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7 Top SEO Techniques for 2017 and Beyond …

 

SEO Techniques

You can guarantee in the SEO world, someone will on an annual basis release a string of techniques guaranteed to boost your website to the top of Google overnight.

You can rest easy; this is not one of these lists. The solid strategies and actions listed in this post are timeless and will bring results in the medium to long term.

An important fact to take on board is that search engine optimisation is a process that must be implemented on a continuous basis, respect the quality guidelines of Google and other search engines, with a user focus.

The list of techniques to follow Is just a starting point and not the magic formula of SEO.

 

1 – Research your target audience and how your people search

This technique is known as keyword research. Today the definition of the terms we will use to optimize the content of a page is not limited to the average volume of monthly searches of a word.

It is, of course, important to determine the volume of monthly searches for a particular word, but we should also be concerned with the intention to search, or as Google ranked, the micro-moments of the research: I want to know, I want to go, I want to go and I want to buy.

Having an understanding of the search results for a certain vertical search is essential in gaining a good position?

If you adopt a reverse engineering in Google

if the results for a given search return vertical images and videos it is understood that users who search for that subject are interested in these content formats.

By working with images and videos on content we show Google that we understand what users are looking for and are rewarded with improved positioning.

 

2 – Implement the SSL / HTTPs security certificate

This is pretty basic and if you did not you are still missing out on a great opportunity to earn precious positions on Google. Yes, I’m talking about installing or enabling SSL, the famous HTTPS.

In 2014, Google confirmed that sites that started using SSL / HTTPS would benefit from organic results. For anyone who is a veteran in SEO knows that it is not always that Google comes to the public and confirms a ranking factor.

Today there are several companies offering security certificates at very affordable prices and others are free such as Let’s Encrypt and CloudFlare.

Regardless of which one to choose, just follow this step-by-step for a safe and risk-free migration of organic performance:

HTTP 301 redirect to HTTPS;

Test the site with the tool: https://dev.ssllabs.com/ssltest/;

Change all internal site links to HTTPS (requests for scripts, styles, images, etc.);

Update all Canonical tags for HTTPS;

Change to HTTPs in Google Analytics (Property Settings);

Create new Search Console with HTTPS address;

Create new Sitemap with URLs in HTTPS;

Submit the new Sitemap in Search Console;

Check if robots.txt is blocking some important page;

Integrate Analytics with the new Search Console;

 

3 – Optimize for Mobile First

In November 2016, Google announced that it will now consider the content of the mobile version of a page to assign its placement, even on the desktop. Welcome to on-page optimisation 3.0!

In the webinar I recently taught for the company owner of this blog, I presented some optimisation techniques for mobile first. Recalling that the move to mobile first index has not yet occurred and should happen in the second half of 2017 globally.

In short, make sure your mobile content is as complete as the desktop version and optimise the familiar elements of traditional on-page optimisation such as titles, meta descriptions, heading tags, images, loading time and more.

 

4 – Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

The main goal of the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project is to quickly load pages on mobile devices, even on low-speed connections. AMP pages have the code free of scripts and other elements that usually delay loading.

In Google’s mobile results, AMP pages are increasingly in evidence, whether in the carousels at the top of the results or in the icons in the snippet descriptions.

Developing AMP pages for your website or your customers is one of the fastest ways to reach the top of mobile search results.

 

5 – Invest in User Experience

Since I started working with SEO 10 years ago, one of the first things I learned was that it should focus on the user. At the time I confessed I did not pay much attention to the subject.

But for a few years now, more precisely since Rank Brain was incorporated into the algorithm in October 2015, focusing on the user has never been so important to achieve good results with SEO.

Modern layouts, content layout, concise and objective navigation, information architecture among other elements should be part of the search engine optimisation work.

Recently we ran a test on one of our customers where we only changed the layout, improved the mobile experience and reduced loading time. Observe how the “visibility trend” jumps from less than 20% to 40%. In terms of number of positions we are talking about a jump from the 4th to the 1st position, for extremely competitive words and of high relevance for our client’s business.

