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10 Tools You Need To Build A High Converting Landing Page

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Tools You Need To Build A High Converting Landing Page

10 Tools You Need To Build A High Converting Landing Page

If one of your online marketing goals is to convert leads (which it should be), then your website has to have high converting landing page. Landing pages are the pages that your calls-to-action should link to.

They are the pages that contain the forms your leads fill out in return for whatever you’ve offered, whether it’s downloadable content, a product discount or a monthly email newsletter, to name a few options.

High converting landing page should be succinct, and they should remind leads what they are doing and help drive them to action. You can also read our ultimate guide on how to create high converting landing pages.

While landing pages are the most effective pages on your site when it comes to converting leads, not all landing pages are successful in their own right. Because of this, there are a number of landing page tools that you should use to improve and optimize your conversion rates. The following are 10 essential landing page tools that you should use in just a short amount of time:

1) Unbounce

The idea of Unbounce is to help prevent visitors from leaving your landing pages without converting. It’s a tool that lets you build an effective landing page. The name refers to the “bounce rate”, which is the term used to measure how many visitors leave your page without performing additional actions within a short period of being on it.

Unbounce is an extremely user-friendly tool, which is why we highly recommend its use. You can choose from many different templates and then customize them with a drag-and-drop function in which elements, such as images, forms, and text boxes, can simply be chosen from a side menu and dragged onto a section of your landing page. Once dragged into place, you can edit them however you want.

In addition to helping to ensure that your landing page has all of the necessary elements, it’s also responsive, which means it will have no trouble being viewed on a mobile device. Last but not least, Unbounce even provides A/B testing, so that you can determine which elements on your landing pages are the most effective at helping drive conversions.

Because of how many features Unbounce offers, it will cost you $49 a month for the most basic plan.

2) Instapage

Instapage is another landing page building tool like Unbounce. It also offers users a drag-and-drop system along with the ability to edit individual elements. You can test your landing page creations using their A/B testing feature.

Instapage is a tool that’s particularly useful for those who don’t have a lot of technical know-how. It’s about as user-friendly as it gets due to its simplicity.

Instapage makes it easy to publish your landing pages directly to your site. They even have a WordPress plugin that lets you sync your landing pages to your site in just a couple of clicks. There’s a limited version of the tool available for free. For more options, consider their basic option, which is only $29 a month.

3) LeadPages

LeadPages is another landing page creator tool, and it’s probably the best known of all of them. While the basic tool is a basic landing page creator, there are several higher tier plans available that provide users with more features, including A/B testing and Leadboxes.

One of the things that makes LeadPages unique, even when it comes to their basic landing page creator, is that they have tons of templates to choose from. You can sort them by landing page conversion rate, thereby giving you a good idea of what types of templates are the most effective right off the bat. These templates will cost extra on top of the service though – between roughly $10 and $15 each.

The feature that makes LeadPages more unique than other landing page tools is the LeadBox feature, which allows you to create and configure pop-up forms to display in a non-obtrusive way on your site when visitors click certain links.

4) Launchrock

Launchrock isn’t quite a landing page creation tool. The tool helps you create what’s basically a “coming soon” page. If your setting up a site for a brand new business, such as a startup, are advertising a one-time event or your business wants to gauge interest in certain products or services, then Launchrock can be a very useful tool.

It’s user-friendly as well. Launchrock lets you choose from a variety of themes and then gives you the opportunity to edit your message however you want. A free version even provides advanced user analytics and reporting, while the more advanced version, which also provides promotion free and custom HTML and CSS features, is only $5 a month.

5) 5 Second Test

One of the elements of an effective landing page is whether the message is clear. Your landing page should convey what your message is and why visitors should convert immediately. The inability for visitors to figure this out within a few seconds on your landing page can result in a lost conversion. This is because people generally don’t want to have to search for what they’re looking for or think about what’s on your page too much.

The 5 Second Test tool allows you to figure out whether your offer is apparent to your visitors within five seconds or not. By implementing the tool, random registered users will receive a message asking them to look at your page for five seconds and to remember as much as they can about what they see.

They will then be prompted with several questions following that five-second page. If they are unable to answer those questions correctly, then you have a problem with your landing page layout or content.

Basically, the 5 Second Test tool is a useful feature that allows you to get feedback from your users about your landing pages. The tool is available for free if you answer questions about other landing pages or you can purchase tests for $1 each.

6) User Testing

While the 5 Second Test provides useful feedback, the User Testing tool provides much more in-depth feedback. The tool will actually record audio of the interaction that users have with your landing page. They will be shown your landing pages and will be asked to navigate through it and possible through parts of your website. They will record their thoughts out loud as they do this.

This can result in valuable feedback, especially if users don’t understand what they’re supposed to do, where they’re supposed to go or why they are even on your landing page to begin with. Because of its in-depth nature, you can even target who reviews your landing pages by selecting their age range, income range, gender, country and web expertise.

The User Testing tool is a bit expensive at $49 a video for the first ten videos, which means it’s a more realistic option if you’re expecting to make a substantial amount of money from your landing page conversions. There is a free option called “Peek”. Peek will allow users to review your site, but caps the videos at five minutes and you won’t be able to target the type of user that provides the review.

7) Olark

Olark is a chat widget that you can install on your landing pages to help guide visitors. It’s unobtrusive and will only show up at the bottom of your landing page if a visitor chooses to expand the window. It can be very useful for determining how successful your landing page designs is since visitors will be able to ask questions if they are confused.

If you find that visitors keep asking what the offer is or how they are supposed to sign up, then there’s a good chance that your landing page is weak and needs to be redesigned.

What’s nice about Olark is that you can set it up so that a team of individuals can help your visitors using Olark in real time instead of limiting it to just a single support provider. You can also toggle it on and off, which is helpful in case you can only provide support at certain times.

8) Optimizely

Testing your landing pages is an important way to find out what elements work and what elements don’t work. While some of the landing page tools do offer A/B testing features, not everybody uses these tools to create their landing pages. If you create your landing pages from the ground up, then you should use the Optimizely tool.

Optimizely makes it easy to test your landing pages. All you need to do is enter your landing page URL. The tool will then load your page as a new variation. You can click on elements to make changes using a variety of editing options from the menu, and you can add more variations to your A/B testing.

Once you’re done with your variations, you’ll be provided with a code to paste into your landing page’s header. Optimizely will then ensure that your landing page traffic will be split evenly between the different variations you’ve created in order to properly compare their performance.

9) Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg is a tool that allows you to see how your visitors are using your landing pages. You’ll be provided with a heat map that’s generated by data collected based on where visitors are focusing most of their time on your landing pages (as well as other pages on your site). This can be helpful in a few different ways.

For example, if they’re spending more time hovering over content that can’t be seen unless you scroll down the page than on other parts of the landing page, then you might want to consider bumping it up to the top of the page. If they are skipping over a part of the landing page, then maybe you could do without it.

Installing Crazy Egg is easy. Just create an account via their site and you’ll be given a personal code that you can copy and paste into your site. Once you confirm that it’s been installed, your data will be tracked and your heat maps will be generated.

You could also use the Crazy Egg WordPress plugin in order to install a tracking script if that’s easier.

10) Visual Website Optimizer

The Visual Website Optimizer tool is similar to Optimizely. They are both effective A/B testing tools. Like Optimizely, you’ll be able to create numerous variations so that you can test the performance of different elements. You’ll be able to track a number of different things, from page visits and engagement to clicks on link and form submits. For landing pages, form submits is the main metric you’ll want to compare.

Over To You

Because your landing pages are so important when it comes to converting leads, it’s vital that you put some effort into making sure that they are effective. If your landing page conversion rates are low, then be sure to turn to some of these landing page tools. Most of these tools provide stripped down versions that are free or free trials so that you can figure out which tools will benefit your landing pages most.

Taking advantage of these tools will allow you to greatly improve your landing pages, thereby increasing the potential of boosting your conversion rate. Do you have any tips to create a high converting landing page? If you’ve used some of these tools before, be sure to share your experience with other readers by commenting below!

