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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION IN 2018 THE STRATEGIES WILL WIN
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SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION IN 2018 THE STRATEGIES WILL WIN

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION IN 2018 THE STRATEGIES WILL WIN: Search engine optimization best-practices are always evolving. That’s why it’s important to know about the latest trends in Search Engine Optimization in 2018.

  • This year, it’s all about.
  • Getting ranked in more search engines than just Google
  • Mobile ready and fast page speed
  • A great user experience
  • Pumping out a ton of content
  • Optimizing for voice search
  • Acquiring natural links
  • Read the rest in the article below.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION IN 2018

You might think that the strategies you were using a couple of years ago will work just fine today. That’s not necessarily the case.

For starters, the technology has changed recently. You’ll need to adapt your efforts accordingly.

Also, your competitors are probably using some of the more common SEO techniques. You can outwit them with more contemporary (and less popular) strategies.

To win in this game, you need to understand all the latest bells and whistles. Let’s look at several of them.

Your 2018 Search Engine Optimization Strategy Should be AMP..lified

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) has rightfully earned the #1 spot on the list of 2018 SEO trends.

Why? Because the world is becoming more mobile.

As a result, Google loves sites that cater to people on a mobile platform. One of the best ways to do that is to adopt AMP technology.

If you’re unfamiliar with AMP, it loads your website pages in a jiffy. That gives mobile users a better experience.

Google tends to favor user-friendly pages in the mobile search results. If your site takes too long to load, you can expect that it won’t rank well.

AMP can solve that problem for you.

Page Speed is an Important SEO Initiative in 2018

Speaking of page speed, you should ensure that your site loads quickly for desktop users as well.

Although the world is moving towards mobility, that doesn’t mean desktop is extinct. People still love their laptops and large monitors.

If you’re running a website that’s a software-as-a-service app, you especially need to make sure that your site loads quickly. Otherwise, you’ll lose customers.

You’ll also lose rank. As a result, your content marketing efforts won’t reach as many potential customers.

Do yourself a favor: run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to make sure that it loads quickly.

SEO is Moving to Mobile-First Index in 2018

Have you heard? Google is moving to a mobile-first index.

In fact, the new index is already in the process of rolling out.

That means the Googlebot will crawl your site as if it were using a mobile device instead of a desktop device. The bot will “see” your site through a mobile screen.

So if your site is user-hostile to people on a smartphone, tablet, or phablet, the Googlebot will pick up on that. Your site will likely suffer in rank.

The best way to prepare your site for the mobile-first index is to equip it with a responsive design. That means it will look great on a screen of any size.

However, it does not need to be responsive. There are all AMP sites being built, mobile subdomains other methods that also work.

Also, use Google’s mobile-friendly test to make sure that your site looks great for a mobile audience.

If You Haven’t Moved to HTTPS Now is the Time 

We’re getting to the point where it’s mandatory to have a website that uses the secure HTTPS protocol instead of the insecure HTTP protocol.

For starters, Google gives a bit of a ranking bump to sites that use HTTPS.

Beyond that, Google Chrome will mark all non-HTTPS sites as “Not secure.” That will happen starting in July 2018.

If you have a website that you’re trying to position as an authority on a subject, it’s going to be difficult to accomplish that when Google Chrome users see “Not secure” in their browser bar as they’re reading your content.

Also, Google advises all new sites to start with HTTPS.

It’s time to move to HTTPS if your site is still using HTTP. It will cost you some money (probably about $100 per year), but it’s an investment that should give you some great returns.

RankBrain is Becoming More Important for Search Engine Optimization in 2018 

RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning algorithm that helps it process search queries.

How does it affect your SEO strategy? You can think of RankBrain as a live person evaluating your content to determine if it’s a suitable match for a keyword.

That means RankBrain will go beyond simple keyword placement sprinkled throughout an article and included in the title. It will look at the content itself to determine if it’s related to the search term.

Then, RankBrain will evaluate that content against other content online to determine where it should rank (hence the name).

Bottom line: produce quality content that’s optimized for your keyword. RankBrain will take notice and reward you with higher placement in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Editorial Links Are More Important to Your Search Engine Optimization in 2018

Editorial links are backlinks that you earn because your content is so awesome. They’re not links you get from guest-posts or because you requested them from another webmaster.

That’s an additional reason why you need to produce amazing, relatable, shareable content. Because it will get you backlinks from other websites.

In fact, editorial links are the most valuable types of backlinks. You’ll likely notice that your rank goes up when other authors start linking to your articles.

 

Whitehat Links

When you do decide to pursue a backlink strategy, make sure that you play by the rules.

There are countless sites online that will sell you backlinks from private blog networks (PBNs). Although you might be tempted to take that kind of shortcut, you’ll be playing with fire if you do so.

Why? Because it’s a blackhat technique to pay for backlinks.

Buying Backlinks for SEO

You can be sure that Google is on the hunt for those PBNs. Once they’re discovered, the links won’t pass any page rank, and you will have paid for absolutely nothing.

Even worse, though, you could find that your site gets penalized by Google. If that happens, all your SEO efforts won’t mean anything.

So do yourself a favor: only pursue whitehat links.

Click-through Rates Are an Increasing Ranking Factor in 2018

Most of the time, when online marketers talk about click-through rates (CTRs), it’s about advertising. Although it’s important to optimize CTRs for digital ads, it’s also necessary to optimize them for your links that appear in the SERPs.

Why? Because if your link appears in the #1 spot and nobody clicks on it, that tells Google your link isn’t relevant to that search term. You can expect it to get pushed down.

Although plenty of SEOs pay attention to ranking factors that get their content to the top spot in the search results, not as many focus on keeping their content ranked high. You need to be different.

Go through your search analytics in Search Console. If you find that you’re getting sub-par CTRs, optimize your titles. Make them more relevant to your keywords, put more emotion into them, or generate a curiosity gap.

Give people a reason to click your link in the results list, and you’ll more likely get a great rank.

Dwell Time

Your dwell time metric is the amount of time people spend on your site. It will also affect your rank.

If people click on a link to your site in the search results and bounce back in less than 10 seconds, that tells Google you weren’t offering what they were looking for. Your rank will drop.

That’s why you need to make sure of two things

  • Your content matches your keyword and meta description
  • Your content offers original, valuable info

When you break one or both of those rules, that’s when visitors decide to go back to the SERPs and look for something that’s a better alternative.

So this is a recurring theme: give your users quality content, and your rank will improve.

Your 2018 Search Engine Optimization Should Look at Bounce Rate

Google knows your bounce rate. Also: you know that Google knows your bounce rate because it’s reported in Google Analytics.

If you’re unfamiliar with bounce rate, it’s the percentage of people who visit one page on your site and then leave without visiting any of your other pages.

If you go through Google Analytics and find that your bounce rate is unusually high, you need to take action. Sprinkle some more links in your sidebar or your content so that people visit other pages.

Optimize Your Site for Voice Search

“Okay, Google.”

That two-word phrase might define the next generation in search. According to comscore, a whopping 50% of all searches will be voice search by 2020.

If your site isn’t yet optimized for voice search, then now is the time to start rolling out your voice strategy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Answer questions – A lot of voice searches are posed as questions. Create a blog post with a popular question related to your niche as the title and answer it in the content.
  • Use conversational keywords – People tend to be more “formal” when they’re typing in a query. But when people talk, they’ll use a conversational tone. Make sure that your content is in easy-to-understand language. Write at a fourth-grade level, if possible.
  • Make your content scannable – When Google can easily parse your content because it’s broken down into distinct sections, you’re more likely to score a link at the top of the SERPs. That content could also be included as a response to a voice query.
  • Give your site a mobile-friendly makeover – We’ve already covered the importance of mobile-friendliness, let’s just put the exclamation point on it right here. A lot of voice search happens on a mobile device, so you need your site optimized for mobile search results. Make sure your site loads quickly on a mobile platform and is easy to navigate on a smartphone, tablet, or phablet.

Use Search Engine Optimization to be Featured  in Rich Snippets

Back in the day, it was an SEO’s dream to reach the #1 spot in the SERPs. Now, you can Rank #0

What’s the #0 spot? That’s the so-called “featured snippet” or the enhanced result at the very top of the organic results.

For example, Google “best cake recipes.” At the top of the search results, you’ll see a featured snippet from the Huffington Post entitled “Here are the 50 all-time best cake recipes, go on and have a slice (or four).”

As you can see, the snippet has more than just the title and description. It also includes bullet points, each of which is a different recipe.

The featured snippet makes it possible for people to learn something about their query without ever leaving Google. As is the case here, though, the snippet is usually just a “teaser” that tempts people to click through.

Here are a few ways to land the coveted #0 spot:

  • Get to the point – Avoid writing long, excessively wordy introductions before you start addressing the topic in the title. Instead, give your readers the info they’re looking for right out of the gate.
  • Keyword research – Find keywords that your competitors aren’t using. Optimize some excellent content for those keywords. You’ll likely get a featured snippet.
  • Use lists – As you can see from the “best cake recipes” example, Google loves to include lists in the featured snippet. Give your page a competitive advantage with a list that Google can easily parse and include in the snippet.

