Category Archives: Development

Keep Your Domain Game Strong: Setting Up Your HTTPS Address Improperly Can Cause SEO Issues

Setting Up Your HTTPS Address - Eminent SEO

Be honest: Have you ever tried to fix a problem and accidentally made it worse?

Perhaps you were trying to update your operating system on your computer to make it run faster, only to realize that the new OS isn’t compatible with all your most-used programs.

How about when you’re out to eat with friends and ask the waitress to separate the checks, only to find that you or someone in your party inevitably ends up paying more than they wanted, leaving sour moods and subpar tips for your sweet-natured server.

Or, maybe you added salt and spices to your favorite recipe, only to find out the you’ve ruined the flavor that you grew to love.

Well, when it comes to search engine optimization, there are a few ways that changing up the recipe can result in a less potent presence. Your website may not be broken, but improving your SEO is no simple fix.

The shift from HTTP to HTTPS has left many websites with losses that boil down to improper implementation. Let’s take a moment to address the most common SEO mistakes related to this upgrade, why they’re problematic for your website, and how to fix them.

Everybody’s Switching for the Weekend

34 Percent Google Search Results HTTPS - Eminent SEOAccording to the tech news website Search Engine Land, Google has been making a push for sites to move from HTTP to HTTPS, and reportedly 34 percent of Google search results now begin with an HTTPS prefix.

To give a little context for readers unfamiliar with the differences between HTTP and HTTPS, the former stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and describes the process of data exchange between your browser and the server of the website you are visiting. HTTPS contains the same acronym with an added “S” that stands for “secure.”

HTTPS sites are encrypted, which means they have an added security measure to protect confidential online interaction and transactions. Switching to HTTPS makes your site more secure, and Google anticipates many more sites making the switch to this type of domain in the coming years.

Why Would That Affect My Search Visibility?

By switching to HTTPS but keeping your HTTP site live, you run the risk of producing the same content, which would be counterproductive for your search engine rankings. Imagine cloning yourself, and then giving your clone the same name, address, phone number and social security number as you. Many of us are unwittingly doing this with our websites and their search visibility.

While the result is the same – keywords being searched and the user being led to your site – in the competitive field of SEO, the path that leads to your site is a significant factor in determining your site’s search rankings. The overlap of material on two different sites is called duplicate content, and is the biggest mistake web developers make when switching to HTTPS.

Two Roads Diverged in the Woods

Do you know about canonicalization? It’s the simple fix for multiple URLs that lead to the same piece of content or, more commonly, to the same website.

For example, the URL https://www.homedepot.com/shophammers links to the same content as https://www.homedepot.com/store/?home_improvement/hammers. Canonicalization is the process of creating tags so that all similar content points to a dominant site or page. This eliminates the chance of making search engines choose between different pages when delivering a search result.

Link Dilution

Predictably, this is called link dilution – when a single page appears to receive less traffic because it’s being split up between multiple sources. This is the problem that your website faces without canonicalization.

Think of Puff Daddy and all the names he’s gone by over the years. Basically, if he wants to gauge how much search volume he has garnered, then he’ll find a way to point names like “P. Diddy,” “Diddy” and “Sean Combs” to the name he’s going by now. If he’s not able to canonicalize all of his past and alternative names to his current moniker, then he won’t have an accurate picture of his total search volume.

Puff Daddy Mase - ESEO

Basically, proper canonicalization tells search engines which content you’d like them to see and judge for ranking purposes. Will there be alternative URLs out there that basically show the same content? Perhaps, but properly canonicalizing your content means that one source will get all the credit for the alternative versions, and then you’ll have a clearer picture of all related web traffic.

Searching Everywhere for You

These can be difficult concepts to understand, and it gets even more complicated when you consider crawl budget. When Google evaluates your website, it sends its search “spiders” (what better creature to navigate a web, right?) to help the search engine index all topics related to your site: keywords, headlines, synonyms, etc. It also gives you the results in an order that it thinks is most relevant to your search query.

For every website that Google encounters that might contain information useful to you, it searches all the subpages as well. This is known as your crawl budget – the number of subpages Google will sift through to find information useful to the searcher. When you have duplicate content and haven’t taken advantage of canonicalization, the search engines are working twice as hard to find the same information.

Imagine you’re a librarian, and someone asks you to highlight every mention of the word “cake” in the entire library. Now also imagine that someone has made copies of every book in the library, and you still have to find every mention of the word “cake,” including in the copies. You can imagine how much tougher the job would for the poor spiders doing basically the same task!