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How To Improve Conversion Rate Using Colors

Interesting Facts About Color Psychology.
Real Case Scenario Included.
Best Color Tips To Increase Conversion Rates!
A Complete Guide Every Marketer Must Have!

Better Than Basics: Custom-Tailoring Your SEO Approach

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Better Than Basics: Custom-Tailoring Your SEO Approach

Posted by Laura.Lippay

Just like people, websites come in all shapes and sizes. They’re different ages, with different backgrounds, histories, motivations, and resources at hand. So when it comes to approaching SEO for a site, one-size-fits-all best practices are typically not the most effective way to go about it (also, you’re better than that).

An analogy might be if you were a fitness coach. You have three clients. One is a 105lb high school kid who wants to beef up a little. One is a 65-year-old librarian who wants better heart health. One is a heavyweight lumberjack who’s working to be the world’s top springboard chopper. Would you consider giving each of them the same diet and workout routine? Probably not. You’re probably going to:

Learn all you can about their current diet, health, and fitness situations.Come up with the best approach and the best tactics for each situation.Test your way into it and optimize, as you learn what works and what doesn’t.

In SEO, consider how your priorities might be different if you saw similar symptoms — let’s say problems ranking anything on the first page — for:

New sites vs existing sitesNew content vs older contentEnterprise vs small bizLocal vs globalType of market — for example, a news site, e-commerce site, photo pinning, or a parenting community

A new site might need more sweat equity or have previous domain spam issues, while an older site might have years of technical mess to clean up. New content may need the right promotional touch while old content might just simply be stale. The approach for enterprise is often, at its core, about getting different parts of the organization to work together on things they don’t normally do, while the approach for small biz is usually more scrappy and entrepreneurial.

With the lack of trust in SEO today, people want to know if you can actually help them and how. Getting to know the client or project intimately and proposing custom solutions shows that you took the time to get to know the details and can suggest an effective way forward. And let’s not forget that your SEO game plan isn’t just important for the success of the client — it’s important for building your own successes, trust, and reputation in this niche industry.

How to customize an approach for a proposalDo: Listen first

Begin by asking questions. Learn as much as you can about the situation at hand, the history, the competition, resources, budget, timeline, etc. Maybe even sleep on it and ask more questions before you provide a proposal for your approach.

Consider the fitness trainer analogy again. Now that you’ve asked questions, you know that the high school kid is already at the gym on a regular basis and is overeating junk food in his attempt to beef up. The librarian has been on a low-salt paleo diet since her heart attack a few years ago, and knows she knows she needs to exercise but refuses to set foot in a gym. The lumberjack is simply a couch potato.

Now that you know more, you can really tailor a proposed approach that might appeal to your potential client and allow you and the client to see how you might reach some initial successes.

Do: Understand business priorities.

What will fly? What won’t fly? What can we push for and what’s off the table? Even if you feel strongly about particular tactics, if you can’t shape your work within a client’s business priorities you may have no client at all.

Real-world example:

Site A wanted to see how well they could rank against their biggest content-heavy SERP competitors like Wikipedia but wanted to keep a sleek, content-light experience. Big-brand SEO vendors working for Site A pushed general, content-heavy SEO best practices. Because Site A wanted solutions that fit into their current workload along with a sleek, content-light experience, they pushed back.

The vendors couldn’t keep the client because they weren’t willing to get into the clients workload groove and go beyond general best practices. They didn’t listen to and work within the client’s specific business objectives.

Site A hired internal SEO resources and tested into an amount of content that they were comfortable with, in sync with technical optimization and promotional SEO tactics, and saw rankings slowly improve. Wikipedia and the other content-heavy sites are still sometimes outranking Site A, but Site A is now a stronger page one competitor, driving more traffic and leads, and can make the decision from here whether it’s worth it to continue to stay content-light or ramp up even more to get top 3 rankings more often.

The vendors weren’t necessarily incorrect in suggesting going content-heavy for the purpose of competitive ranking, but they weren’t willing to find the middle ground to test into light content first, and they lost a big brand client. At its current state, Site A could ramp up content even more, but gobs of text doesn’t fit the sleek brand image and it’s not proven that it would be worth the engineering maintenance costs for that particular site — a very practical, “not everything in SEO is most important all the time” approach.

Do: Find the momentum

It’s easiest to inject SEO where there’s already momentum into a business running full-speed ahead. Are there any opportunities to latch onto an effort that’s just getting underway? This may be more important than your typical best practice priorities.

Real-world example:

Brand X had 12–20 properties (websites) at any given time, but their small SEO team could only manage about 3 at a time. Therefore the SEO team had to occasionally assess which properties they would be working with. Properties were chosen based on:

Which ones have the biggest need or opportunities?Which ones have resources that they’re willing to dedicate?Which ones are company priorities?

#2 was important. Without it, the idea that one of the properties might have the biggest search traffic opportunity didn’t matter if they had no resources to dedicate to implement the SEO team’s recommendations.

Similarly, in the first example above, the vendors weren’t able to go with the client’s workflow and lost the client. Make sure you’re able to identify which wheels are moving that you can take advantage of now, in order to get things done. There may be some tactics that will have higher impact, but if the client isn’t ready or willing to do them right now, you’re pushing a boulder uphill.

Do: Understand the competitive landscape

What is this site up against? What is the realistic chance they can compete? Knowing what the competitive landscape looks like, how will that influence your approach?

Real-world example:

Site B has a section of pages competing against old, strong, well-known, content-heavy, link-rich sites. Since it’s a new site section, almost everything needs to be done for Site B — technical optimization, building content, promotion, and generating links. However, the nature of this competitive landscape shows us that being first to publish might be important here. Site B’s competitors oftentimes have content out weeks if not months before the actual content brand owner (Site B). How? By staying on top of Site B’s press releases. The competitors created landing pages immediately after Site B put out a press release, while Site B didn’t have a landing page until the product actually launched. Once this was realized, being first to publish became an important factor. And because Site B is an enterprise site, and changing that process takes time internally, other technical and content optimization for the page templates happened concurrently, so that there was at least the minimal technical optimization and content on these pages by the time the process for first-publishing was shaped.

Site B is now generating product landing pages at the time of press release, with links to the landing pages in those press releases that are picked up by news outlets, giving Site B the first page and the first links, and this is generating more links than their top competitor in the first 7 days 80% of the time.

Site B didn’t audit the site and suggest tactics by simply checking off a list of technical optimizations prioritized by an SEO tool or ranking factors, but instead took a more calculated approach based on what’s happening in the competitive landscape, combined with the top prioritized technical and content optimizations. Optimizing the site itself without understanding the competitive landscape in this case would be leaving the competitors, who also have optimized sites with a lot of content, a leg up because they were cited (linked to) and picked up by Google first.

Do: Ask what has worked and hasn’t worked before

Asking this question can be very informative and help to drill down on areas that might be a more effective use of time. If the site has been around for a while, and especially if they already have an SEO working with them, try to find out what they’ve already done that has worked and that hasn’t worked to give you clues on what approaches might be successful or not..

General example:

Site C has hundreds, sometimes thousands of internal cross-links on their pages, very little unique text content, and doesn’t see as much movement for cross-linking projects as they do when adding unique text.

Site D knows from previous testing that generating more keyword-rich content on their landing pages hasn’t been as effective as implementing better cross-linking, especially since there is very little cross-linking now.

Therefore each of these sites should be prioritizing text and cross-linking tactics differently. Be sure to ask the client or potential client about previous tests or ranking successes and failures in order to learn what tactics may be more relevant for this site before you suggest and prioritize your own.

