Tag Archives: Organic Search

Vol. 65: Will Organic Search Results Survive the Rise of Voice Search and Machine Learning?

Jessica Vrinda Melanie Banner - Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO News: Three New Additions to the Team!

The Eminent team is ever growing. Over the last month, we added three new members to our staff, each joining us with unique skills and specialties. Their futures are so bright, they’ve got to wear shades! Meet the three newest additions to our team here:

Jessica Feldman – Digital Marketing Strategist

Jessica comes to us with a degree in advertising and more than 10 years of marketing experience. Jessica will be using Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and several other platforms to produce viable leads for Eminent SEO and our clients.

Learn More About Jessica


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Melanie Stern – Content Strategist

Melanie is responsible for producing premium copy for content pages, blog posts, newsletters and other pieces of content for our clients. She comes to us with more than 30 years of professional experience, including several years in advertising, radio and more.

Learn More About Melanie


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Vrinda Mamundi – Pay Per Click Manager

Vrinda has more than 10 years of experience in the online advertising industry, running strategic campaigns for businesses large and small. She will help us expand our pay per click capabilities in new ways to generate online traffic and leads for our clients.

Learn More About Vrinda


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SEO Focus: Organic Search Results Facing Competition from Voice Search

Several recent articles and reports have touched on how organic search no longer has the market cornered on how people find the information they’re looking for.

Does that mean users are becoming more comfortable with relying on pay-per-click ads? Not necessarily.

As mobile search volume has surpassed that of the desktop variety, voice search is also on the rise.

Baseball Siri - ESEOMeanwhile, machine learning continues to better understand and predicts users’ behavior, and that will continue to change the look of search engine results.

Here are a few takeaways when it comes to the latest developments in organic search, voice search and machine learning:

  • A Stone Temple Consulting study found 60 percent of people want more results available via mobile search in lieu of visiting a webpage. Are digital marketers adjusting their strategies accordingly?
  • There are a multitude of incentives for consumers to turn to voice search rather than typing a query into a search engine. This trend will likely accelerate, rather than fizzle out.
  • New consumer behaviors, driven by improved voice technology, must be accounted for.
  • The first shake-up being driven by voice search will be for eCommerce businesses. They will need new digital marketing strategies to keep pace.
  • Closer analysis of how voice search, along with machine learning, could substantially change how marketers view the value of organic search results.

Other SEO Industry News

1. Google is planning to livestream its updates and announcements regarding AdWords and Analytics on May 23. Read more…

2. Entrepreneur Magazine recently covered why you should invest significantly in content marketing, even with the few risks and uncertainties that accompany the practice. Read more…

3. Google is saying it hopes to launch its official mobile-first index by the end of the year. Read more…

4. Business research firm Clutch recently conducted a large survey on how small businesses plan to address and invest in SEO in 2017, concluding that many need to adjust their strategies. Read more…

March Blog Roundup

Here are the must-see posts that went live on the Eminent SEO blog in March:

Tips For Balancing Digital Marketing And Creative Writing - Eminent SEOWriter By Day, Writer By Night: 6 Tips for Balancing Digital Marketing and Creative Writing

If you have a passion for creative writing in your free time but your duties as a digital marketing professional are a little more straightforward, here are six tips on how you can balance the two pursuits.


What Is Neuromarketing - Eminent SEOWhat Is Neuromarketing and Is It Better Than Traditional Marketing?

Regardless of whether you’re familiar with the term “neuromarketing,” you’ve probably read or heard about some of the insights marketers have learned from it. But what is neuromarketing really, and how much do you need to know about it?


Featured Service: Website and Digital Asset Audit

Given what you now know about how organic SEO is facing competition from other modes of search, it’s important to not only optimize your website, but to have other marketable, lead-generating assets. When businesses first make an inquiry into Eminent SEO, we often start with an audit before we have them commit to a month-to-month contract.

Our auditing services actually go well beyond the prospect’s website(s). We also evaluate all other brand collateral – online and offline – and evaluate whether these assets are legitimately bringing attention to the brand – and if it’s the right kind of attention. From there, we will offer suggestions and submit a proposal for how we can build up the prospect’s online presence and brand, month by month.

If you’re unsure if your website and digital assets are bringing in the right kind of traffic and want to put your best foot forward, give Eminent SEO a call today at 800.871.4130.

Learn More About Our Auditing Services

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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So Many Changes to AMP Content In Google Mobile Search: Let’s Recap

AMP Platform Your Website Join In - EminentSEO

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.

AMP Content In Google Mobile Search Carousel - Eminent SEO

The AMP framework coincides with existing HTML coding but allows publishers to create lightweight webpages – pages that are simpler and faster because they use fewer parts. The entire project is essentially just a set of specifications, both requirements and restrictions, powered by JavaScript (although publishers cannot write their own JavaScript). CSS3 is used for customized styling, and every page is cached on Google’s servers, working like a content delivery network.

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.

EBay AMP Content Moving To All Industries - Eminent SEO

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 Content In Mobile Organic Results - Eminent SEO

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?

Mobile Ads In AMP Articles - Eminent SEOJavaScript is generally forbidden by AMP restrictions, but there are still ways for publishers to post ads, if they’re smart. There’s an analytics tag built into AMP content, which allows creators to send information to certain providers, such as Chartbeat, Adobe and Parse.ly. They’ve been pre-screened by Google, and the data is handled by one JavaScript file (instead of one for every analytic provider). Because this speeds up the process greatly, ads can be used in a similar way.

The AMP project vets analytic information by special criteria, including performance, privacy and security. Publishers can choose to use the AMP tag, similar to the traditional tag. Sections of JavaScript can be placed on the website, although it won’t include access to the same amount of data.

Taking Advantage of the AMP Platform

Wordpess AMP Plugin - Eminent SEOAMPs 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.

AMP Project Website Homepage - ESEO

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!

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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How to Survive in the Current Organic Search Results Landscape

Organic Search Results Landscape - Eminent SEO

Internet search is a field in constant motion, with Google constantly shifting and updating the landscape to provide a more sophisticated product. One significant recent amendment to the search goliath is its update to local listings and how these appear to users on the results pages. These changes, while seemingly minute, have powerful implications when it comes to how your business is represented.

Last year, Google rolled out a new local search format worldwide. The verdict is still out on whether it will be better for businesses or for consumers – or neither. It’s all so confusing! No need to fret: Here are a few changes we can be sure of:

Organic Still Crushes

Organic Results Keep Your Eye On The Ball - Eminent SEOThe SEO firm Nifty recently performed five different search studies of both desktop and mobile platforms with the new local listing setup implemented by Google. Across all studies, organic search results performed the best, receiving nearly 50 percent of all click throughs. Compare this to average click-through rates of 25 and 24 percent for paid ads and local packs, respectively.

If you caught our previous post, it should come as no surprise that it pays off for businesses to aim for high organic rankings rather than placing too much focus on paid search engine spots and other channels, such as social media.

What Does This Mean for Your Business?

