‘Adapt or Lose’ and Other SEO Advice from This Google+ HOA

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‘Adapt or Lose’ and Other SEO Advice from This Google+ HOA was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

“In our industry, if you can’t adapt, you lose.” Bruce Clay was the guest on an HOA yesterday that one commenter called “Absolutely the best HOA I have heard all year about #SEO.” That link will bring you to our recap and top takeaways from Bruce’s video chat with Ben Fisher and Stephan Hovnanian.

Replay the HOA on YouTube, and click through for a time-stamped play-by-play in the description provided by the Google Plus Business Spotlight show host.

Some highlights for me:

  • What will drive AI development? “We’re going to see speech interaction drive artificial intelligence, not the other way around.”
  • On the complexity of Internet marketing today: “One person could be your Internet marketing department 10 years ago. You did the Google thing. Bought some pay per click. Social wasn’t a big deal. Now social is an industry. SEO is more technical day-to-day. Pay per click — you can no longer have a human manage your bids. As a result, Internet marketing can’t be managed by one person any more.”
  • On the interdependence of digital marketing disciplines: “Internet marketing, which is all of the main disciplines — there’s six of them — all are becoming far more technical deeper. They’re going down, far more technically. And they’re broadening and becoming interdependent upon each other, all at the same time that all this technical information is becoming dependent upon core marketing knowledge.”

And one more nugget of wisdom plucked by Paula Allen:

Bruce Clay Quote on SEO Work

November 21st 2014 SEO

The Weekly Compete Pulse

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Weekly-Pulse-2014

Happy Saturday! In this edition of the Weekly Compete Pulse we’ve featured some of our favorite articles from the past week on digital marketing. Learn about SEO, ecommerce, paid search, and more below.

6 Predictions About The State of Digital Marketing In 2015

Digital marketing develops every year, and to be successful in the industry you need to keep an eye out for changing trends. This article features six key predictions about Digital Marketing in 2015. Check it out to stay ahead of the curve.

Do Social Signals Drive SEO?

Social media and SEO go hand-in-hand. Right? Does that mean that social media improves your rankings? There’s a lot of conflicting opinions. This article will help you understand.

Paid Search Trends 2015: Top PPC Predictions From 18 Experts

How should you go about paid search in 2015? To learn how PPC will change from what you’ve come to understand about it in 2014, take a look at this article. Learn from 18 experts in the field to make your paid search campaigns the best yet.

3 Ways You’re Losing Money From Your Mobile E-Commerce

Are your online shopping carts getting abandoned by consumers? You’re in good company. To learn why your ecommerce website may be struggling, take a look at this article.

The Importance of User Experience for Digital Marketing: 5 Key Tips

With user experience growing as a popular feature in digital marketing, you would be smart to understand how it could benefit your brand. To learn how user experience fits within the context of your marketing plan, take a look at this article.

November 16th 2014 Mobile, News, SEO, Social Media

Is SEO Worth It? 7 ‘Bruce-isms’ to Make the Case to Management

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Is SEO Worth It? 7 ‘Bruce-isms’ to Make the Case to Management was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Bruce Clay is the president of Bruce Clay, Inc., an industry leader and SEO lifetime achievement award recipient. In his nearly two-decade SEO career, he’s advised thousands of businesses on how to take their a web presence to the next level with SEO. With clients ranging from small business owners to Fortune 500 executives, Bruce has had a firsthand view of what it takes to double, triple and quadruple web traffic and conversions for business in every industry. Bruce is also a generally quotable guy. Ever heard this one?

“It is not the job of search engine optimization to make a pig fly. It is the job of SEO to genetically re-engineer the website so that it becomes an eagle.” Yep, that’s Bruce! (Tweet This!)

When Bruce is presenting on SEO at an industry conference or education event, I can tell you there’s a rush of gold nuggets on Twitter attributed to him. I recently picked his brain to get some tips for in-house SEOs looking gain buy-in for growing SEO resources. As expected, we’ve captured some keepers. If you’re an in-house SEO and any of this sounds familiar to you, feel free to pin and tweet some classic Bruce Clay quotables.

