SEO Articles

What is orphaned content?

What is orphaned content?

If you want your content to rank in Google, it needs to know about the existence of that content. That means that you (or another site) should link to this content. Google follows these links and saves every post or page it finds through links to in the index. So, you’ll understand that it’s important you add contextual links to all of your content. That sounds simple, but if you’re creating and publishing a lot of content, your linking structure might not be a top priority, and some of your articles may not get any links. Here, we’ll explain all about this so-called orphaned content: what it is, why it matters for SEO and how to fix it with the Yoast SEO plugin!

Did you know our Site structure training helps you prevent creating orphaned content? Find out how to build the best possible structure for your site. You can get access to this training course, and all of our other SEO courses with Yoast SEO Premium.

What is orphaned content?

Orphaned content is content that doesn’t get any links from other posts or pages on the same website. As a result of that, this content is hard to find, for both Google and visitors. Posts and pages need internal links to them, to fit into a site’s structure and to be findable. Note that ‘links’ in this case means: contextual links. If content is linked to from the homepage, sitemap, or category and tag pages, but lacks text links, it’s still considered orphaned content. The reason for this is that text links provide both users and search engines with context and therefore, add more value.

Why does orphaned content affect your SEO?

To rank content, Google obviously needs to know about it. Search engines follow links and save all the content of pages in their index. Orphaned content has few meaningful internal links from other pages or posts to it. Google will consider this type of content less important. So, if an article is important to you, you should make that clear to Google (and your visitors). Link to that specific article from other (similar) content.

How is orphaned content created?

If you write a new blog post, publish it and then forget about it, you probably won’t link to it anymore in your new posts and pages. Is this a bad thing? Well, that depends on the blog post. It is definitely a bad thing if you want people and Google to find this post because it’s important. In that case: make sure Google and your audience can find that orphaned blog post. Linking to it from articles that generate a lot of traffic in the search engines will help Google and your audience get to your blog post.

How do I use the orphaned content check?

You can find the orphaned content filter in your post overview. If you have Yoast SEO Premium installed, your post overview will look like this:

Clicking on the orphaned content filter will give an overview of all the posts without text links linking to them. On Yoast.com, we have quite a few orphaned articles as well (content team, are you reading this? We still have some work to do here ;-)).

Scrolling through our own orphaned articles, made me very aware of the fact that recent articles are often orphaned. We just don’t get around to adding links to these articles in our older blog posts. Still, for articles that are important to our SEO strategy or to our brand, we should make sure to add links in posts that generate a lot of traffic. That’ll help Google and our audience to find those important posts.

Should you always fix orphaned content?

For some articles, it isn’t that important to fix an orphaned content status. Some blog posts are only important for a short period of time. At Yoast, we sometimes write about our events that are coming up. Announcing such an event makes for a great blog post, but such a post probably has less value next year. It’s no problem for such a post to remain orphaned. In fact, perhaps you should consider deleting these pages (properly of course!) altogether. That’ll clean up your site a bit.

Conclusion: keep an eye on that orphaned content!

As I have shown, it’s easy to unwittingly create orphaned content, if you’re writing a lot of posts. Luckily, you can use the orphaned content feature of Yoast SEO Premium to stay on top of things. You can easily check which posts and pages are orphaned, and add links to important content, so both Google and your users can find it!

Read on: Site structure: the ultimate guide »

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Yoast SEO 15.8: A free block for your breadcrumbs

Yoast SEO 15.8: A free block for your breadcrumbs

Yoast SEO 15.8 is out and it comes with a cool new gift: a breadcrumbs block for the WordPress editor. This makes it easy to just drop your breadcrumb in a page, without having to touch any code. Now available for everyone! We also have a cool new update for our Video SEO add-on that loads your videos in a much smarter way. Read all about it!

Free breadcrumbs block for the block editor

Blocks are the future. We’ve been big fans of the new block editor — a.k.a. Gutenberg — for a long time and we’re excited about what’s ahead! We loved using and building blocks that help us improve not only our own site, but yours as well. We built several blocks, like the table of contents block, the internal linking blocks and the structured data blocks for FAQ and how-to content. Today, we’re adding another one: a breadcrumb block.

With full-site editing (FSE) coming to the WordPress block editor soonish, we were looking for a way to simplify adding breadcrumbs. In addition, we also wanted to change the behaviour around breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs can help both Google and site visitors to more easily understand the way a site is structured.

One of the ways Google discovers breadcrumbs is by “reading” the Schema.org structured data on your site. After consulting with Google, Yoast SEO will start to output breadcrumb structured data by default — even if you haven’t activated the breadcrumb feature. This another way to make your site more understandable to Google.

Adding breadcrumbs via blocks

Adding breadcrumbs to your site was always a chore. Of course, Yoast SEO can generate breadcrumbs for you and we have had a shortcode for use with the classic editor for some time. What’s more, there’s even a widget for adding breadcrumbs in Elementor. Plus, many themes support Yoast Breadcrumbs out of the box, so for some it’s just a matter of activating the breadcrumbs feature.

