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Search Engine Optimisation

For Bloggers, Now May Be the Time to Start Tweeting

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Connect Twitter GoogleTo tweet or not to tweet has been a question bloggers have had to ask themselves pretty much since the dawn of Twitter.

The main question is whether or not the time, effort and energy spent on creating and nurturing a Twitter profile is justified by the benefit one gets out of it. It’s always been a tough question and one where the answer heavily depends on the blogger, their niche and their audience.

Howver, with an update to Google’s “Social Search” feature today, Twitter just received a potential boost in terms of its usefulness. Now Twitter can not only be a way to communicate with your friends, family and readers, but now it might also directly impact your site’s position in Google itself.

Perhaps most interesting of all though is that, at this time, Facebook “likes” are not having the same impact as Twitter, meaning that, for the moment at least, Twitter is the only social network that can directly affect your Google ranking, other than Google’s built-in network.

So, if you haven’t been using Twitter because you didn’t see the point, now there may be one to give you a reason to start.

How it Works

SEO experts have long speculated that tweets affect search engine ranking, something that was confirmed in December of last year, but the impact seemed to be of dubious value, making other factors more vital to focus on.

However, today’s changes to social search have the potential, especially for your followers and their connections, to greatly boost your presence.

The reason is that, for logged in users who have connected their Twitter or other accounts to their Google Account, relevant links that were tweeted by the people they follow will be sprinkled in with the regular results, often bringing sites to the front page that would not have been there otherwise.

This means that, if you blog about microphones and tweet out your links, any follower of yours who searches for information on mics will, very likely, see your page high up in the results with an icon indicating who it is from.

It is also likely, though not confirmed, that these results may also help your Google ranking in broader searches, especially if Google sees that your followers find what they are looking for at your links.

In short, Twitter could become something of a proving ground for new content, letting webmasters show Google that their content is right for the search results and that, in turn, could be a powerful shortcut or boost to Google success.

How to Take Advantage of It

The good news is that, to take advantage of it, you really don’t have to do much of anything. All that you have to do is have a Twitter account, work to grow your presence and tweet out your content.

However, if you want to see results from the people you follow in Google, you have to connect your Google Account to your Twitter account, instructions for which are in the original Google post on the upgrades.

Bear in mind that this is a new Google feature that is being rolled out over time and may not be available until next week, depending on when your account has it activated.

But how big will the impact of this new feature be? That remains to be seen but there are several reasons to be wary abou spending too much time investing in your Twitter presence because of it.

Reasons to be Wary

As great as getting an immediate Google boost for relevant searches sounds, it’s crucial to remember that it only applies for the people who have connected their Twitter (or other relevant account) to their Google account and are following you.

Most likely, even if you have a large number of Twitter followers, that’s going to be a fairly small pool of people. The odds of them searching for content relevant to your links are, in truth, fairly small.

Still, those who do perform such searchers, click your links and find useful may, in turn, give your site a boost across broader Google results. It is unclear if that will happen and the issue of how Google interprets user data into its rankings is hotly contested, but it still seems that getting clicks and lasting visitors from Google is better than being ignored or sending visitors right back to the results page.

In short though, the benefits will likely be limited to a very small subset of your Twitter followers but, it is at least conceivable that it could have an impact across the broader results because of it.

However, it’s still up to individual bloggers to decide if it is worth taking part in, meaning that we are more or less back where we started on the “to tweet or not to tweet” debate.

Bottom Line

Once again, it’s up to bloggers to decide, individually, if it is worthwhile to invest the time and energy in setting up and maintaining a Twitter account. All that has changed is that now there is a new SEO benefit to factor in, even if the announcement back in December probably has a larger in the long run.

What is clear is that the search engines are taking Tweets much more seriously and, if you’re a webmaster interesting in maximizing the SEO potential of their site, then having an active and prominent Twitter account just makes sense.

Still, it is a lot of time and effort and there are many other factors that may be more important. So the decision is up to you, but if you’ve been on the fence about the benefits of tweeting for your site, now may be the best time to start.

