Are You Ready for #Mobilegeddon?

You may have heard that Google will be conducting a ‘mobile friendly’ update to start April 21. It will be anything but ‘friendly’ to your search traffic if you have not made your website responsive or created a mobile only site which mirrors your desktop website, with the correct annotations.

Google made an official announcement, on February 26th, that mobile-friendliness will become a major ranking signal and ‘will have a significant impact in our search results.’ Looking at our Google Analtyics stats, I see that our mobile (smartphone) traffic accounts for almost 30% of our traffic. Ouch. This could mean a big hit to our organic traffic if the website is not mobile friendly. Luckily, we have a responsive website, but there are still some improvements to be made for this update.

The Google gods don’t always tell us about their updates. If you remember Panda and others, we are often left wondering WTH when our traffic suddenly dropped off. This time, they are not only letting us know, but they are also giving us tips and tools to prepare for the update.

Tools to Check Your Website for Mobile Friendliness

Use these tools to help test and find out how to improve your website for this update.

Mobile Friendly Test
Tests your website to see if it is mobile friendly
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

Page Speed Insights
Primary to making your site mobile friendly, is that ‘above the fold’ content must load quickly – under one second! Check your page speed here:
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Make your CMS Mobile Friendly
If you are using a CMS, like WordPress, Drupal or Blogger, go here for tips on how to optimize your CMS website.
https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/website-software/

Are you prepared for Mobilegeddon? Take the Poll!

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Website Traffic Tip: Stop Linking to Your Home Page!

When you practice inbound marketing, you want to encourage visits to your website with links to content. You do this to drive traffic, increase your social signals and encourage visits from people who are getting to know you. One mistake novices make, is to link back to their home page, over, and over, and over again.  Don’t do this.

You want to link to content, like an educational blog post or landing page with a valuable offer, instead of your home page. This creates ‘deep links’. You want to deep links because:

  1. this gives your website authority and credibility with the search engines
  2. you will have an increased opportunity to rank for your keywords
  3. you are providing your potential customers with content they want to read.

Write this down. Don’t forget. Deep link.

Focus on SEO

focus-2

As mentioned in my ‘Be Found’ post, I review many websites,  to make recommendations about how they might be improved.

With regard to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the same issues occur with almost every website I review. The on-page SEO is seriously lacking!

Why On-Page SEO is Important

First, you may ask, ‘What the heck is on-page SEO’? Very simply, it is a way to attract more visitors through natural (organic) search. Ultimately it means that you will not have to pay as much for online ads!

On-Page SEO consists of placing your most important keywords/phrases within the content elements of your web pages. These on-page elements include:

  • Unique Title tags without the company name (Max 70 characters)
  • Unique Meta Descriptions (Max 130 characters)
  • URLs
  • Headlines
  • Subheads
  • Body content
  • Image tags (alt tags)
  • Links

A Word About the Meta Description Tag

The Meta Description tag is not necessarily something that the search engines (SEs) use to understand the topic of your web page. It is, however, one of the elements, along with your website name and URL, that people see when they search. Think of it as a small advertisement and as an opportunity to entice people to click on your link.

On- Page SEO can be a time consuming, tedious task, but well worth it when you consider that:

  • Your pages will be more focused and therefore relevant to your visitors
  • If done well, your web pages will rank higher in organic search – hopefully within at least the top five results – saving you money when it comes to paid ads.

It’s Worth It

Organic Search StatsAfter making changes to the website I work on, and optimizing pages for on-page SEO, our traffic from organic sources increased by a whopping 52% vs. the previous year! Our overall unique visits have increased by 45%. So, yes, taking the time to focus on your SEO is most definitely an investment worth the time!

Be Found Online – Top 10 Tips

 

seo-biz upIn my day job, I am frequently asked to evaluate websites and recommend strategies and tactics to attract visitors. I also work on our corporate website to continuously improve its ability to attract customers. The efforts have been successful with a 50% increase in organic search! As you may know, organic search can significantly reduce the need for you to spend money on Search Engine Marketing, such as Google Adwords.

In this  post I want to share my top 10 tips to be found online through organic search.

What is SEO?

First, you need an understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It simply means optimizing your website in a way that will make a search engine’s spiders able to efficiently “crawl” and index your website. The content you create, the keywords you target and the way you optimize each page relate to SEO.

As you go about creating, or revising, your website and its content, keep the following tips in mind.

Top 10 Tips

1. Know Your Customers, or ‘Personas’.

Develop customer profiles, or Personas, to help you create valuable and relevant content.

‘Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.’ Hubspot

google-yahoo-bing2. Research Keywords

  • Researching keywords that people use to find your website is one of the most valuable actions you can take to increase your Search Engine (SE) ranking.
  • The simplest way to research keywords is to search for terms that you think your customers will use to find you. Or you can use free or paid tools.
  • Make sure you use your keywords in title tags, H1 headlines, alt tags and your content (if working with a web developer they should be able to help you with this).

 Bonus Tip: Long tail keywords like ‘Cost of widgets in Toronto’ are better than individual keywords, like ‘widgets’, which is too broad a search term and would have a tendency to return unrelated search terms .

3. Continuously Create Content with New Web Pages & Blog Posts

  • Remember that content is king
  • When creating content think about the value to your customers that you want each page to provide first, and then which keywords match that value.
  • A website with accurate well-placed keywords but with very poor content will not rank well.
  • Blogging regularly is a great way to increase SEO rankings.
  • When shared on social networks a blog can increase total traffic to your website.
  • Blogs help businesses to satisfy both customers and SEs by providing:
  • Relevant information
  • Backlinks from other blogs and high quality sites.

4. Make Your Content Unique

  • Make sure you’re not duplicating content – Google will penalize you and send your rankings to the bottom of the list.

5. Name Your Web Pages with Descriptive URLS

  • Choose descriptive URLs that accurately describe the content you’d expect to find on the page.
  • The cleaner and more descriptive a URL is (not longer) the easier it will be for a SE to identify the relevance of the content on a page.

6. Backlinks

  • Backlinks are links that lead to your website.
  • To SEs the number of backlinks is a strong indicator of the quality and popularity of your website.
Social Media

Engage in Social Media

7. Engage Frequently on Social Media to Increase Your Business’ Social Signal

  • Social signals are the new link building tool.
  • Google measures your website’s ‘pulse rate’ on social media channels.
  • Allows you to create many backlinks when you post web pages or blog posts to, for example, Facebook, which link back to your website.
  • Creates an opportunity for others to share your content, which will help increase your social signal and SE rank.

8. Include Photos and Videos

  • Get extra search ranking points by including photos, images like InfoGraphics, videos and audio files where possible.
  • For images, make sure you use alt tags and for videos, include short descriptions.

9. Think Local

  • Incorporate your location(s) into your website content wherever it makes sense and be sure to have a page of content setup for each location that you serve.
  • Get listed/claim your pages in location based services and directories like Google+, Google Places, Yahoo listings and Bing Business Pages.

10. Keep It Fresh!

  • Search engines are content and link hungry. Add new content on a regular basis.
  • Update not just the content but also the look of your website, if it’s not been done in the past 2 years, so that your company maintains an up-to-date image with your visitors. If you don’t yet have a website, you need to get one.

To get the most out of your online visitors, you also need to think about how to convert them to leads … but I’ll leave that for another day!