Phantom Quality Panda and Google Search Console

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stop being bambooAt Yoast, we’re all really busy in the preparation for YoastCon next Wednesday, as you will understand. When us SEO people are really busy focussing on other stuff, Google tends to ‘surprise’ the online community with breaking news, algorithm updates or other developments that really need our attention as well. How is that, you might say. Well, remember the Panda updates that immediately affected 5% of the internet? That for instance also meant an increase in site review business for us. We want to be prepared :)

Quality Update, Phantom 2 or Reverse Panda?

Google did another one of these algorithm updates on the 3rd of May this year, just a couple of weeks ago. Hubspot mentions mainly the less contributing How-to sites that lost rankings, like HubPages and eHow. By less contributing we mean in terms of contribution of new, quality content to Google. Google claims it wasn’t Panda. Nevertheless, it seems that mainly sites that already dealt with a Panda penalty dropped in rankings.

There are many names that are given to this update, as none was given by Google. Did anyone already mention that Google is less talkative about these updates since Matt left? That on a side note. The name for this update we like least is ‘Quality Update‘ or ‘Quality Algo’. That’s not a distinctive name whatsoever. For years, Google’s wish has been for webmasters to focus on quality. Panda is about quality, and so is Penguin. Google’s entire penalty system could be called Quality Algo. Glenn Gabe called it the ‘Phantom 2‘ update, it being the second large, unnamed algorithm change. I like that one a lot better, but have to say that, as it is clearly Panda related, Reverse Panda is my personal favorite.

reverse pandaThe update is told to positively influence rankings of websites that provide quality content, instead of Panda punishing sites that lack quality content. That would indeed make it a reverse Panda. Call a spade a spade, right?
The algorithm update isn’t targeting low quality sites, but a side effect of an update like that is of course a decline in rankings for these Panda candidates. Just stop being bamboo, as we often say in the office. It’s all about quality content. Google’s search result pages are stuffed with websites and if your website simply isn’t contributing on a larger scale (e.g. in the search results), you’d better up your game fast.

Google Search Console!?

google search consoleYou’ll probably not find notifications on this reverse Panda update in the Manual Spam Action section in Google Webmaster Tools, by the way. For two obvious reasons:

  1. It’s not a manual update, but could be the start of even more real time algorithm updates
  2. It’s not Google Webmaster Tools anymore.

What was that all about, right? Since not all users of Webmaster Tools are webmasters, they renamed it into Google Search Console. To target ‘more users’. Seriously. But hey, it brings in some extra traffic, right. That is why we decided to rename our WordPress SEO Premium plugin into Page Analysis And General SEO That Includes Redirect Options For Crawl Errors In Google Search Console Plugin. That just makes clear that it’s not just for people that want green bullets. Now excuse me, I’ll have to go and rewrite all pages on this website about that plugin.

This post first appeared as Phantom Quality Panda and Google Search Console on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

May 22nd 2015 SEO

Bing Wants To Better Surface Mobile Apps

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Bing is trying to make it easier for mobile application developers to get their apps found in search results. It’s expanding its “Actions Intelligence” to Bing and other Bing-powered search products, such as Cortana, and creating a “massive” index of apps and app actions.

To make it easier for developers to participate, it’s utilizing standardized markup, which developers can use on their websites to establish the link between content and apps and between content entities and the actions that apps perform on them. Bing is utilizing App Links, which Facebook launched last year as an open source project, and Schema.org.

They have an new tool in the Bing Webmaster Tools pubic tools area. It’s called the Applinks Markup tester, and shows you how Bing extracts the App Links data from your page and performs a validation process.

“Establishing a link between apps and your content is not where it stops,” says Vincent Wehren, Product Lead Webmaster and Publisher Experiences at Bing. “More likely than not, searchers are trying to perform an action, complete a task using your app. So how can we establish the relationship between the content (entity), the task (action), and the provider (app) that can complete the task? The Bing intelligence platform is already pretty good at inferring some of this information based on its understanding of your site, but as always, being explicit about these things from the publisher side gives you an edge. Your tool of choice in this case: schema.org.”

“Expressing the relationship between entity, action, and your app using schema.org is a bit more involved than App Links markup, but it is extremely powerful in that it allows your web page as well as app to rank a whole new range of entity action-oriented queries,” he says. “Naturally, your app developer needs to do also do some work to open the app with in the right location, and this work is usually specific to the platform or device. I dedicated a section of my App Discovery talk at Build 2015 to this very topic. The talk was geared towards enabling app deep linking and app actions on Windows 10 and Cortana. However, the applinks.org website has detailed instructions on the navigation protocol on iOS and Androidas well and Bing is creating an app index that covers all of these platforms.”

Read this blog post for much more on implementing all of this.

