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Research insights: Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost

December 4, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Featured snippets account for a 35.1% share of all clicks.
  • The featured snippet and knowledge panel SERP give a better click-through rate together.
  • Users click on featured snippets that seem “informative”.
  • Users who prefer the regular search results listings don’t click on featured snippets.
  • “People also ask” boxes are an unpopular choice showing the lowest amount of clicks.
  • 24% of users consider a featured snippet as an ‘Ad’ and don’t click on it.

Featured snippets are probably the first thing people see when they perform a search query. Acquiring the position ‘zero’ on the SERPs, the featured snippets dominate the page and immediately capture the attention of the viewer. 

However, does it make an impact on the visitor? Do the featured snippets get more clicks when compared to the top results? How does the audience perceive them?

To answer these questions and more, we at Engine Scout recently conducted a study and analyzed how featured snippets influence searchers’ behavior and overall experience. 

The methodology applied for the featured snippet study

In our study on featured snippets, we collected data from 3552 testers, who were asked to look at four different SERPs with snippets. They were required to make a search on Google related to a specific keyword and make a selection from the results.

To collect an unbiased opinion, featured snippets were not mentioned anywhere in the survey.

There were three choices for the testers to choose from: Ads, featured snippets, and regular result listing.

They were later asked which section they clicked on to estimate the Click-through rate (CTR). 

Featured snippets - sections

What is a featured snippet and how does it boost website traffic?

The featured snippet is a summarized extract from a post that answers the user’s ‘search query‘ most accurately. It is placed above all the Google search result listings, occupying position zero.

This means no matter what your website’s ranking for a certain post if Google chooses a featured snippet from your post, it will appear on the top.

According to Ahrefs, it is 99.58% true that Google will only consider your content for a featured snippet if it is already ranking on Page #1. The other 0.42% pages that Google considers account for their ‘People also ask’ box SERP feature. This feature only receives a total of 6% click shares, for the same reason.

The ‘concise and direct‘ nature of these featured snippets motivates users to click on them. According to our study, they account for 35.1% of all clicks which translates to getting ‘extra traffic‘ to your website. 

Optimizing a post to rank for a featured snippet can be tricky. Any content can be worthy of becoming a ‘Featured-Snippet,’ including a paragraph, a list, table, or even a video.

Try these three quick strategies to win more featured snippets that get clicks to your website.

1. Include direct answers to a search query in a paragraph snippet

Paragraph snippets account for 82% of the total featured snippets.

These snippets give the most relevant response to a query in a paragraph form. They usually also display a pertinent image alongside or above the text.

Here is an example of how Google shows a paragraph snippet when asked about ‘What is SERP?

2. Make the best use of keywords in your paragraph

Attaining the first rank in Google for a keyword requires quite an effort. 

Enriching your optimized content for featured snippets with the right keywords increases your chances of that ‘Position Zero‘ in the SERP.

Try to include question-oriented keywords in your content. People find search results with keywords resonating with their question as “trustworthy” and “informative.” This is the primary reason why they prefer a featured snippet over all other organic results.

Take a close look at your competitor’s featured snippets for some inspiration. Make a list of keywords that have triggered a featured snippet for them, and make your content surrounded by these keywords.

Several online tools can lessen your workload by retrieving information and keywords from the competition’s snippets. You can use them if you find it time-consuming to manually optimize your content for featured snippets.

3. Include a knowledge panel in your content marketing strategy

A box with information relevant to a search query appearing on SERP’s right panel is called a Knowledge Panel

It only appears when the search is about an entity, for example, business, person, or location. The information inside this box lets the reader know about the entity and gives them a way to reach out to it.

Featured snippet alone offers a close competition to the organic listing for the total click share. 

But pages ranking for both the featured snippet and the knowledge panel outperform the organic listings for the CTR. A double featured snippet leaves behind the CTR of organic listings, getting 42.1% of the total click share.

Therefore, it is an added benefit if you strategize your featured snippet to trigger a knowledge panel. 

For reference, check out this post to see how Gennaro Cuofano structured his featured snippet with his Amazon author page reference. Google considered this reference and used it to display a knowledge panel alongside his featured snippet.

The other side of the story

Featured snippets can sometimes work opposite to their intent.

According to our study, 24% of users confuse featured snippets for Ads.

Featured snippets and how people confuse them for an ad

Therefore, merely optimizing content to target the featured snippet doesn’t ensure a high CTR.

Google keeps altering its interface to make the Ad label on the paid search results barely noticeable. 

As featured snippets also acquire the top position on SERPs, it is very natural for someone to get confused and not click them.

According to Dr. Pete Meyers, the Marketing Scientist at Moz:

“The lesson for SEOs is that we can’t just target a feature — we need to understand query intent, what our buyers expect from that feature, and how they perceive that feature.”

Try to make your content look like a straightforward, quick answer to a query with images for references to appear very different from an ad.

Wrap up

Google introduced the featured snippet to make it easy for searchers to find relevant answers quickly. With voice search technology becoming a common search tool for half of the smartphone users,  featured snippets catered to the trend and enabled users to read the answer out loud.

To make Google identify your content worthy to pick snippets from, you have to optimize your content so it’s relevant and appropriate for voice search SEO, so it helps to bring in more traffic to your site. 

Jonathan Gorham is Co-Founder at Engine Scout Digital Marketing. He can be found on LinkedIn.

The post Research insights: Role of featured snippets in website traffic boost appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Simple guide to creating an expert roundup post that drives website traffic

November 28, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Roundup posts are pieces of content in which a list of selected experts give their insights on the same topic, in short descriptions that include their opinions, predictions, or reviews.
  • Creating an expert roundup post for your website or blog can take some preparation and organizing efforts, but it brings undeniable long-term benefits in terms of traffic, authoritativeness, and peer recognition.
  • In the following guide, I will take you through every step of creating an enticing expert roundup post for your website.

Publishing valuable content is a constant challenge when it comes to the formats and topics to cover. As a blogger, digital marketer, or content creator, you already know how much thought goes into offering your audience fresh, engaging content on a regular basis. Readers appreciate formats they are familiar with and can consume easily. A roundup post is an example of a successful approach to topics of interest in your industry.

Roundup posts are pieces of content in which a list of selected experts give their insights on the same topic, in short descriptions that include their opinions, predictions, or reviews.

Creating an expert roundup post for your website or blog can take some preparation and organizing efforts, but it brings undeniable long-term benefits in terms of traffic, authoritativeness, meaningful relationships, and peer recognition. By gathering a group of experts to answer the same question, you will not only generate relevant content for your website but build a strong relationship basis with experts in your industry.

Having a list of selected experts answer a well-placed question gives you a valuable piece of content that is highly shareable, so let’s see what it takes to do it right. In the following guide, I will take you through every step of creating an enticing expert roundup post for your website.

1. Brainstorm potential questions

The first step you need to take after deciding to publish an expert roundup post is to find the perfect question to ask the experts. This will be the key element of your post, and it will dictate whether it will be successful or not.

The perfect question might not be easy to find, but take enough time to find it. Brainstorm as much as you need before you decide who to invite in. All the further efforts of finding influencers and experts could be in vain if the topic you choose does not fit the roundup format, or doesn’t spark interest in your readers’ minds. So I’d recommend you find a question that resonates well with both your readers and experts.

Things to consider when brainstorming

To better understand what kind of questions are fit for a roundup post, you should picture the end result. You want to have your experts give your readers a piece of their own judgment, advice, or insight on a subject that your readers are familiar with. It won’t be a 101, a critical debate, or brain-picking for ultra-specialized information.

Your question needs to be:

  • Easy enough to give your respondents room to elaborate and get ample answers from them without the need for extra-questions.
  • General enough to give you a reasonably long list of influencers, experts, and peers. Go to niche and you might be able to talk to a handful of people about it.
  • Original enough to get your readers curious about the topic, and what experts have to say about it.

What about the topic will you be asking about? Naturally, it has to be specific to your website or niche and what you usually write about. The key is to find a subject that your audience is curious or interested in. Perhaps a trend, or a subject that usually sparks debate or behind-the-scenes type of information that regular posts don’t really get into.

You have the chance to get insights about the latest trends everyone is wondering about, or tips and tricks, good practices that expert peers have discovered through their experience and expertise.

Examples of questions:

  • What’s one piece of advice you’d give to beginner bloggers?
  • What’s one thing you would’ve done differently when starting your blog?
  • What do you think the future of blogging is?

