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Search trends 2018: what can marketers learn?

Posted by on Aug 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Search trends 2018: what can marketers learn?

Search trends 2018: what can marketers learn?

Google’s continued dominance as a search giant was evident in its third quarter earnings call, as it grew advertising revenue 18% year over year to $19.8 billion (Alphabet, as a total company, wasn’t too bad either, up 20% in total). Total paid clicks grew 33% year over year, while the cost per click dropped 11%.

So, what does this all mean? Simply put, Google is still a dominating force for both consumers, and therefore advertisers. This is an undeniable fact, but what is up for debate is how consumers and brands interact with the results Google returns to consumers.

Paid and organic increase

There have been significant updates over time in an effort to keep up with changing consumer and advertiser demands. This year so far, voice search, local listings, and mobile indexing have been big topics.

In an effort to monitor these changes, I have been tracking the search results activity for a number of brands over the past 9 years. I took 50 terms across five verticals to see how many times the same brand appears in paid and organic listings. The findings this year are very interesting.

Overall, it is clear that between Google’s changes (both algorithmically and an increasing number of paid listings), as well as each brand’s growing focus on search engine marketing, the amount of companies that appeared in both paid and organic listings reached its highest point in 9 years at 27%.

This was driven by the offset in categories going in two separate directions. Retail has gone down the last two consecutive years; I believe this is owing to an increase in Google shopping results, non-branded paid search, ROI challenges, retailers’ experiences, and of course, Amazon.

While retail is at a low, travel has increased consistently over time. I believe this category is growing as a result of direct booking on travel sites that comes with price guarantees.

The tech category also saw a spike. A big contributor to this trend is the branding that is occurring in the industry. Consumers aren’t just searching for smart speakers, they are specifically searching for Alexa and Google Home, for example.

These companies have done a good job circumventing shopping at the category level, and have jumped directly to branded terms. We’ve never seen a category have greater than 50% overlap of paid and organic brands listed. Given this trend, this year technology spiked to 68%.

Appearance in search results

In addition to brands balancing their paid and organic results, I also wanted to start watching how often four paid search ads, shopping listings and local listings appear in search results. Google has been offering these different ‘sections’ of the search results page in an effort to answer a consumer’s query with the information they might be looking for.

 

I’ve identified two major takeaways from this. First is the decrease of listings with four paid search ads. Year-over-year, every category is down, with the exception of the financial services industry, which makes sense given the competitive nature of this category and the high value of the products. These keywords have the highest CPCs of any category. So naturally, brands are willing to pay and Google is willing to take their money.

Shopping ads are fairly flat across these categories. They are prevalent for verticals where products can be purchased, and are not displayed in the other categories. Shopping is incredibly important for the retail vertical and I expect this trend to stay the same as the retail war with Amazon and consumers wages on.

 

The second trend is one that is not a surprise for BrandMuscle given our focus on local, but might be for many who are catching on to the importance of local in the mobile world. Local listings are now shown across all verticals and growing in key sectors like retail. This is extremely important to pay attention to for two reasons:

As consumers shift to mobile, they expect their devices to know where they are and show relevant local listings
These listings offer the opportunity for brands to see free traffic.

What can brands take from this?

So what are the key items brands need to think about with these trends?

Local listings are growing and demand attention. Do some searches for your category terms. Are local listings being shown? If so, are you included in those listings? These are ranked in two ways:

The distance of the location to the searcher
The validity of data across platforms – this is the one you can control.

Are your locations name, address, and phone number accurate across Google, Facebook, Yelp, and others? You’d be surprised how often these are incorrect. Spend some time focusing on cleaning up this data and monitor your results – I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

It’s important to consider your integrated strategy for both paid and organic search. Brands are owning more and more of the search real estate. It is vital that you have a strategy that does not give up ground to these brands, but focuses on your core strengths and differentiators. For example, perhaps you can’t afford to buy the keyword ‘car insurance’, but you can own ‘SR-22 insurance’ as a term, given your company’s key strengths.

Keep a close eye on Google’s changes. Google has been very active in staying ahead of consumer expectations and technology. This includes switching to mobile indexing and launching new tools for Google My Business, among other items. This requires focus and planning for businesses to adopt these changes and stay best-in-class.

Search is one of the most important tools in a marketer’s toolbox. These trends and feature changes make it an exciting place to work and spend time. I look forward to watching how brands react to these trends and monitoring more changes in the future.

WordPress: What is Gutenberg?

Posted by on Aug 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress: What is Gutenberg?

WordPress: What is Gutenberg?

You might have felt some tremors in the WordPress world. There is something brewing. Something called Gutenberg. It’s the new editing environment in WordPress and the impact it’s going to have will be massive. Some welcome it with open arms, while others are critical. There is also a large group of WordPress users who don’t have a clue what’s going on. Here, we’ll introduce Gutenberg.

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Gutenberg is the first step for a bright new future for WordPress

It’s something many people often gloss over, but Gutenberg is not just a new editor for WordPress. It’s the start of something much bigger. Gutenberg lays the groundwork for incredibly exciting developments. Gutenberg is stage one of a three-pronged roll-out strategy. First, WordPress will get a redeveloped editor, after that the project will focus on page templates and in the final stage WordPress will become a full site customizer. You can imagine, this gives us endless possibilities and it is a necessary step to keep WordPress the #1 CMS for years to come.

Today, we’re focusing on stage one. The new Gutenberg editor will land in WordPress 5.0 sometime this year. We’re getting closer to the launch and loads of people are working around the clock to turn this editor into a solid and stable product. We have a big team working on it as well, both on the editor itself and our integration with it. Very shortly, we’ll be able to show you the first results of their hard work! So keep an eye on our plugin releases.

Opening Gutenberg for the first time

When you open the new editor for the first time you’re probably looking for the interface we have all grown accustomed to. That, however, is gone. We now have a very clean writing environment, with great typography and lots of space for your content to shine. On the right-hand side, you can open the settings — per document or per block — by clicking on the cog icon. Clicking on the three dots beside that cog lets you switch to the code editor so you can make your edits on the code side of things.