But if your theme doesn’t support it, you need to add a bit of code to it to get it to work. We wanted to simplify that with a new breadcrumbs block that works without having to add code. As said, full-site editing in WordPress will make it possible to use this block to add those breadcrumbs where you want.

Even today, with a recent version of the Gutenberg plugin, you can drop the breadcrumbs block in the widget area to be more flexible in where you want it to appear. Simply go to Appearance > Widgets and add the block in your widget area of choice.

Of course, you add the block also simply add the breadcrumbs block to individual posts and pages. You can find the Yoast Breadcrumbs block in the list of blocks by typing Yoast or breadcrumbs. Simply pick a spot to drop in the block and select it from the list. Et voila, you have breadcrumbs on your page!

Yoast Video SEO 13.6: now in the sidebar, plus smarter video loading

The past couple of months, we’ve been giving our Yoast SEO add-ons special attention. We’re working on improving the user experience of the plugins and making it easier to use these inside the block editor. Among these, is an add-on that helps you make your videos appear in the search results: Yoast Video SEO.

For this release of the plugin, we had to rebuild the meta box to make the settings and features available in the sidebar of the block editor. In addition, we also improved the UX and interface. This makes the features more sensible for you and using it more self-explanatory.

Preventing your video page from slowing down

Last but not least, in Yoast Video SEO 13.6, we’ve changed the way we load the code necessary to embed videos. We now only load the thumbnail image for the video and, after that, we’ll only load the necessary JavaScript code when a user interacts with the video. This will keep pages with embedded videos from becoming slow to load — enhancing the user experience. Plus, it will keep your pages from performing badly in site speed tests because embedding YouTube videos in a post will immediately decrease that post’s Core Web Vitals scores. You can turn this feature on in the Embed settings.

Enable the YouTube embed feature in the Embed settings of Yoast Video SEO

Yoast SEO 15.8 is out today

Yoast SEO 15.8 is not a huge release, but it does bring a nice goodie: the Yoast Breadcrumb block. Simply drop this on any post or page and a fully-formed breadcrumbs will appear. Easy peasy!

The post Yoast SEO 15.8: A free block for your breadcrumbs appeared first on Yoast.

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The Definitive Guide to JavaScript SEO (2021 Edition)

The Definitive Guide to JavaScript SEO (2021 Edition)

Posted by PierceBrelinsky

The web is in a golden age of front-end development, and JavaScript and technical SEO are experiencing a renaissance. As a technical SEO specialist and web dev enthusiast at an award-winning digital marketing agency, I’d like to share my perspective on modern JavaScript SEO based on industry best practices and my own agency experience. In this article, you’ll learn how to optimize your JS-powered website for search in 2021.

What is JavaScript SEO?

JavaScript SEO is the discipline of technical SEO that’s focused on optimizing websites built with JavaScript for visibility by search engines. It’s primarily concerned with:

Optimizing content injected via JavaScript for crawling, rendering, and indexing by search engines.Preventing, diagnosing, and troubleshooting ranking issues for websites and SPAs (Single Page Applications) built on JavaScript frameworks, such as React, Angular, and Vue.Ensuring that web pages are discoverable by search engines through linking best practices.Improving page load times for pages parsing and executing JS code for a streamlined User Experience (UX).
 Is JavaScript good or bad for SEO?

It depends! JavaScript is essential to the modern web and makes building websites scalable and easier to maintain. However, certain implementations of JavaScript can be detrimental to search engine visibility.


How does JavaScript affect SEO?

JavaScript can affect the following on-page elements and ranking factors that are important for SEO:

Rendered contentLinksLazy-loaded imagesPage load timesMeta data
What are JavaScript-powered websites?

When we talk about sites that are built on JavaScript, we’re not referring to simply adding a layer of JS interactivity to HTML documents (for example, when adding JS animations to a static web page). In this case, JavaScript-powered websites refer to when the core or primary content is injected into the DOM via JavaScript.

App Shell Model.

This template is called an app shell and is the foundation for progressive web applications (PWAs). We’ll explore this next.

How to check if a site is built with JavaScript

You can quickly check if a website is built on a JavaScript framework by using a technology look-up tool such as BuiltWith or Wappalyzer. You can also “Inspect Element” or “View Source” in the browser to check for JS code. Popular JavaScript frameworks that you might find include:

Angular by GoogleReact by FacebookVue by Evan You
JavaScript SEO for core content

Here’s an example: Modern web apps are being built on JavaScript frameworks, like Angular, React, and Vue. JavaScript frameworks allow developers to quickly build and scale interactive web applications. Let’s take a look at the default project template for Angular.js, a popular framework produced by Google.

When viewed in the browser, this looks like a typical web page. We can see text, images, and links. However, let’s dive deeper and take a peek under the hood at the code:

Now we can see that this HTML document is almost completely devoid of any content. There are only the app-root and a few script tags in the body of the page. This is because the main content of this single page application is dynamically injected into the DOM via JavaScript. In other words, this app depends on JS to load key on-page content!

