Is your website doing more than hosting images and sharing information? A properly designed and managed website can be a powerful tool for converting visitors into customers.
Don’t know where to start in terms of designing a lead-generating website? Here’s a few important questions to ask during a site redesign:
Is the design of my website conducive to a positive user experience?
What types of data-capture strategies are being deployed across the site?
Will the website’s design feel intuitive to a diverse group of users?
Does the website include an easy-to-follow path that leads visitors toward a purchase or inquiry?
Digital advertising offers considerable ROI that can’t be beat by other forms of marketing. That being said, your company will have to execute these strategies effectively to get the best results. Eminent SEO offers complete website design, development and hosting services, should you need them.
Clear marketing communication is key when you’re trying to expand your business or update your brand. That’s why it’s so important for professionals across every industry to watch their words and communicate precisely.
The following industry resources highlight the importance of communication techniques within the context of website messaging:
Using the right words makes a big impression on your customers and can increase conversions. Kissmetrics explains the concept behind and application of “power words” in this in-depth blog post.
This Search Engine Journal article focuses on strategies for driving sales through phone conversations. The technology might be dated, but the right communication strategy can turn a phone line into the company’s most cost-effective lead generator.
No list of business communication tips would be complete without a nod to smartphones and their users. SEO Pressor outlines strategies to improve marketing communications over mobile devices.
Eminent SEO News
This month, we’re celebrating our 8th anniversary! Eminent SEO was formed in October 2009 in Mesa, Arizona, and we’ve grown into a larger team with a newer, larger office space to call home.
And along the lines of this month’s newsletter, we’re also on the verge of refreshing the look and content of our website.
Check back in on our site soon to see its new look in action and to explore all that we have to offer!
Highlights from the Eminent SEO Blog
Many pieces of content walk the fine line between keyword-stuffed SEO copy and interesting, relevant information. This article outlines a few strategies that can help make this chore a little easier.
Reviewing the web presences of several major news websites is a great way analyze digital communication strategies. Here are the common mistakes made by some of the nation’s news leaders, along with some suggestions.
Advertising, especially pop-up based advertising, can have a significant impact on a website’s SEO. Understanding the relationship between pop-ups and SEO requires examining a website’s user experience (UX) and how Google assesses it.
Google concerns itself with leading its faithful masses to helpful, UX-rich websites. If a webpage signals to Google that the user experience is poor, often in the form of a quickly clicked back button, the search engine responds by demoting the page’s ranking – or penalizing it.
Understanding Pop-Ups, UX and SEO
Pop-ups can be a mighty motivator for those immediate departures. Understanding how pop-ups directly impact the UX – and thus the SEO – requires a dose of technical jargon.
Continue reading to explore the four different types of pop-ups and how they may be slowly chipping away at your website’s SEO progress.
The Classic: New Window Pop-Up
New window pop-ups are the garden variety that most end-users associate with the term. These pop-ups appear in a new window without user input, and they are ineffective advertisements for two reasons.
First, new window pop-ups detract from the website’s overall UX by inspiring more ire than engagement.
Second, most browsers automatically suppress this kind of interaction and block pop-ups. If the browser doesn’t silence the pop-up, users will actively seek out ways to prevent this interaction from occurring again. AdBlock is a popular plug-in available for web browsers, as it boasts more than 40 million users and 200 million downloads. That’s 40 million people saying, “We don’t want this kind of interaction when visiting a website.”
Users don’t like them. Google doesn’t like them. It’s possible to work around Google’s guidelines and suppress the result for users arriving from the search engine results page (SERP), but the damage it does to the overall UX makes this type of pop-up a poor choice.
Overlays: Visual Elements
Overlay pop-ups incur far fewer penalties from search engines. This type of pop-up usually takes the form of a subscription request (such as “join our mailing list”) and appears as a new box within the same window.
Whether Google penalizes the page’s ranking depends largely on the intrusiveness of the overlay. If the overlay prevents the user from viewing the content, particularly on mobile pages, Google may reduce the ranking or remove mobile tags. Losing mobile tags in Google SERPs can greatly diminish the level of organic traffic a webpage receives and render its SEO ineffective.
Modals: Interactive Pop-Ups
Modals are pop-ups that often resemble sign-in forms and directly impact the user experience of a website. Modals form a new box outside of the page’s core content, but prevent interaction with the content until the modal has been dismissed or completed, similar to overlays.
Whether a modal is penalized by Google depends on the type of interaction it provides. Generally, any legal requirements (such as accepting a site’s cookie use or asking if the visitor is at least 21 years old) won’t incur penalties from Google.
Advertisement modals face a trickier battle against Google’s algorithms. Modals that provide an element of UX (such as opening a larger version of an image) and allow the user to interact with the page in a desirable or legal way are unlikely to be penalized. Pages that are penalized for having an advertising pop-up modal become problems the website owner must evaluate.
Does the website gain enough email addresses or subscriptions through the modal to justify the SEO penalty? If so, then it may be beneficial to continue using it, but keep a close eye on Google’s policy updates. If past algorithm trends are any indication of future changes, the SEO penalty may very well increase and incrementally cancel out any current benefits.
Interstitials: Interludes Before Content
The final kind of pop-up happens prior to the user reaching the page. Forbes and other websites that require users to disable their ad-blocking functions are classic examples of interstitial use.
