Here’s how you can survive Mobilegeddon. Today, April 21st 2015, Google released an update of it’s algorithm that will make webpages that don’t look good on a mobile device disappear from the search results More Help. More accurately, when someone searches on a smartphone, Google will rank web pages that look good on a phone higher than websites that do not look good on a phone. So sites that are now in the top ten, might slip to page 8 or 10. Game over. No more visitors. Rest assured, searches on tablets, laptops and desktop computers are not affected by this change. It’s only about searches on smartphones. But those make up about half of all searches these days. Which explains why Google is doing this. It’s a good thing. Sometimes progress needs a violent push in the right direction. The end user will benefit. So what can you do? You can either make a separate, mobile optimized website or make the existing site responsive. We prefer to make existing sites responsive, because that way the page rank is consolidated on one website instead of spread thin over two separate sites. In order for your website to be responsive, it needs to be ‘smart’ in a way. It has to know what the screen size is, if it is held in portrait or landscape and it must show content in different ways on different screens. So your site needs a Content Management System to power it. Like WordPress. All SwiftySites are responsive out of the box. They look good on all devices, load fast and are Google friendly. We are very close to releasing SwiftySite to the public. It’s a matter of weeks. Not months. And although your site might seem to totally disappear for mobile Google searches, once you’ve copy-pasted your site in SwiftySite, it’ll up right back up in Google. So take a moment to enter your name and email address below, so that we can notify you of the release. Help is on the way.
There is so much going on in terms of advancement in technology, the development of tools and marketing online that it’s almost a full time job just to keep up. We at SwiftyLife have only a few sources that we trust. These companies are focused on area’s such as search, site optimization and social media marketing and generally only publish proven and tested information to their inner circle of members. But in the beginning of the year, the lists come. Predictions for the coming year. And here are a few that we want to share with you. Some of these you will need to take action on, some of them are for your information only and some are just fun to know. Here goes. Wearables! Or better said; next level wearables, as a cell phone is considered to be a wearable too. They’re coming and the market for these is exploding like the smart phone market did after the iPhone was introduced. Of course we can expect the Apple Watch (let’s hope they get the battery right), but Microsoft has also released it’s Microsoft Band. Their promo video shows how this will improve your life even further. A safe prediction is that these devices will replace a lot of those instances that people are constantly checking their phones at inappropriate or unsafe moments. What’s also very cool is the new iOptick system that Innovega is working on. It’s basically Google Glass built in to a contact lens. Yes, the stuff we’ve been seeing in movies for almost two decades will finally hit the market in 2015. Google will continue to push for mobile optimized secure websites. In 2014 Google put a light weight ranking factor on mobile optimized (or ‘responsive’) websites and towards the end of 2014 also on secure, https websites. In 2015 Google will increase the weight, the importance, of these factors in their algorithms. So what does that mean? It means your website should be responsive so that it is well displayed on all devices. Think along the lines of the font size staying the same visually on a mobile as well as a laptop. This means your website text has to wrap from book-size-width to news-paper-column-width. Of course images that were put in the text need to scale too. In fact, you reading this blog are experiencing it right now. Just go check this blog on another device and you’ll see. Or turn your phone sideways. Anyway, as the development of SwiftySite advances, we will inform you how to benefit from these changes and get an edge for your site and business. For now, rest assured that we know of these developments and are building them into our products. Facebook will track your actions outside of Facebook As you know, the way Facebook makes money is to give advertisers access to very targeted groups of people. Last week my wife got an ad on Facebook that said: “Are you a 41 year old woman that needs bla bla bla …?” That was two day’s after her birthday… Scary? Well, this year they will start tracking your actions online outside of the Facebook website itself. They will see what sites you visit, for how long, what you buy there. And they will even do that across different devices. Expect to see Facebook ads on many other websites you visit. On the upside, these ads are likely to be of interest to you, as they are tailored to your demographic. Needless to say that as an advertiser, you can benefit tremendously, controlling your budget by only targeting your preferred customers. Remember Facebook owns Whatsapp and Instagram and same as Google is reading your email (gmail) and is showing you targeted ads, expect Facebook to read your messages on Whatsapp and Instagram and serve you, you’ve guessed it, very targeted ads. Oh, and Facebook will probably start it’s own search engine and Mobile Payments platform. Some more random good news:
- 24/7 Solar powered wind power. Say what? Using the sun to heat up the air in a giant glass greenhouse in the desert that’s connected to a giant chimney that generated so much uplift convection that the airflow can drive turbines creating enough energy for 150.000 homes. Very low maintenance, zero emission and lasts over a century. And it keeps working during the night.