How to get ideas

Easier said than done? If you don’t already have a topic you’ve been pondering about, compile a list of possible questions for your roundup with a little research.

Use tools like the Ahrefs Content Explorer to find trends in your industry, and subjects that seem to attract a lot of readers. You can filter results by their social shares, number, and quality of referring industries so that this tool and similar ones can give you a good idea of what subject should be pursued.

With these things in mind fuel that creative engine and start putting ideas on paper, whether they seem perfect candidates or just potential pursuers. It’s best to have a long list to start from when drafting the winning question for your roundup post.

2. Find talented experts

After finding your question, you should have a good idea about the expertise of your respondents. Assuming that you are active in your industry for a reasonable time, you should already know who the experts in your niche are. You want to compile an extensive list of experts of at least 50+ because not all will reply to your inquiry.

Let’s make a profile for the ideal respondent in your expert roundup post:

  • They are directly related to the industry you are writing about
  • They have a good follower base and an audience that regards them as influencers
  • They have contributed to roundup posts in the past
  • They are continually sharing thought-provoking, original ideas on their social media and on personal or business blogs
  • They have authority in the field: company owners and founders, top positions in companies of the industry, public speakers, success bloggers, and more

A practical, fast way of identifying possible candidates for your roundup post is to check other roundup posts in the industry. Does this approach seem lazy at a first glance? The redundancy of a roundup article doesn’t come from the list of people contributing to it, but from the very topic, you will choose for it.

As long as you are able to provoke your respondents to bring something original to the table, selecting them from other roundup articles is absolutely fine.

Depending on your topic, you might find tens of experts already showing potential for accepting your invitation. But don’t put your eggs in one basket: there are other ways of finding strong, authoritative voices in your niche.

A simple search on social media can give you a good idea of who is interested in the topic you have selected and fits the ideal profile described above. Twitter and Facebook are also great platforms where you can find experts in your industry.

For our roundup post about blogging tips for beginners, we have gathered content from CEOs and founders of content marketing websites, authors, bloggers, and podcasters in digital marketing. They were all able to give us valuable insight into what blogging is like for beginners, and what they should do to thrive.

Web search is another simple solution to putting together your expert list. We were able to find several experts by simply typing in our keyword or phrase onto Google. Find bloggers who have been covering your subject, or similar ones, and dig a bit more in their previous posts, to have an idea of who you’re going to contact.

Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite are other awesome tools to research hot topics and authoritative blogs, as they display real-time data on their referring industries, traffic value, and the number of shares they get for their posts.

3. Find their contact information

Once you have a list of experts, bloggers, and influencers who can give you valuable insight into the subject you want to cover, it’s time to start gathering their contact information.

It’s best to keep a database of their information, on a simple Google or excel sheet with their names, email addresses, URL to their website, the date when you contacted them, and a column where you check if they submitted content or not. You can get a little more advanced by using a CRM or email outreach tool like Mailshake.

Keeping your contact information organized will speed up the preparation process and will help you avoid awkward situations like sending an invitation twice, or forgetting to do a follow-up with them.

Some of the experts you’re trying to reach won’t have a visible email address but you can use tools like Hunter.io to find them by simply entering their first name, last name, and their domain name. It will give you a list of the results it found. Ideally, you would launch your invitation privately, but if you still can’t find their email address, don’t hesitate to send a tweet that mentions your plan or a simple message via the other social media platforms.

Here are more tips on how to find contact information for people who you want to reach, and what good practices you should follow.

4. Reach out to your experts

If it’s the first time you are contacting someone, it’s a good idea to look into the good practices of a cold email. Roundup posts are great for getting quality backlinks, and the persons you will contact are aware of the positive influence their contribution can have on your traffic and domain. But they can’t endorse a website or a blog that doesn’t prove to be valuable on a constant basis.

We can talk about cold email outreach best practices for days on end but that would take too long. What I highly recommend is that you be genuine, polite, and kind when reaching out to your experts. This goes a long way and they’ll be able to tell when someone is being genuine since they receive hundreds of spam emails every day.

I also recommend you personalize each and every one of your emails. Yes, this will take time but you will have a higher conversion rate than if you were to send the same bulk email to everyone.

I don’t have a template to help you get started, but below I have provided a screenshot of an email I sent out to one of the experts that we included in our roundup. Feel free to use it for some inspiration and to help garner some ideas.

Another fantastic way of reaching out to experts is by joining and engaging with them via their live streams. We used this tactic to reach one of our experts who had not replied via email. It worked out, and he gave us some awesome advice while on his live stream.

5. Put it all together

Getting enough contributions from the experts you have contacted is a great achievement in the process of creating a stellar roundup post. But your job is not finished yet. Putting together the content you have just received from your guests is very important, as it will have to be a high-quality presentation that they will gladly share on their channels, therefore getting you some exposure to new audiences.

Things you want to include

  • A headshot
  • Their reply
  • Short bio
  • Social media and website handles
  • And your own comments

As you can see in our roundup post example, each contributor’s section starts with a professional picture of the contributor, the content that they have submitted, finished with our own thoughts on their commentary. We have added easy-to-follow social media icons that take you to their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn profiles, the titles they hold, and links to their main projects: companies they work for, blogs, YouTube channels, and others.

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to follow and engage with our experts via their blogs, businesses, and social media accounts.

While you want to emphasize the value of each contributor, you must also have your reader’s interest in mind, and clearly answer a need or a question your audience has.

6. Promote your post

Promoting your posts should be done in the interest of all your contributors, yourself, and your audience. The effort you have invested in compiling these pieces of content will ideally be rewarded with significant organic traffic, a good number of quality backlinks, and most importantly the start of new and meaningful relationships.

You should also edit the content carefully so that each contributor gets the same level of attention and appreciation. Take your time to thank each one of them for their contribution and don’t hesitate to personalize your message with your personal impression of their content.

Backlinks are certainly welcome, but asking them explicitly might not be appreciated by all the persons you will contact. The best ways of getting your contributors to share the roundup post are to simply ask them if they could share it with their audience.

Infographics, tweets, quotes included in an image, newsletters, and paid ads are all great ideas for getting your content everywhere and promoting it like crazy.

Conclusion: Creating an expert roundup post is totally worth it

Publishing an expert roundup post might not be everyone’s style of content, but for certain industries and domains, it can be a long-term valuable resource, both for your audience and your peers. And, of course, for you.

Keeping your focus on the value your post should bring to your readers will help you choose an enticing topic, ask the right question, and select the right people to answer it. While no one can ignore the advantages a roundup post has for contributors and creators alike, backlinks and traffic should not be your singular concern.

Ultimately, the success of such a compilation is given by the shares, referrals, and traffic you get from your audience. Create a fantastic expert roundup post by asking a question your readers are interested in, and your contributors can easily answer.

Give this type of content the time and effort it needs and it will prove to be a fruitful initiative, both amongst your peers and as a relevant post for your website.

The post Simple guide to creating an expert roundup post that drives website traffic appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


Five quick SEO wins to give your website a boost in search

November 24, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • There are SEO tactics you can apply even without significant expertise.
  • These tactics even the playing field a bit for those who can’t hire a huge team or outsource to an agency.
  • Paying attention to things like images and hosting can give your site a boost.
  • There are simple link building tools that are free and easy to use.
  • Applying these tactics will help you get in the SEO game and give your website a boost in search.

SEO is not easy. In fact, there are around 200 factors that go into determining where your website appears in search results. As such, optimizing your site for search can be a daunting task. Companies hire full teams of SEO experts or outsource the work to agencies to handle the huge workload that can come with executing an effective SEO strategy. Many companies, like yours perhaps, don’t have the resources to do this, however. Fortunately, there are a number of quick wins you can take advantage of to give your website a boost in search.

Try these five tactics to gain some quick SEO wins for your website.

1. Optimize images and visuals

The images and visual elements you place on your site, in articles, on pages, and all around, can be hugely valuable in giving an easy boost to your search rankings.

One example I like to point to is this image on the SE Healthcare website.

Give your website a boost in search - Optimize images and visuals

Image: SE Healthcare infographic ranking in image searches – Source

In working with SE Healthcare on the company’s SEO strategy for a new product launch, we were targeting keywords around the core of physician burnout. Over time, we noticed that this image actually started ranking. It started showing up for tons of searches for “physician burnout solutions” as a result. And those searches went straight to this image in an image search on Google.