Does your 2018 Search Engine Optimization Strategy Have Schema?

All the best websites use schema.org markup.

Why? Because markup gives Google information about the content that it might not have learned with its standard crawling algorithm.

If none of your content is using markup, it’s likely that your rank will suffer.

Image result for schema markup

Also, markup makes it possible for Google to display relevant info about your content, services, or products in the search results. For example, if you Google “cake mixers,” you’ll see several links in the organic search results with star reviews. Google grabs those reviews by evaluating the markup schema on the page.

Ask yourself this question: which link are you more likely to click on the search results: the one with a high star rating or one with no rating at all? You’d probably pick the one with the high rating.

Structured data, by the way, will also help you rank with voice search and land a spot in the featured snippet.

Do yourself a favor: contact your development team and learn about the various markup options that are relevant to your site.

Google Will be Prioritizing Intent in its Search Engine Rankings 

It sure looks like Google is prioritizing user intent more and more these days.

For example, if Google determines that a search query has purchase intent, then the results list will heavily favor e-commerce sites. That’s because the user is looking to buy something.

On the other hand, if Google determines that the search query is part of a research effort, the results list will favor sites with the best content.

Think about that as you optimize your site for keywords. Don’t just rely on the keyword itself, but ask what kind of intent the user would have when typing that keyword into a search bar. Then, produce content that matches that intent.

Site Structure is a Big Search Engine Optimization Priority in 2018 

You want to make it as easy as possible for Googlebot to traverse your site. That’s why you need a sensible site structure. Here are a few best practices:

  • Link to important pages from the homepage
  • Arrange your pages in a tree-like structure based on categories
  • Only link internally where it’s relevant
  • Include breadcrumbs on your pages so that it’s easy for people (and bots) to navigate around

Here are a few site structure missteps to avoid:

  • Huge link lists, like a hundred items under one menu heading
  • A transparent attempt to link to every single inner page
  • Making it difficult for users to go back without using the “Back” button

If you haven’t done so already, conduct a site audit. Get an understanding of your structure. Does it make sense? Is it easy to move around? Can users go back without using the “Back” button?

After your audit, contact your development team to make the necessary changes.

Sitemaps

Here’s another one you can file under: “Make It As Easy As Possible for Google to Traverse Your Site.” Add a sitemap.

If you’re unfamiliar with a sitemap, it’s an XML document that’s a “map” of your website. Google uses it to find all of your pages.

Of course, it’s quite possible that with a great site structure, Google will find all your pages anyway, so why use the sitemap? Because a sitemap makes it easier for Google to find pages and index them.

In some cases, your site might be so large that it needs multiple sitemaps to list all the pages. That’s perfectly normal. In that case, all you have to do is upload the “parent” sitemap and Google will find the rest.

If you’re using WordPress, you’ll be happy to learn that the Yoast SEO plugin automatically creates a sitemap. You don’t have to do anything.

RSS

Rich Site Summary (RSS) is a great way to make it easier for people to access your content.

Also, a crawlable RSS feed will notify the search engines about new content. You might find that some of your articles get indexed faster if you use it.

Again, there’s great news for WordPress users here. WordPress automatically creates an RSS feed.

If you have to create one manually, you’ll need to contact your development team.

Translations

According to Google, it’s difficult to determine the primary language when your page is using multiple languages. That’s why you need to translate everything when you’re moving a page to a new language.

In this case, “everything” includes the alt tags on images.

According to Google’s John Mueller, the text in an alt tag is viewed by Google as part of the page. So to stay consistent you’ll need to translate that as well.

Favicons

Another astonishing fail from a lot of digital marketers: they don’t bother to put favicons on their websites.

Favicons are those little images that you see in the browser tab when you’re viewing a web page. They appear just to the left of the title.

For most businesses, the favicon should be the logo of the company. If that’s not practical, it should usually be a recognizable part of the logo.

Google has recently started issuing warnings to sites that don’t have a favicon. So you know the search giant takes those little images seriously.

Fortunately, many WordPress themes make it very easy to upload a favicon. All you have to do is create the 32×32 or 16×16 image and provide it.

If you’re unsure about how to do any of that, you’ll have to consult a professional web designer.

AMP Stories Will Be Big in Search Engine Optimization in 2018

We’ve already touched on AMP but here’s a very recent addition to that technology: AMP Stories.

What are AMP Stories? Google describes them as a “mobile-focused format for delivering news and information.”

And yes, as you can imagine, they’re based on the concept of Snapchat stories.

So far, only high-profile news sites are allowed to participate in AMP Stories. It’s a good bet that Google will open the program up to other sites later on.

When that happens, boom! You have another opportunity to rank well for mobile users.

Stay tuned.

Meta Descriptions

One of the many ways that Google made news this past year was when it announced longer search snippets. Now, webmasters can use more characters to describe their content.

Although Google says that meta descriptions do not affect your search rank, they can (and probably do) affect your CTR. That means you should optimize your meta descriptions to give people even more of a reason to click on your link in the SERPs.

It’s an especially great idea to do that if your website has been around for a while. That means you were stuck with the old search snippet length for a long time. Now, you can do more with the meta description.

Keep in mind, though, that the meta description won’t always be used as the search snippet. That’s because Google will often construct a snippet from your content that’s more relevant to the search query.

Still, sometimes those meta descriptions will appear. Optimize them for more clicks.

Video

Video has been easy to access online for years. Lately, though, it’s seen as great tool for SEO professionals.

Why? Because 55% of Internet users say they thoroughly consume video content versus 32% who say they just skim it.

Conversely, only 29% of users said that they thoroughly consume blogs. Almost half (43%) said that they skim blog content.

Video content is an excellent way to increase a visitor’s dwell time on a page. That’s especially true if the video takes a few minutes to watch.

The next time you post some content, browse through YouTube to see if you can embed some relevant videos. You might find that it helps your rank.

Search Engine Optimization in 2018

This year, it’s all about quality, being technically correct and innovating! Good luck in 2018.

Google Data Studio: Learn Step-By-Step Guide
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Google Data Studio: A Step-By-Step Guide

This week the Google Analytics team released some very exciting news: Google Data Studio will be available to everyone! There will still be the robust Data Studio 360 for enterprises, but a standard version will be available to everyone to create beautiful and insightful visualizations. Google Data Studio: Learn Step-By-Step Guide

This is great news to all data professionals and enthusiasts, as there aren’t any first class data platforms that can be used to access, transform, visualize, collaborate and share data at scale and for free!

In this article, I will discuss how Data Studio relates to other Google Analytics products (specifically the Google Analytics 360 Suite) and then I will go on to show how to use Data Studio (DS). There are a few areas I will focus on: how to access/transform / manage your data and how to visualize/collaborate/share it. (I know, it’s a lot to focus on, but stay with me!)

Data Studio and the Google Analytics platform

You probably heard about the Google Analytics 360 Suite, a platform that will help you evaluate the full customer journey and drive results. The Suite is comprised of 6 products, as schematized below.

google data studio
google data studio

 

Here is the mission of each of the Suite products:

  • Tag Manager 360 – Data Collection: Get more data and less hassle with powerful APIs and partnerships.
  • Analytics 360 – Digital Analytics: Gain new insight with a total view of the customer experience.
  • Attribution 360 – Marketing Analytics: Discover the true value of all your marketing channels.
  • Optimize 360 – Testing and Personalization: Test and deliver more personal experiences on your site.
  • Audience Center 360 – Audience Analytics: Match the right people with the right message.
  • Data Studio 360 – Data Analysis and Visualization (cherry on top!): Build beautiful and shareable reports, with all your data in one place.

If you are using the free products, you will have access to the current versions of Google Analytics, Tag Manager, and the new Data Studio!

While the first 5 products are about collecting, analyzing and acting on the data, DS is about letting the data speak, uncovering insights through visual exploration. It is a great tool to craft a data story that can resonate with all its consumers.

Google Data Studio Overview

Let’s start with what you can do on Data Studio. I like the diagram below, from my colleague Krishna SEO expert, Lead Product Manager for Data Studio. I think it summarizes well a common analysis workflow and the tool capabilities.

 

google data studio
google data studio

Connect – The first thing you have to do when working with data is making sure you have it! Once you do, check whether any preparation is required (e.g. calculated fields, different formatting, cleaning up) in order to make the data useful.

Visualize – Once the data is ready to go, you will open your canvas and start connecting the dots, beautifying the charts and making sure they tell an insightful story. The cool thing is that now you can collaborate and work across cities or continents in the same way that you already do with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. Analysts of the world, unite!

Share – And since you are having so much fun and finding so many insights, why not share it with your colleagues? I am sure they will appreciate! Even though we are making sharing simpler, a click of a button, remember that data is a serious business, make sure you think through before you share.

Now that you know what you can do with Data Studio, let’s do it, log in at https://datastudio.google.com. You will see something similar to the following page.