Bing has already started analyzing the web for App Links and actions markup, and is telling people to get started right away. It’s also readying mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, not unlike Google, which recently announced app indexing as a ranking signal on Android devices.

Image via Bing

May 22nd 2015 bing, SEO

#SMX Sneak Peak: Conversion Rate Rock Stars

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#SMX Sneak Peak: Conversion Rate Rock Stars was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Inbound marketer Purna Virji has been honing her CRO game for more than eight years. In that time she has become one of the industry’s most prominent experts focused on conversion through her column at Search Engine Watch and her speaking engagements at SMX, Affiliate Summit, and the ecommerce conference eTail. When she speaks at the conversion-focused SMX Advanced session “Conversion Rate Rockstars,” her tips will revolve around ways to drive your efforts with data. In advance of SMX Advanced, we asked Virji to share some next-level conversion optimization advice to help digital marketers expand their field of knowledge. In this interview, Virji looks at:

  • What useful qualitative data (data you can’t put a number on) can be used to inform conversion optimization
  • Myths of conversion optimization that could be holding you back
  • How to use PR and traditional marketing in conversion optimization efforts
  • Conversion and usability obstacles unique to the mobile experience

Purna VirjiConversion rate optimization is a chief concern for any digital marketer. Conversions (sales, leads, sign-ups, etc.) are, after all, how you prove the value of what you’re doing as an optimizer or paid search manager. The more conversions you can claim for your efforts, the more your own department budget can grow. Here Virji shares how to go about improving the rate of website conversion by looking at how visitors interact with your site now.

“Gather qualitative data before you start brainstorming or creating hypotheses for tests,” said Virji. Remember, qualitative data is any data that’s not a number. Qualitative data includes attributes, qualities and characteristics used to describe your visitor’s behavior when they’re on your site. When it comes to qualitative data, Virji says web marketers can gain insights from:

  • Purchase motivations: Sometimes these can surprise you. What you feel is the main USP might not be what’s actually resonating.
  • Landing page and ad experience: What information could be a turn-off? What are people surprised to learn? What do they connect with the most?
  • Why they don’t buy: Are they going to a competitor? Was there something you could have done to persuade them to purchase?

“Testing is expensive since not only do you have the actual testing cost, but there is also opportunity cost to consider. A lot of tests are based solely on analytics data and looking at performance of KPIs and other numeric metrics. Certainly that can be very effective. However, without the qualitative understanding of your customers and how they interact with your site, you could be missing out on achieving your maximum profit potential. These qualitative insights can help you not only strengthen your purchase triggers but also overcome any objections or hindrances to converting.” said Virji.

Want to take your CRO to the next level? Read on for more tips and strategies for increasing conversion rate (CVR) in this exclusive interview with Purna Virji.

Kristi Kellogg: Can you share some cringe-worthy examples of mistakes that website owners have made on the path to conversion success (that we can then avoid!)?

PV: Sure! It’s always good (and less expensive!) to learn from other peoples’ mistakes. A couple of head-smacking mistakes that come to mind are:

  • Not testing till significance: When there is insufficient data, the standard deviation is greater and tests can see a higher level of variance at the start. Additionally, factors like day of the week can also come into play, so making decisions based on insufficient data is a huge no-no. Panicking early and stopping the test means you lose out on any learnings, or on the other hand, happily crowing a winner without reaching statistical significance can be a costly mistake. Ideally, it’s best to achieve a 95 percent confidence level of statistical significance and if your test can reach that in under a week, it’s still best to run it for two full weeks to get proper understanding of variance by day of week.
  • Assuming a winner in one channel will work across all channels: Rolling out a winning test from one channel, e.g. PPC, across all channels without testing them first can be a big mistake. Traffic behaviors vary by source and someone actively searching on Google may be at a different stage of the funnel than someone clicking from a display ad. Test out winners in different channels to ensure they’re winners there too before rolling them out.
  • Listening to HiPPOs (highest paid people in the office): The boss hates this color and wants it changed. Or they’re sure that because the competition has a long landing page, you need one, too. While it’s great that they’re so involved with testing and have recommendations, going down this path can lead to wasted time and money. The main people you need to be listening to are your customers. Use qualitative data to better form your tests and you have a much higher probability of success.

KK: What are some myths circulating around conversion rate optimization?

PV: There are several of these that float around. The top three that come to mind include:

  • Use a big orange button: Good old BOB has been clutched at by many a company, but it’s not always the best solution. While call-to-action buttons in contrasting colors can mean they stand out more, it may not be the right lever to pull. It’s better to look at it all in context with overall user experience on the page.
  • Long copy: The variations with long copy are either: we need super long copy or we would never use long copy since readers don’t scroll. Ultimately, you would need to test that to find out if it could work for you, but the length of copy isn’t the sole determination of success. Your value prop and how you present it matters the most.
  • Test everything: Yes, but within reason. There always has to be a well-outlined hypothesis behind everything you test. Simply testing continuously for the sake of testing can waste money.