Clicks on this result ended up with shares of our infographic appearing on social media as well as a serious lift in our search results for related searches. And we ultimately found that inquiries about related product lines began to rise as well.

So, make sure you’re doing the following to use images to give an easy boost to your search results.

Add visual elements throughout your site

First, adding images, infographics and other visual elements to your site just creates a better experience for users. Any time you can substitute a visual element to explain a concept rather than adding a thousand words of unnecessary text, it can go a long way in connecting with visitors.

Obviously, don’t eliminate text altogether or your SEO will suffer. But, be sure you add images in articles to enhance the articles. Add graphics to explain product features. Add high-quality images of your products. The list goes on, but you get the point. Images add tons of value to your site, and they can also help you rank in search. Google and other search engines love images.

Where to add images

To give you an idea of where you can place images to optimize your site, try the following:

Representative icons – Add representative icons above products and other elements to pull your visitors’ attention.

give your website a boost in search - Where to add images

Image: Icons to represent services – Source

Infographics – Drop infographics into articles and other pages to visually explain concepts and add more value to keep readers on the page and scrolling.

give your website a boost in search - Demo videos

Image: Example of an infographic to add value – Source

Demo Videos – These can really boost your ability to highlight your products by showing rather than telling.

give your website a boost in search with demo videos

Image: Demo video example – Source

Visual Coupon Codes – This is a great way to highlight discounts and entice shoppers on your site to make a purchase. Works great for ecommerce businesses.

Add coupons as a visual element

Image: Visual discount codes – Source

Thumbnail Images – Make sure to add thumbnail images for your posts. These will show up as shown below.

Use thumbnail images

Image: Example of using thumbnail images with posts – Source

Images in Blogs – Placing images through your blog is hugely important. You can use a header image as well as images throughout the post to illustrate important points.

Image: Example of adding a supporting image that expands on the info provided in the text within a blog post – Source

These are just a few ideas of how you can leverage visuals throughout your website to enhance the user experience and give your website a boost in search.

Incorporate videos

Embedding a YouTube video into your articles or your pages can really help boost stats like time on page and lower stats like bounce rate. When these stats head in a positive direction, Google will take notice.

Google loves sites that keep visitors’ attention and keep them on site. A video embedded in the middle of an article can add a minute or more to the time someone spends on your page. And the best part, you don’t even have to create the video.

For example, you could write an article about making Fall décor from egg cartons. Conduct a search on YouTube and find an example of someone doing this, and then embed it in the middle of the article. Not only will visitors read your copy, but they will likely also stop and watch the video, thus keeping them engaged longer.

Insert alt tags

Google is getting better at reading images and determining what they are showing, but the technology still has a way to go. To make sure Google understands the images on your website, you need to place alt tags in each one image upload describing the image. This helps Google determine what the image is showing and whether it relates to a specific search.

Images are super important for helping your site’s SEO performance, so be sure to follow the tips above to benefit.

2. Enhance website security

When you think of cyberattacks, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Whatever answer popped into your head, I bet it didn’t have anything to do with SEO. Many site owners fail to realize the negative impact a cyberattack can have on your site’s search rankings.

Google, however, is paying attention to a variety of reasons. If your website is lacking in security, and Google takes notice, your site could be in serious trouble.

How Google treats cyber attacks

If Google crawls your website and finds it has been hacked, the search engine giant could actually blacklist your website. When this happens, site visitors will see a notice saying something like “This site may have been hacked.” It goes without saying that visitors seeing that notice will likely navigate away from your website and look for answers and solutions elsewhere.

People see this warning and instantly click away, which can seriously damage your site’s stats. Google will undoubtedly take notice, and your site could be demoted. You may not even notice anything until you see a huge drop in traffic or a major rise in your bounce rate and decide to investigate. By that point, the damage will be done, and you’ll be forced to spend tons of time making things right.

There are a number of types of attacks that can hurt your site. Let’s take a look at a couple types of cyberattacks that can have a seriously negative impact on your search rankings.

DDoS attack

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. This type of attack is becoming more and more prevalent. The cybercriminal will send massive amounts of bot-related traffic to your site, which can cause significant downtime.

This significant downtime can cause your search rankings to drop. Even 15-minutes of downtime can be a negative signal to Google, so just imagine what a whole week could do. For this reason, you need to take steps to avoid a DDoS attack in order to prevent a drop in search rankings.

Bad bots

This involves bad bots crawling your site and scraping content or stealing data. Obviously, you want to avoid an instance of data theft. Just think of all the major headlines that have been made in recent years from companies being hacked and customer data being stolen. A lesser-known bad bot is the content scraper. These bots essentially scrape your content and place it elsewhere. This compromises your site’s originality and uniqueness and can lead to your search rankings dropping.

These are just a couple of the types of hacks that can hurt your SEO. There are plenty more to be aware of, so you’ll want to do your homework and make sure your site is prepared.

How to protect your site

Fortunately, there are a number of proactive steps you can take to protect your site to avoid this negative impact on your SEO. Here are a few things you should be doing:

  • Make sure you have HTTPS setup
  • Install a strong firewall
  • Conduct regular testing to uncover potential vulnerabilities
  • Use multi-factor authentication for your website logins and even for email
  • Install a security plugin
  • Update your website regularly
  • Use secure logins and passwords for your team (and update them regularly)

Doing these things can position you to avoid the negative SEO impact of a cyberattack and help you maintain the search rankings you worked so hard to earn.

3. Speed up the hosting

Multiple studies confirm that faster site speed does indeed result in better search results. There are a ton of factors that go into optimizing the speed on your site, but one simple factor that’s super easy to control is your site’s hosting provider.

Many of the technical things you can do to speed up your site take time and often require an expert. Fast hosting, on the other hand, simply involves making the right choice and then working with the hosting providers to get your site up and optimized.

There are a ton of hosting providers that offer hosting for $ 2.99 a month (give or take), but often those are shared hosting, which can be significantly slower. To really get the most out of your hosting and truly experience an increase in site speed, I recommend looking at the following types of hosting providers.

Managed WordPress hosting

I start with this because 38% of websites are built using WordPress. It’s my preferred platform, and for WordPress users, managed WordPress hosting can really help optimize your site and give a boost to your site’s speed. I use a managed WordPress hosting provider for my own website.

Managed WordPress hosting often comes with a higher level of support, enhanced security, and obviously since I’m bringing it up here, faster page load speed.

The cost can range from $ 50 to upwards of $ 200 per month, which makes this an affordable option for small- to mid-sized businesses.

Dedicated hosting

The name speaks for itself. You won’t be sharing this hosting with anyone. It is 100% dedicated to your organization alone, which gives you a huge boost in speed. Unfortunately, this option also comes with a boost in cost.

That said, if you are seeing 100s of thousands of visitors to your site each month, this option is right for you. And if you’re seeing that level of traffic, and your site is optimized for conversions, you can likely afford it.

This option can cost a few thousand dollars, so if you aren’t quite there yet, it may be something to keep in mind for the future.

As you can see from the graphic below from Section.io, site speed can seriously impact the bounce rate of your website, which is why I stress the importance of the impact your hosting provider can have.

give your website a boost in search - Add infographics

Image: Source

If these options aren’t the right fit for you, there are tons of other options. With shared hosting, for example, you can pay a bit more to get faster speeds. And with Cloud hosting, you get the benefit of lower downtime.

Whatever option you choose, make sure you talk to the hosting provider and ask questions about site speed and how their platform will help you boost the performance in this area. A faster site is an easy way to give a boost to your SEO.

4. Simplified link building

Link building takes a lot of time and effort. You need to conduct research upfront, and then the execution part, including the outreach to website owners, can be quite time intensive.

There are, however, a few methods you can use to grab some easy links and start slowly building up your arsenal of links.

Let’s take a look at two specific ways you can do link building effectively while saving some time and effort.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out)

This is a great resource. Help A Reporter Out, known in the industry as HARO, allows you to connect with journalists who are seeking sources for the content they’re creating.

You sign up for an account, and when you receive emails with a list of inquires each day related to the subject matter you select. For example, if you run a marketing agency, you can sign up for the business and finance emails. If you run a healthcare organization, you can sign up for the healthcare list.

