06- Mar2018
Posted By: DPadmin
30 Views

5 SEO Risks Worth Taking (Plus 3 You Must Avoid)

There are almost always risks involved when optimizing a website.

Say you’re planning on re-platforming your website with a new site design and URL structure change; you risk the rankings that you currently have. They could plummet, or maybe not — it’s a risk you have to weigh.

But the risk of decreasing the SEO value can be worth the opportunity of SEO gains, especially if you’re experiencing decreases in organic rankings across the board.

Below are five SEO tactics that are worth the risks – and three you must avoid at all costs.

When to Take SEO Risks

Before you undertake any risk that involves your SEO rankings, you must weigh the risks versus the rewards.

For example, if a webpage ranks for a bunch of keyword phrases in the top 5-10, what could you lose by making a change compared to what you would gain?

In SEMrush, you can see what pages rank for which keyword phrase. You can look at the entire site for site-wide changes or individual pages.

In the example below, this page currently already ranks for a ton of phrases in Google. Therefore, making substantial changes to it could severely decrease the rankings and drastically hurt your SEO efforts.

SEMRush Screenshot

However, on the flip side, the example below shows rankings in the top 4-6 range for its main keyword phrases. This could be a good opportunity to better optimize this page to try to gain higher rankings. The traffic you’ll get from positions 4-6 is much less than from positions 1-3.

SEMRush Screenshot 2

You can also go into Google Analytics (Acquisition > Channels > Organic Search > Landing Page) and compare year-on-year (YoY) data for the performance of all landing pages from post-click hits from Google.

If key metrics (e.g., traffic, revenue, conversion rate, bounce rate, time on site) are decreasing for pages, this could be a good opportunity to start optimizing those pages.

In the example below, I would want to look at the homepage and understand more about why the traffic, revenue, and other key metrics are decreasing to identify a plan to remedy the situation.

Google Analytics Screenshot

SEO Risks to Take 

Once you have identified and evaluated the risk and reward, it’s time to figure out different tactics that you could implement.

Here are some notable SEO risks that I have taken with different websites.

1. A/B Testing Meta Information

Some believe organic click-through rates impact rankings, which makes sense. Google wants the most relevant listings to come up when someone searches.

If no one is clicking on your listing, then Google might deem that page to be not relevant for that search phrase and will not list you moving forward. Also, they won’t list you if the keyword strategy/content on your meta titles and descriptions are poor.

This creates a good opportunity to A/B test different meta title and meta descriptioncombinations on various pages.

For instance, using the example above from SEMrush (screenshot with rankings 4-6), here is our meta information for the page:

<title>Ford Ranger Lift Kits | Company Name | Company Name</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”Lift kits for your Ford Ranger from Company Name. Shop today and find the right kit for your truck!”/>

These title tags and the meta description are incomplete and have room for improvement to optimize for CTR and a broader set of keywords outside of  “Ford Ranger Lift Kits.”

This would be a good opportunity to optimize this page, document when you optimized it, and then evaluate the results.

If this produces positive results, then you can do this for multiple pages.

2. Changing URL Structure

Many times, in the e-commerce SEO space, retailers use old e-commerce platforms with poor site structure navigation.

This comes from custom cart solutions or outdated cart solutions using inferior site architecture compared to keyword-rich URLs.

Optimizing your URLs and making them simpler and more keyword friendly can provide a lot of benefits from higher correlations of high rankings with having short keyword-friendly URLs in subfolders — i.e., example.com/benefits-10-teas compared to example.com/main-page-here-describing-the-best-health-benefits-of-10-teas.

This also makes it easier for users to know what a page is about in Google’s search results.

Below is the top Google search result for [10 best teas for health]:

SERP Ranking Screenshot

It has a clear URL structure.

If you decide to change your URL structure, I would recommend not doing it site-wide to begin with. Start by optimizing 20 or so pages, and then make incremental changes to the pages you have.

Always make sure that you measure the results after any changes you make to make sure that it’s having a positive impact.

Assuming you see a positive result, continue changing your URLs until they are all complete.