- Electric care ownership reaches over 1 million world wide in 2015
- Automatic emergency brakes will be mandatory on trucks in Europe by the end of 2015
- There will be a huge (think millions) shortage of data annalists and statisticians in the coming years as big data will start to drive almost all online marketing. At SwiftyLife we take this very seriously and plan to build smart data and analytics in to our products.
In my last post I mentioned that Google’s algorithms use over 200 different indicators that determine how your webpages are indexed and shown. Today we’ll have a look at keywords and how important they are relative to other elements. In general, Google values the factors that are difficult to manipulate by website owners (or search engine optimizers) more than what can easily be manipulated. All the stuff that you can do on your end. On your website. The difficult part is getting other sites to link to you and validate you. So in short: The ranking factors that are outside your realm of influence are the most valuable to Google. But that does not mean that what you can do isn’t important. It is very important, but Google looks at it very carefully. They don’t want you to game the system. Keywords are of relativly modest importance. Keywords are the words or combinations of words that people enter in google when they are looking for something. So a keyword is a search term. As with everything that we will discuss, with keywords you have to take the approach that makes sense from Google’s perspective: use them only where and when it is appropriate to help Google find RELEVANT content for it’s users. No more, no less. You see, it is very easy for anyone to stuff a webpage with a bunch of keywords. And Google knows that. And in the past, that has been abused by internet marketeers a lot. So, Google has evolved it’s algorithms to the point where they can very accurately measure and weigh if someone is trying to stuff a lot of keywords in a page in an unnatural way or if someone is creating valuable and relevant content. Over-doing the keyword thing is dangerous and can harm the position of your page in the rankings. It’s like the law of diminishing returns displayed in this graph. At a certain point, more of the same becomes less effective or even harmful. Having said that, you should definitely use keywords in the title tag because that is by far the most important place for you to put one or two good keywords. But also use them in headlines, image names and body text of the pages or blog posts you write. But only if they are really relevant. And don’t worry too much about synonyms and variations. Google is smart. They know. Having a keyword in your domain name isn’t as valuable as it used to be. In the old days, Google reasoned that if the keyword was in the domain name, the whole site would be centered around that topic. And though that might be true, that does not necessarily mean that it’s the most relevant website for Google’s users. So lately they don’t place as much value on it as they used to, but it won’t hurt you of you do. It’s a good idea to use the right keyword(s) in your url’s, but again, only if it makes sense and only to help Google find and serve relevant content for its customers. And don’t overdo it. Basically, Google looks at a URL like this: www.domainname.com/category/product-or-service-or-article So this is good: https://www.swifty.online/plugins/swifty-page-manager/ This would not be good: www.keywordA.com/keywordA/keywordA The most important place to have your keywords is… … in the links on other websites that point to your page. And that is also the hardest to influence. And therefore the most valuable in the eyes of Google. If only the Huffington post would have this text with a link to our page, that would be worth way more than what we could do ourselves: Check out this awesome WordPress plugin that makes it easy for you to manage the pages of your WordPress site. Some quick and important points on keywords to recap:
- Keywords are not as important as they used to be. Still use them, but do it in a natural way and not in an artificial way
- Google does not use the keyword meta tag. At all.
- Google does not like keyword stuffing or a high keyword density (law of diminishing returns)
- Having a keyword in your domain name can help and it won’t hurt.
- Put keywords in your URLs in the right place and each keyword only once
- Use keywords in the title tag, headline, body text and image names on your page, but only when it makes sense.