Potential SEO issues: Any core content that is rendered to users but not to search engine bots could be seriously problematic! If search engines aren’t able to fully crawl all of your content, then your website could be overlooked in favor of competitors. We’ll discuss this in more detail later.

JavaScript SEO for internal links

Besides dynamically injecting content into the DOM, JavaScript can also affect the crawlability of links. Google discovers new pages by crawling links it finds on pages.

As a best practice, Google specifically recommends linking pages using HTML anchor tags with href attributes, as well as including descriptive anchor texts for the hyperlinks:

However, Google also recommends that developers not rely on other HTML elements — like div or span — or JS event handlers for links. These are called “pseudo” links, and they will typically not be crawled, according to official Google guidelines:

Despite these guidelines, an independent, third-party study has suggested that Googlebot may be able to crawl JavaScript links. Nonetheless, in my experience, I’ve found that it’s a best practice to keep links as static HTML elements.

Potential SEO issues: If search engines aren’t able to crawl and follow links to your key pages, then your pages could be missing out on valuable internal links pointing to them. Internal links help search engines crawl your website more efficiently and highlight the most important pages. The worst-case scenario is that if your internal links are implemented incorrectly, then Google may have a hard time discovering your new pages at all (outside of the XML sitemap).

JavaScript SEO for lazy-loading images

JavaScript can also affect the crawlability of images that are lazy-loaded. Here’s a basic example. This code snippet is for lazy-loading images in the DOM via JavaScript:

Googlebot supports lazy-loading, but it does not “scroll” like a human user would when visiting your web pages. Instead, Googlebot simply resizes its virtual viewport to be longer when crawling web content. Therefore, the “scroll” event listener is never triggered and the content is never rendered by the crawler.

Here’s an example of more SEO-friendly code:

This code shows that the IntersectionObserver API triggers a callback when any observed element becomes visible. It’s more flexible and robust than the on-scroll event listener and is supported by modern Googlebot. This code works because of how Googlebot resizes its viewport in order to “see” your content (see below).

You can also use native lazy-loading in the browser. This is supported by Google Chrome, but note that it is still an experimental feature. Worst case scenario, it will just get ignored by Googlebot, and all images will load anyway:

Native lazy-loading in Google Chrome.

Potential SEO issues: Similar to core content not being loaded, it’s important to make sure that Google is able to “see” all of the content on a page, including images. For example, on an e-commerce site with multiple rows of product listings, lazy-loading images can provide a faster user experience for both users and bots!

Javascript SEO for page speed

Javascript can also affect page load times, which is an official ranking factor in Google’s mobile-first index. This means that a slow page could potentially harm rankings in search. How can we help developers mitigate this?

Minifying JavaScriptDeferring non-critical JS until after the main content is rendered in the DOMInlining critical JSServing JS in smaller payloads

Potential SEO issues: A slow website creates a poor user experience for everyone, even search engines. Google itself defers loading JavaScript to save resources, so it’s important to make sure that any served to clients is coded and delivered efficiently to help safeguard rankings.

JavaScript SEO for meta data

Also, it’s important to note that SPAs that utilize a router package like react-router or vue-router have to take some extra steps to handle things like changing meta tags when navigating between router views. This is usually handled with a Node.js package like vue-meta or react-meta-tags.

What are router views? Here’s how linking to different “pages” in a Single Page Application works in React in five steps:

When a user visits a React website, a GET request is sent to the server for the ./index.html file.The server then sends the index.html page to the client, containing the scripts to launch React and React Router.The web application is then loaded on the client-side.If a user clicks on a link to go on a new page (/example), a request is sent to the server for the new URL.React Router intercepts the request before it reaches the server and handles the change of page itself. This is done by locally updating the rendered React components and changing the URL client-side.

In other words, when users or bots follow links to URLs on a React website, they are not being served multiple static HTML files. But rather, the React components (like headers, footers, and body content) hosted on root ./index.html file are simply being reorganized to display different content. This is why they’re called Single Page Applications!

Potential SEO issues: So, it’s important to use a package like React Helmet for making sure that users are being served unique metadata for each page, or “view,” when browsing SPAs. Otherwise, search engines may be crawling the same metadata for every page, or worse, none at all!

How does this all affect SEO in the bigger picture? Next, we need to learn how Google processes JavaScript.

How does Google handle JavaScript?

In order to understand how JavaScript affects SEO, we need to understand what exactly happens when GoogleBot crawls a web page:

CrawlRenderIndex

First, Googlebot crawls the URLs in its queue, page by page. The crawler makes a GET request to the server, typically using a mobile user-agent, and then the server sends the HTML document.

Then, Google decides what resources are necessary to render the main content of the page. Usually, this means only the static HTML is crawled, and not any linked CSS or JS files. Why?

According to Google Webmasters, Googlebot has discovered approximately 130 trillion web pages. Rendering JavaScript at scale can be costly. The sheer computing power required to download, parse, and execute JavaScript in bulk is massive.