Google’s response to interstitials follows the same logic applied to overlays and modals: If it’s intrusive and detracts from the UX, the SEO on the page will likely face penalties. Google updated its stance on these pop-ups in January 2017 to include harsher penalties for intrusive interstitials that appear fresh from a SERP click-through.
That decision is a direct reflection of Google’s UX principles, as intrusive interstitials often prompt an immediate back button click by users. If enough users arrive and then immediately flee from a webpage, Google knows to push the entry down. If people don’t want to see it, search engines don’t want to show it.
It’s worth noting that these penalties are limited to the first page users reach from a SERP. Interstitials that occur after a click path or when transitioning to another page do not suffer SEO penalties, although they may still detract from the overall UX.
See the image below for a visual representation of an overlay pop-up and interstitials:
Making Website Pop-Ups Count
If a website relies on its pop-ups to generate income or subscribers, there are some crafty methods to enrich the user experience with pop-ups rather than detract from it.
Consider these guidelines for meaningful pop-up use without damaging SEO:
Make the pop-up as nonintrusive as possible.
Time the pop-ups so that they do not prevent immediate content access.
If the pop-up interferes with mobile viewing, consider suppressing it for mobile visitors.
Provide an easy-to-identify and useful dismissal function for the pop-up.
The more original the pop-up element, the more engaging it is. (Be sure that the novelty doesn’t translate into frustration for users.)
If possible, make the pop-up meaningful and directly related to the content of the page.
Design the website with UX as one of the top priorities. Conversions will naturally follow.
Preparing for the Future of SEO
Google continues to tighten its SEO guidelines, so publishers may find themselves overwhelmed with keeping up. But when you work with Eminent SEO, you don’t have to be one of them. Our team stays on top of search engine policies and best practices in order to update the content and user experience for our clients’ visitors accordingly.
Whether you need help designing a new website or would like a strategic refresh of your existing content, contact Eminent SEO today.
Otherwise, please answer the following question in the comment section below: Have you come across any pop-ups that you found valuable and enhanced your experience on the website you were visiting?
We’re thrilled to announce that Eminent SEO be launching an updated version of our website in the fall! The update will further enhance the user experience for our visitors as they spend more time on our site.
Why the refresh? We know how important it is for companies to keep their digital presence looking modern. A revamped website goes a long way toward spicing things up online.
That’s why we’ve dedicated July’s newsletter to the benefits of a website refresh. Ever wondered what a new and improved website could do for your business? Keep reading for your answer!
SEO Industry News Roundup
As it turns out, we’re not the only people who think keeping your website up-to-date is a smart idea. These recent, quick reads from across the digital marketing industry detail the many perks that a fresh website can bring to the table.
A modern, fully functional website is critical to any multichannel marketing effort. (Business 2 Community)
A website refresh is a boon for preventing or mitigating reputation management scenarios. (Search Engine Land)
The perks of a website redesign translate to positive impacts on overall daily business operations. (Forbes)
Quick Wins for Marketers and Business Owners
Still on the fence about whether your website needs a refresh? Check out this helpful website checklist. Our free tool helps you figure out what your website is (and isn’t) doing well and where you have room for improvement.
We also recommend you check out these two recent Eminent SEO blog articles. They touch on relevant topics to consider while you plan out your new website:
As the digital marketing industry continues to evolve, so too can clients expect more from their agency.
Planning to go green? Have you already streamlined operations to reduce inefficiencies? Your new website can highlight these planet-friendly investments.
See You Next Month!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read our newsletter! We truly hope that you discovered some useful tidbits and will keep up with our forthcoming newsletter releases.
Remember that you can contact us directly when you’re ready to take your website to the next level. Otherwise, look for our August newsletter in your inbox! Head back here if you haven’t subscribed yet.
Digital marketing is a wide-open, challenging space. For business owners, advertising and editorial campaigns are the fruit of sales initiatives meant to entice audiences and feed their hunger for products or services. Will they bite? It depends – on a lot of unknowns.
Marketing plans, in their infancy, are like seedlings: tiny, thought-provoking concepts that require warmth, love and attention to reach their full potential.
In the earliest stages of development, online presence is a collaborative process using the talents of web developers, content strategists, graphic designers, writers and more. There many human touchpoints along the way, though each embraces a common fear: the unknown.
Who is our audience?
What if our brand has no appeal?
What if the messaging is off target?
What do customers care about today, tomorrow or at 6:32 p.m. on Thursday night?
With the best marketing director, creative director and product managers that money can buy, no marketing campaign can bank on success before it happens. How do you know what creative strategy and market positioning is guaranteed to work? You don’t. But here’s where you’ll find the clues.
The Benefits Behind A/B Testing
If you’ve never considered adding A/B testing to your marketing plan execution, it will provide more clarity than you might think. A/B testing could also bring more questions to light, but there’s clarity in that too.
Time efficient? Cost effective? Boosts ROI? Definitively.
Perhaps you’ve tried A/B testing before but weren’t happy with the results. Isn’t that the point though?
Digital A/B testing measures more of what you need to know and streamlines marketing efforts. It forces you to delve deeper into the details of your product or service offering, audience, brand and goals. A/B testing allows creative ideation to meet with user reality – and that’s the sweet spot.