Organic results remain the No. 1 way search users are likely to click through to your website. It makes sense, because when someone searches, “I’m looking for [service] in [location],” a keyword search matching the words they type seems to fulfill their search query much better than paid ads or local results, which are essentially suggestions from Google.

Nifty took the results of its study and implemented an SEO strategy that “moved away from a laser focus on maps and really focused on growing organic traffic for phrases that show map results and phrases that don’t.” Overall, the company claims to have had great increases of traffic across all clients since the shift.

Decrease in the Local Pack

Google’s local pack in the search results used to feature seven entries. Now, it’s down to three, although the resource is more visual than it used to be.

What does this mean? For starters, featuring fewer local businesses means that your business could receive less visibility. A keyword search for “plumbers in San Francisco” will yield paid advertisements, local listings and organic search results. Of the local results, your business may show up, or it may not.

The factors contributing to when and how your business show up include the internet provider of a given user and his or her relative location. For example, two people could search the exact same keywords next door to one another and receive two completely different sets of local results in their SERP (search engine results page).

Some have speculated that the new layout is simply a way to streamline the user experience, while others have argued that it’s foreshadowing a larger Google plan to monetize local packs. Searching for different keywords will yield an even wider variety of local listings.

How to Adjust to the New Organic Search Results Landscape

Positive Reviews On Yelp And Google - Eminent SEOSo, how can you keep your business and your website relevant given all the changes to Google’s search layout? Here are a couple of good places to start:

Fill Out Your Google My Business Page Properly

Even though a link to your Google My Business page is no longer available for searchers, you can still claim your Google My Business listing if you haven’t yet.

Be sure to fill out the important details on your GMB page:

  • Add a unique, properly formatted description that includes links.
  • Choose the correct categories for your business.
  • Upload as many hi-resolution photos as possible.
  • Add a local phone number to your listing.

Earn Positive Reviews Within Google Maps

Even though they’re no longer called Google+ Reviews, the reviews on your Google My Business page are still used for local pack snippets. Users generally leave reviews by finding your location in Google Maps and then clicking on “Write a review.”

Your business card will not only include your overall review rating, but your negative reviews as well. This is especially crucial for businesses in the hospitality industry to pay attention to. Why? Because Google has added an option to filter searches to include only businesses above a certain rating, such as four stars or higher.

Pay Attention to Opening and Closing Hours

Since each local listing’s snippet now includes the business’s working hours, make sure to include correct opening hours on your Google My Business page.

Keep Earning Reviews Elsewhere

Business reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so you need to spend some time acquiring them. And these are not only Google reviews, but also reviews on your Yelp page and other local directory pages.

Optimize Your Storefront

At the end of the day, your spot on a search engine results page is your storefront. Getting people to see your storefront was already tough, but Google continues to keep raising the stakes.

You want to do everything in your power to get users to walk through your door. Are you getting seen? How does it look when users see you? Get started on finding out the answers to those two questions.

If you’re looking for some help on optimizing your website for search engines as well as filling out your Google My Business page properly, give Eminent SEO a try. We have several new marketing packages available to help your company rise to prominence on many fronts. Just call us today to learn more about our new offerings: 800.871.4130.

 

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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It’s Indisputable: Organic Search Results Are Better than Paid Spots

Organic Search Results Are Better Than Paid Ads - Eminent SEO

“It’s hard to remember the world before the internet.”

If you say that now, wait until five years from now when you might look back on content marketing and forget what it was like before search engine optimization became the standard.

Web marketers have watched strategies adjust over the years to include paid advertising, social media marketing and several other new tools and tactics as part of their repertoire. However, research shows that organic search still holds a vital place within a savvy content marketing strategy, and is even more effective than paying for ads that show up at the top of the search returns.

Don’t believe us? Keep reading to find out why.

Numbers Speak Loudest

Organic search still proves to be the best channel to drive traffic to your site. According to BrightEdge, organic search still accounts for 51 percent of all visitors for both B2B and B2C businesses. In fact, organic search alone commands more impact than all other non-organic traffic generators combined, including:

  • Paid search
  • Social media
  • Display ads
  • Email
  • Referral traffic

However, the team at BrightEdge found that organic search combined with paid advertising yields the best results, as opposed to either channel on its own. In the retail, technology and hospitality industries, for example, “organic and paid search combined make up over two-thirds of their total revenue.” We may see a change to these figures but, for now, organic search is still the anchor.

It’s Not the Tool that Matters, but Who Wields It

Facebook Now Drives More Traffic To News Websites Than Google - Eminent SEOSocial media has become an invaluable tool to any business wishing to grow its online presence. There has been such a powerful shift in media and publishing that Fortune magazine reported in 2015 that Facebook now drives more traffic to news outlets than Google does, accounting for 43 percent of traffic, compared to Google’s 38 percent.

Given the value of such an effective traffic generator, it is foolish to eliminate social media from your content marketing campaign. But first, consider the pitfalls of the social platforms.

When you rely on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as your primary source of advertising, you are at the whims of the social media platform. Even though these sites drive traffic pretty impressively, they can change their rules at any time. For example, what if Facebook decides to adjust their timeline-viewing algorithm (again)? How can you assure that your content will be seen?

What if Twitter changes its advertising layout? Will your content be as accessible as it was when you first paid for your campaign?

These questions may seem like small matters to consider, but they will remain relevant as long as social media platforms strive to maximize their user experience. Remember that Facebook referral traffic only bests Google when it comes to news websites. This does not hold true for the websites of your average B2B or B2C companies.

Came for the Bread; Stayed for the Meat

The first goal of advertising is to get people to notice your product. The second goal of advertising is to get people to love your product.

Social media and paid ads do an effective job of driving traffic, but research shows that they don’t produce a “sticky” experience. In other words, people often come to your site once, and then they leave.

According to Kristine Schachinger, a marketing CEO and an author for Search Engine Watch, “If you want to sell something or gain brand awareness, social is an excellent channel. If you want people to find your store and remember you, organic is the way to go.”

Think about it: When an article or ad pops up on your news feed, you’re likely to click on it, then leave the site. Whereas with organic search, when you type in your search keywords and find a site matching your search query, you’re more likely to explore the rest of the site and remember its content.

With organic search, people start off looking a topic or product relevant to you, and their keyword search brings them to you. And if they have a great experience on your site, not only are they more likely to click around, they’re more likely to come back.

You Only Get What You Pay For, not a Penny More

Blend Of Organic And Paid Search Results - Eminent SEOWhat happens when the money runs out in paid advertising? You have to consider the following factors when choosing your content marketing campaign:

  • What to spend
  • How much to spend
  • Where to spend it

There are two basic paid channel pricing models: CPM and Pay Per Click. With CPM (cost per thousand clicks), a business is paying for the number of impressions on their ad – aka the number of times their ad gets seen. This is an effective way to allocate budget because it allows you to focus on a base price, but it doesn’t guarantee ROI.

With pay per click, businesses are charged every time an ad is clicked on. While this is a great way to measure traffic, it also doesn’t guarantee ROI, and has the added risk of overextending your finances if the number of clicks exceeds your marketing budget allocation.

