No doubt there are many different answers to this question. Some people like myself, tweak content on a daily basis. Others have never optimized a single page on their website. Ultimately, the decision of when to take time to optimize your content is up to you, but there are situations when you should take time to optimize your online presence.
Image Source – Mashable
During a Redesign
Let’s be honest, the main purpose of most website redesigns is to optimize their performance. A true redesign is built from the ground up. There is absolutely no better time to ensure that your website is configured to attract maximum interest from readers than when it’s being reimagined. You can build SEO and speed optimizations right into your new design. You’ll have a better looking, faster and more productive website when you’re finished.
When Adding Content for All Pages
Adding fresh content that will appear on all the pages of your website is also a great time to optimize your content. First of all, make sure that the content you are adding is optimized. It’s going to be appearing on every page of your site. If it’s well optimized, every page will benefit.
This is also a good time to tweak individual pages. You’ll be visiting every page on your website to make sure your new content is properly integrated. As you click through your content, keep an eye out for ways to optimize each page.
When Circumstances Change
There are any number of reasons why the circumstances of your situation may change. Sometimes they’re personal reasons. Other times their professional. It might be an opportune time to make some adjustments to your website, especially if the circumstances necessitate a change or update to your website.
When it’s been a While
If you’re reading this and thinking “I haven’t optimized my site in months”, that would mean now is a good time to get to work. If your website and your business are running smoothly, you may not think you need to optimize your site. After all, it doing well and so are you.
Remember that a website that is doing well is a website that is often updated. Make a point to go back and revisit your optimization strategy on a regular basis. Even if it’s just a routine checkup to make sure things are functioning properly. Your website will thank you.
Getting slapped by Google can be very painful for the webmaster and of course the rankings! A Google “slap” is a term that is used to label a website as Spam. One way to find out whether you have been slapped is by checking your PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns to see if the bids have gone sky high and has become next to impossible to locate your ads.
It is such a horrid feeling to know that a site you have worked hard on for a very long time is labelled as Spam, and been pushed out of the biggest search engine on the face of the planet.
Tips to help after the sting of the slap:
Don’t become a Spam site – The worst thing you can ever do is get your site labelled as Spam in the first place, try to avoid this entirely by not stuffing your pages full of keywords in
strange places, try to make the content look as natural as possible! All you need to do is provide good quality content and have 23 keywords in each article if nessacary.
Post fresh content – Google LOVES brand new and origional content, you will always put a smile on the bots face if you feed him fresh food! If you don’t update often he won’t return at all, think of it as a hungry dog, if you do not feed the dog he will run away in the other direction!
Build your site – If you are creating a brand new site try not to open it fully to the search engines until you have at least 10 pages of content, the reason is there is obiously no point in opening a website with just one page, it’s boring, it’s plain, you did not start a website to create just one piece of information, did you?
Narrow down your content – Try to narrow your niche down and not create a massive wide variety of topics, if you can narrow it down for example the health niche to “Exercise”. You are then telling Google exactly what your site and subject matter is about. If you are wanting to create authority website on health then by all means go ahead, just make sure you are VERY clear in every single piece of content what it is about.
Contact forms – Always make sure your website has that personal touch and has a bit of “you” in it. Put up a contact form for questions or for people to contact you, Google likes it when you make the effort to be a socialite! Just be careful of those darn spammers, if you are using wordpress use a quiz plugin so they cannot spam.
If you stick to these simple little rules nothing can go wrong, well at least on-page anyway.
Post Penguin Link Building
In the web landscape, it is no secret that Google is a giant, rolling out updates every other day to its algorithm to establish absolute relevancy of results and an improved user experience. This is acutely focused at making the search engine respond to queries in the desired manner, rendering results with information a user is specifically looking for.
Despite the fact that a Penguin is an adorable creature, when Google Penguin came, it proved to be the worst nightmare for SEO experts and website owners since rankings of countless websites fell like soldiers losing in a battlefield.
The release of Google Penguin was announced on 24th April, 2012 and to the great disappointment of many, caught them by surprise. Sources cited that the underlying reason for releasing this update was the identification of websites who were violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by incorporating black hat SEO techniques like cloaking, link schemes, keyword stuffing, duplicate content and others.
