing the wrong keyword 

Your blog’s reachability depends entirely on the Keyword chosen by you for its Search Engine Optimization. Keyword Research might be a very extensive concept but it can do wonders for your blog’s SEO if done in the right manner. 

You have to work on an SEO Keyword strategy for your blog in a manner that you are using  Keywords that define the subject of your content, are low in competition yet are commonly used by visitors for finding the information they are looking for. Finding Keywords that fit the bill for all these requirements can be quite a task and might overwhelm certain users. As demanding they might be, they require your focus or the attention if you are looking to rank your blog well.  

6. Not focusing on loading speed 

Your online blog’s loading time will highly affect the traffic on it and also the site abandonment ratio that follows if your blog takes a lot of time to load for its visitors. A loading time above 2-3 seconds can lead to a lot of visitors abandoning your blog.

If you really are serious about your blog’s loading speed, you must get a Caching plugin for your blogs such as W3 Total CacheWP Fastest Cache or WP Super Cache. These plugins are easy to use and they make your WordPress blog speedy as well. You must also not refrain from investing in a reliable web hosting service because they tackle your blogging website’s server side issues and have their fair share towards your blog’s overall performance and speed.  

7. Not focusing on content and readability 

Probably one of the most important aspects of your blog is the content that you push through it. It needs to be of a top-notch quality when you are looking to commit no SEO mistakes in and around it. Make sure the following things about your blog’s your content: 

  • Create original content that is relevant as per the audience. 
  • Make sure that this content is readable and provides a ‘takeaway’ for the target audience. 
  • Blogging consistently will help you have a stable traffic on your blog. Use plugins like the Editorial Calendar to blog regularly. 

Conclusion

A lot of experienced blog owners do commit technical and onsite SEO errors and then look for SEO agencies and content marketers to take care of their blog’s SEO. However, the most common mistakes can be easily avoided by creating a checklist of the must-haves. 

Analyze your WordPress blog today and see if you are committing any of the mistakes mentioned above. Hopefully, you’ll be able to tackle them and remove them from your blog at the earliest. Once you have a solid SEO content strategy and a perfect plan of action for your blog’s SEO, you will definitely be able to refine and improve the overall SEO performance of your WordPress blog.

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How to make the most of internal linking for higher rankings and improved organic search visibility

September 29, 2018 No Comments

An internal link is a hyperlink pointing to a page within the same domain. Internal linking is crucially important for both website rankings and usability:

  • Internal links allow users to conveniently navigate around the website (i.e. in order to complete a purchase, learn more about a product or read about your business)
  • Internal links allows crawlers discover more of your site pages, even those that have no external backlinks (especially important ones)
  • Internal links are thought* to improve each given page authority (Google puts some emphasis on the signal: The more internal links a page has, the more internal authority it is supposed to have).

*This has never been officially confirmed by Google (unless I missed the announcement) but we’ve seen web pages doing considerably better once we add internal in-links pointing to it, so let’s say this one is an educated theories backed by multiple experiments.

Now, the question is however how to use internal links correctly. Let’s see…

1. Internal Linking Basics and Best Practices

I won’t repeat what Rand said in this Whiteboard Friday video because I agree with most (all?) points. But let me recap:

  • Well-structured navigation is crucial both for user experience and crawling… however
  • In-content internal links (links embedded within meaningful context) seem to carry more weight for rankings
  • Google is believed to give the least importance to footer links
  • Internal anchor text does matter. This has almost been confirmed by a Googler. That said, if you target specific queries for a specific page, use descriptive keyword-focused (but meaningful) keyword links when linking to that page (when that makes sense). However stay away from always using exact-match anchor text, as it may seem unnatural.
  • If there are two internal links to the same page on one page, only top anchor text seems to matter to Google
  • Google seems to like text links more than image links with an alt text
  • Generally, the more in-links a page has, the better its rankings (this is easy to test: Just pick a page on your site and start linking to it consistently. You are likely to see it moving up in SERPs)

2. Analyzing and Evaluating the Internal Link Structure

Surprisingly, given the amount of weight SEOs put on internal linking, there are not many tools that allow you to see internal structure clearly. Yes, there a few powerful crawling solutions including this free one as well as one of my favorite ones Screaming Frog.

But there’s no easy way to analyze how each specific landing page is linked to throughout the site.

Jet Octopus solves that problem by introducing Linking Explorer feature. Crawl your site using Jet Octopus and open the Linking Explorer section (Behind “Explorer” link in the navigation). From there you can provide the URL of your (or your competitor’s) landing page to see how exactly it is linked to from other pages on the site.

I love the section of the report that shows in-linking anchor text. This gives you a great insight:

  • If you are doing enough optimizing your internal anchor text (or if you are over-optimizing things to the point where it looks a bit ridiculous / unnatural)
  • What keywords your competitors want to rank each specific rankings for

Jetoctopus Link Explorer

3. Using Structured Data for Internal Linking

Apart from anchor text, there’s a more beautiful way to signal Google of your internal structure by linking: Schema.org

Some of Schema.org properties have been confirmed by Google as impacting the way they interpret websites (at least the way the page look when listed in SERPs). Others are presumably helping, because, as confirmed by Google, structured data in general helps Google understand websites better and it may even be a ranking factor.

So when using internal linking which Schema.org properties can be implemented?

1. /BreadcrumbList

Google says marking up breadcrumbs using Schema.org is one of the enhancement tools that could positively influence your website’s organic visibility and engagement (i.e. click-through)

  • The markup helps Google understand the website’s hierarchy better
  • /BreadcrumbList markup helps Google generate breadcrumbs-like format of the URL structure which is more appealing and may increase click-through

BreadcrumbList

[Indicate the position of each URL in the site’s hierarchy using BreadcrumbList]

There are a variety of WordPress plugins allowing you to easily implement the markup, including this one.

2. Authorship

Even though Google’s authorship has been discontinued (meaning authors are no longer highlighted in search results), that experiment revealed two things:

That being said, making their life easier never hurts, so marking up internal bio links using Schema.org/author is a smart idea.

3. /ListItem

Another way to stand out is search is getting intro those search carousals. Officially, Google supports list format for the following content types: Recipe, Film, Course, Article. However, as they confirm, this list is ever growing, so marking up your product lists is not a bad idea.

Google Carousels

[Here is an example of a list from a single website shown in a carousel]

4. Reviews!

Reviews get huge SERPs visibility. It’s one of the oldest rich snippets Google has been experimenting with and today Google supports a variety of types, including “including businesses, products, and different creative works such as books or movies. ” Here’s a solid collection of WordPress plugins for each supported type depending on what it is you are doing. All of the plugins in that list are Schema.org-based.

Google recommends using schema.org/URL whenever you want to point them to the page with the full review.

URL

5. More!

Again, whether Google is currently supporting a certain Schema.org type or not, it’s always worth thinking “What else should I do to help them understand your site easier”

Besides, Google has stated it many times that they are working on supporting new and new schema properties including FAQ and HOW-to (just recently). So whenever you are working on creating or editing pages, consider Schema.org properties that make sense there. For example, you can:

  • Point to your About page using schema.org/Organization
  • You can link to your home page using schema.org/copyrightHolder whenever you are publishing a new content asset, etc.

What internal linking tactics are you using to maximize your website’s organic visibility? Please share in the comments!

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