06- Apr2018
Posted By: DPadmin
24 Views

Search outpaced social for referral traffic last year, driving 35% of site visits vs social’s 26% share of visits 

According to a new referral traffic report from Shareaholic, 2017 was the first time since 2014 search owned a larger share of visits over social.

After a year fraught with terms like “fake news,” and headlines centering around brand safety issues and extreme content, it appears the actions taken by social sites to curb the influx of malicious content is turning out to be a real boon for search referral traffic.

For the first time since 2014, Shareaholic says search outpaced social in the percentage of overall traffic it delivered in 2017. According to the analytic platform’s data, search drove 34.8 percent of site visits in 2017 compared to social networks which accounted for 25.6 percent of referral traffic.

Chartbeat, an analytics platform for online publishers and media organizations, has witnessed a similar trend with traffic from Google search to publisher websites up more than 25 percent since the start of 2017.

“Google Search has always been the largest referrer to Chartbeat clients,” writes the company’s CEO, John Saroff, on Chartbeat’s blog, “In late August, Chartbeat data scientists noticed that Google Search referrals across our client base were trending up.”

The CEO says his team initially thought the rise in Google referrals were attached to events like last year’s solar eclipse and Hurricane Irma, but traffic continued to rise even after news headlines around the events subsided. Instead of falling back into normal patterns, Chartbeat saw Google search driving even more traffic to publisher sites.

Search beats out social for share of visits

“At a high level, it’s clear that social media’s tenuous grip on being the top referral category is over. After beating out search for the last three years, it’s given back the title, driven by changes to the algorithms behind Facebook’s News Feed,” writes Shareaholic in its latest traffic report.

Shareaholic’s findings are based on traffic to more than 250,000 mobile and desktop sites that have opted-in to the content marketing platform’s publishing tools. The company says it analyzed a variety of traffic sources — direct traffic, social referrals, organic search and paid search — for websites that ranged in size from a thousand monthly unique visitors to one million, and spread across a broad selection of website categories (food, tech, fashion and beauty, marketing, sports, general news, and more).

Google was the top overall traffic referrer for the year, and owned a 36.82 percent share of visits during the second half of 2017. While Google’s share of visits was up more than seven percentage points between the second half of 2016 and the second half of 2017, Facebook’s dropped 12.7 percent during the same time frame.

Even with a double-digit drop however, Facebook remained the top social network for share of visits in 2017.

Shareholic notes the changes Facebook has made to its news feed algorithm, boosting content from “trusted” news sources while penalizing spammy, click-bait headlines, influenced the site’s drop in share of visits: “After a rocky 2016 US election year, Facebook made a number of major changes to what content they display in the news feed and how they display it.”

The two charts below, one from Shareaholic and the other from Parse.ly convey similar trends with respect to search vs. social referral traffic in 2017, through the third quarter of the year. The Parse.ly data reflects the upward trend in referral traffic from Google (all – including AMP – Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages format) and declining trend in referral traffic from Facebook specifically (all Facebook – including Instant Articles).

Search vs. Social Referral Traffic – 2017 from Shareaholic

Google Search and Facebook Referral Traffic – 2017 from Parse.ly

Publishers also see continued gains from search driven by AMP

While Shareaholic’s traffic referral report is based on a wide category of websites, Chartbeat’s data is specifically attached to publishers’ web traffic.

As mentioned earlier, Chartbeat saw a 25 percent surge in traffic to publisher sites by Google search over the last year. Josh Schwartz, Chartbeat’s chief of product, engineering and data, told Digiday that Facebook referrals to publishers was down fifteen percent in 2017 — aligning with Shareaholic’s findings.

Facebook’s news feed algorithm tweaks to curb fake news and spam content are definitely impacting its overall referral traffic numbers, but Chartbeat reports the most significant factor driving traffic to its clients’ sites is AMP content. After analyzing whether or not the rise in traffic was the result of a bug, or “un-darkening” of previously dark social traffic and finding nothing, Chartbeat turned its attention to mobile versus desktop traffic numbers.