KK: How can public relations assist with website conversions and what are some tips for CRO-PR synergy that brands might not be aware of?

PV: Press coverage can be quite helpful when it comes to conversion rate optimization. Since adding more trust and authority factors to the page can help improve CVR, good press coverage can provide the clout of a reputable third-party endorsement. For example, adding “As seen in the New York Times” can help increase the trust level for the company.

Additionally, being featured in the press also increases the top of mind awareness for the company, wherein visitors to the site who’ve read or seen the coverage could be more likely to think they have heard of the company before or it’s more of a known entity to them. This familiarity could have favorable effects on the CVR.

KK: Looking forward to hearing more of what you’ll share during Conversion Rate Rockstars on June 3 at the sold-out SMX Advanced. Speaking of SMX, what keeps you coming back to SMX? What do you get as a speaker? As an attendee?

PV: I absolutely love the SMX conferences; they’re so well run, topic selection is always on point and they bring in phenomenal speakers. As an attendee since 2010 and speaker since 2012, I love how the team has managed to make each event better than the last. It’s well-balanced between agencies and in-house, so the audience can get the best tips from both. I enjoy the panel format; you get to hear a few different takes on the same subject to give you a broader perspective.

Plus the networking opportunities are fantastic. I love how they’re always trying to encourage new talent and also women in tech with the Janes of Digital event they put on in conjunction with Bing. I’ve met some of my closest friends in the industry because of SMX events.

KK: 2015 has been a big year for website owners to adapt or die with mobile. What are some of the biggest challenges brands are facing when it comes to getting website visitors to take action?

PV: I think the obstacles many brands are facing at the moment really fall into two main categories. The first is properly understanding user intent and then serving up distraction-free, prioritized content that really addresses the visitors’ goals as quickly as possible.

I’ve seen businesses look at their desktop pages and try and identify ways to make them work for mobile, such as simply making the page responsive or trying to keep in the same amount of information – often to limited success. Instead, since mobile goals and desktop goals can frequently differ, it’s better to start with user intent first and devise a hyper-focused mobile experience that can best address it.

Mobile users tend to be in browsing mode and distractions are literally a fingertip away. To grab and hold attention, site owners need to distill down the main message their user is seeking and carefully guide them down the conversion path. Content needs to be concise and focused, with a clear hierarchy and calls to action, to quickly grab attention and interest. Special offers for mobile consumers can help provide the push from browsing mode to transaction mode and help complete the conversion.

The secondly is usability. We still see cases of long forms, complicated payment processes, slow loading sites or complicated navigation options. Poor usability means poor conversions.

Site owners would benefit from really thinking through the entire mobile funnel and identifying ways at each step to make the process as easy as possible for the users. Even putting together a small internal focus group of employees of different ages and mobile habits and seeing what issues they run into or ideas they have can result in some winning ideas.

Typing is a pain on mobile devices so identify ways to minimize any typing users have to do- be that may in the form of a social log-in option, shorter forms (my pet peeve is mobile forms that ask for city, state and zip, when just zip is enough to auto-populate city and state!) or faster payments using Amazon payments or PayPal. Better yet, improve your user-experience by tying in mobile’s unique functionalities — horizontally swiping through different categories and images, double-tapping to save or add to cart. Smashing Magazine had a very interesting article on Embracing the Gesture-Driven Interface that has great inspiration for elevating the mobile user interface.

KK: Conversion optimization as a specialty connects so many dots when it comes to online marketing ranging from SEO to PPC to PR to web analytics. Can you share with us your favorite tools and/or platforms that make your conversion-focused life more efficient and easier?

PV: My favorite tools when it comes to conversion rate optimization have one thing in common- they all help understand target audiences better, which is the key to successful tests:

  • Magitest (great for mobile UX testing)
  • 4Q from iPerceptions
  • Crazy Egg
  • Survey Monkey
  • UserTesting.com

KK: I’ve heard you speak six languages (wow!). Which languages are they? Does your polyglottal talent come into play as a digital marketer?

PV: Growing up in India, where there are 22 official languages and several hundred additional languages and dialects, it’s very common to speak multiple languages. I picked up the languages organically growing up and since then have tried to continue learning new languages. While English is my first language, I also speak Hindi, Gujurati, Kutchi (a dialect), Marathi and Urdu. I also have a paltry smattering of French.

