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Title Tags & SEO: 3 Golden Rules

It used to be conventional wisdom that title tags should be between 65 and 70 characters in length. Early this year Google began experimenting with a new search layout design that reducesthe number of characters shown to lengths between 48 and 62 characters.

The title tag remains an important part of SEO for one basic reason – it is the overall label for the content of a page, and because the number of characters is limited there isn’t much room to do that much with it.

Have One Distinct Page for Each Major User Need You Address

This is one of the most common mistakes that people make with their sites. Interested visitors to their site have many different types of needs and ways of thinking about their needs that relate to your product or service. For that reason, it is useful to create pages that address each of those major needs.

title-tags-first-golden-rule

To do this I pulled a keyword report from Wordtracker, and after some examination I noticed some patterns. Here are a few keywords that I pulled out of the top 75 keywords:

Resume Writing Title Tag Keyword Patterns

What you notice is three types of categories of keywords:

  1. Global: Keywords that define the whole space.
  2. Regional: For people looking for local help.
  3. Profession specific: Keywords related to the profession of the searcher

Don’t Overdo the Granularity

There are clear limits for how granular you should get. To illustrate the point, let’s look moreclosely at the keyword data. In this chart I show all of the top variants of “global” terms that datareturned to me by Wordtracker:

2nd Golden Rule for Title Tags

There are 23 terms show in this table, but in my original table I ignored all but four of them. I don’t want separate pages for “resume writing services”, “resume writing”, “resume writing service”, and “good resume writing”. Creating all these different pages would offer a really poor user experience, and is also begging for Google’s Panda algorithm to wreak havoc on your site.

Don’t Reuse Title Tags

When we run our crawler on a client’s website, one of the most common problems we see is that many pages use the same title tag. This isn’t a good thing.

Even if the page is different, it is still essentially duplicate content. The title tag is the title for the page! This is why Google and Bing place major weight on this in determining the relevancy of a page.

3rd Golden Rule for Title Tags

You may find cases where you have trouble coming up with different title tags. If you can’t define a distinct title tag for a web page, then why does that page exist?

You may be falling into thin slicing at this point, or you may have some other architecture problems where you are unnecessarily duplicating pages. This is one of the easiest things to detect in anSEO audit, and a really good thing to fix.

Google Analytics Starts Diagnosing Your Tracking Code For Errors

Most sites today use some sort of content management system (CMS) to manage their site. This typically includes common elements like headers, menus, footers, and other code needed, like Google Analytics tracking code.

Specialized one-off landing pages or sites not controlled by a CMS can sometimes lead developers to forget pieces of code. Or perhaps you have that one unique page that tracks certain events or transactions and for whatever reason, the code gets bungled.

Fear not, Google Analytics has an update that, when rolled out, will help resolve those situations.

Announced yesterday, Google Analytics will now help diagnose the tracking code on your pages to help you determine which pages have botched tracking code or conflicts in filters.

ga-diagnostics

Google Analytics Diagnostics will be rolling out as a beta test with just a handful of users in an attempt to help site analysts discover issues that cause incorrect data to be collected or not collected at all in many cases.

Analytics Diagnostics will “frequently” scan your site for issues with tagging, account configurations, tracking code and reporting data for issues that may potentially lead to data-quality issues.

This new diagnostics feature is being unrolled slightly differently from other beta features. On theirblog post, the Google Analytics team said it won’t be released to all users until they receive more feedback and improve the system and “it will take some time to get there.”

However, if you really can’t wait and want to get on the waiting list, the Analytics team will let you request to signup. To do so, fill out this form, and your interest in helping test may be considered.

Interestingly, the form asks if your company has ever signed a non-disclosure agreement with Google. That question suggests that you may need to sign an NDA to be qualified.

The Top 3 Social Media Trends for 2014

The Top 3 Social Media Trends for 2014The Top 3 Social Media Trends for 2014

A review of social media marketing in 2013 has produced several “must have” trends for every 2014 marketing plan. As you round out your marketing budgets and put the finishing touches on your well planned strategies, here’s what you need to know in order to reach your customers more effectively in the New Year:

1.Thoroughly understand your audience and product or serviceIn 2009,the University of California published a report in which they concluded that the average person sees over 34 billion bits of information every day. 34 billion bits of information equates to reading approximately two books per day. As a result of processing so much information, people are beginning to tune out; their attention is becoming a rare commodity. What does this mean for you? It means you need to have an acute understanding of your audience and how your product or service relates to them. In a high “Pinterest-ized” social media world, you need a visual, shareable message that demands and holds limited attention within seconds.

2.Mobilized material is a mustPeople are leaving desktop technology behind and flocking to their smart phone and tablet devices. The Pew Internet & American Life Project published a research paper in which they determined over 90 percent of Americans own a mobile device,  and 57 percent of them surf the Internet with those devices. Smart phones are quickly outnumbering other types of technology, ushering in what many are dubbing “the mobile revolution.” It is imperative that businesses take their digital properties beyond mere mobile optimization in 2014. Digital properties need to be responsive and adaptive, able to fluidly change and respond to the viewing capabilities of any mobile device. Audiences are also expecting the delivery of real time information based on relevance and location, which means digital properties must be search engine optimized for local search parameters. Audiences are expecting one-to-one personalization, and mobile technology is handing business owners the ability to give it.

