07- Sep2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
1465 Views

7 quick SEO hacks for the SEO newbie

Want some simple SEO tips that will help move the needle without breaking the bank? Columnist Stephan Spencer has seven for you.

Perhaps you believe that you already found the easy stuff, the “low-hanging fruit,” as it were: good keywords for your niche, optimized titles and body copy, an XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to break past your competitors in the Google SERPs for your most coveted keywords.

You may not have the time or resources right now to do an expensive site overhaul or to even commit to SEO long-term. You may only want a few simple tweaks that will help move the needle.

Well, look no further. You are in luck, because you won’t need years of SEO training for the following hacks. And these hacks also won’t cost you a lot of time or money to implement. You won’t even need to change significant parts of your site. Intrigued? Then let’s continue.

1. Distribute your home page’s link authority to your most important pages

Your home page naturally attracts more links than any other page of your site. A crucial part of your SEO strategy should be ensuring that link authority gets effectively directed from your home page to your most important subpages. While Google can render JavaScript and AJAX better than ever, your safest bet is plain HTML links.

You’ve probably already ensured that your most important category pages are included in the top nav. But how about including links to your most important products (or the ones that you most want to rank) in the body of the home page? If you don’t have product pages, then feature things like articles and landing pages in the body. Links in the body of a page will typically pass more link authority than navigational links, especially footer links.

Creating clear, prominent links is useful from a user experience standpoint as well, because it ensures people can easily find your best stuff quickly.

2. Stop using such huge images

At least half of the sites I audit have issues with very large images on the home page. Often, designers or content creators don’t consider the file size or resolution of an image before adding it to a page. They won’t reduce an image to the maximum size needed on the page, nor will they save it at an appropriate resolution.

A 600 dpi image that was “resized” to be tiny using the width and height attributes in an IMG tag isn’t merely lazy, it’s an affront to website visitors. A huge image (I’ve seen single images as large as 6 MB on a home page) can substantially slow down the time it takes for the page to load, hurting both your rankings and the user experience (and consequently, the site’s conversion rate).

It is incredibly easy to optimize that image to a more reasonable size and then re-upload it. This is probably the number one “quick hack” for improving your site speed.

Use a tool like WebPageTest to check the file sizes of all the elements on a page. (Or you can use the Developer Tools built into the Chrome browser if you’re a geek like me.) Check your images, and have your designers optimize them. Train the people who create and upload your content to get into the habit of checking image sizes before they publish anything.

3. Check that people aren’t linking to pages that 404

Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your site and have external links pointed at them. Google Search Console gives you the ability to check the 404 pages on your site and see whether they are being linked to (and from where). If you have a externally linked page which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as you are squandering link authority every minute that remains unfixed. Recovering that link equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”

To do this in Google Search Console, go to Crawl > Crawl Errors > Not Found and click on each URL returning a 404. Google will usually sort the errors by the most to least important and the most important include the ones with external links. After clicking on a URL, select the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the URLs linking to the page in question. Make sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the next most relevant URL on your site.

google-search-console-crawl-errors-not-found

Google Search Console “Linked From” example

As you get more advanced at this type of link reclamation, you’ll probably also want to augment GSC with other link analysis tools, such as Link Research Tools’ Link Juice Recovery Tool andAhrefs’ Broken Links report. But we’ll save that for another time.

4. Leverage that microsite, article or video that’s not on your main site

Videos, articles and microsites can be a fantastic way to garner brand awareness and attention. However, if you’re hosting the content on others’ domains, then you may be wasting the SEO opportunity. Once the buzz has subsided, the content is hopefully left with great links. If those links are pointing somewhere other than to your main site, you’re not getting much SEO benefit.

Victoria’s Secret missed an opportunity when they got featured on the BuzzFeed front page for their article, “12 Things Women Do Every Day That Are Fearless,” because that article failed to link back to the victoriassecret.com website. Thus, all the inbound links solely benefited BuzzFeed. Unless brand awareness is your sole goal, at a minimum, you need a link to your site from the syndicated content.

The best option, however, from an SEO perspective, is to host that content on your own site. And even then, try to find ways to direct traffic and authority from that content to your most important landing pages and products.

5. Use forums and social hubs to uncover valuable keywords and topics before your competitors

Seize a valuable keyword even before your competitors take notice by monitoring conversations in social media and in forums within your niche. Notice a recurring mention or a recurring question? Find a way to work it into your site’s content or blog.

It will not only help you rank for that question or phrase, but it will also seat you in a position of authority by knowing the answers to the questions everyone has. Having that content first, before your competitors, can give you an advantage, not only in thought leadership, but in ranking and traffic as well.

Sometimes this will also uncover keywords that you wouldn’t imagine would relate to your product. For example, a baby furniture retailer could consider “baby names” as a valuable keyword to target, even though they have nothing to sell around that topic. If the topic is only tangentially related but is being searched on by your exact target market, consider including it in your content strategy.