“We then looked specifically at search traffic by device and the answer was clear from our dataset. Mobile Google Search referrals were up significantly while Desktop Google Search referrals were flat,” writes Saroff.

Chartbeat then dug further into its data to evaluate sites using AMP and said it found a “stark” difference between the sites using AMP and those that were not.

“While Mobile Google Search traffic to our AMP-enabled publishers is up 100 percent over the same time-frame, traffic to publishers not using AMP is flat.”

Chartbeat says, during the last six months, Google Mobile Search referrals now outpace both mobile and desktop Facebook referrals.

Source: Search outpaced social for referral traffic last year, driving 35% of site visits vs social’s 26% share of visits – Search Engine Land

07- Sep2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
122 Views

Is a big Google search update happening? Chatter thinks so.

The SEO community is vigorously talking about two Google updates, one with the core web search results and one with the local pack results.

Have you checked your Google organic search traffic this morning? If not, you may want to. It seems Google may have tweaked their search ranking algorithm, your site may be ranking higher or lower or the same depending on if this update has impacted your web pages. Google has not yet confirmed the update but based on a lot of chatter in the search community, it seems like an update is indeed happening.

To be clear, it seems like there were two updates in the past twenty-four hours. The large update seems to be around core web search, which kicked off earlier this morning or late last night. The second update was likely around local rankings in Google.

Google core search ranking update

Again, Google has not confirmed that there was an update – we’ve emailed them this morning and we hope they get back to us soon. The search community overall seems to be debating that there was an update but there is a huge number of ‘SEOs’ who are saying they do indeed see ranking changes in their verticals. It also doesn’t seem to be a specific industry but rather across all industries and verticals.

Search ranking tracking tools also see an update, such as Mozcast, SERP Metrics, Alogoroo, andAccuranker. In fact, Mozcast is showing higher temperatures then they have in a long time:

mozcast-1472825317Our gut tells us this is not a Penguin update but rather a core search change but again, we are waiting on hearing back from Google.

Google Local Pack ranking quality update

Yesterday, again based on industry chatter, this mostly from the Local Search Forums community, there seems to have been a ranking update.

Most the local SEO experts are saying this is related to a quality update based on Google removing a lot of spammy local results. Local results have thus shifted and changes because removing a local result due to quality issues will result in different local results showing up. Not all are convinced this is purely a quality update but rather an update the local ranking algorithm.

Just like with the core web search ranking update, we asked Google for a comment on this update and hope to report back soon when we hear back from Google.

Source: Is a big Google search update happening? Chatter thinks so.

Categories:
19- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
386 Views

App Store SEO: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Mobile – Moz

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing. Today’s post provides a high-level view of App Store Optimization, and gives tips on how to break into the rapidly expanding world of apps.

How to Optimize for App Store Search Engines

Let’s dive into search in the app stores, and how the search engines differ based on platform.

First things first; remember I mentioned that the app ecosystem reminds me of the web in the mid-to-late 90’s? Keep that picture in your head when you think of search. App store search hasn’t been “figured out” in the same way that Google “figured out” search on the web. Simply put, we’re still in AltaVista mode in the app ecosystem: something better than Yahoo’s directory provided, but not incredibly sophisticated like Google would become in a few more years.

Just like the web has on-page and off-page SEO, apps have on-metadata and off-metadata ASO. On-metadata ASO include factors totally within your control and are often things dealing with your app store presence. Off-metadata ASO include factors that might not be entirely in your control, but which you can still influence. Here are a few of the most important knobs and levers that you as a marketer can turn to affect your search performance, and some quick tips on how to optimize them.

On-Metadata

App Title

An app’s title is the single most important metadata factor for rank in ASO. It’s equivalent to the <title> tag in your HTML, and is a great signal to the app stores as to what your app is about. On the web, you want your title to include both a description of what you do (including keywords) as well as some branding; both elements should also exist in the app store. Be sure to include the keywords, but don’t be spammy. Make sure it parses well and makes sense. Example: “Strava Run – GPS Running, Training and Cycling Workout Tracker

Description

Patrick Haig, our VP of Customer Success, likes to break descriptions down into two sections: above the fold and below the fold (sound familiar?). He says, “Above the fold language should be 1-2 sentences describing the app and its primary use case, and below the fold should have a clear and engaging feature set and social proof.” We’ll dig into some of the differences about the description field across platforms below.