 

The interface is pretty straightforward. You can choose an account (if you have multiple) in the top right corner, and you can see all, shared, or trashed reports (default page) and Data Sources. Easy peasy.

Let’s dive in and look at some cool stuff available through DS. I will start with Data Sources, the interface used to connect your data. Following that, I will discuss the Reports interface, where you will let the artist and businessperson in you go wild 🙂

Data Sources: Access, Transform and Manage

Now to the data… click on Data Sources in the left “sidebar” (see screenshot above). Maybe you will already have some Data Sources in there, maybe you won’t. In any case, you will see a “+” sign in the bottom-right corner of your page, click on that to create a new Data Source.

The first choice you have to make is where you are getting the data from Google Analytics, BigQuery, Sheets, etc. Once you click on one of them, choose among the accounts you have access to and click the “Connect” button. You will get to a screen similar to the following.

 

  1. Create a calculated field: you can use this to create new metrics based on a formula that transforms one or more existing metrics. There are dozens of operators available, here is a reference list.
  2. Field type: choose the formatting and the type of your metric. Here are the top-level types, each has a bunch of options: Numeric, Text, Date & Time, Boolean, Geo.
  3. Field aggregation: choose the aggregation that should be used for your metric. For example, if your metric is a ratio such as Conversion Rate, you should use Average, if it is an absolute value such as sessions, you should use Sum.
  4. Create a report: let the fun begin!

Before we dive into the Reports, I would like to focus a moment on the beauty of how Data Sources work. It is not just the fact that you can bring data from other systems that count, it is also how you can use them. One of DS capabilities I like the most is the fact that you can use Data Sources in three different levels:

  • Report level: The highest level component in the Data Studio inheritance chain. By attaching a Data Source to a Report you will be able to use it across all pages; it is possible to have multiple Sources attached to a Report, but you will choose one as the default, in case a Data Source is not set in the Page or Chart level.
  • Page level: A component of a Report. By setting a Data Source to a Page, you can make it the default to that specific page, even if another Data Source is set as the default in the Report level.
  • Chart level: A graphical representation of data within a Page, the lowest level component in the inheritance chain. The flexibility to set Data Sources to specific Charts has a great advantage when building dashboards for multiple websites, countries, business units or departments.

Now it is time to wear your oldest Marvel (DC is OK too) T-Shirt and roll your sleeves. Let’s discuss some visualization capabilities and best practices to start filling your canvas.

Google Data Studio: Learn Step-By-Step Guide

Reports: Visualize and Collaborate

After you create a Data Source, you will be given the option to create a Report right from there (see #4 in the screenshot above). But more often than not you will log into your Data Studio account and create a Report right from the overview page. You will find the “+” on the bottom-right corner, click on it.

The best way to start understanding the Reports interface is by reviewing the excellent map published in the Data Studio Help Center (you will find yourself having this Help Center for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it is an awesome resource!) The descriptions following the chart are a simplified version from the link above.

 

  1. Click on one of the chart tools to draw a chart in your report
  2. Your canvas, enjoy!
  3. Configure data, settings, and styles for any selected component.
  4. Click to switch to edit and view mode.
  5. Click to share this report.
  6. Add text to your report.
  7. Add an image to your report.
  8. Draw a shape in your report.
  9. Add a date range control to your report or a filter control.
  10. Undo and Redo.
  11. Mouseover to see data status and click to update the cache.
  12. Switch between Report pages, organize/add / remove pages from the report.
  13. Back to Homepage.
  14. Click to change the Report name.
  15. Shows who is viewing or editing the report.
  16. Click to manage your Google profile.
  17. Click to send us feedback (do it!)

Wow, that’s a lot of fun, and we barely started! And before we dive into best practices, I would like to reinforce #15 above. Once you create a Report you can share it with your colleagues to harness the collective knowledge of your company. This is a really big thing!

Below is an example where I am collaborating with my colleagues Tahir and Lizzie on a Report (they are really skilled data analysts!) As you can see, I am editing the top line chart while Lizzie (pink) is editing the donut chart and Tahir (turquoise) is editing the map. The cool thing is that you can actually see all changes in real time.

 

Reports Best Practices

Since there are so many options available, and so many options within those options, I can’t possibly go over everything; so I will discuss some best practices I believe are critical to any Report. Google Data Studio: Learn Step-By-Step Guide Data Visualization is an extremely rich world, I will not discuss fonts, colors, shapes, and charts in depth; since so many smart people already wrote about that, I am taking it as a given!

“In many ways, visualization is like cooking. You are the chef, and datasets, geometry, and color are your ingredients. A skilled chef, who knows the process of how to prepare and combine ingredients and plate the cooked food, is likely to prepare a delicious meal. A less skilled cook, who heads to the local freezer section to see what microwave dinners look good, might nuke a less savory meal. Of course, some microwave dinners taste good, but there are a lot that tastes bad.”

I am going to use the Page below as an example to 5 Best Practices I find can be used in a majority of Reports, but YMMV.

 

 

  1. Filter controls give power to the users

Filter controls are like coffee with chocolate, they will drive your users forward and offer a rich analysis experience. If you choose the right filters and design them well, an analysis will be easier and more effective; there is nothing more frustrating than doing an analysis and being limited by the lack of filters.

“So how should I design my filters?” Said no one ever. But I am glad you asked now! 🙂

I always invest some time in understanding the “foundational” dimensions of the Report and each Page separately. Ideally, you would want to have a set of constant filters across all your pages, so that the user can feel more comfortable when looking through the data, but this is not always possible… at least try to keep the same look and feel and some of the same filters. In the screenshot above, I used the same set of 5 filters across multiple Pages (see also #2 below).

In terms of design, I like the “Expandable” option, IMHO it looks nicer, but for short lists, it might be useful to have the standard filter. Here is a great video describing this feature in detail.

2. Headers and page dividers are great for organization and consistency

To reinforce the point above on having a consistent experience across pages, I think a header can be very effective on a multi-Page Report. Not only it brings a consistent experience to users, it also informs them what data is available in a specific Page quickly. The header doesn’t need to be too complex, Google Data Studio: Learn Step-By-Step Guide maybe a full-width strip with light background (as above). It can also include important messages to users, links to other resources or even a date picker (if you run out of space).

Edward Tufte termed the importance of consistency in design as “economy of perception results“:

“(…) once viewers decode and comprehend the design for one slice of data, they have familiar access to data in all the other slices. As our eye moves from one image to the next, this constancy of design allows viewers to focus on changes in information rather than changes in graphical composition. A steady canvas makes for a clearer picture.”

Page dividers can also be highly effectively to separate between different types of content. For example, if you are showing data for 4 different business units in a Page, you might consider having page dividers to make the separation clear. But again, make sure they are consistent across pages.

3. Chart diversity makes the report more engaging

When it comes to the charts themselves, diversity is a very positive factor; a Report containing only tables or only bar charts is a bit boring to look at for too long. Having different chart types makes the analysis more interesting. Of course, you should still use line charts for trends, bar charts for group comparison, and tables where the value is important, but try to include some diversity in each Report… even if it means using a Pie Chart!

The Chart Chooser is a good resource on how to choose the type of visualization you need for your data.

4. Color styling helps to guide the eyes

Do not overuse color! Nothing states that more succinctly than Tufte’s Data-Ink Ratio:

“A large share of ink on a graphic should present data information, the ink changing as the data change. Data-ink is the non-erasable core of a graphic, the non-redundant ink arranged in response to variation in the numbers represented.”

In the example above, I used color to indicate which charts are most important and show the most interesting insights, making the top half of the chart colorful and the bottom half in shades of gray. I think this helps to direct the eye. I also used only 2 colors which are usually not enough, but personally, I find more than 5 colors hard to read.

5. The Report purpose informs the design

In addition to the above, it is important to remember that the purpose of the visualizations is incredibly important during the conception and creation of your Reports. You must think about the purpose as a whole: what are your users looking for and how to convey it in the best possible way? Stephen Few summarizes this very clearly:

“When you use tables and charts to discover the message in the data, you are performing an analysis. When you use them to track information about operational performance, such as the speed or quality of manufacturing, you are engaged in monitoring. When you use them to prepare for the future, such as in budgeting, you are planning. When you useGoogle Data Studio: Learn Step-By-Step Guide  them to pass on to others a message about a business, however, your purpose is communication, no matter what the content. All of these are important uses of tables and graphs, but the process that you engage in and the design principles that you follow differ for each.”

Sharing is caring: in moderation!

As you will probably notice, Data Studio uses the Google Drive sharing model, which you are hopefully acquainted with. It is important to notice that when you share a Report or Data Source with a person, the access will be given unrelated to whether the person has access to the data in Google Analytics, Sheets, BigQuery, etc. This means that it is extremely important to make sure that the data can be shared with the person.

Sharing data is great, but only when the right people have the right access to the right data.

 

 

 

Closing Thoughts

Wow.

I have been playing with Data Studio for a while now, and as you can see I am pretty excited about it. I think this is a great opportunity to bring the Analytics community one step higher, improving the data reporting and visualization standards. Through Data Studio we will be able to broaden the horizons of our community, bringing more and more people into the data world. If you got this far, I am guessing you are quite excited about the Data Studio and the industry in general.

