Google will soon split its index of web pages into two separate ones: one for desktop and one for mobile.
And the mobile one will be primary:Google will be update it frequently while they will update the desktop index less often. This is a reflection of the fact that more than half of all searches are done on phones now—and the ratio of phone to desktop searches is continuing to increase.
According to Gary Illyes, a Google webmaster trends analyst, Google will make the change “within months” and will leave the desktop index somewhat less up-to-date than the mobile one.
So what does this actually mean?
The biggest impact of this is likely to be on websites that have separate mobile and desktop versions. The two website versions will be indexed and evaluated separately as if they’re different websites … because sometimes they are. Separate mobile pages are often optimized differently from desktop pages, so search rankings may differ dramatically depending on whether a customer searches for you from their desktop/laptop or their phone.
If your site is “responsive”, meaning your pages adjust how they display depending on the device looking at them, you ought to be okay since the content is always the same.
However, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your ranking penalty when customers search from their phones will get worse. Possibly much worse, though Google hasn’t actually claimed that yet.
[Tweet “Another nail in the coffin if your website isn’t mobile friendly.”]
Joost de Valk, who runs search engine firm Yoast.com and author of the highly recommended Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress, recently said this move makes sense.
I think in part it is about pushing people to change their sites to be responsive rather than having a separate desktop and mobile site. By saying that their mobile index is more important, it will push people to focus on their mobile sites.
This bears watching, but if you’re a little late in making your website responsive, now’s the time to get on the stick and do it.
Live presentation with breakout sessions to answer your questions.
Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Website, Facebook, Content, Twitter, SEO – it’s just so much to master! If you’re having trouble making sense of your online presence, we can help.
The presentation will start with a panel discussion moderated by Walt Blau of Generic Brand Human/Ashland Studios, followed by small breakout sessions where each expert will spend time at each table answering specific questions. Come prepared with your questions about starting and maintaining a website, writing content that gets noticed, using SEO to land your company at the top of online searches, and gaining your prospects’ attention on social media.
Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2016
Time: 8-10 am
Where: Ashland Studios 343 New Road, Suite 3 Parsippany, NJ 07054
If you think friends or colleagues will be interested in this event, please share it with any of the buttons on the left. And if you think it warrants a Facebook Like or a Google +1, you’ll find buttons for those at the top.
We almost always recommend that our SEO clients maintain an active blog on their websites. Often they are concerned about the time and attention that requires, and ask how important it is. Do they really need a blog? More to the point, do you need a blog?
It’s true that a blog requires a certain level of dedication to write new blog posts on a regular basis. While opinions differ on how often you should write a new blog post, we typically recommend a minimum of one blog post per month. That level of blogging should be pretty easy to maintain, right?
Well, we’ve seen several instances of clients (and non-clients) starting a blog, and posting very frequently for the first month or two, and then forgetting about it for a year or more.
That doesn’t work.
Search engines, seeing regular activity in the way of new content on your blog, consider your website to be alive and active. That’s a positive ranking factor for SEO. But if you start a blog and then forget about it for months on end search engines are likely to consider your website to be like a vacant lot: uninteresting and unworthy of visitors.
So the question arises again: do you really need a blog? And the answer is almost always:
Yes, you need a blog.
Here are 3 reasons why:
Fresh content is good for your search engine rankings.
Your blog opens up some great marketing opportunities.
Your blog will help conversions – converting visitors into paying customers.
Let’s address those in a little more depth.
[Tweet “Yes, you need a blog! Here’s why.”]
Fresh content on your blog
We’ve already touched on the benefit that it shows search engines your site is healthy, alive, and active.
Blog posts about your business will naturally address existing keyword phrases, cementing the relevance of your site for those terms for search engines.
Blog posts naturally focus on long-tail keyword phrases. Those are the search terms with four, five or more words that are narrowly focused. There is less competition for these and you’re likely to rank very highly for them as a result.
Regularly posted content on your blog gives visitors a reason to return frequently.
Leverage your blog for better marketing
Having an active blog allows you to be listed in a number of blog directories on the web. Each of those listings provides an authoritative link back to your blog post, which enhances the link popularity of your whole website.