Eliminating either channel of advertising result can result in a steep drop in traffic to your site, so it’s extremely important to not rely too heavily on paid advertising. Organic search allows you to capitalize on both impressions and clicks. Thus, remember to aim for strong organic rankings in addition to any search ads you might already be paying for.

Stay Flexible

With organic search, you get the added bonus of flexibility. While it isn’t a good idea to have long breaks in organic search investment, you can decrease the amount of investment you have in your campaign according to the changes in seasons.

Maybe you’re an online flower distributor, and you want to increase your paid advertising around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day to promote discounts on flowers. Organic search allows you the added bonus of continuing your keyword-targeting strategy while also redistributing some of your marketing budget toward paid seasonal advertising.

Remember: Organic Search Results Are Better than Paid Entries

We can’t speak for the food and diet market, but when it comes to content marketing, organic isn’t just a trend: It’s a staple. A web marketing campaign that doesn’t capitalize on organic search is missing out on a foundational strategy that has proven to be effective, regardless of all of the recent changes in SEO.

Don’t forget to also take advantage of paid and social media advertising, but if faced with a choice between the three, organic will win out every time.

Need help with aiming for organic spots? Or could you use some overall consultation on your digital marketing strategy and where to best allocate resources? Start by learning about Eminent SEO’s Website Marketing services, and then give us a call at 800.871.4130 when you’re ready to hear 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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Vol. 56: New Eminent Mission Statement; Google Kills 2 Former Ranking Factors

Chris Weatherall Jenny Stradling - Eminent SEO OwnersEminent SEO Owners Chris Weatherall and Jenny Stradling

Eminent SEO News: New Brand Mission Statement

As we look to refresh some of our processes and collateral, we have developed a new mission statement that more accurately portrays our objectives and commitment to clients going forward.

Eminent SEO’s new mission statement is:

Eminent SEO seeks to create and promote beautiful brand collateral, expertly optimized websites and well-crafted marketing messages as a means to push the boundaries of internet marketing to help companies, corporations and government agencies be more successful. It’s our mission to deliver ethical, high-quality services while simultaneously working on creating meaningful relationships with our clients, partners, each other and those in the community around us.

More Eminent SEO News: June Birthdays, Work Anniversaries

We value each of our team members like family, so every birthday is a big deal to us. In June, the Eminent team celebrated a handful of birthdays as well as a work anniversary. The individual milestones we celebrated in June are as follows:

Birthday: Kirstin Douglas

Kirstin Douglas Small Image - Eminent SEO
Senior Account Manager Kirstin Douglas celebrated her birthday on Sunday, June 12. The following week, she went on more than a week-long vacation to Disney Land and other parts of California.

Birthday: Chris Weatherall

Chris Weatherall Icon - Eminent SEO
Eminent SEO President Chris Weatherall’s birthday came on Sunday, June 19. He celebrated by going on a staycation at a high-end hotel in Phoenix. Don’t ask him his age though!

Work Anniversary: Zach Ankeny

Zach Ankeny Icon - Eminent SEO
Fulfillment Manager Zach Ankeny celebrated his four-year anniversary on Wednesday, June 8. He treated himself to several vacation days throughout the month. Here’s to many more years with us, Zach!

What’s New in SEO: Google Kills Authorship and Top-Level Domains as Ranking Factors

Authorship and keyword-rich top-level domains: If you thought these two factors could help your website rank higher in organic search, Google says it is no longer the case.

Authorship

Google used to use authorship as a rankings bump, but according to Gary Illyes, a startup trends analyst for the tech giant, it’s not even in consideration for a ranking increase or decrease.

“We fixed that problem,” Illyes recently said, as quoted by Search Engine Land.

Authorship is when a webpage is marked up in the source code and attributed to an individual writer. Content from certain writers was once given more weight than material produced by other run-of-the-mill authors. This means that content attributed to popular web authorities like Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin, for example, would have a better chance at a high search ranking, just because of the name behind the material.

Well, that all has gone away, as far as Google is concerned. Search Engine Lands says Google stopped using authorship in August 2014 as a ranking factor for most forms of content. However, in-depth articles still could receive a boost due to name recognition of the author, even as recently as October 2015.

Now, in-depth articles (aka “long reads”) are no longer judged by author authority, leaving a more even playing field in Google Search. Granted, some writers’ names still carry more weight in readers’ minds than others do, but that matters not to Google now.

Top-Level Domains

Some SEO experts have speculated that changing to a keyword-rich top-level domain (aka domain extension) could bring about a rankings boost in Google Search. However, Illyes and John Mueller of Google recently said this tactic won’t specifically help with search rankings, according to Search Engine Land.

If you’re not sure what we mean by a keyword-rich top-level domain, imagine if you’re a locksmith and you change the “.com” of your website to “.locksmith”. There was talk in the SEO world that this strategy could boost someone’s search rankings. Search Engine Land even published an article about a personal injury lawyer who had his website switched from “.com” to “.attorney”. The lawyer claimed his website received a large boost in traffic soon after the switch, although not necessarily due to higher search rankings.

It’s unclear if keyword stuffing a top-level domain was ever a ranking factor on Google, but it certainly isn’t now, according to two corporate authorities. If you’ve been thinking about making such a move, just be aware that it doesn’t directly or instantly help you with SEO.

June Social Media Roundup

With holidays like Father’s Day and Social Media Day popping up in June, we had plenty to celebrate via tweets and posts on social media. Our Instagram account particularly saw some extra traction in June. If you haven’t followed us there yet, please do so now. Then, look directly below for the highlights of our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts and content from last month:

Eminent SEO Team At Hooters Mesa AZ


More Love Less Hate Orlando - Eminent SEO


Algorithm SEO Slang - Eminent SEO
The Sweet Smell Of Morning Coffee - Eminent SEO
Social Media Day June 2016 - Eminent SEO

June Blog Roundup

On the Eminent SEO blog in June, we took a look at the future of marketing agencies like ours. We also released a plethora of tips on how to create the right social media strategy, and then we helped lead local residents to 4th of July events all over town. See a recap of our June blog posts below, and then click on any of them to dive into the full article.

Social Media Takeover: How the Wrong Social Media Strategy Can Drain Your Marketing Budget

Is your business pouring money into the wrong social media platforms? Learn how to refine your strategy and concentrate your efforts toward what actually works, or else you may drain thousands of dollars from your marketing budget.

7 Elements to Look for in an Evolving Marketing Agency – and How to Avoid Being Left Behind

The internet has drastically changed the game when it comes to marketing, making standalone agencies evolve or die. Clients expect more transparency and they’re quicker on the gun when it comes to letting loose an underperforming marketing agency. So, what does the evolution of the modern marketing agency look like? Here are seven characteristics to keep your eyes on.

4th of July Events Around the Valley: Fun in the Sun

Late in June, we unveiled our first-ever directory of upcoming local events for a specific holiday. Independence Day was on the horizon, so we compiled a list of events worth attending in the greater Phoenix area, aka where our office is. Look forward to more posts like this prior to other major holidays. Cheers!