Source: semrush.com

6 – Content still reigns

“Content is king,” is another jargon I’ve heard since I started working with digital marketing. And it remains one of the most important points for the success of an SEO job.

But after all, what kind of content makes organic results successful?

I could extend this answer by paragraphs, but I will be brief. The type of content that makes search success is one that has been written with a focus on the users and answers all the doubts in relation to a certain theme.

A very simple tip for producing quality content is to analyse the top 10 organic results. If the content you want to write is no better than them, do not waste time.

 

7 – Links, Links, Links

Links, Backlinks, Hyperlinks, no matter what you call them, they remain the main factor of Google’s ranking. Whether they are internal or external, the former being less relevant than the latter, but still very important.

A well-built internal link structure makes a huge difference in the organic placement of a site’s pages. So if you still do not use breadcrumbs or do not point links from within the content to other pages you better start.

External links are harder to win, but they make the difference. There are several ways to get an external link, such as:

  • Guest Blogging
  • Infographics
  • Business partners and suppliers (excellent for B2B)
  • Releases

 

Conclusion

SEO is not a black box and as you may realise there is no need to have programming skills to have a well optimised website. SEO is one more of the various disciplines of digital marketing and should be looked at as such. Focus on the target audience, communicate and promote your products and services, which will succeed in the organic results of Google and other search engines.

 

 

Master this Link Building Technique for Continued Success

Link Building

 

 

Need a timeless tip for winning quality links without breaking Google’s quality guidelines. Read on and discover that this is the only link building technique you will ever need to master.

Build links as if Google did not exist

Number one tip, build links as if Google did not exist. Simple, isn’t it?

Link Building is actually older than SEO. One of the biggest authorities on the subject Eric Ward started building links to promote online companies like Amazon years before Google existed.

Without the need to pass “PageRank” these links had to take qualified visits to the sites. According to Eric, this type of link is of utmost importance to an SEO strategy, for the simple fact that they are built thinking of generating traffic and not “pleasing” Google.

Different types of links

Before we go hunting for these links you need to know the different types that exist. Eric Ward has organised them into three categories.

Links that help in branding

Some news portals even include the link, but use the attribute rel = nofollow, this link has no influence on the organic position of the page that receives it. But, being mentioned in a Leaf or Staging greatly increases brand recognition.

Links that help in positioning

They are those of all life, on a relevant site, of good authority, with the keyword in the anchor text and without the attribute re = nofollow.

Links that generate traffic

As the name itself says, they are links that generate visits from sites where the link was inserted.

Yes, it is possible to conquer links that help in branding; positioning and breaking generate reference traffic.

Now that you know the different types of links, let’s talk about how and where to find them.

Define Clusters and People

Just as in a content marketing project, the success of a successful link-building campaign begins with defining the clusters and personas of the target audience they are going to write to.

The takeaway here is to identify where and how your audience consumes content. It is on these sites, portals and blogs that you should try to conquer links.

Identify portals, blogs, and websites with a fair hearing

Needless to say, these portals should be relevant to your business or to your customers. Having enough audience is the same as having high volumes of access, ideally, consider all sources traffic, but I usually only look at the volumes of organic and paid accesses, as I see this already enough to define if the site has a good visitation.

To do this, I use the SEMRUSH domain analysis tool.

The link must have editorial value

Conquering links on large news portals is no easy task, but if the link has editorial value, chances of success increase. Basically, journalists should always refer to their sources, so make the link become a reference source in the content. With this, its inclusion becomes mandatory.

In the example below, as the auction would occur online the insertion of the link to the site in question complements the matter making the link has editorial value.

Review display campaigns

Analysing traffic from display campaigns is another way of identifying sites with the potential to gain links that can generate quality traffic.

It is important to emphasize that it is not enough to select the channels that generate the most hits, it is essential to analyse the engagement. For this, analyse the rejection rate, average time per visit and number of pages per visit.