Also, it’s important to make sure that you 301 redirect old URLs to their new URL paths; otherwise, you could lose out on the link value the old pages used to have.

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to change all of your URLs, such as migrating to a new platform, I would still recommend changing 20 or so and analyzing your results.

Changing all of your URLs at once can hurt your organic rankings, and this is the least desirable option.

Always try to do a small experiment first, measure your results, and then make larger scale changes.

3. Improving User Experience

In my opinion, user experience just might be the most important Google ranking factor.

This study showed a small player was able to compete with much larger companies and rank higher with only a higher Alexa rating and Instagram pretense.

Optimizing for the user experience and looking at your metrics (e.g., time on page, bounce rate, site duration) will be paramount for winning in a competitive Google landscape moving forward.

Negative Google Analytics Screenshot

Using the example from Google Analytics above, I would audit the landing pages and identify any underperforming pages.

We want to optimize these pages to give a better user experience, which will, in turn, increase the usability metrics and, in theory, increase our Google rankings.

There is not an exact template out there on how to improve user experience, but some examples I have used in the past which have worked included:

  • Putting reviews on product pages.
  • Implementing video content on category and product pages.
  • Putting explanatory content on category pages.
  • Removing content from category pages.

As you might have noticed, improving user experience is a bit of a gray area. It’s not clearly defined, so the only way that you know if it improves your user experience is through an increase in usability metrics outlined from Google Analytics.

Again, just always make small changes, measure and analyze your results, and then make changes on a larger scale once you find success.

4. New Holistic Website Design

If you have limited resources for a website that is decreasing in usability metrics YoY (even compounding YoY), then it might be a good idea to look at a holistic website redesign compared to making incremental changes.

A good website design and strategy can build trust with consumers and make it more likely that they will interact with your content.

Creating a new website always carries a risk and, in a lot of situations, it can drop your conversion rates initially.

However, over time, with the right strategy and design, a new website design will improve upon the usability metrics; hopefully, improve your organic rankings; and help your business grow.

Just to note: you always want to think of external factor as well, such as new competitors, decreased market demand, and more before you decide if a new website design will correct any decreases in your usability metrics.

5. Acquiring High-Quality Backlinks

Unfortunately, I still find many websites that are scared of backlinks and Google penaltiesthat are associated with them.

You have to work very hard to achieve a manual Google penalty. I have only seen it a handful of times, and that was back in the 2012-2013 era when many online merchants were trying to spam backlinks.

Backlinks have a high correlation to ranking high in Google, and you should always look to acquire them when you can.

Google is more likely to reward than penalize you.

If your current backlink strategy isn’t working then, it may be because Google is not giving credit for those links.

Instead of writing off backlinks or giving up, look to improve the quality (not the quantity) of your efforts.

 SEO Risks to Avoid

While there are some SEO risks that are worth considering, there are also some that you want to avoid like the plague.

Please note, I understand that some of these are somewhat outlandish. Even though some would not be utilized for the vast majority of SEO professionals out there, I still hear of SEO practitioners who think that using these tactics will work in their favor.

1. Disallowing Neutral Backlinks

Finding a way to describe this is difficult, so I came up with the word “neutral” backlinks.

Many SEO professionals will disavow low-quality backlinks, even though Google has said disavowing links is not really needed unless Google has taken manual action on your website. I do this myself.

However, many professionals out there don’t understand how backlinks work and will disavow backlinks that I would refer to as neutral. They aren’t helping your site rank higher, but they aren’t hurting your rankings, either.

But why even risk disavowing them in the first place?

I don’t think it’s a risk worth taking, and I always recommend being very conservative with any disavow lists.

The Penguin 4.0 update removed site-wide penalties for bad backlinks and, honestly, it’s very difficult to achieve Google penalties for backlinks.

Google understands you cannot always control which websites link to yours, which is why they are ignoring backlinks instead of punishing.

Therefore, you don’t know what is helping, but you can infer they are not hurting you – so why disavow them in the first place?

I still recommend doing disavow files, but only disavowing links you wouldn’t want to show your mother. If they don’t provide any value, then just let them stay there, out in the interwebs, but keep it away from your disavow file.