Featured Service: Landing Page Optimization

Search engine optimization helps users find your website, but landing page optimization (LPO) is what drives them to buy a product or pick up the phone and dial your number.

At Eminent SEO, every page we “SEO” for a client gets treated like a landing page. We implement keywords and enhance the content in a way that educates the user and drives them to action.

Any page on your site can be given the LPO treatment, but we can also create standalone pages (not found anywhere in the site’s menu or navigation) that point to a specific offer you have. In some cases we may create a standalone landing page to split test the results against an existing page on your site with similar content.
Convert Your Traffic Landing Page Optimization - Eminent SEO
If you’re looking for someone who can create targeted, conversion-driven standalone landing pages, look no further than Eminent SEO. Don’t forget we also optimize existing pages on your site as if they are landing pages that will drive visitors to buy or call. Click to learn more about our Landing Page Optimization Services, or just call 800.871.4130 today!

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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Vol. 53: Contribute to Eminent’s Art Wall; Google Rolling Out ‘Local Business Cards’

Eminent SEO Art Wall Banner

Eminent SEO News: Art Wall to Support Local Arizona Artists

Creativity comes in the form of inspiration. As a way to help inspire creativity in our office, we have officially started a new art wall that we plan to fill with custom artwork from some of the interesting and talented local artists we have here in Arizona!

So far we only have two pieces, but check out the work of Aaron Motley and Andy C Artwork (the two artists featured in this pic below) and let us know if you or your favorite Arizona artist is interested in adding to our Eminent SEO Art Wall. You can contact hello@eminentseo.com to find out more. #EminentSEOArtWall
Eminent SEO Art Wall Mesa AZ

What’s New in SEO: Google Experimenting with ‘Local Business Cards’

As Google’s search results pages continue to get more visual, the tech giant is reportedly testing out “local business cards,” a feature which doesn’t have an official name yet.

These local business cards appear in a horizontally scrollable carousel, similar to the Candidate Cards and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) the search engine has rolled out in recent months.

Haven’t seen this feature yet? Don’t worry. Not too many search users have.

Search Engine Land reports that local businesses cards only show up when searching for a “few dozen” local businesses that Google apparently approached directly. The content in these cards are custom and not drawn from Google My Business or any other feed. This feature also marks the first time Google has returned an animated GIF on a search results page. The carousel was reportedly created with mobile users in mind, but it shows up almost identically in desktop results.

A Search Engine Journal write-up on this development gives even more details on the implications this new search feature has on local businesses:

  • Businesses need to submit a request to be included, but Google must approve it first.
  • Certain services and content can be promoted in the local cards, which will show up near the top of a results page.
  • This content appears to show up in order of sheer popularity, rather than by traditional ranking signals such as backlinks, domain authority, etc.
  • Websites of businesses that have brick-and-mortar locations appear to have a leg up on the competition at this stage in the game.

So if your website is newer or has a low domain authority, you still might be able to show up high in the search results if you create a popular piece of content that gets featured in the local business cards. The problem is Google’s not letting everybody opt in at this point. How will this impact local search going forward? Stay tuned.

March Social Media Roundup

March was fraught with memorable holidays: Pi Day, St. Patrick’s, Good Friday, Easter, etc. On social media, we had a little sumpthin’ sumpthin’ for each of those big days. Our St. Patrick’s “What’s Your Leprechaun Name” graphic especially was a hit. See below for our holiday creative images, motivational posts and helpful SEO statistics that make up the best social content we shared in March.

#3LittleWords #Empower #Individuality #TeamEminent

A video posted by Eminent SEO (@eminentseo) on

I Literally Cannot - Bossbabe - ESEO

Whats Your Leprechaun Name - St Patricks Day - Eminent SEO


Mobile Searches Increase Year Over Year - ESEO

March Blog Roundup

Our first pair of blog posts in March focused on websites – why you should avoid an easy website builder and how to deck out your site’s 404 page. We then shared several tips on how to find and hire a qualified content marketer. Catch up on our most recent blog posts below, and don’t forget to head over to the entire blog and submit your email so you’ll never miss another post. Happy reading!

How Easy Website Builders like Wix, Muse and Weebly Hurt Your SEO and Growth Efforts

You can use a website service like Weebly, Wix or Muse to build a decent-looking online storefront, but are these codeless website builders positioned to help you grow a business? Find out about the pitfalls of using an easy, codeless website builder, including how most of them struggle with SEO.

Why You Shouldn’t Neglect to Optimize Your Website’s 404 Page

Believe it or not, you can actually create a good user experience with your website’s 404 page, not that you ever really plan on taking a visitor to that page. In this post, take an in-depth look at how to optimize your 404 page, when to redirect broken links, and when it’s OK to serve a 404 page to a user.

How to Find a Qualified Content Marketer to Add to Your Team

Effective content marketing can give your business a boost and indirectly lead to more sales. What is content marketing? How do I find a highly qualified content marketing? Find out the answer to those questions in this comprehensive blog post.

Featured Service: Brand Reputation

A scathing online review or even one ill-advised blog or social media post can break you. Such a mishap could make you lose clients, thousands of dollars and/or take years to recover from.

Don’t let such an incident keep your business from growing! When you start working with Eminent SEO, we can do a brand reputation audit to see what we’re up against. We’ll seek out mentions of your business online, and then we’ll work on removing or obscuring any negative or damaging reviews, if any.
Brand Reputation Can Make Or Break You - Eminent SEO
Not only do we seek to destroy any negative mentions of your business, but we also take a more positive, proactive approach. This usually involves helping your brand get better visibility on more platforms, such as review sites and directories, and encouraging your existing customers to leave some positive feedback of your business in high-profile places.

Let Eminent SEO build a custom brand reputation strategy for you! Click to learn more about our Reputation Management Services, or just call 800.871.4130 today.

Until next time, see ya online!

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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How Easy Website Builders like Wix, Muse and Weebly Hurt Your SEO and Growth Efforts

Easy Website Builders - Eminent SEO

Websites today are getting easier and easier for the average user to create.

You don’t even have to be a programmer or web developer to see a website come to fruition. Some website-building services don’t even require you to know a lick of code in order to launch a new site. You can just pick a design template, drag and drop content, write a little copy, and then it’s up and live in a matter of minutes.

Because of the low level of technical skill, you’d think such a site would look pretty basic. However, some of these properties actually look pretty good on the surface, boasting modern layouts and large, high-quality images. And that’s a good portion of the battle right there when it comes to having a successful web presence.

While it’s nice to be able to put up a presentable site quickly for your customers or just anyone following you closely, these types of websites struggle with long-term growth. Such a shortcut can only get you so far.

When it comes to complying with the latest SEO developments, most easy website builders get left behind – or at best take months or years to catch up. Let’s take a look at why codeless website builders like Wix, Muse, Weebly and similar services aren’t built to help businesses scale.

How Easy Website Builders Struggle with SEO

If you’re using your website to try to reach new markets and build your clientele, using a codeless website builder is going to make that task difficult for you. This is because it’s going to be a battle to get (and keep) any page from your website to show up on the first page of search results.