This is why Google may defer rendering JavaScript until later. Any unexecuted resources are queued to be processed by Google Web Rendering Services (WRS), as computing resources become available.

Finally, Google will index any rendered HTML after JavaScript is executed.

Google crawl, render, and index process.

In other words, Google crawls and indexes content in two waves:

The first wave of indexing, or the instant crawling of the static HTML sent by the webserverThe second wave of indexing, or the deferred crawling of any additional content rendered via JavaScript

Google wave indexing. Source: Google I/O’18

The bottom line is that content dependent on JS to be rendered can experience a delay in crawling and indexing by Google. This used to take days or even weeks. For example, Googlebot historically ran on the outdated Chrome 41 rendering engine. However, they’ve significantly improved its web crawlers in recent years.

Googlebot was recently upgraded to the latest stable release of the Chromium headless browser in May 2019. This means that their web crawler is now “evergreen” and fully compatible with ECMAScript 6 (ES6) and higher, or the latest versions of JavaScript.

So, if Googlebot can technically run JavaScript now, why are we still worried about indexing issues?

The short answer is crawl budget. This is the concept that Google has a rate limit on how frequently they can crawl a given website because of limited computing resources. We already know that Google defers JavaScript to be executed later to save crawl budget.

While the delay between crawling and rendering has been reduced, there is no guarantee that Google will actually execute the JavaScript code waiting in line in its Web Rendering Services queue.

Here are some reasons why Google might not actually ever run your JavaScript code:

Blocked in robots.txtTimeoutsErrors

Therefore, JavaScript can cause SEO issues when core content relies on JavaScript but is not rendered by Google.

Real-world application: JavaScript SEO for e-commerce

E-commerce websites are a real-life example of dynamic content that is injected via JavaScript. For example, online stores commonly load products onto category pages via JavaScript.

JavaScript can allow e-commerce websites to update products on their category pages dynamically. This makes sense because their inventory is in a constant state of flux due to sales. However, is Google actually able to “see” your content if it does not execute your JS files?

For e-commerce websites, which depend on online conversions, not having their products indexed by Google could be disastrous.

How to test and debug JavaScript SEO issues

Here are steps you can take today to proactively diagnose any potential JavaScript SEO issues:

Visualize the page with Google’s Webmaster Tools. This helps you to view the page from Google’s perspective.Use the site search operator to check Google’s index. Make sure that all of your JavaScript content is being indexed properly by manually checking Google.Debug using Chrome’s built-in dev tools. Compare and contrast what Google “sees” (source code) with what users see (rendered code) and ensure that they align in general.

There are also handy third-party tools and plugins that you can use. We’ll talk about these soon.

Google Webmaster Tools

The best way to determine if Google is experiencing technical difficulties when attempting to render your pages is to test your pages using Google Webmaster tools, such as:

URL Inspection tool in Search ConsoleMobile-Friendly Test
Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

The goal is simply to visually compare and contrast your content visible in your browser and look for any discrepancies in what is being displayed in the tools.

Both of these Google Webmaster tools use the same evergreen Chromium rendering engine as Google. This means that they can give you an accurate visual representation of what Googlebot actually “sees” when it crawls your website.

There are also third-party technical SEO tools, like Merkle’s fetch and render tool. Unlike Google’s tools, this web application actually gives users a full-size screenshot of the entire page.

Site: Search Operator

Alternatively, if you are unsure if JavaScript content is being indexed by Google, you can perform a quick check-up by using the site: search operator on Google.

Copy and paste any content that you’re not sure that Google is indexing after the site: operator and your domain name, and then press the return key. If you can find your page in the search results, then no worries! Google can crawl, render, and index your content just fine. If not, it means your JavaScript content might need some help gaining visibility.

Here’s what this looks like in the Google SERP:

Chrome Dev Tools

Another method you can use to test and debug JavaScript SEO issues is the built-in functionality of the developer tools available in the Chrome web browser.

Right-click anywhere on a web page to display the options menu and then click “View Source” to see the static HTML document in a new tab.

You can also click “Inspect Element” after right-clicking to view the content that is actually loaded in the DOM, including JavaScript.

Inspect Element.

Compare and contrast these two perspectives to see if any core content is only loaded in the DOM, but not hard-coded in the source. There are also third-party Chrome extensions that can help do this, like the Web Developer plugin by Chris Pederick or the View Rendered Source plugin by Jon Hogg.

How to fix JavaScript rendering issues

After diagnosing a JavaScript rendering problem, how do you resolve JavaScript SEO issues? The answer is simple: Universal Javascript, also known as “Isomorphic” JavaScript. 

What does this mean? Universal or Isomorphic here refers to JavaScript applications that are capable of being run on either the server or the client.