6. Increase the visibility of your SERP listing with rich snippets

Which one of these would you rather click?

slackline set on Google Searchslackline kit on Google SearchSnippets are like putting a bow tie on a cute cat. Cute cats on their own are great, as are first-page listings. But put a bow tie on that kitty and you’ve got something that few can resist. Rich snippets are among my favorite SEO tactics. Coupled with a great, enticing meta description and title tag, they make your snippet stand out from the crowd. In this case, if you’re looking for the best slackline to give to your outdoorsy significant other, you are going to want to look for the listing that looks like it is an awesome product from a quality supplier.

Each rich snippet added to the SERP is an opportunity. The rating shows the searcher that this product is high-quality, as evidenced by pleased past buyers. The price and the “in stock” markers tell searchers what they need to know to invest in your quality product.

The extra product information and review stars naturally draw the user’s eye to your listing and increase your click-through rate. Rich snippets won’t increase your rankings, but for the rankings you already have, they will drive more visitors to your site.

7. Use link analysis tools to mine for your competitors’ best links

It’s common knowledge that authoritative links are critical to high Google rankings. Acquiring such links is where people get lost. One simple thing you can do is find hubs that link to multiple competitors. A hub is a site that links out to the major players within a niche. It could be a trade magazine, a review site, a blog or a forum. Identify such hubs with a tool like Majestic‘s “Clique Hunter” or SEOprofiler. Hubs are already linking to similar sites, so in all likelihood it won’t be a huge leap for them to link to you as well.

Search for the sites linking to your competitors, examine them to see which might link to you (Not all will make sense to approach), and reach out to them. This is probably the easiest link building you can do, as your competitors have already done the hard work of not only finding the sites, but also qualifying them as ones that will link to sites like yours.

Source: 7 quick SEO hacks for the SEO newbie

19- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
435 Views

App Store SEO: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Mobile – Moz

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing. Today’s post provides a high-level view of App Store Optimization, and gives tips on how to break into the rapidly expanding world of apps.

How to Optimize for App Store Search Engines

Let’s dive into search in the app stores, and how the search engines differ based on platform.

First things first; remember I mentioned that the app ecosystem reminds me of the web in the mid-to-late 90’s? Keep that picture in your head when you think of search. App store search hasn’t been “figured out” in the same way that Google “figured out” search on the web. Simply put, we’re still in AltaVista mode in the app ecosystem: something better than Yahoo’s directory provided, but not incredibly sophisticated like Google would become in a few more years.

Just like the web has on-page and off-page SEO, apps have on-metadata and off-metadata ASO. On-metadata ASO include factors totally within your control and are often things dealing with your app store presence. Off-metadata ASO include factors that might not be entirely in your control, but which you can still influence. Here are a few of the most important knobs and levers that you as a marketer can turn to affect your search performance, and some quick tips on how to optimize them.

On-Metadata

App Title

An app’s title is the single most important metadata factor for rank in ASO. It’s equivalent to the <title> tag in your HTML, and is a great signal to the app stores as to what your app is about. On the web, you want your title to include both a description of what you do (including keywords) as well as some branding; both elements should also exist in the app store. Be sure to include the keywords, but don’t be spammy. Make sure it parses well and makes sense. Example: “Strava Run – GPS Running, Training and Cycling Workout Tracker

Description

Patrick Haig, our VP of Customer Success, likes to break descriptions down into two sections: above the fold and below the fold (sound familiar?). He says, “Above the fold language should be 1-2 sentences describing the app and its primary use case, and below the fold should have a clear and engaging feature set and social proof.” We’ll dig into some of the differences about the description field across platforms below.

Keyword Field

The Keyword Field in iOS is a 100 character field which you can use to tell iTunes search for which keywords you should show up. Since you only get 100 characters, you must use them wisely. A few tips:

  • When choosing your keywords, just like on the web, focus on relevancy, search volume, and difficulty.
  • Don’t use multiple word phrases; break out to individual words (Apple can combine them for you).
  • Don’t repeat keywords that are already in your title (and put the most important ones in your title, leaving the keyword field for your secondary keywords).
  • Separate keywords with commas, and don’t use spaces anywhere.

Icon

Consumers are finicky. They want apps which are beautiful, elegant, and simple to understand. Your icon is often their first interaction with your app, so ensure that it does a great job conveying your brand, and the elegance and usefulness of your app. Remember, in search results, an icon is one of the only ways you can convey your brand and usefulness. Think of it as part of the meta description tag you’d create in SEO. For example, SoundCloud does a great job with their icon and branding.

Screenshots

The most important rule to remember when creating your screenshots is that they should not be screenshots. They are, instead, promotional graphics. That means you can include text or other graphics to tell your app’s story in an interesting, visual way.

Especially in iOS, where the card layout shows your first screenshot, it is incredibly helpful when an app displays a graphic which explains the app right up front, increasing conversions from search results to viewing the app page and, ultimately, installing the app.

The best app marketers also use their screenshots promotional graphics together to create a flow that carries the user through the story. Each graphic can build off the previous graphic, giving the user a reason to continue scrolling and learning about your app.