A few weeks ago I wrote on my blog about the relative importance of keywords. And though more is not necessarily better (actually, stuffing a webpage with keywords is going to hurt you) it is a good thing if you know the keywords your customer use, so you can work them in to your webpages and blog posts in a natural way. So here’s how you can find out what search terms your customers use: First do a little brainstorm with your team (or on your own) to come up with possible search terms. Think product names, service descriptions, but also how a customer would frame a problem they have that you can solve. Or the solution to that problem. ‘Plumber’ and ‘plumbing’ are good keywords if you are a plumber, but so would be ‘plumber + your city’ and ‘water leak’ (problem) and ‘water tap replacement’ (solution). Think like your customers. Just write down all the keywords you can come up with. You’ll sort them out later. Second, look in your website stats and see if you can find the words people used to find you. These are the words you are currently found with. Add these to your list. Then check out the keywords your competition uses. You can do that by typing in some of the keywords from your list in Google and check out the first 3-5 websites that are shown. On their pages, do a right click and ‘view source’. You get an html-overview of that page. Look at the titletag and description tag. They shoud be in the top of the document. Also look for keywords in the headline of the text and in the text itself. By now you have compiled an impressive list of possible keywords, but you still have no idea which of these your customers use the most. We’ll fix that now. Just go Google’s KeywordPlanner here: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner You might need to sign up or at least sign in with your Google account. Now here you will have to play around a bit with all the options you have. But the end result after 10 minutes or so should be a list that is sorted on most volume search terms. You can download that list as a csv-file. So, now you have a huge list of keywords you know your customers are using. Cool! Now you should do one more thing: Create a Keyword Effectiveness spreadsheet. It should have the keywords in the first column, the monthly search volume in your country or area in the second column, the allintitle numbers in the third column, the total number of results found in the fourth column and the KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) in the fifth column.Now you should paste each keyword in Google and search for it like this: allintitle: keyword. That way you get to see all the webpages that have that search term in the title. Put the number of search results in the allintitle-column behind the keyword. Then in Google delete ‘allintitle: ‘ and hit enter again. Now you get all the search results (way more). Put that number in the ‘total results’ column. Finally, click in the empty box in the KEI column and devide the local montly volume by the allintitle amount. You now get the Keyword Effectiveness Index. This shows you if you at least have a shot at getting a good position in Google for that keyword. Please bear in mind that you’ve devided the number of monthly searches for your area or country by the world wide number of websites that have that keyword in the title of a webpage. So this KEI only serves as a means to sort all your keywords in a ‘most likely to succeed’ list. Now I know this is not the most fun chore on your way to online success, but if you put in a few hours work, the rewards will be awesome and I guarantee you will a) earn it back many times and b) laugh and smile all the way when you see the results coming in. So eat the frog and do it. It’ll pay off. And you only have to do this once. Okay, so if you have gone through your list of keywords and have created this Keyword Effectiveness Index that is tailored to your business, you can now sort it according to the KEI column. What you will see is that some search terms are a combination of words that you would not have thought of in the beginning (sectional sofas). And it is very unlikely that the general, main keywords that consist of one or two words (interior design) are high on the list. That’s because every website in your industry is trying to get on the first page in Google for that keyword. Chances are low you can achieve that. But the good news is you now have a bunch of keywords of which the search volume might be relatively low, but the chances of getting on the first page for them are high. These are the keywords you should use in your website, in the title tags of your pages, in the headlines, body text, image descriptions and such. If you are doing Adwords (paid advertising) these are the keywords to focus on. It’s a rookie mistake to spend money on those generic, high search volume keywords. But more on that later. For now, spend some time and create this list of keywords to use them now and in the future. Yes, it’s quite some work, but it is not difficult and you can do this! – Chris –
Do you sell visual products like interior decorating, flowers, art? Do you sell visual services like landscaping, painting, flooring? Do you sell products or services that you can use images for to tell a story? Do you offer how-to information? Do you represent a club, organization or community that can show what people are experiencing? Do you have a webshop? Then you should be on Pinterest :-) Pinterest is a website and app that people use to discover and share images of things they like. For several reasons. They might be planning a trip or creating a mood board for a future home and garden. Or they might be gathering recepies or just want to be surprised by unexpected beautiful or smart things. Or gadgets. Or wanna-haves… You get the picture. After entering a search query or keyword, Pinterest shows you an endless feed of images you can scroll through. In that sense it is similar to a search engine like Google Images. You can then click on an image to enlarge it and see on which and whoms board it is pinned. You can then jump to that board, because there you can find even more related images. If you see an image you like, you can pin it (save it) to one of your own boards that can easily be created on the spot. You can follow the board or the creator of the board you just pinned a picture of. That way you will automatically be notified when he or she adds additional pictures to that