Once you’re signed up, you’ll receive emails each day that list out queries from journalists asking for expert sources like yourself to provide your opinion or advice on particular topics. Those emails will look something like this:

 

HARO exmaple

Image: HARO email example

As you can see in the email, you’ll see a one-liner highlighting the subject of the query. If you see something that stands out (a subject you feel you could answer expertly), you can just scroll down through the email and you’ll see the full query.

The full query will have more details about the publication and what, specifically, the writer is looking for. Only answer queries where you truly feel you are an expert.

Once you find something that’s a fit, submit an email to the writer via the email link in the email you were sent. I recommend formatting it something like this:

By using this format, you’ll have a better chance of getting accepted, and when you get accepted, the writer will typically add a link back to your site from your quote.

If you keep an eye on your HARO emails and try to respond to 1-2 queries each day, you will gradually start to get your answers accepted, thus gaining valuable backlinks, sometimes from super high domain authority sites. I’ve personally grabbed links from sites like Content Marketing Institute (80+ DA) and Forbes (80+ DA), among others.

Directory submissions

This is another easy link building win. All you need is the following information, and then you can start creating accounts for various directory sites.

  • Elevator pitch for your business (aka, brief description)
  • Your website’s URL
  • Physical address and contact information
  • Logo or image to accompany your listing

Some sites will allow you to enter more info, but you need to at least be armed with the basics above.

Start with the general sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and of course, Google My Business. Get those sites up, and then dig a bit deeper. Your industry will definitely have industry-specific directory sites, so don’t forget to fill out those as well.

By filling out directory sites, you are gaining links back to your website, but you are also setting up opportunities for your profile on those sites to appear in search when your site itself does not.

These are just a couple of easy ways to start building links. Begin with these tools, and as you start to get on a roll with HARO, and your directory sites are all set up, you can move onto more difficult efforts.

5. Check for broken links

One thing that can hurt your site is having broken links littering your pages. If you post a ton of content, it can be easy for broken links to slip past you.

For example, you link out to external posts to provide supporting information to your blog readers. Over time, the owners of the sites you link to may remove posts, or those pages themselves may become broken.

If you have a ton of broken links throughout your content, this can impact your SEO, and it can create a poor user experience.

Fortunately, there are lots of great tools you can use to check for broken links and then correct them. Here are a few options:

  • SEMRush – This is a paid platform with lots of bells and whistles. There are a ton of great tools included, so if you want to go all-in on SEO, start here.
  • Ahrefs – While Ahrefs has a great paid platform, they also offer a basic broken link checker for free. I highly recommend checking it out.
  • Dead Link Checker – This is another free tool. You just type in your URL and the checker will scan your site and point out any issues with broken links that it finds.

Whatever tool you choose, you’ll want to locate broken links and either update them with links to new, relevant content or unlink them. Doing this can help keep your site clean and give your website a boost in search.

Conclusion

Applying these tactics can help you get a head start on your SEO efforts. While many SEO tactics are very time-intensive and super challenging, these four tactics are a bit easier and can give you some quick wins.

And the best part is that you don’t need to be a seasoned SEO vet to execute these tactics. Anyone can set up a hosting provider, for example. And typically, the hosting provider will move your site over to the new hosting, so all you’ll have to do is provide some login info.

And looking at HARO, connecting with reporters for high-quality publications can be extremely challenging. HARO helps level the playing field and gives you access to reporters in a much easier way.

So, get your team together and figure out the best approach to start applying these tactics. If you stay consistent and focus on the end goal, these tactics can really give your website a boost in search.

Anthony is the Founder of AnthonyGaenzle.com a marketing and business blog. He also serves as the Head of Marketing and Business Development at Granite Creative Group, a full-service marketing firm. He is a storyteller, strategist, and eternal student of marketing and business strategy.

The post Five quick SEO wins to give your website a boost in search appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch


How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO

September 21, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites.
  • An ADA-compliant website helps more people than those covered by ADA.
  • There are many SEO benefits such as increased visibility on google image searches, and featured snippets.
  • Co-founder of Ally digital media, Abhishek Shah says, “Responsive websites help with ADA compliance and further improve your website’s overall search presence.”
  • The four best ways to make your website ADA-compliant with a clear outline of its ADA as well as SEO benefits.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990 does now include mobile apps and websites. Specifically, Title III of the ADA has taken an official stand on how websites should be accessible for disabled users. However, when you look at what’s necessary to make a website ADA-compliant, you will see that these also will help improve your site’s SEO.

Some elements such as title tags, heading structure, alt text, and responsive design are things all websites should include. By ensuring these are done properly and in an ADA-compliant way will maximize your website’s effectiveness.

How ADA accessibility prioritization benefits everyone

Ensuring your website complies with the ADA helps you serve a larger audience and gives a boost to your search engine rankings. This is because most of the necessary components of making your website ADA compliant feed directly into SEO best practices.

After all, the whole point is to make your website easier to view, understand, and navigate. What business doesn’t want all that for their website?

Four ways an ADA-compliant website helps improve your SEO

Here are 4 ADA-compliant must-haves (in no particular order) that will help improve your SEO. This list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a good place to start.

1. Title tags help screen searches and readers

Title tags are very basic SEO. They let the reader, and search engines, know what the page is about. A title tag doesn’t show up on your website. Rather, it appears on the results page of a search engine, and the tab at the top of your web browser.

SEO benefits

Title tags, while basic SEO, are very important. This tag needs to match your user’s intent. For example, when someone googles “best phone” the phrase best phone (or a variation like “best smartphone”) will appear in the title tag.

Writing a title that accurately reflects what the page is about is the best way to get found and clicked on. It’s why a title tag should be specific: “The best Android phones for 2020” is far better than “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

ADA benefits

For those who need screen readers to help them use a computer, a specific title tag such as the above example is much more user-friendly. So, it is vital the title tag accurately reflects the page content.

The accessibility guidelines say the title should be “The best Android phones for 2020” instead of “Why you will want to buy one of these phones.”

2. Descriptive alt text

Alt text is not the same thing as a caption. A caption is visible usually beneath an image. Whereas alt text is not visible on the front end of the site. The alt text is a written alternative to a page’s visual elements. This includes: .jpegs, .pngs, and .gifs. the alt text is a description of an image that lives in the backend of the site.

SEO benefits

Alt text lets search engines know the subject matter of an image. It also helps search engines to better understand the page. Additionally, if you want images to show up in Google, then writing descriptive alt text is a must-have.

ADA benefits

For web users with visual impairment using screen readers, descriptive alt text is read aloud. This helps a visually impaired reader get a better sense of what’s going on, on any given page.

A useful descriptive alt text might be: “woman at café with laptop drinking coffee” 

A useless alt text would be: “SEO tips for freelancers | Get more clients with SEO | Writing your way to success with SEO”

3. Responsive design

Responsive design has been around since 2012/2013 in one form or another. But it means more than just your website being able to adapt to whichever screen size it finds itself on.

It’s about where your logo sits, how easy is your site to navigate, how easy is it to read, and how quickly does it load?

SEO benefits

Websites that offer good, functional user experience rank better in search results. User experience isn’t just one ranking factor but an umbrella term for quite a few. Google has said that a site that takes longer than three seconds to load on a mobile site will rank higher.

How easy content is to read (and how useful it is) is also an important ranking factor.

ADA benefits

Good responsive design puts the user first. It starts from the premise that a website needs to be easy to look at, easy to navigate, and be easy to understand.

This is why you need legible text for the visually impaired. As well as quick load times for people with slow internet. And straightforward navigation to make it easy for people to get around your website.

4. Proper heading (and subheading) structure

Headings (which show up in the code as <h1> or <h2> or <h3> etc.) define your content’s hierarchy. These headings (and subheadings) work along similar lines to when you wrote essays in school.

Proper heading structure:

  • Goes in order: a h3 doesn’t go directly after a h1.
  • Describes the copy beneath it.
  • Follows a sequence: if your h2 is “4 ways…” then the h3s would be each of those points.

SEO benefits

When your writing is clearly structured it is easier to read, and easier to follow. It’s also easier for Google to crawl your content and understand what is the most important (starting with h1, and so on).

Good header structure can also your content appear in the featured snippets in the search engine results page (SERPs).

ADA benefits

For users who have limited reading comprehension or cognitive impairments, clear and direct headings make it easier to read. Headings and subheadings let a reader know what’s worth reading and what’s worth skipping over.

And just like a reader skips heading, so too can a screen reader. Which only reinforces the need for a strong, clear heading structure.

