6 SEO Trends for 2014 by Amy Harris
Jan13

6 SEO Trends for 2014 by Amy Harris

10SHARESFacebookTwitter 2013 saw Google busily updating their algorithms with the introduction of Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, designed to target content, link and search quality – like voice search on mobile devices. At the end of 2013 Google took the step that SEO professionals hoped would never happen, but secretly knew was inevitable; they made all organic searches secure, meaning keyword data is now ‘not provided’. Without this data, site owners are no longer able to use their own web analytics software to segment users by keywords. These changes, combined with the exploding markets for smartphones and mobile devices, mean that the SEO landscape of 2014 has changed dramatically. Amy Harris, Community Manager for business website Expert Market offers six SEO trends for the coming year: 1. Exploring a ‘Not Provided’ World Google may be leading the way in hiding keyword referral data but they are by no means alone; IE10, Firefox and Mobile Safari have all followed suit. So in 2014 data will have to be viewed differently and new options will need to be explored. With the new advanced segment UI, questions will be answered but in a different way as it’s the user rather than the individual visit that’s measured. This change will be an important component in a new trend that will force SEO specialists to think differently about the data available. More emphasis will be placed on other sets of data like PPC impressions data, which could be the most accurate for identifying opportunities. 2. Content Marketing Grows Up In 2014 Google will be looking for far more mature and well-rounded content marketing than previously. Existing content being used strategically will have to be re-evaluated and radically altered to meet Google’s demand for regular, helpful and highly-targeted content. This will be engaging content, regularly updated and shared to prove that the site is alive and growing and has some authority. In short, the more effective your content is in addressing your audience’s most common problems, the more this will help your site ranking. 3. Social Signalling Will Increase In the last couple of years, content from networks like Pinterest and Instagram have been fast following in the footsteps of social giants Facebook and Twitter. As the interest in social media continues, appearing on just one or two social networks will not be sufficient in 2014. In fact, a study by the Content Marketing Institute reports that B2B small business marketers juggle an average of five networks at the same time. Again, it’s about knowing your audience and where they like to hang out beyond the obvious selections for your industry. Profiles will become more crafted as...

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The Simplicity of Video SEO
Jan12

The Simplicity of Video SEO

9SHARESFacebookTwitter I’ve been toying around with ‘Video SEO’ from the start of December and I’ve been testing to see if I could get my pages to rank and come up the massive imagery that appears in the search results along with your listing. This is of course supposed to increase your click-through rates (CTR), but unfortunately for this test the keyword that I’m trying to rank for is full of YouTube video pages that also have the ‘video rich snippet’ next to their listings. Take a look: I’m not complaining. It would seem natural for YouTube to rank for these keywords anyway, and of course the page that I’ve created for this also has a YouTube video embedded on it. I’m still listed on the second page with the ‘video rich snippet’ that I’ve been babbling on about, and you can see this here: You can also see that it links to my Google+ account, as I also have authorship implemented on that page, which is pretty cool. But.. I tried testing this on my personal blog, with a different method or the more correct approach to video rich snippets (or so I thought). Methods On one of my websites I tested the video rich snippet feature without using the Schema.org markup. Instead I downloaded a WordPress video embed plugin (no Schema.org involved here) and simply attached an image to the page, so Google could put 2 + 2 together. That’s the website that I explained about above. And my personal blog which I tested the video rich snippet on using Schema.org markup still doesn’t appear to have any ‘video rich snippets’, nor is the god damn authorship picture showing up (that’s a different issue altogether). Here is how it looks in the SERP: There’s obviously something that I’m doing wrong here. I’ll be doing further tests to see whether or not I can get the video rich snippet alongside my listing for my personal blog. For now, I’m pretty happy that it’s worked on my military website. That’s just … awesome. Conclusion It seems that there is no sure way optimise a page with the ‘video rich snippets’, as I’ve come across others having the same results. It just seems to come to down to luck more than anything that you tick all of Google’s algorithmic factors. I could of course be entirely wrong, and perhaps my implementation on my personal blog was a bit too funky for Google. Further tests shall see if this indeed the case....

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Google Search Update (January 11th) + Data
Jan11

Google Search Update (January 11th) + Data

10SHARESFacebookTwitter I’ve seen many websites claiming that a Google search update occurred on the 8th or 9th of January, 2014. While I hadn’t seen any major changes on any of the websites that I own, I did see quite a few increases on one website that I own. Whether it is due to a Google search update or some other mitigating factor is anyone’s guess. However, the website that I’ll be showing the data about is a website that I haven’t actually haven’t touched in quite a while. Google US Google UK   My website is now listed on the first page of that 1,320 search volume keyword, although it is still below the fold. I’m still quite happy with that result and may my website continue to move up. I’ve also seen a nice increase in organic traffic as a result. For now, that’s all. It’s a pretty nice way to start the...