Press Advisory Training

Press offices are great allies of the link building teams or at least they should be. So one of the first tasks that we perform when starting an SEO project is to provide a training for the advisory if the client has one.

This training does not have to be complex, the important thing is to highlight the importance of the link, how and where to insert it into a release and present some communication strategies for the link to be maintained in the release.

Keep calm and follow-up

Despite the training, not always the press officers will “fight” for the link. Even because it is not their obligation, what they have to do is conquer the insertion of matter in the vehicle.

It is then that the work of monitoring the mentions to the mark enters and follow up with the publications that did not insert the link. Remember to align this communication with the advice to avoid setbacks. Ensure there and the client’s endorsement so they can get in touch with the vehicles.

Conclusion

Forget Google when link building, focus on communicating with the target audience and the potential that a site has in generating referral traffic. By doing this you will never again have to worry about Penguins, Pandas or any other zoo animal from Google updates.

 

Mobile First. Google Prioritises Mobile over Desktop.

With desktop browsing decreasing and mobile browsing taking over, Google are switching their emphasis to the mobile version of your site as its primary source for content and ranking signals.

More web browsing takes place on smartphones and tablets than on desktop computers, a shift which is set to see Google using mobile content for all search ranking data.

Desktop Versus Mobile Versus Tablet

StatCounter gathers data from 2.5 million websites across the world and reports that in November 2016, mobile took over from desktop as the most common method to browse the web.

Google Mobile First

 

Whilst the UK still favours the desktop overall, it will only be a matter of time before the pendulum swings in favour of the mobile on our region too.

 

Google Mobile First UK

Google, well aware of the rise of the mobile, have been talking for some time about switching their emphasis from analysing desktop versions of websites to mobile website as their primary source of ranking signals. Aptly named Mobile First, Google have been experimenting using Mobile First for some time in their search results.

What is Mobile First?

Google will use the mobile version of your website as its primary source for content and ranking signals of your website.

Your website’s mobile content will be indexed and used for Google’s search engine listings for both desktop and mobile users.

If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, Google will revert to your desktop website.

Aodhan Cullen, of Statcounter warned;

“This should be a wake up call especially for small businesses, sole traders and professionals to make sure that their websites are mobile friendly. Many older websites are not.”

What Should You Do?

The Mobile First index has not yet been rolled out. In fact Google have suggested that this will be rolled out in phases, probably throughout 2017.

If your website is responsive, meaning the content is the same across mobile and desktop, you should be fine, but if your website content is different across mobile and desktop, you should think about making changes.

Next Steps

If you’re unsure whether your website is ready for Google’s Mobile First index, get in touch with our SEO team for a free consultation. We’ll review your website and help you understand whether you need to consider making changes to your website.

5 Social Video Tips to Promote Your Business

 

Social Video

 

Social video is big business with Facebook and Snapchat fetching over 8 billion daily video views. We must not forget YouTube’s 1 billion plus viewers who are also viewing hundreds of millions of hours of online video every day.

Making the best use of Social Video to promote your business can be simple and does not require a degree in film or a professional video team to make it work. If you are a small business owner with an iPhone, there’s an opportunity to make video work for you.

Any business that’s not utilising social video and promoting it on social media is missing out on a huge opportunity. Our guide ‘5 Social Video Tips to Promote Your Business’ will help you better understand the concept and where it will fit into your marketing plan.

1.Tell a story

One reason why video is so effective is because humans historically prefer storytelling when sharing information. The advantage of using video, enables you to have much more freedom in telling a visual story as opposed to using single photos. You will have a lot more content to work with by adding sound or visual copy.

2. Share Natively

We often see people using the same URL for a video across all of their various social channels, and while that may seem efficient, its actually not the best approach. Since native content hosted within the platform you are on – is always prioritised and optimised, you want to make sure that you’re uploading videos natively to all your different platforms, whether its You tube, Facebook, or Twitter. videos that are uploaded natively perform better than any other kind of content.

3.Use Text

One of our top tips is to make sure you use copy in your videos. It’s the best way to grab people’s attention when they scroll through their feeds, and can be effective even when your audience has the sound muted.

