SEOIreland

Social Signals Which Matter to Search Engines

by SEOIreland

Leading search engines have added social features in the last few years. Now there is talk about using social signals to help determine rank results. The question on everyone’s mind today is, are search engines already using these social signals to determine rankings? Well, it turns out they have been looking at social signals a bit. So, it would not be far off to say that Facebook and Twitter will be used to influence pages and how they rank in web searches.

For those of you who would like to know how data influences regular web searches, you have come to the right place.

Social Search Ranking

Both Bing and Google offer people a way to see results which are shared, written or recommended by friends. This is a different kind of search because it is more personal and it is directly influenced by the people whom the users know. They will be able to see exactly what books their friends are reading, which restaurants they are frequenting and what king of products they are using. It is like getting a personal recommendation from a friend.

Both search engines also offer people a way to see what their friends or networks are sharing real-time on various social networks, be it Twitter or Facebook.

Difference between Social Search and Web Search Ranking

Although they may have some similarities, social search ranking and web search ranking are two completely different things. What happened within these social tools are different from what happens when people do an ordinary web search.  An ordinary web search is when a search engine decide which pages are to be ranked and how they should be ranked from billions of other websites all over the world which are indexed.

Google, for example, uses more than 200 signals which help them determine how to rank pages. Some of the things which they look at are the HTML tag, PageRank and anchor text. There are many other factors and the three we have mentioned are only just examples.

There is one thing which remains unclear though and that is whether social signals are included in the signals. Search engines do not just trust any figure or any website. They have ways of determining if a particular figure can be trusted or not.

Humans vs. Web pages

There are some web pages which are considered more trustworthy than others and there are pages which have better reputation than others.  There are people on the Internet who already have web pages which represent their authority and a good example would be the various social media profiles today such as Twitter and Facebook.

How social media profiles rank

Some people may not see the necessity of creating social media profiles. As a matter of fact, they do not believe that these social media profiles will help but they do, to a certain extent. Take in consideration Twitter. Who you are as a person on Twitter can impact how well your web page does on search results.

 

Technical Mobile SEO and How to Do It

The mobile phone is becoming more and more indispensable as time goes by. Almost every person in the developed world own at least a single mobile phone or smart phone. People are now using their mobile phones to browse products and services online. Smart phones today allow them to do a lot of things such as pay bills, purchase products and get information. Smart phones now work just like computers.

It would be a travesty for any website owner or business owner to ignore millions of mobile users all over the world.  Your business will be losing a lot of money if it does not cater to these people. Mobile SEO is a must, but how do you go about the technical aspects? How do you do it right?

The Mobile User’s Experience

Google has announced that it will not start including the mobile user’s experience in ranking results for smartphone users. Searchers vary depending on whether they were done through a mobile phone or a computer.

If you are designing your mobile page from scratch, you will have a lot of questions on your mind and this is only natural. If you have already set up the mobile experience, you can just skip some things and jump right to what you need for your site or what applies to your site.  There are three important things which you must look out for and they are:

  • Responsive design. You may have already noticed that mobile phones have smaller screens than laptops or desktops. There are some sites which will not display properly on mobile phones if they have not been optimized for mobile use. Responsive design means your site must be able to detect if screen size and build the layout accordingly.
  • Dynamic serving. The page should be able to serve different content to different users. The server should be able to detect the device being used and return the right content.
  • Mobile URL. Back in the old days it would have been very difficult and even impossible to use responsive design for users of mobile phones. It is important that Google understands the relationship and the differences between your desktop page and mobile page so that your site will be visible for people searching on both platforms.

Redirect Mapping

The best thing which site owners can do for both mobile and web search engines is to ensure that both searches redirect automatically. If mobile users are searching for anything, they should be redirected to the mobile version immediately. If users are using their desktop to access the site they should be redirected to the desktop version of the site. This will make it more convenient for users and they will have a better experience.

If users are pleased with their experience, they are likely to come back, as well as share and promote your page to others. A very important thing to remember is that your mobile page should have a desktop equivalent. You should note that there are websites which do not show ads when in mobile version.

SEO Pagination and the Proper Tactics

Those who want to pursue SEO should learn what pagination is.  This is a topic which not everyone is familiar with but this is certainly something which people should learn about. Pagination can be a very big deal. It is just as important as faceted navigation but it can also be problematic, especially for someone who is not very familiar with the subject.

What are the best practices for SEO pagination?

The best practices for SEO pagination and they are the following:

  • Classic or non-index method
  • View all method
  • Rel prev/next method

Classic or non-index method

This technique indirectly transfers any equity from other pages to the primary page.  The other pages get crawled back to the canonical page and the equity is transferred as a second-order effect.