What the C-Suite Needs to Know About SEO

What are the chief factors that management should know about SEO? Bruce wants CMOs and CEOs across the board to consider the following as they move on an SEO initiative:

  1. SEO is an Investment
  2. Choose an SEO Firm Wisely
  3. An SEO Agency Can Be a Powerful Ally
  4. SEO is a Marathon, Not a Dash
  5. Cross-Train Marketing and IT Departments on SEO Initiatives
  6. SEO, PPC and SMM Should Join Forces
  7. Lack of SEO is a Bug

1. SEO is an Investment

IS SEO WORTH ITUnderstanding the value of SEO is the first step in deciding if SEO is worth it for your business.

SEO generates traffic and branding within the organic search results on Google, Bing and Yahoo! SEO takes effort, energy and focus. It’s a competitive space where a company must compete against a million or more results. SEO is time consuming and requires expert knowledge — there are no short cuts,” Bruce says. [Tweet this!]

2. What to Look for When Choosing an SEO Firm

Bruce recommends that SEO companies be selected based on impressive track records of successful projects. They should have longevity in the industry and support or sponsor industry events. They should have seasoned consultants on staff that are recognized leaders, whether its published authors or conference speakers. An SEO firm’s results and word-of-mouth reputation should speak for themselves. [Tweet this!]

1

“Furthermore, the best SEO companies have never had penalties. They’ve never purchased links or taken short cuts. When selecting an SEO company, research them and make sure they’re not violating any search engine terms of service. If you hire an SEO firm that engages in unethical practices, they can burn your site to the ground and cause irreparable damage to traffic from search,” Bruce warns. [Tweet this!]

3. An SEO Agency is a Powerful Ally for the In-house SEO

Bruce recommends that, ideally, businesses should have an in-house SEO as well as a consultant from an outside SEO firm. Moving the needle can be a difficult task, and the additional knowledge and support an SEO agency can provide an in-house SEO is invaluable. The additional power can fuel the the current SEO efforts, with the in-house SEO orchestrating the website changes that the consultant advises. Search engines are constantly evolving. What worked two years ago and was able to generate traffic is today’s penalty.

4

“It’s crucial to stay current with the latest SEO methodology – that’s very time-consuming, though. It requires several hours a day that a solo in-house SEO probably doesn’t have. An SEO agency or consultant can be a powerful ally, filling in the gaps by mentoring and guiding an in-house SEO,” Bruce advised. “Get the best of both worlds with an in-house SEO manager AND an SEO consultant.” [Tweet this!]

4. Set Expectations: SEO is a Marathon, Not a Dash

Set expectations from the start (and throughout) by making it known that search engine optimization takes time. Be prepared to prove ROI, and remember that success doesn’t happen overnight — SEO is an investment. The reward for that investment is usually major.

SEO is a competitive space. Bruce Clay (2)

“Our clients’ budgets vary between $3,000 and $40,000 per month. The return on those investments are generally massive, though not immediate. It can take five to seven months to see the full benefit of SEO, as there is a lot of work to be done and changes to be made,” Bruce explained. “SEO is a marathon, not a dash.” [Tweet this!]

5. Cross-Train Marketing and IT Departments on SEO Initiatives

In most companies, the IT team is separate from the marketing team. When it comes to SEO, however, both departments should be trained on SEO at the same time. Each needs to understand what’s at stake and know what will hold back SEO if it’s not done correctly.

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“As a result, both departments will understand why changes need to be made and understand how to implement them together,” Bruce says. “It’s the job of an SEO to evangelize to both departments and get them to understand that the SEO initiatives will help everyone.”  [Tweet this!]

6. Create a Unified Front: SEO, PPC and SMM Join Forces

SEO, paid search and social media marketing are all valuable sources of traffic. Bruce points out that of the three, SEO is often the most economical, but it’s also very technical to implement – and it takes longer to see results.