4.Be Part of the conversation

Timing is critical for social media. We often see great campaigns come about because their creators were able to respond quickly to something that was trending and contributed to the conversation in a timely manner. Stock imagery and video (like those from Animoto partner iStock by Getty Images) can be your secret time saving weapon in creating your video, so you can focus your efforts on telling that great story quickly rather than trying to take a bunch of photos or videos yourself.

5.Engage the Customer

People are more likely to share video campaigns that they feel involved in. An example of this happened in 2010, a response campaign was created by Old Spice to capitalise on the success of a previous video campaign. They worked alongside the production team and actor and after spending a couple of days responding to real viewers in video form, generated 40 million views, 1 billion impressions, and increased sales by 27 percent. A good example of how powerful a video campaign can be.

Use these 5 handy tips to kick start your video campaign and embrace the power of Social Marketing to promote your business.

 

10 Interesting Emoji Facts

Emoji facts

 

Those little smiley faces and symbols that we send to our friends and families via our mobile phones to convey our emotions is a widespread practice that has been around for a very long time. There are many different Emoji’s that we use in social media channels, however where do they originate from and how long have they been around? Here are 10 interesting facts about the Emoji.

  1. Emoji are now integral in the digital vocabularies of not only individuals, but also by companies.
  2. The Emoji originated in Japan, created by Shigetaka Kurita who worked for the mobile communication company DoCoMo.
  3. Emoji were originally created to be used as a means of communication through pictures to save on data usage.
  4. Apple noticed the potential in Emoji and launched the first Emoji Keyboard in 2010.
  5. Emoji became standardised by Unicode which allowed images to be recognised on all devices.
  6. Emoji faces are far more detailed and represent a wider range of emotions more so than Emoticons.
  7. In 2015, Emoji was named the fastest growing language as well as named the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year.
  8. Coca-Cola was one of the first companies to use Emoji as an effective marketing tool.
  9. Coca-Cola were also one of the first corporate giants to launch an emoji domain name.
  10. Coca-Cola used a branded Emoji to set a new world record for the “Worlds Largest Cheers”

So there we have it, share with your family and friends our 10 interesting facts on the Emoji  J LJ

Google to Rank Mobile Websites

Google to Rank Mobile Websites

Google have recently made another search related announcement. Reacting to the fact that most searches are conducted from mobile devices, search results will be ranked according to sites’ mobile content.

Google have announced they have begun experiments to make its index mobile-first. This emphasises that mobile searchers are more important than the rest and with the recent splitting of mobile and desktop indexing it comes as no surprise that webmasters will have to make the mobile versions of their website as compliant as required.

Google has stated that it will be gradually introduced over the coming months. The ranking algorithms will ultimately look to the mobile index to determine how results should be ordered.

Google has stressed that desktop users are not going to be abandoned.

Google summarised the change in the following statement:

“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.

Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices. We understand this is an important shift in our indexing and it’s one we take seriously. We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience”.

So has this current change been on the cards since the introduction of mobile geddon early last year. Only Google can answer that question.

One thing is for sure, mobile usability on all websites will be updated very quickly now it has been announced that it is a ranking factor.

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Google Penguin 4.0 Update Is Live

Google Penguin

 

Google has recently confirmed on their webmaster blog that they’ve began rolling out the Penguin 4.0 update.

The last confirmed Penguin update (3) was just under two years ago in October 2014 and this latest announcement will be the last time Google confirms a Penguin update again. Penguin will now become part of Google’s core algorithm running in real time so recovery from issued penalties will be quicker .

It’s important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals Google use to determine rank.

These are the key changes you will see now the Penguin update is live:

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page. It also means we’re not going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

The waiting game begins now for webmasters and SEO’s alike to see what impact this latest algorithm will have on their websites.

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Is Your Website Secure?

Secure online payment icon - green bar with ssl and browser

When you are next browsing a website, ask yourself a question, is the site I am on secure? How do you know and how can you find out?