Now, seeing this screen might cause you to turn around and run — please don’t. We all know people have a hard time changing from one thing that they know well to something new. Both Marieke and Willemien had reservations regarding writing and editing in Gutenberg.

People find it hard to accept change when they don’t see why it’s necessary to change something that was working ok. Well, in this case, it’s relatively easy to understand: to get ready for the future, WordPress needs to adapt. Gutenberg introduces concepts and technologies that help make WordPress future proof. Most visible right now? The concept of a block.

In Gutenberg, everything is a block

Gutenberg introduces blocks. Previously, your content lived inside one big HTML file and for every enhancement there had to be something new: shortcodes, custom post types, embeds, widgets and the like. All with their quirky interfaces and weird behavior. Now, you can build your content precisely like you make a LEGO set: all from one box, following a standardized and straightforward set of instructions. In the animated gif below, I’ll quickly show you some blocks and add an image as a block:

By using this blocks concept, you can now determine what every part of your content is. Not only that, you can define their specifications per block. So, for instance, you can turn a single line of text into a quote by changing its block type. After that, it gets a new set of options that you can set. You can change the type of quote, its placement, text decoration et cetera. This goes for all blocks. There are blocks for, among other things:

Paragraphs
Lists
Quotes
Headings
Code
Images
Galleries
Shortcodes
Columns
Buttons
Widgets
And a ton of embeds

Every block you make can get its own layout and settings. And you can save these as reusable blocks!

Gutenberg

Reusable blocks

One of the coolest things about Gutenberg is reusable blocks. Think of these as a completed block that you can save along with its settings. For instance, if you’ve made a cool looking layout for the intro of your blog articles, you can save this as a reusable block. After that, you only have to go to Add Block -> Saved to pick your reusable intro block. How cool is that!

This is an incredibly basic example, but you can think of a lot more complex uses for this! How about a complete gallery where you only have to drop in the images. Or a multi-column article template with great typography for killer blog posts. And of course, developers can hook into this as well, so there are bound to arrive some great blocks that’ll make our lives so much easier. There is no limit to this. This is all made possible because we have full control over all individual blocks.

Yoast SEO and Gutenberg

We’ve been heavily investing in Gutenberg since the beginning. We have several developers that are helping to improve Gutenberg full time. Also, we have been actively researching how, why and where we should integrate Yoast SEO inside Gutenberg. Even for us, the possibilities are endless. We won’t be able to build everything we’re dreaming of right away, as we’re focusing on giving you the best possible basic integration first. But, keep in mind, there is a lot more to come from us!

Let The Gut Guys explain Gutenberg for you

Two of the most active Yoasters in the Gutenberg development team is our UX designer Tim and software architect Anton. These guys are so passionate about Gutenberg that we’re featuring the dynamic duo in an exclusive video series called The Gut Guys — Gut as in ‘good’. They will show you around the Gutenberg editing experience and explain the why and how of the new editor. We’re regularly adding new installments. Watch it and subscribe!

Need more? Check this essential talk

We know thinking and talking about Gutenberg can be tiring, but that’s mostly because we are keeping those thoughts in the now. We should most definitely look at the broader picture and see where Gutenberg can take WordPress. To explain that, I’d like to ask you to invest 45 minutes of your time in watching this essential talk by Morten Rand-Hendriksen.

Conclusion to what is Gutenberg?

There’s no beating around the bush: Gutenberg is coming. We’re getting ready for it and you should as well. The new editor will probably take some getting used to and it might break some stuff, but in the end, we will get a much more streamlined environment with a lot of cool possibilities down the road.

The most important thing you can do right now is installing the plugin. Play with it, test it, break it. Add every issue you find to Gutenberg’s GitHub: things that don’t work or should work better. We need as many eyes on this as we can, so we need you. Don’t just talk and yell: contribute! Your contributions will make or break this project.

Read more: Gutenberg: Concepts for integrating Yoast SEO »

The post WordPress: What is Gutenberg? appeared first on Yoast.

What Do Dolphins Eat? Lessons from How Kids Search

Posted by on Aug 11, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What Do Dolphins Eat? Lessons from How Kids Search

What Do Dolphins Eat? Lessons from How Kids Search

Posted by willcritchlow

Kids may search differently than adults, but there are some interesting insights from how they use Google that can help deepen our understanding of searchers in general. Comfort levels with particular search strategies, reading only the bold words, taking search suggestions and related searches as answers — there’s a lot to dig into. In this week’s slightly different-from-the-norm Whiteboard Friday, we welcome the fantastic Will Critchlow to share lessons from how kids search.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. I’m Will Critchlow, founder and CEO of Distilled, and this week’s Whiteboard Friday is a little bit different. I want to talk about some surprising and interesting and a few funny facts that I learnt when I was reading some research that Google did about how kids search for information. So this isn’t super actionable. This is not about tactics of improving your website particularly. But I think we get some insights — they were studying kids aged 7 to 11 — by looking at how kids interact. We can see some reflections or some ideas about how there might be some misconceptions out there about how adults search as well. So let’s dive into it.

What do dolphins eat?

I’ve got this “What do dolphins eat?” because this was the first question that the researchers gave to the kids to say sit down in front of a search box, go. They tell this little anecdote, a little bit kind of soul-destroying, of this I think it was a seven-year-old child who starts typing dolphin, D-O-L-F, and then presses Enter, and it was like sadly there’s no dolphins, which hopefully they found him some dolphins. But a lot of the kids succeeded at this task.

Different kinds of searchers

The researchers divided the ways that the kids approached it up into a bunch of different categories. They found that some kids were power searchers. Some are what they called “developing.” They classified some as “distracted.” But one that I found fascinating was what they called visual searchers. I think they found this more commonly among the younger kids who were perhaps a little bit less confident reading and writing. It turns out that, for almost any question you asked them, these kids would turn first to image search.