3

Paid search, on the other hand, usually operates with a massive budget and offers nearly instantaneous traffic. Social media marketing drives awareness and can result in increased search activity. Social media posts often function as miniature press releases that spur both traffic to your site and searches for your keywords.

“Together, all three synergistically create a united digital marketing front that reaches multiple audiences, builds your brand and drives traffic to your website. That being said … it is still the job of the website to make your visitors convert,” Bruce says. [Tweet this!]

 7. Lack of SEO is a Bug on Your Site

It’s important to understand that SEO is not just an option — it’s a necessity. Frame the conversation so that the C-Suite and the IT team think of a site without SEO as a site with a bug.

SEO is not simply ‘nice to have.’ Lack of SEO is a bug on your site,” Bruce asserts. “SEO deficiencies cost you traffic. If you can get management and IT to consider lack of SEO a bug, it will become an increased priority.” [Tweet this!]

SEO is not 'nice to have.' Lack of SEO (1)

 


Is SEO Worth It?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best investments a business can make. Eighty percent of web traffic is derived from organic placement; that’s a powerful fact to remember when making the case for a bigger SEO budget or additional resources. Organic traffic — and the conversions and sales that come with it — is up for grabs. If you’re considering implementing or strengthening an SEO initiative at your company, consider the above seven recommendations when choosing an SEO.

Is SEO worth it? You tell us. Tell us about the challenges you face when making the case, and what’s worked for you in getting executive and inter-department buy-in in the comments!

November 14th 2014 SEO

New eBook: optimize your website

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Cover Optimize website 200x266Just about 2 months ago we released our eBook optimize your WordPress site. It’s been sold over 5,000 times now, which makes us very proud. We have received a lot of positive feedback in that time encouraging us to do more eBooks. There was one question that kept popping up though: do you have a version for non WordPress sites? Now we do!

To be fair, the difference is probably less than 20%. A lot of the stuff in our Optimize your WordPress site book was already applicable to every website we’ve ever seen. Marieke has gone in and made sure that every WordPress reference that didn’t make sense for non WordPress users is now replaced by more generally applicable tips and guidance.

So, if you’re not a WordPress user, we urge you to go buy this book. If you are a WordPress user and you haven’t bought our book yet: you probably should buy our WordPress version right now.

For $19, it only takes a few valuable tips to have a positive ROI, and we’d be very surprised if you didn’t find those tips. Go buy the book!

PS We’re already working on another eBook as well, due early next year, which will focus on keyword research and strategy as well as good content writing. Stay tuned for more info!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

November 13th 2014 SEO

Q and A: Can you please answer 3 SEO Questions?

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QuestionHello Kalena

I’m a new Search Engine College student and I have 3 questions about SEO:

1) I’ve listed key phrases in a bulleted list.  One of the items listed is not a keyphrase, but does it matter to the search engines where the key phrases are, as far as their order in the list?

2)  I noticed something called “itemprop” in the meta description tag when I look at the source code of my website.  I know this is something to do with “All in One SEO” coding.  If itemprop is in the meta description, will that affect my SERPs?

3) Itemprop seems to be an issue with W3C, and the W3C Code Validator found more than 30 errors with my WordPress theme’s coding.  Could this also affect my SERPs?

4) I wrote more than 300 words for my site, and I’ve been changing words to try and improve the site’s performance over several months.  However, when I type in a key phrase I can’t locate it in Google.  Also, it seems the only way I can find it (on page 5) is when I type in the city with the key phrase.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Kind Regards

Ben

————————————–

Hi Ben

I don’t usually answer more than one question per post, but I’m feeling generous today ;-)

To answer your questions:

1) All other things being equal, keywords/phrases at the start of your tag are given slightly more relevancy weight than keywords/phrases towards the end of the tag.

2) I use the All in One SEO Pack plugin for WordPress as well and I’ve never noticed this *itemprop* you speak of. However, it appears to be attribute for embedded items in your code. It shouldn’t have any impact on things as the content of the meta description tag rarely has any influence on your page ranking in the SERPs.