Do: Make sure you have data

Ask the client what they’re using to monitor performance. If they do not have the basics, suggest setting it up or fold that into your proposal as a first step. Define what data essentials you need to analyze the site by asking the client about their goals, walking through how to measure those goals with them, and then determining the tools and analytics setup you need. Those essentials might be something like:

Webmaster tools set up. I like to have at least Google and Bing, so I can compare across search engines to help determine if a spike or a drop is happening in both search engines, which might indicate that the cause is from something happening with the site, or in just one search engine, which might indicate that the cause is algo-related.Organic search engine traffic. At the very least, you should be able to see organic search traffic by page type (ex: service pages versus product pages). At best, you can also filter by things like URL structure, country, date, referrers/source and be able to run regex queries for granularity.User testing & focus groups. Optional, but useful if it’s available & can help prioritization. Has the site gathered any insights from users that could be helpful in deciding on and prioritizing SEO tactics? For example, focus groups on one site showed us that people were more likely to convert if they could see a certain type of content that wouldn’t have necessarily been a priority for SEO otherwise. If they’re more likely to convert, they’re less likely to bounce back to search results, so adding that previously lower-priority content could have double advantages for the site: higher conversions and lower bounce rate back to SERPs.Don’t: Make empty promises.

Put simply, please, SEOs, do not blanket promise anything. Hopeful promises leads to SEOs being called snake oil salesmen. This is a real problem for all of us, and you can help turn it around.

Clients and managers will try to squeeze you until you break and give them a number or a promised rank. Don’t do it. This is like a new judoka asking the coach to promise they’ll make it to the Olympics if they sign up for the program. The level of success depends on what the judoka puts into it, what her competition looks like, what is her tenacity for courage, endurance, competition, resistance… You promise, she signs up, says “Oh, this takes work so I’m only going to come to practice on Saturdays,” and everybody loses.

Goals are great. Promises are trouble. Good contracts are imperative.

Here are some examples:

We will get you to page 1. No matter how successful you may have been in the past, every site, competitive landscape, and team behind the site is a different challenge. A promise of #1 rankings may be a selling point to get clients, but can you live up to it? What will happen to your reputation of not? This industry is small enough that word gets around when people are not doing right by their clients.Rehashing vague stats. I recently watched a well-known agency tell a room full of SEOs: “The search result will provide in-line answers for 47% of your customer queries”. Obviously this isn’t going to be true for every SEO in the room, since different types of queries have different SERPS, and the SERP UI constantly changes, but how many of the people in that room went back to their companies and their clients and told them that? What happens to those SEOs if that doesn’t prove true?We will increase traffic by n%. Remember, hopeful promises can lead to being called snake oil salesmen. If you can avoid performance promises, especially in the proposal process, by all means please do. Set well-informed goals rather than high-risk promises, and be conservative when you can. It always looks better to over-perform than to not reach a goal.You will definitely see improvement. Honestly, I wouldn’t even promise this unless you would *for real* bet your life on it. You may see plenty of opportunities for optimization but you can’t be sure they’ll implement anything, they’ll implement things correctly, implementations will not get overwritten, competitors won’t step it up or new ones rise, or that the optimization opportunities you see will even work on this site.Don’t: Use the same proposal for every situation at hand.

If your proposal is so vague that it might actually seem to apply to any site, then you really should consider taking a deeper look at each situation at hand before you propose.

Would you want your doctor to prescribe the same thing for your (not yet known) pregnancy as the next person’s (not yet known) fungal blood infection, when you both just came in complaining of fatigue?

Do: Cover yourself in your contract

As a side note for consultants, this is a clause I include in my contract with clients for protection against being sued if clients aren’t happy with their results. It’s especially helpful for stubborn clients who don’t want to do the work and expect you to perform magic. Feel free to use it:

“Consultant makes no warranty, express, implied or statutory, with respect to the services provided hereunder, including without limitation any implied warranty of reliability, usefulness, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, noninfringement, or those arising from the course of performance, dealing, usage or trade. By signing this agreement, you acknowledge that Consultant neither owns nor governs the actions of any search engine or the Customer’s full implementations of recommendations provided by Consultant. You also acknowledge that due to non-responsibility over full implementations, fluctuations in the relative competitiveness of some search terms, recurring changes in search engine algorithms and other competitive factors, it is impossible to guarantee number one rankings or consistent top ten rankings, or any other specific search engines rankings, traffic or performance.”Go get ’em!

The way you approach a new SEO client or project is critical to setting yourself up for success. And I believe we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Have you thought outside the SEO standards box to find success with any of your clients or projects? Please share in the comments!

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Content maintenance for SEO: research, merge & redirect

Posted by on Jul 31, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Content maintenance for SEO: research, merge & redirect

Content maintenance for SEO: research, merge & redirect

As your site grows, you’ll have more and more posts. Some of these posts are going to be about a similar topic. Even if you’ve always categorized it well, your content might be competing with itself: you’re suffering from keyword cannibalization. At the same time, some of your articles might get out of date, and not be entirely correct anymore. To prevent all of this, you need to perform content maintenance.

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In a lot of cases, content maintenance is going to mean deleting and merging content. I’m going to run you through some of that maintenance work as we did it at Yoast, to show you how to do this. In particular, I’m going to show you my thinking around a cluster of keywords around keyword research.

Step 1: Audit your content

The first step in my process was finding all the content we had around keyword research. Now, most of that was simple: we have a keyword research tag, and most of the content was nicely tagged. This was also slightly shocking: we had quite a few posts about the topic.

A site:search in Google gave me the missing articles that Google considered to be about keyword research. I simply searched for site:yoast.com “keyword research” and Google gave me all the posts and pages on the site that mentioned the topic.

I had found a total of 18 articles that were either entirely devoted to keyword research or had large sections that mentioned it. Another 20 or so mentioned it in passing and linked to some of the other articles.

The reason I started auditing the content for this particular group of keywords simple: I wanted to improve our rankings around the cluster of keywords around keyword research. So I needed to analyze which of these pages were ranking, and which weren’t. This content maintenance turned out to be badly needed.

Step 2: Analyze the content performance

I went into Google Search Console (the new beta) and went to the Performance section. In that section I clicked the filter bar:

I clicked Query and then typed “keyword research” into the box like this:

This makes Google Search Console match all queries that contain the words keyword and research. This gives you two very important pieces of data:

A list of the keywords your site had been shown in the search results for and the clicks and click-through rate (CTR) for those keywords;
A list of the pages that were receiving all that traffic and how much traffic each of those pages received.

I started by looking at the total number of clicks we had received for all those queries and then looked at the individual pages. Something was immediately clear: three pages were getting 99% of the traffic. But I knew we had 18 articles that covered this topic. Obviously, it was time to clean up. Of course, we didn’t want to throw away any posts that were getting traffic that was not included in this bucket of traffic. So I had to check each post individually.

I removed the Query filter and used another option that’s in there: the Page filter. This allows you to filter by a group of URLs or a specific URL. On larger sites you might be able to filter by groups of URLs, in this case, I looked at the data for each of those posts individually.

Step 3: Decision time

As I went through each post in this content maintenance process, I decided what we were going to do: keep it, or delete it. If I decided we should delete it (which I did for the majority of the posts), I decided to which post we should redirect it. The more basic posts I decided to redirected to our SEO for Beginners post: what is keyword research?.  The posts about keyword research tools were redirected to our article that helps you select (and understand the value of) a keyword research tool. Most of the other ones I decided to redirect to our ultimate guide to keyword research.

For each of those posts, I evaluated whether they had sections that we needed to merge into another article. Some of those posts had paragraphs or even entire sections that could just be merged into another post.

I found one post that, while it didn’t rank for keyword research, still needed to be kept: it talked about long tail keywords specifically. It had such a clear reach for those terms that deleting it would be a waste, so I decided to redirect the other articles about the topic to that specific article.

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Step 4: Take action

Now it was time to take action! I had a list of action items: content to add to specific articles after which each of the articles that piece of content came from could be deleted. Using Yoast SEO Premium, it’s easy to 301 redirect a post or page when you delete it, so that process was fairly painless.