There are added benefits to ongoing A/B testing as it helps you keep a pulse on your audience and if or when your business garners relevance.
Online Marketing Without A/B Testing Is Like Target-Shooting Blind
Doing digital A/B testing measures more of the efficacies in new product or service launches and is highly recommended, even for a soft launch. Unless you’d rather bite your nails to the quick, suffer from a bad case of insomnia, take your chances on performance, and pray you still have a job when the campaign goes sideways.
Your vision for success is only as clear as the ability to target succinctly and deliver. Everything else is noise. A/B campaign rolling is the only fair and true test to measure creative messaging and audience engagement.
Know-It-Alls: Digital A/B Testing Measures More than Ego
There’s a sanctity in “being right.” Coming up with award-winning creative messaging might get you kudos from your industry peers but if it doesn’t convert your audience to act, it is so wrong.
Business-minded narcissists and braggarts can use the A/B online platform to measure just how right they are. But digital A/B testing measures more than ego. When ideas align with A/B measured results, you show a knack for marketing intuitiveness and then have just cause to say, “I told you so.”
A/B Test Everything, Often
As consumer wants and needs change with the tide of online influences, so too should your marketing outreach. What works in the summer of 2017 will most likely vary greatly from what works the winter of 2018. A/B testing allows you to stay current and top-of-mind.
To better understand the basic process of A/B testing, use the following steps as a mental illustration.
A/B Testing Mental Process:
Pick a product or service
Decide what you’re testing for
Forecast the right answer/approach (ego ergo here)
Predict the anticipated response
Live with the truth and consequences
Adjust where needed
The knowledge you can acquire through A/B testing is astounding. You can even generate love, at first sight.
A/B Testing Gives You a Second Chance at First Impressions and More
It’s been said that you can never get a second chance at making a good first impression. With A/B testing, you can in five seconds.
The right messaging entails many variables. Focus on who will receive the messaging, and that should dictate design and layout, colorization, verbiage and tone, and the call-to-actions applied.
With A/B testing, you can alter any single aspect of your messaging to discover what works best.
If you’re not sure of who your target audience is or if your business has multiple types of consumers and prospects, A/B testing is the perfect forum to segment your market reach through:
Average household income
It’s a Matter of Time
Keep in mind that some user behavior is a direct result of predictable timing. You can use this to your advantage during A/B testing.
For example, industries that are entertainment-centric would probably fare better by marketing on Thursdays when consumers are thinking about the weekend. If your luxury product offering might appeal to middle America, A/B test its marketability within two days of the 15th or 30th of the month (paydays).
Finding Value in Pricing
Price points can dictate a do-or-die success rate for a product launch or rebrand campaign. To get a better idea of what monetary number consumers will accept or reject as a purchase point, explore your options with A/B testing.
Use the other elements of measurability:
How they create a consumer’s perceived value
This type of value is then weighted against competitors’ offerings, product benefits, misgivings and price.
Choose focal points that promote your value and segment them within the A and B rollout. Note the psychology behind numbers and how they affect human behavior. For most people, $39.99 is more pleasing than a $40.00 price point.
SEO Makes It Easier on You and Your Audience
Why not give consumers what they’re searching for? If they don’t know you exist, how can they find you? Instill A/B varied keyword campaigns to find out what people are looking for. You’ll gain important insights as to what consumers want and how they look for it online.
A Good Approach Sets Up a Smooth Landing
Pay-per-click ads and social media posts aren’t the only places that A/B testing can prove to be constructive. As long as you’re evaluating the strength of the initial ad or post, complete the campaign assessment by A/B testing the corresponding landing pages.
Use the same seven-step mental process shown earlier in this article as a guide to formulate variances in landing pages. You may want to do two sets of the testing, A/B and A/B, to measure the performance of banner designs, headlines or call-to-actions.
It might be asking a lot of anyone to exercise patience in the creation, execution and measurement of digital content. Consider this: Just because user behavior indicates impulsivity at a click or swipe doesn’t mean the artists behind the content should be just as reactionary, though the attraction to do so is understandable.
Let’s say you’ve worked hard on every aspect of a given product launch. You launch the online campaign. You’re not getting the anticipated results, even with A/B testing.
Give it time. Oh the difference 90 days can make to judge marketing effectiveness, engagement and conversion rates.
Consumers’ interests ebb and flow with pop culture trends, seasonal changes, employment adjustments and the best reason of all: just because. Your business representation online should be solid. If your digital presence shifted as quickly as consumer interest, you’ll find that it’s hard to tell what’s working and what isn’t. It might feel as though you’re spitting into the wind. Only you know where that spit’s been.
Give your current marketing campaigns three months to season. If they’re not bringing you the results you’d hoped for, there’s no reason to start from scratch. Make small changes to what you already have, then A/B test again and run those versions live for another 45 days.
A/B Testing Refines Virtual Imperfections
In the quest for perfection, we tend to home in on the details of marketing initiatives and adjust them, based on measured performance. No matter how diligent you are about using A/B testing, there is one truth that cannot be changed and must be accepted:
User behavior is measured; human behavior is not.
The intuitiveness about online use provides the data needed to structure marketing campaigns. The quirkiness of human behavior cannot be adequately measured as it comes from individual thoughts, emotions and dreams that flow with changes in personal life circumstances.