Even though these easy website builders allow you to type in your own meta tags for each page, and they offer proprietary SEO-related plugins, they still fall short in many ways when it comes to helping your rank higher in search.

Here’s why:

Poor URL Categorization and Structure

When you’re organizing the navigation of your website, it’s best to keep the URLs of your main categories and sub-categories clean and succinct. The homepage and the main menu items are all considered Tier 1 pages. If you have any categories that have drop-down options beneath, those are Tier 2 pages.

In short, it’s best to not have any Tier 2, 3, etc. pages branching right off the homepage, URL-wise. For examples, for our site you will see the URL of our Services pages as https://www.eminentseo.com/services/. We then have three Tier 2 options (not counting Service Overview) that stem from our Services page (and even some Tier 3 pages not shown in the main navigation).

Eminent SEO Services Page

If you visit our Website Creation page, you’ll see this URL:

Eminent SEO Website Creation URL

It’s very important to have the main page of the “silo” in the URL before “website-creation/.” Otherwise, everything just looks like it branches off from the homepage, and Google’s web crawlers will have trouble understanding how your site flows and which pages deserve more emphasis than others.

With a Wix-created website, any page other than the homepage starts with a “#!” (sometimes referred to as a hashbang) right after the main address. Not only does this make for a messy URL, but it looks to Google like every page is just a direct extension of the homepage. Thus, it’s going to be hard for the website to rank for any of its Tier 2 or 3 pages – unless you search for the site name and specific service directly.

For example, we’ll look at one of the featured Wix sites: Butcher & Sons, a restaurant chain in Mexico.

Butcher And Sons Homepage

This site has a main menu category called “Sucursales,” which basically means “branches” or “locations” in English. The URL for the Sucursales page is:

Butcher And Sons Sucursales URL

And if you click on any of the six drop-down items under the Sucursales category, the URL will be structured as such:

Butcher And Sons Polanco URL

Notice how the top-level category, Sucursales, is disregarded when it comes to these Tier 2 pages.

Not good. And that’s no fault of Butcher & Sons.

With Tier 2 items branching right off the homepage, it’s like telling Google that all Tier 1 and 2 content is equally valuable. And for most websites, this is not the case.

As for Weebly and Adobe Muse websites, they don’t suffer from having hashbangs show up in their addresses, although many sites contain URLs ending in “.html” for their non-homepage content. This isn’t necessarily an SEO-killer, but it makes the URL longer and less eye-appealing. The best practice is to end your URLs like such: “services/.” Yes, ending with a forward slash is ideal.

Weebly sites appear to not be able to structure URLs optimally either. Tier 2 pages all seem to stem right off the home address. As for Muse, I had trouble going through its “Site of the Day” list and finding any website that even had Tier 2 pages visible from the main menu. Many of them had a menu that just directed to an anchored section of the homepage below the fold. In fact, I only found 2 out of the first 16 featured sites that had navigation that went deeper than the first tier. And when I did find such a site, all Tier 2 pages, you guessed it, branched right off from the home address. Tsk tsk.

Excessive Code

With the rise of codeless website platforms, many web developers noticed that excessive code was needed in order to make creating a website easier, particularly in Muse. In other words, lines and lines of code were used to offset the user’s lack of HTML knowledge.

Codeless website creators will have a hard time getting their content pages to rank well because search engine crawlers often have difficulty sifting through all of the extra code and figuring out what each page is about.

Excessive code also can lead to slow loading times, especially in the ever-growing world of mobile search. It should be noted that a site with slow loading times will prompt many visitors will bounce rather than wait for the entire page to load. Both slow loading times and high bounce rates cause rankings to suffer in Google Search, and people who use codeless website builders should be aware of these potential risks.

SSL Certificate Difficulty

If you’d like to upgrade the security of your website, obtaining an SSL certificate can be problematic with Weebly and impossible with Wix. SSL certificates create trust with your visitors and customers, and they’re projected to become a ranking factor in Google Search in the near future.

More on SSL certificates here.

With a Wix-created website, you actually don’t own your own content. They do. And since they basically own your website, you can’t add an SSL certificate whatsoever.

If you decide to add Wix’s shopping cart to your website, that will be SSL-protected, but otherwise, you’re out of luck with adding a site-wide security certificate. I’ll further explain the pitfalls of not being the sole proprietor of your website in a moment.

Weebly and Muse both allow you to add an SSL certificate to your domain, with some stipulations.

  • Weebly highly encourages you to purchase your SSL certificate through them. However, what they offer isn’t among the strongest types of such certificates on the market.
  • For an SSL certificate on a Muse-created site, you’ll have to go through your website host and a third party.

From looking through the featured websites on Weebly and Muse, it’s noticeable that most site owners aren’t utilizing an SSL certificate. Perhaps quite a few in the bunch don’t even know what an SSL certificate is – speculation of course.

You’re Not in Full Control of Your Content and Website

With Wix, you’re actually not in sole control of your own website. It may appear that way, but that’s all smoke and mirrors. While Wix’s Terms of Use says that you own all rights to any content you upload to your site, there’s this stipulation:

Wix Terms Of Use Ownership

This means Wix can modify the content on your site, remove it, or even feature or reuse it elsewhere. Your entire site could even be included on the platform’s featured websites page. But what if you don’t want to shout to the world that you’re using the Wix platform?

Wix Example Websites - ESEO

Other codeless website builders don’t infringe on your submitted content as deeply as Wix does, but they still retain to right to move or delete your material, especially if it’s copyright-protected, indecent or spammy. These platforms make it clear that you’re on your own if material you upload gets you into legal trouble.

Also, if you try to move your codeless-created website over to another content management system, it’s going to be difficult, if not impossible. With Wix, you can pretty much just copy and paste what you have, but you can’t download a page into a file that can be uploaded elsewhere.

As far as all Wix, Weebly and similar codeless website builders go, don’t even think about taking any of their graphics, templates, proprietary stock images, etc. over to another site. Only your original content can be taken and reused if you decide to create a website elsewhere.

The Times When Codeless Website Builders Can Work

Looking over the featured websites on Wix, Weebly and Muse, I see a lot of small restaurants, web design agencies, architecture firms and individual actors, pastors, public speakers, local bands and the like. Basically, these sites are like a slightly bigger about.me page.

You can think of a codeless-created website like a starter home. It’s affordable, it’s manageable, it works for the time being, and it allows you to get a sense of what you like and don’t like before you upgrade your space down the road. It’s also better than not having any site at all when it comes to handing out business cards or imploring your social media followers to visit your personal online space.

Like I mentioned earlier, many of the sites created this way actually look pretty good, as they are heavy on the visuals. Most codeless website builders even support shopping cart integration, so you can get a small ecommerce business off the ground. Overall, these types of sites are decent if you’re a one-person business or a startup with no coding experience and a tight budget.

Other popular easy website builders that require little to no coding include:

  • SiteBuilder.com
  • WebsiteBuilder.com
  • Web.com
  • Webs.com
  • Sitey.com
  • Sitelio.com
  • eHost.com
  • Squarespace.com

But You Want to Grow, Don’t You?