So for this particular question, they would go to image search, typically just type “dolphin” and then scroll and go looking for pictures of a dolphin eating something. Then they’d find a dolphin eating a fish, and they’d turn to the researcher and say “Look, dolphins eat fish.” Which, when you think about it, I quite like in an era of fake news. This is the kids doing primary research. They’re going direct to the primary source. But it’s not something that I would have ever really considered, and I don’t know if you would. But hopefully this kind of sparks some thought and some insights and discussions at your end. They found that there were some kids who pretty much always, no matter what you asked them, would always go and look for pictures.

Kids who were a bit more developed, a bit more confident in their reading and writing would often fall into one of these camps where they were hopefully focusing on the attention. They found a lot of kids were obviously distracted, and I think as adults this is something that we can relate to. Many of the kids were not really very interested in the task at hand. But this kind of path from distracted to developing to power searcher is an interesting journey that I think totally applies to grown-ups as well.

In practice: [wat do dolfin eat]

So I actually, after I read this paper, went and did some research on my kids. So my kids were in roughly this age range. When I was doing it, my daughter was eight and my son was five and a half. Both of them interestingly typed “wat do dolfin eat” pretty much like this. They both misspelled “what,” and they both misspelled “dolphin.” Google was fine with that. Obviously, these days this is plenty close enough to get the result you wanted. Both of them successfully answered the question pretty much, but both of them went straight to the OneBox. This is, again, probably unsurprising. You can guess this is probably how most people search.

“Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” The path from distracted to developing

So there’s a OneBox that comes up, and it’s got a picture of a dolphin. So my daughter, a very confident reader, she loves reading, “wat do dolfin eat,” she sat and she read the OneBox, and then she turned to me and she said, “It says they eat fish and herring. Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” I think this was her going from distracted into developing probably. To start off with, she was just answering this question because I had asked her to. But then she saw a word that she didn’t know, and suddenly she was curious. She had to kind of carefully type it because it’s a slightly tricky word to spell. But she was off looking up what is a cephalopod, and you could see the engagement shift from “I’m typing this because Dad has asked me to and it’s a bit interesting I guess” to “huh, I don’t know what a cephalopod is, and now I’m doing my own research for my own reasons.” So that was interesting.

“Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales”: Reading the bold words

My son, as I said, typed something pretty similar, and he, at the point when he was doing this, was at the stage of certainly capable of reading, but generally would read out loud and a little bit halting. What was fascinating on this was he only read the bold words. He read it out loud, and he didn’t read the OneBox. He just read the bold words. So he said to me, “Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales,” because killer whales, for some reason, was bolded. I guess it was pivoting from talking about what dolphins eat to what killer whales eat, and he didn’t read the context. This cracked him up. So he thought that was ridiculous, and isn’t it funny that Google thinks that dolphins eat killer whales.

That is similar to some stuff that was in the original research, where there were a bunch of common misconceptions it turns out that kids have and I bet a bunch of adults have. Most adults probably don’t think that the bold words in the OneBox are the list of the answer, but it does point to the problems with factual-based, truthy type queries where Google is being asked to be the arbiter of truth on some of this stuff. We won’t get too deep into that.

Common misconceptions for kids when searching

1. Search suggestions are answers

But some common misconceptions they found some kids thought that the search suggestions, so the drop-down as you start typing, were the answers, which is bit problematic. I mean we’ve all seen kind of racist or hateful drop-downs in those search queries. But in this particular case, it was mainly just funny. It would end up with things like you start asking “what do dolphins eat,” and it would be like “Do dolphins eat cats” was one of the search suggestions.

2. Related searches are answers

Similar with related searches, which, as we know, are not answers to the question. These are other questions. But kids in particular — I mean, I think this is true of all users — didn’t necessarily read the directions on the page, didn’t read that they were related searches, just saw these things that said “dolphin” a lot and started reading out those. So that was interesting.

How kids search complicated questions

The next bit of the research was much more complex. So they started with these easy questions, and they got into much harder kind of questions. One of them that they asked was this one, which is really quite hard. So the question was, “Can you find what day of the week the vice president’s birthday will fall on next year?” This is a multifaceted, multipart question.

How do they handle complex, multi-step queries?

Most of the younger kids were pretty stumped on this question. Some did manage it. I think a lot of adults would fail at this. So if you just turn to Google, if you just typed this in or do a voice search, this is the kind of thing that Google is almost on the verge of being able to do. If you said something like, “When is the vice president’s birthday,” that’s a question that Google might just be able to answer. But this kind of three-layered thing, what day of the week and next year, make this actually a very hard query. So the kids had to first figure out that, to answer this, this wasn’t a single query. They had to do multiple stages of research. When is the vice president’s birthday? What day of the week is that date next year? Work through it like that.

I found with my kids, my eight-year-old daughter got stuck halfway through. She kind of realized that she wasn’t going to get there in one step, but also couldn’t quite structure the multi-levels needed to get to, but also started getting a bit distracted again. It was no longer about cephalopods, so she wasn’t quite as interested.

Search volume will grow in new areas as Google’s capabilities develop

This I think is a whole area that, as Google’s capabilities develop to answer more complex queries and as we start to trust and learn that those kind of queries can be answered, what we see is that there is going to be increasing, growing search volume in new areas. So I’m going to link to a post I wrote about a presentation I gave about the next trillion searches. This is my hypothesis that essentially, very broad brush strokes, there are a trillion desktop searches a year. There are a trillion mobile searches a year. There’s another trillion out there in searches that we don’t do yet because they can’t be answered well. I’ve got some data to back that up and some arguments why I think it’s about that size. But I think this is kind of closely related to this kind of thing, where you see kids get stuck on these kind of queries.

Incidentally, I’d encourage you to go and try this. It’s quite interesting, because as you work through trying to get the answer, you’ll find search results that appear to give the answer. So, for example, I think there was an About.com page that actually purported to give the answer. It said, “What day of the week is the vice president’s birthday on?” But it had been written a year before, and there was no date on the page. So actually it was wrong. It said Thursday. That was the answer in 2016 or 2017. So that just, again, points to the difference between primary research, the difference between answering a question and truth. I think there’s a lot of kind of philosophical questions baked away in there.