With that, we’d taken care of the 18 specific articles about the topic, and retained only 4. We still had a list of ~20 articles that mentioned the topic and linked to one of the other articles. We went through all of them and made sure each linked to one or more of the 4 remaining articles in the appropriate section.

Content maintenance is hard work

If you’re thinking: “that’s a lot of work”. Yes, it is. And we don’t write about just keyword research, so this is a process we have to do for quite a few terms, multiple times a year. This is a very repeatable content maintenance strategy though:

Audit, so you know which content you have;
Analyze, so you know how the content performs;
Decide which content to keep and what to throw away;
Act.

Now “all” you have to do is go through that process at least once a year for every important cluster of keywords you want your site to rank for.

Read more: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »

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#3 – Is It True That SEO is Always Changing?

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on #3 – Is It True That SEO is Always Changing?

#3 – Is It True That SEO is Always Changing?

You often hear that SEO is always changing and you need to stay on top of it or you’ll get left behind. This is partially true. That’s why in Episode #3 of The SEO Life podcast I’ll be explain what’s changed SEO, what’s going to change in SEO, and lastly, what won’t change in SEO.

Let’s jump in.

First, let me explain what’s changed in SEO.

There are three core areas that have changed since I got started in SEO back in 2011.

Change #1 – Content Quality Standards

The first is content quality standards. Before Google’s Panda algorithm, you could rank with pretty much any garbage content you want as long as long as it was optimized for a target keyword. Quality didn’t matter much. This has changed dramatically.

The other big update that smashed low-quality content (mainly thin content) was the EMD update. This update targeted exact match domains that had low-quality or thin content. In short, it devastated many niche site builders who didn’t take content quality standards seriously.

There’s no other option at this point than to create quality SEO content and pages. It’s the bare minimum you need to compete in Google. Sure, you’ll find some low-quality pages ranking from time-to-time, but overall, the content quality across almost every vertical has improved as a whole.

Change #2 – User Experience (UX) Quality Standards

The second big change, which is more recent are User Experience (UX) Quality standards. Many website owners don’t take UX seriously, but they should. It doesn’t matter if you can rank well in Google if you searchers are bouncing of your website because of the poor user experience. Your user experience is what will determine whether they stay or go.

If the majority choose to bounce, then I can assure you Google is tracking this and it’s a negative signal against your website. I believe UX signals will become a larger part of the ranking equation overtime.

I’ll stop preaching, but you just need to take your site’s User Experience seriously because it will not only help your SEO performance but it’s a good business initiative as well because a strong user experience can increase your lead volume and sales.

Change #3 – Backlink Quality Standards

The other big change, which almost everyone knows about, is backlink quality standards. Back in the day, you could build pretty much any type of backlink and use aggressive keyword-rich anchor text and you would rank very quickly. This is NOT the case anymore.

In short, you need to try to get backlinks from websites that are relevant to yours and you need to use natural anchor text. Keep in mind that not every backlink needs to be a 100% match as far as relevancy. That’s why I created the concept of the Relevancy Pyramid to make this concept easier to understanding. Imagine placing each of your link prospects into a pyramid.

At the top of the pyramid, you have your most relevant link opportunities. For example, if you are a coffee business, then coffee blogs would be in this section. Since your pool of perfectly relevant opportunities will be limited, it’s at the smallest part of the pyramid, which is at the top. And you can imagine how the rest of this works.

Your link opportunities get less relevant as you go down the pyramid, but there are also more opportunities. I always focus my effort at the top and work my way down. In most cases, you’ll almost never get the bottom of the pyramid, which are going to be opportunities that are not relevant at all. One thing to keep in mind is that your link opportunities should be high-quality. Meaning, although the prospect may not be relevant, it should still be a legit website.

Okay, so those are three big factors that have changed in SEO. But now the question is: what’s going to change? Well, first, anyone that acts like they know what’s going to happen tomorrow, in a month, or in 5 years is purely speculation. No one knows what the future holds. But, there’s enough information and visible technological advances that can help make some educated guesses.

Study Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With that said, I believe the biggest change in the SEO world is voice search. Then when you pair that with Artificial Intelligence and you’re have quite the potent combination for disruption in the SEO world and world in general.

All I can say is to study voice search and AI. I will say my biggest concern as far as SEO is when Google has the capability of responding to a question or search query without needing any other resources. For example, let’s say someone searches “how to get rid of yellow mold from mulch”, which is a legit problem I’m dealing with at my house at the moment.

Any way, I predict that Google will eventually be to respond to this search query and it may be something like “According to MulchPros, you need to do X, Y, Z.”. Now this is amazing for users if they don’t even need to open a computer or even type on their phone. But it will murder organic search traffic. Any way, I don’t want to get too futuristic with this episode, but just take some time to study Voice Search and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Now the original question from this episode was is it true that SEO is always changing? Well, based on what I’ve said, it seems that way. Google’s algorithm is constantly changed and improving and companies like Google are bring new technologies to the marketplace. But let’s step back and think about the fundamentals.

Do you know the Phil Jackson, who’s considered to be one of the greatest professional sports coaches of time, used to make Michael Jordan practice bounce passes? Michael Jordan, the guy who eventually won six championships and is considered the greatest basketball of all time, practiceed bounce passes. Why? Because Phil Jackson wanted him to remember the fundamentals. SEO has fundamentals and these don’t change.

The funny part is that I’ve already mentioned them in this episode:

You need to create incredible content that solves your target audience’s problem BETTER than your competitor’s do.
You need to care about User Experience (UX) because it’s what keeps searchers on your website and what will eventually lead to conversions.
You need to focus on building relationships with people in your industry, which will eventually leads to relevant, high-quality backlinks.

Content, experience, and relationships. These are the core pillars of successful long-term SEO campaigns. Sure, backlinks in general may become less important in the future, but building relationships with people who have influence in your industry will always be a good use of time.

So, I think I’ll call it quits here. I hope you got some value out of this episode and please subscribe to get access to future episodes! Thank you so much for listening and we’ll talk soon.

Something to hide? The rise of privacy-focused search engines

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Something to hide? The rise of privacy-focused search engines

Many people are comfortable opening up their world to others, some are not. This can even extend to the use of the Internet; some feel uneasy at the thought of somebody watching and analyzing every move to build a profile. And ultimately, when users believe this to be the case, they self-censor and think twice about what they search for and how to word it.

In the past the usual question would have been, “what do I have to hide?”. Surprisingly for some (disappointingly for others), the answer is often quite straightforward and benign. For me, it’s simply because I prefer to keep myself to myself, which helps to eliminate a feeling of shyness and preserve the energy it would have otherwise consumed.

Times are changing

The major search engines have increasingly pushed the envelope on user privacy, often expanding their surveillance by stating it somewhere deep within the terms of service. Many, often non-technical, individuals may be completely unaware of the scope and scale of data mining happening on an individual’s behavior.

Still, the majority of people continue to sacrifice some of their privacy in order to use free services such as Google. This is understandable as Google remains top in search, but that is changing. A growing number of people are starting to wonder where to draw the line; what is acceptable and what is too invasive? At what point do they no longer feel comfortable with the level of intrusion that comes with using these ‘free’ services. More people are therefore seeking out alternatives that respect their privacy.

This has led to the rise of search engines such as DuckDuckGo, StartPage and others. These search engines not only provide ‘privacy as a service‘, but also burst ‘filter bubbles‘ that use online tracking to target and customize results and content. Without tracking, these bubbles are burst and you are shown content based on what you looked for and not your previous history. This helps to prevent confirmation bias.

Enough is enough

The Snowden leaks, Cambridge Analytica, advertising that follows you everywhere, filter bubbles, advertising/search companies bypassing your phone’s security to more thoroughly track you, personalized pricing based on a profile – where will it end?

It would appear these companies have no real intention to change their ways. If the past is anything to go by then these stories are only going to continue. It will only be stopped by regulation or people saying enough is enough, voting with their clicks, and choosing an alternative that sees and treats them as a customer, and not a product.