This method is not generally recommended for pagination nowadays for a variety of reasons but it is only beneficial for fringe cases. However, it is perfectly fine to use it and it will not do sites any damage, however, there are other better practices out there.

View all method

This is often considered as the most elegant and sometimes the best method of all. This approach has some prerequisites. It must load quickly and if the page is able to load progressively users will not have a bad experience. It is also important that all products and items are included on the component pages. This will help ensure that nothing is left out of the crawl.

The view all method has two benefits and they are:

  1. Users will love viewing all pages. Pages with products and items which are featured at once convert to much higher landing pages. However, it is important for page to load fast.
  2. All the other pages in the series transfer to View All their equities

Rel pre/next method

This is the newest technique in SEO pagination and for those who want a more detailed explanation of the method should go to Google’s support page for more information. It might be difficult for ecommerce sites to implement the view all method and this is where the next method comes in. This approach has many advantages and some of them are the following:

  1. All other pages share equity with the series. When a link is obtained by a 9-page series, equity is shared all across the series and across all pages.
  2. There is a self referencing rel canonical tag. Duplication is avoided.

Pagination recommendations

If you possess a fast loading View All page which contains products or items, the View All method is the best to use.  If you do not possess a quality View All or the company does not want to use this method, the rel nex/prev method is the next best option.

It is a must to remember that the classic method is not always the best for everyone so do not be afraid to look at other options before you make a decision.

SEO and Pasta Sauce

There are many commonalities between SEO and pasta sauce than most people know. Before there was Prego, Ragu was the king of tomato cause. It took Howard Moskowitz a long time to perfect the formula for the best pasta sauce. It was not until 1989 when Prego came out and slowly became the best pasta sauce in the market.

Before Prego was even launched, people were already looking for the perfect sauce much in the same way that people today are looking for the perfect hamburger, the perfect shampoo, etc.  However, it was Hollywood who pointed out that people should not settle for just one perfect something when they could have a variety of the perfect some things. It turns out also that Hollywood was right. Not everyone wanted chunky sauce and not everyone wanted plain sauce or spicy sauce. Prego focused on the right kind of sauces and tickled people’s fancy.

The bottom line is people are different from one another and they do not like the same things. One thing may already be good for someone but somebody might be looking for something else.

The Right Solution for SEO

Companies and individuals spend a lot of time, money and effort in figuring out the best and the right solution for everybody but this is not always correct.  In SEO, market research is done ahead of time. There is an array of keywords to look at and these keywords are bucketed into segments. These keywords help businesses know what people are looking for however, they are still not enough to solve all problems in SEO. Why? Because doing so is akin to making everyone eat the same type of pasta sauce even if they abhor said pasta sauce.

After keyword research is done, there is a need to determine the valuable phrases and this is where the problem lies. Keywords are used in pre existing conditions and in pre existing content. Although we mostly listen to the users or audience, we often fit people and their interests into these pre existing content. This will not help your business at all.

It is essential that everyone learn a lesson or two from Prego and how they beat the champion of sauces. If done right, SEO can work wonder but if not, it might as well be useless. Prego made a lot of money by looking at a segment which was often ignored. Do not fall into a rut and commit the same mistakes your competitors have been doing and that is trying to stuff everyone down the same funnel.

It is better to break things into segments and serve people more explicitly. By doing so you will have a brighter future in the industry, you will have more following and you will have more sales compared to other companies which do not do this.

Although this will require more effort and more time, everything you invest will have great results which will benefit you in the end. So, do not be afraid to delve a little deeper.

 

Quality Over Anything Else In SEO

The Panda update rolled out by Google has affected a lot of people and displaced a lot of websites from their former rankings. Some web owners have walked away scratching their heads and wondering where they went wrong. Perhaps one of the most important lessons which people should learn after the update is the fact that it is of utmost importance today to maintain sites with the highest quality possible. The following years should be more interesting to everyone as most sites are struggling and doing their best to invest in quality.

Shortcuts might cut you some time and effort but doing so will run the risk of losing your ranking. Hard work, on the other hand, will continue to pay off and yield results for the long term. Although there are some signals in the algorithm which can be gained, it is vital to always keep quality a priority.

It is not a secret that SEO will continue to have a very big effect on what we see online and how people create and run their websites.  SEO will also bring various types of disciplines together in order to please the users and give them exactly what they are looking for.

The Site and the Visitor

How a site looks and feels to a customer affects its rankings. If the site is difficult to navigate or is very confusing, you can bet your bottom dollar that the user will not return to it, nor will he or she recommend it to other users. The architecture of the site, its content, and even its design are all important to its SEO.