There are a few different implementations of JavaScript that are more search-friendly than client-side rendering, to avoid offloading JS to both users and crawlers:

Server-side rendering (SSR). This means that JS is executed on the server for each request. One way to implement SSR is with a Node.js library like Puppeteer. However, this can put a lot of strain on the server.Hybrid rendering. This is a combination of both server-side and client-side rendering. Core content is rendered server-side before being sent to the client. Any additional resources are offloaded to the client.Dynamic rendering. In this workaround, the server detects the user agent of the client making the request. It can then send pre-rendered JavaScript content to search engines, for example. Any other user agents will need to render their content client-side. For example, Google Webmasters recommend a popular open-source solution called Renderton for implementing dynamic rendering.Incremental Static Regeneration, or updating static content after a site has already been deployed. This can be done with frameworks like Next.js for React or Nuxt.js for Vue. These frameworks have a build process that will pre-render every page of your JS application to static assets that you can serve from something like an S3 bucket. This way, your site can get all of the SEO benefits of server-side rendering, without the server management!

Each of these solutions helps make sure that, when search engine bots make requests to crawl HTML documents, they receive the fully rendered versions of the web pages. However, some of these can be extremely difficult or even impossible to implement after web infrastructure is already built. That’s why it’s important to keep JavaScript SEO best practices in mind when designing the architecture of your next web application.

Note, for websites built on a content management system (CMS) that already pre-renders most content, like WordPress or Shopify, this isn’t typically an issue.

Key takeaways

This guide provides some general best practices and insights into JavaScript SEO. However, JavaScript SEO is a complex and nuanced field of study. We recommend that you read through Google’s official documentation and troubleshooting guide for more JavaScript SEO basics. Interested in learning more about optimizing your JavaScript website for search? Leave a comment below.

The web has moved from plain HTML – as an SEO you can embrace that. Learn from JS devs & share SEO knowledge with them. JS's not going away.

— ???? John ???? (@JohnMu) August 8, 2017

Want to learn more about technical SEO? Check out the Moz Academy Technical SEO Certification Series, an in-depth training series that hones in on the nuts and bolts of technical SEO.

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What is App Store Optimization? (ASO)

What is App Store Optimization? (ASO)

With more than 6 million mobile apps in the major app stores, getting your app discovered is one of the biggest issues facing mobile app publishers today. This is why understanding app store optimization (ASO) is so crucial.

But what is app store optimization, and how can you make the most of it? Here’s what you need to know to help your app rank well.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)? 

App store optimization is the process of optimizing mobile apps to rank higher in an app store’s search results. The higher your app ranks in an app store’s search results, the more visible it is to potential customers.

That increased visibility tends to translate into more traffic to your app’s page in the app store.

The goal of ASO is to drive more traffic to your app’s page in the app store, so searchers can take a specific action: download your app.

The ASO process also requires a crucial understanding of your target customer base, including the keywords your potential customers are using to find apps similar to yours.

When you learn more about which keywords are being used, you will better understand your potential customers’ language so you can hone in on the best keywords to use.

App Store Optimization (ASO) factors to pay attention to include:

App name and titleKeywords DescriptionSubtitleTotal number of downloadsRatings and reviews

We’ll cover how to optimize for each of these factors below, but first let’s talk about why AOS matters.

Why Is ASO Important?

According to Google, 40 percent of apps are discovered through app store searches. This makes search in the app store the most used method for discovering and downloading new apps.

Simply put, this means that:

If you’re not using ASO to increase your app’s search ranking, you’re missing out on the largest discovery channel available to your app.

With hundreds of thousands of apps in each app store vying to rank above one another, the reality is most publishers are not investing in app store optimization.

So here’s my gift to you: ASO is your secret weapon. Spend time every week improving your ASO, and you will meaningfully impact your app’s ranking and overall success.

How to Help Your App Rank: The Basics of ASO 

Much of what I’m about to explain is actually SEO basics.

If you’re already familiar with these for web searches, there are still a few key differences within the App Store.

Let’s start by breaking down the various components that can affect your ASO:

Main ASO Factors

These factors have the largest impact on where your app ranks, so pay special attention to these factors.

App Name/Title: The keyword placed in the title should be the one with the heaviest search traffic. Spend time researching which keyword that is, because changing your title too often can be detrimental. As your app begins to rank higher and gain more reviews, your app’s news will begin to spread by word of mouth. Changing the title can make it difficult for word to spread about your app.Keywords: To improve your search rankings, you need to know which keywords are relevant and used most often by your target audience. It is helpful to monitor competitors to realize how you compare week to week.

Besides being the most important ASO factor, the title and keywords can be modified easily. so you’ll want to optimize them regularly.

Secondary ASO Factors

First impression matter — but there are several other factors that heavily weigh impact whether users tap that download button. These include:

Total # of Downloads: Your number of downloads are significant to ASO, but you don’t have complete control over them.Ratings and Reviews: Also important and difficult to control. However, there are ways to incentivize happy users to rate and review

Here’s a complete breakdown of all the factors to keep in mind when optimizing your app for better rankings.

1. App Title

The title is our first impression online. It’s what drew you to read this post, and it’s what will draw users to your app.

Optimizing with a keyword in the title increases search ranking for that title by 10.3%!

Obviously, some limitations apply, as the App Store is very regulated.

You’re given only 30 characters for a title in Apple, and keyword stuffing is a surefire way to risk being banned.