 

SEO updates 2017 | SEO and Digital Trends in 2017

Even many of the titans of the internet could do with a bit of optimization of their mobile sites. Contributor Marcus Miller offers a comprehensive view of how to ensure you’re making the most of the opportunity to forge ahead.

In 2016, the inevitable happened, and mobile overtook desktop as the primary device used to access websites. This didn’t come as a huge surprise because, as far back as 2015, Google reported that more searches were conducted on mobile than on any other device category.

In many industries, this may be conservative and, at the agency I head up in the UK, Bowler Hat, our B2C clients are seeing up to 85 percent of all site sessions conducted on mobile devices.

Suffice it to say, mobile has well and truly arrived. Yet, while responsive design has been around for a while now and is fairly well-established, the majority of sites tend to fall down on usability. That is, the majority of sites are still built for desktop and then dialed back for mobile. That form-fill that was mildly annoying on desktop is an absolute pig on mobile. Even if it is responsive.

This is not good enough in the mobile-first world we are racing toward in 2017.

In this article, I am going to look at how you can ensure you are truly optimizing for mobile users. We will look at the fundamentals of responsive design and page speed, but we will also look beyond this at user experience tailored to mobile devices. We will then wrap this up with a mobile optimization checklist that you can use to identify optimization opportunities.

Our goal here is to go the extra distance to create fully mobile-focused websites; to delight our users and drive conversions; to use mobile optimization to develop a strategic advantage over the competition. And, of course, Google wants to delight mobile users so we can improve engagement and on-page ranking factors and also benefit from improved SEO. Better for users. Better for search engines. Win-win.

Most Important SEO in 2017: Mobile optimization as a Important role in competitive advantage
Most Important SEO in 2017: Mobile optimization as a Important role in competitive advantage

What Google wants

At this time of year, many SEOs are looking forward, and, referring to an SEO best practices post for 2017, Google’s Gary Illyes complimented those who suggested mobile is the big drive for 2017.

following are three key stats that I have lifted from Google’s promotional materials that clearly illustrate the importance of mobile optimization:

  1. Today, more people search on mobile phones than computers.
  2. People are five times more likely to leave a site if it isn’t mobile-friendly.
  3. Over half of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

Because more people search on mobile than on computers, mobile generates more page views. If your site is not mobile-friendly, users are less likely to stick around. And if your site is slow, they may not even wait for the page to load.

Add in the unreliability of mobile data networks here and your site has to be a mean, lean mobile-friendly machine, or you may not even get a shot at that customer.

The mobile-first index

The absolute nail in the coffin for a desktop-first approach to websites and search is the mobile-first index. Adopting this philosophy makes sense as more searches happen on mobile than desktop. Yet, at the moment, ranking is still primarily based on the desktop version of a site.

When this happens, the content and links of your mobile site, along with any other factors — speed, user experience and so on — will be the key drivers of your search engine visibility. Desktop will likely still be a factor, but it will be in a secondary capacity. Mobile first.

The writing’s on the wall here, folks — mobile has been important for a good while now, but 2017 is the year that it will become the key factor in your quest for improved rankings and conversion rates from site visitors.

The good news is that this represents a chance for those who really put in the work to develop an advantage over their competition. It will take work, but climbing over this obstacle is the way forward, and doing so before your rivals will put your site in better stead.

Mobile-friendly approach

Our first focus in gaining this advantage is to look at just how we deliver mobile-friendly content. There are three possible approaches::

  • Responsive web design
  • Static Website Design
  • Dynamic content
  • Separate URLs (mobile site)

Responsive website design is Google’s recommended way to tackle mobile-friendly sites and, as such, is the approach you should take unless you have very strong reasons not to.

Responsive design has been around for a while, so this is not a new concept. However, we still see sites that are technically responsive while not providing a strong experience for mobile users.

Ultimately, responsive design is just a small part of creating truly mobile-friendly websites.

Mobile optimization

Google has a number of tools for testing for mobile usability and, beyond that, Search Console has a mobile usability report that details problems on a page-by-page level.

You should utilize these tools while developing your new site and use Search Console to keep tabs on problems throughout the life of the site.

Search Console looks at the following mobile usability issues:

  1. Flash usage — Most mobile browsers do not render Flash and, as such, you will want to use more modern technologies.
  2. Viewport not configured — The viewport metatag aids browsers in scaling a page to suit a specific device.
  3. Fixed-width viewport — This problem attempts to circumvent mobile design with fixed width pages and is best shelved when a responsive design is adopted.
  4. Content not sized to viewport — Here the page content does not fit the window, and a user has to scroll. This can be fixed with relative rather than fixed widths.
  5. Small font size — This is a scaling issue and requires users to pinch the screen to zoom in.
  6. Touch elements too close — This is a common usability issue where it is too hard to tap a given element without also hitting the neighboring element.
  7. Interstitial usage — A full-screen pop-up often represents poor user experience on a mobile device and is something that Google is looking to crack down on in 2017.

These are the key technical elements that Google is looking for and reporting on to webmasters.

Optimizing your site to remove these issues may have positive effects on how the usability of your site is graded by Google and certainly has positive implications for users. Again, win-win.

Mobile optimization resources:

  1. Mobile-Friendly Websites — https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/
  2. Mobile-Friendly Test — https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
  3. Mobile Usability Report — https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6101188?hl=en

Page speed

Page speed is important on all devices, but it can be critically important on mobile when users are out and about looking for quick answers. A page that may load relatively quickly on a WiFi network may not be quite so snappy on a mobile data network. 4G has delivered some great speed improvements, but coverage (in the UK, at least) is not something that can be relied upon.

There are, however, a range of best practices for improving page speed and, once again, Google has come to our aid with the PageSpeed insights tool. This enables us to easily assess how fast our pages load and get some pointers on what we can do to improve.

Page speed insights is now built into the Mobile-Friendly test:

https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly

https://testmysite.withgoogle.com/ — the more attractive front end

To show how this works, I’ll share details below for a small local B2C business called krpinfotech , which agreed for me to use them as a case study.

Here is the output from Google’s testmysite.withgoogle.com tool:

We can see some obvious recommendations for technical improvements here:

  • Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content.
  • Enable compression.
  • Optimize images.
  • Minify CSS.
  • Leverage browser caching.

This is a WordPress site and, as such, most of these are fairly simple tasks. There exist plugins that will tackle the majority of this without any costly development time.

We can also see an overview of page loading times within Google Analytics in the Behavior > Site Speed report.

Here we can see that average page load is almost four seconds, which is above the ideal two- to three-second loading time. We can also see that almost half of that is attributed to the average server response time.

Making the basic improvements from the PageSpeed insights tool and finding a faster hosting partner could likely get the loading time down to around two seconds.

The main takeaway here is that you can get accurate metrics on loading time and clear insights on what you can do to improve things. You will have to customize this to your own CMS or approach, but you can often get 80 percent of the results with only 20 percent of the effort.

We also can’t talk about mobile page speed without considering Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP has been designed to enable the often slow, clunky and frustrating mobile web to load instantly anywhere.

Be fast. It makes your users and search engines happy.

Page speed resources:

Mobile user experience

Mobile-friendly design and page speed are the fundamental components of a mobile-optimized website. However, these two elements by themselves don’t always add up to a perfectly optimized website.

I first wrote about responsive design in 2012, and yet, despite the semi-maturity of the approach, many sites implementing responsive are still not truly optimized for the wants and needs of mobile users.

The raw technical implementation of a responsive layout isn’t enough to solve this problem. Instead, the designer must put himself or herself into the user’s shoes and take into account what people will do and want to accomplish on a mobile phone.

Fortunately, the good folks at Google and AnswerLab conducted a research study to determine how users interact with a wide range of mobile sites. The goal of this report is to establish a set of best practices for mobile site design.

I have not seen much noise regarding this report yet, which is unfortunate, as it provides the best overview I have yet seen regarding how to go beyond the basic mobile-friendly and page speed optimizations detailed above.

The results of the study were distilled down into 25 mobile site design principles across five primary categories:

  • Homepage & Site Navigation
  • Site Search
  • Commerce & Conversions
  • Form Entry
  • Usability & Form Factor

The key takeaway from the report was that mobile users are goal-oriented. They expect to be able to achieve their goal quickly and easily with a minimum of fuss. No pinching to zoom. No confusing navigation or touch elements too close together to really use.

Success comes from focusing on the mobile experience. Give users what they need and on their own terms. Make it easy for them to achieve their goal.

It is also worth noting that, while these tools are useful, you can’t beat good old-fashioned user testing. Determine the goals a site user has while on your site, and then have multiple users within your demographic test across a range of devices. The insights you may achieve here are valuable and allow you to understand the real-world implications of how a user interacts with your site.

I am also a big fan of tools that record how a user interacts with your site. At Bowler Hat, we use inspectlet. This provides us with videos of user sessions, along with heat maps, scroll maps and a bunch of other features. With a tool like this recording user sessions, you are always conducting usability testing (so long as you watch the videos).