An example of a website that has both good SEO and is ADA compliant is Enviro Safety Products. When you review this site you will see it ticks all the boxes, and provides the user a seamless, friendly experience.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA-compliant) - Example

Source: Enviro Safety Products

How making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO

By applying all the necessary ADA compliant elements to your website, you are helping the one in four Americans with a disability use your website. Additionally, you will also greatly enhance your website’s SEO.

If you would like to know more about how making your website ADA compliant will help you win at SEO, you can throw questions in the comments section below.

Abhishek Shah is the co-founder of Ally Digital Media, a leading voice in digital media and marketing. He advocates for evidence-based marketing strategies to fuel the businesses. He can be found on Twitter @abiishek.

The post How to make your website ADA-compliant and win at SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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How To Navigate Google Optimize – A Free Website Optimization Tool

July 16, 2020 No Comments

This post explains basic navigation, features, and setting up tests in Google Optimize, a free website optimization tool.

Read more at PPCHero.com
PPC Hero


10 Advanced SEO tactics to drive more traffic to your website

June 9, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • SEO has evolved to cover a wide range of efforts that contribute to traffic generation. 
  • The easiest way to improve search visibility is to have an arsenal of tactics at your disposal for creating a top-ranking page. 
  • Improving the quality of content and backlinks are prime ranking factors that influence the placement of a page in a search result and can be done in a variety of ways. 
  • Founder of Digital Ducats Inc, shares in detail 10 different advanced SEO tactics to drive traffic by improving the quality of the content you’re publishing for users.

Learn how to drive more traffic to your website and you will have learned how to ensure the growth of your business. Driving more relevant traffic is the overarching goal of every website owner that wants to increase revenue. 

The success of your website relies on the volume of relevant traffic that you’re able to generate on a regular basis. Here are 10 advanced SEO tactics to increase the traffic to your website on a regular basis. 

1. Increase content production

Did you know websites that publish SEO optimized blog posts two-to-four times a week produce the highest number of leads and conversions? Increasing your content production allows your website to expand the range of keywords it targets and provides more answers to the questions people are searching for. 

The frequency of the content you create should align with the goal you’ve created in your overall content strategy. Neil Patel had the goal of increasing his page views to hit 100k. 

When he was publishing once a week his views were at 46k page views. After increasing his content production to twice a week he was able to hit 100k page views in under a year. 

Don’t mistake frequency as the only factor that will improve your website traffic. Learn how to write articles for marketing to build trust and accumulate backlinks.  

Aim to publish informative articles and provide value to your audience. According to Conductor, even a week after reading educational content, people are 48% more likely to buy from the company that educated them. 

Pumping out low-quality blog posts that lack quality will eventually hurt your website. Publish content with the intention of providing solutions to problems and relevant questions. 

2. Cluster your content to drive more traffic

A web page ranking is highly influenced by the topical relevance of the page to a search query. Google favours sites that demonstrate Expertise, Authority & Trust (E.A.T.). This makes establishing topic clusters using pillar page best practices ideal for driving more traffic. 

A topic cluster consists of pillared content (central keyword theme) and clustered content (articles with a narrow focus).  

The pillar pages are typically long-form and cover a broad keyword topic. Pillar pages link to clustered content to go deeper into detail about more specific topics that share the central keyword theme. 

The clustered content links back to the pillar page, lifting the authority of the pillar page which highlights its importance. Clustered content will also link to other clustered content on relevant topics. 

SEO advanced tactics: Pillar page topic cluster

This internal linking strategy strengthens the topical relevance of your pages and contributes to improved ranking, increased traffic and higher click-through rates. 

Tips for creating effective topic clusters

  • Select well-researched keywords to create the most effective topic clusters. Target long-tail keywords in your clustered content to lower competition and drive traffic that is a better match to your website.  
  • Publish 10X content that solves a specific problem to rank highly and be the best solution in a search result. 
  • Perform a content audit to make sure you use existing content to target keywords in your cluster and avoid keyword cannibalization. 

3. Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets appear for just about every question that is searched on Google. Drive more traffic using pages on your site that already rank on the first page of Google.  

According to a study by Ahrefs, if your site is featured in the snippet (also referred to as position zero) it adds an additional 8.6% of the available traffic to your site. 

Identify every keyword that your site ranks for on the first page. You can use Moz, SEMRush, or Ahrefs or any keyword-tracking tool to get a list of your first page appearances. 

Keep in mind that with the new format, if your site is in the number one position, there is some debate on which position is more valuable in terms of traffic. 

Tips to win position zero

  • Duplicate the current snippet’s optimization. 
  • If there’s a paragraph answer, provide a paragraph answer immediately after your featured snippet heading. The sweet spot is between 40-60 words. 
  • If there’s a list featured, use the HTML for an ordered list 
  • Use title tags for the question or title that represents the snippet. 
  • Use title tags for subtitle headings that Google could possibly use as a list. 

4. Add FAQ structured data markup to performing pages 

Google introduced FAQ structured data markup that shows up as a rich result. You can use FAQ schema to increase the click-through rate that your page receives. The rich result displays each of the questions you have listed in an interactive drop-down styled format.

SEO advanced tactics: FAQ Schema

This can be useful to sites for increasing the click-through rate because of the extra space that is being taken up by the SERP result. 

You can use the following markup found on Google’s developer reference page to make your FAQs eligible to show up as a rich result.  

You can also test the markup to make sure it works: 

FAQ schema code test

Tip for adding FAQ schema 

If you’re using Yoast, it has a feature specifically for adding these to your content. It can save you the time of cutting and pasting code to your content. 

  • Target the PAA box by publishing a FAQ page: The PAA box (People Also Ask) requires similar optimization to the featured snippet. The PAA box can drive additional traffic when users click through to your site. Increase the likelihood of being featured by publishing a Frequently Asked Questions page. 
  • Research commonly asked questions: Research the questions that are appearing in the top 3 or 4 spots in the PAA box. Click on any relevant questions that you will use on your FAQ page. Every time you click a question you should get another three or four questions that are added to the bottom of the box.  
  • Optimize your answers: The first paragraph answer you provide should be roughly 50 words in length. Use the Inverted Pyramid style of writing to improve the likelihood of your answer being selected. Give people what they need to know in the first paragraph and what is nice to know afterwards

Advanced SEO tactics: Inverted pyramid

Tips for driving more traffic from the PAA box 

  • Never use one-sentence answers as responses. Make each response to a question detailed enough to be a complete answer.  
  • Provide links to relevant content within your site to promote a higher CTR. 
  • Enhance optimization with jump links at the top of the page. Not only does this improve the UX (user experience) but it also helps search engines locate specific content on your page. 

How to create a jump link

The HTML of a jump link can be implemented using the following code: 

Choose a name to use as the link ID. In this example, the link ID is “jump”. Use the following HTML code to add the link to your questions at the top of your page: 

<a id=”jump”>Question and answer you want to jump to</a> 

Next, you will need to place the code for the linked target before the beginning of your answer in order to take users directly to that spot on your page: 

The HTML code for the linked target is: <a id=”jump”></a> 

Alternatively, you can insert the answer within the code as the linked target: 

<a id=”jump”>ANSWER</a>

5. Repurpose top-performing content

Use the top-performing pages on your site to create new variations of the same content. By creating a new version of popular content you’re guaranteed to spark interest and encourage more traffic. 

Identify the pages that receive the most traffic on your site. You can do this by checking Google Analytics. On the left navigation panel, click on the following: Behaviour > Site Content > Pages. 

Analytics navigation

The report will give you a break down of the volume of page views and the time spent on the most popular pages.  

Select the period of time you want to compare pages (six months to a year).  

Make your decision based on the pages that attracted the most clicks and that people spent the most time on. 

You can take any blog article and create an infographic, video or slide presentation in order to mix things up.  

Use your new multimedia such as a video or slide presentation to post to external sites and social media to generate new streams of traffic. 

6. Guest post on healthy relevant websites

Backlinks fuel the ranking ability of your content. Good content attracts backlinks, however, if you don’t want to wait around for links to appear, you need to take action. 

Use guest posting as a strategy to build links to internal pages on your site to create more entry points for visitors to find your content (referral traffic). 

Building links from high traffic websites earn streams of targeted traffic as well as a boost in authority and credibility by linking to your content. 