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Search Engine Optimisation

How to Create More Clickable Google Search Snippets

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Google search results are becoming ridiculously competitive. Plus, Google’s search results are becoming incredibly engaging: Many search users prefer to use search results (open “People Also Ask” results, clicks image and video carousels, etc.) that getting a click from search results is getting harder and harder.

With the introduction of new and flashier ways to be seen, you still have to learn how to creatively and dynamically exploit those offered tools. Being seen with so many others attempting the same technique is just as hard as it was when visibility relied only on ranking.

How to get more people click your search listing in SERPs? Here are three really effective ways:

1. Monitor Your Click-Through

The first step to improving your search snippet visibility is to set up monitoring of how your pages are performing right now and get alerted if anything changes.

Finteza is an advanced analytics platform allowing you to keep a close eye on your site performance in search and all the various channels.

To monitor your click-through from organic search:

  • Register an account at Finteza
  • Add their tracking code to your site and give it some time to accumulate some data
  • Click “Sources” and there choose “Search”
  • Go to “Pages” to see how your top landing pages are performing in search:

Finteza

This gives you bird’s eye view on your site organic performance in organic search. It’s a great way to analyze and evaluate your old content. Using Finteza, you can also set up a retargeting campaign to target those search referrals better if they choose to return to your site.

Repeat steps above at least weekly to see if any of those pages start losing clicks from search: These might need some work. Here’s exactly what you may want to do:

2. Use Semantic Analysis

Google uses a variety of analysis methods to identify high-quality content that meets their users’ needs. One of the key components of Google’s content evaluation process is semantic analysis.

Basically speaking, semantic analysis is about clustering your key topic into subtopics and concepts that constitute it. To give a quick example, if we were to apply semantic analysis to [hiking], we’d come up with a variety of underlying concepts including, National Parks, Mountains, picturesque trails, being outdoors, and even birdwatching.

All of those concepts relate to hiking in some way or another.

Broadly speaking, semantic analysis helps machines understand natural language – the way that humans communicate – including context, goals, etc.

When it comes to search optimization, semantic SEO helps:

  • Create more indepth and richer content that meets Google’s expectations
  • Optimize for intent (what’s the end goal behind each search)
  • Give Google enough context for them to create a more clickable search snippet for your listing.

Another example of semantic analysis in action is Google’s results for [where it was filmed]. While the query is seemingly absolutely generic, Google is able to understand this question relates to the movie “It”.

Semantic SEO

Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that goes right to the source, i.e. Google search snippets. For each query you type, it would collect Google’s search snippets and apply semantic analysis to them to come up with the list of underlying concepts:

Text Optimizer

[TextOptimizer’s results for [where it was filmed] – as you can see the tool got the actual context of the query and clustered it into related topics]

Including 20-25 of these concepts into your content will help Google better understand your text, and create richer more clickable search snippets. Here’s a more detailed review of the site I did previously.

3. Optimize for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets have become the new keywords. These little details are what causes your listing to “pop” in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy. Proper use of rich snippets are a requirement for being seen.

“Rich snippets” are search results providing the user with more answers right within SERPs. To qualify for rich snippets your web page should have rich markup:

Here are the supported types of rich snippets:

Reviews

If you have reviewed a tool or a product, use Aggregate Rating structured data for your search snippet to look like this. This will populate stars in search that definitely draw an eye!

Reviews

Recipes

Recipes will have some nutritional and preparation information, like how long it takes to cook and how many calories are in each serving.

recipes

Events

Events will show dates and times for each event for quick reference. Every event name is linked in search results giving you more clickable links in search.

Event schema

Business

There’s a number of structure data types that allow you to add more details to your brand knowledge graph (NOT for local businesses though).

These include: Official social media accounts, logo, and the corporate contact:

Corporate Contact

Movies and Books

Movies and books will also show off a ranking system, and some product pages have a star rating alongside price.

HowTo

HowTo markup will help Google to locate more information from your tutorial, for example, number of steps, time to complete, etc.:

HowTo

HowTo Schema shouldb’t be used for recipes though. Other than that there are no official restrictions to certain types of tutorials that can have it.