2. Deleting or Consolidating Pages

I never understood the need to delete pages of content or URLs.

Nevertheless, if you need to delete pages, you risk your site not ranking for those keywords anymore. That might be fine, especially if they are categories of products you no longer wish to sell, but, if you want to keep those keyword rankings, then don’t delete the page.

If you are deleting product pages you no longer carry, then make the page say, “This product is no longer available, and here are some relevant products you may be interested in.”

This way, you are not deleting the URL, and you are still offering the searcher something when they get to your page.

If you are consolidating pages, then make sure the old URL 301 redirects to the new URL – and make sure the new page can cover the wide range of keyword phrases the old pages were ranking for.

3. Making Site Wide Changes First

This one cannot be avoided if you are limited on resources.

I always highly recommend making a small incremental change first, measuring the results, and then making larger incremental changes afterward based on the results you have achieved.

Conclusion

Hopefully, these SEO risks worth taking (and not taking) will help you in your SEO journey.

It’s also important to note that not doing anything when it comes to SEO is also a risk. Every day Google gets more advanced and competitors get better; therefore, you need to continuously optimize your website.

Source: 5 SEO Risks Worth Taking (Plus 3 You Must Avoid)

26- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
329 Views

3 SEO Wins (Often Overlooked) for Ecommerce Sites 

There is more to search engine optimization than keywords, titles, meta descriptions, and H1s. In this post, I’ll address three valuable, and often overlooked, SEO opportunities for ecommerce sites: PDFs, store locators, and product images.

PDFs and PDF Viewers

Many ecommerce sites host a decent number of PDFs. You might not think that there is SEO value in them, or even know where to start if you wanted to optimize them. But, you’d be wrong to ignore them. Let me show you.

PDF is the typical digital format for product information sheets, user manuals, and catalogs.

You can find how many PDFs Google has indexed for any site by searching with:

site:sitename.com filetype:pdf.

Search site:sitename.com filetype:pdf for any site to see PDFs indexed by Google. The Home Depot has 163,000 PDFs indexed at the time of this writing.

Search site:sitename.com filetype:pdf for any site to see PDFs indexed by Google. The Home Depot has 163,000 PDFs indexed at the time of this writing.

These PDFs accumulate valuable links like any other web page, and could help the SEO of the site if optimized correctly.

For example, a PDF guide from Home Depot for a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm has eight backlinks, according to Ahrefs, a backlink checking tool.

Sadly, like most PDFs, it doesn’t have any links back to the site. The backlinks help the PDF get indexed and ranked, but they don’t benefit the rest of the site. When users find the guide in the search results, those visits won’t be tracked in analytics. There won’t be a way for them to navigate to the rest of the site and potentially order other products.

The best way to optimize the PDFs to benefit overall site traffic is to use an HTTP canonical headerand choose one of two options:

  • If the PDF is a duplicate of information already available on the site, for example a product information sheet, set the PDF’s HTTP header canonical to the page that it is duplicating.
  • If the PDF has no HTML equivalent, add a PDF viewer and canonicalize the page to it.

The choice of canonicalizing to a PDF viewer requires a bit more explanation.

The main advantage of a PDF viewer is that you can add your site navigation and analytics tags, and enable users (and search engines) to follow links and navigate your site. The HTTP header canonical effectively replaces the PDFs on the search results and replaces them with the canonical URLs.

You can verify that the HTTP canonical header is set up correctly using Google Chrome Developer Tools.

You can verify that the HTTP canonical header is set up correctly using Google Chrome Developer Tools.

ViewerJS is a popular open source JavaScript-based PDF viewer. Some sites host their PDFs and media files with third party vendors like Scene 7 and Endeca.

Make sure your vendor supports cross-domain HTTP canonical headers so you can get the SEO value out of your PDFs. Scene7 explains this in, ironically, a PDF. It addresses adding canonicals to images, which Google does not support, but the instructions apply to PDFs.

