All too often, I get a fair amount of frantic emails from people who are seeing a dropoff in rankings and/or traffic after the latest algorithmic update and are looking for help or just a second opinion. Sometimes a keyword that has been number 2 for 8 months in a row moves down a spot to number 3. Sometimes one drops off the first page and isn’t in the top 100. Sometimes traffic almost completely dies. In any case, it creates panic. Most people don’t think very clearly when they panic. Their immediate response is something drastic, their directives are to take place yesterday, and they start second-guessing everything else. Now, I will panic about some things (no sea salt potato chips in the house, Netflix won’t work properly) but I don’t panic about rankings. Yes, a drop off can indicate a long-term problem that you need to fix, but in many cases, stopping what you’re doing or reversing direction can create even more problems down the road. Look At Where … [Read more...] about How To Panic-Proof Your Link Campaign
How can you tell
You may see a drop in rankings or traffic and immediately panic. Have I been Panda-slapped? Even now, as we look at the two year anniversary of Google’s Panda Update, the likelihood is that you have not. Rankings and traffic fluctuate for many reasons, most of which are not related to penalties from search engines. But, how can you tell? Instead of watching rankings overall, watch categories of keywords. If you separate your keyword categories by topic, you can more easily spot trends that have to do with a particular content area of your site. Typically, if there is a problem, it’s going to start there. To evaluate symptoms of a bigger issue, I’ve created this handy protocol to get you started: Help, My Rankings Dropped! 1. Have they really dropped? Do you see a corresponding decrease in traffic? If yes, wait two days and check again, they may come right back up. Rankings and traffic bobble all the time. If no, there’s probably not anything to worry about. … [Read more...] about How To Stop The Panic Before Asking Have I Been Panda Slapped?
I was recently asked how to make sure that each link you build (however you do it) remains a safe one — and I have to say that I truly had no idea how to answer that. A few years back, my answer would have been different than it is today. Remember when we all said that any free link was a good link? Today, things are more tricky. How can you do the best job possible at judging a site that isn’t an authority? And what about those pesky little new sites that are happy to link out but aren’t yet established? How can you tell what the future holds for them? In this post, I’ll focus on analyzing those sites, as this is much trickier than analyzing sites that have a defined presence and backlink profile. What To Ask When Evaluating A New Site Is the site indexed in Google and Bing? Do a site:domain.com search in both. If it’s not indexed, check the robots.txt file to make sure it’s not blocking the engines. If there’s no real reason why it’s … [Read more...] about When Looking For Links, How Can You Predict A Site’s Future?
If you were paying attention, you might recall that Google launched Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) at the end of June this year. Now that we’ve had a few months of experimenting with how to best make use of this feature, we’ve managed to come to some interesting preliminary conclusions. First, let’s revisit a couple of the basics: What Are RLSAs? RLSA campaigns use your remarketing lists to remarket to users on the Search Network. In layman’s terms, if someone has been to your website before, you can now use RLSA to set up a separate strategy for targeting them on Google.com and other sites in the company’s search network. Why Are They Important? RLSAs are potentially a game changer, and there is a reason that Google refers to it as “Remarketing 3.0” — it allows us to reap all the rewards we’ve had from regular remarketing on the extremely-focused and targeted search platform. How Do You Implement Them? Go into any Search … [Read more...] about How Should You Be Using RLSAs?