It is important to figure out what users want and what users need because that is where Google is headed.  More focus and emphasis must be given to users and not the algorithms. After all, it is the people who will purchase your products and services, not the robots.

Metrics Which Mean Higher Rankings

SEO experts have spoken and the verdict is out. There are metrics which translate to higher rankings and if you want to rank high on Google, you should pay attention to these metrics.

URL’s traffic yield

People need keywords in order to find what they are looking for on the internet. Most people who own websites obsess too much about keywords because it is the keywords which bring money but you should also pay attention to the quality of your website because it is quality which will attract people to your site and keep them there.

Ranking reports are losing their meaning. Today, what matters is not the ranking but the total traffic yield of the URL. Ranking reports may not be going away but more and more people are becoming educated and are looking more towards quality.

 

Beyond links

Some time ago, the more links point toward your website, the higher your rankings are going to be. Today, it is no longer just about links. Today it is no longer just the sheer number of links which are taken into consideration but also the domain authority, unique domains and total domain links.

Power of URLs

URLs must be preserved because the older the URL, the better it will score.  It is also important to remember that redirects will hamper SEO efforts and this includes any and all kinds of redirects.  Using 301 is still highly recommended.

Do It with the Right Content

by SEOIreland

One of the things which can make or break your SEO campaign is content. It has been said many times that content is king. What you write and how you write it makes a lot of difference. This is why on the periodic table of SEO success, the first thing you will see is content quality. If you have your content right, you will have won half the battle already. You will have a solid foundation which will support all your SEO efforts.

Quality of your content

Are you producing content with quality? Or are you just producing content so that your website will have something on it? If your website deals with selling services or products, you should do more than just sell to people. You should write more than just messages telling people how great your product is. They want value and they want to know what is in it for them.

Everyone is busy and we all have work to do so you must give your site visitors reason enough to stay on your page for more than just a few seconds. Give them real value. Do not focus on your company or how excellent your product is. Focus on the reader and just how easier their lives will be with your product’s help.

Content is not the place to get cheap. You need time and effort to do research and write a great piece. This is the cornerstone of your SEO endeavor so make sure that you do it right the first time.

Research

Before you start writing your piece, you must research first. To stand out from the rest, you must be the authority on what you are writing about. You cannot expect people to trust you when you do not even know what you are writing about. Aside from obvious reasons, research must also be done to ensure that you have the right keywords. You need to know what people type on search queries in order to help your page get on the first page of the search results when they look for products which are similar to yours.

Use of keywords

After doing your keyword research right, you need to figure out when, where and how to use the keywords in your content. Or if you have already written something prior to doing keyword research, you need to edit your material. The bottom line is, if you want your pages to be found for particular words, it is best that you use the exact words on your material.

However, you should not get carried away and stuff your articles or blog posts with keywords. Experts agree that a keyword density of 2.45% works best. Keep in mind though that this alone will not guarantee success. What you want to do is have the proper number of keywords for your site to be found during searched while avoiding getting penalized for having so many keywords. Use your common sense and think about the words people most often use when searching for similar products.

Links from Expired Domains and their Effects on Google

Everyone is concerned with Google rankings. In a world where there is so much competition and there is a wide variety of companies vying for the attention of customers, ranking high in Google search is very important. There are many factors which determine the rankings of a site in Google and one of them is the domain name.

Some time ago there were concerns and there was a public outcry regarding Google’s statement that those who buy established domain names will be losing all the links to the domain. It is like purchasing a domain in 2013 only to find out that all links to the domain prior to the date it was bought will be effectively lost.  Only the links made after the purchase will have merit or credit.

What is the reason for this? A lot of companies and entities were purchasing old domains simply because of the fact that they had several links and they could use these links to boost their site’s rankings on Google.  The main reason for the rollout was because Google wanted to level the playing field. It would be quite unfair for a lot of other companies which are not buying old domain names.

No Credit for Those Who Buy Expired Domains

If you have plans of purchasing an old domain name simply for the reason of getting credit, you can say goodbye to your plans now. I do not mean to dash your hopes and dreams but doing so will not get you anywhere.

No Credit for Domains & Redirecting Links

Have you seen a nice domain with some links? Are you thinking of purchasing that domain to get the credits? This tactic is also not going to work.  Google will also look at the date when the domain was purchased and take note of the redirection. Google, I am sorry to say, are quote watchful when domains change names. Historic links made before the domain change names will not be counted when the domain change names. If you think you are clever, think again because Google is definitely cleverer.