The links you receive from guest posting are contextual, which is considered the best type of link. Include links to relevant content on your site within the article to provide your reader with a reference that enhances their experience.  

Tips for guest posting

  • The most ideal sites to guest post on are healthy, authoritative and have high subscribership for referral traffic. 
  • Topical relevance is key in providing the most impact on links you point to your site. Link to content that enhances the user experience. 
  • Create alliances with authors or websites to scale up your efforts. If you include a link in your content to a partner’s site, and they do the same for you-your efforts are doubled with every article you publish. 

7. Build your local presence

Drive more local traffic by brushing up on the essentials of local SEO. Ask clients for reviews, keep your NAP details consistent and your GMB profile updated and accurate. One of the most powerful tactics that will help surface your website in localized searches is acquiring local backlinks.

Apart from the common places to link from, such as structured citations (directories, review sites, profile links, etc.) aim for unstructured citations on local business blogs.  

12 Web Design Trends by Toronto Experts is an example of an infographic that was used in a local outreach campaign. This local SEO strategy combined an expert round-up with an infographic to result in a 63.64% increase in traffic to local landing pages. 

Add the fact that infographics generate 172% more backlinks than your typical blog post, and there’s a pretty convincing argument to incorporate them into your local link building strategy.   

8. Become an expert on Quora

Quora is a site that gets over 300 million unique visitors every single month. There are loads of questions that are asked on a daily basis that fall into your area of expertise. If you consistently answer a few questions a day, you can build a reputation that ultimately leads to referral traffic. 

All links on Quora are no-followed but you can still leverage the opportunity to send people to your site with high quality, in-depth answers. The idea is to go above and beyond the quality of a standard response to get your answer upvoted. 

The answer with the most upvotes will float to the top of the answers. This means when other people search the question, your answer will be the first one they see.  

If it’s really good, it should also be the last one they see. 

9. Use the Barnacle SEO method

Where you can take your traffic generation to another level is to combine Quora’s traffic with the traffic from Google search. There are literally hundreds of thousands of questions that Quora ranks for on the first page of Google.  

Not only can your answer receive thousands of views from Quora, but you’ll also get users to find your answer on Google as well.  

You can use tools like SEMRush to get a list of the keywords Quora ranks for and filter the results to search for your keywords in the top ten organic results.

SEMRush Quora keywords

Tips for getting more referral traffic from Quora 

  • When choosing questions to answer, look for the ones that already have a high number of followers. The number of followers on each question will mean they will be notified every time the question receives a new response. Choose questions with a minimum of 15 followers to guarantee a decent-sized audience as a long-term strategy. 
  • Optimize your profile by including a detailed bio with a link to your website. When users read the answers you’ve provided, they will want to know more about you. Don’t disappoint them by leaving a blank bio with no way of getting to your site. 
  • Too many self-promotional calls to action may put your account at risk. Users get suspended and even banned from Quora for leaving affiliate links or too many links that lead people off-site.  

10. Invite guest authors 

Inviting authors to write an article on your site is a great way to spice up your content with a fresh perspective. Publishing articles from guest authors contribute to increased content production, attract a new audience and backlinks. 

Increased focus on topic coverage

Your content production increases with submissions from guest authors. This can allow you to focus more on the topics your blog is covering and the keywords you’re targeting. The added depth to your content production will contribute to an increase in traffic. 

Attract a new audience

Authors who are publishing regularly share their content with their network. This brings a whole new audience to your site.

Most authors share their published work with their social network or even on their own website. This can be worth a nice addition of new visitors if you have a contributing author with a large network. 

Acquire more backlinks

It’s common practice for a regular blogger to reference a previously published article with a link. If your contributors are publishing regularly on other sites you should inevitably acquire a few links you wouldn’t have received otherwise. 

Create a “write for us” page

Create a page on your site that invites authors to contribute. Use “write for us” in the URL and title. Guest bloggers use that phrase to find sites to contribute articles.  

Define your requirements for posting on your blog to give contributors an idea of what is expected to get an article approved. 

Recruit your writers

Reach out to writers that are regularly publishing content in your niche. Whenever you read a good article on a topic that’s relevant to your site, make the connection and invite them to write for you. Most authors leave a link to their site or social media or website so it isn’t too difficult to make contact. 

Explore, experiment and do what works for you

There are so many ways to drive traffic to a site that it’s worth exploring new options and experimenting with new tactics to see what works for you. 

Whichever advanced SEO strategy you use, make sure you give it a fair shot by seeing the process the whole way through. 

Thre’s a learning curve to every new tactic but you’ll learn the most through personal, hands-on experience. Whenever something works, stick with it and scale-up. You now possess the knowledge of using 10 different strategies to drive more traffic to your website.  

Choose wisely and drive safely. 🙂

Christian Carere is an SEO consultant and the founder of Digital Ducats Inc. He can be found on Twitter @DigitalDucats.

The post 10 Advanced SEO tactics to drive more traffic to your website appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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10 Silent killers that affect your website speed

March 17, 2020 No Comments

Time is the most valuable asset. Nothing is more frustrating than slow page loading. A slow website kills conversions and impacts search rankings. Google stated that it is important to consider website speed when determining search rankings.

Here are some interesting website load statistics:

  • An Akamai study showed that 47% of customers expect websites to load in a few seconds or less.
  • One second delay on Amazon could cost $ 1.6 billion on sales every year.
  • According to Pingdom, 78% of the top 100 retail websites take under three seconds to load.
  • One second delay on your page load results in a seven percent reduction in conversions.
  • The average load time on the desktop is 1.286 and 2.594 seconds on mobile.

Optimizing your website’s speed is not a necessity, but a must-have, especially if you want to beat out the slower competition. Once you notice that your site is loading more than three seconds, it’s time to figure out things that can slow down your website speed and improve the overall performance.

Let’s discover lesser-known causes of website slowdown and find the best solutions to deal with each one.

 1. Caching issues

Browser caching is very important for repeat visitors. Every time users come to your website for the first time, their browser stores all the files like images, CSS, and Java files for a specified period. The next time the visitors come back to the web page, browser caching allows these stored files to be served quickly upon the user’s next visit.

Reducing the number of round-trips results in faster page load times and improve user experience. Caching can definitely help you speed your website, but it’s not without its issues. If you don’t set up caching properly, it can hurt user interaction. It’s essential to develop a solid caching strategy to maintain strong user experiences.

If you don’t use WordPress, you can add the Cache-Control and Entity tags (ETags) headers to HTTP response headers. ETags are used to validate whether the client has the recent version of a record. While Cache-control is used to define browser caching policies in client and server responses. As a result, these headers help you reduce the need for visitors to download the same files from the server twice and reduce the number of HPPT requests.

If your website is running on WordPress, you can use cache plugins for better performance. WP Rocket is a great premium cache plugin that includes a lot of extra features like lazy loading, database cleanup, CDN integrations, and many more. You don’t have any technical skills to set it up to have faster websites.

2. Overloaded database

An overloaded database can be a silent killer when it comes to website performance. One of the pitfalls with WordPress websites is that your database is overloaded with multiple post revisions, deactivated plugins, saved drafts, and others. Trackbacks and pingbacks don’t have any practical use in WordPress. Ensure to disable both of them because they clog up your database and increase the number of requests.

Make sure to delete other garbage files like spam and trash folders, transients, and database tables that can also slow down your website. As I mentioned above, WP Rocket is one of the easiest ways to schedule and clean up these files every week. You can optimize your database using the ‘Database’ tab.

database overload that slows the website speed

Source: Screenshot made by the author 

Using WP Rocket, you can also schedule an automatic database cleanup.

3. Outdated CMS

Running an outdated version of your CMS can slow down your website and cause different security vulnerabilities. Most CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal let you know once any update is available. Having the latest versions of plugins and any software will result in faster load times.

In case you haven’t still updated your CMS or don’t get any notice, run a regular page speed test on different pages of your website to find out whether the latest updates or versions of the software are compatible with your web hosting or available fixes that can improve the overall performance of your website by making them faster to load.

4. Excessive usage of social media scripts

Social media has become a crucial part of every website. No matter how large your website is, you still need to connect social media to your site and make it easier for users to share your posts. The excessive usage of social media scripts and plugins can kill your site’s performance.

Limit the number of social media plugins and scripts that you don’t use at all and find alternate ways to schedule and automate your social media tasks. Zapier is a great website service that can help you automate these tasks and reduce the burden on server resources and your website.