One word of caution here: Only use structured data when it absolutely makes sense. Google frowns upon using Schema just for the sake if rich snippets. If it is not an actual review, don’t use the ratings markup, as it could backfire. Google actually sends manual penalties for a structured abuse, so read the documentation properly to make sure you follow all the rules!

Optimizing for rich snippets relies heavily on whichever website builder and/or CMS you are using. For most of them there are lots of plugins and addons allowing to quickly integrate structured markup.

The above tips will hopefully help you generate more clicks from your current organic positions without having to invest in improving it. See it as a low-hanging fruit opportunity to improving your traffic!

Do you have a tip for optimizing search snippets? Let us know in the comments!

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Search Engine Optimisation

Top the Charts! 5 Must-Know SEO Solutions to Promote Your Managed IT Service

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According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches a day.

When someone searches for your managed IT service, you have the opportunity to attract them straight towards your website.

All you need is search engine optimization or SEO!

Here are five SEO solutions that can help drive traffic to your website. With these techniques, you can attract new customers and grow your business!

Let’s get optimizing.

1. Topics & Keywords

An effective SEO strategy starts with a list of keywords. These keywords reflect the content your customers are searching for online. Using these keywords, you can create content that matches their search intent.

To start, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. These tools will show you the popularity of each keyword.

Once you have this list, you can create pillars and clusters. Pillars give your website visitors the main page of collective content. Then, the clusters break this content into sub-topics with specified information.

This strategy can help boost your SEO plan and attract people to your Managed IT Services.

That way, you’re attracting new website visitors while providing them with an easy, efficient user experience, too.

2. On-Site SEO

Your website needs optimization as a whole as well as on a page-based level. To start, make sure your website’s content hierarchy is well-structured.

Then, there are a number of areas that require review to ensure these SEO solutions work.

Once you’ve studied your target audience to determine your keywords, you also need:

  • Descriptive URLs
  • Keyword-optimized page titles
  • Compelling meta descriptions
  • Content optimization (includes keyword placement in headers, body text, etc.)
  • Good user experience
  • Structured data markup
  • Effective call-to-action language

As part of your overall SEO strategy, on-page SEO is an important component of attracting visitors.

3. Off-Site SEO

An off-site SEO strategy includes local SEO. This strategy helps you attract local customers to your website and business.

To start, make sure your listings are updated with the correct content information.

This includes your Google My Business listing as well.

4. Technical SEO

Technical SEO ensures search engines can find your content. These areas include:

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • Mobile-optimization
  • Website speed
  • Hierarchy

Technical SEO solutions are essential for success. Otherwise, how will customers find your website?

5. Content

According to Fit Small Business, search is the number one driver of traffic to content sites. In fact, it beats social media by over 300 percent.

Your content should consider customer search intent. That way, you’re giving visitors content that answers their questions. This can include service content, credibility content, and marketing content.

This content should also add value to your business.

Consider writing blog posts or white papers. You can also post videos or add testimonials to your website.

That way, your SEO content shows visitors you’re a valuable resource.

Bring It in: 5 Must-Have SEO Solutions

With these five must-have SEO solutions, you can attract new visitors to your website. The right techniques will then turn these visitors into leads, then leads into paying customers!

That way, your company grows, one SEO strategy at a time.

Check out our latest posts for more effective tips and tricks!

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Search Engine Optimisation

SEO 101: The Essential SEO FAQ for Bloggers

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I don’t provide SEO services and I am self-taught – which hardly makes an expert. But I’ve been blogging for a lifetime and for all these years I’ve been reading about and implementing SEO practices – which means I know more than an average blogger.

With that said, I’ve decided to put together this SEO FAQ for those who want to quickly understand the concept without going too indepth:

What is SEO?

Simply put, SEO is about making a website easy for search engines to discover, go through and understand.

This includes:

  • creating content (based on search engine users’ needs),
  • making your content “link-worthy” (i.e. attract backlinks),
  • using HTML and structured data to make content easier to understand for the machine, etc.

SEO is NOT trying to “fake” any of positive signals search engines use to rank web pages. Search engine friendliness should be authentic and SEO professionals should work together with website owners to achieve that.

Do Bloggers Need to Know SEO?