Perhaps we’ll reach a crunch point and there will be a max exodus from these companies, or maybe just enough people to allow healthy competition to flourish. Hopefully this will give rise to a whole new wave of companies that put the people who use them first, and their privacy at the forefront of everything they do.

And where better to start than with search – an activity everyone participates in and which is increasingly seen as the gateway (and unfortunately in some cases, the gatekeepers) to the Internet.

 

How Alexa and Siri are changing SEO: AI and voice search

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How Alexa and Siri are changing SEO: AI and voice search

The Internet changes rapidly, which means marketers and business leaders must hurry to change with it. While most Internet searches were once done on laptops and desktops, people are now using their smartphones with similar devices to conduct searches for information, local businesses, products, and services.

That shift was closely followed by another somewhat more distinctive shift called artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted voice search.

In the past, a smartphone user would need to type a question or phrase into Google or another search engine to get a set of results to sift through. Now, AIs like Siri and Alexa – which reside in smart speakers and on smartphones, tablets, and laptops – have changed the way users are searching for the information, products, and services they need.

You can conduct searches with nothing more than the sound of your voice. And that’s rapidly changing the SEO landscape.

How voice-assisted search is changing searches

Most people have smartphones these days, and the vast majority of smartphones have voice-assisted search capabilities. According to 2017 data from the Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans now own smartphones. Among 18–29-year-olds, that same figure is 92%.

This means an enormous share of the general public is able to use voice-assisted AI search. When users of smartphones and smart speakers ask those devices for an answer to a query, that leaves the job of searching to certain AI like Siri and Alexa.

While Amazon’s Alexa will not deliver the answer to a voice search query unless it has been proven accurate, Google Voice Search tech (Google Home and Android devices) reports top results from Google. It doesn’t report results lower down on the search engine results page (SERP) or on subsequent results pages.

This makes being at the top of Google’s results more important than ever.

The language of voice search

As voice search through AI becomes more prevalent, the language of search changes.

When typing a phrase or question into Google, a searcher might use a non-sentence, such as “Indian restaurant Houston”, but when conducting a voice search through Alexa or Siri, the searcher will likely use full sentences and grammatically correct language:

“Siri, where is a good Indian restaurant in Houston?”

AI platforms try to respond to such queries in a human way, and they use the text of pages in search results to do so. Content should be optimized for conversational language with clear, grammatically correct answers to specific questions, such as who, what, where, when, and why.

Location and navigation searches

Thanks to voice search, mobile-friendly sites are becoming more important than ever. That’s because many people who use voice-assisted search do so on their smartphones.

Owing to the mobile nature of smartphone use, a large portion of voice requests through Alexa, Siri, and similar AI technologies deal with navigation and location. Integration with Google Maps means an opportunity for greater traffic for businesses with a local search presence.

For instance, a person may conduct a voice search for a “dentist near me” rather than doing a typed general search for top-rated dentists.

AIs process the spoken search query while keeping the user’s location in mind. This places further importance on business integration with Google Maps and creating optimized landing pages with location references.

To put it simply, voice requests lead to a SERP, where local businesses will want to rank. Claiming and maintaining Google My Business listings will become more important as voice search gains popularity.

Why FAQ pages work for voice search

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) pages appear to serve voice search purposes well. Long-tail keywords formulated as complete and conversational questions, answers to those questions, or location (“near me”) searches are becoming more important because they often answer voice search queries.

While a text-based search may seek broad information, a voice search generally seeks key information that can be concisely communicated, such as hours of operation, location, and directions.

Creating landing pages with this key information in mind is likely to improve placement in SERPs for AI-assisted voice searches.

Smartphone search vs. smart speaker

Smartphones are everywhere, but smart speakers are gaining traction quickly. In fact, around 39 million Americans own one of these devices, according to a January 2018 poll from Edison Research and NPR. As smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo become more popular and available, people are beginning to use them to conduct searches.

As smart speakers aren’t linked to a screen or display of any kind, users only receive a verbal response to voice searches. That response is often based on a single search result – chosen by the AI assistant in an unseen selection process that takes only a few seconds.

Developers of these devices and AIs want the single result delivered to the user to answer the question or query fully and concisely. A business that is not highly ranked is not likely to be included in the limited results delivered by AI-assisted voice search.

Looking forward

Whether they’re aware of it or not, AIs like Alexa and Siri are changing SEO, and it’s up to marketers and businesses to adapt. From opting for conversational content to fully integrating businesses with Google Maps, there are plenty of steps to take to capture the benefits of this new type of search.

While AI-assisted voice search brings new goals and challenges to the table, the ultimate goal of SEO remains the same, whether you’re involved in SEO for law firms, restaurants, doctors’ office, or any other business. To convince AIs to include your content in their very limited answers to voice searches, you still need to occupy the top of the SERPs.

A page two or even top five ranking isn’t what it used to be. As voice search gains traction, being number one becomes more important than ever.

 

This article was originally published on our sister site, ClickZ.

 

The Connection Between Site Speed and SEO Today

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Connection Between Site Speed and SEO Today

The Connection Between Site Speed and SEO Today

Do you have a minute to spare? Probably. But I bet you won’t spend it waiting for a website to spin, sputter and load. We all hate that. And search engines hate that, too. But if your site is lighting fast, everyone will love you.

SEO or search engine optimization has a lot of moving components and is affected by numerous occurrences online. Through the years, Google and many search engines strive hard to provide the end-users optimum and useful information online to their fingertips. One of the most vital factor of your website strength is the site speed.

As a matter of fact, load time is important for both search engines and end-users. A snappier website improves customer experience and the view of your company in more ways than one, all of which help improve SEO and conversions.

Always keep in mind that a fast website always converts better.

What is Site Speed and How Important Is It?

Fast loading websites obtain higher rankings on Google.

Site speed is described as the amount of time it takes for your website to load, no matter what page you’re on. This includes images, photos, content, and any other additional features.

Many people think search engine optimization is focused primarily on using the right keywords in your content and building backlinks to get your website to the top of search engine rankings. In fact, there are actually various factors and the one that often goes unnoticed is site speed.

So, does site speed affect ranking? If you haven’t already know, Google considers your website’s loading time in its algorithm and uses that as a factor to determine your place in search results. With that being said, knowing your site speed and working to improve it could move you up to that coveted top spot you’ve always wanted.

The other reason why having a fast loading website is crucial is so that your visitors don’t get impatient and leave before you have a chance to tell them how great you are. After all, you worked so hard to get them to click on your website. You don’t want them to leave because your website loads slow do you?

Of course not.

There are several factors that affect your site’s speed, including file sizes, plugins, servers and more, but we’ll delve into that a little later on in this blog post.

Before we jump into that, let’s see what is the ideal site load speed that we should adhere to.

What is the Ideal Site Load Speed?

Keep your site load speed in a blink of an eye!

Have you ever wondered what is the ideal page load time? Anything slower than the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds. Site speed can impact your SEO efforts as well. When pages take too much time to load it can cause your targeted customers to bounce off your website. Engineers at Google have discovered that the barely perceptible page load time, 0.4 seconds is long enough to cause users to search less.

From Google’s perspective, this means that sites with a faster load speed are going to be accessed more often, and are thus deemed more relevant – hence the inclusion of site speed in the ranking algorithm.

What Can Lower Your Site Speed?

Nothing is more frustrating than a slow website.

Technological advancements have not only changed how we access the internet, but also how we interact with it. The more options we have for finding online content, the less time we spend looking at it, seemingly. People are becoming quicker, so to speak. We’re always in a rush and we’ve always got something to do.

We live in a fickle generation that needs instant assurance and gratification. We don’t have time for a three-hour read on the history of content marketing especially when what we are looking for could have been presented in less than a paragraph.

So, what slows down your site speed?