Is there an A/B test available to measure that? Technology moves mountains…
Great A/B Testing Is Born with Purpose
Marketing content at its finest should inform, entice and draw engagement to elicit brand awareness, customer loyalty and commerce (direct, deferred and referred).
A/B testing isn’t meant to replace original campaign strategy or ideology, but to measure or tweak it. Based on performance numbers, your strategy, positioning and content can be realigned.
Imagine how much more your business could thrive, faster, by partnering with a one-stop digital shop that knows how SEO and creative content work best, collectively, from day one.
Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.
For mobile and web optimization, having the best of both worlds is typically a far-fetched dream for businesses. However, in 2015, Google developers defied the status quo of mobile browsing by creating progressive web apps (PWAs). They resemble the mobile apps we are all used to, but are quite different: more accessible and no drain on your phone’s hard drive. A far-fetched dream is now a reality.
What Is Progressive Web App Technology?
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a method of software development. PWAs differ from other applications because they unite traditional websites with mobile applications. Modern browsers, such as Safari and Microsoft Edge, offer extensive benefits that have not been usable through a mobile device in the past.
However, PWAs seek to fuse the features of web browsers with the convenience of mobile devices. The increased popularity of mobile device usage among consumers places a demand on companies to follow suit with mobile-friendly websites. While making a hybrid of the best of web browsing and mobile browsing is the goal, it’s also the primary challenge.
Mobile Sites vs. Mobile Apps
Mobile sites receive more traffic than mobile apps. Companies that are not well-known tend to do better with mobile sites than with mobile apps. An established or a widely known company can easily transition from a mobile site to a mobile app because customers are familiar with the brand and want to further interact with the company through a different interface.
However, lesser-known companies are usually discovered by prospective customers through a wider range of communication, which is the benefit of mobile sites. Potential customers who have never heard of a certain brand are more likely to stumble upon the business through the broad exposure of a mobile site, rather than the exclusive loyalty of a mobile app.
While mobile sites are usually better for wider visibility, mobile apps consume more of a user’s device time. Mobile apps are useful for customers who have interacted previously with a business. That means most small, local businesses or B2B businesses would find mobile apps unprofitable. However, if a customer, or potential customer, has browsed a company’s website or entered the doors of a business, then a mobile app could be effective to keep a line of communication going.
For example, Schlotzsky’s has an app that tracks the number of sandwiches a customer has purchased, providing a visual countdown until the consumer reaches a free entrée. The app features much more, though, such as company updates, special offers, alerts, franchise locations and a menu. Since Schlotzsky’s is a nationally recognized business, a mobile app enhances its brand loyalty and communication with customers.
The Benefits of Progressive Web Apps
PWAs maintain the strength of a full-blown web browser without restricting mobility. The computer’s web browser isn’t reduced in power, just size. In the past, users might have hesitated to use their mobile device over a computer web browser due to the latter’s complex functionality and powerful processing system. However, pulling out a laptop while standing in line at the grocery store isn’t practical.
On the other hand, users loyal to their mobile devices objected to using computers or laptops for their bulkiness and long loading times. From their perspective, the convenience of reaching into a pocket and sending an email within seconds was more practical than commuting to their desk space to boot up a computer. However, to profit from the ease of mobile browsing, the hefty sacrifice of web browsing’s power was non-negotiable.
PWAs put an end to the past give-and-take of internet browsing commonly endured by the business community. Here are the benefits PWAs have to offer:
Real time, fast updates of a user’s apps that summarize priority information instead of accessing an email address or waiting to log in on a computer.
More responsive arrangement and simpler navigation than the mobile version of a traditional website.
The PWA runs continuously, even when offline. While working behind the scenes, it tracks the user’s actions, all without direct user communication.
Hardware features such as geolocation, microphone and camera are embedded and accessible in PWAs.
Less Data Consumption
This means less lag time for users in delayed or restricted internet access locations. Less data consumption could also make a big difference when it comes to users’ monthly phone bills.
Community of Internet Users
PWAs don’t require a download and are free, making them more likely to attract a larger number of active users.
How to Optimize Progressive Web App Content
The future of online communication is paved by PWAs. App developers need to remain cautious of Google’s page indexing and implement correct coding methodology to counteract it. Companies should strive for a powerful online presence by utilizing the best SEO practices to inform users and retain customers.
PWAs supplement current websites but, at this time, are less effective independently. After a company’s website is established, bulked and refined, incorporating a PWA is the next business step.
Here are some tips to get started:
Don’t send clients to an unsupported browser site.
If supplying information from several URLs, utilize “rel=canonical” to avoid identical content violations in the eyes of search engines.
Don’t use the AJAX crawling arrangement on original sites.
Don’t use hashtags. Googlebot doesn’t store URLs that use this symbol, and several PWAs possess a hashtag (#) in their URL address. The result is erased content past the hashtag, or pound sign. The solution is to use a URL structure according to SEO best practices instead of URLs that include a hashtag.
Ensure a website is viewable through the lens of Google. The Fetch and Render feature in Google Search Console accomplishes this task.
Double check that sources are accessible, and not restricted by robots.txt.
Mobile apps were once the next step for companies with an established brand, and they’re still valuable in many cases. However, the recent creation of PWAs is the next logical step for most businesses, as they foster enhanced company communication, stronger brand loyalty and easier user navigation.