3) Yes, HTML validation can have an impact on how search engines index your code, which can in turn have an impact on how well you rank. If you have used W3C to validate your code and it has found errors, I suggest you try to correct the errors as best you can.

4) SEO is a fluid exercise. You need to constantly tweak and refine your page code and content (and link profile) until your page starts to rank well. As long as you follow the advice in our Search Engine College lessons and on this blog, you should find an improvement over time.

Hope this helps.

——————————————————————–

Like to get geeky and teach yourself SEO? Access your Free SEO Lessons

 

November 13th 2014 SEO

How to choose the perfect focus keyword

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A screenshot of the focus keyword being entered in the WordPress SEO pluginAdding quality content to your website on a regular basis is a very good SEO tactic. Google sees that your website is active because new pieces of information are added. On top of that, you increase the volume of your content. If your keyword strategy has been crafted properly and your content is nicely optimized for the right keywords, adding content will increase your findability. But how to choose the perfect focus keyword? Especially when you’re blogging and focussing on long tail keywords, it can be quite hard to decide which keywords to optimize for. In our view, there are at least three things you should do before writing an amazing (high quality) text.

Choose a focus keyword that is used to search

Your keyword strategy should have given you some idea what you want to write about. For blog posts, you will usually aim for a long tail keyword (containing multiple words). In our WP SEO plugin you will find a drop down menu which supplements your entry with suggestions. These suggestions are actually based on Google Suggest. This is exactly the same as what you’d see when you type the search term into a Google search box.

The terms you will find in the suggest drop down menu are thus terms and combinations of words that are logical and used by actual people to search on the web. This tool can be very helpful in giving you some first ideas about the search behavior of people in the area you want to write about. Our Yoast Suggest tool uses the same data to find the first 10 keywords and then expands on that. Also, Marieke has recently written about more keyword research tools.

When we searched for the term “focus keyword” in february of last year, this was the suggest output:

The suggest results for Focus keyword in Google Suggest

Right now, the output shows this:

focus keyword search november 2014

Suggest changes based on the problems people have, so monitoring it for important keywords makes sense. This particular new result gave us some extra input for this post.

Discover some information about search volume

Once you have found a long tail search term you would like to start ranking for, you should put some effort into discovering whether or not the search volume of your chosen focus keyword is high. We will be the first to admit, Google has made this really hard. The only way to know ‘for sure’ how often a search term is used, is by having an active and alive AdWords account and by bidding on the search term of your choice. We understand this is a bit too difficult and expensive for most of you (we honestly hardly ever do this).

Not to worry, using Google Trends should give at least some idea, in a creative way, about search volume. Google Trends allows you to compare the search volume between two search terms over time. This will give some insights in the volume of the search terms people use (always relative to another term).

If you already have some (blog)posts that rank well for good terms, you will know how many visitors these posts attract. Using Google Trends to compare the focus keywords of older posts (of which at least the number of visitors to your website is known) with the focus keyword you have in mind for your new post, could give you some idea about the potential of traffic this new focus keyword could have. Make sure to choose older posts that are as much similar to the post you are planning to write: if you are planning to choose a long tail keyword, compare posts with long tail focus keywords as well.

For instance, this post about focus keywords could be compared to a post about snippet previews, a very related feature of the WordPress SEO plugin we wrote about earlier this year:

Comparing "focus keyword" and "snippet preview" in Google Trends

As you can see the traffic is comparable, we know the search traffic to our snippet preview post is reasonably good, so we know it’s worth optimizing for.

Using Google Trends to compare between your old focus keywords and the one you would like to choose will give you some insights about the prospects for your focus keyword.

Another way to use Google Trends is when you are doubting between a number of (long tail) focus keywords. Google Trends will easily show you what search term will have the highest search volume (compared to another). Google Trends will help you decide which long tail keyword is most common in the search engines.

Google your proposed focus keyword!

Apart from knowing which search terms are actually used by people, you need to know whether or not your idea for your post or page fits the desires and expectations of the people who use the search terms. The best way to find out whether or not your content fits these desires is to Google your proposed (sets of) keywords yourself.