Google Chrome is committed to helping users browse the web safely. When browsing their pages there is an icon in the address bar indicating the connection is secure.

In the past Google Chrome has not labelled HTTP connections as non-secure. However as from January 2017 Chrome will mark HTTP websites that transmit credit card details and passwords as non secure and this is the start of a long term strategy to mark all HTTP websites as non-secure.

A neutral indicator currently indicates HTTP connections in Chrome. This doesn’t really provide a true reflection of security for HTTP connections. A website loaded over HTTP potentially allows someone else on the network to look at or modify the site before it gets to you.

To combat this security flaw, a substantial amount of websites have made the transition to HTTPS and usage is consistently increasing with more than half of Chrome desktop page loads now served over HTTPS.

Google stated in their HTTPS report on February 12 that more of the top 100 websites have changed their serving default from HTTP to HTTPS. Their studies showed that users surfing the web do not always see a “secure” icon as a warning and they become oblivious to warnings that occur too frequently.

Google plans to label HTTP sites as non-secure in a clear and concise way. This process will take place gradually and will be based on a stringent criteria. Their advice however is to move to the HTTPS platform now rather than later and states that it is easier and cheaper than ever before.

The move to HTTPS will enable the best performance the web can offer and offers powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. For details on how to make the transition to HTTPS check out Google’s setup guides on how to get started.

What is AMP?

AMP

What is AMP we may ask?

The following article will explain what AMP is and how it will affect your website. Mobile websites are expected to load pages instantly although on occasions it has been known to take a number of seconds. The fact is that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The new Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is an open source initiative to improve the mobile web experience for all users. Accelerated Mobile Pages are HTML pages that prioritize speed and provide a faster experience for users by loading content almost instantaneously.This feature will encourage website owners to adapt this new initiative to improve their page loading speeds.

The sites who have created Amp will later in the year be rewarded with expanded exposure across the entire Google Mobile Search results page. For example travel sites recipe sites, entertainment and e-commerce sites will experience the benefit of having Accelerated Mobile Pages.

The AMP format is supported by a wide variety of platforms, including Google Search. If a web page listed in Google’s search results has a valid version, Search may direct mobile users to the cached AMP.

More information on creating Accelerated Mobile Pages for your website can be found in Google Search Console.

Hedgehog Digital have adapted Accelerated Mobile Pages to give their users the ultimate mobile experience. Hedgehog Digital produce stunning, modern website designs for organisations of all sizes, spanning pretty much every industry you can think of. What we do is simple, quick and easy. We won’t blast you with jargon, we’ll just aim to exceed your expectations with the minimum amount of fuss.

We’re proud of our reputation and we are easy to find and we’d love for you to get in touch for a friendly chat about your requirements. We will produce a quick, free, no obligation quotation based exactly on what you need.

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New Page Layout for Facebook

Facebook

The world’s most famous social media platform ‘Facebook’ have developed a new page layout on their website.

The new page design incorporates a new navigation section,prominent call to action button, cover images and ad free pages.

Although all of the same features have been retained, Facebook has reorganized them in a more appealing and efficient order.

Profile pictures will no longer appear on your cover image and will instead appear at the top left of your page above the new navigation section.

Below your profile picture and page name you’ll find a new navigation system for friends to look at different sections of your Facebook page, about, videos, photos, posts, and events.

You will have the option to customize your navigation section depending on the type of business you run. You can now create and connect tabs to show content from your other social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

With profile pictures now displaying on the right side, your profile picture will no longer interfere with your cover image. Facebook cover images will still remain the same size at 828×315 pixels.

There is a new blue prominent call-to-action button beneath your cover photo. This button will allow you to invite your Facebook friends to take an action on your website.

Another change that will appeal to some users is that pages are now entirely ad free where as in the past ads have appeared on the right side. This change will be welcomed by public users more than business users.

So will users like the new layout changes, one thing is for sure Facebook will continue to dominate the social media platforms regardless of changes in page layout.

 

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