board. You can also follow your friends or boards of interesting companies, businesses and organizations and get updates from them. You can like a picture. You can send a picture to a friend or share it on your other social media. You can connect your Pinterest to your Facebook account, so all your pins are shared there automatically in an album. And it’s adictive. Ask anyone who has been on it even once. So why should your business be on Pinterest? Well, because people on Pinterest like, pin and share based on looks and looks alone. If you have a cute, beautiful, smart, fancy, touching, nifty or even just a regular picture, you should put it on Pinterest. It’s worth showing, sharing and saving as a pin. Or else you shouldn’t sell it. Right? And the beauty of it is, that in the description you can put a link to your website and/or webshop! And that is not only a great source of traffic (70% of users are using Pinterest as inspiration to buy!). It is also a very cool and natural way to build links to your site. And that is the kind of stuff Google likes. It is one of many things Google factors in when calculating the positioning of your webpages. If you have a webshop, put each and every product on Pinterest, with a link to the product page and show the price. If you sell furniture, show the beautiful interiors you have created with your furniture (and link to your site). If you sell flowers, show pictures of your most beautiful creations (and link to your site). If you are a plumber, painter, plasterer or gardener, show a before and after shot (and link to your site). Show pictures of people having a great time in your church. Show your winning team in action. Show the food you sell at your restaurant. Show the rooms of your B&B and the points of interest near you while you’re at it. You can even create a board that you pin other related stuff on that’s not even yours but might be interesting to your followers. Pinterest is still young. Especially outside the US (79% of active users is in the US). So there is a huge opportunity here for you. Go get your feet wet. Try it. Claim your url: Pinterest.com/Your CompanyName – Chris – PS: Don’t over-do it on the commercial and marketing. Please. Keep it fun and helpful and beneficial.
Soooo… we’ve all heard people throw around all kinds of words and acronyms. Some might even know what they mean :-) But there’s no point in using these words to appear smarter than someone else. It’s just silly. Having said that, creating a mutual language to talk about different subjects, might be mutually beneficial. In this post, I want to share some of the words that we use when talking about Search Engine Optimization. Just read through them quickly and bookmark this page for future reference. Here goes. SEO – Search Engine Optimization – improving the position (ranking) of one or more pages of your website in the natural (unpaid) search results of one or more search engines SEM – Search Engine Marketing – is the combination of SEO and paid advertising (Adwords). SERP – Search Engine Results Page – the page showing the results after you have typed in a search term Adwords – paid advertisements that look like organic search results displayed above and on the right of organic search results Adsense – Showing Adwords on a website. The website showing the Adwords advertisement gets a percentage of the PPC price the advertiser pays Google. Organic – Organic search results are the web pages that Google considers to be the most relevant to that user in that location on that moment in time. They are not advertisements. PPC – Pay Per Click advertising PPV – Pay Per View advertising, generally calculated per 1000 views PPM – Pay Per Mille or Pay Per 1000 views advertising Spider – a script that search engines use to ‘crawl’ your website (go from page to page) and index everyting that is on it. Also known as ‘crawler’. Back link – a link coming from another website pointing to a page of your website (<– you want this!) PageRank – is a value of a webpage, determined by the algorithms of Google, based on the quantity and quality of pages linking to the webpage Link juice – the passing along of PageRank or in other words; the value or quality of a page that links to one of your pages Link bait – a webpage designed to be so good that people want to share the URL on social media and create back links to the page Keyword – one or more words a person types into a search engine to look for something Long tail – a search query that consists of multiple words and is rather specific. Meta tags – information that is embedded in a webpage that is not visible to visitors but is visible to search engine spiders. You have a Title-, Keyword- and Description tag. Title tag – meta tag that is shown in the tab of the browser as well as the short (67 characters) sentence shown in blue in Google. This is by far the most important place to put one or two keywords. Keyword tag – meta tag that used to be used for entering keywords. No longer in use by Google so you can ignore it. Description tag – meta tag that you can use to put a short (156 characters) description of your webpage here. Google might use it, but it can also choose to use an excerpt from your page content. Reciprocal link – two sites that link to each other. If you understand PageRank, you’ll understand that this has no value. In addition, Google frowns upon it in some cases. Canonical URL – this is the preferred URL that Google considers to be the main or original page when the same content is shown multiple times on a site (happens a lot with blogs and CMS’s) Canonical tag – this is a tag that you have to put in the <HEAD> of each page that has duplicate content on it to tell Google which of the duplicate content pages is the original or main page. The tag looks like this: <link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.domainname.com/products/the-green-one” /> Let’s stop here for now :-) If this is all too much for you right now, don’t worry. All of these will be discussed in future blog posts sooner or later and I will show you exactly what to do to fix it if you think it’s broken. Don’t let this list intimidate you! It’s just a bunch of words describing some of the stuff that you will have to learn along the way if you want your website to surpass the competition. Is there a certain SEO buzz word that you’ve heard and would like to know more about? Just let me know in a comment and we’ll talk about it.