Users are also wary of downloading shady-looking apps for privacy concerns.

Think about it — would you rather have “Evernote” or “Note Taking Note App for Notes” on your smartphone?

Be smart about how you optimize.

Pandora, for example, does everything right.

Its icon is sleek and simple, and with a short name, it was able to fit in three essential keywords.

When searching the App Store for “free,” “music,” or “radio,” you’ll find Pandora at or near the top.

2. App Description

Here’s where things get a bit murky. Technically the App Store algorithm ignores the description.

Users, however, are a different story.

Rather than optimizing for SEO, focus on explaining the features and benefits of your product.

While it seems like you have a lot of space to do this, you actually don’t.

Truncated snippets are shown on your product page, and a few readers will ever click “more” to read beyond what you see here.

You have 252 characters to make your pitch and convince someone you’re worth downloading. So. you’ll want to keep it short and sweet.

There’s no room for fluff, and you may need to A/B test several iterations to find what works best.

3. Keyword Metadata

Apple provides you with 100 characters to enter keywords separated by commas.

These help your app get discovered through search and related content.

There’s no need to duplicate efforts here, so choose keywords you haven’t already used in the title.

Some in-depth keyword analysis can be done using Apple Search Ads.

This feature is only available to iOS app developers and is an essential tool for listing any project.

You can also use a keyword research tool like Ubersuggest to find common key terms and test them.

4. App Subtitle

You’re given a subtitle below the title in search results. This is also limited to 30 characters.

It gives you another chance to use more descriptive keywords.

TypeShift, for example, uses the space to input its main search word.

This is a cleaner look and can work well.

I would’ve still taken the opportunity to use some keywords in the title, but that’s out of my control.

Which is a great segue to my next topic.

5. App Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews and ratings are an important consideration for users, especially those unfamiliar with an app brand.

Apps with higher ratings also ranked higher. This raises a tricky dilemma: you want more ratings and reviews, but not if they are negative. So, you need a way to connect with your customers inside your app, giving them a place to vent and talk directly to the developer.

On the flip side, you want to guide happy customers to leave positive reviews for you.

The average rating of the top 100 free apps in the App Store is 4 stars!

Quality clearly matters.

The lower your rating, the fewer consumers who will be willing to consider downloading it.

Think about it. When was the last time you downloaded a one-star app?

You may have rated an app one star, but it was likely rated three or more stars when you downloaded it.

Ratings also affect conversions.

Maintaining a high rating is often easier than raising one from two or four stars.

That’s why it’s important to solicit reviews from customers within the app.

One time is all that’s necessary, and it needs to be done within the first 72 hours.

That’s how long 77% of users will use an app before never again turning it on.

It’s also important to wait until after the customer has a chance to use the app.

Instead of basing it on a timer, consider a push notification when the customer completes certain actions.

Examples of great times to do this are after the first level of a game or after a customer sends their first message through your encrypted messaging app.

Try not to be too spammy, though, and keep in mind your app’s performance can affect its rating.

Ultimately, you want a page full of glowing reviews.

Finally, don’t be shy about replying to negative reviews.

It’s possible a bad customer experience happened due to an error or glitch that’s since been corrected.

Thank users for their reviews whenever possible, good or bad, and correct issues brought up. This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.

This is your time to gather valuable user feedback.

6. App Downloads

Ultimately it’s a download that matters.

An app preview video and screenshots help convert indecisive users.

Both the App and Google Play stores use the number of times an app has been downloaded to determine ranking.

More specifically, it’s the current download rate.

For example, while an app may have one million overall downloads, a newer app can beat it by getting more downloads this month.

The preview video and images can be a major factor in this.

The majority of top apps in the App Store use app previews to increase customer conversions.

Once you have a user, however, you’ll need to keep them.

It’s harder than it sounds, and Apple is paying attention.

What can you do to get more downloads for your app?

Improving your app optimization is a great place to start. Beyond that, work on marketing your brand and app to improve recognition, awareness, and appeal, from app store description to images, ratings/reviews, and social media presence.

How Retention Impacts ASO 

Retention rates are important for mobile device rankings, but the bar isn’t set very high.

The average app has only a 29 percent retention rate after 90 days.

Further breaking things down, we can look at the retention rates by industry.

Media/Entertainment, Lifestyle/Travel, and eCommerce/Retail apps have the best three-month retention rates.

There are so many apps available in the App Store that users download plenty to never use them.

A study found Americans use an average of 30 apps each month out of the roughly 90 they have installed.

This means even if your app is downloaded, it’s unlikely it’ll ever be used beyond the first 72 hours.

How long your app stays installed and how many times it’s used while installed can help App Store search rankings.

Now that you understand how the search rankings work, it’s time to explore best practices for publishing an app to ensure it’s seen and downloaded.

Do Apps with Higher Ratings Rank Higher in Search Results?

Yes, higher rankings do result in higher search results. Here’s a test performed by taking a random sampling of keywords and categorizing them by difficulty related to rankings. 