When you’re crafting content, you obviously want to create something that your users want to see; but, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. How can you tell what they want? How do you know what they need? Perhaps just as important is this question: how can you craft something that appeals specifically to them but also appeals to a broader group (like potential customers)? Find Out What Your Audience Wants Ask Your Customers. If you send out an email newsletter, ask them to contact you and share ideas of what they’d like to see on the site. Ask them on Facebook and Twitter. Ask them in person if you can. Ask them in a blog post. Ask them on your site like in the example below, which is a great little popup on BourbonandBoots.com. Do Some Research. Dig into your analytics and see what keeps your visitors’ attention the longest. If most people who hit your blog post about “Top 10 Vegetarian Lunches For Kids” spend 5 minutes there while most people … [Read more...] about Creating Content For Your Users That Will Also Get You Links
Human behavior flows from three main sources: Desire, emotion, and knowledge. And Google seems to know this better than anyone. What made the difference between Google and other now left behind search engines was its ability to produce highly relevant results and the constant attention directed to the user’s needs and desires. With the new Knowledge Graph technology, Google redesigns the world of search by trying not only to understand its users but also to anticipate their wishes. What is the Knowledge Graph? Wouldn’t it be great if Google could “understand” YOU? The words you use aren’t just words … they are entities and they refer to real things in the world. Actually, this is possible as Google takes the concept of the traditional search engine and turns it into a knowledge engine that provides users with smarter and more relational search results. The Knowledge Graph might be one of the most revolutionary technologies used in the search … [Read more...] about Can You Optimize Google’s Knowledge Graph?
PPC is rife with potential time sucks. Ad text optimization, keyword research, bid management, reporting, landing page optimization and other PPC tasks are all important facets of your paid search management. Even so, they can suck the life out of you if you’re wasting time on the elements that just don’t matter. Larry Kim and I recently held a webinar on seven AdWords shortcuts that can save you time and simplify your PPC life. Here are our seven best tips for getting awesome AdWords results in way less time. 7. Delete Keyword Clutter Larry wrote about this epic time waster for Search Engine Watch last month because it’s such a widespread problem – and also completely unnecessary. You don’t need to have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of keywords in your account! Sure, a few years ago you needed to make sure you hit on every variation of a keyword term, including the misspellings, plurals, stemmings, accents, etc. However, Google pretty … [Read more...] about 7 AdWords Shortcuts to Save You Time
The web is becoming more and more visual, and nowhere more so than on social media, where some of the most influential platforms revolve around pictures and video. Social networks which were previously text-centric have made a point of integrating more flexible and better-quality options for embedding media, and the last few years have seen the astronomic rise of several key platforms which revolve entirely around visual media. New entrants to the social media scene also reflect this trend, finding new and adventurous things to do with visuals – take Peach, whose users communicate with GIFs, drawings and artful combinations of text and images. Or the newly-minted Yubl, which is driven by eye-catching graphics that users can tap to react to. In this article and its follow-up, I’ll be looking at four major players in visual social media – Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Snapchat – and how you can make the most of their unique features in a marketing context, as … [Read more...] about How to use visual social media part one: Instagram and Pinterest
Google’s I/O developer conference brought several huge announcements about Google’s future direction and projects, including two new technologies which demonstrate just how important voice search and natural language processing are to the company’s future development. The first, Google Assistant, is a voice-activated digital assistant which builds on “all [Google’s] years of investment in deeply understanding users’ questions”, as Google’s blog declared. It takes Google’s voice search and natural language capabilities to the next level, while also allowing users to carry out everyday tasks like booking cinema tickets or restaurant reservations. The second is Google Home, Google’s long-awaited smart home hub to rival the Amazon Echo, which comes with Assistant built in. Google Home – which will be “unmatched in far-field voice recognition”, according to VP of Product Management Mario Quieroz – will give … [Read more...] about The continuing rise of voice search and how you can adapt to it
There are three main components to organic search: crawling, indexing and ranking. When a search engine like Google arrives at your website, it crawls all of the links it finds. Information about what it finds is then entered into the search engine’s index, where different factors are used to determine which pages to fetch, and in what order, for a particular search query. As SEOs, we tend to focus our efforts on the ranking component, but if a search engine isn’t able to crawl and index the pages on your site, you’re not going to receive any traffic from Google. Clearly, ensuring your site is properly crawled and indexed by search engines is an important part of SEO. But how can you tell if your site is indexed properly? If you have access to Google Search Console, it tells you how many pages are contained in your XML sitemap and how many of them are indexed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go as far as to tell you which pages aren’t indexed. This can leave you … [Read more...] about How to check which URLs have been indexed by Google using Python