Store Locators

Store locators are another opportunity to drive nearby mobile users. But traveling around the country and pulling out your phone to see if the store locator is working correctly is very unpractical (and expensive). Fortunately, you can use Google Chrome’s powerful emulation features, to virtually travel anywhere in the world.

Let me explain the steps to use this fascinating feature.

First, I’ll review the store locator from a mobile user’s point of view, and then also check if the stores are ranking high in Google Maps.

Using Chrome's Developer tools, we can see a mobile user's point of view.

Using Chrome’s Developer tools, we can see a mobile user’s point of view.

You can access Google Chrome Developer Tools under View > Developer > Developer Tools.

Next, I’ll pretend to be in San Francisco by clicking the three vertical dots, and then More tools > Sensors and setting my location to the coordinates of San Francisco.

Click on More tools > Sensors to set your location to San Francisco, as long as you know the coordinates.

Click on More tools > Sensors to set your location to San Francisco, as long as you know the coordinates.

You can simulate being anywhere in the world as long as you know the coordinates, or you can select one of the predefined ones.

Next, I’ll obtain a list of the Bed Bath & Beyond stores in San Francisco from that company’s website.

Using Developer Tools, we can search for the closest store as if we were using a mobile device.

Using Developer Tools, we can search for the closest store as if we were using a mobile device.

The closest San Francisco store is on 555 9th Street. Now, let’s see how the store ranks in Google Maps. The branded searches are the easiest to rank.

By performing a Google search on a mobile phone, we can see how the store ranks in Google Maps. This search result also includes a Knowledge Graph for this Bed Bath & Beyond location.

By performing a Google search on a mobile phone, we can see how the store ranks in Google Maps. This search result also includes a Knowledge Graph for this Bed Bath & Beyond location.

I searched for “bed bath and beyond near me.” Google provided the closest store as listed by the store locator. Having Google My Business listings for each store should be enough to rank for navigational searches like these.

But what if I perform a non-branded search, such as “kitchenware near me”?

Performing a non-branded search like "kitchenware" shows less conclusive results.

Performing a non-branded search like “kitchenware” shows less conclusive results.

Bed Bath & Beyond products show up as sponsored listings, but no locations show up in the organic results, not even if the results are sorted by distance, where Bed Bath & Beyond is clearly closer than the competitors.

That’s because Google is prioritizing keyword relevance over proximity, for stores that include “kitchen” in the label. If I search for “bedding near me,” I do see Bed Bath & Beyond ranking third — two competitors have closer stores.

When searching "bedding near me," Bed, Bath & Beyond ranks third because two competitors have closer locations.

When searching “bedding near me,” Bed, Bath & Beyond ranks third because two competitors have closer locations.

To improve your local store rankings, follow these tips, which many of the top-ranking stores use.

  • Provide a web page for every store using a hierarchy of /country/city/store. Googlebot should be able to crawl every store by following links, starting from the home page.
  • Make each store profile unique and valuable. List all relevant information, such as hours of operation, phone numbers, map of the location, and reviews.
  • Verify all your stores in Google My Business using the bulk upload feature. Download the sample template, and make sure to provide all the required info.
  • Research how users are searching for your business, and use that to guide your ideal title tags. For example, as noted above Bed Bath & Beyond is missing out on organic listings for “kitchenware near me.”

Product Images

Google image search represents as much as 10 percent of total search visitors to many ecommerce sites. Track image search visits in Google Search Console, under Search Traffic > Search Analytics, and select Search Type: Image.

Track image search visits in Google Search Console. Go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Search Type: Image.

Track image search visits in Google Search Console. Go to Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Search Type: Image.

But, how valuable are image searches? Aren’t image searches typically writers, bloggers, or speakers?

This line of thinking assumes that images only rank when people search in Google images. But Google often blends images with regular web search results. Also, Google image search is easier now, from phones, using the Chrome app. Think about a consumer taking pictures of a product on your competitor’s shelf, and using Google search by image to shop around for a better deal.

Optimize your images by following Google’s comprehensive steps.