1) Server Performance

Your website loads from the ground up. When someone clicks on your site, it’s like turning the key in the engine of a car. Your visitor is asking your engine to start up. If your server’s performance is poor, it will take a longer time to respond. No matter how quick everything else is, a slow server will always give you a slow start.

Your host performances depend on the price you are ready to give.

Ultimately, a cheap web host usually gives you a shared server, which means you’re sharing space and resources with countless other websites. If your site is slow, it’s because you’re in queue with lots of other sites! So, make sure to opt for the appropriate host that is suitable for your business needs.

2) Outdated CMS (Content Management System)

If you’re using WordPress, Drupal, or Wix to manage your website, you’ll notice a regular popup. It’s asking you to install updates or new versions of the softwares.

An update generally means they’ve ironed out problems, particularly in regard to speed. Install the latest versions of all software and plugins to help load your site faster and smoothly.

3) Large and heavy images

Do you remember the old days of dial-up internet? When a site loads so slowly you want to throw your computer out of the window. A large image could take up a minute to load, one small bit at a time! Infuriating, wasn’t it?

Things have improved greatly now, but the general rule still applies. After you ping the server, it will start carrying each bit of the website to your browser screen. The server will carry content, text, and images. This is like our shopkeeper bringing your stock from the storeroom.

When you think of it like this, it’s simple. Large, heavy items are going to take a longer time to bring out.

Both image size and image formats can make a difference to your site load times.

Similarly, a large image is going to take a long time to load up. If you’ve got a ton of large images on your website, you’re adding extra load time for every picture. The file format plays a vital part too. Browsers can load JPG, PNG and GIF images nice and quickly. But, heavy formats like TIFF and BMP are going to eat huge chunks into your load time. Avoid them!

4) Code density

Large, dense elements will slow down your website. One of the densest elements of your site is the code that creates it.

If you’re familiar with CSS, HTML, and Javascript, you’ll know that there is an enormous amount of code behind your website. If the backend of your site is clogged up with excess coding and javascript, it’s going to take longer to drag it up.

5) Too Many Plugins

If you’re running WordPress, you’ve probably got a host of plugins behind the scenes. Well, each one of those makes its own file request. Each has a CSS file and some javascript to load.

That means more weight to carry and more file requests. If you’re running a lot of plugins, it’s going to slow things down. Ask yourself which ones are absolutely necessary.

6) Unnecessary Redirects

Imagine you ask for directions to the train station. Then you get there and find out it’s closed down. It’s been moved to the other side of town, and now you’ve got to walk across the city.

Takes you ages, doesn’t it?

The same thing happens with redirects, It’s like loading a page twice. Unless you have a fantastic reason for doing it, avoid redirects on your site.

So, What Can You Do to Improve Website Speed?

The real question is, how can you speed up your website today?

Developing a great website takes a huge amount of work. The knowledge of investing in the right set of website speed optimization solutions and services, website management and perhaps coding is essential to yield maximum website performance. Now, here are some of the ways you can do to improve web page load time.

1) Start with Images

As a general rule of thumb, larger files take longer to download than smaller files. High-quality bulky images are the largest contributors to Web page size, degrading page speed and agitating visitors eagerly waiting for the web page to load.

But having no images on your site is boring! Rather than removing them, optimize images before uploading them to your site by:

Changing the resolution: reducing the “quality” of the images (and thereby the file size)
Compressing the picture: increasing the efficiency of image data storage
Cropping the picture: when cropping, you are cutting out unneeded areas and thus making the image smaller in size.

2) Find the best host possible

Hosting is the real deal breaker or maker when it comes to how your site loads for your visitors. An incapable hosting company can not only cause security problems for your files, but it can also drag down your page load speeds.

The solution? Always start your website building process by researching the best hosting solutions out there. A regular hosting account is generally the best solution for most sites, but if you’re trying to scale up super fast and reach an international network, a content delivery network (CDN) comes into play because it delivers content based on serves located closest to the users.

3) Remove Excess Ads

Constant bombardment of advertisements affects site speed.

One of the biggest issues sites faces today is the overabundance of ad slots on the page. Ads are a problem because they come with scripting and pixels and third-party calls. We can see page weights go up by more than 100 percent when a site is overloaded with advertisements.

A good ad campaign isn’t about simply placing more ads on the page. It’s about creating relevant and seamless page experiences where users are likely to click on your ad (not be put off by them). Removing excessive advertising from your site often positions you better in Google and reduces your bounce rates.

4) Speed Up Your Scripting

Sites today are overloaded with scripting. Scripting that adds functionality, tracks users, or loads pages. The issue with scripting is the more you add the slower your pages become. In short, every script creates more obstacles to fast loading. When you’re adding scripts to your pages you should consider this:

Do you need this script? Seems basic, but most of the time, scripts are added to add something “cool” to a site. What users care about is not cool but fast. So before you add them in, try asking yourself if it improves user’s experience and does it add to the experience without slowing it down?

5) Enable Caching

Page caching is when web pages store static files (like HTML documents and images), which allow visitors to access that page more quickly, since the database does not have to retrieve each file every time there is a request.

The thing with caching, though, is that in most cases it only works for repeat visitors. This can reduce load time and improve site performance.

6) Understand Your Audience

Now, you’ve looked at the technical aspects of your site speed, what’s actually presented on the pages should be your priority.

You can have a page that loads super fast, but if it isn’t useful to the user, then they’re going straight back out there. A mistake that a lot of content creators make is that they write content that they think is going to do well in the rankings. People are writing content that they think the search engines want to see, when what they should be doing is writing for their audience.

To succeed online, you have to understand and leverage the hidden psychology of your users. This is a really good point as if you don’t truly understand your users, then they are not going to be interested in what you have to say.

If you do have a proper understanding, then you won’t have to worry about trying to write for your audience. It will just come out naturally and that is exactly what search engines want.

Wrapping Things Up

Today, speed rules.

Google is paying a lot more attention to it than ever before. It is a critical element to run a successful website and should always remain a priority for site managers.

Everything discussed above can find its way into all aspects of SEO. However, something that I’ve found in my time in SEO is that quite often, we can forget the basics. There’s a desire out there to excite.

Many feel that impressing and standing out from the crowd with something flashy and out-there is the most effective approach. To have that mindset is not completely wrong, but don’t forget the basics and above all don’t forget the users.

The better your site usability, the more likely they are to stay on your site and the better chance there is for you to close a sale. Isn’t that the point of SEO in the first place? That’s it from me today. In the upcoming posts, I will be discussing with you about site speed tools. So, stay tuned!

How has site speed affected your rankings? Do you have any tips and tricks to speed up website that you’d like to share with us? Tell us by dropping a comment down below!

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SEO Guide: Perfecting On-Page SEO Optimization

An ultimate guide for every marketer to optimize your on-page SEO perfectly.
Identify all the SEO elements to optimize it the right way
Improve your traffic and ranking with this actionable step-by-step guide
20 on-page SEO tips are included to help you get on the road to your SEO success

How An Optimized Press Release Can Help Your SEO

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How An Optimized Press Release Can Help Your SEO

How An Optimized Press Release Can Help Your SEO

As press release distribution has shifted from an offline to online activity over the years, people are realizing the potential press release can have for increasing a company’s search engine presence, which brings me to my next point. SEO and press release writing works best when done together these days.

Many search marketing tactics come and go, but one channel of promotion that has steadily evolved is the practice of optimizing press releases. The good news is you don’t have to be an SEO expert to properly optimize your press releases.

The right release can go a long way in promoting any company or story. One of the greatest thing about press releases today is that even if it doesn’t get picked up by a specific reporter, they are great distribution channels that can really boost your business online reputation.

Benefits Of Press Release Distribution

You may be wondering what SEO and press releases have to do with each other. It’s fairly simple! Today’s press release still helps companies get media coverage, and they can also provide SEO benefits.

The benefits of press release distribution are numerous. Here are 5 of them.