Personally I find being multi-lingual does help me in marketing as I’m more connected to the nuances of language. Strangely I’ve also found that learning grammar rules in other languages does help reinforce one’s first language. Plus, speaking another language opens up a new world of culture — from film to literature and food. There are more opportunities to draw inspiration for connecting with different people, when you can see the common threads that engage audiences across different cultures.

KK: You must have a list of your favorite people or brands to follow that help keep one eye on the trending news of search and social. What are your top five favorite Twitter accounts to follow for digital marketing information?

PV: Ooh, that’s a tough one. Our industry has so many phenomenal people. Narrowing it down, my top five faves would be:

  • @BruceClayInc: I love that you find the best tips and news to share. They’re an excellent example of effective curating and really great search tips.
  • @moz: In-depth, helpful, well-explained articles.
  • @seland: If there is any news, we’ll hear it from them first, with a very informed and balanced perspective.
  • @bgtheory: For PPC advice, I always turn to Brad Geddes, who I absolutely hero-worship.
  • @HennekeD: For content tips. She’s a fabulous writer and I’ve learned a lot from her.

KK: If you could shadow someone for a day who would it be and why?

PV: I’d love to shadow Rand Fishkin for the day. He’s built (along with all the amazing Mozzers) this well-loved company with an amazing community of devoted fans really by truly understanding his audience well. Plus, I’d get to hang out with his wife Geraldine, whose blog The Everywhereist I am addicted to and who has the best cookie recipe ever. SEO, business advice, consumer insights and chocolate chip cookies, what more could a girl ask for?

LL: I love The Everywhereist, too! And indeed, what more could you ask for than SEO and cookies?! On a closing note, would you please leave us with a mantra that you live by when it comes to conversion rate success?

PV: Know thy customer. Understand who they are, what their goals are, what annoys them, how you can help them, and use this information to build a stronger foundation for testing hypotheses.

Thanks so much to Purna for sharing her time and tips with us! We can’t wait to see you in Seattle. SMX Advanced is sold out but free networking passes and 10 percent discounted workshops with code SMXA15BRUCECLAY are still available!

May 20th 2015 SEO

Q and A: How should I manage the client expectations of my SEO efforts?

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QuestionHello Kalena

I saw your recent post about how SEO freelancers can generate new business for themselves and I wondered if you could answer a related question please.

I am currently the in-house SEO for a real estate chain, but I am quite keen to start my own consulting business part time. The major reason I haven’t done so already is that I wouldn’t know what to tell clients to expect when it comes to the projected results of my optimization efforts. I mean I know how long it took me to optimize these sites for my boss and it was many weeks before they even started to show up in the first few pages of Google.

But isn’t every site different? Doesn’t it depend entirely on what Google thinks of each site and the indexed content? How can I get potential SEO clients interested in my services if I don’t know what type of results they can expect and when? How do you handle this type of situation and what advice can you give me?

Thanks so much Kalena

Kelly

————————————–

Hi Kelly

Thanks for reaching out – and your question is a good one. Search engine optimization is a unique service in that you rarely see the results of your efforts right away. It can take days, weeks or even months for Google and the other search engines to index and re-rank your newly optimized pages. It’s vital that you explain this to your clients up front. Most of your clients will be expecting results quickly and it’s your job to extinguish that myth. The key to managing client expectations is to be as transparent as possible about your process and educate them in the process.

It always astounds me when I hear about SEO companies who don’t actually explain to clients what they do. Some SEOs don’t even inform the clients what changes they are going to make to their web sites! Sometimes I’ll take on a new client who has worked with another SEO in the past and when I ask them “what changes did the SEO make to your site? What SEO tasks did they perform?” they will have NO CLUE. Or they’ve been told that the process is “secret” or “proprietory”. What a load of bollocks. How can a client possibly understand the value of what you do if you don’t explain to them what you actually do?

You want to know why some SEOs refuse to reveal their process to clients? Because they don’t actually know how to optimize a web site. It’s true. Many of the large so called *SEO* firms you see advertising and cold calling these days claim to be selling SEO services, but they DON’T PERFORM ANY SEO WHATSOEVER. What they are actually selling is Google AdWords. They make grand claims to help customers get their sites ranking high in Google using *proprietory SEO methods*, when what they’re actually doing is buying up masses of cheap keywords on AdWords via bulk accounts and displaying ads pointing to their customer sites. Yes, the ads might appear above the organic search results from time to time and deliver traffic, but the click costs usually increase month on month. As soon as that customer stops paying, the traffic stops coming. And what are the clients left with? The same unoptimized site they started with, no more traffic and the opinion that SEO simply doesn’t work.

No wonder SEO has such a bad name!

Some SEOs I’ve talked to are afraid that the client will take that knowledge and use it to perform their own SEO or to train staff in-house to take over the SEO process, putting them out of a job. You know what I say to that? Fantastic. The best SEOs work themselves out of a role, in my opinion.