Keyword Field

The Keyword Field in iOS is a 100 character field which you can use to tell iTunes search for which keywords you should show up. Since you only get 100 characters, you must use them wisely. A few tips:

  • When choosing your keywords, just like on the web, focus on relevancy, search volume, and difficulty.
  • Don’t use multiple word phrases; break out to individual words (Apple can combine them for you).
  • Don’t repeat keywords that are already in your title (and put the most important ones in your title, leaving the keyword field for your secondary keywords).
  • Separate keywords with commas, and don’t use spaces anywhere.

Icon

Consumers are finicky. They want apps which are beautiful, elegant, and simple to understand. Your icon is often their first interaction with your app, so ensure that it does a great job conveying your brand, and the elegance and usefulness of your app. Remember, in search results, an icon is one of the only ways you can convey your brand and usefulness. Think of it as part of the meta description tag you’d create in SEO. For example, SoundCloud does a great job with their icon and branding.

Screenshots

The most important rule to remember when creating your screenshots is that they should not be screenshots. They are, instead, promotional graphics. That means you can include text or other graphics to tell your app’s story in an interesting, visual way.

Especially in iOS, where the card layout shows your first screenshot, it is incredibly helpful when an app displays a graphic which explains the app right up front, increasing conversions from search results to viewing the app page and, ultimately, installing the app.

The best app marketers also use their screenshots promotional graphics together to create a flow that carries the user through the story. Each graphic can build off the previous graphic, giving the user a reason to continue scrolling and learning about your app.

Here’s a great example of using the screenshots effectively by our friends at Haiku Deck.

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing.

Off-Metadata

Outside of your direct control, you’ll also want to focus on a few things to ensure the best performance in ASO.

Ratings

Average Ratings

Every app has a rating. Your job as a marketer is to ensure that your app gets a great overall rating. Rating is directly tied to performance in app store search, which leads us to believe that rating is a factor in app store search rankings.

Reviews

Similar to ratings, you want to ensure that the reviews your users write about your app are positive. These reviews will help increase your conversion rate from app page views to downloads.

For a great product to help you increase your rating and reviews, check out Apptentive.

Link-building

This is discussed further below, but suffice it to say, link building to your app’s page in the app store matters for Google Play apps. Given you all are SEOs, you know all about how to rock this!

How Do iOS and Google Play Differ In App Store Search?

The differences in the platforms mean that there are different levers to pull depending on the platform. Google Play and iOS act completely independently, and often, quite differently. The differences are wide-ranging, but what are a couple of the main differences?

In general, the way to think about the differences is that Google is Google and Apple is Apple. Duh, right? Google has the built the infrastructure and technology to learn from the web and use many different data points to make a decision. Apple, on the other hand, doesn’t have indexes of the web, and comes from a background in media. When in doubt, imagine what you’d do if you were each of them and had the history each of them has.

Here are a couple concrete examples.

Description versus Keywords

In iOS, there’s a keywords field. It’s easy to see where this came from, especially when you think of iTunes’ background in music: a song has a title (app title), musician (developer name), and then needs a few keywords to describe the song (“motown,” “reggae,” etc.). When Apple launched their app store, they used the same technology that was already built for music, which meant that the app title, developer name, and keywords were the only fields used to understand search for an app. Note that description isn’t taken into account in iOS (but I expect this to change soon).

On the other hand, there is no keyword field in Google Play; there is only a description field. Thus, while iOS doesn’t take the description into account, in Google Play the description is all you have, so be sure to do exactly the same as you do on the web: cater your content towards your keywords, without being spammy.

Leveraging PageRank in Google Play

Another big difference in iOS and Google Play is that Google has access to PageRank and the link graph of the web, while Apple does not. Thus, Google will take into account the inbound links to your app’s detail page (for example, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.symantec.mobilesecurity) as a factor in Google Play search, while Apple has no such factor.