Kids get comfortable with how they search – even if it’s wrong

So we’re going to wrap up with possibly my favorite anecdote of the user research that these guys did, which was that they said some of these kids, somewhere in this developing stage, get very attached to searching in one particular way. I guess this is kind of related to the visual search thing. They find something that works for them. It works once. They get comfortable with it, they’re familiar with it, and they just do that for everything, whether it’s appropriate or not. My favorite example was this one child who apparently looked for information about both dolphins and the vice president of the United States on the SpongeBob SquarePants website, which I mean maybe it works for dolphins, but I’m guessing there isn’t an awful lot of VP information.

So anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little adventure into how kids search and maybe some things that we can learn from it. Drop some anecdotes of your own in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences and some of the funny things that you’ve learnt along the way. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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WordPress Performance – 4 Easy Ways to Boost the Speed of Your Website

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress Performance – 4 Easy Ways to Boost the Speed of Your Website

What is website page speed?

A website page speed is also called “page-load time”. It generally refers to the amount of time required by your website pages to load and become visible once a user requests them. Normally, the recommended standard load time for a web page is 2 seconds. Therefore, if your website pages load slower than this, you should work on optimizing your website.

A poor page-load speed results in a poor users’ experience. It usually causes a higher bounce rate which implies that visitors leave your site quicker than expected. Although you may see it as a win to have a lot of traffic flowing into your website, the fact is that a high bounce rate is counter-productive.

Apart from the fact that a poor page-load speed will make you lose your site visitors, it also affects your website placement on Google search results. This is one of the reasons why you need to act decisively on your website page speed. In this article, we shall discuss the relationship between Google and page speed, factors that determine your website load speed, causes, and solutions to poor website page speed.

Google and page speed

As of April 2010, Google added a new requirement of website page speed to their ranking algorithm. This means that the speed of your website, apart from SEO and other factors, will determine how it will be ranked on Google. At the time of introducing this new rule, fairly about 1% of the total websites were affected. However, with the rate at which new websites are being launched every day, this factor has become competitive and practically the survival of the fittest.

It is important to know that Google and other Search Engines introduce this factor to promote high-quality sites in lieu of low-quality ones. A fast page-load speed gives an impression that your site is standard and usable to visitors.

Therefore, it is even safe to conclude that Google is doing you a favor by encouraging you to optimize your website page speed because a slow website can cost you potential customers who want to load few more pages before placing an order on your product/service. More than half of website visitors lose interest if your website page takes more than 5 seconds to load. So, regardless of what Google or other search engines are forcing you to do, your website page speed should be one of the few things in your mind if you truly want to make the best out of your visitors.

Factors that affect page speed

So, what are the factors that affect/determine a website’s page speed?

1.     Images

Websites with large images, several small images or other flash graphics can lose out to websites with fewer and small images in search engines. This means that the type and volume of the images on your website greatly affect your website page speed. The fact that images do affect website load speed doesn’t mean you should not use images on your website. In fact, most websites rely on images. However, it does mean that you should be cautious about the way you use images.

2.     Scripts

Some websites are designed using complex unresponsive scripts which has a significant effect on the page-load speed. Too many scripts on a website affect the page speed. This is why most web designers avoid using too many Javascripts when designing a professional website. Not only Javascript, the Google Adsense and analytics script codes also add to the weight.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is also another script that adds weight to the website. The implication of having too many scripts is that the server has to look for each of these scripts before the page is fully displayed. Therefore, the more scripts you have, the more time it takes the server to locate these scripts, and ultimately the slower the page-load speed.

Why is your website page-load speed so ridiculous?

Are you wondering the why your WordPress website is too slow in loading? Here are the major causes of a slow WordPress website.

 

 

  • Web Hosting: Your WordPress website can be slow if your website hosting server is not properly configured and this can hurt your website page speed.
  • WordPress Configuration: WordPress configuration includes the HTTP protocols and cache plug-ins you use. If your website is not serving a cached page to your visitors, the pressure of having to fetch each script always will reduce your page speed and cause the website to crash finally.
  • Page Size: Your WordPress site is possibly slow because you have too many images that are not optimized.
  • Bad Plug-ins: Using bad plug-ins, especially those from third-parties can significantly slow down your website page-load speed.
  • External scripts: If your WordPress website uses external scripts, such as JS, CSS, ads, and font loaders, then your page speed can be greatly affected.

How to check your page speed

Luckily, Google itself offers an easy and hassle-free way to check your website page speed. Plus, Google also provides suggestions on how you can improve your page speed which makes it highly beneficial and useful to you. You can check out the Google Pagespeed insight tool here.

Alternatively, there are other tools online that you can use to check your page speed. These tools come with additional features, such as comparison with competitors and a host of others. These tools will help identify the factors affecting your page speed and how you can resolve them.

4 Easy Ways to Boost the Speed of Your Website

Now that you know the meaning of website page speed and aware of the dangers a slow WordPress website can bring, let us consider the 4 easy ways to boost the speed of your website.

1.     Use a Cache Plugin

Without a doubt, WordPress offers you a handful of plug-ins that allow you to personalize your website. There are several cache plugins that you can use to boost your page load time and boost the overall users’ experience.

How caching works

When a user visits your website page, your server retrieves the information in your MySQL database and PHP files, and then deliver it to your visitor in form of HTML content. This is a process usually take a long time but can be reduced significantly by using a caching plug-in.

WordPress caching plugins saves a copy of your webpage once it is visited. This saved copy is presented to other users when they visit the same page. Therefore, your server will not have to go through a whole page generation stress but rather deliver the saved (cached) page.