Take the time to look at the first two result pages. Are the articles Google shows of the same character that your article will be like? Does your website fit between the results shown in these result pages? If you decide to write your blogpost or page, while optimizing for this exact focus keyword, you are aiming for a display of your page amongst these.

For instance, when we wrote this post and Googled our chosen focus keyword, we saw we’d be competing with ourselves:

a search for "focus keyword" in Google

We also saw lots of questions on the WordPress forums, giving us all the more reason to write this post.

Note that we looked at the old post and decided it wasn’t good and complete enough, so we decided we would delete it and replace it with this one.

Make sure to use the content of the result pages as an inspiration for your blogpost. Are there any useful ideas (we are NOT encouraging to copy content, merely to see whether you perhaps missed some information or arguments for your own blogpost)? But more importantly: how can you make sure your post will stand out? In what way could your post be better, funnier, more original than the post presently displayed in the result pages. Try to think of content that will make the audience click and share!

Conclusion: picking a focus keyword is not easy

Choosing a perfect focus keyword is not an exact science. You should aim for a combination of words that are actually used by a search audience. Aim for a focus keyword that is relatively high on volume and aim for one that will fit your audience.

In the past weeks, we have written quite a few posts about keyword research and content writing. We have decided to combine all this writing and add some more and deeper info and are currently working on a new ebook. In this ebook we will focus purely on content SEO. We will discuss keyword strategy, site structure and content writing and give in depth information about what you can do with your content in order to improve your ranking in search engines. If you want to make sure not to miss it, subscribe to our newsletter!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

November 12th 2014 SEO, wordpress

3 SEO Predictions I made in 2005 – Was I Right? What About Search in 2025?

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Future of SEO

I gave my first public presentation about online marketing just under 10 years ago for MIMA (Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association) called “Search Engine Smarts – Organic, PPC, SEO, Blog – What Does it All Mean?”.

It was at the J.J. Hill Library in Saint Paul early one morning and about 60 people showed up. To say I was nervous is an understatement.

Back then TopRank Online Marketing was focused mostly on search marketing. My, how things have changed.

Or have they?

In the presentation there’s basic advice about SEO such as:

Use keywords in content: Research keywords and ensure their presence in unique title tags, on-page headings, in text links between pages, as image alt text and within the body copy – but don’t overdo it.

Relevant, fresh content: If no one can find your site, it doesn’t matter how great the design and functionality are. Add relevant content regularly.

Link out – link in: Link to a few authoritative, information-rich sites. Never stop working to attract links from related web sites.

SEO 2005

But there are also a few predictions about what’s next for the non-technical or content side of SEO:

  1. Search engines will continue to improve relevancy and implement more robust “quality improvement” initiatives. Companies will need to be careful about the SEO tactics they use.
  2. Search Engine Optimization will continue to divide between content optimization and algorithm hacking.
  3. Effective link building will increasingly involve contextually relevant links from editorial sources such as articles, press releases and blogs.

While there’s a LOT more to optimizing for search than these three things or the SEO 101 advice offered above, I’d say our point of view about search optimization back in 2005 is still pretty relevant for SEO in 2015. Except maybe for the reference to links from press releases of course, but that didn’t really go away until 8 years later.

The trip down SEO memory lane is interesting, but what most marketers want to know is:

“What will search marketing be like 10 years from now?”

With my focus on content and integrated marketing over the past 7 years, I’m not the specialist in search marketing that I used to be. But I do believe search in 10 years will be a LOT different than it is today. Keep in mind here, I’m a bit of a Sci Fi fan :)

The seeds have already been planted in terms of the human to digital information interface going more voice than text. Whether the communication method is voice or neural, in 10 years the means of asking questions and receiving answers will be far more contextually relevant and personalized.

The future of search won’t just be about asking a Siri like entity for information or thinking about questions and receiving answers in a micro heads up display (more contact lens than Google Glass), but the application of predictive search answers. In other words, a big data sourced understanding of individuals and situations so specific, that technologies will deliver information with amazing accuracy and relevancy before we need it.