If you can educate your client to the point where they understand the importance of SEO and the value to their business, you have done the very best job possible and I guarantee you they will be singing your praises for life. Because you will have turned them from a customer into a fan, you will probably get more business from an ex-client you’ve educated than you would have from that same client if you had kept them as a long term customer. How? Via referrals and word of mouth. A passionate testimonial from a happy customer can win many, many clients. You can use that testimonial on your web site, business cards and marketing material. You can use that client as a verbal referee if future clients want to talk to a previous customer.

So don’t be afraid to educate your clients during every single step of the SEO process. Make sure they track their own progress via Google Analytics. Show them what you’re doing and manage their expectations by explaining to them that you don’t know exactly when their site rankings and traffic will start to climb and you may have to tweak things along the way.

Simply be honest with them and they will ultimately respect you more and thank you for it.

——————————————————————–

Like to learn how to earn a full time income as a part time SEO consultant? Check out my Udemy course on the subject.

 

May 19th 2015 SEO

Proceed With Caution: Web Design Can Directly Affect SEO

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by Jayson DeMers

SEO is a
process that requires ongoing education and learning. And while much of the
focus is on building quality inbound links, identifying and optimizing for the
right keywords and semantic search terms, and investing in quality content, you
can’t ignore the obvious impact of web design on your site’s search rankings.

The Dilemma: Unique vs. Searchable

When
designing or redesigning a website, most companies come face to face with a
pretty significant dilemma.  On the one
hand, you want your site to be unique and engaging. On the other, it needs to
be easily searchable by the major search engines in order to attract the right
traffic. This is the heart of the SEO-web design relationship and something
that you need to understand in order to help your website succeed in 2015 and
beyond.

How Popular Web Design Styles Affect SEO

In order
to speak to the masses, let’s start by analyzing a few of the most popular web
design trends and how they impact SEO.

·        
Parallax design. One of the more popular web design styles this year
is parallax design. This trend is defined by building an entire website on a
single page. It usually has a very large background image with clean, crisp
menus that drop down or appear when the user scrolls his or her mouse over a
designated area. While it’s visually appealing, Google and other search engines
find it difficult to hone in on specific meaning or themes. Furthermore, your
site naturally has fewer pages that can rank – diminishing your potential
reach. If you’re only trying to rank for a single search term, parallax design
may be okay. However, if you have a lot of content and various products and
services, you should probably pursue different web design.

·        
Infinite scrolling sites. As you may assume, parallax design typically
means longer load times. If you like the idea of parallax but don’t want to
take a negative hit for longer page load times, you may consider incorporating
infinite scrolling. This is the type of design sites like Twitter and Facebook
have and allows content to load as the user scrolls. Google seems to like
scrolling sites and typically prefers them to standard parallax pages. You can see
some good examples of infinite scroll by
checking out these award-winning websites.

·        
Graphic-heavy. Because of the success of infographics and
visual marketing content, many brands are attempting to develop graphic-heavy
websites that essentially look like large infographics. While they may be
visually appealing, you have to remember that Google and other search engines
can’t read images (outside of alt-tags and accompanying text). 

·        
Responsive design. That leads us to responsive design – the ideal
web design trend for SEO purposes. As you likely know, responsive design allows
a web page to be viewed on any device,
regardless of screen size. In terms of SEO, responsive design is
valuable because it doesn’t require you to create a separate website for each
device and helps maintain a consistent user experience (which lowers bounce
rates and increases average time on site).

4 Things to Keep in Mind

In
addition to understanding how current web design trends affect SEO, you’ll want
to keep some of the following tips in mind:

·        
Use the right website builder. Despite what many will try to tell you, not all
website builders are created equal. Some may offer thousands of unique design
templates and responsive options, while others might only have a few dozen
templates and no responsive design capabilities. Do your research and carefully
compare all of your options before honing in on a website builder.

·        
Size matters. The size of your website has a major affect on search engine
rankings, primarily because it affects the average page load time. When
designing web pages, it’s better to eliminate unnecessary elements and focus on
content that truly matters. If it doesn’t serve the purpose of pushing users
through the conversion funnel, it probably isn’t necessary.

·        
Reduce bounce rates. Remember this: It’s not the actual aesthetics
that the search engines are looking at – it’s how users respond to those
aesthetics. In other words, Google isn’t going to penalize you for a gaudy bright
neon color scheme, but they may penalize you if your bright neon color scheme
causes users to immediately click the back button after accessing the homepage.

·        
Lean is better. The mantra of less is more certainly holds true
for web design. While designers may try to sell you on the idea of investing in
the latest trend or layout, you’re better off going with a proven result. In
the end, it all comes down to user experience, and today’s online user is
interested in a clutter-free, simplistic design that eliminates distractions
and allows them to hone in on a clear call-to-action.