Another way of using cache is to encourage your users to enable cache or use a cache-enabled browser. The browser saves the webpage when the user first accesses our site. This page is saved in the hard drive of the user and is automatically generated whenever the user tries to access the website again without processing any HTTP request. Therefore, you can deliver fast website speed to your users by using the WordPress cache plug-in and by encouraging your users to enable cache on their browser. Popular WordPress cache plug-ins include W3 total cache, Cache clear, and WP super cache.

2.     Optimize Images

As indicated earlier, images play a significant role in your website’s page speed. Of course, images are an important ingredient of every website. It gives a sense of reality and visual touch to the website. However, too many images are unhealthy for your website, especially when they are not optimized. In order to boost the size of your website, you need to compress the size of your images without compromising their quality. The best way to do it by using WordPress image-optimization plug-ins, such as EWWW Image Optimizer, Compress JPG and PNG, and a host of others. These plug-ins will help you compress the images without compromising their qualities.

3.     Keep WordPress Updated

WordPress is a well-maintained open-source project and is frequently maintained and updated. Each update comes not only with new features but also fix security issues, bugs, and challenges. Likewise, your themes and plug-ins are frequently updated for the same purpose.

As a WordPress site owner, it is your responsibility to keep your WordPress, plug-ins, and themes updated as soon as new versions are released. There is no gain using outdated versions of WordPress and its compatriots when practically new improved versions have been released. Rather, it makes your website slow, unsafe, and vulnerable to attacks and security threats.

4.     Use Excerpts of Your Pages on the Homepage

By default, WordPress displays the full content of each article on the homepage. This ultimately means that your website homepage will load slower than expected. Apart from making the pages load relatively slowly, showing full articles on your homepage can disfigure the entire site layout and users may not even bother to visit and read the remaining article.

In order to increase your page-load speed and encourage users to spend more time on your website exploring full details of your articles, you should display only the excerpts on your homepage instead of the full article. To do this, navigate to Settings >> Reading and select “Summary” instead of full text. Likewise, there are several themes out there that are configured to display only the excerpts of your articles.

Conclusion

A slow website does not only turn users/readers off but also at a disadvantage when it comes to Google ranking. The average standard page-load time for website pages is 2 seconds. If your website loads slower than this, you should consider optimizing it. Discussed in this article are the causes and effects of a slow website as well as 4 easy ways to resolve them.

What Are Canonical Links And Why You Should Canonicalize Your URL

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What Are Canonical Links And Why You Should Canonicalize Your URL

What Are Canonical Links And Why You Should Canonicalize Your URL

What Are Canonical Links And Why You Should
Canonicalize Your URL

When learning how to best optimize your website for search engines, there seem to have a new jargon or buzzword created every few months and is thrown at you expecting you to understand what it means.

One of the SEO buzzwords we’re looking at today is “Canonicalization”. While this jargon isn’t exactly new, it’s definitely a bit of a mouthful. In plain English, good canonicalization means search engines crawl more pages of your site. You’d want that to happen very much if you’re thinking of ranking high on Google or bringing massive traffic to your site.

Some of you might have heard of this before but don’t know what it means, some of you know what it means but do not know how to use it and others might not even seen this word before. Regardless of your level of knowledge on Canonicalization, you should read on to fully understand what this means and how it affects your SEO.

Since early 2009, all major search engines has supported the canonical tag. However, not many web developers or users do canonicalization on their URLs despite it’s benefits. This can be due to the lack of knowledge regarding canonical tags, its benefits or how to use it.

What Are Canonical Links?

Nope, not these can(n)ons.

Search engines like Google work by “crawling” through an enormous list of websites, analyzing the content on the page, and then categorizing the results through a cross-referenced database of variables like the website’s URL and date of last modification for rapid turnaround times on any query entered into the engine.

A canonical link is a special designation slipped into the code of a web page to indicate that another page should be considered the origin of the information when the search engine displays the findings to the user.

Other factors will weigh in on which specific web pages the search engine shows for every user, the device they are using, and the peculiarities of how they phrase their search, but the canonical link has a profound impact on the algorithms.

In your browser of choice, there should be an option to view the source code of any web page you happen to be browsing.

Typically, you’ll be able to access it by right-clicking anywhere on the page and clicking the option to “View page source”. Similarly, you can also get it by clicking “Inspect element”.

When you do, an array of text will appear in your browser window or in a new tab. You should be able to note several sections set apart by symbols, such as:

<meta content="A description of the content in the web page." name="description" />

These are blocks of code in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). If the website has canonicalize it’s URL, a canonical link will appear somewhere in this source code using a syntax similar to the following:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://rankreveal.com/" />

For example:

Once you’ve clicked the View page source button, you’ll see something like this, a wall of HTML codes. You should be able to locate the canonical tag on the top of the page under the <head> section. Or, you can just use the find function (ctrl + F) of your browser to locate it.

Beyond these basics, canonical links vary only in how you use them to drive your search results and website layout.

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Why Should You Care About Canonical Links?

This seemingly simple link element, introduced jointly by Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo way back in 2009, was designed to help clean up the link structure with duplicate content for search purposes.

Simply put, the HTML tag informs search engines which page they should pay attention to in a grouping of near identical content. This useful element has unfortunately become a source of a lot of confusion which has led to many sites choosing to avoid the problem entirely by leaving it out and hoping that the impact will be minimal on their search engine rankings.

Failure to do so leaves your site vulnerable to lost opportunities from missed traffic, SEO traction, and other search engine penalties.

If you’re not using canonical link for your website, you’ll lose out SEO juice!
Click To Tweet

Why Do I Have Duplicate Content?

There are many useful scenarios in which your site might have two or more pages with the same content. E-commerce sites, for example, often have one product featured on multiple URLs to track the origin point of click-throughs from advertising associates and social media sites.

A website featuring recipes or workout plans might have a media-rich page full of robust animations and sounds intended for a desktop environment with a broadband connection while linking to a printer-friendly version with identical content for ease of distribution.

These are just a small sample of the reasons a website administrator might want to have multiple URLs direct to the same content, but this would otherwise create issues in your SEO practices without the implementation of canonical links.