If you want to use your website as a means to help your business grow, relying on a codeless-built site is going to make that mission difficult. This is because an SEO strategy is hard to execute with these platforms. You saw that not only does Wix produce messy URLs, but Weebly and Muse both struggle with proper URL structure. That’s just one of many drawbacks.

Although Wix had the most minuses in the SEO analysis above, a common theme among all easy website builders is they seem to lag behind when it comes to Google’s changing standards, such as algorithm updates and ranking factors.

For example, Wix and Weebly didn’t jump into the responsive design game until somewhere between late 2014 and early 2015. Adobe Muse’s homepage didn’t tout the platform’s responsive capabilities until late 2015, and it still advertises this feature like it’s a new thing.

Adobe Muse Homepage Responsive Design

Your best bet at long-term growth is to find a digital marketing company that can not only create and host your website, but also implement a sound SEO strategy so your content ranks high in the search results. Eminent SEO has a team that excels in these and related strategies in order to help clients large and small succeed with their online presence. Click to learn more about our Website Creation services, or call 800.871.4130 today.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Vol. 52: Eminent SEO Customer Update, Two Big Changes to Google SERPs

Superman Max - Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO News: Important Customer Update

Ever since 2016 started, we at Eminent SEO have been reviewing all of our products, services, processes and report deliverables to see where we can make upgrades. There were many significant changes in the SEO and digital marketing industries in 2015 (mostly thanks to Google), and 2016 will certainly bring many more.

In light of that, one of the bigger changes we’ve made recently is redeveloping our shared client strategy and fulfillment documents. If you are a client of Eminent SEO, please feel free to open up the live Google document where we report on everything we’ve done on your behalf. If your new report is still “under construction,” don’t worry: Your old reports are still accessible and your new one will be created shortly. The next time we get on a call with you to review your report, we’ll go over all of these changes and discuss how you can contribute to the document.

For all current Eminent SEO customers, please look for a version of this update in your email inbox, as well as other updates from us in the near future.

What’s New in SEO: Google SERPs Upgrades

In February, two significant changes to the Google SERPs (search engine results pages) went in effect, one for mobile and one for desktop search.

No More Sidebar PPC Ads on Google

First, Google suddenly said bye-bye to all of sidebar pay-per-click ads on the first page of search results via desktop.

In all likelihood, as an average web surfer, you probably glossed over these every time you used a desktop or laptop to search Google, but here is what these sidebar ads looked like (in a screenshot taken last August):

Screenshot - Google Phoenix AC Search

That was a search for a “Phoenix AC company,” which elicited three PPC ads above the local pack and organic results, as well as eight PPC ads on the right sidebar (which was maximum a page would show at that time).

Now, if we search for the same term, here is what we get:

Phoenix AC Company Google Search - ESEO

That’s right: four PPC ads now at the top and no paid spots on the right side. Even on a 23-inch monitor, the entire local pack isn’t visible above the fold. That means just six spots are immediately viewable to us before scrolling down.

There are still 10 organic results below the local pack for this particular search, and there are even three more PPC ads below that.

SEO experts are predicting that the PPC competition will become even more cutthroat with only four prime spots available above the fold. Google is apparently only going to show four PPC ads at the top for “highly commercial” search terms, so you should see fewer in some instances.

This change has apparently been a long time in the making. For more background and details on Google’s decision to drop “right rail” ads, see this Search Engine Land FAQ write-up on the topic.

Google Launches AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

Just a couple of days after the PPC shakeup, Google debuted another game-changer: accelerated mobile pages (AMPs). This move had been in the works for several months.

At this time, AMPs mostly concern online news organizations. To see what the AMPs look like, you basically just have to use your mobile device to search for any item that’s been in the news lately. What Google will return to you is a horizontal “carousel” of news articles related to your search query near the top of the first page of results.

Ghostbusters Google Mobile Search - ESEO

Each item in the carousel is marked with the letters “AMP” and a lightning bolt icon in the bottom of the box. Basically, these pages are supposed to load ultra-quickly, being that they are stripped down versions of their desktop equivalents.

If you’re not in the news business, you’re probably not going to be too affected by AMPs right now. However, you might be able to use your company’s blog to add your expertise or insight to a topic in the news, and then an AMP version of that blog post might be able to compete with media organizations when users search Google for that subject. Keep in mind that creating AMPs has nothing to do with ranking your website higher in search right now.

While an AMP plugin for WordPress has already emerged, getting your site to show up in the AMP carousel will involve a little bit of coding as well as maintaining two versions of the very same page/article. If you’re ready to learn more about AMPs and giving your website that functionality, read this thorough Search Engine Land tutorial. Note that you have to have a fair amount of programming skills in order to understand this write-up and put it into practice.

February Social Media Roundup

Did you make use of the extra day you had in February, aka Leap Day? Yes, there was an additional day, but it was still a short month, and it came and went in a flash for us here at the Eminent SEO office. Check out the best of our February social media shares below.
Smartphone Search Conversion Rates 15 Times Higher - ESEO
Be My Valentine Coffee - ESEO
Valentines Day Hugs - Eminent SEO

You Got This Boss - Eminent SEO

TGIF The Grind Includes Friday - ESEOWhatever It Takes Motivational - Eminent SEO

February Marketing Blog Roundup

Our blog started out February with a thorough post on website security, and then we focused on mobile marketing issues in a pair of posts. If you missed our February blog posts, see an overview of each below and get caught up. As always, we invite you to visit our blog page and click on “Subscribe” so you don’t miss any future posts.

What is an SSL Certificate and Why Should Your Website Make the Upgrade?

In this post on website security, learn about what an SSL certificate is, if they’re all the same, and the value one provides for your customers and website visitors. Once you’re convinced to make the upgrade, the post will tell you about a few different channels you can explore to obtain an SSL certificate.

To App or Not to App: Should You Put More Resources into a Mobile Site or Mobile App?

Every business seems to be trying to get into the mobile app marketplace nowadays, right? That’s not only untrue, but there are concrete reasons why many businesses should refrain. In this enlightening blog post, learn more about the current mobile app landscape and where you should consider investing your marketing dollars this year as an alternative.

Like It or Not, Vertical Video is Here to Stay: How Marketers, Brands Can Adjust

Is shooting a video with your smartphone held vertically sheer laziness, or is it actually a viable format for sending and watching video? In this post, learn about why vertical video does and does not suck, plus why the format is becoming more accepted. Also, you’ll get a few ideas on how to leverage vertical video to drive engagement for and awareness of your brand.

Featured Service: Website Hosting

Speaking of SSL certificates, have you given much thought to how your website is hosted and how a poor setup can hurt a site’s SEO?

Your website will reap many benefits when you go through Eminent SEO for where and how it’s hosted. We start by finding you a U.S.-based server, one that elicits quick loading times for whenever a user pulls up your site on a desktop computer or mobile phone. We also establish a dedicated IP address for your site, and if you own multiple sites you’d like to have us host, we can set each one up with a dedicated IP. Having a dedicated IP address makes it a little easier to obtain an SSL certificate, which, by the way, we can take charge of for your website.