1. Use your news to get more customers. With today’s online press releases, the media is no longer the only audience you’re writing for. 80 million people get their news online every day. Many of these people are your potential customers. So, always keep your customers in mind when crafting your press releases.
2. Increased visibility and trust. The more people read about you, the more they know you. Press releases also let you build authority on different fronts, by stimulating journalists and media outlets to cover your story, giving your prospects a new reason to buy from you, land on your website, buy and spread the word about your new product or service.
3. Enhanced SEO efforts. Press releases published by several media outlets will offer you valuable backlinks to your website. By optimizing your content, you could increase its visibility online and make your articles searchable on the Internet.
4. The opportunity to brand yourself as an industry expert. Press releases are a great way to build trust and credibility in your field of activity. An excellent PR campaign will offer you the chance to brand yourself as a high-authority business owner and underline your unique attributes to your products or services.
5. Increase Sales. By basing your marketing strategy around a press release, you can tap into buying triggers like credibility, authority and likeability. If you’re using a press release to launch a new product or service, then you’re likely to see a growth in sales. You may experience this benefit even if you;re not specifically trying to increase sales!

Maximize Backlinking SEO for Press Release

There’s a good chance that your press release lacks one thing and that’s SEO – the tendency of being ranked and found on Google’s search engine.

As such, besides educating and informing your loyal viewers, you need to make sure your press release can be easily read especially by people who don’t know about you. Make sure your content is good enough for search engine optimization.

And how do we do that? Here are 5 quick tips for you to quickly implement and gain a wider audience that you deserve:

1. Choose Your Keyword(s)
Aim for keywords that have high search volume and low search competition
2. Use Keywords In Headline, First Paragraph and Content Paragraphs
Spread it out and put it on appropriate places in your release.
3. Anchor Text Backlinks
This helps drive readers from the press release to your website therefore, creating additional traffic. Remember not to spam your release with backlinks though! 2- 3 will suffice.
4. Multimedia Variation
Incorporate images, video, file attachments and audio into your content to keep viewers engaged and wanting more (If the press release site allows)
5. Maximize Press Release Distribution
Use press release distribution services to establish your press release widespread across as many media outlets as possible.

At the end of the day, SEO friendly press releases should have these elements incorporated to help you improve the reach of your press release. At the same time, it also helps in positioning your site to rank at the top of search engine result pages.

What’s In Store For Me?

Now that you know the benefits of having an optimized press release, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice. Assuming you have written a masterpiece, what should you do now? Well, just by writing isn’t sufficient to get your name out there.

Thanks to online PR services, your press release automatically becomes web content, which means it certainly has a shot at becoming news. The benefit of using a press release distribution service is that your release will be sent to the online news service such as Yahoo! News, Google News and many others, making them instantly available to your customers who are searching on the Internet.

With MarketersMEDIA’s wide distribution network and coverage, you’ll have
the tools to execute your communications strategy more effectively.

If you need your message to get noticed by the media and the millions of online viewers out there, leveraging the top-notch partnerships of MarketersMEDIA can help you tell your story better and louder. Being able to rank on reputable news websites like Yahoo! News, Reuters or Fox News simply by optimizing and distributing a press release offers attractive benefits at a nominal cost.

Reach out to huge viewership and customer base with instant publicity to generate massive traffic. You’re just one click away from achieving the best publicity. Track and analyze your success with complete data analysis and cost-effective method, exclusively on MarketersMEDIA. So, begin taking advantage over these great benefits of press releases for SEO now!

Hurry! Don’t miss out this golden opportunity to gain massive visibility and enjoy instant publicity!

***On a side note, MarketersMEDIA is currently having their Year End Sale (limited time only) that happens only once in a few years. Get more than 70% OFF the original price when purchasing your press release today!***

Time for some serious publicity! Always remember that having an optimized press release is sure to benefit you in more ways than one.

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Free Template:
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How to optimize WordPress after running a page speed test

Posted by on Jul 30, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to optimize WordPress after running a page speed test

How to optimize WordPress after running a page speed test

If you’re serious about your WordPress website, you have run a page speed test at some point. There are many variations of these tests out there. Some more convenient and true to your target audience than others. But they all will give you a pretty decent idea of where you can still improve your site. 

Certain speed optimizations may come across as “technically challenging” for some of you. Luckily, you have set up a WordPress website. And one of the things that make WordPress so awesome is the availability of WordPress plugins. Some free, some paid, but they all will help you to simplify difficult tasks. In this article, we’ll first show you a couple of page speed tests so you can check your page speed yourself. After that, we’ll go into a number of speed optimization recommendations. And show you how to solve these using just plugins.

Running a page speed test

Running a page speed test is as simple as inserting your website’s URL into a form on a website. That website then analyzes your website and comes up with recommendations. I’d like to mention two of those, but there are much more tests available.

Pingdom provides a tool for speed testing. The nice thing is that you can test from different servers. For instance, from a server that is relatively close to you. Especially if you are targeting a local audience, this is a nice way to see how fast your website for them is.
Google Lighthouse is a performance tool that lives in your browser. Click right on a page, choose Inspect and check the Audits tab in the new window that opens in your browser. Here, you can test speed for mobile device or desktop, and on different bandwidths for example. The test result looks like this:

Small remark: most sites appear slower in Lighthouse. This is because Lighthouse emulates a number of devices, for instance, a slow mobile/3g connection. (see the second bar in the screenshot above). With mobile first, this is actually a good thing, right?

Before Lighthouse, Google PageSpeed Insights already showed us a lot of speed improvements. They even let you download of optimized images, CSS and JS files. As you are working with WordPress, it might be a hard task to replace your files with these optimized ones though. Luckily, WordPress has plugins.

There are many, many more speed testing tools available online. These are just a few that I wanted to mention before going into WordPress solutions that will help you improve speed.

Optimizing your page speed using WordPress plugins

After running a page speed test, I am pretty sure that most website owners feel they should invest some time into optimizing that speed for their website. You will have a dozen recommendations. These recommendations differ from things you can do yourselves and some things that you might need technical help for.

Image optimization

Your speed test might return this recommendation:
Images usually play a large part in speed optimization, especially if you use large header images. Or if your site is image-heavy overall. It’s always a good idea to optimize these images. And it can be done with little quality loss these days. One of the things to look for is, like in the page speed test example above, images that are in fact larger than they are shown on your screen. If you have an image that covers your entire screen, and squeeze that into a 300 x 200 pixels spot on your website, you might be using an image of several MB’s. Instead, you could also change the dimensions of your image before uploading. And serve the image in the right dimensions and at a file size of some KB’s instead. By reducing the file size, you are speeding up your website.

Setting image dimensions in WordPress

WordPress comes with a handy default feature, where every image you upload is stored in several dimensions:
So if you want all the images in your posts to be the same width, pick one of the predefined ones or set your custom dimensions here. Images that you upload scale accordingly to these dimensions and the image in the original dimensions will also be available for you.

If you load, for instance, the medium size image instead of the much larger original, this will serve an image in a smaller file size, and this will be faster.

Image optimization plugins

There are also a number of image optimization plugins (paid and free) for WordPress available, like Kraken.io, Smush or Imagify. These might, for instance, remove so-called Exif data from the image. That is data that is really interesting for a photographer and will contain information about what settings the camera used to make that photo. Not really something you need for the image in your blog post, unless perhaps if you are in fact a photographer. Depending on your settings, you could also have these plugins replace your image with an image that is slightly lower in quality, for instance.

Some of these aforementioned plugins can also help you resize your images, by the way. Test these plugins for yourself and see which one is most convenient to work with and minifies your image files the best way. For further reading about image optimization, be sure to check this post about image SEO.

Browser cache

Another issue that comes across a lot in page speed tests is browser cache optimization.

Browser cache is about storing website files, like JS and CSS, in your local temporary internet files folder, so that they can be retrieved quickly on your next visit. Or, as Mozilla puts it:

The Firefox cache temporarily stores images, scripts, and other parts of websites you visit in order to speed up your browsing experience.