Understanding Search Engine Indexing and Duplication

Within a content management system, best practices for new material on a website includes categorization along multiple, cross-referenced points of the data and metadata of the item.

A date-based archive, a content-relevant category, a homepage presentation, and it’s original URL – this data is transmitted to the search engines who view each instance of the same information as a unique URL that must be indexed and listed individually.

One page can have up to 8 entries on each search engine. This leads to the ‘duplicate entries omitted’ line of text seen in some search results, even if the multiple entries are present only within the site’s database.

The canonical link element lets the search engine know the order of importance of each of those entries. “This one,” it tells the search engine, “rather than that one.” Each entry will still be indexed into the vast trove of information gathered by the crawler, but the one the search engine defers to when revealing the listing to the searching public is one of your choosing.

The search engine then perceives the remaining indexed pages as part of a cohesive group, rather than individual entries. This grants the site a higher ranking because the results aren’t being split between the duplicate copies.

example.com
www.example.com
www.example.com/
www.example.com/index.html
www.example.com/index.html?var=1
www.mysite.com/en/us/
www.<ExternalHostProvider>.com/example

Why Should You Use Canonical Links?

The primary benefits of properly using canonical links are derived from the direction of traffic flow across URLs with similar content and improving the reliability of the data gathered from your website analytics.

Although search engines are reluctant to give out the exact details of how their algorithms work, improperly categorized duplicate content is known to negatively impact the ratings assigned to a website and have the potential to spur a direct punishment if they believe you are intentionally attempting to mislead the crawler to draw in more traffic.

Search engines do so to provide more satisfying results to their users and thus draw in more traffic for themselves, so taking advantage of the service they provide requires adhering to their guidelines.

Another reason to use <rel=canonical> is link juice. One of the ways Google determine the quality of a link is through amount of traffic and click-through-rate. So if you website does not have a canonical link, the traffic (link juice) will be divided among separate URLs even though they are technically the same site.

Just imagine having a jug of water and pouring into a few different cups, you’ll have little left for each. But if you have a canonical link, your traffic will all go to the same URL and hence all of the link juice will go into that cup, hence giving your website maximum link juice.

Not to Be Confused: The 301 Redirect

Canonical links should not be mistaken for a 301 Redirect, a function that appears similar to the end user but goes through a different underlying process.

Canonical Redirect vs 301 Redirect

Basically, a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. These website redirect links various URLs under one umbrella so search engines rank all the addresses based on the domain authority from inbound links.

Despite the correlation in the behavior of the 301 and canonical links, the former forces an action on the part of users and search engines by forcing an update of the stored data for that site’s permalink. The previous link and its content is skipped entirely as the browser journeys on to its new destination.

When should you use a 301 redirect instead of a canonical link?

Although on the surface the functionality of a canonical link is quite similar to that of a 301 redirect, in terms of metrics they are not. While they both tell search engines to treat multiple pages (or URLs) as a single page, a 301 redirects all traffic to a specific URL and a canonical tag does not.

If your site structure has changed, then a 301 redirect is the preferred option, since it will also correct bookmarks. If your site has duplicate content, but you need to measure traffic to each URL, use a canonical link for the benefit of the search engines.

Below is a video of Matt Cutts explaining the benefits of a 301 redirect over rel=canonical:

Let’s Get Canonical!

Now that you are a canonical link expert, you can start cleaning up your site. Take note of the canonical links already in place and look for content that might benefit from their introduction.

Make sure to work alongside your website administrator, IT support staff, or anyone else who happens to be working on the website so that you all remain on the same page. With luck and further education, your website can be a stellar beacon of search engine optimization in no time.

This post was originally written by Zhi Yuan and published on Aug 4, 2015. It was most recently updated on Aug 10, 2018.

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SEO Top 40 Jargons:
Explained In Plain English

40 of only the most useful SEO terminologies.
Your first guide to the SEO world.
Aimed at complete beginners.
Compact and super easy to read!

The Best And Worst Times To Send Emails

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Best And Worst Times To Send Emails

The Best And Worst Times To Send Emails

The Best And Worst Times To Send Emails

If you were following our blog last week you would have read our post A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Marketing Campaigns, which —you guessed it— was packed with tips on effective email marketing strategies. In the post, we also promised an upcoming blog about the best and worst times to send emails. Here it is!

When we first began sending emails to our subscribers, we first had to figure out the best day and best time to send emails. Just in the same way a café may have a morning or lunch rush hour, there’s also a ‘rush hour’ when people are more likely to get on their phones or laptops.

Finding that sweet spot brought just the benefits we hoped for: we’re able to ensure that we achieve a high rate of emails opened, and then click-through to our site. This generates high traffic, which in turn, can generate sales.

It sounds so simple, and it is! It’s just a matter of figuring out that first step. But first, let’s get to the roots.

It’s no secret that your email subscribers are your most loyal audience. They have the most incentive and the ability to share your content. Once it is sent, this sharing creates more traffic, more subscribers, and more customers.

Combining timing with a healthy subscriber list ensures your site sees all of these benefits and more. It’s a snowball effect of success.

Timing Is Everything

Your email marketing campaign is ready to launch! Your subject line is attention-grabbing, your content is interesting, your offer is compelling, your email is beautifully designed. You’re set up for success, right? Only if it were that easy!.

All of your hard work has the potential of falling flat if your timing happens to be off. The quest of getting your subscribers to open your emails relies largely on this. But don’t fear, as we’ve been there too and we’re here to figure it out with you.

The first key tip I have to share is don’t forget about time zones.

To solve the time zone issue, you can either choose to send emails based on the most important time zone or segment your subscribers lists.

We talked about this a bit more in our post The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media previously. It can be so easy to forget that if you schedule your email to be sent out at 10am on Tuesday your time, your recipients may instead receive it at 2am on a Monday their time. Oops!

We tackle this by using Aweber to create a breakdown list by time zone. We’re able to categorize our subscribers to ensure that they receive our emails at the same time, no matter where they are in the world.

Don’t fear if your mailing service doesn’t offer this feature. You can instead look at your data to see where the majority of your audience is based.