How To Measure Success In App Marketing

It’s very difficult to measure success in app marketing in the same way you can measure success in web marketing. This is especially true when you’re working with inbound channels. It’s still early, but it’s continuously getting better, with more tools and services coming out all the time to help marketers understand success. Here are some of the ways I recommend measuring success in the app store today:

Search Rankings

Just like on the web, a great way to measure your success in app store search is to track your ranking for specific search terms you care about over time and versus your competition. Rank tracking is incredibly valuable for ASOs to understand their progress.

Top Charts

Top Charts, especially Top Charts within a particular category, do a great job of allowing you to understand your success in relation to the rest of the apps in your category.

As the app ecosystem grows, many marketers are turning their sights towards mobile app marketing.

Ratings and Reviews

Just as ratings and reviews will help your ASO, they are also great metrics to track over time for how you’re doing with your app marketing. Keep track of what users are saying, how they’re saying it (pro tip: listening to their language is a great way to do keyword research!), and what they’re rating your app.

Downloads

Taking it one step further, correlating your search rankings to downloads will allow you to understand the effect your increased ASO is having on your app performance. One way we do this is to integrate with iTunes Connect and overlay your search rankings with your downloads so you can visually see how closely related any one keyword is with your downloads. It’s not perfect, but it helps!

Conversion and Revenue

At the end of the day, revenue is the most important metric you should be understanding. Of course, you should be tracking your revenue and doing the same correlation with search performance. In addition, you should watch your conversion rate over time; we often see apps whose conversion rate soars with an increase in ASO because the users are so much more engaged with the app.


Tools And Resources To Use To Help With App Marketing

To conclude this post, I want to quickly talk about some tools and resources to use to help your app marketing process.

Sylvain has written some great content and has some incredible insights into app marketing and ASO on his company’s (Apptamin) blog.

I mentioned Apptentive above, and they really are the best way I know to impact your ratings and reviews, and get great feedback from customers in the process.

In addition to having a great, free, in-app analytics product (Flurry Analytics), as well as an interesting paid advertising product (AppCircle), Flurry also posts some of the most interesting data about the app ecosystem on their blog.

If you’re looking to obtain some amount of attribution for your paid advertising (inbound can’t be split out, sorry!), MobileAppTracking is where it’s at. It allows you to understand which paid channels are performing best for you based on the metric of your choosing. Best of all, you only pay for what you use.

App Marketing Tools

This is, of course, a shameless promotion. That said, our product is a great way to understand your performance in app store search, help you do keyword research, and give you competitive intelligence. We offer a free (forever!) tool for Indie developers and scale all the way up to the largest Enterprise customers.


Now It’s Your Turn–> Visit the link below to get the full list to help guide you along your optimization way!

Source: App Store SEO: The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Mobile – Moz

18- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
205 Views

SEO is a Long-Term Investment- Marketers Feel Pressure

Even though SEO is a long-term investment, marketers often feel pressured to show progress quickly. Columnist Dan Bagby for Searchengineland provides some ideas for quick wins that can show value while waiting for your longer-term initiatives to start gaining traction.

Even though SEO is a long-term investment, marketers often feel pressured to show progress quicklyWhen you start at a new company as the SEO specialist or pick up a new client, one thing everyone wants is to see quick results. The fact that SEO takes time can be a struggle as you try to show value while also satisfying your own desire to make an impact.

Here are a few SEO techniques that will let your colleagues or clients know you are the real deal, bringing value with your expertise.

1. Win With Featured Snippets

Winning a featured snippet spot can have a huge impact, bringing organic traffic to a page. Although getting featured in the quick answer box is not guaranteed, there is a pretty simple formula for optimizing your content for it.

Even though SEO is a long-term investment, marketers often feel pressured to show progress quicklyStart by going to the Google Search Console to find rankings for queries that contain a question — you can do this by filtering for queries containing “how,” “what” or “why.”

Once you have a list of keyword phrases, check search volume and prioritize your list, focusing on the keywords with the highest search volume. If you do not currently rank for any question-related keywords, think of a simple question you can answer, and create the content to answer that question.