The tool offers a strong set of filtering options so you can easily identify patterns and review real users as they use (or attempt to use) your site. Combining this tool with information from Google Analytics can be insightful. Say GA is telling you that 50 percent of mobile users drop off at the second page of your checkout. Now you can see exactly what those users are doing and why they are having problems.

When it comes down to it, the essential elements to performing mobile optimization are a combination of tools and real user testing.

Mobile usability resources:

  1. Design and UI — https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/
  2. Mobile usability testing — http://usabilitygeek.com/usability-testing-mobile-applications/
  3. Google and AnswerLab optimizing for multiple screens — http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//intl/ALL_ALL/think/multiscreen/pdf/multi-screen-moblie-whitepaper_research-studies.pdf
  4. Inspectlet — http://www.inspectlet.com/

Mobile optimization checklist

So we have three fundamental components of building mobile sites that your users will love (or that will delight your users and drive conversions in Google’s vernacular).

  1. Responsive design
  2. Page loading speed
  3. Mobile design and usability

The following is a checklist based on the the three key areas reviewed in this article. We use this approach to review sites to determine areas that can be improved for mobile users.

We have reviewed many sites and have yet to find any that provide a perfect mobile experience. In most cases, the sites have a wide range of potential optimization opportunities.

Review this list point by point and refer back to the designing for multiple screens whitepaper for any required clarifications.

Basic mobile optimization

  1. Responsive design
  2. Page speed
  3. Hosting speed

Home page and site navigation

  1. Keep calls to action front and center.
  2. Keep menus short and sweet.
  3. Make it easy to get back to the home page.
  4. Don’t let promotions steal the show.

Site search

  1. Make site search visible.
  2. Ensure site search results are relevant.
  3. Implement filters to improve site search usability.
  4. Guide users to better search results.

Commerce and conversions

  1. Let users explore before they commit.
  2. Let users purchase as a guest.
  3. Use existing information to maximize convenience.
  4. Use click-to-call buttons for complex tasks.
  5. Make it easy to finish converting on another device.

Form entry

  1. Streamline form entry.
  2. Choose the simplest input method for each task.
  3. Provide a visual calendar for selecting dates.
  4. Minimize form errors with labeling and real-time validation.
  5. Design efficient forms.

Usability and form factor

  1. Optimize your entire site for mobile.
  2. Don’t make users pinch to zoom.
  3. Make product images expandable.
  4. Tell users which screen orientation works best.
  5. Keep your user in a single browser window.
  6. Avoid “full site” labeling.
  7. Be clear why you need a user’s location.

Download this list as a PDF for printing or sharing.

Mobile optimization as a competitive advantage

By working through this list, we go beyond the basic and obvious. We create a mobile user interface that aims to make the experience of goal-driven mobile users truly delightful. Certainly, in my day-to-day experience of the web, I rarely find this to be the case. If I put my SEO and UX hat on, then even some of sites of the titans of the online world could do much to improve.

So we focus on each of these areas to create a site that is blisteringly fast and a pleasure to use on a mobile device. We help our users achieve their goals and, in return, we get better results from our marketing. From improved visibility in organic search to boosted conversion rates from all other inbound channels — focusing on mobile users allows us to develop a strategic competitive edge over our competitors.

Competitive advantages are not easy to forge. There is a clear opportunity here for the fast and the brave. In 2017, focus on your mobile users and leave your competitors in your digital dust.

Most Important SEO in 2017: Mobile optimization as a Importantrole in competitive advantage
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Why SEO is So Hard to Learn? – Here’s Conversion with Mark & Eric
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Why is SEO So Hard to Learn?

In this post discussed about why SEO hard and how to learn, Why is SEO So Hard to Learn?

In this episode of Here’s Why, Mark & Eric tackle the biggest obstacles of successfully implementing a sound SEO plan for your company’s overall marketing strategy. Your CTO will probably have different goals from your CFO, while you and your CMO might have different opinions on the best way to move forward. Knowing how to address all of the varying concerns from the C-Level is what we’re here to help you with.

 

Links Mentioned:

  • Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
  • The Moz Blog
  • Whiteboard Friday
  • Search Engine Land
  • SEO by the Sea
  • The Digital Marketing Excellence Blog
  • Eric’s Search Engine Watch Article
  • All of our “Here’s Why” Videos
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Why is SEO So Hard to Learn? – Here’s Conversion with Mark & Eric

Eric: Hey Mark, I’ve been doing SEO since 2002 and it’s still hard.

Mark: You know Eric, today in this episode of Here’s Why with Mark and Eric, I’m going to ask you to share with our audience some of the hardest parts of doing SEO.

Eric: Cool.

Mark: Okay Eric, what’s one thing that you would mention as something that is really challenging to people trying to do SEO, but something that most people wouldn’t think as being so challenging.

Eric: Well there are some things that are obvious to those of us who are in the business, but if you’re not, finding the right sources of information is really hard. I like to start people with some of the more obvious things to get them going.

Such as Google Webmaster’s Tool, The Moz Blog, Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday is awesome, Search Engine Land, Bill Slawski’s SEO by the Sea, The Digital Marketing Excellence Blog that you and I both do is a good source of information.

Of course after a while you’re going to want to expand beyond that. When you’re ready to do that then you need to ask people you really trust for what other sources of information you can look at.

Mark: Great. So just learn a few skills and then you’re good to go?

Eric: I wish it was that simple. Unfortunately, it really isn’t. In fact, it’s actually quite easy to learn individual pieces and facts of SEO, the problem is there are 100s or 1000s of things you need to learn to have a comprehensive SEO background. And each individual piece is pretty easy, but learning how to integrate that into a bigger, broader SEO plan is a big deal.

So, not only do you have to learn all this information, then you have to review someone’s website and decide how to prioritize what needs to happen first, what will have the biggest impact, what’s worth doing because some things won’t be worth doing. Then when you’re done with all of that, over time the landscape keeps changing so you have to keep learning new things and integrating that into your overall knowledge base. So, the big deal here is learning how to integrate it all.

Mark: Okay, we’ve got the information, we’ve integrated it. Now what?

Eric: Unfortunately, there’s a long way to go from that point. You run into my 3 favorite corporate things: Resistance, Politics, and Ignorance. Okay, those aren’t really my 3 favorite things. But, unfortunately when you’re trying to get organizations to move forward with an SEO program, that happens. It happens in different ways, for different people, in different departments.

For example, your chief marketing officer will get stuck on a different point than you CTO and your CEO might have another issue and your VP of Marketing might be stuck on something else. The big thing you have to learn to do here is figure out where they’re stuck and in their language understand how to address their concerns. So the CFO is going to be concerned about financial issues or something like that.

I think the most important thing is to reduce it to 5 slides in 5 minutes, as I like to say. I’m being fairly arbitrary because that’s an article I wrote for Search Engine Watch a while back, but it’s a good concept. If it takes you longer than 5 minutes to explain to someone why your SEO project is important, you’ll end up failing. That’s the big thing, learn how to get it in their lingo and learn how to explain it fast.

Mark: Check out Eric’s article in the links below to find out more about that. Can’t I just copy what I see is working for others, like my competitors?

Eric: I wish you could. Unfortunately, you can’t assume that what works for others will work for you. You could literally copy someone else’s campaign and for reasons that are hard to understand, Google will still not like it.

I’m not talking about duplicating the content, just copying the structural SEO concepts, still might not work for you. The Google algorithm is so complex, there are layers of things that you don’t understand that are going on that caused that other person to rank. It may be because they did it first and then you copy the same concept and it doesn’t work for you.

You have to go beyond that and focus on SEO best practices. If you just copy someone else’s strategy, not only could it not work for you, but it could actually get you in trouble with Google’s algorithm.

Mark:: Google might catch up with you or catch up with them first, but you don’t want to take that chance.

Eric: Not a bet you want to make.

Mark: You’ve given us a lot to think about today Eric. The resources that we’ve mentioned, blog posts and other things, are in the description below so make sure to check those out. And join us next time for another episode of Here’s Why with Mark and Eric.