A U.S.-based server, a dedicated IP address and an SSL certificate make up the right foundation to help your website succeed, especially on the search engines. Our process also allows your site to have unlimited bandwidth, even for larger sites, meaning if you see a dramatic uptick in visitors on any given day, your site won’t crash or get bogged down by the newfound traffic.

6 Billion Google Searches Each Day - Eminent SEO

With Eminent SEO as your website’s host, you also get round-the-clock technical support for anytime an issue arises with your site or you have a pressing question. To learn more, visit our Website Hosting Services page, or call 800.871.4130 today.

Until next time, see ya online!

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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What Is Zombie Website Traffic and How Do I Mitigate It?

What Is Zombie Website Traffic - Eminent SEO

If you’re looking over your website analytics and you notice a peculiar uptick in visitors and/or a significant drop in your conversion rate, there’s a good chance you are experiencing zombie traffic.

It’s been known by a few different names over the years, but webmasters seem to be settling on the term “zombie traffic,” and it’s become increasingly noticeable in the last year or two. Zombie traffic is little more than a tease, since you’ll see a higher number of visits, yet no increase in conversions or engagement.

Your website may be the victim of zombie traffic, and the bad news is there’s no way to weed it out entirely. The good news you have options to keep such non-converting traffic to a minimum, and we’ll tell you how in this post. Before we get into that, let’s see more about what zombie website traffic is and how to identify it.

Characteristics of Zombie Website Traffic

Zombie traffic seems to come and go seasonally, but some websites go through stages where this type of traffic seems to recur every other day, although the incidents are unpredictable.

Zombie visitors are believed to be real people who just sit on your site (sometimes for quite a while) but don’t really interact with the content. They might make their way to a separate page or two, but they never click on one of your money-making items, and, thus, your conversions stay idle. Much of this traffic will come from places far beyond your country’s borders, in areas where you probably don’t even do business.

Sometimes zombie traffic won’t even cause a spike in your usual visitor levels. Your traffic could be stable throughout, but if you notice a period of time where your conversions inexplicably drop off, that could mean zombies were there.

Zombie Traffic’s Effect on Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Organic

Webmasters have noticed that zombie traffic doesn’t discriminate: It effects both organic and paid results. So, whether the traffic on your site came from the normal search results or through a PPC ad you’ve placed, both are viable avenues for zombie users.

Where is the increase in zombie traffic coming from? It’s not entirely clear, but if it primarily attacked PPC ads, then that would support one of the theories of what’s causing zombie traffic.

Zombie Traffic Theories

Many webmasters are blaming Google when it comes to recent spikes in zombie traffic. Some think it’s as simple as Google testing algorithmic changes on a number of websites. Others think that Google’s intentions aren’t so innocuous – if the tech giant even has a hand in it at all.

  • Some believe that Google is trying to keep your traffic steady while paying little mind to helping you boost conversions. This low-quality traffic might appease those who are only taking a quick glance at their visitor levels while overlooking their conversion metrics. If you use Google AdWords to produce PPC ads on the search engine, then it makes sense that Google would have a vested interest in keeping your business happy with its website traffic volume. This is, however, just one of the theories floating around.
  • Another theory takes the above scenario even further, claiming that Google is keeping its customers’ traffic levels steady (no matter how unqualified that traffic may be at times) in order to encourage them to keep their PPC campaigns running. If a business does not have a Google AdWords account, an increase in zombie traffic might push them to open up an account for paid ads, which presumably would bring better-qualified traffic to their site, all playing into Google’s favor.
  • A less inflammatory theory out there places Google as more of a bystander in the zombie traffic phenomenon. If websites, especially ecommerce ones, are seeing distinct periods of high conversions and no conversions, then they may toggling between different Google “buckets.” What this means is sometimes Google sees the website as informational, and other times the search engine considers the site to be transactional. If your website is one way or the other, then it makes sense why you would see a drop in conversions when the site is receiving the wrong kind of traffic.
  • Another popular hypothesis on webmaster forums has nothing to do with Google at all. Perhaps some well-disguised bots (aka not people) are invading different websites, or maybe hundreds of people in a foreign country are behind this, running endless searches from false IP addresses. Whatever the case, these zombie visitors come off as real people when they’re infiltrating a website. However, the way they behave on a certain site is not consistent with the actions of most real users.

How to Mitigate Low-Quality, Non-Converting Traffic

Many website analytics experts are saying that unless you have an ecommerce site, zombie traffic shouldn’t be that big of a nuisance. As far as weeding out zombie traffic, there’s only so much one can do. We’re all more or less at Google’s mercy, so if the search engine is behind these spurts of zombie traffic, we have little recourse.

However, if there is some truth to the buckets theory, then you’ll want to go over your site and make sure it’s optimized for the right purpose. If you have an ecommerce website, for example, here are 10 ways to optimize your online storefront, which should help Google better understand that your site is transactional, not informational.

If you have ongoing PPC campaigns through Google Adwords, now’s the time look closely at the results and determine if your ROI is enough to continue those efforts. If Google really is sending waves of unqualified traffic your way through your paid ads, you might just want to call an end to all campaigns through AdWords.

Finally, a surefire way to weed out a different form of traffic that also eats away at your conversion rate is to block bot traffic, which does not consist of real users. This type of traffic artificially inflates a website’s visitor count and does nothing for page views, average time on site, and conversions. If you have someone who’s technically inclined, pass along this article on how to use Google Analytics to block bot traffic and referral spam. Even once you get all current bots filtered out, be sure to check back every couple of months, because other spammy referrers can converge on your website at any given time.

In Closing

It’s not possible to cut off all zombie visitors and other forms of useless traffic to your website, but if you follow the advice above, you can keep the negative impact to a minimum. Even if you don’t have an ecommerce site and the thought of zombie traffic doesn’t bother you, it’s still worth tracking your analytics more closely to see if your visitor count is really what it purports to be. If it’s not, then that might give you more motivation to get back to aggressively marketing your online content and make sure you continue to gain new visitors.

If you’re looking for help in identifying low-quality traffic to your website and weeding out referral spam, Eminent SEO’s Website Audit and Maintenance Services can help! Learn more here or call 1-800-871-4130 today.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Manager at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. I'm here to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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Understanding the Future of SEO: What to Expect in 2016 and Beyond

Understanding the Future of SEO

Search is an ever-changing landscape of different variables that quantify what makes a website strong enough to rank. As we approach the end of 2015, some of us may be wondering what to expect in 2016 for SEO. My team had the opportunity to attend the Pubcon event in Vegas recently, and I’m happy to share what we learned in terms of the future of SEO.

A lot of businesses owners are still behind the times and are really going to feel it this coming year. If your business has yet to implement a responsive design, semantic markup, and a website that speaks to users, now is the time to implement those things. Otherwise, wait and fail because the future of search isn’t about the older demographic, but millennials and how they’re buying.