Give those spiders a break by tightening up your crawl budget and taking advantage of canonicalization. There are plenty of sites tell you more about indexing and crawl budget. Take some time to look those topics and learn more. Google lays it out pretty fantastically here.

What You Need to Do When Setting Up Your HTTPS Address

If You Dont Have Time To Do It Right John Wooden - Eminent SEOTo fix link dilution and other possible errors, Tony Edwards of Elite SEM, in an article for Search Engine Land, suggests 301 redirecting all HTTP URLs of your unsecured website to equivalent HTTPS versions.

This ensures that for every HTTP page of yours discovered by search users, they are automatically redirected to the new HTTPS site. This simple trick minimizes duplicate content and decreases link dilution.

Here are a few more steps that Edwards suggests to fix all of these issues:

  1. Ensure your HTTPS site version is added in Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. In Google Search Console, add both the www and non-www versions. Set your preferred domain to the HTTPS version.
  2. 301 redirect HTTP URL versions to their HTTPS equivalents sitewide.
  3. Ensure all internal links point to the HTTPS versions sitewide.
  4. Ensure canonical tags point to the HTTPS URL versions.
  5. Ensure your XML Sitemap includes the HTTPS URL versions.
  6. Ensure all external links to your site that are under your control, such as social profiles, point to the HTTPS URL versions.

As far as the old HTTP version of your website, you might as well “noindex” or delete every page from Google’s crawlers once your new HTTPS site is properly set up and you’ve 301 redirected everything. This way, you won’t have to worry about Google and other search engines docking you points for having two versions of the same site live.

Remember This

The internet is becoming exponentially more sophisticated. Don’t let your business suffer by neglecting to optimize your website for search engines (and users). Make your website secure by switching to HTTPS, but also be sure to take extra precaution and avoid the pitfalls discussed above. You, and your business, will be happy you did.

If you need help with setting up your HTTPS address, Eminent SEO can help you find a reputable certificate authority and take charge of the paperwork and many steps involved with making the upgrade. Just call us at 800.871.4130 to learn more!

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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7 Reasons Why You Need A Website Redesign

This entry was posted in Design, Development and tagged , on by .

Website Redesign

Updating your website is a trend that’s catching on and for good reasons. Technology, design, SEO and user-experience trends are constantly evolving. If your website is outdated, offers a poor user-experience, or search engines don’t even know your website exists, it might be time to invest in an updated design.

An updated design is a large investment, and it’s not just simply transferring a theme on WordPress. It’s changing the way users navigate your website and determining the funnel you want your users to flow through. What is your website used for? What is the end goal of the user? Does your website represent your company clearly? Not sure? These are some important questions to ask that may help you determine if it’s time for a website redesign.

Here are some of the top reasons why you need a website redesign:

1. Your Website Isn’t Responsive

Does your website currently scale to fit all mobile devices? Mobile search is predicted to overtake desktop search by next year. In order for users to properly navigate your website on a mobile device, it needs to be responsive. Another positive to having a responsive design is search engines favor mobile-friendly websites in the search results over website that aren’t mobile friendly. Why? Because it serves their primary goal of giving a better user-experience to their clients.

2. Search Engines Have No Clue Your Website Exists

Outdated websites are sometimes built on platforms that search engines can’t even crawl such as: Flash, Tables, Java, etc. Search engines will devalue the content when it’s not built in an HTML format. Search engine crawlers can’t read image, video, or flash files. So, if your website is outdated and content is placed on images or flash files, search engines aren’t reading it. The best way to tell how search engines are reading your site is to look at how Google is caching the page.

3. Users Aren’t Navigating Through Your Website

In Google Analytics, you’ll be able to tell the average pages viewed per session. If it’s not higher than 1.0, it’s probably time to rethink the design. This can mean that users are getting lost, or the content is completely irrelevant to what they were searching for. You want users to navigate past the homepage of your website because it means the website content and performance is user-friendly. If you have a one page website, this metric won’t work for you. If this is the case, look at the average session duration of each visitor. If it’s less than 20 seconds on average, users aren’t finding what they’re looking for.

4. Calls to Action Don’t Exist

Does your website have a primary goal for each landing page? Is it clearly defined on what the users’ next step is? These are known as calls to action. Each landing page needs to have a goal and a next step for the user. This will help the user easily navigate through each page of the website and, without question, increase the chances of them converting.