Be Smart With Your Web Design

As the
internet landscape becomes increasingly crowded, it’s becoming more and more
apparent that search engine visibility is a scarce commodity. If you want to
maximize your potential for accruing high ranking SERPs, keep the information
in this article in mind and don’t ignore the importance of web design as it
relates to SEO.

Be sure and visit our small business news site.

Introducing Seer’s Guide to Pinterest

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Today, we launched our Pinterest Guide for Marketers, a resource that’s been two years in the making. It’s a resource that we hope can help others to learn more about a platform where we see significant opportunity and to guide marketers to utilize the channel in the best possible way for their business.…

The post Introducing Seer’s Guide to Pinterest appeared first on Seer Interactive.

May 15th 2015 SEO, Social Media

Website Maintenance: clean up old posts & pages

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website maintenance: clean up old postsWhen you maintain a blog, you write different types of posts. Of course, you try to write evergreen cornerstone content posts all the time. The reality is different. Some posts have historical value, others only have momentary value. You should go through your archive every once in a while, and clean it up. This should be a part of your regular website maintenance routines.

One way I like to go through our old posts is by checking our XML sitemap. You open the post or page sitemap and go through the posts from old to new. There are three possible decisions for each post: keep, re-do and delete. Let’s go into what they mean you should do.

Keep your old post

You should keep a post if all the below are true:

  1. The posts’s content is still valid and true.
  2. The post is well optimized for its focus keyword.
  3. The post is receiving decent traffic. Decent being relative to how big your site is and how such a post could do if it was well optimized and posted now.

If you’re going to keep the post, check if it has all the appropriate tags and categories. Maybe it should link to posts you’ve written later on to tie them together.

Then, update the post to make it look more timely. Even a short update will do wonders for how people perceive the value of the post. You could for instance add something like:

“2015-05-13: this post is still as valid as it was when I wrote it. Here are some more posts about this topic: ”

This shouldn’t be more than a few minutes work for each post.

Re-do your old post

You should re-do a post if any of the following are true:

  1. The posts’s content is no longer completely true.
  2. The post is poorly optimized for its focus keyword.
  3. The post is doing far worse than what it would do if you wrote a new one. This is often tied to point 2 being true.

At this point it’s usually best to start fresh. Read your old post, copy some of the good bits into a new post and start writing. Optimize the content for the focus keyword. Check your tags and categories. Do everything we tell you to do in our Content SEO book and in Marieke’s posts.

Now, change the URL of your old post (adding for instance -old to it) and hit update. Publish your new post under the URL of your old post. Link to your new post from other posts more recent than your old post. Then delete the old post and redirect it to the new one.

You delete a post by clicking “move to trash” in WordPress. Our WordPress SEO Premium plugin will give you a notice to redirect the post to a new URL when you do. If you don’t use our WordPress SEO Premium plugin… Well, you should!

Merge old posts

I often find myself merging several old posts into one newer post. The reason is that posts we write here are longer now than they were in the past. Also, sometimes something has become easier to explain. You can still do all of the above and just redirect all your old posts into your single new post.

Delete the old post

If the value of the post was truly only temporary, don’t be afraid to delete it. When we delete old content, we redirect the URL to the most appropriate URL on the site. You could also just decide to let the old post 404. If people are linking to your old post and you delete it, you’re throwing away link value. At that point, it’s better to redirect the old URL, if only to your homepage.

Don’t throw away history though: historical posts are fun to link back to later on. For instance, in our infographic post earlier this week, I linked to my original gravatar post. This post belongs to the history of this site, deleting it would be a shame.

Ready? There’s more website maintenance to do!

Once you’re done with this (or have had enough for a while), make sure to do the other website maintenance tasks too. For starters, clean up your 404’s!

This post first appeared as Website Maintenance: clean up old posts & pages on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

May 13th 2015 SEO

Mobile Marketing: How to Convert the Mobile Visitor

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Mobile Marketing: How to Convert the Mobile Visitor was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Digital marketing is having a moment — and it’s a mobile one. For months, digital marketers have been readying their sites for mobile traffic page by page and #Mobilegeddon has come to define the current zeitgeist. According to SMX Speaker and WordStream Content Marketing Specialist Margot da Cunha, this has been a long time coming.

“Everyone’s been preaching the importance of having a robust mobile marketing strategy for the past seven years or so, and although we all know this, a lot of us still decided to put mobile on the backburner. Now that ‘Mobilegeddon’ is upon us, and Google is constantly telling us how important mobile ‘micro-moments’ are, marketers are being forced to act — 2015 could turn out to be the actual ‘year of mobile,’” said da Cunha.