Increase your chances of being featured in the quick answer box by making on-page improvements:

  1. Provide a detailed answer in a bulleted or numbered format that specifically answers the question posed by the search query.
  2. Add a video to the page that answers the question (with transcription).
  3. Add additional information that adds more value to the page for the reader.

Once your content has been revised, submit it to be indexed, and share it on Google Plus, so that the changes are noticed quickly. To learn more about optimizing for featured snippets, check out this article by Eric Enge.

2. Optimize Existing Content

It is much easier to improve a strong existing page’s ranking a few spots in the SERPs than it is to get a new (or poorly ranking) page to show quick results.

Knowing that you see the biggest bumps in traffic when you get into the top three results, target content ranked in position 3 to 10. Improving bounce rates or building on pages that are converting can also be a great way to see big gains from a small time investment.

There are several ways to identify which pages to focus on:

  1. Going back to the Search Console, sort keywords by rank to find keywords ranked between 10 and 3.
  2. Looking in Google Analytics, find pages with a high bounce rate but decent traffic.
  3. Also in Google Analytics, find pages with high conversion rates. Check what keywords are driving traffic through Search Console, and focus on optimizing for those keywords.

What can you do to improve these pages and see results quickly? Here are some ideas

On-Page Optimization

  • Modifying the basic on-page ranking factors to improve search engine optimization.
  • Find internal pages that are related to your target pages, and create new internal links from the related pages to the target pages.
  • Share on Google Plus and submit to Google to be crawled.

Crowd Source Content For Quick Links

One way to quickly improve a page’s content (and possibly gain links) is by reaching out to influencers. Keep it simple by asking influencers to contribute to a page you are trying to improve.

For example, if you have a page you wrote about the best places to eat in Austin, you could reach out to food bloggers in Austin and ask them for their opinion on the best new restaurants.

Even more effective is to ask them if they have a blog post about those specific restaurants that you can link to. They will gladly give you content to link to while you get more content to add to your page.

Once the updates are made, let the influencers know by email and via Twitter. This can result in additional social shares and possibly links for the influencers. You can also use this technique when you are creating a brand-new page.

Optimizing For Search Intent

I often find pages ranking well for queries that do not fit the page. For example, I might see an article ranking for queries related to “finding influencers” that is really more focused on how to reach out to influencers. Fixing this will likely improve rank and lower bounce rate.

  1. If the page does not rank for other keywords, and the keywords currently driving traffic are strategic for your site, rewrite the article completely focusing on those keywords.
  2. If you want to maintain the article, you can add a section to better answer the query that it already ranks for.
  3. If the information that would match the search intent does not belong on the page, write a new page that answers the questions, and link to it from the ranking post with keyword-rich anchor text.

3. Improve Rank For Converting Pages

Look at Google Analytics to find the pages that are converting. Use Search Console to find the keywords driving traffic to that page. You can also look at paid campaigns to see top-converting keywords.

Focus on these keywords and pages to see quick results and really prove the value in SEO.

4. Find Competing Content

Check your site for several pieces of content on the same topic and combine the pages. Make sure to redirect URLs so that there is only one page.

5. Fixing 404 Errors

There are several tools that make it easy to find 404 errors. You can fix links by reaching out to site owners that have the broken links or redirect the broken URL to a live page.

Final Thoughts

While SEO is a long-term investment and can take time to show results, there are always a few things you can do to show quick value. I have included only included a few opportunities here, but there are many other techniques like using other sites to get content ranking quickly. What are some of your techniques to get quick results?

is a long-term investment, marketers often feel pressured to show progress quickly. Columnist Dan Bagby provides some ideas for quick wins that can show value while waiting for your longer-term initiatives to start gaining traction.

Source: Quick Wins To Beat The SEO Waiting Game

16- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
251 Views

Special Edition Batman v Superman Galaxy S7 Edge Coming? | Digital Trends

 

The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel will finally do battle on March 25, with Samsung possibly cooking up a special-edition Galaxy S7 Edge to commemorate the occasion, reports South Korean outlet Naver.