When it comes to sharing options at the end of each post, it’s a great way to easily share your publications, but these options can add a lot of load to your website. Try not to use them at every single page of your website and include only the essentials.

5. The use of chatbots

Chatbots are great for handling customer inquiries. According to Salesforce, 69% of customers want to use chatbots to speed up their communication with a brand. But there are two sides to the coin. Chatbots can hurt your website speed in case the script isn’t implemented properly and can take your website longer to load.

It’s important to ensure that your chatbot is loading asynchronously. I mean when your chatbot performs any action on your website like initiating a conversation with a customer or sending pings, this action should be routed by external servers. So, make sure to use the right code that enables this action. Check whether there is any problem with a chatbot script using Google’s PageSpeed Tools.

For easier set-up and simple communication, you can use an out-of-the-box solution like Tidio that doesn’t require any coding skills and takes only a moment to create a chatbot. The best thing is the ability to communicate with customers in one simple dashboard. The tool also integrates with different third-party apps to provide better customer service.

usage of chatbots that slows the website speed

Source: Screenshot by Tidio

6. Broken links

Broken links are not only a pain for website visitors but a real drain on bandwidth. I’ve recently made a detailed analysis of one of my clients and have detected a lot of 404 errors in Google Webmaster Tools. Once I’ve fixed them, the average load time per user boosted from seven seconds to two seconds, and there was a huge decrease in bounce rate.

So, if you have many broken links on your website, you are just wasting resources. Moreover, they can hurt user behavior metrics and negatively affect your rankings. To detect broken links, I would recommend getting audit reports with the SE Ranking Website Audit. The tool sorts all your web pages by status code to view which ones are 404.

Source: Screenshot by SE Ranking

One of its major benefits is the ability to go deeper than others and find out crawl errors that other tools don’t. Once you get these broken links, you can fix or remove them for good.

7. Render-blocking JavaScript

Every time your website loads in the browser, it sends out calls to every script in a queue. That queue of these scripts should be empty before the website appears in the browser. If this queue is very long, it can slow down your web pages without allowing visitors to fully view the site. These kinds of script queues are called the render-blocking JavaScript and CSS files.

To make your web pages load faster, Google recommends eliminating render-blocking scripts. Before removing them, identify which scripts cause problems using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. 

Most website owners use different traffic and conversion analytics platforms to analyze and measure any type of traffic and conversions with one click. Most of them are installed by using JavaScript code that can slow down your website. The best way to track different events is to use Finteza whose main tracking script (downloaded from the Finteza server) doesn’t impact website performance and can be embedded into the page asynchronously.

Source: Screenshot by Finteza

8. Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)

Everyone knows that Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google project created to speed up web pages on mobile devices by adding an “AMP” stamp next to your mobile snippets. While the idea of having a fast mobile website with content sounds like a great idea, there are some challenges when it comes to AMP.

While creating AMP improves website performance, it removes all of the dynamic features that slow down websites. In other words, it changes the design of your website and provides less functionality for your visitors that can result in reducing conversions. According to this case study, Kinsta saw their mobile leads drop by 59% after adding AMP, so they disabled it.

So, use AMP carefully as it can lower your mobile conversions. If you still want to use them, do it properly (more instructions here). Make sure to validate AMP for Google Search and fix any possible issues.

9. Gravatars

While Gravatars offer convenience and easy customization to your user base, there is one drawback, speed. This is not really visible on smaller websites, but if you have a large website with a lot of blog comments, you will notice much of a slowdown. You have some options to fix that:

  • Disable Gravatars in WordPress
  • Remove comments that don’t have value
  • Use caching Gravatars like Harrys or Optimum Gravatar Cache
  • Reduce your Gravatar image sizes
  • Paginate comments in WP Disable

10. Invalid HTML and CSS

If you stop using invalid HTML and CSS codes, that will increase the rendering time of web pages and the overall site performance. Make sure to create HTML and CSS that aligns with the W3C standards if you want browsers to interpret your site more consistently.

Check your HTML through the W3C HTML Validator and CSS through the W3C CSS validator. One of the options is to validate HTML with the Grunt HTML validation package and Stylelint.

Bottom line

A slow-loading website is something that will turn your customers away before they can visit your website. To keep your site running well and loading fast, you need to focus on these web performance killers and do the best to prevent these issues and make your site more efficient.

Irina Weber is Brand Manager at SE Ranking. She can be found on Twitter @irinaweber048.

The post 10 Silent killers that affect your website speed appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Understanding & Addressing Concerns of Your Website Users

February 4, 2020 No Comments

If the goal of conversion rate optimization (CRO) is to alter users’ behavior, we need to first understand how they currently behave and what’s preventing them from taking that desired action.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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How to improve your website ranking in 2020

January 10, 2020 No Comments

There are factors that influence website ranking in search engines. Considering these factors determines how a website is ranked in search engines.

Many people wonder how the major search engines rank websites to determine which websites are the best for keyword searches. This is particularly something that people who are just starting into online marketing find perplexing. The answer to how to improve the ranking of a website through search engine optimization (SEO) methods is not always definite, but there are several known factors that have been known to significantly influence the ranking of websites.

Among the most significant factors that increase search engine optimization and influence the ranking of websites in major search engines to include a website’s content, a website’s architecture and a website’s link popularity. Even as the search engine innovations continue to advance, these have remained key factors to search engine optimization and determination of the websites that are best suited for keyword searches.

The website’s content

The old saying, “Content is king” can never be overemphasized. A website’s content is no doubt the number one factor that determines a website’s ranking by search engines. In fact, search engines are constantly developing new technologies to reward quality content on the web. The higher the quality of content on a website, the higher the website will be ranked by search engines. In turn, the high ranking of a website is a definite mark of approval that a website is relevant for particular keyword searches.

Among the things in a website’s content that are considered by search engines when evaluating the relevance of websites for keyword searches include the headers and page titles in websites, formatted texts, and links in a website, URLs of websites and page content in websites. These things help search engines establish websites that deserve high ranking for keyword searches. Therefore, for a website to be ranked highly through search engine optimization, it is very important that it maintains a good balance of these aspects of the content because they affect the ranking of websites in varying proportions.

More on the website’s content

The correct balance of keywords on a website’s page should generally be between four to five percent within the content of a website. This helps increase the odds of a website being ranked highly for keyword searches. Added to this, if the keyword is included in the URL of a website, a website’s page title and a website’s header the website increases its chances for favorable ranking by search engines. Different from earlier technologies where search engines only looked at the tags that indicated the description of a web page, today the search engine technology used by major search engines goes beyond the mega tags to look more keenly at the website’s content appropriateness for keyword searches.

The originality of a website’s content is therefore paramount to establishing and maintaining a favorable ranking of a website for keyword searches. To farther improve the chances of a website’s ranking in search engine searches, bolding the keywords can sometimes help. This indicates that a website is properly maintained, which goes a long way into convincing search engines that a website is good for keyword searches.

Website’s videos and SERP rankings

One of the reasons videos are nowadays a privileged form of content is because they are very well when it comes to delivering large amounts of information in a short/concise manner. A picture is worth a thousand words, we all know that and following that logic, we can communicate about 1.8 million words in a minute-long video which is around 3 600 pages of text.

From the standpoint of SEO, this is a big deal. The longer your visitor’s “dwell time” or session is, the greater your chances at getting search engines like Google to see your video’s value and the trustworthiness of the webpage it’s hosted on – and, ultimately, give the page a higher rank.

In addition to providing Google with textual information about your video, it needs to have an attractive thumbnail too.

in a recent e-mail interview, Natalia Hudyakova Simonenko, a Digital Marketing expert and CEO of Movavi, said,

“With regard to the SERP click-through rate, the thumbnail is even more important, since we, as humans, are naturally drawn toward catchy and beautiful images.”

Website’s architecture

The architecture of a website should ensure that the content of the website is not just appropriate, but that the content is easy to read. This is the number one reason why the architecture of a website should be maintained properly to ensure search engine optimization to a website’s content. In other words, the website’s architecture should have well-formed codes that make it easy for search engines to read the content of a site. Failure of the codes being well coded can lead to search engines totally missing a website’s content, which means poor ranking by search engines.

Therefore, websites should forego the old content management systems and use the newer, more improved encoding systems that use URL rewriting technologies. The new content management technologies make a website’s content easily readable by major search engines. This makes the website more visible by search engines. Moreover, making a website easily readable by people with disabilities also improves the chances of a website being ranked highly in major search engines.