When SMX Advanced hits Seattle next month (June 2-4), mobile-friendliness will be addressed from every angle. Da Cunha will take the stage alongside Lisa Williams and Phoebe Hanley in “Converting the Mobile Visitor.” They will discuss the best ways to attract and convert mobile users, and share strategies on text ads, display ads, click-to-call offers, targeting by device and location, and demographic research. Today, da Cunha gives us a sneak peak of what’s to come in her SMX presentation!

Mobile Marketing

An Interview with WordStream’s Margot da Cunha

Kristi Kellogg: You’ll be taking the SMX Advanced stage in the Local, Social & Mobile track on June 2 to speak on converting the mobile visitor — hot topic! Can you give us a preview of your perspective on this panel? Will you be providing the PPC point-of-view?

Margot da Cunha: It’s a really exciting time from a mobile perspective. Everyone’s been preaching the importance of having a robust mobile marketing strategy for the past seven years or so, and although we all know this, a lot of us still decided to put mobile on the backburner. Now that “Mobilegeddon” is upon us, and Google is constantly telling us how important mobile “micro-moments” are, marketers are being forced to act. 2015 could turn out to be the actual “year of mobile.”

I will indeed be presenting from a PPC point of view. I’ll be discussing some mobile PPC myths that most marketers believe (you’ll be surprised). I’ll also dive into some of the newest features that Google has recently released, and how marketers can use these features/tools to convert more mobile traffic.

What are the top three things digital marketers should focus on when it comes to attracting the mobile visitor?

MC: First, make sure you’re able to be found. Secondly, you need to ensure your offering is compelling in a way that speaks to your mobile visitor; this visitor isn’t necessarily “a different person then your desktop visitor, but rather interacting with you in a different mindset. Lastly, there’s no point in being found if your website sucks, so you need to make sure your landing pages have a user experience that appeals to and captures the mobile visitor.

After you’ve attracted visitors to your site from a search ad, what do you look to put in place to improve the chance of conversion?

MC: It’s all about the experience and design of the landing page. Of course, relevancy, clarity, and all of the components that are important on desktop search carry over to mobile, but with mobile, as I mentioned above, your visitor is in a different mindset. They’re on the train on their way home from work, or eating a sandwich during their 30-minute lunch break, or watching TV while cooking. You need to bear in mind that attention spans are shorter, and the willingness to abandon a page is likely higher due to outside distractions. If I’m shopping for sandals on my phone while cooking pasta, and notice my water is boiling over, then I’m probably not going to continue shopping, right?

Of course, having a mobile optimized landing page is going to work in your favor, especially now that Google is favoring mobile pages in the SERPs. In terms of design, you need to make sure the page fits the screen, CTAs are short and direct, that there’s minimal distractions, etc.

You have a background in PPC and SMM, and your title is content marketing specialist at WordStream. As a well-rounded digital marketer, what are some of the advantages of being chiefly content-focused?

MC: Personally, the main benefit is that I love to learn and write, and this role allows me to do both of those things on a day-to-day basis. It provides me a way to take my knowledge and past experience, create informative content, and share it with marketers that can hopefully implement and benefit from it.

In a recent interview, you said “SEO and paid search can be good friends.” What are some ways you bring the relationship together? Where does SMM fit into the mix?

MC: Yes, they should be! Although I know a lot more about paid search, I think it’s important for organic and paid to work together to achieve the best results possible. At WordStream, we’re focused on both, and our team is really great about communicating and working together to achieve maximum results. Social ties in because it’s another vehicle to promote content, find and nurture leads, interact with clients and build partner relationships.

Have you developed any guidelines for paid social media marketing that targets mobile users?

MC: We have a huge library of social media marketing content on the WordStream blog, and I also recently began guest blogging for socialmediatoday.com. In terms of mobile, we don’t have any strict guidelines laid out, but we’re keenly aware of how important mobile is, especially mobile apps, for social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Approximately 87% of Facebook users are coming from mobile, so clearly marketers need to cater the majority of their content to the mobile visitor.

That’s an important statistic to remember. Thanks Margot! Your SMX bio says you’re on the thought leadership team at WordStream. What’s the role of that group at WordStream?

MC: The role of thought leaders at WordStream is basically serving as a speaker and public presence for the company to share innovative, game-changing tips to really take one’s marketing to the next level. Creating phenomenal content, working with partners on webinars, attending classes and events to stay ahead of the game, and engaging in speaking opportunities like SMX Advanced are just a few of the things that our thought leaders at WordStream take part in.