While the benefits of PWAs are staggering, the construction of such a website may seem overwhelming. That’s where Eminent SEO comes in. Eminent SEO can help build a new website from scratch – one that has mobile responsiveness and customized features for smartphones. To learn more, call us today at 800.871.4130.
Over the last couple of months, Eminent SEO has added two new valuable members to its team. Let’s introduce you to them now:
Danielle Knox – Creative Director
Our new Creative Director, Danielle, plans projects, oversees the creative process for clients, and gives guidance to the creative team here at Eminent SEO. As our lead creative strategist, Danielle follows the latest trends in design, advertising and marketing, is a company brand advocate, helps attract clients, and hires creative staff. Danielle comes to us with more than 17 years of graphic design experience. Welcome to the team, Danielle!
Ashton Stradling – Creative Producer
Ashton is getting his feet wet in the digital marketing industry after graduating from Highland High School in the spring. Ashton manages social media accounts for clients, optimizes web content, creates videos, designs images, and assists with administrative tasks. Welcome, Ash 10!
What’s New in SEO: Mobile-First Indexing Underway
In an early November blog post, Google announced it is testing out mobile-first indexing for its search engine. Indexing, if you’re wondering, has to do with which pages of a website Google can evaluate and rank in search. It’s easy to “noindex” a webpage, and there are strategic reasons for doing so, but for the most part, a majority of individual webpages are indexed by Google and other search engines.
Google’s new announcement acknowledges that search users are now using their phones more often than their desktop and laptop PCs. This entire time, Google has always evaluated the desktop version of a webpage and then determined the page’s ranking from there. This is true even if you entered a search on a mobile device and received a list of results. What you saw was a list of mobile results based on the desktop strength of each page.
But now, the algorithm is in the process of changing, based on users’ habits.
“We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience,” Google Product Manager Doantam Phan wrote in the blog post.
Although mobile-first indexing is still in the experimental phase, you should expect it to be the standard before long. If your website is already responsive, the good news is you don’t have to do anything (other than make sure the site provides a great user experience).
If you have a mobile site that is different than your desktop version, then unfortunately you’re going to have to take a few steps to adjust to Google’s plan to prioritize mobile first. See the aforementioned Google blog post for some tips on how to not get left behind.
For more understanding on the importance of responsive design, see this blog post we published earlier this year.
October Social Media Roundup
Our Instagram shares were more colorful than ever in October. We recently started doing an Instagram-first approach to shooting and creating photos for social media, and we’ve seen a boost in engagement since. The best part is the images share well to Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, too.
Below is a quick look at some of our best and brightest social shares from last month. If you’d like to see the caption or learn more about any of the following photos, just click on the likes or comments icon on the bottom of the image that piques your interest.
What’s the latest insight on marketing and search engines from the experts at Eminent SEO? Check out our October blog posts to build your skills and knowledge so you can stay ahead of the competition. Subscribe to our blog, if you have not done so already, to see the posts the day they go live.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) debuted earlier this year, and there’s been a whirlwind of changes in the last couple of months. This platform is now open to everyday businesses and websites, so get caught up on all of the recent developments here.
Gatorade recently kicked off an ad campaign with a message that seemingly would stunt sales of the company’s signature product. If your business has a product with a perceived drawback, learn how you can leverage that weakness into a marketing opportunity.
Email seems like a boring, outdated channel for marketing, right? Not so fast. Studies show how ubiquitous email usage is, plus how it usually provides a much higher ROI than other channels. Learn how to build a targeted, results-driven email campaign here.
Featured Service: Email Marketing
As seen in one of our blog posts above, email has reestablished itself as the marketing channel of choice for businesses to build contacts, nurture leads and delight prospective and existing customers.
But now, we know better than to blast every email message we create to our entire contact list. The key is to segment your contacts according to where they are in the buyer’s journey, and then tailor your messages to those individual audiences. Research says that email marketing has an ROI of $8 for every $1 spent.
Accelerated mobile pages – called AMPs – are one of Google’s newest projects. Google’s techies created the platform to help web publishers provide content to users that loads quickly across mobile devices.
Presently, the platform maintains a large focus on news stories. In a blog post that preceded the AMP launch, Google explained the project’s original intent: Rich content, such as video animations and graphics, should work alongside smart ads and load instantly.
With the open-source AMP platform, Google hopes to consistently deliver the best experience for its mobile search users. Our culture has been trained to look for instant gratification, and Google knows that we need lightning fast, accurate information.
How AMP Content in Google Mobile Search Works
AMP content officially debuted in Google mobile search in February 2016. These articles were easy to distinguish from other formats: They appear in a “carousel” layout, allowing users to swipe horizontally between the best results. Each entry also features a lightning bolt icon and the acronym “AMP.” Users have already enjoyed the fast results, prompting more research into the platform’s possibilities.
So how much faster are AMPs? With advanced coding, the median load time is a mere 0.7 seconds, according to SearchEngineLand.com. That’s incredibly quick, especially when you compare it to all other pages on the web with non-AMP coding – which average 22 seconds.
How AMP Content Is Moving Across Industries
Although similar, AMPs are quite different from traditional webpages. If website happens to offer different versions of a particular page (such as desktop, mobile and AMP versions) for different devices, your mobile search engine will always prefer the AMP material. This could be the future of instantaneous search results, and the platform’s reach is widening.