Here’s a great example of using the screenshots effectively by our friends at Haiku Deck.

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing.

Off-Metadata

Outside of your direct control, you’ll also want to focus on a few things to ensure the best performance in ASO.

Ratings

Average Ratings

Every app has a rating. Your job as a marketer is to ensure that your app gets a great overall rating. Rating is directly tied to performance in app store search, which leads us to believe that rating is a factor in app store search rankings.

Reviews

Similar to ratings, you want to ensure that the reviews your users write about your app are positive. These reviews will help increase your conversion rate from app page views to downloads.

For a great product to help you increase your rating and reviews, check out Apptentive.

Link-building

This is discussed further below, but suffice it to say, link building to your app’s page in the app store matters for Google Play apps. Given you all are SEOs, you know all about how to rock this!

How Do iOS and Google Play Differ In App Store Search?

The differences in the platforms mean that there are different levers to pull depending on the platform. Google Play and iOS act completely independently, and often, quite differently. The differences are wide-ranging, but what are a couple of the main differences?

In general, the way to think about the differences is that Google is Google and Apple is Apple. Duh, right? Google has the built the infrastructure and technology to learn from the web and use many different data points to make a decision. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t have indexes of the web, and comes from a background in media. When in doubt, imagine what you’d do if you were each of them and had the history each of them has.

Here are a couple concrete examples.

Description versus Keywords

In iOS, there’s a keywords field. It’s easy to see where this came from, especially when you think of iTunes’ background in music: a song has a title (app title), musician (developer name), and then needs a few keywords to describe the song (“motown,” “reggae,” etc.). When Apple launched their app store, they used the same technology that was already built for music, which meant that the app title, developer name, and keywords were the only fields used to understand search for an app. Note that description isn’t taken into account in iOS (but I expect this to change soon).

On the other hand, there is no keyword field in Google Play; there is only a description field. Thus, while iOS doesn’t take the description into account, in Google Play the description is all you have, so be sure to do exactly the same as you do on the web: cater your content towards your keywords, without being spammy.

Leveraging PageRank in Google Play

Another big difference in iOS and Google Play is that Google has access to PageRank and the link graph of the web, while Apple does not. Thus, Google will take into account the inbound links to your app’s detail page (for example, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.symantec.mobilesecurity) as a factor in Google Play search, while Apple has no such factor.


How To Measure Success In App Marketing

It’s very difficult to measure success in app marketing in the same way you can measure success in web marketing. This is especially true when you’re working with inbound channels. It’s still early, but it’s continuously getting better, with more tools and services coming out all the time to help marketers understand success. Here are some of the ways I recommend measuring success in the app store today:

Search Rankings

Just like on the web, a great way to measure your success in app store search is to track your ranking for specific search terms you care about over time and versus your competition. Rank tracking is incredibly valuable for ASOs to understand their progress.

Top Charts

Top Charts, especially Top Charts within a particular category, do a great job of allowing you to understand your success in relation to the rest of the apps in your category.

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing.

Ratings and Reviews

Just as ratings and reviews will help your ASO, they are also great metrics to track over time for how you’re doing with your app marketing. Keep track of what users are saying, how they’re saying it (pro tip: listening to their language is a great way to do keyword research!), and what they’re rating your app.

Downloads

Taking it one step further, correlating your search rankings to downloads will allow you to understand the effect your increased ASO is having on your app performance. One way we do this is to integrate with iTunes Connect and overlay your search rankings with your downloads so you can visually see how closely related any one keyword is with your downloads. It’s not perfect, but it helps!

Conversion and Revenue

At the end of the day, revenue is the most important metric you should be understanding. Of course, you should be tracking your revenue and doing the same correlation with search performance. In addition, you should watch your conversion rate over time; we often see apps whose conversion rate soars with an increase in ASO because the users are so much more engaged with the app.


Tools And Resources To Use To Help With App Marketing

To conclude this post, I want to quickly talk about some tools and resources to use to help your app marketing process.

Sylvain has written some great content and has some incredible insights into app marketing and ASO on his company’s (Apptamin) blog.

I mentioned Apptentive above, and they really are the best way I know to impact your ratings and reviews, and get great feedback from customers in the process.

In addition to having a great, free, in-app analytics product (Flurry Analytics), as well as an interesting paid advertising product (AppCircle), Flurry also posts some of the most interesting data about the app ecosystem on their blog.

If you’re looking to obtain some amount of attribution for your paid advertising (inbound can’t be split out, sorry!), MobileAppTracking is where it’s at. It allows you to understand which paid channels are performing best for you based on the metric of your choosing. Best of all, you only pay for what you use.

App Marketing Tools

This is, of course, a shameless promotion. That said, our product is a great way to understand your performance in app store search, help you do keyword research, and give you competitive intelligence. We offer a free (forever!) tool for Indie developers and scale all the way up to the largest Enterprise customers.


Now It’s Your Turn–> Visit the link below to get the full list to help guide you along your optimization way!

Source: App Store SEO: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Mobile – Moz