Blog posts provide great fodder for your email marketing campaign or newsletter. In fact, that was the main reason I started this blog way back in 2005.
Every blog post gives you at least one new opportunity to post a link to it on all of your social media accounts spreading your message further on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and maybe more.
For our clients, we typically promote each blog post on a dozen of the top social sites, expanding visibility beyond their own social circles.
Your blog can increase your conversion rate.
Conversion rate is the proportion of visitors who become paying customers, clients or patients. The higher the better.
You can use blog posts to promote special offers and promotions.
Every blog post gives you multiple opportunities for calls to action to encourage readers to contact you.
Blog posts about relevant and important aspects of your business establish your authority and expertise. That helps visitors trust you.
Especially if you deal with your customer base on a face-to-face basis, your blog can help to convey your personality as helpful, approachable, and a person or company that visitors will want to do business with.
An additional side benefit of a blog
We often have the opportunity to explain things to clients and others. Very often part of what we’re explaining has been dealt with in a blog post, so we can refer them to an old blog post for additional information. I would say I have the opportunity at least once a week to send someone to a past blog post to help answer their question or explain a concept. Will that be helpful for you? Only you can tell.
What’s been your experience? If you have a blog, how happy are you with the investment of time and attention it takes? Let us know in the comments below.
Link popularity — the number and quality of inbound links to your site is a critical ranking factor. I estimate it counts for 40-50% of where you rank on Google. While link quality outweighs link counts, many of our clients still like to know how their link counts are doing.
Moz and Majestic
We track client inbound link counts from both Moz and Majestic because there are different ways to “count” links that results in occasionally large differences in link counts between them.
Link age may be a consideration: older links may count less than fresher links. Link weight is also important: the weight of a link is related to the web authority of the linking page so that links from more authoritative pages count significantly more heavily in your favor than links from lesser sources.
Moz tends to track high value links while Majestic tends to dig deeper and track many lower quality links. Moz tends also to have fewer false positives. Both constantly refine their link counting algorithms, resulting in occasional dramatic changes in reported link counts.
[Tweet “Links to your website help you rank higher in Google. How many do you really have?”]
In our monthly reporting to clients, we rely on the Moz link counts. But we track both and periodically report to clients about both of them, as well as counts of how many other websites are linking. Some websites (domains) may link to you from multiple pages, resulting in a difference between total links and linking domains. We also report on MozRank and Domain Authority.
MozRank is a link popularity score that weighs the number of incoming links to a given web page (or a given website for Domain MozRank) but modifies that with a quality score for those inbound links. It’s designed to approximate Google’s PageRank score which is an important ranking factor at Google, and is on a logarithmic 0-10 scale like Google’s PageRank. While Google used to display an approximate PageRank for web pages, they stopped doing that around 2014. MozRank is the closest approximation of that we’ve found.
Domain Authority is another metric from the folks at Moz to measure the strength of a website in terms of its likelihood to rank prominently in web search results. On a logarithmic 0-100 scale, it’s based on a number of more elementary metrics including link counts, linking domains, link quality, MozRank, and more. It’s being continuously tweaked via machine learning against actual Google search results
Although digital marketing is a billion-dollar industry that seems to be growing each year, one of the most commonly known sectors — SEO (search engine optimization) — is still something that very few people have a full grasp of. This could be due to the fact that there is no well-known schooling, curriculum, or certification for SEO currently available that’s widely accepted within the industry. It’s for that reason, and others, many individuals and business owners have a hard time completely understanding SEO best practices and the methodologies and strategies that are most effective.
Why learn how SEO works?
There are a variety of benefits to learning SEO, even from the most basic things like content creation, keyword targeting, keyword research, link building, navigation structures, etc; read more about the SEO process here. One of the largest benefits to getting an idea of what search engine optimization is all about is the fact that applying SEO techniques allows you to get your target audience looking at your product or service organically; when they are searching for what it is that you have to offer. Instead of using other advertising methods that require you to put your offering in front of people even when they’re not interested, with SEO you can make sure your website is easily found when the people that want what you have are looking for it.