Website’s link popularity

Needless to say, the popularity of a website is a good indication of how relevant a website is for keyword searches. A website that has high traffic suggests that the website contains relevant information for particular keywords. Because of this, the popularity of a website is used by search engines as a criterion for determining the relevance of a website for keyword searches. Google and Yahoo are an example of two major search engines that particularly use this criterion to rank websites.

Many search engines also use inbound links of websites on other websites to determine the popularity of a website. When a reference or link to a website is made within another website, search engines consider this a “vote of confidence” for the referred website.

This becomes an indication that the referred link is relevant for a particular keyword search. As a result, many such inbound references to a website are used to some degree by search engines to determine the ranking of a website.

These factors are obviously not the only SEO factors that determine the ranking of a website, but they are certainly among the well-known factors that significantly influence the ranking of the website by major search engines. Therefore, by considering these factors people stand the best chance of considerably optimizing the ranking of their website.

Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, and inbound marketing consultant.

The post How to improve your website ranking in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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Six tools to quickly check website SEO

December 17, 2019 No Comments

Any digital marketer knows that SEO becomes more important than ever before. With the advent of new trends (for example, voice search, mobile-first indexing, AI revolution), you need to take control of your website SEO performance from the very beginning and fix any possible issues to stay afloat today. 

But the big problem is that many digital marketers know a lot about SEO, but they don’t have a clear picture of their website SEO. According to this report, 61% of marketers continue checking and improving their SEO performance and organic presence as their top marketing priority. So, if you want to fit into this 61%, it is high time to take SEO seriously and start tracking your progress.

As a savvy marketer, you want to complete more SEO tasks in less time. Whether it’s tracking your rankings or checking how well your web pages are optimized for certain search queries, SEO tools can be a real lifesaver for any marketer.

Fortunately, there are many useful tools available online that help to see your own website the way that Google looks at it and identify the areas that need some improvement. 

I hope that these six tools will make your job so much easier to stay ahead of your competition. 

1. Check the site load time

Many website owners often underestimate the importance of this parameter or even aren’t aware of it. According to Google researches, the probability of a visitor leaving a website enhances by 90% after 5 seconds after page load. After 6 seconds, bounce likelihood increases by 106%

For small businesses, if your website is slow, then your SEO is going to be poor. This means that you can meet different problems, including Google Rankings drops, high bounce rates, and low sales results. 

For big companies like eBay or Walmart, quality content and interesting offers are not quite enough. Time means billions of dollars per second. For example, Amazon pointed out that it could lose $ 1.6 billion in sales each year due to a page load slowdown of just once second.

Slow site speed impacts your website rankings and requires to make improvements for SEO. In November 2019, Finteza analyzed the waiting time of 850 million users who scrolled 12 billion total pages. Here are some interesting research findings:

Finteza report on global page load speed research - website seo

To identify your website loading speed, you can use Finteza to find out real results. It shows how long it takes for your users to access all web page features, how quickly they can download your content, what type of resources slow down your webpages the most, and how your website loads on various devices and in various counties.

The tool provides real analytical data and reliable diagnostics. It allows you to detect any possible issues and fix them at any time. 

2. Track keyword rankings for certain keyword phrases

It’s essential to know how each of your web pages is performing based on keyword phrases to help you increase more traffic. Finding the right keywords, making sure to thoroughly respond to the search query and satisfy the user intent is the best way to long-term SEO success.

Once you know your keyword rankings, you can determine whether you’re on the right track. One of the quickest ways to check the page ranking for a specific keyword is to look in SE Ranking. The software offers different toolkits, one of which is a keyword rank tracker. 

The tool allows seeing for what keywords your website page is ranking, keywords’ monthly search volume, KEI, traffic forecast, and visibility rating. You can also compare your page performance to competition, find more profitable keywords, monitor quality backlinks, and get the most out of similar on-page website SEO opportunities. 

Together with global rankings, SE Ranking monitors Google SERP features, Map results, and Google Ads positions for different locations and devices. 

Quality backlinks report to check website SEO

3. Check the mobile-friendliness

In the age of the mobile-first index, mobile-friendliness is a must, not a want.  It’s no surprise that mobile users take up the majority share of online users. According to this research, 72.6% of users will access the internet using their mobile devices by 2025, equivalent to almost 3.7 billion people.

It’s important to optimize your website for mobile users as Google still considers mobile-friendliness as one of the most significant ranking factors. Designing for mobile users, make sure to avoid long-scrolls, take into account different devices and screen sizes, and different considerations for surfing on mobile. You can check out Google’s new resource for improving mobile experiences. To check if your site is mobile-friendly, Varvy has the answer. It’s a great tool for website owners to test your site within seconds and see their websites’ performance. The tool is free of charge so you need to enter URL to start using it

Through this process, it will come with recommendations and guidelines on how users can improve the mobile-friendliness of your website and increase mobile rankings. Besides, Varvy offers a bunch of other useful features, including page speed optimization, page security, paid links finder, search engine optimization, and many more. 

Checking the mobile-friendliness for website SEO

4. Check the technical structure

How do you think? What makes a successful website? The quality content, visual and functional appeal of your website, backlink profiles, keyword research, good navigation, and many other things. But the one thing they all have in common: their technical structure. It affects your keyword rankings and user engagement.

As Marc Robles pointed out on the LawRank blog, technical SEO helps build your solid foundation and forms a hierarchy. If you don’t want to crumble your house, you need to fulfill each level of the hierarchy of technical SEO needs (URL’s crawlability, indexability, accessibility for bots and users, rankability and clickability). 

To better understand how your technical SEO performs, you can use HubSpot’s Website Grader. It’s a free tool that helps website owners detect search engine optimization opportunities. The tool builds personalized reports based on website performance, on-page SEO,  mobile, and security. 

You just need to enter your URL and email to get a score (1-100) and a detailed report. The tool also comes up with actionable recommendations and guidelines on how to increase your website grade. To better direct your SEO efforts, HubSpot offers a bunch of paid SEO tools. 

5. Check content relevance

Creating awesome content is not enough to generate traffic from search engines and rank high for your target keywords. It’s important to understand user content and use it to improve your SEO. As Ahrefs pointed out in the study, 91% of online content gets zero traffic from Google.

To do this, you need to create the right content that resonates with your target audience, optimize it for relevance, and publish it where you want to see it. We’ve already viewed some of the advantages it can offer using the knowledge graph, answer boxes, local packs, and other different search results for broad matched keywords.

If you don’t optimize your content for user intent, it can get devalued. Ensure to better understand the intent of target keywords, perform the SERP analysis of these keywords, figure out what type of content is ranking well, research semantically related keywords, answer all questions users may have, and optimize content for these terms.

According to this HubSpot study, content with a word count between 2250 and 2500 words generates the most organic traffic. So, creating long-form content can be valuable for SEO and can help you become a thought leader in your niche.

To receive valuable data about questions people may ask online, I recommend a nifty free tool called ‘Answer the Public’. It provides popular keyword variations based on search queries and visualizes an awesome graphic with questions and phrases people often use when searching for that keyword. To get unlimited searches, you can learn more about the Pro plan.

Checking content relevance with 'Answer the Public' for website SEO

6. Audit internal links

Internal linking is crucial from different SEO perspectives. Internal links open the doors that allow you to move from one room to another room. But once a website grows older, it becomes difficult to keep a solid interlinking structure and maintain consistency through your website.

As John Mueller pointed out, the way your web pages are interlinked helps Google understand how your pages are related and its roles. Choose the optimal type of structure that greatly meets your business needs.

To make sure that your links on a web page work, you can consider Check My Links. It’s a cool Chrome Extension to crawl through the web page and detect which ones are valid and which ones are broken. The tool highlights good links in green and bad links in red to make it easy to spot and take immediate measures to fix them.

 

Bottom Line

I haven’t mentioned every element of SEO, but this should be key areas to check your website’s SEO. Along with the right tools, you can look at it from a more holistic point of view, survive and outsmart changing algorithms. Here I’ve collected six tools that offer a lot of useful features and can reach remarkable results when used properly. Whichever tool you choose, make sure to maximize all the value you can get from it.

Irina Weber is Brand Manager at SE Ranking. She can be found on Twitter @irinaweber048.

The post Six tools to quickly check website SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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