Mercilessly retaliating against the spammy websites, link building is one aspect that attracted a lot of limelight in the post Penguin era. For website owners who have been working for years on link-building, the algorithm update came as a shock as they saw all their efforts going down the drain. The update implied that link building has gotten more technical than ever before and only the more skilled ones will now be able to survive.
A fallacious believe around which the Search Engine Optimization strategies were structured till now was that links are just a viable means to bring more traffic to the website but do not have the potential to actually hurt your website rankings. Nothing can be farther from the truth as the secret is out. The way links are incorporated in a website can now have an influential role to play in the post Penguin age.
The update has been exceptionally successful in knocking down spam sites, but if you are one of those who have made use of black hat SEO techniques to land among the top search engine results, Google is going to hit you hard. To avoid it, it is time to whiten the hat and rebuild your SEO strategy. After all, it is never too late to repent.
While a lot has been said and done when it comes to post Penguin link building, some fool-proof tips to not only secure improvements in your rankings, but also to survive the Penguin update successfully are outlined below.
1. Get Social to Spell Success
We are living in the social media age and if you are wondering how social media and link building are associated, read on.
Whenever you post fresh content on your blog or website, make sure you share it on all of your social media pages. This should be done like a reflex. A lot of websites failed badly despite regular posts on their blogs. Why? Because they were not sharing them over Facebook, Google + or Twitter. What is the point of boasting about so-so number of fans and followers if you are not showing them your content?
This helps you create a win-win situation where all you have to do is to make social media spread your content virally, well beyond the premises of your fan base and voila! you get likes, +1’s and retweets. What is there to lose? Zilch!
2. Inner-Page Linking
A mistake a lot of SEO experts and website owners make is that they always link to their homepage. While it cannot be denied that homepage is the most important page of any website, Google is going to raise an eyebrow if it finds all of the backlinks pointing to your homepage. Internal linking is very important because that is where the real content is believed to be. It does not make any sense to Googlebot that none of the links are pointing to the content on the inner pages of the website where blog posts, videos and guides are available.
Take time to improve your website’s internal structure and make sure that the right keywords are directing the users to the right web pages. The following is an example of a website SEOMOZ that uses different mediums to provide links to its internal web pages.
3. Diversify Your Anchor Texts
It is time you get a break from the traditional SEO practices because another element Google Penguin plans to address is on-site and off-site over-optimization. Just imagine how annoying Google can get when it feels that you are forcing it to rank you for a specific keyword such as ‘cheap cars for sale.’ Google will find it highly suspicious that all of your link partners are using the exact key phrase to link to you, which not only happens to be pasted over your title bar but homepage as well.
If people choose to link to you naturally, they are most likely to be using different anchor texts to do so. This way you will achieve linking organically, which will eventually get the wheels going in the right direction. Don’t forget, diversity is the key.
4. Quality over Quantity
Google is going to penalize you if it finds that you have a large number of backlinks from sites that are untrustworthy. It is imperative to understand that one quality link from a blog is better than 30 from unreliable sources. Go for quality because even if it is going to be a small number, it is going to work for you. Of course, you do not want to go to sleep every night wondering if you are next on Penguin’s hit list.
5. Charm with Link-Worthy Content
Last but not the least; you have to stay focused at producing content that others find link-worthy. Stuff that fails to engage readers is not going to get you anywhere. This is because bad user experience is synonymous to low Google rankings. Give your readers something that encourages them to stay with you or even come back again. Content is, and will always be, king.
With the tips above, we hope that you will be able to take your website’s link building in the post Penguin period a step ahead. With the rules of the game changed, link building is no rocket science, but when done appropriately, it can and will work wonders for you.
An article was prepared by SEM Company Promodo.
What are Google Rich Snippets?
Google Rich Snippets are nothing but the additional lines of information that appear next to the Google search results. They are designed to provide quick information to users regarding what’s on the page and why it’s relevant to their query. These snippets encompass star ratings for the web page and other detailed information related to the query. Generally, you can find Google Rich Snippets in websites of restaurants, music, people, events, videos, recipes, products and businesses. Having a 5-star rating in your Google Rich Snippet encourages Internet users to click on your listing. This is the reason why Google Rich Snippets are considered to be the perfect addition to your online marketing strategies.