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Optimising Your 404 Page & Creating Opportunities
Jan07

Optimising Your 404 Page & Creating Opportunities

10SHARESFacebookTwitter “You can’t get there from here.” This line has been uttered many times by lost travellers with poor map-reading skills in an attempt to make up for their navigational shortcomings with humor. The truth is, when it comes to an actual physical location, you can always get there–somehow. Cyberspace is not quite so forgiving. Riddled with broken links and dead ends, there are many times when you really can’t “get there” at all. Your destination no longer exists. All that remains is a generic 404 page–an internet brick wall. Unfortunately, that’s bad news for the owner of the destination–the website with the broken link or page that no longer exists. When faced with a standard 404 page, the visitor will likely hit that “back” button and seek a new destination–perhaps, never returning to your site again. How can you prevent these brick walls from scaring away your internet traffic? Knock the wall down and put up a visitor information center in the form of a custom-designed 404 page, instead. Here’s how. 1. Set up a “Welcome Wagon” There is something unsettling about being lost. When faced with a big brick wall, the visitor is likely to also feel frustration–and an overwhelming urge to bang their heads against said wall, while cursing your site’s name again and again. Instead, greet your hapless wanderers with a friendly apology and an explanation. Saying that you are sorry for the broken link and offering some sort of reason for this minor “bump” in the road will ease your visitors’ frustrations and let them know that they have encountered a pleasant neighborhood in cyberspace–one that they will want to spend more time in. 2. Show them the brochure Who will care if the page they were looking for no longer exists! Your site is full of relevant information that promises to entertain and inform and meet all of their online needs. Here are a few things that your new and improved 404 page should include in order to “sell” your site. A “Search” Option. A great way to make your wayward visitor feel less helpless is to empower them with a search tool. This will not only make it easy for them to find exactly what they are looking for, but it will also enable you to find out what types of topics these visitors are interested in. Forget having to strain your brain for content ideas. These lost souls will provide you with oodles of options to choose from. A “Best of” Collection. Why not highlight your masterful writing skills by showcasing links to your most beloved material? Dazzling your visitors with your most...

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After just 10 days Rap Genius is back
Jan04

After just 10 days Rap Genius is back

12SHARESFacebookTwitter It’s taken just 10 days for annotation lyrics website, Rap Genius, to be allowed back into Google’s search results. On the 25 December, 2013 Rap Genius was penalised by Google for engaging in “link schemes”. In a long-winded blog post in Rap Genius’ news section, they described how they managed to get back into Google. They explained that they downloaded the RapGenius.com backlink profile and analysed this data by finding websites that would potentially violate Google’s guidelines. They would then either contact those websites by asking them to remove the links pointing to RapGenius or by asking blog owners to add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to those links. For any links they could not get removed or changed they would add to a disavow list, which they would later submit to Google. They delved into the more technical side of what they did to get back into Google’s search results, which included writing scripts to speed up the process of finding sites that were potentially in violation of Google’s guidelines. However, the question remains whether they’ve managed to succeed in gaining back their old rankings for search terms that were lucrative to their success. Either way, it’s time for them to start the analysing process to see what their rankings look like now. Take a look at these comparison screenshots of what the search results looked like when they were first penalised on the 25 December 2013 to their updated status on the 4 January 2014. When searching for “Rap Genius” on the 25 December, 2013 When searching for “Rap Genius” on the 4 January, 2014 I found this little nugget. Rap Genius appears to back in the search results for Eminem’s song “I’m Back” It’s listed as second place in the SERP after AZ Lyrics, one of the many other lyrics websites that Rap Genius tried to expose when they themselves were exposed. In my opinion they’ve managed to get back in the search results relatively quickly due to the fact they’ve done quite a bit to find unnatural links, by creating scripts, analysing their backlink profile, and being quite open throughout the whole process. If they did indeed communicate with Google throughout this, then their response is one to mark as an example for other big websites that may in the future go through the same...

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Best SEO Tools & Resources You’ll Need in 2014
Jan01

Best SEO Tools & Resources You’ll Need in 2014

39SHARESFacebookTwitter UPDATE: See my new post on the best SEO tools in 2015. I’ve found lists with SEO tools that either aren’t very good or that are outdated, so I thought I’d make my own list of SEO tools that I’m currently using – whether they be extensions for Chrome/Firefox or independent software/programs to help with your search engine optimisation needs. Here are my top 14 SEO tools for 2014: 1. Feed The Bot (On-page recommendations engine) Feed the bot is a website by Patrick Sexton. The website is essentially a tool whereby you enter a URL for page on a site you want to check to verify if it meets Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Another feature allows you to see whether your mobile SEO is up to scratch and will crawl the page and check for the following issues: User experience problems via mobile Mobile performance problems Googlebot access / robots.txt Site load speeds & enhancement recommendations It’s very useful for a quick snapshot to find potential issues. And because ‘mobile SEO’ is becoming a bigger and bigger issue, this tool will be essential for those that are not getting mobile right. I for sure need to look at the mobile UX on this website! 🙂 Website: Feed The Bot 2. URL Profiler URL Profiler is an amazing tool that is suitable for anyone that runs a website. You can use this tool in conjunction with Screaming Frog. I’ve used Screaming Frog to crawl a competitors website and then I’ve run those URLs through URL Profiler to get social metrics such as Facebook and Twitter shares – along with backlink data for those respective pages. It’s also able to give you the data that you’d get from the PageSpeed Insights and Mobile-Friendly tool, to check if your website is mobile-friendly and to give you the score out of 100 that Google gives you when assessing your site’s mobile usability. It’s a great tool and comes at a really cheap cost. There’s a 14 day trial that you can sign up for if you want to take give it a go without having to pay. Website: URL Profiler 3. Screaming Frog I praise this program like no other and it’s definitely a multi-purpose tool that will help you with your SEO needs. The program is primarily for on-site optimisation requirements. If you’re migrating your site (changing URL structures & planning 301 redirects), finding duplicate content, creating meta descriptions, giving an overview of a particular site, and creating technical SEO audits then this tool is definitely for you. There is a paid and a free version of this tool; however, the free version will...

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