Yes!

SEO aims at helping a page rank on top of organic search results, and search engines are known to bring the most qualified leads (people turn to Google when they know what they want).

No traffic source is as effective as search traffic. Unlike driving clicks with ads (PPC), organic search is NOT interrupting user’s surfing the web. Instead, it serves them content exactly when they ask

This makes SEO one of the most important digital marketing channels. It can drive highly targeted traffic and pre-qualified leads to your site on a continuous basis (no need to keep investing in ads)

How Has SEO changed over the years?

SEO is maturing fast and it has been exciting to watch. The biggest driving force behind this evolution is Google that has been working hard on their search algorithm to understand natural language and search intent, as well as penalizing any manipulating tactics.

The result: SEO has become more integrated into other marketing channels. Furthermore, SEO is more about focusing on long-term goals rather than quick traffic gains

If ten years ago SEO was all about creating fake signals (keyword stuffing, link buying, etc.), these days it’s all about creating linkable assets that rank and engage potential customers.

The future of SEO is in voice search, artificial intelligence, more diverse content types and channels.

Can SEO Be Handled “At Home”?

WordPress bloggers generally don’t have to worry about getting SEO help. WordPress is pretty well set up and there’s a variety of free plugins to help.

Here’s a detailed guide to get yourself educated: Google SEO: Should it be your only priority?

What is The Most Important SEO Element?

Content… by far! Content is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Content ranks, attracts links, spreads, engages customers and turns them into believers.

Content is not just an article or a blog post. By content I mean any kind of text you put on your site, from a landing page copy to your “About us” page or a product description.

Many businesses jump into digital marketing without willing to invest in content, and this strategy is doomed to failure. Building on-site content should be everyone’s SEO priority.

Text Optimizer is a great tool that helps you create better content by providing you with the mindmap of associated concepts and questions. It uses semantic analysis to process Google’s search snippets and break any keyword into subtopics.

Text Optimizer for content creation

While it’s primarily search intent optimization tool, it’s also helpful for overall content research showing which topics to cover and how to structure your article.

You can read my own Text Optimizer case study here.

What Are the Most Dangerous SEO Myths?

  1. Keyword density… This is one of the most persistent SEO myths out there. Why I dislike it so much is because it fills the web with trash content. Keyword-density focused strategy spoils the brand image and creates lots of problems which take lots of time to fix.
  2. On-page SEO alone will get you to #1. There are so many SEO agencies there that are happy to keep “optimizing” your website but rankings won’t come. The reality, you still need outbound tactics to gain backlinks and external visibility (branding) to achieve higher rankings
  3. SEO is dying… SEO death has been predicted for years now. These days with Google’s new SERPs features that aim at keeping the user using Google, and the fast growth of voice search, SEO is predicted to die soon again

The truth is, SEO is full of ingenuous tools and people. It is evolving together with search engines and it will survive Google’s death one day.

What’s the Best SEO Advice You’ve Received?

There’s a real human being behind each query.

Really if you stop thinking of keywords as “word strings to optimize for” and start seeing them as a real person’s question, SEO becomes much clearer (and more fun).

This mindset helps build more helpful content, optimize for search intent better (why would anyone type this into the search box? What are they willing to do once they find the answer?)

On top of that, by looking at keyword research as something that helps you serve your customer will help you understand your audience better and come up with better products and offers, on a higher-level.

Answer The Public is a nice free tool that turns keyword research into question research helping you to clearer see your readers’ struggles behind their search queries.

answerthepublic

On top of that, the tool also mind-maps the retrieved keywords / questions helping you in brainstorming.

Where Does a Blogger Start with SEO?

As stated above, there’s not much a blogger can do to start with SEO except for creating useful original content.

Here’s also a nice clutter-free introduction into SEO: SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization . Here’s a much easier guide but also one that lists the most essential step: 3 Basic Steps to Making Your New Blog SEO-Friendly. Here’s also a helpful writing checklist that will help you handle the basics:

writing checklist

As you may have noticed, I am not listing a ton of tools here as I don’t want this guide to overwhelm the reader. Those mentioned are a good start!

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