What a great corporate-culture concept to help individuals in an organization shine. What tools and apps that make your conversion-focused, multi-platform life more efficient and easier

MC: There’s so much out there. Of course, for paid search marketers, WordStream Advisor is an extremely useful and powerful platform to drastically cut down the time spent managing PPC. Tools like our 20-Minute Work Week allow marketers to grow their accounts without spending hours and hours on optimizations. It’s easy to get lost in PPC, and waste a lot of time doing “guess work,” but our tools simplify the process and guide marketers to make these necessary optimizations without having to scrape through libraries of data to make the decisions on their own.

You have an interesting Twitter handle! What’s the story behind @ChappyMargot?

ChappyMC: Thank you! Chappy was the name of my family dog growing up. He was the cutest cockapoo ever, although I’m pretty sure my dad trained him to dislike men (my family is made up of all girls). Chappy died of old age when I was in high school, so I’ve kept his spirit alive through my Twitter account. It sounds sort of creepy, but I also just love the name Chappy (and look how adorable he was)!

KK: That is so sweet. Chappy is gone, but obviously not forgotten.

Thanks for your tips and time, Margot. Looking forward to seeing you at SMX Advanced. :) If you’re reading and want to attend SMX Advanced, there are just a few tickets left. Get 10% off your registration with code SMXA15BRUCECLAY.

May 13th 2015 PPC, SEO

How To Use the New @SPYFU for Smart Competitor Analysis

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The point of a competitor analysis is NOT to copy moves or strategies. Rather, it’s to FIND OUT what your rivals are good at to come up with better techniques.

There are hundreds of tools out there for competitor analysis. Some are free, most are not. One of our favorite tools is SPYFU; which we have been using since 2013 for our keyword research needs. They recently released a new version that lets digital marketers do more than keyword research.

Whether you’re new to SEO or are already an expert, use this tool for competitor research. Here’s how to perform competitor analysis on the three core elements of search engine marketing using the updated SPYFU.

Employ Clever Keyword Research

Don’t remove keywords from your campaign just yet. While modern SEO does not focus on them as much as we used to, they are still important for search queries and ranking. And when it comes to keywords, no one does it better than SPYFU. Faster, smarter, and more streamlined: you can quickly see which of your competitor’s keywords are ranking.

Go as far back as six years’ worth of data if you wish. Their new layout makes it easy to view how many terms gained in ranking, and which ones are losing. Plus, compare up to three competitors with their KOMBAT feature.

Description: spyfu.overview.jpg

There are three things you want to look for when using this tool: keyword gainers (those that are ranking), exclusive keywords (terms you rank for, but NOT your competitors), and shared keywords (terms your competitors are ranking for, but YOU don’t).

Your goal is to keep your keyword gainers on the first page of search engines, like Google. Next, work on your exclusive keywords so they rank on the first page (if they haven’t yet). Remember: these terms are unique to YOU – so leverage them properly. Then, look at the shared keywords from two of your biggest competitors. Use the EXPORT function to save this list for further study.

Description: spyfu-kombat-keywords.jpg

Beat Them with Backlinks

What’s great about the new SPYFU is that it allows you to analyze the other factors of SEO, such as BACKLINKS. This makes it a one-stop tool for all your online marketing needs.

Now that you have a list of Shared Keywords, choose 5 – 10 phrases that you want to focus on, and then check on their backlinks. Use filters to refine your results. What type of backlinks are they? Why are your rivals ranking for them, but not you? Are they worth pursuing? How can you penetrate them?

Description: spyfu-backlinks.jpg

Your goal is to know WHERE they are putting these keywords, so that you can utilize this to your benefit. For instance: upon studying the keyword ‘seo companies los angeles’, we found that one of the backlinks points to an article from a high-ranking website. This means that our competitors are using informative posts to gain quality links using the given keyword.

Description: spyfu-backlink-sample.jpg

With this knowledge, you have two options: one is to post on the same website; second, is to gather similar sites and publish there. This gives you a chance to rank HIGHER for those shared keywords. Either way, now you know your competitor’s secret.

Less Stress – More Productivity

A smart competitor analysis eliminates the stress of creating new strategies and having to test them. Instead, know what has worked for the most successful brands, and experiment around those. Tweak existing tactics to suit YOUR business needs. There are limitless resources out there that a lot of companies are using all the time. All one has to do is to spot them.

The post How To Use the New @SPYFU for Smart Competitor Analysis appeared first on SEO Chat.

May 13th 2015 Keywords, SEO

How Not to Lose Traffic for a Seasonal Category or Page

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If you have an eCommerce site with seasonal products or sales that are only up for a short time, you’ve likely run into the issue of what to do with those pages when they are empty. Your CMS won’t let you change the copy and you’ve just spent all this time and energy building authority and rankings to those pages, only to have to take it off line to start all over when it comes back in a few months.…

The post How Not to Lose Traffic for a Seasonal Category or Page appeared first on Seer Interactive.

May 13th 2015 SEO