According to the publication, Samsung will launch a Batman v Superman edition of the Galaxy S7 Edge, which will reportedly be decked out with wallpaper, ringtone, and a design based on the movie. However, Samsung allegedly won’t stop there, as the South Korean outfit will also release other special variants of the Galaxy S7 and its curved-edge equal. They include one inspired by the 2016 Winter Olympics, while another will reportedly be done in collaboration with a popular South Korean singer.

Related: Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge rumors and news

Samsung has yet to confirm or deny the existence of any of these special-edition smartphones, let alone the Galaxy S7 and the Galaxy S7 Edge themselves. However, it wouldn’t be the first time Samsung ventured into the world of special-edition handsets, as the company released the Iron Man limited edition Galaxy S6 Edge last May.
If the three aforementioned limited editions are anything like the Iron Man smartphone, however, they will be pricey and they will be available in very limited quantities. Not only were there only 1,000 Iron Man Galaxy S6 Edge units made, but they were so expensive that one Amazon reviewer wrote he sold his genitalia, left foot, and wife on the black market just to get one. Grim stuff.

Regardless, this makes us wonder what the Batman v Superman Galaxy S7 Edge would even look like. Even though The Avengers: Age of Ultron contained multiple superheroes, Samsung and Marvel opted to go with Iron Man, so it will be interesting to see who Samsung and DC Comics roll with. Our money’s on Batman, since Samsung isn’t exactly known for releasing smartphones with outlandish colors, such as a Superman edition would require, but my personal pick is Wonder Woman, who also has a starring role in the movie.

Also watch: Samsung Galaxy S7 could get upstaged by 360-degree VR cam
by Taboola Sponsored Links From The Web
iPhone 6 Plus’s Being Sold for Next to Nothing
QuiBids
Read Ebooks? Here’s The Worst Kept Secret Among Book Lovers
BookBub
Kentucky Drivers With No Tickets In 3 Years Are Surprised By This New Rule
Provide-Savings Insurance Quotes
Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/samsung-batman-v-superman-galaxy-s7-smartphone/#ixzz40HgiiHj2
Follow us: @digitaltrends on Twitter | digitaltrendsftw on Facebook

g reportedly looks to continue its release of limited edition smartphones by releasing a special edition Batman v. Superman Galaxy S7.

Source: Special Edition Batman v Superman Galaxy S7 Edge Coming? | Digital Trends

14- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
179 Views

AdWords Automated Bidding Gets An Overhaul: Welcome, Portfolio Bid Strategies

Terminology changes come with some new functionality, including the ability to set different CPA targets at the ad group level within the same bid strategy.

Google is going to be rolling out a revamp of AdWords automated bidding. Some of the changes are just semantic, but the workflow is also getting an update.

First the naming changes:

  1. Flexible strategies will be called “portfolio” bid strategies. The change is meant to better indicate that a single strategy can be applied across multiple campaigns, ad groups — and keywords, in some cases.
  2. A strategy that is applied to a single campaign is called a “standard” bid strategy.
  3. Conversion Optimizer will be called Target CPA for all new bid strategies to simplify the nomenclature. Target CPA can still be applied as a “standard” or a “portfolio” bid strategy.

Now for the functionality updates:

  1. Managers will be able to create or add to bidding strategies from the Campaigns Setting tab — no more need to dive into the Shared Library.
  2. Portfolio bid strategies for Target CPA can have different CPA goals for separate ad groups. “For example, if you’re a clothing retailer with multiple ‘Accessories’ ad groups in a bidding portfolio, you may want to set a lower CPA target for ‘Socks’ compared to other product categories with higher average order value.”