– Chris –
You probably already know that Adobe Flash technology doesn’t work on iOS and Android 4.1 and higher. If you combine that with the fact that over 50% of searches in Google are conducted on a mobile device, the math becomes real easy: with a flash-site you miss out on half of the visitors. And it’s about to get worse. As of July 14th, Google shows a warning message within the search results that the website one is about to visit is made in Flash and will probably not work on their device. Clever of Google. They just want to please their users by preventing a possibly unpleasant experience. This is what it looks like: So, if you haven’t already converted your flash site to an HTML5 site, now’s a good time ;-)
Besides Google Search as we know it, there is a whole other thing out there called Local Search of which Google Maps is a big part. But it’s more than that, and we’ll talk about that in more detail in future posts. For now, I just quickly wanted to let you know that having a landline phone number on the contact page and/or footer of your site is really important to Google. Here’s why. In a study Google published last may (’14), they discovered that 88% of people use their smartphone to perform a local search. And that is of huge importance to Google, because it also showed that those people prefer not only local results (restaurant, plumber, furniture store, etc.) but also local based adds. So, how does this ty in to your phone number? Well, to Google, your landline phone number is a very reliable indicator that you are truly located on that address. It can’t be a toll free number. It has to be registered locally. And when you want to claim your company’s Google Maps listing or try to move it to a different location, Google will probably call you on that phone number to verify your claim and listing. Yes, it is that important to them that it is accurate. At te very least, a person at Google will check your website and several registries to verify your address and phone number. So make sure you got it right. Not only for Google, but on most smartphones, a phone number displayed on we webpage is clickable and will start the phone call app. And with Apple’s Yosemity OS, and Skype, this also works on desktop more and more. Sure you can put a cell phone number on your site, but only as a second option besides your landline number. If being found on Google Maps and other Local Search results matters to you that is. And if there is more than one business registered on the same address, be it your own or if you are located in a mall or office building, make sure you have your own landline phone number listed on your site and not the one of the secretarial service everyone uses. You can redirect the calls to it, but it has to be your own unique phone number. Alright, I think you got the point :-) It’s important. Please check it and fix it if need be. – Chris –
With close to 70% market share worldwide, and in some countries close to 99%, Google is a force to reckon with. Every website owner knows that a good ranking in Google can make all the difference. There’s even an entire industry created around this simple (but not easy) concept. As a fan of the Pareto principle (the 80-20 rule) I would like to share with you the 20% of things you can do to get higher in Google that will provide you with 80% of the desired results. In other words, if you do a couple of things right, your webpage rankings will surpass many, many others that don’t have a clue. So let’s have a look at the stuff Google likes to see in a website so you can take action and reap the rewards. It’s often said that Google uses algorithms that take over 200 different factors in to account, in order to determine how high they should rank the different pages of your site in the search results. That here, my friend, is lesson one: Google ranks the PAGES of your site. Not your entire site as a whole. So the next time someone talks to you about how high their website is ranked in Google, you can ask: “What page of your website?” And that is encouraging to know, because now you have many chances to get different pages of your site ranked higher and higher in Google. Let’s move on. These 200+ aspects of the algorithms all have different weights. Not every aspect is as important as the next one. And Google is constantly tweaking the number of factors they consider as well as creating new ones and removing old ones. So no one knows the exact formula you could try here. Not even me :-) It is a well-kept, 50 billion dollar formula. But what I do know is that Google is focused on one thing. Just one: making it’s users happy by providing the best possible search results. And they will stop at nothing to deliver just that. Why? Because if the users are happy, Google