An “easy” keyword results in fewer than 25 apps trying to rank for that keyword. “Medium” keywords are included in 25-100 apps, and “competitive” keywords are those in 100+ apps.

Based on this test, there is a clear trend showing that apps with higher ratings also rank higher for keyword difficulty.

Do apps with better ratings rank higher? Yes.

(But don’t beg for them; earn better ratings for your apps the right way.)

Conclusion 

Like SEO, ASO is a process that needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over a period of time. Your optimal set of keywords rarely is the set that you first opt to put in the app store.

In most cases, little or no research on keyword searches occurs before the app submission, leaving most apps hidden, and the likelihood of discovery quite low.

To reap the rewards of ASO, you need to invest time and effort. If you do, you’ll have a consistent channel driving traffic to your app.

Being found is one of the most difficult challenges for mobile apps, but it is a problem you can actively solve with the tips above.

Have you found success with ASO? What has helped your app rank better? 

The post What is App Store Optimization? (ASO) appeared first on Neil Patel.

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9 Must-Have Content Writing Tools for SEO Content Writers

9 Must-Have Content Writing Tools for SEO Content Writers

Search engines are the starting point for 93 percent of website visits. Besides, 75 percent of internet users don’t scroll beyond the first page of search engine results.

These statistics point to two conclusions. First, ranking on the first page for particular terms can be more useful and vital than most forms of advertising. Second, you should strive to be on the first page if you’re to catch people’s attention. 

For you to tap into these benefits of organic search results, you need a solid SEO content strategy. Here are the tools that can help you streamline your SEO content creation process and make it more effective:

Google Trends

If you’re just starting and you haven’t settled on the subject matter yet, Google Keyword Trend is the perfect starting point. Google Trends is a feature that shows you how many times a search term has been entered into Google Search comparative to the total search volume in a given time frame. 

Google Trends can help you discover event-driven spikes in given keyword search volume. Besides, Google Trends provides you with vital keyword-related data like geographical data of users and search volume index. The platform also allows you to change the time frame, location, industry or category, and search (in the news, web, YouTube, or shopping) for more detailed data. 

Once you’ve established what users/ potential customers are searching for online, you should settle on particular low-competition and high-search-volume keywords. If you don’t rank highly for such keywords, your content won’t be visible on search engine results. 

An effective rule of thumb is to focus on about two keywords in every article or blog post. This will allow you to create focused and detailed content as well as enable you to locate your keywords in strategic places – for instance in your headline. Having fewer keywords will also help you avoid keyword stuffing. 

Keyword Research Tools

Google Keyword Planner

Google keyword planner enables you to know the keywords which are popular in given niches. It also helps you find out the competitiveness of given phrases. An effective SEO strategy is built on keywords that are high-volume as well as not too competitive. But what stands out about this keyword planner is that its data comes straight from Google and so it’s extremely accurate. Moreover, it’s free!

LSIGraph

LSI helps you find the most lucrative semantically related keywords/phrases for your paid marketing and SEO. LSI keywords are phrases related to the main keyword. You should use them in your SEO content to help search engine crawlers to contextualize your content better.

Better still, LSIGraph helps you discover the top-ranking content for your keyword, which is fantastic because for you to outrank everyone else, you must learn from the best.

Research Search Intent and Create Outline 

SEOPressor’s Blog Title Generator

If you choose to start your article with a headline, you can use this title generator to create multiple title ideas from your keywords. To generate title ideas, you only need to enter your keyword. If you don’t like the ideas, you can refresh and generate another set of unique ideas. 

The main reason why you should use SEOPressor’s title generator is that it spawns titles that are useful and relevant to readers.

Answer the Public 

Answer the Public is a visual research tool that helps connect your keywords with search questions and suggested searches. Google and Bing’s auto search results are a treasure trove of insights for marketers.  

As you type a keyword into Answer the public, you’re provided with an aggregated view of search questions. This macro view of search questions provides a window into the ‘searchers’ emotions and motivations. This is an effective but underutilized source of marketing research. 

BiQ keyword Intelligence

BiQ generates long-tail keywords that are linked semantically to your main keywords. You only need to enter a single seed keyword for BiQ to generate numerous long-tail keywords. 

BiQ’s features include keyword intelligence which helps you conduct local SEO and decipher customer behavior through keyword intent analysis. Its content intelligence feature provides you AI-guided optimization steps and tone suggestions. Besides, BiQ comes with other useful features like site intelligence, rank intelligence, markup intelligence and more.

Optimizing Your Content

SEOPressor WordPress plugin

SEOPressor  WordPress plugin gathers vital SEO analytics of your site in one place. It thus helps you to ensure that your content is presented optimally – that you have adhered to the SEO best practices and the most favorable keyword density.

You’re able to bolster your SEO, thanks to SEOPressor score which scales from 0 to 100. The score is based on your content’s readability, word count, and semantic quality. The higher you score, the higher you’re likely to rank. 

Besides, this plugin provides you with suggestions on how to optimize your content naturally. For instance, it suggests where you should place keywords, and warns you of keyword stuffing. It also recommends LSI keywords. 