Caching in WP Super Cache

Most speed optimization plugins help you to optimize this caching. Sometimes as simple as this:

The Advanced tab of WP Super Cache here has a lot of more in-depth configuration for that, but starting out with the set defaults of a plugin is usually a good start. After that, start tweaking these advanced settings and see what they do.

Note that WP Super Cache has an option to disable cache for what they call “known users”. These are logged in users (and commenters), which allows for development (or commenting) without caching. That means for every refresh of the website in the browser window, you will get the latest state of that website instead of a cached version. That last one might be older because of that expiration time. If you set that expiration time to say 3600 seconds, a browser will only check for changes of the cached website after an hour. You see how that can be annoying if you want to see, for instance, design changes right away while developing.

Other WordPress caching plugins

I mention WP Super Cache here because it’s free and easy to use for most users. But there are alternatives. WP Fastest Cache is popular as well, with over 600K+ active installs. It has similar features to optimize caching:

A paid plugin that I also like is WP Rocket. It’s so easy to configure, that you’ll wonder if you have done things right. But your page speed test will tell you that it works pretty much immediately straight out-of-the-box. Let me explain something about compression and show you WP Rockets settings for that.

Compression

Regardless of whether your page speed test tool tells you to:

Try to minify your CSS files,
minify the JS files of your site,
minify your HTML files or
enable (GZIP) compression

These recommendations are all compression related. It’s about making your files as small as possible before sending them to a browser. It’s like reducing the file size of your images, but for JavaScript or CSS files, or for instance your HTML file itself. GZIP compression is about sending a zipped file to your browser, that your browser can unzip and read. Recommendations may look like this:

In WP Rocket, the settings for compression look like this:

Again, a lot is set to the right settings by default, as we do in Yoast SEO, but even more can be configured to your needs. How well compression works, might depend on your server settings as well.

If you feel like the compression optimization that is done with any of the plugins mentioned above fails, contact your hosting company and see if and how they can help you configure compression for your website. They will surely be able to help you out, especially when you are using one of these WordPress hosting companies.

Serving CSS and JS files

One more thing that speed tests will tell you, is to combine (external) CSS or JavaScript files or defer parsing scripts. These recommendations are about the way these files are served to the website.

The combine option for these files is, like you can see in the WP Rocket screenshot above, not recommended for HTTP/2 websites. For these websites, multiple script files can be loaded at the same time. For non-HTTP/2 sites, combining these files will lower the number of server requests, which again makes your site faster.

Deferring scripts or recommendations like “Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content” are about the way these scripts are loaded in your template files. If all of these are served from the top section of your template, your browser will wait to show (certain elements of) your page until these files are fully loaded. Sometimes it pays to transfer less-relevant scripts to the footer of your template, so your browser will first show your website. It can add the enhancements that these JavaScripts or CSS files make later. A plugin that can help you with this is Scripts-to-Footer. Warning: test this carefully. If you change the way that these files load, this can impact your website. Things may all of a sudden stop working or look different.

We have to mention CDNs

A Content Delivery Network caches static content. With static content, we mean files like HTML, CSS, JavaScript and image files. These files don’t change that often, so we can serve them from a CDN with many servers that are located near your visitors, so you can get them to your visitors super fast. It’s like traveling: the shorter the trip, the faster you get to your destination. Common sense, right? The same goes for these files. If the server that is serving the static file is located near your visitor (and servers are equally fast, obviously), the site will load faster for that visitor. Please read this post if you want to know more about CDNs.

There are many ways to optimize page speed in WordPress

Page speed tests will give you even more recommendations. Again, you might not be able to follow up on all of these yourself. Be sure to ask your expert in that case, like your web developer or agency, or your hosting company. But in the end, it’s good that you are using WordPress. There are many decent plugins that can help you optimize the speed of your website after a page speed test!

Read on: Site speed: tools and suggestions »

The post How to optimize WordPress after running a page speed test appeared first on Yoast.

[Announcement] SEOPressor Is Welcoming Guest Posts Now!

Posted by on Jul 29, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on [Announcement] SEOPressor Is Welcoming Guest Posts Now!

[Announcement] SEOPressor Is Welcoming Guest Posts Now!

Ever since the launch of SEOPressor in 2012, the plugin has gathered a massive interest among the users. To date, there are more than 200,000 domains that has installed SEOPressor. Over the years, we have worked with our customers passionately and together we discover strategies to make our sites better. We share our knowledge and findings through our esteemed SEOPressor blog. At times we also share our stories, which many of you love best, through which we share our experience.

We believe, learning shouldn’t be lonely. Hence, we are inviting you to share your voice, strategies, findings and experience with us, and with our 100,000 readers. Have 5 minutes to spare? Do read on how you can succeed just by guest posting and how it can be beneficial to you.

Starting from 5th of December 2017, we are pleased to tell you that we will start accepting guest posts! We want to feature you as a thought leader in your field. We want to share your knowledge with our readers. We want to expose your strategies, tools or secrets that have helped build your success to our readers, so they can follow and achieve the same. We also hope, through such collaborations, we can improve both our economic prospects and realize synergies that we both have never thought of! They exist!

That being said, there are some rules and regulations we like to observe so we are able to serve our readers in their best interests:

For all the guest blogs that we receive, we will propose changes and edits. We may make them for you, or you can make those edits, so your article can gather the best response from our readers. We have worked for years on this thus, we understand our readers’ appetite. These edits may include structure, tone, content, links, length of article, usage of additional medias. If you are still unsure on this part, be sure to discuss with us!
We are in the business of producing contents beyond existing interpretations hence, we look forward to see your thoughts, inference and perception that might not have been popularly discussed, or found. In other words, your unique perspective. Boy, do our readers love these articles and share like mad!
To make an article complete, many times, we have to recommend tools, resources or further readings or downloads. You are allowed to do so, and we could also help beef up the substances of the article with our references. However, too much is too much, so let’s put the readers’ interest first. Readers first, always.
While we believe this requires no further introduction, we’d still wish to bring it up. All articles and their content has to be copyright free.
As we have mentioned, we are here to share YOUR thoughts, YOUR profile is not something we will hide. We believe this should weed away keyboard warriors or people who prefers not to surface. Yes, we want your picture, big and clear. Readers always judge credibility of an article off the author.
Bios that include more than one link or sales language will be edited at the sole discretion of SEOPressor’s editors. The single link in the author bio should lead to the author’s blog or website as this is NOT a link building opportunity. It IS however, an opportunity to extend your expertise and thought leadership to a professional audience.

Articles must be written in English and well-proofread. Ideally, the post should contain a word range between 1500 to 2500 words. Note that we do not publish content related to religion, politics, or anything that is vulgar, offensive or inappropriate. Submitted contents should also not be self-promotional in any way for an enjoyable reading experience.

Kindly remember that basic formatting in the posts should be taken into consideration too; Headline, Keywords, Image where necessary, preferably in Word or Google Doc. Let’s ensure a smooth sailing process in between yeah?

We invite all bloggers of SEO background to send us your guest post on complimentary basis. In return, we will assist in editing and making sure your write-up suits our readers appetite, and also help share your articles to all our readers.

To learn if your post has been published, kindly visit the blog directly, or follow SEOPressor on Twitter and Facebook where all the posts will be shared.

If your article meets our editorial standards and aligns with our content strategy, we will respond to let you know that your article will be published. To submit the guest posts, please email us at [email protected]. The entire process may take up to 1 week.

We are committed to doing our best to make our site as accessible as possible but if you face any difficulties whilst using it or have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Lastly, once everything is ready and set, we would appreciate your effort to share the blog post to your readers! All these are a part of building a better and stronger reading experience for all our readers.

By continuing to use us, or by submitting content for publication on SEOPressor, you hereby agree to abide, and that you are bound, by these Terms and Conditions.

Thanks for choosing to guest post with us, we are absolutely looking forward to read the fantastic posts you’ve written! Submit a guest post today!

Sincerely,
The SEOPressor Team

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