Adwords target CPA bid strategy

Note that Portfolio bid strategies can not be applied to video or universal app campaigns

.The periodic Table of SEO success factors

In December, Google added new reporting features for automated bidding. These latest updates will start showing up in accounts over the next few weeks.Google Adwords

Source: AdWords Automated Bidding Gets An Overhaul: Welcome, Portfolio Bid Strategies

13- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
278 Views

SEO Doesn’t Have To Be A Shot In The Dark | TechCrunch

 To many startups, search engine optimization (SEO) is a task that sits on their company’s back burner.  Yes, there’s an element of uncertainty with SEO (after all, Google doesn’t publicly reveal the factors they use to rank websites). But according to a new ranking-factor study, SEO doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. In fact, you can prioritize your SEO tasks based on what’s likely to give you the most bang for your buck.

With features to launch and customers to support, the idea of spending time fiddling with your title tags can seem like a fool’s errand. That’s especially true when there’s no guarantee that your hard work will result in a single additional visitor from Google. That’s one of the reasons that a recent study ranked SEO as the third most important marketing priority for startups (behind social media and content marketing).

Why do startups tend to shy away from SEO? From working with dozens of startups, I’ve found that founders hate the uncertainty that comes from SEO. Indeed, success with SEO can seem like throwing two dice and hoping you roll double sevens.

 

Backlinks, content and page speed are key 

Backlinko recently teamed up with a handful of SEO software companies to evaluate the factors that are most important for success with SEO today. To do this, they analyzed one million Google search results.

Of the 20 potential ranking factors they looked at, five were revealed to be especially important. I’m going to deep-dive into these five important ranking factors, and show you how you can apply them to squeeze more juice out of your SEO efforts.

Content is king?

The study found that the most important ranking factor was number of different websites linking to your page.

pasted image 0 (3)

This ranking factor is as old as Google itself.

Despite the fact that so-called “black hat SEOs” manipulate Google with phony links, it appears that this ranking factor remains an integral part of what makes Google tick.

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Google’s reliance on backlinks has taken it from two guys in a garage near Stanford to one of the most valuable companies on the planet. And today, Google’s worldwide search market share remains relatively stable. This makes it unlikely Google will completely remove backlinks from their algorithm. This data suggests that, at least for today, backlinks are still heavily relied upon by Big G.

You can prioritize your SEO tasks based on what’s likely to give you the most bang for your buck.

Another interesting wrinkle is that this finding flies in the face of what many SEO consultants recommend: Many SEO agencies preach a “quality over quantity” approach to link building.

While there’s no question certain backlinks provide more benefit than others (for example, a link from TechCrunch is significantly more powerful than a link from your average mommy blog), this study suggests that backlink quantity is also important.

This is an important lesson for founders and startup marketers to learn. As someone who does PR consulting for startups, I notice that many founders shoot for the moon with their link and PR aspirations. In other words, to many founders, it’s “CNN.com or bust.” This new data suggests that this approach may be a mistake. In fact, one of the chief reasons I took Polar to 40+ million pageviews is that I wasn’t overly picky about which sites we got mentions and links from.

If a site looked legit and wanted to cover us, I said, “Let’s do it.” That’s part of the reason I’ve landed 1,300 mentions over the last few years.

As you can see, a  lot of these mentions were on major news sites. But the funny thing is that a good chunk of these major mentions came as a result of a smaller blog or niche news site writing about us. In fact, this is the exact strategy that Ryan Holiday recommends in his PR classic “Trust Me, I’m Lying.”

Not only are mentions from smaller sites beneficial for startups’ PR, but they can significantly boost your Google rankings, as well.

Slow loading site = SEO death

Backlinko’s new study also found a strong tie between site speed and Google rankings. Using site-loading-speed data from Alexa, they discovered that fast-loading websites significantly outperformed slow sites.

This finding shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who follows SEO. Google has come out and said they use site speed as a “signal in our search ranking algorithms.” Because users hate slow-loading websites, Google doesn’t want to show them to their users.

Fortunately, taking your site from “tortoise” to “hare” is relatively simple. If you happen to use WordPress, there are no shortage of plug-ins that can boost your site’s loading time. Even if you don’t use WordPress, a few quick steps can typically move the needle for most websites:

  • Upgrade your hosting: Cheap $5/month hosting plans like Bluehost aren’t bad, but their servers aren’t typically optimized for speed.
  • Cut image file sizes: For most websites, images are the No. 1 factor that slow down a page. You can usually compress them or reduce their size without sacrificing much in the way of quality.
  • Hire a coder: If you’re not a coder, hiring a pro to analyze your code with an eye on site speed can be a game changer. Most sites have at least some code bloat that can be easily cleaned up.