Now that we have seen the advantages of using Google Rich Snippets, let us move to the next step of creating and customizing Google Rich Snippets with Schema.org Microdata.
Defining Metaboxes: A metabox helps you to add content or scripts to any part of the website.First of all, to qualify for Google Rich Snippets, you have to define metaboxes. You don’t have to provide all the properties included in the specification, even though each content type has a minimum requirement. There are numerous custom metaboxes available and is indeed a great way to make custom fields friendlier to users.
Marking up your pages with Microdata: The specialty of Google Rich Snippets is its structured, semantic markup that enables Google to understand the content of the web page. So, it’s your duty to markup your content properly to describe the particular type of content on your website. When it comes to marking up your content, there are three types of formats – microformats, Microdata and RDFa. Google has always recommended the Microdata format for rich snippets as it allows search engines to understand your content a lot better and delivers more meaningful search listings for the user’s query. In fact, Microdata has no effect on your search engine rankings but it provides a richer and more useful browsing experience for users.
Use Schema.org vocabulary: All the major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Yandex have launched Schema.org. Schema.org is a not a language but a Microdata vocabulary, that helps you to create common vocabulary for structured data markup on web pages. As it uses the same vocabulary across all participating search engines, there are fewer chances for confusion over twofold meanings or unsupported jargons. The most vital thing you have to keep in mind is that you can use Schema.org to markup only the visible part of your web pages and not any of the hidden page elements.
Many sites are already experiencing great SEO benefits with rich snippets. With the guidelines provided above, you now know how to customize Google Rich Snippets with Schema.org vocabulary. Using Schema.org and Microdata have positive impacts on your website, as they help improve the user experience and invite more clicks.
On a daily basis, the volume of pixels expended on the right way to do SEO could fill a virtual Library of Alexandria. We’re so awash with great ideas on how to correctly promote and perfect quality content that we sometimes lose sight of what not to do. Poorly executed SEO is a major hindrance to your goals. Here’s a quick summary of the techniques to avoid when optimizing content for the search engines.
The typical web user is searching for relevance and meaning in a sea of generic content online. So many webmasters try to “phone it in” with mass produced web spam, and it’s no surprise that they often fail to achieve the desired results. Your SEO success starts with the basics, which is original and unique content that actually delivers value to the end user. Put some serious effort into your content first and foremost.
A major mistake made by bloggers and marketers every day is the practice of stuffing irrelevant keywords into articles in an attempt to dominate Long Tail queries. Google’s wise to this practice, and they have ways of figuring out if your keyword-stuffed content actually delivers the goods. Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs, and only include the major keywords that assist your pages in being indexed properly by the search engines.
Building Spammy Links
While a solid 25% to 30% of SEO revolves around content creation, the rest of the formula is largely inbound links that show Google and Bing how valuable a site is to readers. Link exchanges are dead, and they’ll do you more harm than good these days. The same goes for forum spam and mass referrals from sites with low PageRank. Build organic links the right way through viral social media promotion and guest blogging on reputable sites.
If you’re a decent human being, it’s likely that you don’t know what Content Cloaking even is. Still, it’s important to understand how it works. In a nutshell, it’s all about using server-side script to identify search engine spiders based on their user agent and IP address. When a potential Googlebot rather than a regular user is detected, a different version of a page is served up. If you’re running a website of any note, you’ll eventually get caught using this tactic and be consequently punished in the SERPs.
Taking Shortcuts in General
In spite of the best efforts of Google and Bing, it’s still possible to temporarily trick the search engine algorithms and slide some weak content through their filters. In all your SEO efforts, stop and think about what you’re doing before proceeding. If it’s fundamentally disingenuous, don’t do it. Trying to cheat won’t get you anywhere in the long run, and it’s also a huge waste of time. Last but not least, mind the fundamentals like canonical URLs, 301 redirects, sitemaps and basic meta tag implementation.