Likely Credit for Buying Domains & Not Disrupting the Site

If you are thinking of buying an active site and then continuing the site’s business as usual, you will be very happy to know that you are likely to get credit.  Although the domain registration might have changed, there is a very good chance that credit will also continue.

Likely Credit for Acquisition

If one company is purchased by another there should be no problem at all. There is no clear cut explanation for this and how Google differentiates a transfer from an acquisition but one thing is for sure, credits will continue.

Lastly, there are some people who are asking if the length of the domain registration matters. There are rumors going around that Google tends to trust registered domain names which are longer. As a matter of fact, some companies have even claimed this. Although Google did not release any official statement about this, it seems to be true.

Link Building and How to Do it Right

Linking is one of the things which you must do if you want to get more traffic to your site because the more sites you have pointing back to yours, the more credible you will be and the higher rankings you will get. So, if you want to be highly visible on search engines, you must study link building and do it right. In an effort to get companies started on the right foot, we have here a link building blueprint which you can follow.

Success in link building cannot be achieved overnight. You have to put in a lot of time and effort to get things done and get them done correctly.

Google and Link Building

As you might already have noticed by now, Google releases updates every now and then to ensure that searchers get nothing but the best possible search results.  Recently there has been a lot of talk regarding the search quality on Google. It seems that people are not very pleased with what is happening lately and they are voicing out their concerns to Google.

There have been complaints and people are letting it be known that they want a change for the better. Now Google is not the only search engine today. There also other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing which are competing for the top spot. If Google wants to remain on top, it as to listen to its users and make changes where they see fit because it will definitely not remain on top if it chooses to ignore its users.

These are just some of the reasons why Google has recently launched an algorithm change that will rank scraper sites lower because naturally no one wants them and no one will benefit from their content. Google, as well as the users, do not want sites with low quality or unoriginal content.

If your site is built upon duplicate or respun content, you had better think again. This will no longer fare well with the new algorithm.

What You Should Do

Associations

it is true that most scraper sites or sites with low quality content have a low number of links behind them. Although they can get links, these links are not from credible or trusted sources. What you can do to build your business is to always make sure that you link to credible sources such as the following:

  • Better Business Bureau
  • Professional associations
  • Advocacy groups
  • Support groups
  • Trade associations
  • Civic associations

Directories

People often get the misconception that when we say submission to directories we mean submission to a long list of directories. There are only few which really matter. What you can do to make things easier is to take a look at Yahoo and DMOZ. They have categories under most of their major topics. Both are also excellent resources of associations which you can link to when building your business. You also have the opportunity to join clubs which are related to your business and link up to them.

Everything You Need to Know about Redirects

If there are changes made to any website, one of the most important things the site owner can do is to alert the search engines so that they can use redirects to guide the search engines to the right location. If you do not guide the search engines to the correct route, it will have a very negative impact on your site and your rankings, as well.

You could be moving your pages, switching platforms or whatever it is you are doing to avoid having duplicate content; you need the help of redirects so that you do not end up throwing away your link juice.  There are many ways of redirecting and you need to do things right so as not to waste all your SEO efforts but you do not want to run the risk of falling outside the guidelines.

Redirects

Programmers who are not well-versed with SEO are likely to use a temporary redirect which is also known as a 302 redirect.  However, the bad thing about this redirect is it does not transfer the link juice you acquire from the redirect URL to the destination URL.  It is not that these programmers are not intelligent enough; it is just that they do not know much about certain topics, including this one.  If you are a SEO consultant or if you have hired one, he or she should know well enough to tell the programmer to use the 301 redirect.

If there are going to be changes to any of your links, the 301 redirect must be employed right away. Some of the instances when you need a 301 redirect are when you change domain names or migrate a new content management system.  If you are retiring certain pages, you also need a 301 redirect.

Conditional redirect

Another type of redirect which needs to be monitored regularly is what is called the “conditional redirect”. This type of redirect comes with a warning because it has the potential to get you in big trouble with Google.  As a matter of fact, Matt Cutts, the head of the webspam team of Google has advised against using the conditional redirect because of a risk of getting banned or penalized. Although you might have the purest of intentions, you can still get penalized.

Employing the conditional redirect means that the spiders requesting the tracking URL has the potential of getting redirected instead only to the canonical URL. Conditional redirects have their own purpose too and sometimes they are able to solve difficult problems. As a matter of fact, there are lots of small retailers which use it for their needs.

These retailers have the option to redirect all their visitors, both the human and the non-human kind, however, it is the affiliate’s decision to or power to not pass Page Rank. The good thing is if the redirects were conditional, the clicks could still be differentiated.

Indeed there are lots of reasons to be learned regarding redirects and how they can be best implemented so learn as much as you possibly can.