In the beginning, AMP specifically catered to news stories. It’s already transitioning, though, opening up to new companies and industries daily. Take eBay, for example. The online auction site has deployed an AMP-powered shopping experience for mobile users since June 30. It has more than 8 million queries, known as “browse nodes,” already available or in production. AMP results can be a vital part of almost any company’s marketing strategy.
Not only is the AMP platform opening up to new industries, but other search engines are beginning to subscribe as well. Just last month, Microsoft announced that Bing has joined the open-source effort, and that it plans to treat AMP content similar to how Google indexes and features it. This means that the platform has spread well beyond Google, and that the potential reach of AMP content is only going to continue to grow.
Google Is Pushing for AMP Growth
AMPs are a game-changer, especially considering that most internet searches are now done on a mobile device more often than on desktop and laptop computers. Always at the forefront of change, Google has been working hard to increase traffic to AMP pages.
The links to AMPs look identical to others, aside from the lightning bolt logo and “AMP” label tucked along the bottom. The carousel also remains, although it’s currently unclear whether Google has plans to remove it entirely and fully combine AMP results.
In recent news, Google has started integrating AMP content into the organic mobile search results, in addition to still offering the “Top stories” carousel of AMP-only content. The AMP logo is clearly visible now in the organic search results, right where the “Mobile-friendly” label used to be – ahead of the meta description for a particular entry.
AMP Results Now Outweigh Indexed App Content
In 2013, Google began indexing content from apps, and it generally only shows up to users who already have that particular app installed. What this means is that if you conduct a search and Google finds that you already have an app that has your answer, then you would see that content show up in your mobile search results. And if you click on that result, the search engine will take you straight to your app, rather than a webpage.
While Google is still indexing app content, its mobile search engine is now favoring AMP material over “app deep links.” Google’s head of global products partnerships, Adam Greenberg, made this revelation at the SMX East conference in New York last month.
This update shows how deeply committed Google is to the AMP platform for now and the near future. The change might leave some app developers frustrated, but nonetheless, publishers need to adjust their focus to AMPs – rather than worrying about getting app content to rank in mobile search.
Will AMP Content Help Your Website Rank Better?
As of now, Google has no plans to make AMP material a ranking factor for websites. In other words, offering AMP content won’t necessarily give your entire website’s search rankings a boost.
However, Google almost always gives AMP content page one treatment when someone uses conducts a search via mobile. So producing AMP content may be a way to boost awareness of your website, especially if you’re having trouble cracking that first page organically.
Although it may seem a bit exclusive at the moment, the goal of the AMP project is to produce efficient and fast internet content. Richard Gingras, head of news and social products for Google, told the Nieman Journalism Lab that the AMP launch is a step forward for the technological ecosystem, with a shift toward better content performance.
Why the Search Engine Change Matters
Interestingly, AMPs are hosted on their own servers when visited from a Google search. This means using the AMP platform is a bit of a give and take. You’ll receive special treatment in the form of high search results and mass availability. However, the links point to Google, or whichever search engine someone used to find your AMP content.
This a significant change from the way Google has worked in the past. Previously, the web giant was simply an index that directed visitors to other sites. Now, AMPs can keep visitors exclusively on Google properties. Companies will need to ask themselves if they’re ready for higher visibility with little to no significant increase in actual traffic.
AMPs Are Like Instant Articles – Only Better
The AMP platform is comparable to Facebook’s Instant Articles, which gives content publishers the option to embed data onto the social network. When publishers utilize Instant Articles, followers can consume content without having to leave Facebook’s app.
Many are viewing the AMP project as a vast improvement over Instant Articles, since AMPs provide more opportunities to lead users to your full website.
What About Ads in AMP Content?
Taking Advantage of the AMP Platform
AMPs are well on their way to changing the internet (or, at least, mobile search), so why not take advantage of this platform? Some WordPress plugins are already available to help you craft a concise and functional website. WordPress’s AMP Plugin, for example, automatically translates your posts’ content to these fast-loading pages, and you don’t have to enter special settings for it to work. The software automatically inserts tags, so it’s fantastic for those with little HTML knowledge.
If your team includes a web designer (or if you have some coding background yourself), it’s easy to design a custom AMP page from scratch. The project’s homepage (see screenshot below) includes a huge selection of resources too, which will help you learn how to create the content on your own. You’ll also find a technical section to learn more about how AMP works, plus code samples, source code and documentation courtesy of GitHub.
The AMP platform in continuously growing and changing, and it’s in the news almost weekly. At Eminent SEO, we’ve been following the AMP developments closely. It might seem like a lot to take in, but we can help. If you want to understand more about Accelerated Mobile Pages, what they can do for your business, and how to optimize them, trust our expertise to guide you. Call 800.871.4130 for help with building AMP pages today!
In the past, keywords were crucial to search engine optimization (SEO). Times are a-changing, and now keywords are only one of the many factors for rankings. While they are still relevant, keywords should be researched alongside a variety of other optimization factors.
To get a page of content noticed, understand that what’s behind the keywords is just as important as the keywords themselves: Think demographics, personas and intent. Consider keywords carefully, but also keep in mind who’s behind the keyboard. Understanding your user can help you not only bring traffic to your site, but it can also impact who is coming to your site.