Running a Tight SEO Ship
When you foolishly choose to deploy the tricks described above, the consequences can be ultimately catastrophic. Each one is a surefire way to incur algorithmic penalties courtesy of Google’s Penguin and Panda, and can even lead to manual penalties if not kept in check. Put in the time to produce high-quality, well-optimized content and the search engine gods will reward you. Otherwise, don’t be shocked by the inevitably low SERPs rankings that result.
Google is on the move yet again, but this time the news is better than the usual surprise Panda update. As of two days ago, Google launched its Knowledge Graph in order to better a user’s experience. The new feature will be rolling out in English in the U.S. first, but will soon be available in all languages. Matt Cutts explained that the graph is supposed to help make search results and algorithms “more human.”
How the Google Knowledge Graph Works
Because of the sheer amount of information about users and information about different topics that Google has available, this new feature has the potential to really get search right. Google will be using nearly 500 million different things (people, places, objects, ideas, etc.) and will utilize more than 3.5billion facts about all of the connections between these different subjects. Below is a screenshot Google provided to illustrate how the new graph will look when you type in a search:
As you can see, the bulk of a SERP will remain the same, but the right hand side of the screen will change. Although this map will not be a part of every single search at first, basic search queries will soon have this option.
Benefits of the Google Knowledge Graph
This new feature will do three things for users:
1. Help eliminate ambiguous language so that search results are less confusing.
One of the main problems that Google discussed was the ambiguity of language. The new knowledge graph will help make separate different meanings of the same word. For example, the search query “staples” could mean the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the office supply store, or information about actual staples that hold together paper. The graph will work to make sure that these different results are more separated.
2. Create an easy to understand summary of the topic.
The new graph will make it easy for users to get basic information quickly, much like Wikipedia style content. Google will pull information about past search queries for a given subject and base the summary on those past results. For example, if the majority of people have been searching for the novel To Kill a Mockingbird as opposed to the film, the summary will be largely based on the history of the novel.
3. Help illustrate connections between different subjects.
The graph will help show connections between different things across the Internet. Cutts explained that one of the most important aspects of search is being able to learn something you didn’t even realize you were looking to learn; the Knowledge Graph will help make this possible.
Will the Knowledge Graph Affect SEO and Rankings?
Google changes always seem to mix up rankings and cause trouble for many small businesses, but this change isn’t intended to make things harder on your typical website. It seems as though information resources, such as Wikipedia, could potentially lose traffic, but the majority of websites are specific enough that people will still want to click. The Knowledge Graph will be kept to the side and should not affect rankings. However, it will be a few weeks before we can be absolutely sure.
Do you think the Knowledge Graph will affect a website’s SEO in any way? Do you think the Knowledge Graph is something needed or something that you will when you use Google? Let us know in the comments!
Part of our jobs as marketers of the new age is to understand and learn the popular platforms of the internet. You will be hard pressed to find a professional Search Engine Optimizer that isn’t familiar with Drupal, WordPress, Joomla, and simple table HTML websites. We preach about how to edit the background of your Twitter homepage for better branding and to include keywords on your Facebook fan page by renaming your images.
The new platform that I have been seeing more frequently is Magento. My responsibility as a freelancer is to understand the system, and utilize it to maximize its value. Here, you will find, not only where and how to optimize your Magento Client’s website, but how you can actually automate portions of it to save some time.
What is Magento?
For those unaware, Magento is the fastest growing e-commerce platform on the internet. Don’t be alarmed if you have yet to encounter it, because it is just new in comparison to WordPress or other CMS systems. Magento is Cross-Platform, written in PHP, that calls a series of SQL tables to fill the site. It is completely open-source, and much like WordPress there are a ton of extensions to customize any themes you desire.
Magento has a back end content management system, very similar to WordPress, but it is so much more robust. To truly optimize a Magento site, I recommend a working knowledge of PHP; if you want to be a Magento Pro, some SQL knowledge is necessary.
Based on SEOMoz’s Study: 2011 Search Engine Factors; the on-site factors that are estimated to most affect your SERP’s are Page-Level and Domain-Level Keyword Usage; adding up to a substantial 25.66%. Let’s get into how you can make that 25% work for you.