If your company is based locally, go with your own time zone. However, if your audience is a global one then target the time zone of most of your subscribers (Aweber also tracks this for us, as many other mailing services will do too).

For instance, if your audience is in the US, target the Eastern Time Zone, as this includes nearly 50% of the population, which is the highest population concentration in a single US time zone.

All About the Audiences

Campaign success, as always, depends on the audience. Understanding the demographic of our audience has helped us shape the content and direction of our work here at SEOPressor. It’s also the driving force in working out the best and worst times to send emails.

The first question to ask is:

Do your emails attract young professionals, or older, more experienced business people?

Knowing this will help give you a general idea of their schedule and when they are most likely to scroll through their phones. For example, sending an email on a Saturday evening will be less effective with a younger crowd, who may be out until late at night, heading home without checking their email.

In the same way, sending out your email on a weekend morning may not effectively reach subscribers with children, who may take Saturdays and Sundays out as the time to spend with their families.

So, it’s not only about the content, it’s about the audience too!

The Best Day To Send Emails

After years in the internet marketing industry, here’s what we found out:

The Three Best Days To Send Email

Research taken from 10 studies have proven that Tuesday is the best day to send email out into the world. The studies show that the highest email open rates happen on Tuesdays, which we know then leads to more click-through and higher site traffic.

The next highest open rate is shown to be on a Thursday. If you’re aiming to send two emails per week, we’d recommend choosing Tuesday as your first day, and Thursday as the second.

None of the ten studies showed that Wednesdays were the most successful day to send email, but it did come in at second a few times. Be sure not to overload your subscribers’ inboxes by sending them emails two days in a row! Flooding their inboxes could create the opposite effect, and you may see no clickthroughs at all.

So, if you do choose Wednesday as your day to schedule your emails, try to avoid sending again on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

On the other hand, Hubspot’s report revealed that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday had the most email opens.

The worst days for open rates were weekends for majority of the businesses, hands down.

The verdict: Best days to send are on weekdays.

It’s About Subjectivity

Do keep in mind that despite these statistics, a lot of this can be subjective. We’ve found it’s best to base our email schedule on what works best for our clients. For instance, the data we gather from Aweber shows us that our email opens have a great success rate on Saturdays and Sundays, which isn’t always common. I’ll get to that in a little bit in our Weekend Warriors section below.

But first, let’s see what the best time to send email marketing campaigns is.

The Best Time To Send Email

This can be tricky, with many more options for effective time slots. What we’ve found helps is thinking of when our subscribers may be most likely to have the time to browse on their phones.

Seeing which is the best time of day to send email is especially important because data shows that the most email opens are likely to happen within the first hour of your mail being sent! This percentage continues to drop off after this first hour, so making sure you choose a productive hour is your key to success.

Mornings are definitely a great time. People are checking their phones first thing after waking up, or on their commute to work, perhaps with a cup of coffee in hand while getting up to date for the day.

The first peak, not so surprisingly, is at 6am. This is likely to be because of the statistic that indicates a whopping 50% of people begin their work day by checking their emails in bed. If your audiences are workaholics, 6am might be the perfect time for your email to land in their inboxes.

There’s also high success between 9am and 11am, with a spike at 10am. If your subscribers are likely to be settling in at work and getting up to date online at 10am, this could be the optimum time for you.

There’s another peak in the afternoon at 2pm, when people have finished lunch and are looking forward to finishing work. If a majority of your subscribers are office workers, this could be a great time to schedule your email.

Another high success rate occurs in the evenings, from 8pm to midnight. Guilty as charged, — I often check my emails again right before bed. With so many internet distractions these days, many people like to try and keep their mornings open for productivity, and will avoid marketing emails in the mornings. The evening then becomes the perfect time to check their inboxes for other, non-work related emails.

The verdict: Most people tend to open their emails in the morning, especially on business days.

What We Think

This is what we have learned as we’ve gone along, and hopefully will give you, even more insights into the best and worst times to send emails.

The Monday Blues

We all know this feeling! After a weekend off, catching up with friends, or simply staying in pajamas for 48 hours, it’s hard to get revved up for a week ahead of work.

For this reason, Mondays are generally considered to be the worst day you can send your marketing emails or newsletters. This is because people are often more likely to arrive at work, open their inboxes, and delete whatever seems like spam or unimportant emails. So, test and configure the best time to send business email as it differs for everyone.

The Weekend Warriors

This can be a tricky one, depending on your business and your audience. While internet activity does generally reduce on Saturdays and Sundays, some people also have more free time to check their inboxes.

This again is entirely based on your readers. As mentioned earlier, if the majority of your readers are full-time professionals who have children, they may be taking the weekend out to spend time with their families.

However, if the majority of your subscribers are young professionals or people without children, then you’ll see the rate of success of email opens increased.

Our own success in weekend opens and clickthroughs may also lie in the fact of how internet-based we are at SEOPressor.

As many businesses will close and not send emails on the weekend, this gives us a great opportunity to get noticed in our subscribers’ inboxes.

If this strategy sounds right for your audience and company, then weekends might be the ideal time for you. Without the flood of weekday emails, you’ll be right at the top.

The Midweek Success

The proof is in the pudding!

Although we do see a high open and click through rate on Saturdays and Sundays, our most successful email days do align with the data.

Combining our past experiences with sending out emails with the information and data collected from the studies, we feel confident in saying that, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are likely the most successful days for sending your email out to subscribers.

A Quick Debrief: Discovering The Best Time To Send Emails

I’ve found that so much in being successful in this industry really is about getting hands on and learning as you go. So I’m going to get real and show you some of the steps I take in figuring out my perfect formula.

Step 1: Beginning with what the data tells me. Tuesdays at 10am show the highest success? Ok! I’ll start with this and see if it’s the best day and time for me.

Step 2: Checking my own data. I’m going to check with Aweber to see how many email opens and click-through my chosen time has given me.