is the preferred, default search engine the people use and therefor the one that gets the most advertising money. Last year, Google made over 50 billion dollars in advertising revenue. Which is over 90% of their total revenue. So you can imagine how they want to guard that. This simple way of looking at Google is so relevant and it will serve as a frame of reference in future articles. Many people are so focused on getting higher in Google that they forget to look at the big picture. And the big picture is this: Google is bigger, smarter and richer than you and has way more resources than you have. That’s why I can’t grasp why there are still people, website owners and even SEO-consultants that think they can out-smart Google with a few tricks. It’s mind boggling. It’s really very simple: Google wants to show the most relevant webpages for each specific search. And websites that think they are also relevant and should be shown for that search query can pay to be shown there. It’s called Adwords. :-) You see now why everyone that is trying to game the system by applying some ‘SEO-tactics’ is considered the enemy in the eyes of Google? Either they should pay to be shown (advertisement) or be so relevant that Google wants to show them for free to please their users. It’s really as simple as that. So in this series we will talk about the stuff that Google likes to see in a webpage that they actually want to show to their users. For free. To please them. We will not discuss ways to game the system or some fancy tricks that might work today but will get you penalized tomorrow. We will focus on strategies and tactics that will work for you both now and in the long run. For now, let’s recap the most important points:
- Google indexes webpages, not websites
- Google looks at over 200 – constantly changing – aspects when indexing your webpages.
- Google wants to be the nr. 1 search engine because of the advertising revenue (50b.) by giving the most relevant results
- People who try to game the system are Google’s enemies because they a) should pay for advertisement or b) displease the users by not being as relevant as possible
According to Google, over 50% of all searches are performed on a mobile device. To better service these searches (and to please it’s users) Google will favor websites that a) look good on a smartphone or tablet and b) have a well optimized local listing (Google Maps). The latter we’ll discuss in a later post, but for now, let’s look at the first one. It makes perfect sense if you think about it. If a person is looking for something on a small screen, he or she is best served with a website that can be read and navigated easily on a small screen. Right? So, does your website look good on a small screen? Or is it outdated, letters to small, sub menu doesn’t work properly? Mobile optimized One way to ensure that your website looks good on a small screen is to design it specifically for it. You then have 2 websites, one for desktop (the current one) and one for mobile. Perhaps even 3 (desktop, tablet, smartphone). Besides having to manage 3 websites instead of just one, there is another huge disadvantage. Your brand new mobile website will hardly have any PageRank. PageRank Google values the pages of your website with a so called PageRank. That is a score between 0 and 10 and it shows the value or weight of the links that point to that page. So if the New York Times has a link on it’s homepage that points to a page on your site, Google knows that your page is probably very important. But if your best friend Jerry puts a link on his site that points to your site, that has less value. Unless your friends last name is Seinfelt ;-) Responsive So, what to do? Well, from the PageRank point of view, wouldn’t it be nice if your current site looked great on both desktop as well as tablet and smartphone? Well, yeah! That would be awesome, because then the PageRank (which is one of many important factors Google uses to determine how high your site will be shown in Google) of your current pages will (also) be used for mobile searches. So, a website that ‘responds’ to the screen size it is viewed on is a responsive website. And a responsive website will generally be shown higher in Google on a mobile device than a special mobile optimized site, because it has higher PageRank. Swifty.online is an example of a responsive website. Have a look for yourself on a laptop and on your phone. See how the font size stays about the same and how the images scale. The site navigation is changed to a so called ‘hamburger-menu’ for easy access. All sites that will be made with SwiftySite 2.0 will all automatically be responsive and thus Google-ready. Have any questions? I’m here to help. photo credit: jiraisurfer via photopin cc