Let’s Get Started: Introducing the Back-End
Here is a look at the Magento Dashboard:
This is completely customizable, so these are the data points the client wanted to see. What important for me was the built-in analytics. Adding Paypal order tracking to Google Analytics is extremely difficult since Paypal transactions redirect you to the Paypal website where the final steps occur. Magento not only has a great system to allow for that sort of tracking, but with the right plugins, credit card data can be stored on Authorize.net’s servers. This allows your website to track the Customer ID’s, which you can see the last 5 orders on the left side. This data, in combination with GA, gives the SEO more data, which in my opinion makes better optimizing possible.
The “Reports” drop down menu gives you access to all of the data we’re seeing snippets of on the Dashboard. If you’re familiar with most tracking software, this one tab is worth spending the first couple of hours in, comparing to Google Analytics.
For Optimizing, we have to go to the Catalog menu:
The first place you need to go is “Manage Categories”. Unlike some CMS systems, categories are more-or-less required in Magento. This is where we can rewrite title tags, url’s, and the increasingly-useless Meta Description and Meta Keywords. I personally subscribe to the theory of completeness, so I fill all of these fields. Here is what you will see:
URL Key – This is to change the URL string, if you enter just a keyword, it will add it to the end of the URL in category order. (Ex. http://www.site.com/category1/URLKey) If you wish to rewrite the entire URL, just write the exact URL you want the category to have.
Thumbnail Image – I always name images keyword-friendly, and this is where you can upload and change the path of the thumbnail.
Description – Copy on the Page.
Page Title – Title Tag.
Meta Keywords – Meta Keywords.
Meta Description – Meta Description.
1) I do each category manually, since I optimize for each individual page’s best benefit, but if your website is smaller, or can use the same title tags throughout, please save yourself some time and use the “URL Rewrite Manager” tool, which can batch-rewrite categories to the same entry.
2) Save yourself some time and avoid the “Manage Products” category all together. The essential attributes that you will want to access are conveniently held in the “Category Products” tab in category management.
If you trust the SEOMoz data like I have come to; (I read every little case and footnote on that page, every year) the most important aspects of On-Site SEO can be accessed through that Catalog Menu, specifically the Manage Categories menu. For those SEO’s that want to dive into the nuts and bolts, Magento will blow you away.
Advanced Magento Optimization:
DISCLAIMER: SQL is needed in some form to really get the most out of these steps. At the very least, you’ll need to understand how to read it and how the tables are structured. Ideally, you are comfortable editing the actual tables in the database. For the rest of this tutorial, I will be providing real examples the client site.
Attributes are Magento’s way of describing a product, and how the system will handle it. For example, this is where the product page knows what information to display, and how to display it. You can organize attributes into sets, that will apply to a full category.
For SEO’s, this functionality is best used for inventory management. If you have gone through the Categories and optimized each product, then when that product is no longer in stock, you want to avoid sending customers to a useless page.
In the picture above, you see an attribute under General called “Status”. This is the attribute in this particular system that calls the Inventory table. Once you know exactly what table that attribute is calling, you can then set it to remove the product from the site when the inventory value = 0.
Instead of diving into the .htaccess file of the website to do all of your 301′s and 302′s, you can create redirects right in the back end. These rewrites are for the search function specifically, and you avoid having to do the redirects on the page level.
For example, my client sells wallpaper and wallpaper borders. For their Sports category, the number of wallpaper styles far outnumbers wallpaper borders. For SEO purposes, there are two separate pages; however, we found out through Analytics that most users are finding those borders in the “Related Borders” section on the bottom of the sports wallpaper page.
So, instead of trying to sculpt the traffic the way we wanted it, it was decided to just model it after the users. Go to Catalog -> Search Terms, and you see a page like this:
Here, you can see that we set a redirect when someone searches for the term “sports wallpaper borders.” It redirects to the redesigned sports wallpaper page that includes the limited selection of wallpaper borders; this can be done for any search term.