If that’s the case, will it still be called search?

The notion of an all out predictive information scenario is exciting and a little creepy at the same time.

The pressing question about the future of search optimization: What can marketers do to optimize the performance of their digital information as it is presented to buyers in a predictive environment?  How can we be the best answer when answers are delivered real-time as customized content to each individual unique to their history, experiences and preferences?

From an organic standpoint, I think it will become much, much more difficult, Paid inclusion, syndication and performance will continue to become a ubiquitous part of online marketing.

Customer insight is King. That said, I continue to believe an understanding of the relationship between the people that buy and their preferences for information discovery, consumption and interaction is the key for brands to be the best answer – whether that answer is delivered as a response to a question or predictively according to a set of circumstances.

Those marketers that develop sophisticated means of customer insight and organize that information in a way to inform a continuous cycle of content, interaction, measurement and refinement will be the best prepared to serve customers through whatever search looks like in the future.

“Be the Best Answer” is Timeless. Whether your brand content is recommended through an Internet of Things device or a neural implant connected to some kind of cloud based artificial intelligence, you can’t go wrong with a “be the best answer” approach to information marketing.

What are your predictions about the future of search marketing? What do you think marketers should focus on into 2015 or 2025?

Update – Nice to see this article from MediaPost 3 days later: IoT Calling On Search Engine Optimizers To Optimize Smart Devices

Photo: Shutterstock


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3 SEO Predictions I made in 2005 – Was I Right? What About Search in 2025? | http://www.toprankblog.com

November 11th 2014 Online Marketing, SEO

Fast Five in Search – Week 45, 2014

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fast-five

 

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time in Google Analytics and looking at the most popular pages on this blog.  Turns out that the Q and A posts are the most popular, so this week’s Fast Five is a collection of my most popular Q and A posts for 2014.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Q and A: Will Google penalize me for redirecting my old site to my new site with duplicate content? In this post, I help a webmaster who has moved domains and is concerned that his redirect may be penalized by Google as duplicate content.

2) Q and A: How many AdGroups should a single PPC campaign have? A Google AdWords advertiser is concerned about how many adgroups her campaign has and asks me for advice.

3) Q and A: Is rewriting content from another blog a legitimate SEO tactic? In this more recent Q and A, I help out a guy whose sister has hired a SEO company using dodgy site-scraping tactics for SEO purposes.

4) Q and A: How do I login to my YouTube channel The number of people who lose control of their YouTube channels is surprising. In this post, I assist someone who has forgotten their YouTube login and needs help getting it back.

and finally…

5) Q and A: Do Gmail accounts ever expire? In this post, I answer the age-old question of whether Google accounts every expire and whether they can be re-activated.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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November 9th 2014 SEO, YouTube

The Weekly Compete Pulse

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Weekly-Pulse-2014

Welcome to the weekend and this week’s edition of the Weekly Compete Pulse! Take a look at some of our favorite articles from the past week featuring SEO, social media, and digital marketing below.

Why Visitors Leave Websites (Infographic)

Getting people to your site is only step one in attaining conversions, and all too often sites lose potential customers along the way. There are multiple reasons why visitors might be leaving your site before making a purchase. Learn about the most common ones here.

SEO Audits – What Are They and Why Should You Use Them?

Your brand probably has an SEO strategy, but when was the last time you comprehensively went over your SEO to make sure it was working to its full potential? Learn how to implement an SEO audit here.

3 Trends in Digital Marketing Creative

When it comes to creative marketing, you need to engage your customers. Take a look at this piece to learn how other brands have successfully developed conversations with their customers though their appealing marketing.

How to Measure the ROI of Your Social Media Campaigns

How do you measure the ROI on your social media presence? Hint: it’s not in dollars and cents. To learn about the full worth of your social media campaigns, read more here.

Why Your Traffic Is Spiking But Conversions Won’t Budge

If you’re only monitoring traffic, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Ultimately, your focus should be on conversions, and those two metrics don’t always align. Take a look at this piece to learn potential reasons that you traffic may be strong while your conversions may be struggling.