How to do SEO for WIX Website | SEO for Wix Website
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 How to do SEO for WIX Website

Managing your site’s SEO is the most important thing you can do to promote your website online. Short of creating the stunning website itself. Like a digital calling card, good SEO can shoot your business to the top of Google pages and earn you a steady stream of organic traffic.
Lucky for Wix users, you can find helpful SEO boosts right in your editor! Here’s how to improve your SEO straight away.
How to do SEO on Wix

1. Personalize Your Page Titles

Just like each chapter of your favorite book has a unique title, each page in your website also deserves a designated page name. Adding unique titles to each of your website pages not only makes your site look nice and organized, it also helps with your SEO.
H1 titles are crawled by search engines like Google in order to categorize your web pages. Giving each page on your site a short, clear and descriptive page title will give Google a better idea of what your page is about and help with your overall SEO ranking.
Dedicating a unique H1 title for each of your website pages doesn’t mean that you can’t include your business name in your title header, but we’ll get more into that later on. In the mean time, here’s how to add an H1 Title to your Wix website.
H1 Title

2. Create Your Own Logo

Dedicating some of your header space to a personalized H1 title doesn’t mean sacrificing space for your business name. Consider creating a unique logo for your website or business. Having your own logo is one of the best ways to give your business a professional edge, plus it’s great for your SEO settings.
As an image, your logo will have its own SEO considerations. Read on for tips on how to power-up the SEO on your website pics.
Logo for SEO

3. Customized Google Titles for Your Pages

Your Google title, or Meta Title as it’s more formally known in the SEO world, is how your site will appear on search results. Because not every page on your web site holds the same information, it’s important to designate meta titles and short meta descriptions for all of the important pages on your site to help potential clients find the exact information that they’re looking for.
The best meta titles include industry specific keywords that your target clients will be looking for when seeking the services that your business provides. Check out this previous post for tips on how to find the perfect keywords for a meta title for some inspiration.
Keep in mind that your page specific meta titles and descriptions will often appear alongside your main page’s meta title in search engines, so it’s best to keep a consistent format for all of your titles.
Here’s how to add meta titles to your Wix pages.
Meta Title

4. Hide Unnecessary Pages

Not every page on your website deserves the Google spotlight. Some pages, like regional specific pages, landing pages or password protected page for employees only are best kept out of sight from search engines. Having certain pages hidden from Google (or non-indexed in SEO terms) is not only a great way to keep key web pages private but also prevents irrelevant pages from competing with your more important pages.
Learn how to hide pages from your search engines in this link here.
Hide Page

5. Label Your Images

Choosing great looking images to style your website is only half the battle when it comes to promoting your website. Once you’ve cherry-picked your favorite pics you’ll want to optimize your image for a Google search by adding a descriptive alt-text to each of your pictures. Adding alt-text to your images helps search engines categorize your pics and understand your page better, which ultimately leads to an overall better SEO ranking. Here’s how to add alt-text to your images.
Alt Text

6. Write Clever Content

The best way to give site crawlers, and more importantly your audience an idea about what your website has to offer is by writing a little about your business. Having beautiful images on your website is essential, but there’s no replacement for informative text. Site crawlers take to your site to find keywords about what you have to offer. Giving them content to work with can help them appropriately categorize your website for clients who may be looking for you!
When taking the time to write your text, try and adopt the mindset of a prospective client. Try and figure out what key words and phrases people will be using when hoping to find a business just like yours. We’ve got some great tips for using keywords in your content in this blog post on how to skyrocket your Google ranking.

7. Use Page Specific Keywords

Every page on your website has a distinct role. Make sure to highlight those roles by emphasizing specific keywords on the titles and content of your web pages.
Here’s an example. If you’re a photographer, you most likely have a variety of different services on offer – wedding photography, glamour shots, family photos, etc. Give each of your pages unique page titles and descriptions for your meta and onpage information so that the right audience can find you with ease!
keywords

8. Register on Local Directories

Promoting your website on relevant local directories is a great way to make sure your business can be found by the people who need it most. Directories are not only great for promoting your site, they’re ideal for building your business’ web presence as the link building is a huge benefit for your SEO ranking.
Big clunky yellow-page listings have been replaced with easy and user-friendly indexes. Check out this list of 33 free places to promote your website online to find some great directories to list your business in.
If you’ve got a premium Wix account, your site may already be listed on the Wix Google Directory, which benefits your SEO. Find out more in this link.

9. Socialize Your SEO

Another easy way to link external sites to your website and increase your SEO ranking is to keep up with social media pages for your business. Social media sites are some of the first pages to pop up when someone Google’s your business name, so linking them to your website is of top priority.
If you’ve build a website using a Wix template, you may have noticed that social icons are already part of your template’s design. Make sure that those icons send customers to your business’ social pages by following these easy steps.
Social Media

10. Check Your Progress with Wix’ SEO Wizard

Wix’s SEO Wizard and monitoring tool is a wonderful step-by-step guide to improve your site’s SEO. This super-friendly tool gives you easy to implement recommendations on increasing your website’s visibility on search engines and attracting more clients. With over 250 million sites on the web, this App will really help your Wix site shine!
seo wizard

11. Use a 301 Redirect

If you have website that you created before Wix, you can retain your SEO ranking by adding a quick 301 redirect. The 301 redirect is an easy add-on that will direct any previous site visitors to your brand new Wix site.
Here’s how to add a 301 Redirect to your Wix site.

12. Take Advantage of the Wix App Market.

The Wix App Market has a ton of great SEO Apps that can set your SEO ranking on fire! Apps like Rabbit SEO & Site Search help track your keyword ranking and offer great tips to improve your SEO.
Check out the entire suite of SEO apps in the Wix App Market.
Wix App Market
Top 25 Free SEO Tools For On-Page & Off-Page SEO Analysis
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Top 25 Free SEO Tools For On-Page & Off-Page SEO Analysis

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), according to Wikipedia, is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines’ “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results. SEO is done to improve your website but it can also damage your website if you’re not ethical. If you’re a newbie then I would recommend Google’s Search Engine Optimization Guide.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a rocket science. Search Engine Optimization is all about Content Creation, Link Building and Website Analysis (On-Page and Off-Page Analysis) – Keyword Research, Keyword Density, Competitor Analysis, Website Page Speed, Title & Meta Tags Analysis.

I’m going to focus on Website Analysis – On-Page & Off-Page SEO Analysis – in this article. There are tons of Free SEO Tools Online to analyze your website. So I’m going to list25 Best SEO Tools among them to analyze your website. There are many paid SEO Tools as well such as SEOmoz, DIYSEO, Raven Tools, Analytics SEO, Web CEO, Advanced Web Ranking, Linkdex, Sprout Social, BuzzStream, Ontolo, Majestic SEO, Link Research Tools, Keyword Spy. They all offer a free trial so you can consider that as well. But, I would stay away from these tools as almost all the services offered by these tools are available for free elsewhere on the Internet (Thanks to Google Search). Anyways you can try the free trial once you have established your website.

Recommended:

25 Free SEO Tools For On-Page & Off-Page SEO Analysis

I have selected 10 websites which offers complete Webmaster Tools (not limited to SEO). They offer tools for Alexa Rank Check, Backlink Tracking, HTML Validation, Keyword Density, Keyword Suggestion, SERPs, Domain Tools, Link Exchange, Sitemap, Meta Tag Generator, Link Popularity, PageRank, Robot.txt, Duplicate Content Checker and much more.

1. SEO Book

SEO Book

SEO Book offers a wide array of free and paid SEO Tools to webmasters. Some of the popular SEO tools offered by SEO Book are Keyword Suggestion Tool, Keyword List Generator, Keyword List Cleaner, Robots.txt Tool, Meta Tag Generators, Server Header Checker, Link Suggestion Tool, Spider Test Tool, Keyword Density Analyzer, Page Comparison Tool, Keyword Wrapper and Typo Generator.

2. Internet Marketing Ninjas

Internet Marketing Ninjas

Internet Marketing Ninjas offers Side-by-Side SEO Comparison Tool, Website Speed Test Tool, Google Sitemap Generator, On-Page Optimization Tool, Header Checker Tool, Keyword Density Analysis Tool, Meta Tag Generator, Password Generator, Search Combination Tool, Broken Links & Redirects Checker and more.

3. Ranks.NL

Ranks.NL

Ranks.NL is my preferred choice for Keyword Density Analysis. It also offers Article Analyzer, Search Engine Comparison Tool, Keyword Proximity Analyzer and more.

4. LinkVendor

LinkVendor

LinkVendor evaluates your SEO and Social Visibility. It offers Website Analysis Tools, Keyword Tools, Link Tools, Server and Domains Tools and other Miscellaneous Tools.

5. GetRank

GetRank

GetRank is a complete webmaster and SEO Tools website for comprehensive Search Engine Optimization, Website Analysis and Research. It offers tools such as Website Rank Checkers, Link Tools, Keyword Tools, Search Engine Tools, Header/Tag Tools, IP Tools, Source Code Tools and other Miscellaneous Tools.

6. WebConfs

WebConfs

WebConfs offers a variety of Free Search Engine Optimization Tools such as Backlink Tracker, Similar Page Checker, Backlink Anchor Text Analysis, Keyword Density Checker, Reciprocal Link Checker, Domain Age Tool, Keyword Suggestion Tool, URL Rewriting Tool and Keyword Rich Domain Suggestion Tool.

7. Search Engine Genie

Search Engine Genie

Search Engine Genie is an SEO Company which offers 100+ Bing, Yahoo and Google SEO Tools for free. It includes Rank Checkers, Domain Age Checker, PageRank Checker, IP Checker, Google Datacenter Checker, Backlink Analysis, Page Comparison, Reciprocal Link Checker, Ping Test Tool, HTML Validator, Keyword Tools, JavaScript Tools and much more.

8. David Naylor

David Naylor

David Naylor Tools offers 3 flagship tools. Playground (Playground allows you to dig around the site your viewing to perform research finding out information such as a sites PageRank, Cached pages and Keyword Density), GeoTargeting (checks the IP address and Geolocation of each URL which you enter) and a Keyword Density Tool (offers a detailed keyword density analysis).