Unique Batch Category Title Tag Rewrites:
For those that know SQL, instead of going to each individual category and product to change the title tags, there is a command you can run to help automate it. In my case, there were 700 wallpaper categories, and these were mirrored in an equal amount of “wall mural” and “wallpaper border” categories. Instead of rewriting 2100 title tags manually, I did the wallpaper category manually, and then used this function to apply it to the corresponding Mural and Border category:
Here, you see that the Wallpaper category was used as a template, and then scanned the attributes of the other categories. Since there were Floral Wallpapers, along with Floral Wall Murals and Floral Wallpaper Borders, there would be a common attribute between them.
When that common attribute was found, it would take the title tags from the Page Title field of Wallpaper and fill that field for murals and borders. (Category ID 1149 and 1151 respectively.) This can be done any number of times as long as there is a common established attribute between the products or categories you wish to edit.
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, is my tutorial to Magento SEO. Depending on your coding skill, Magento can be an relatively effortless optimization project, or it can be a tedious reminder of how SEO can be. Either way Magento is a CMS system that is here to stay, given the amount of sites converting to Magento and the popularity of the Extension Marketplace; http://www.magentocommerce.com/magento-connect/.
So go do what we SEO’s are best at; adaptation, and get yourself some Magento Clients!
I recently stumbled upon a search engine ranking report from Chitika, an online advertising network, that focused on answering one question: how valuable prime search ranking positions really are.
Although the report was published a while ago, I believe that little has changed since then, and the following results are definitely something to pay attention to.
Of course we all know that it’s great to have #1 Google search engine ranking for your keyword.
But how much is it really worth in terms of traffic generation?
According to the data from the Chitika network, it’s worth a great deal – double the search engine traffic of the #2 spot, to be precise.
Let me put it another way:
The #1 Google search engine ranking spot gets as many visitors as positions 2-4 combined!
To come up with these impressive numbers, Chitika analyzed a sample of 8,253,240 impressions across their network.
“In order to find out the value of SEO, we looked at a sample of traffic coming into our advertising network from Google and broke it down by Google results placement.
The top spot drove 34.35% of all traffic in the sample, almost as much as the numbers 2 through 4 slots combined, and more than the numbers 5 through 20 (the end of page 2) put together.”
Search engine ranking #10 gets 143% more clicks than #11.
“The biggest jump, percentage-wise, is from the top of page 2 to the bottom of page 1.
Going from the 11th spot to 10th sees a 143% jump in traffic. However, the base number is very low – that 143% jump is from 1.11% of all Google traffic to 2.71%.
As you go up the top page, the raw jumps get bigger and bigger, culminating in that desired top position.”
Here are the search engine ranking numbers:
Show Me the Money!
I admit, having a number 1 search engine ranking on Google is very exciting and all, but if you are ranking of the wrong keyword, it won’t help your business much.
How do you know when it’s worth to improve google ranking?
To determine that, you can do one of the following:
Test your keywords with Google Adwords
- Start a Google AdWords campaign for the keyword, select “exact match” and point the ad to the page on your website that is most relevant to the keyword.
- Track the impressions and the conversion rate of the ad. To get useful data, you should track at least 500 clicks.
- With that data, you can make a guess about the value of a visitor that finds your website through that keyword.
For example, your ad might have had 10,000 impressions during a week and 200 visitors have come to your website. Six of them purchased something of your website and the total profit was $500.
That means that the average single visitor who finds your website through that keyword is worth $2.50 to your business ($500 / 200). The 10,000 ad impressions in a week can create a click-through rate of 34.35% (see table above) if you have the number 1 ranking for that keyword.
That means that you would get about 3,435 visitors per week. Based on the average value of $2.50/visitor you would earn $8,587.50 per week or $446,500 per year just with a single keyword.
Getting Market Value figures in Market Samurai
If you already own a copy of Market Samurai, the task of gathering all this info becomes even more of a breeze.
This data is gathered under you Keyword Analysis Data in Keyword Research tool.
Here are the numbers we are interested in:
• SEO Value (SEOV) – This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked web page for this keyword (based on search results) is likely to receive – per month.
• Adwords Value (AWV) - This is the maximum total value of traffic that the #1 ranked advertiser (in Google Adwords) is likely to receive – per month.
In both cases, Market Samurai is taking the Market Value benchmark to the next step…
…by breaking down the Market Value number into how much #1 ranked web site will bring through organic SEO and Google Adwords respectively.