Regardless of the type of business you own, you have a target audience. With careful research, you can accurately predict their searches – as long as you understand that keywords aren’t powerful enough to justify your entire focus.
The ‘Why’ Behind the Search
Consider user intent. It’s all about why a person is looking – the motive behind their search. The why impacts what keywords are used. Like a detective, you must divine a motive for the search before you can understand how to use keywords.
Google understands the intent behind a user’s search. Try Googling “hair dye” as an example. What comes up is an option for a beauty supply chain store. Google assumes that the intent of your search is to make a purchase. If a user gets more specific and types in “hair dye effects,” the search results offer information on the correlation between hair dye and cancer risks. So by adding a single word, user intent changed – and Google picked up on it.
Basically, specific words that users choose for a search reveal their intent. This is valuable information, and your goal is to make your product or service match the intent and be the answer they need. Understanding audience intent will help you choose the right keywords and phrases to generate traffic on your site and for your business.
The ‘Who’ Behind the Query
Who is searching matters. People have different motives when searching, and this is why demographics matter so much. Demographics and personas are the details about a group of people or a specific person, such as:
Who they are
Where they’re from
What their professions are
What their likes and dislikes are
Obviously, demographics matter. They can tell you whether you should be putting ads on Snapchat or Facebook (depending on age). They can give insight into who is making the purchase. For example, men’s shoes may be the purchase, but women may be the purchaser. Do your keyword research with demographics in mind. It’ll pay off.
Personas are even more helpful in determining who’s on the other side of the search engine. Maybe you want to target 20-year-olds who stay up late to read books, or 30-year-old men who eat spaghetti. A persona is different than a demographic, as it’s more specific. It’s the details that make people who they are, and thereby explains the why behind their search.
Beware of the specific demographics you’re trying to reach because, depending on your keywords, you could miss your target audience. For example, your target demographic might be women combating hair loss. If “hair loss” is your keyword, you might find that the demographic searching “hair loss” is primarily men, so you’d then have to adjust your strategy.
Why Search Queries Matter
Queries are another topic to consider. This is different than a keyword search: It’s “Mexican food” versus “where to find good Mexican food.” Queries tie back to intent. They carry a specific purpose – much more so than keywords do.
Queries are often used by people who know exactly what they want, and there are different kinds of queries with different intentions. Queries are generally categorized as:
In other words, users are searching for one of the following: to find information, to make a purchase, or to find a specific website.
Understanding these different types of queries will assist you in navigating user intent and help lead you to a greater understanding of the demographics that are being led to your site.
Decide What Your Goals Are
Before you can understand demographics, personas and intent, you need to have a goal in mind. Increasing site traffic is probably one ambition, but what else?
What about sales? Gaining user awareness of your business? Multiplying ad clicks? These are all important goals to think about when establishing what you want to achieve through keyword research.
Your goals will inevitably assist you in deciding your course of action for keywords. Start putting your keywords in categories, and use them effectively. Perhaps your goal is sales and you want to use “money phrases.” Or maybe your goal is awareness, so you want to use specific phrases that your demographic is likely to use.
Money phrases matter, too. These are all about one thing: the sales funnel. An example of this is “shoe clearance.” Words that dictate selling (like “buy” and “sale”) are commonly used in money phrases.
Understanding the ‘Fully Meets’ Rating and SERPs
Search engines judge and rate websites by how well they meet their user’s needs. This goes back to the importance of intent. Because websites are rated this way, it means keywords must be used correctly and with user intent in mind to gain more traffic from the right demographics. Aim for a “Fully Meets” rating, which is when a site fulfills all of the user’s needs. This means that the user doesn’t need to see any other site.
Search engine results pages (SERPs) are important. Review them on a regular basis to understand how your keywords are functioning: Who is searching those keywords and why. SERPs will be paramount in your keyword research. By reviewing SERPs regularly for keywords you’re considering, you’ll begin to recognize trends and more closely deliver what users are searching for.
Talk to Your Team About Intent and Keywords
You don’t have to always turn to the web to gain an understanding of user intent and how it affects keywords. Your teammates, particularly in sales, probably have valuable information about your users and what their intentions are. Use this information to form an understanding of user needs and to create appropriate keywords. Ask your team about the questions they’re frequently asked.
Creating a help center on your site can be useful as well. Such a location will give you valuable data about what questions people are asking: Essentially, what is user intent? Use this crucial information to guide your keywords.
Keyword Research Is Not a One-Time Occurrence
Understand that to be effective, keyword research isn’t something that you do once and never return to. It’s an ongoing field of research that’s always changing. You’ll need to consistently review your keywords and queries to see how they are stacking up in search engine results. Look for relevance to user intent and if your keywords are still hitting the mark.
Deciphering keyword research could be as simple as, well, Googling it. Use Google to gain an understanding of user intent. The search engine is excellent at understanding the intent behind words and phrases. The results produced by typing in specific keywords or queries can give you an idea of user intent. And since Google’s algorithms are what guide all other search engines, what the company is doing matters – a lot.
Based on your search results, think about whether your own keywords are describing your product(s) and service(s) correctly. Are they relevant? Do they present an honest representation of your business and what you have to offer?