November 9th 2014 News, SEO, Social Media

New Mac OS Allows Seamless Cross-Device Internet Experience; Just Another Reason to Shift to Entity SEO

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New Mac OS Allows Seamless Cross-Device Internet Experience; Just Another Reason to Shift to Entity SEO was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Semantic Search, Hummingbird and Mobile devices

It’s been just over a year since Google updated its algorithm with Hummingbird, making it better equipped to serve conversational search queries.

The day is coming when the majority of searches will be conducted with natural language; most queries will be long-tail; and optimizing for a set of short keyword phrases won’t be sufficient. Some have been saying this same thing for a long time now. But have we all been listening?

New technology released by Apple in October is bringing us another step closer to device agnostic user experience. For search marketers, this is yet another reason to optimize for concepts over keywords. Here I’ll describe that technology, and also share some recent stats on voice search to help us shift our thinking toward entity SEO, optimization geared for semantic search.

New Apple Features Allow Seamless Cross-Device Internet Use

With the release of new operating systems for Macs and its i-devices (iPads and iPhones), Apple has created a seamless experience for Internet use (texts, emails and phone calls) with a feature-set called Continuity. One feature, Handoff, allows you to start and stop a task on one device, be it iPad, iPhone, or Mac computer, and then restart on another Apple device.

mac handoff icon in doc

Start typing an email on your phone then realize it would be easier to add attachments from your laptop? Handoff lets your laptop pick up right where your phone left off, provided both devices are near each other and on the same network. In the email example I used, when you look at your laptop you’ll see an icon representing the email you were just writing on your phone; clicking on it brings up the email right where you left off.

Through Continuity, you can take phone calls on your laptop, or send and receive text messages from your laptop. Plus, all of the text messages on your iPhone appear on your laptop. So you can click on a phone number pretty much anywhere on your Mac and send an SMS or iMessage.

Climbing Voice Search Stats

While I haven’t found any statistics on how many people currently perform voice searches on desktop versus on a mobile phone, I did discover Google’s own study showing how many teens use voice search, compared to adults. Some highlights:

  • More than half of the teens surveyed use voice search daily.
  • 41% of the adults said they “talk to their phones every day.”

How Cross-Device User Behavior and Voice Search Affects SEO

Prediction 1: Device tracking becomes obsolete.

I expect we’ll be moving away from a distinction between mobile vs. desktop search as new technologies gray the line; new technologies like phablets and wearables occupy a confusing middle ground. Sure, analytics can track what types of devices are visiting pages, and we as an industry can parse apart how users are accessing our websites. But Apple’s Continuity moves user behavior towards the device agnostic, which will naturally affect how people search.

Prediction 2: SEO strategy will evolve for semantic search technology. Here’s three ways:

Entity SEO emerges. Optimize for complete coverage of concepts, sometimes called entities, over keywords. It’s already been well established that someone performing a voice search on their phone tends to use conversational language, and focuses less on keywords. Semantic search, natural-language queries, and the underlying need to understand the connection between online concepts is exactly the basis of Google’s big Hummingbird Update last year.

More than ever, understand your audience. In the midst of optimizing Meta tags, checking page load times, and monitoring backlinks, don’t forget good market research, developing well-informed user personas, and maybe run a survey.

Answer questions, don’t rank for queries. In “Google Hummingbird & The Keyword” published last November, Jim Yu explains that previously SEO sought to answer the question “How do I rank for this query?” SEO today must solve the problem, “How do I best answer the questions my users have?” He says that if you’ve been staying up to date with trends in SEO, Hummingbird only reinforced the work you’d been doing.

Of course, that’s a pretty big if. And I think that a lot of SEOs fall outside that if, as do a lot of site owners. The transition from keywords to concepts is happening, and this latest move from Apple is the next clarion call that mobile is taking over. More than ever, it’s time to optimize for concepts rather than keywords. A unified user experience between desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone is the latest advance with major potential to shift how people interact with their gadgets, and ultimately, how they search.

November 6th 2014 apple, SEO