Long-form content wins the day

Backlinko also found that, when it comes to SEO, content may not be king, but it’s certainly queen. Specifically, their data revealed that long-form content tended to rank above shorter content.

pasted image 0 (4)

According to their analysis, the average article on Google’s first page boasts 1,890 words.

Does this mean that Google has an inherent preference for long content? Maybe. The study authors pointed out that this finding was simply a correlation, and they couldn’t say for sure. But they hypothesized that Google would want to show their users through content that fully answers their query. In other words, long-form content.

However, it may be that longer content generates more shares (in the form of tweets, Facebook likes and backlinks). In fact, BuzzSumo found that longer content tended to generate more social shares.

pasted image 0 (5)

Considering that shares can lead to higher rankings, long-form content may simply outperform short content in the share department, leading to higher Google rankings.

If you haven’t attempted to publish long-form content because you feel your audience doesn’t have the attention span for it, this finding may give you the impetus to at least give it a shot.

Adding focus to your content may improve rankings

Additionally, the study found that focused content outperformed content that attempted to cover several different topics. Using software called MarketMuse, each article in their database was scored for “topical authority.” A high score represents an article that covered a topic in-depth. A low score indicates that the article skimmed the surface of a given topic.

The authors guessed that Google would prefer comprehensive content. This is because of a fundamental shift in the way Google indexes content. In the last few years, Google has moved away from simply looking at the words on your page to actually understanding what your page is about. This is known as semantic search.

For example, before semantic search, if you Googled “who is the CEO of Starbucks”, Google would look for pages that contained the exact term “who is the CEO of Starbucks” on the page. And they would present 10 links to those pages.

Today, they know the actual answer, and present it to you.

pasted image 0 (6)

It turns out that Google may prefer in-depth content, as it gives them a deeper understanding of your content. This study found that content rated as having high topical authority ranked above content with a poor rating.

pasted image 0 (7)

The old writing adage “go an inch wide and a mile deep” may also now apply to SEO, as well.

Bounces aren’t just hurting conversions

This research also found a correlation between a low bounce rate and poor rankings in Google.

pasted image 0 (8)

According to the study, Google may use bounce rate as a proxy measure of content quality. If someone searches for a keyword, clicks on your page and quickly leaves, it sends a message to Google that your page isn’t a good fit for that keyword.

On the other hand, if you stay on the site and browse through several different pages, it implies that that person had a great experience and enjoyed reading your content. That may push Google to show your page to more people.

While this finding is interesting, there are a few important caveats I should point out.

Also, being a correlation study, it’s impossible to say whether Google directly measures or uses bounce rate as a ranking signal. A high bounce rate may simply reflect content that isn’t very good.

Regardless, reducing your bounce rate certainly won’t result in lower rankings — and it can boost conversions, as well.

Source: SEO Doesn’t Have To Be A Shot In The Dark | TechCrunch

05- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
380 Views

Google and Deep Learning

W I R E D  just released a pretty cool article about Google Search’s artificial intelligence.  Will “Deep Learning” be the 2016 buzz word?

YESTERDAY, THE 46-YEAR-OLD Google veteran who oversees its search engine, Amit Singhal, announced his retirement. And in short order, Google revealed that Singhal’s rather enormous shoes would be filled by a man named John Giannandrea. On one level, these are just two guys doing something new with their lives. But you can also view the pair as the ideal metaphor for a momentous shift in the way things work inside Google—and across the tech world as a whole.

Read the rest of the article at W I R E D

03- Feb2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl
268 Views

Why Guardian Owl Digital Marketing

Guardian Owl Digital is a search engine marketing company in Louisville, Kentucky.  Check out why you should choose us to handle your paid search!

Jenna Ahern, owner of Guardian Owl Digital
Guardian Owl Digital Marketing is a certified Google Partners agency.