3.Out with analytic and in with predictive tools. Thus far, we have grown accustomed to simple analytic tools, the ones that give us basic information. Today, we are rapidly moving into the era of predictive tools. Predictive means that today’s tools use diverse techniques from data mining, machine learning, modeling and statistics to drive the analysis of current and historical information, thereby making predictions. It’s currently too early to tell exactly how this trend will evolve in 2014, but one thing is certain: simple tools no longer excite. The world and its audience are looking for ways to use all of the diverse data at their fingertips, meaning predictive technologies will find new traction in 2014.

These three general trends for 2014 all focus on a simple concept: effectively understanding and reaching your audience wherever they will be found. We can expect 2014 to be the year of positive customer experience and exemplary customer service.

Google Supports New Schema for Multiple Business Phone Numbers

Google Supports New Schema for Multiple Business Phone Numbers:If you haven’t been using any rich markup schema on your website, you’re missing out on some opportunities for search engines to better semantically understand your website. At the very minimum, most site should use authorship markup.

Site owners concerned with local SEO should really be taking a look at it. But now there’s a new reason. Googlebot is better learning how to understand business location information like specific phone numbers for departments or multiple locations.

Recently announced, Google launched support for new schema.org markup that helps your organization define specific preferred phone numbers when listed on your website.

Out of the gate, the new schema is supporting different phone numbers for:

  • Customer service
  • Technical support
  • Billing support
  • Bill payment

Here’s an example:

Nest Labs Phone Number Schema

Itemprop parameters also allow you to indicate:

  • if a number is toll-free
  • if TTY/TDD service is available for deaf or hard-of-hearing
  • if the number is specific to a country, certain countries, or is global

Google is recommending this new schema, along with other schema for hours of operation, address, and other information, be placed on a business’ location page. To help take the confusion out of the process for adding this markup, Google has updated Webmasters guidelines with recommendations for creating location pages for local businesses and organizations.

Businesses with multiple locations should truly benefit from this new schema format. In the age of location-aware, semantic search, it’s ever-important to have the search engines understand your business, be it department-specific or location-specific.

Important aspects of PPC advertising for managing campaigns.

Important aspects of PPC advertising for managing campaigns.Quality is more important than quantity.

‘Quality’ traffic refers to traffic that is well-targeted. This means that the visitors:

  • are looking for what you are advertising
  • enter the site and look around
  • complete a transaction or become a lead (i.e. convert)
  • come from countries and regions that you are interested in
  • return to visit your site again

Quality traffic will bring you a higher percentage of success, in terms of seeing your visitors complete a transaction, or subscribe to the service that you provide.

How to use tracking to evaluate PPC campaigns

A tracking service will allow you to:

  1. Check how effective clicks are and adjust campaigns accordingly:
  • see which keywords and search terms bring more visitors
  • learn which advertising copy is most effective
  • know which source/ search engine brings the best results:
  • at the right price per click (cost acquisition per customer)
  • determine conversion rate and set goals
  1. Accountability: make sure you are getting what you pay for
  • source of traffic: country, etc
  • how long do they stay, how many pages viewed? Average number of page views from one search engine might be lower than another

What can a tracking system tell you about the quality of your traffic?

Low quality traffic may overload your server(s), spike your traffic & frustrate you. More importantly it is a waste of time, money, and resources. It will create false expectations. A tracking system will tell you if / why your traffic is low quality.

  1. Does it come from a country which is not your market? For example a place where most people do not have credit cards or are not interested in buying real estate in Canada, because they live in China.
  2. Do the visitors land on your homepage and leave without clicking any further? Visit duration is an important statistic which tells you if people are interested in your site. How many pages do the visitors look at?
  3. Are the visitors presented with a link to your site when they search for a related keyword or search term? This is called phrase matching. The worst-case scenario is when your link is presented randomly, or as a pop-up.

Where should I buy PPC advertising traffic?

There are many sources to purchase clicks from, we recommend that you try more than one service, and compare results. Many sites use search results originating from a small number of search engines. This type of system is called a “content network”. The major PPC vendors such as Google and Yahoo also place content within their own networks. For example, they place advertisements alongside like content.

The PPC vendors distinguish between ‘Sponsored Search’ results and ‘Content Match’ placements. Sponsored searches place results alongside search engine results. Content match places results near articles, email content, forums, etc. In our experience you will obtain a higher conversion rate with sponsored searches, which also cost more.

Statistics on the subject of where searches are conducted vary widely. Estimates for Google, the leader, are as high as 80%. The leaders after Google are Yahoo, Bing. Many smaller search engines come and go, as they are purchased and incorporated into the larger search engines.

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