  • Avoid excessive text in images. Use CSS to overlay the text, instead.
  • Avoid generic image file names, such as IMG0003.JPG, and use, for example, frying-pan.jpginstead.
  • Use ALT text to describe what the image contains. It is important that all product images include the name of the product as ALT text.
  • The content around an image can help search engines know a lot about what is it about. Alternatively, use the optional caption attribute in your image XML sitemaps.

Source: 3 SEO Wins (Often Overlooked) for Ecommerce Sites | Practical Ecommerce

15- Jun2017
Posted By: DPadmin
138 Views

4 Ways To Know If PPC Is Right For Your Business

From its inception in the early 2000s to now, the popularity of targeted pay per click (PPC) advertising has grown dramatically. Due to this popularity and success, many businesses not currently using the system are considering making the move. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons of PPC — and how to create the ideal environment for a successful PPC campaign — before jumping on the bandwagon. When deciding whether or not to involve PPC in your marketing strategy, you must first thoroughly examine your existing business and marketing practices to maximize PPC’s potential.

 

1. Consider If You Need And Can Handle A Visibility Boost

If sales are slower than you’d like and your business doesn’t appear on the first page of a search engine’s results when you search for the product or service you’re promoting, you may want to consider PPC to increase your visibility. However, you should also make sure that you are prepared for the boost you may receive. Consider if your business can handle an influx of potential customers; if your sales team struggles to follow up with prospects consistently or you have limited resources to increase production, you may want to improve those aspects of your business before exposing it to more consumers. Drowning in more consumer interest than you can handle can be detrimental to your image — and your sales.

You should also consider if your website is ready to maximize the potential of an increase in traffic. Is the landing page aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate? Have you been keeping up to date on the latest data-driven practices regarding web development to maximize your site’s potential? It is important that your landing page and overall website, not just your advertisement, results in conversions. If the site isn’t ready, it may be best to wait before implementing an intensive PPC strategy or you can lose the momentum built by your advertising.

2. Consider Your Target Market

In order to maximize your click-through rate (CTR), you must have a strong understanding of your audience. Users are more likely to click on ads targeted to them, so targeted PPC advertising has great potential. For instance, if your business thrives on local involvement, geotargeting your ads can positively impact your CTR (and, in turn, your conversions). However, if you’re interested in a broader campaign that doesn’t focus on a specific demographic, such as increasing general brand recognition, PPC may be less effective than a carefully-monitored cost per impression (CPI) campaign that does not target specific keywords or locations.

When considering your target market, you should also think about customer value. It’s important that a click on an ad — and the subsequent visit to your site — costs less than what the visit is worth. For instance, if you pay $2 per click for an advertisement but the product you’re selling is only $3, then paying for PPC is not helpful. However, if you pay $2 per click and the product is $600, the profit margin is much wider.

 

3. Consider Your Budget

One commonly touted benefit of PPC advertising is that it doesn’t necessarily cost much to start, as prices per click can be relatively low. However, it’s important to take care and avoid bidding wars for keywords if your budget is limited, as certain industries’ costs per click can be high. Although projecting a budget for PPC can be difficult, there are several blogs and other tools out there to help simplify the process.

When considering your budget, you should also factor in the cost of having an expert in PPC on your marketing team. PPC can be an involved strategy, as advertisers must keep up with the near-constant changes to Google AdWords, research and list the best keywords, develop campaigns, set up PPC landing pages, and consistently analyze account performance. This can get expensive, so make sure that you consider these costs before implementing PPC.

4. Consider The Possibility Of Combining Multiple Options

Implementing PPC into your marketing strategy should be combined with other efforts. Studies have shown that combining PPC with strong organic search strategies is ideal to maximize profits, as users see a “natural” high ranking on Google (by having your website come up on the first page of a search) as lending legitimacy to a sponsored PPC advertisement. Thoroughly weighing the pros and cons of PPC and CPI advertising and figuring out a combination that works best for your goals will result in the highest number of conversions.

When navigating the murky waters of PPC advertising, it is easy to get swept up in the strategy without first considering your specific business needs. By examining how PPC can affect your business, you can maximize the potential of a targeted audience.

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ajagrawal/2017/04/18/4-ways-to-know-if-ppc-is-right-for-your-business/