Focus on Mobile or Fail

We need to start looking at mobile optimization first since mobile search has finally reached a tipping point and has surpassed desktop search. Because of that, there are now mobile-specified algorithms that focus on mobile location and providing fewer results to the mobile user, but more qualified results than ever before.

As business owners and marketers, mobile optimization strategies need to speak to the mobile audience. This encompasses mobile voice search, mobile website design, mobile apps, and mobile website usability.

Mobile Effect for the Future of SEO

Optimizing for Mobile Voice Search

Traditionally, websites have been optimized for important key phrases because that’s how users would use a search engine. Now, with mobile voice search services such as Siri and Google Voice, users are approaching search in a different way. Google’s Hummingbird update directly speaks to voice search users, which allows the search engines to interpret full questions.

Instead of only optimizing websites with important keywords, start thinking about your audience and what questions they may be asking when your product or service will provide the solution. Simply adding a FAQs section to your website that answers these questions with well-researched answers would help optimize the site for voice search.

Optimizing Mobile App Traffic Sources

Since millennials are using their phones for more than just texting and searching Google, we need to be forward thinking when it comes to how they are searching within other apps. Social apps alone are a huge data source for search. Think about Pinterest. Have you searched for recipes on Pinterest? It has become its very own search engine. Therefore, businesses need to be optimized on social apps as well.

Optimizing Your Website for Mobile Users

When designing and optimizing a website, mobile design needs to be the first thought, since it’s where the majority of your traffic is going to come from. If it hasn’t happened already, it inevitably will happen soon. Optimizing the following website considerations will help provide a better mobile user experience:

  • Optimize website speed times.
  • Javascript, CSS, and image files should not be blocked from search engines.
  • Use Schema.org structured data to enhance the rich snippets for mobile.
  • Prevent the usage of pop-ups.
  • DO NOT use any Flash, since mobile devices cannot read Flash.
  • Make sure buttons and navigation are designed for big, fat fingers.
  • Localize your footer with the correct Name, Address, and Phone Number for local search.
  • Make sure the content reads well on mobile by optimizing headers and calls to action.

Use Responsive Design

Responsive design allows your website to scale to fit all devices seamlessly. There are still certain tweaks that need to be made to make sure the content is optimized correctly for mobile, but the website is pretty much the same on mobile as desktop, whereas mobile-specific sites may only show mobile users selected areas of your website, not the entirety of the site.

Mobile Optimization

Include Schema Markup in Your On-Page SEO Strategy

Schema markup can enhance your presence in the search engine results by telling search engines exactly what your data means. When search engines understand what the data means, they can provide valuable rich snippets of your content right in the SERPs.

There are different schema markup types available for different content types, including: local, restaurants, products, reviews, recipes, ratings, events, articles, apps, and more. Implementing schema markup will help increase your website CTR, which can lead to higher rankings. We’ll talk more about that later. Take advantage of Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to determine what schema to use for your site.

Optimize Content for Long Clicks

A valuable metric which I’m sure is overlooked by many is the average time on site and whether a user is bouncing off a specific page right away. Long clicks influence rankings, which was once a speculation but now is reality, per Rand Fishkin at Pubcon.

Answering Your Users’ Direct Questions

This can be done by having an interactive website with user-engaging content that walks visitors through the funnel, page by page. This also goes back to optimizing for voice search. Having a solution to a problem will help keep visitors on your site and engaged with your content longer. Directly speaking to your audience with your content is CRUCIAL!

Social Platform Sharing and Headline Optimization

How else can long clicks be established besides from the search results? Social signals can also be a huge advocate for creating long clicks on your blog posts and website content offers. For so long, we’ve been focused on the amount of shares, when in reality, it’s the amount of long clicks your content receives from social that will be the breadwinner in achieving higher rankings for that article you spent so much time on.

To do this, your headlines must match your content and be straight to the point. That way, users aren’t surprised when they click on your article to find that it is completely irrelevant to the title, causing them to bounce off.

Storytelling with Your Content

Instead of writing some plain, boring product description, use storytelling to explain that specific product and how it can relate to your consumer. Ask yourself this, if your content was removed from the web, would anyone miss it?

Be Creative with Your Link Building Strategies

In a recent blog post, we spoke about how you can create valuable content that will increase backlinks. This is the future of link building and what every site needs to have in order for high quality sites to link back to you. Other ways to generate quality backlinks include:

  • Scraping competitor backlinks, sorting out low quality sites and going after high quality sites.
  • Crawling competitor sites to find broken links. Now look at the links pointing to that page and outreach to those sites with your page that’s not broken.
  • Discovering new sites by utilizing Twitter and other social platforms in your niche.
  • Creating infographics that speak to your audience and share them until they go viral. Once your infographic goes viral, you will see the backlinks increase.
  • Creating content on your site that speaks directly to a site you would like a link from.

Data, Data, Data: You Gotta Have It

The final important SEO factor for the future and now is accumulating as much data as you possibly can. At Pubcon, we learned that “data is the new oil.” It’s that important.

Data Capturing for Marketing

So, what kind of data should you be collecting? All of it.

Audience-Specific Data

Data-driven marketing starts with understanding the consumer and audience. Collecting this information up front is crucial to the content strategy, since you’ll want to know whether to tailor content to a specific gender, age group, geographic area, etc. Develop your ideal buyer persona based on current audience data, which can be collected from social platforms and Google Analytics.

Identify Patterns in Data Sets

Patterns tell a story with the data. There are different types of data that can provide different patterns. For example, when running a crawl report on your website, look for patterns in page types. Start by collecting the page data via crawl, identify footprints, and then sort/filter/pivot by page type. Page types can include: blog posts, archive pages, static pages, paginated comments, attachment pages, etc.

Once filtered, what do you see as the majority page type? If there’s a huge amount of a certain page type over all the other page types, chances are something is off technically with the site. You probably wouldn’t know that existed without identifying the pattern.

Other SEO patterns to be keep a lookout for may include:

  • On-page link to content ratios
  • Footer links with exact match keywords
  • Off-site anchor text exact match percentages
  • Duplicate pages and content

Use Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics

Understanding your audience can be two-fold: the buyer and the learner. In order to understand their separate ways of navigating through your site, you must use custom dimensions in Google Analytics. Once you’ve tagged a visitor as a buyer or learner, you will be able to identify patterns in how each user follows the funnel. This data is extremely important because you can better optimize for each audience, which will help increase your conversions.

Takeaways

In order to keep up with SEO, you must have these big factors in play. SEO is NOT dead, nor will it ever be dead. It’s just gotten a lot more complex. Basically if your website isn’t mobile friendly, has minimal content for users, and you’re not tracking your success, you will eventually fail. You can’t have a SEO plan without any of these factors in play. We’ll leave it with this closing quote from Pubcon:

“SEO success is adaptation. Data is critical to growth.” – Duane Forrester from Bing

If you’re overwhelmed by what goes into SEO today, don’t be. We are here to help. Give us a call.

Eminent SEO Max Swag Pubcon 2015

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Lacey Chic

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

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