If you don’t have Market Samurai, I would recommend you get a copy – it will save you a lot of time (and money) doing market research and give you access to a lot of really powerful keyword research tools.
Image credit: ICanHasCheezburger.com
I am sure Gerald is sick and tired of hearing about this, but since it’s my post (never mind that it’s on his blog), he’ll have to bear with me one more time.
Allow me to give you some background on the issue.
One of my favorite product releases of the year was CommentLuv Premium by Andy Bailey.
The free version of the plugin has been floating around the blogosphere for years and loved by both blog owners and commentators (aka “link builders”) alike.
Don’t ask me why, but the minute I heard Andy was working on the premium version of the plugin and all the features he was adding to it, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.
Anyway, this post is not about how great this plugin is, but about Google rankings.
Or how I felt like I was beating against the brick wall trying to rank my CommentLuv Premium review post on the first page of Google for “CommentLuv Premium“, to be more precise.
I am pretty good with SEO. Not great, but good enough. Plus, I’d like to think of myself as a creative link builder – I have to be since I don’t have much time for it.
So I wrote the review post, optimized it to the “T”, built a few links to it, and then ran a giveaway for a free copy of the plugin in exchange for an in-content dofollow backlink with exact anchor text back to my review post.
I told you I was creative, right?
So I got about 50 links from other blogs and, considering that my competitors for “CommentLuv Premium” keyword didn’t have many backlinks to speak of, I sat back and waited for the SEO traffic to start pouring in.
Only it never happened.
My post showed up on the first page for a brisk day or two and then disappeared into the neverland of page 4.
You can imagine my frustration. Poor Gerald heard all about it…
Assumptions and Observations
1. My post was very well optimized for the keyword.
2. It had a good amount of quality in-content links coming in, as well as some low-quality links like social media, social bookmarking, etc.
3. Thus, as far as Google is concerned, it should’ve been found extremely relevant to the keyword.
Side note: the way Google determines relevancy is by the keyword usage on the page, including your title, description, etc, and the anchor text of the links pointing to the page. Of course, this is a very simplistic explanation; take a look at how Google works, if you’d like to go more in-depth on this one.
4. The posts ranked on the first page for the keyword at the time had but a handful of low-quality links.
5. On the upside, thanks to Google+ and all the connections I made there, most of my readers saw my post on the first page because of Google personalized search, even though I wasn’t technically ranking for it.
Considering my existing domain authority and a few quick links, they both showed up on the first page that very day (I didn’t take a snapshot of the video rankings, but the post was in position 7 in 4 hours).
Both stayed on the first page for a while, but left without much link building, my CommentLuv Premium YouTube video eventually moved to page 2 and the post to page 3.
HOWEVER, guess which post finally showed up (and is staying there so far) on the first page position 5?
Besides being brilliant (I need to keep saying it to believe it – you should try it sometime), I am also very stubborn and never gave up on ranking that very first CommentLuv Premium post of mine.
So How Did I Do It?
I made one big change to the post, which I believe did the trick.
Of course, one could argue that Google simply came to its senses, saw all those links, and decided to give credit where credit was due (huh!)…
However, the ranking came about very shortly after I decided to turn my post into a page.
What’s the difference, you might ask?
- Pages are static; posts are dynamic.
- Posts are displayed in chronological order on your home page, archives, category and tag pages, etc.
- Pages are not sorted by date; they are not classified by categories or tags.
Don’t remember where I read it at this point, but someone somewhere once said that the way pages and posts are coded in WordPress is different enough to make the pages more SEO-friendly.
Since I don’t know much about coding, I can’t support or disprove this statement.
The following factor does seem to support it though: most of the higher PR URLs on any given blog are not posts at all – rather, they are pages.
Let’s for instance take this blog and check the PR for inner pages using SEOQuake Firefox Addon.
All of those results are pages. And this tends to be true for most blogs.
To learn more about using pages to increase your rankings, take a look at my post on blog structure.
How to Turn a Post into a Page
Here are the step-by-step instructions (I’d recommend you open 2 tabs since you’ll have to go back and forth between the post and the page):
1. Create a new page.
Copy and paste the content from the post to the page; save.