Those are questions you should be asking yourself when conducting keyword research. Then consider who’s searching for your services exactly the way you’re describing them through keywords. This is paramount. Answering this will enlighten you about user intent.
The Takeaway on Keyword Research in 2016
Keyword research is only one factor among many when conducting research on SEO. You want to not only understand user intent to increase traffic to your site, but to also increase traffic among the right demographic. Otherwise, users are visiting your site without utilizing your products or services – and you’re accomplishing little.
By taking advantage of relevant tools, such as your team members, SERPs and even Google itself, you’re setting yourself up to gain a strong understanding of how users find your site and what steps they take next.
If the keyword-research process sounds too daunting or complex for what you can take on right now, expert help is always available. Click to find out about Eminent SEO’s Keyword Research Services or call 800.871.4130 today.
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
According 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.
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.
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
To 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:
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.
301 redirect HTTP URL versions to their HTTPS equivalents sitewide.
Ensure all internal links point to the HTTPS versions sitewide.
Ensure canonical tags point to the HTTPS URL versions.
Ensure your XML Sitemap includes the HTTPS URL versions.
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.
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!
The Eminent team recently did a professional photoshoot outside our Mesa, Arizona office so we could have some upgraded group and individual pictures to work with. And we’re happy to say the photos are in and ready to use! See one of the fruits of that photoshoot above.
We’re planning on refreshing our website over the next couple of months, so look out for more of these new images when the site relaunches.
More Eminent SEO News: July Birthdays and Work Anniversaries
Our lone July birthday and work anniversary belonged to one individual: Jason SanMarco, our Senior User Experience Designer. Jason had his second work anniversary with Eminent on July 14, and then his birthday on the 23rd. Talk about a big month!
Happy birthday again, Jason, and thanks for all you do for the Eminent team!
What’s New in SEO: Google Says 301 and 302 Redirects No Longer Hurt Your Search Rankings
SEO experts and web developers know all about 301 redirects. It’s when a user clicks on or types in a URL and gets forwarded to another address, usually belonging to the same website.
SEO knowledge has long dictated that you shouldn’t want users to pass through a redirect before landing on any page on your site. It is occasionally necessary to create a 301 (or an entire table), due to a page or pages you want to get rid of or consolidate. In that case, you redirect the old URL to the new address or the most similar page of content on your site. Even so, if any other websites were linking to a page you’ve now deleted, you might have been inclined to make those individuals aware of the new, most-relevant URL, so that their users don’t pass through a redirect when clicking over to your site.
If many users were passing through a redirect to reach a certain page, then that page would be missing out on search-ranking “points,” so to speak, meaning it wouldn’t rank as high in Google Search as it should.
However, multiple Google authorities recently had the final word on 301, 302 (temporary) and other 300 redirects. In a tweet last month, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes confirmed that all 300-level redirects do not lose “PageRank” value any longer. This means that your website is no longer docked a few points if users are reaching it through redirects.
Search Engine Land notes that Google’s Matt Cutts said the same thing specifically about 301 redirects back in 2013, but that SEO experts weren’t sure if the same applied to all other 300-level redirects, until now. And, apparently, this has been the case for “a while,” according to Google’s John Mueller, as reported by Search Engine Land.
Now, that’s not to say you should start going in a redirecting all over the place, but this is very good news for those of us who manage websites. Search Engine Land reports that some SEO experts simply do not believe Google on this matter, but at the very least, we have several authorities within the company on the record saying that 300-level redirects no longer hurt your search engine rankings.
July Social Media Roundup
Over the last couple of months, we’ve been experimenting with an all-new image strategy for our clients, consisting of bright, beautiful and shareable photos. As for our own social channels, see the highlights of what we shared in July below.
Did you miss any of the July posts on the Eminent SEO Blog? Looking for some website, social media and branding tips? Sure you are! Get caught up on our recent blog posts by reading the recaps below and clicking on the article(s) of your choice. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog if you haven’t already!
Have you heard of thin website content? It comes in various forms, and it hurts your search engine rankings. It could even get you penalized. Learn about several types of thin content here, and then how you can help your website “fatten up.”
What if somebody told you that they found their job through social media? Sound crazy? Well, it’s not all that far-fetched. Get 10 ideas here on how you can leverage social media to stand out from your competition while job hunting.
Time to design a brand new logo for your business? Or are you looking to see if your current logo measures up to your competition and reflects your mission statement? Then you need to ask yourself these six questions before, during and after the logo-design process.
Featured Service: Domain Registration
Ready to purchase the domain on which your company’s website will be built? Sometimes, it’s not so simple, though. What if the domain you have in mind is already claimed? After all, there are roughly 300 million domains registered worldwide.
Did you already register your company’s name with the state, too? Then you’re going to be in for quite a bumpy ride.
This is where Eminent SEO can come in. If your ideal domain is already taken, we’ll do some extensive research on other possible choices, and then we’ll decide on an address that makes sense with your brand and still lets customers find you easily.
Better yet, if you’re in the process of forming a company but you’ve haven’t locked in the business name yet, this is the perfect time to come to us too. We can help with developing your brand name. Market research and URL availability will be part of the mix before we give you our final recommendation.
Get premium brand and domain consulting when you go with Eminent SEO. To get started, visit our Domain Registration page or call 800.871.4130 today!