With that said, here are 3 ways to learn SEO effectively; doing so in a way that won’t waste time but will get you the information you need to succeed.
[Tweet “3 ways to learn SEO effectively”]
1) Talk to an expert
More and more we’re finding that successful people in just about any industry are talking about the importance of having a mentor, and how much time a mentor’s advice can save you. When it comes to learning SEO, it’s not often that you’ll be able to find an expert to hold your hand and mentor you, breaking down all the steps you need to take to put in place a successful marketing campaign.
Your time, like theirs, is valuable, so making a financial investment on your part and in return them making the investment of time to help you is a win-win for both parties. By working with an SEO specialist who has a wealth of experience in the digital marketing industry you can ensure that your SEO campaign will have greater success, since they have experience with working on numerous marketing campaigns competitively and in different industries. To get a clear sense of what an SEO consultant can add to your short term and long term marketing goals, here’s an interesting article on why more people are choosing this type of consultancy.
2) Analyze the SEO strategies being used by websites ranking well
This seems be the easiest and most obvious option when trying to learn SEO. Yes, there might be an initial investment needed to purchase the necessary tools to help you do analysis of the websites ranking well, but it is literally the best teacher there is. You’ll notice an article published some time ago of how this is directly connected to keyword selection and research.
To put yourself in a position to do this type of analysis, spend some time getting a clear understanding of the ranking factors that search engines most commonly use to rank websites the way they do. Once you have a grasp of this, you can literally search for ANYTHING and begin to analysis why the top 5 or top 10 or top 20 sites rank in the order that they do. Most people find themselves only doing this type of analysis in the industry that they want to rank well in, but an even better way to learn is to search numerous industries and analyze the best ranking websites in all of them.
When you do this type of analysis, you’ll begin to see the same “patterns” over and over; which will further drive home the point of the type of tactics you’ll need to put in place to rank well in your industry of choice.
3) Be willing to read AND implement
Although there are a variety of videos that can be read on the subject, as well as some audio books, this is an industry that has unexpected changes; sometimes from one day to the next. In order to keep up, and stay on top of what’s working and what isn’t you have to be willing to read and analyze what’s happening.
Along with reading, you need to make implementation a priority once you have a clear understanding of how to rank. One of the most common issues people run into when they’re trying to start out with SEO is endlessly reading, and learning, and watching, and asking, and doubting — and ultimately wasting time. Even if you were to research everything that’s ever been said about SEO, and you spent 20 years doing so, it would serve no benefit until that wealth of knowledge was applied and implemented to whichever website you choose to work on.
One thing that will help with this is to keep in mind that there are no “secrets” to be discovered when it comes to the best SEO strategies. Yes, the algorithms that search engines use to rank websites the way they do is “technically” a secret, but no matter how much research you do, you’ll never discover all of the ranking rules. So instead of endlessly looking for something that will never be discovered, get an idea of why search engines rank sites the way they do by looking at high ranking sites in different industries. That will provide more than enough information to put you in a position to compete and rank with just about any website in any industry.
But again, you have to take action; which is so much easier to say than it is to do. For those of you that need help to do so, here are 5 quotes that can help with that very thing.
We’re living in a digital age, and many people consider the internet as a NEED. So learning SEO can be one of the best career decisions you could ever make; even if you have no plans of doing SEO full time — or doing any SEO at all. Maybe you want to learn SEO so as to put yourself in a better position to hire a vendor or a consultant to drive the digital marketing strategy for your business.
Whatever you motivating factor is for making an investment of time for this form of internet marketing, there is a way to do so effectively in order to set yourself up for a marketing campaign that will ultimately succeed. The three ways of doing so described above just scratch the surface of what the possibilities are. But you have to start somewhere, and I hope that these reminders will help you get on the path of doing so effectively.
About the author:Murris Johnson is a digital marketing expert who has been in the industry full time since 2003. His passion for all things digital marketing is fueled by the life it’s allowed him to live while traveling with his family.