Step 3: Knowing there’s always room for improvement. If I’m not getting the email open rate I want to see, then I begin testing a few different times and days.

Step 4: Keeping up with testing. I’ll keep monitoring my data with Aweber to work out where I’m seeing the most success, and continue to tweak my schedule based on this.

Step 5: Making sure I understand my audience. Knowing my client base and demographic will help me tailor my email scheduling to their own schedules.

Step 6: Asking: is the content right? Once I’ve figured out my audience base I need to confirm that my email content is exactly what they want to see. The first thing I think of before drafting my email is ‘what will my subscribers think?’

So, there you have it!

What’s the most successful day you’ve had with email scheduling? I’d love to know what your experiences are with your own best and worst times to send emails. Let me know if you have any more handy tips to share in the comment section down below too!

This post was originally written by Joanne Chong and published on March 31, 2018. It was most recently updated on July 27, 2018.

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[Free Infographic]
Strategic Guide For Best Times To Send Emails

Take your email marketing campaign to the next level today!
Identify your customers’ pattern to increase engagement
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Send them the right message at the right time

The Crazy Egg Guide to White Hat Link Building Techniques

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Crazy Egg Guide to White Hat Link Building Techniques

The Crazy Egg Guide to White Hat Link Building Techniques

Link building is one of the most essential aspects of SEO, yet also one of the most misunderstood and difficult pieces of the search marketing equation. We all know that acquiring high-quality links with White Hat Link Building to your website is one of Google’s primary ranking factors, but not all links are created equally and link building has changed considerably in recent years. Gone are the days of link farms, article directories and blog comment links designed to boost your sites’ rankings. With each tweak of the algorithm, Google has grown considerably smarter in how it evaluates and values…

The post The Crazy Egg Guide to White Hat Link Building Techniques appeared first on The Daily Egg.

The Essence of SEO: What Is High-Quality Content?

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Essence of SEO: What Is High-Quality Content?

The Essence of SEO: What Is High-Quality Content?

In the wake of Google’s Hummingbird update (and all the other animal-related updates too), there’s one question that needs to be revisited… What exactly is high-quality content? To answer that question, you can’t simply talk about content marketing. You have to understand Google’s ultimate aim for search. Let take a deeper look at search, how it’s evolving, and how that affects us as marketers. Then we’ll review the challenges you face as a content creator and what you need to do to create higher quality content on a consistent basis. Google’s apparent anti-SEO stance Hummingbird wasn’t the only major change…

The post The Essence of SEO: What Is High-Quality Content? appeared first on The Daily Egg.

The rise of the modern B2B marketer

Posted by on Aug 10, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The rise of the modern B2B marketer

The rise of the modern B2B marketer is changing the way marketing and sales teams work together to generate new business and deliver ROI. 

New research from Contentive, a global B2B marketing and events company, found that the role of the modern B2B marketing professional is rapidly shifting owing to the explosion of data, analytics and automation tools.

Contentive surveyed its trusted community of B2B marketing professionals to learn more about their key challenges and for a glimpse for what the future holds for B2B marketing.

The top three trends that are influencing emerging strategies are personalization, artificial intelligence and influencer marketing. The survey found that 57% of B2B marketers consider personalization as the key trend that will influence their marketing strategy for the next 12 months. With an increasing focus on using data and technology to craft personalized, tailored messages, the modern B2B marketer is constantly testing, iterating and optimizing different marketing channels to analyse the success of their marketing campaigns.

As a result, marketing budgets are no longer fixed, with 48% of marketers allocating budgets on an ongoing basis to effective channels. In many cases, this means marketing budgets are increasing, with 66% of respondents expecting their marketing budget to increase for the year.

Collaboration between sales and marketing is also increasingly important, with ever stronger focus on new business conversion as well as ROI from existing customers and website traffic. Top of the funnel leads are no longer the preferred campaign outcome. Marketers are increasingly challenged to deliver nurtured, or even sales qualified leads.

Key findings from the survey were:

57% of B2B marketers think personalization is the key trend influence over the next 12 months
50% of B2B marketers are now demanding leads that are fed into the middle and bottom – not just the top – of the funnel
ROI priorities are clear, with conversation rates, yield growth and site traffic top of mind
Collaboration with colleagues is more critical than ever. As marketing becomes more visibly integral to business success, five colleagues now typically have input on investment decisions
Content marketing is here to stay. Like social media and email marketing, these channels remain critical to delivering on ROI goals.

To download the key findings from the 2018 B2B Marketing Survey, click here.

Ask Yoast: Hreflang for sites with different domains

Posted by on Aug 9, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Ask Yoast: Hreflang for sites with different domains

Ask Yoast: Hreflang for sites with different domains

If you have two very similar sites in two different languages, you may wonder whether you need to implement hreflang. Will Google recognize both sites as ‘stand-alone’ websites, and is that what you want? While translated content isn’t considered duplicate content, it may still be worth your while to actively point users to the right domain with hreflang.

For those that aren’t well versed in technical SEO, implementing hreflang will probably take a lot of time and something might even break. If that’s the case for you, should you still go to great lengths to implement hreflang? I’ll dive into that in this Ask Yoast!

Moria Gur sent us her question on using hreflang:

I have two sites with two different domains for coloring pages, one in Hebrew and one in English. The images and text are similar (but in a different language). Should I use hreflang in this case? Or will Google recognize both as ‘stand-alone’ websites?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

When to use hreflang

Optimizing your site for multiple languages? You need our Multilingual SEO training! »

$199 – Buy now » Info “Well, yes, Google will recognize both as stand-alone websites and there’s nothing wrong with them. Adding hreflang might give you a bit of an edge on both sites, but it’s also a lot of work. So, if you’re doing well with both sites right now, I would not do that, just because all the work involved is probably more work than it will return in terms of investment.

If you are not doing too well, or one is doing much better than the other, then maybe it’s worthwhile trying that. And you could just try that on a subset of the pages, and hreflang those properly to the other one. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to [email protected], and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: hreflang: The ultimate guide »

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