5. Your Website Doesn’t Define Your Company Brand

In this digital age, you only have a few seconds to capture your audience. Is your brand message clearly defined on your website? By clearly defined we mean: exactly what you do, your offer, and what makes you stand out from your competition. Think about it, if you’re searching for a pool installation company, and you come across a website that has nothing pool related on it, or minimal pictures of projects they’ve worked on, you’ll probably click off the website.

When searching for a pool company to install your pool, the first thing you may want to see is a beautiful, well-landscaped pool design that the company has completed. Maybe even linking to a gallery of other pools they’ve built. Next, you would want to see how they’re different. For example, they’ve been in business for over 40 years – that must mean they have lots of experience, great! Lastly, you want to know their offer. An offer might be “A free pool design consultation if you call today!”. Also, a primary call to action should always be present – do I fill out a form, call, visit their showroom, or?. See how everything ties together? A successful website ensures the brand message is clearly defined.

6. Your Website Doesn’t Load Fast Enough

This relates to your desktop loading times as well as your mobile loading times. If your website is taking too long to load on a computer or on mobile devices, you’re going to lose a lot of visitors. People are extremely impatient. If your site is taking longer than 5 seconds to load, you’re in trouble. People aren’t going to stick around and wait for it to load.

This could also be a factor when a website’s imagery isn’t properly optimized. It’s highly recommended to have a developer look into why your website isn’t loading fast enough, and a re-design might be the only fix.

7. You’ve Been Thinking You Need a New Website Design

Does your website look outdated compared to the competition? Are primary features constantly breaking and not functioning the way they once did? These are all signs that your website is outdated. Technology is changing day by day. The functionality and design of websites are too. Be ahead of your competition, not behind. If your gut is telling you your website sucks, it probably does.

Closing Thoughts

These are only a few of the many reasons why a website may need to be redesigned. It’s important to keep your brand in mind and how you want to represent your company online. Think first impressions. Your website is a lead generator giving potential customers their first impression of your company. If your website isn’t generating new leads, doesn’t represent your brand, or it’s simply outdated; REDESIGN IT.

If you need help getting started with a website redesign, learn more about our website design services here or give us a call: 800-871-4130.

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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5 Reasons You Need a Responsive Website Design

Responsive Design from ESEO Banner

“Response design” – it’s a fancy term for a simple concept:  making sure your website functions well across all major devices people use to browse the internet these days (smartphones, laptops, tablets, iPads and PCs).

In 2011, approximately 1.15 billion of all internet users browsed the web with a mobile device, which compares to the 1.3 billion that viewed the internet with a desktop computer. Fast forward that to 2014 projections, which have about 1.9 billion mobile internet users, compared to about 1.7 billion desktop internet users (according to DigitalBuzzBlog.com’s infographic).

So, now you see from a high level why responsive design is no longer an option… it’s a MUST!

5 More Specific Reasons You Need a Responsive Website

Even though the market demands responsive design, there are many more reasons to develop one, including:

  1. Google demands it for good rankings – Hey, Google’s all about serving up the highest quality results for searchers.  Part of quality means Google evaluates your mobile website design. Search Engine Journal, a leading online magazine on the latest search engine news, notes Google refers to responsive web design as its recommended mobile configuration and even industry best practice.
  2. Easier to manage SEO – The alternative to a responsive design is to create separate websites for separate device types.  If you’re an adept business person, be aware that this requires 2 separate SEO campaigns.  Why not condense both into 1 and cut your internet marketing efforts in half?
  3. It’s cost effective – Not only is responsive website development a good business practice from an SEO perspective, but it’s good from a design perspective too.  Could you imagine how much it would cost to design a separate website for laptops, smartphones, and PCs, and then optimize and manage each for years to come?
  4. Makes life easy for searchers – Today’s instant gratification consumer won’t try to figure out how to best view your website.  If you serve it up for any device they might view it on right away, they’re much more likely to stay around and subscribe to your website.
  5. It’s easy to find critical information – A desktop/laptop design, which has plenty of viewable space, makes it easy to find your contact information and to navigate around your website.  But, if you only designed for a PC, then the design may not display as well for mobile users.  If they have to exert additional effort figuring out how to contact you or use your website, how likely are they to eventually become paying customers?

Responsive is Quickly Becoming the Standard, so Why Not Act Now?

If you don’t already have a responsive design, it’s clear you’ll need one in the very near future. By acting now, you’ll save yourself a ton of headaches down the road.

Doesn’t that make good business sense?

Eminent SEO offers full Mobile and Responsive Website Design and Development services. Give us a call if you need help moving your site into 2013! (800) 871.4130

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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