9. SEOCentro

SEOCentro

SEOCentro offers a Meta Tag Analyzer, Link Popularity Tool, PageRank Check Tool, Keyword Position Check, Keyword Suggestion Tool, Search Engine Saturation, Page Keyword Analyzer and a Keyword Density Tool.

10. Submit Express

Submit Express

Submit Express offers a wide range of search engine optimization tools for webmasters. It offers Free Website Submission, Meta Tag and Keyword Analyzer, Link Popularity Checker, Keyword Suggestion Tool, XML Sitemap Submission, SEO Dictionary, Broken Link Checker, Link Counter and more.

11. Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is powered by SEOmoz. It’s the newSearch Engine for Links that searches over 159 billion URLs and 9.2 trillion links. It’s the perfect tool for competitive website analysis and research. You can explore backlinks, anchor text and much more for free (limited use).

12. Ahrefs

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is yet another powerful tool for link analysis. It shows the total number of backlinks and it’s types (text, nofollow, redirect, image, frame), referring IPs and domains.

13. SEOrush

SEOrush

SEOrush is a one touch resource which provides you a FREE SEO report for your URL or a competitors URL. It returns On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO analysis as well as social presence, indexed pages, validation, meta information, various ranks and standard domain information.

14. WooRank

WooRank

WooRank is the most popular Website Review and SEO Tool: run a free Website Review, get SEO tips and find a SEO Company to help you.

15. SEMRush

SEMRush

SEMRush offers competitors research, shows organic and Ads keywords for any site or domain.

16. Backlink Watch

Backlink Watch

Backlink Watch helps you to know every bit about your inbound links. It includes anchor text, PageRank, quality of backlinks by finding total outbound links any restriction of nofollow tag.

17. Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a Free Keyword Research Tool by Google. It’s probably the best keyword research tool for Internet Marketers and Webmasters. It helps you to find related keywords by analyzing a webpage or using the keywords which you enter. (Read: How To Do Keyword Research Using Google AdWords)

18. WordStream

WordStream

WordStream Keyword Tool gives you access to more keywords than free tools like Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool. Enter a keyword and get profitable keyword suggestions in that niche.

19. Google Page Speed Online

Google Page Speed Online

Google Page Speed Online analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster. Reducing page load times can reduce bounce rates and increase conversion rates.

20. Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a complete Web Analytics software which not only lets you measure sales and conversions, but also gives you fresh insights into how visitors use your site, how they arrived on your site, and how you can keep them coming back.

21. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools improves your site’s visibility in Google SERPs. If gives you detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google Search Engine. See how Google crawls and indexes your website. It shows Google Crawl Stats, Crawl Errors, Malware Warnings, DNS problems, Server connectivity problems, Roboxs.txt analysis, Backlink tracking, Search Queries, Internal Linking, HTML Improvements (Duplicate meta descriptions, Missing title tags, Duplicate title tags).

22. XML Sitemaps – Free Online Google Sitemap Generator

23. Live Keyword Analysis – It’s a real-time Keyword Density Checker.

24. Identify Your Top Search Competitors – finds the Top Search Engine Dominators in Yahoo & Bing for up to 3 Keywords.

25. SimilarSites – Find similar websites and alternatives on the web!

BONUS:

26. SEOquake – is a popular and handy analytic SEO Tool for Firefox, Chrome and Opera browsers. It helps to obtain an information about any site for a wide range of parameters such as PageRank, Keyword Density, Google Index, Alexa Rank, highlights no-follow and much more.

27. MozBar – Is an SEO Toolbar providing fast access to essential SEO metrics and tool.

28. SEO Site Tools – provides On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO metrics, Social Media Stats, PageRank and more.

29. Alexa – Find and evaluate businesses worldwide with Alexa’s free web analytics.

30. Instant Domain Search – Free real-time Domain Name search service that instantly checks .com, .net, and .org Domain Name availability.

31. IP Address Tracer – Get detailed information on any IP address in the world.

Organic Search Engine Vs Paid Search Engine
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Organic Search Engine Vs Paid Search Engine

Paid or organic search marketing? Using one or both will determine how consumers find your site, because where your business is listed on a search engine results page is important as well. According to a study by Chitika, sites listed on the first page of Google results generated 92% of all traffic while the second page only generated 4.8% of all traffic from an average search. Both methods have specific benefits and drawbacks. Learning about both paid and organic will help you get the best return for your search marketing dollars.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Paid search marketing, otherwise known as pay-per-click marketing, are paid ads. A business pays to have their ads displayed when users do a search containing specific keywords. These are the search results that you see above and to the right of organic search results. The way these ads are displayed are based upon the bids process and quality score. With paid search, you have more control over the ranking of your ad than organic search.

When to Use Paid Search:

  • If you are looking for first page exposure, paid results will be placed at the top of rankings as soon as you pay for the ad placement.
  • If you are already on the first page of organic listings, you will have double the visibility.
  • If you want to test a specific campaign, you have the ability to target and test your ad.
  • Paid search allows your budget to go further with segmenting. You can segment by location, income, age, educational level, marital status, industry, etc.
  • If you are a B2B and have a bigger budget, consider investing in PPC. Keep in mind that the more competitive the keyword, the more the bid price is for each click on the displayed ad.
  • Paid search should be used especially when you want to promote a time-sensitive offer.

See Also: Search engine Optimization Vs. Search Engine Marketing: Which is Better?

Organic Search Engine (SEO)

Organic search results are the listings of Web pages returned by the search algorithms that closely match the search string of keywords. To gain high search engine rankings, marketers use SEO and content assets. Higher search rankings give a site the perception of credibility and authority. The goal is to slowly move onto the first page of search results. However, a high ranking is cultivated over a long period of time.

When to Use Organic Search:

Your site will not gain the top ranking after one month of SEO. It takes time. But there are long-term benefits with organic search that PPC cannot compete with. According to Search Engine Watch, organic search drives 51% of traffic to websites in the business services, hospitality, media and retail sectors. Often, the advantages and drawbacks of organic search are the opposite of paid ads.

  • If your primary goal is to increase value to your site and build authority, organic search is the way to go.
  • If you are a small business and need to increase site traffic, consider organic search before investing in PPC.
  • Your business has a longer buying cycle. When consumers are at the awareness stage, they are searching “top of the funnel” search terms. The click-through rates for these terms are better for organic search results.
  • Once you get high rankings, it may be easier to keep those rankings. But remember, with organic search, you must stay consistent, and you must invest the time and money. Unlike paid search, organic search rankings can take months or years.
  • If the content that ranks high is evergreen, then the rankings will also have a more evergreen presence. The specific listing may rank high long after the content was created.

Together is Better ?

Organic Search Engine Vs Paid Search Engine
Organic Search Engine Vs Paid Search Engine

According to a Google study, paid search ads with an accompanying organic search result only occur 19% of the time, on average. If you want speed and immediate results, choose paid. If you are patient and have the time to build your ranking, choose organic.

The best approach is a mix of both organic and paid search. With the right amount, you will have the advantage of business credibility and immediate top-of-the-page listings when consumers are ready to purchase.

Trying to choose between paid search vs organic search? Here’s a nifty little infographic we put together to help make the best choice

Microsoft Updates Bing Logo as Search Service Changes
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Microsoft Updates Bing Logo as Search Service Changes

Microsoft on Thursday plans to introduce a new version of the logo for Bing, the No. 2 search engine, switching to green from yello and putting the “b” in upper case. The changes come partly because the green “is easier to see over yellow,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said, and because the new look displays well “across Windows devices and services.”

Microsoft introduced Bing in June 2009, last updating the logo in September 2013.

The new logo comes as Microsoft says Bing has reached a new plane. It remains a distant rival to Google, but became profitable last year.

Microsoft Bing Change the logo:

“We expect Bing to continue to grow and are thrilled with our trajectory,” said Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft’s corporate VP of advertiser and publisher solutions. “We are the only search engine that is experiencing steady, consistent growth and have increased our share for 26 consecutive quarters. And we’re not slowing down.”

With about two weeks before Microsoft’s next quarterly earnings report, Mr. Kooi added that the company is “all in on search.” It is looking to expand Bing through a number of different vehicles, the largest of which is the company’s Windows 10 operating system. More than 210 million people have downloaded Windows 10 since it debuted in July, Mr. Kooi said, with Microsoft aiming to have 1 billion users by 2019. Windows 10 and its Edge browser use Bing as the default search engine.

Microsoft Updates Bing Logo
Microsoft Updates Bing Logo

Bing also powers devices like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and since Jan. 1, all of AOL’s search engine properties, as well as other devices.

Excluding traffic acquisition costs, search advertising revenue for Bing grew 29% in 2015. “Seven years later and this business has really transformed itself,” he said. “Search is not tied to a search box anymore.”

Search is a priority for Microsoft, as it is for Google, because it is so lucrative. Last year, about $26.5 billion was spent on search advertising. That number is expected to reach more than $40 billion by 2019, according to a January report from eMarketer.