2. Change post permalink.
Since you’ve already built links to the post permalink, you’d want to keep it for your page. Of course, WP won’t let you have the same permalink for more than one page, so you’ll need to change the permalink on the original post first.
Usually, I simply add something like “original” or “part-1″ or “2″ to the end of the original post permalink; that’s plenty enough for our purpose.
3. Use the original permalink for the page.
Now go back to the page and use the original permalink for the new page. Save.
4. Avoid duplicate content issue.
Now I would edit the original post SEO title, description, and change the post content – usually by simply cutting out most of the post and placing the link to the new page with “To read more, click here” type link.
Using keyword-rich anchor text is even better, of course.
5. Optional: close comments on the page.
This one is arguable; however, I’ll use any trick up my sleeve if I can.
The original post will retain all the comments that were made on the post before you “transferred” the content to the page. It’s only fair to make sure that your commentators keep their links, right?
I tend to close comments on my pages though.
As I said, this one is entirely optional.
Was it my newly created page that did the trick and pushed me to the first page of Google?
Argumentative, but logical.
This wasn’t the first time I did this either. Each time I turned posts into pages, they tended to rank higher and have better “sticking power” – most of them are currently ranked at the top of page one, if not in position one.
Thoughts? Ideas? “I have nothing solid to support my opinion, but I’ll say you are wrong just for the heck of it”s? Comment below!
When Google comes up with a new algorithm change, all the webmasters hold their breath trying to figure out if this is the one that would send their site into the neverland of the search engine rankings.
I bet it wasn’t any different with the last week’s update that focused on pushing the freshest results to the top of the search engine pages.
Google tried to make us feel warm and fuzzy, as they announced their new update:
“Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.” Source
“Relevant and recent”.
Not sure what happened to the “relevancy” part (after all, relevancy is supposed to be the cornerstone of how Google works), but we all noticed the “recency” factor.
So how would this latest update affect you and your site?
Should you start posting every day now? Are you expected to compete with websites that have full-time writers constantly churning out fresh content?
The answer is a definite NO.
Although this update will affect about 35% of all searches, its scope is quite narrow, in my opinion.
It zooms in on the following information streams:
1. Current events or hot topics:
It only makes sense that when you search for “occupy Wall Street protest”, you expect to find the latest information on the topic immediately.
2. Topics in need of frequent updates:
A good example of this type of information would be products constantly coming up with new models.
If you are on the market for the latest Volvo XC-90, you are not interested in reviews of 2010 models, right?
3. Regularly occurring events:
Conferences, political elections, sports, etc. – all these events fall under “if I am searching for them, I am looking to find the info on the latest one” category.
“Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.”
Reactions Around the Web
Barry Schwartz of SearchEngineLand.com talks about the potential problems this update might create, referring to them as “freshness spam“:
“There are potential downsides. Sometimes you do want to reward fresh content. But what’s fresh? If someone simply makes a small change to a page, does that give it a fresh boost? If someone reposts exactly the same content on a new page a day or two after initially posting it, is that fresh? Is when the page was first found define freshness, or is the first modified date used?
Does this open Google up to an even worse situation than can already happen with Google News now, where publishers file and refile stories in an effort to win the freshness race there, since the latest versions of stories often get top billing.”
Ben Wills of MarketingPilgrim.com doesn’t just talk about it, but offers 7 suggestions to rank higher in Google’s new fresh results:
- Cover Your Bases by Getting into Google News
- Use Proper Time-stamps in Your Content
- Add Forums
- Add Question and Answers Section
- Add Your Own Social Network
- Add Your Own Social News section
If you think your site might be affected by Google Fresh changes, I strongly recommend you check out his post. Even if you don’t, still take a look at it: Bill mentions a good number of tools to help you implement his suggestions above.
Well, that’s it, folks.
As it’s always the case, we’ll talk about Google Fresh for another week or two, then the topic won’t be fresh any longer and we’ll get back to business as usual.
Until then, let’s try to milk the news for all it’s worth; who knows, maybe your site will show up under “Google Fresh” search tomorrow?