Bing, which has about a 21% market share in the search category, brought Microsoft more than $1 billion in revenue last quarter.

Still, Google continues to hold marketers’ attention with its 64% market share, according to ComScore. Mr. Kooi argued that companies can sell 30% more product by advertising on both Google and Bing. Some of the search engine’s biggest customers include AT&T, Home Depot and Comcast.

“Of course we understand that marketers think about Google first,” Mr. Kooi said. “They have the biggest market share. But one-third of all search queries are done through Bing.”

Advanced SEO Interview Questions 2016
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Advanced SEO Interview Questions 2016

Hi to All…!!!

Herewith I am sharing in Advanced SEO Interview Questions 2016, SEO interview question and answer it help to all freshers as well as experienced people.

1) What is SEO and introduce its types?

Search engine optimization or SEO is a process of keep changing the position of a web page or website in a search engine results by using keywords or phrases.

Two Types of SEO are:

  1. On Page Optimization
  2. Off Page Optimization

2) What are the SEO tools do you use?

The SEO tools that I use are Google analytic, keyword search, Alexa, open site explorer, Google Webmaster.

3) What do you mean by Backlink?

 The incoming links to your website or webpage is referred as Backlink.

4) What are out bound Links?

The outbound links are our website links to other webpage or website.

5) Can you tell me something about Googlebot?

To index a webpage Google uses the Googlebot software. Caching, Crawling and indexing of a webpage are done through Googlebot by collecting details from that webpage.

6) What is Cross linking and what are the function of Cross linking?

  1. Cross linking is used to refer the process of linking one site to another site and provide a way to allow the accessing to it.
  2. It provides the users with reference sites that consists the content related to the search.
  3. It doesn’t need to be owned by the same person as it provides the methods that have been built on the Internet.
  4. It serves the purpose to display the page on the search engines using search engine optimization techniques and methods.
  5. The site ranking is calculated on the basis of the relevance of the sites and then it is reflected on the search engine.
  6. It uses SEO tools that provide reciprocal links and inbound links that can be used as our SEO.

7) What is the main purpose of using keyword in SEO?

Keyword is a single word, and while a combination of those keywords makes phrases. These keywords or phrases are used by the search engines to populate the subjects over the internet. Search engine stores keywords in the database, and when search is done, it will come up with the best possible match.

8) Can you mention the functions of body content relevance?

Whenever there is a text that does not have images on the web page is referred as body content relevance or non-image text. It helps in good optimization of the sites and also to improve your ranking in the search engine.

9) What are Spiders, Robots and Crawlers and what are their functions?

Spiders, robot and crawler, they are all same and referred by different names. It is a software program that follows, or “Crawls” different links throughout the internet, and then grabs the content from the sites and adds to the search engine indexes.

10) What does it mean if nothing appears on doing search on the domain?

On doing search on your domain and if nothing appears then there are three possibilities.

  1. May be the site is banned by search engines
  2. May be no index by search engines
  3. Some canonical issues

11)What is keyword stemming?

The process of finding out the root word from the search query is referred as keywords stemming.

12) Name some SEO blogs that you frequently read?

  1. Jimboykins
  2. Search Engine Land
  3. SEOSmarty
  4. MOZ
  5. Search Engine Journal

13) What do you mean by Cloaking?

Cloaking is a deceptive way of optimizing search. In this technique a different content will be searched by the search engine than what is presented or searched by the users.

14) How many types of Meta Tags are there in SEO and what are their characters limits?

There are two types Meta tags in SEO.

  1. Description Meta tag with 150 characters limits
  2. Keyword Meta tag with 200 characters limits

15) How many characters limits in Title tag?

We can add 70 characters in title tag.

Advanced SEO Interview Questions 2016
Advanced SEO Interview Questions 2016

 

16) What is Google Sandbox?

Google sandbox is an imaginary area where new websites and their search rating are put on hold until they prove worthy for ranking. In other words, it checks the standard of the website.

17) Tell me something about Black Hat SEO?

In order to get a high ranking in search engine result page, websites go for various methods and techniques which are characterized by two categories. One method that is acceptable by search engine guidelines is known as White Hat SEO, while the other method which is not acceptable by search engine guidelines is known as Black Hat SEO.

18) Name few Black Hat SEO techniques?

  1. Link Farming
  2. Hidden text, etc.
  3. Gateway or Doorway pages
  4. Cloaking
  5. Keyword Stuffing

19) Can you differentiate between ‘nofollow’ and ‘dofollow’ link?

Nofollow links are not passed by search engines bot and therefore cannot be cached or indexed. Dofollow link is a kind of hyperlink and it passes through all search engines and it puts an impact over page rank.

20) What is the difference between PR (page rank) and SERP (Search engine result page)?

Page rank is calculated on the basis of quality inbound links from other website or webpages to our webpage or a website.

SERP (Search Engine Result page) is the placement of the website or web-pages which is returned by the search engine after a search query or attribute.

Advanced SEO Interview Questions 2016

21) Why the Title Tag in website is valuable?

Title tags are very essential in SEO, as it tells about the contents on that web page. Through title tags only the search engine will tell the user, what is there in the page.

22) What is considered as more significant, creating content or building backlinks?

Both are necessary, creating quality content is equally important to building backlinks. Although, building backlinks are useful in building authority to a site and for ranking as well, quality content is the first element that is considered to be more responsible for ranking.

23) Can you mention the difference between SEO and SEM?

SEM (Search Engine Marketing), it is used for the promotion of website through Search Engine Result Page (SERP) , while to optimize the search result of your webpage or website SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is used.

24) What do you know about LSI?

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. This technique is established to obtain the data by relating the word to its closest counterparts or to its similar context. For example, if you are searching something with a keyword “CAR” it will show all the related things like classic cars, car auctions, Bentley car, car race etc.

25) How will you cross-check whether your SEO campaign is working or not?

To check whether your SEO campaign is working or not, the first approach is to check the websites statistics, which tells you about the origin of traffic.  The other way of checking is to make a search based on the relevant keywords and key phrases and look for the search result. The number of search result will tell you whether your SEO campaign is working or not.

26) What is the meaning of competitive analysis?

Competitive analysis does the comparison, between the website I am optimizing, and the website that is ranked highly in search results.

27) What will be your next steps if your SEO methods or technique does not work?

My first attempt would to try analysis the problem and resolve them step by step

  1. Firstly I would try to see whether it is a new project, and then like to re-check the key words.
  2. Also, I would look for relevant key-words that can be helpful.
  3. Even though the webpage and website has been indexed well and still not appearing on the first 10 pages of search engine result page, then I would make some changes in page text, titles and description.
  4. If website is not indexed well or dropped from the index, than it might comprises     serious issues and re-work might be required.

28) What is PPC?

PPC stands for Pay Per Click and is an advertisement campaign hosted by Google.  It is segmented into two modules CPC ( Cost per click) and CPM ( Cost per thousand impressions) through flat rate and bidding respectively. In CPC, if the user clicks on the advert, only then the advertiser will be charged.

29) What is 301 redirect?

It is a method by which the user is redirected to new page url to old page url . It is a permanent redirect and it is also useful in directing link juice to new url from old url .

30) What are Webmaster tools?

Webmaster tool is a service provided by Google from where you can get backlink information, crawl errors, search queries, Indexing data, CTR etc.

31) What is keyword density and what is the formula for knowing keyword density?

From SEO point of view, keyword density will definitely help to stand out your content from others. The formula to know the keyword density is ( Total number of keyword/ total number of words in your article) multiply by 100.

32) What is robots.txt? 

Robots.txt is a text file. It is through this file, it gives instruction to search engine crawlers about indexing and caching of a webpage, file of a website or directory, domain.

33) What will you do, for the company website you are working for, decides to move all the contents to new domain?

The first step would be to update the previous site with a permanent redirect to new page for all the pages. After that, I will remove the previous content from search engine in order to avoid duplicate content issues.

34) Can you optimize the website which has pages in millions?

From SEO point of view, for dynamic website, special additional SEO stuffs have to be    implemented.

  1. Good Internal link structure
  2. Generation of dynamic title and description
  3. Dynamic XML sitemap generation

35) What is the latest update in SEO?

The latest updates in SEO are:

  1. Panda
  2. Penguin

Bonus! 3 More!

36) What are the key aspects of Panda update?

Panda is to improve the search in Google. The latest version has focused on quality content, proper design, proper speed, proper use of images and many more.

37) What are the key aspects of Penguin update?

Penguin is the code name for Google algorithm. Its main target is to decrease the ranking of that website that are violating the Google Webmaster guidelines. These guidelines are violated by using black hat techniques like cloaking and stuffing.

38) How will you neutralize a toxic link to your site?
Through Backlink Quality Checker you can know who links to your website. Now, you have to go to ‘ Toxic link’ report, where you will find all the links, that are harmful to your websites. If there is any link in ‘ Toxic link report’ that matches with the link on your website, then you can remove it by using ‘Google Disavov tool’.

 


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