GDoc SEO Assistant

 GDoc helps online marketers, writers, and bloggers to analyze and boost the SEO value of their content. It bolsters your SEO efforts by providing data on your keywords, including trends, search volume, and competition

GDoc’s key features include SEO score which informs you how well you’ve optimized your content and the SEO Suggestion feature which provides you with real-time content optimization suggestions. Also, its Related Keyword feature helps you improve your content’s semantic relevance.

Post Editing Tool Readability and Grammar

Hemingway App

Hemingway was the master of writing easy to read prose marked by short sentences. Online readers have short attention spans; they don’t want to read lengthy, flowery, and verbose sentences. The Hemingway app helps you create easy to read content with short sentences. 

All you have to do is to paste your article into the app, it then highlights problematic areas in several categories: use of adverbs, passive voice, overly difficult phrases or words, or exceedingly complex sentences. You can then scrolls through your content and rectify the highlighted areas – simplify complex sentences, use active verbs and get rid of unnecessary adverbs. 

The Hemingway app also categorizes your content based on its reading level. The lower the reading grade, the more accessible the content is to a wider audience. In the long run, the app helps you to become a better writer capable of spotting and fixing errors.

Grammarly

For your content to be SEO-friendly, it must be grammatically correct and logically structured. Even if your content is useful, no one will want to read it if it’s incoherent and flooded with basic errors. You won’t have clients if your content isn’t easy to read.

Grammarly uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence help you create clear and effective online content. It checks for grammar errors, spelling errors, and plagiarism. It also offers suggestions about tone, delivery style, vocabulary, and concision.

The best thing about Grammarly is that you can install it into your browser where it’ll grammar- and spell-check all the stuff you write online. You can also download its desktop app for offline use.

Conclusion 

Great writing tools enable you to craft compelling content by helping your brainstorm ideas, find errors, perfect copy, and ultimately create content ranks high on search engines. To create optimal content, try out the above writing tools.

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Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues

Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues

Google is facing serious indexation issues these days, affecting countless businesses all over the world.  Despite the official announcements that the indexation issues have been fixed, the problems seem to persist.

 

With great power comes great responsibility. Therefore, we can only hope these issues will be solved as fast as possible for all webmasters and company owners that are already facing a difficult year for their businesses. 

 

 

Google is undoubtedly one of the largest and clearest monopolies in the world. Bing, its closest search competitor, has just 2 percent of the market — hardly a significant threat to Google’s 90 percent. So, what happens when Google’s SERP is not working accordingly? 

 

Let’s see!

 

Google Indexing Problem – Confirmed on October 1, 2020

 

It all started at the end of September when a number of complaints related to pages being dropped from Google’s search index appeared. Lots of people started reporting index coverage issues and crawl errors on forums, Facebook groups, etc..

 

Twitter was the most popular channel for this type of issues, as usual, as it’s the only place where there is a chance that a Google representative might actually respond to the issue. 

 

The same happened in this case, with the mention that this time, Google’s representative John Mueller wasn’t aware of the issue, as stated in the screenshot below.  

Of course, this leaves a lot of room for speculations on this matter, yet we prefer to leave those thoughts on you and present you only the facts for now. 

 

 

Lots of other discussions were generated on this matter all over the places, Search Console Help and Black Hat World to mention just a few. Below you can get an idea of the vibe that was on Twitter regarding this matter.  

 

 

On October 1st, 24 hours later, Google officially announced that some indexing issues do exist and they are working on solving them. 

 

We are currently working to resolve two separate indexing issues that have impacted some URLs. One is with mobile-indexing. The other is with canonicalization, how we detect and handle duplicate content. In either case, pages might not be indexed….

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 1, 2020

 

For the following three weeks, they kept on communicating updates on the problems and how they were fixing them. The most recent and important updates on this matter are the following:

 

October 9: the mobile indexing was effectively resolved yesterday, with about 99% of the URLs restored. 

 

October 20: the canonical issue was effectively resolved last Wednesday (Oct. 14), with about 99% of the URLs restored. We expect the remaining edge cases will be restored within a week or two.

 

Meanwhile, Google communication revolved around this type of messages:

 

There’s no action to take with these issues on the part of site owners.
We apologize for the issues here and are working rapidly to resolve them.
We’ll update this thread as each is corrected.
It may take days to fully resolve both these issues completely, but we have restored many URLs already and are working quickly to process more.

 

All good in the hood, you might be tempted to say. Google had a bug, they fixed it three weeks after.

 

Just that things are not exactly like that. Beside the fact that three weeks of not indexing new content or de-indexing old one is a very big amount of time in Internet days measure, the problem is still on, as several webmasters reported. 

 

We have two examples of our own that confirm the issue is still on. Not sure if you know, but the same hard-working team that developed cognitiveSEO, crafted the brand monitoring tool BrandMentions.com as well. Both examples will be from this website.

 

The first one is a really cool research on best time to post on Instagram (I might be subjective here, but you can check it out to see for yourself). 

It doesn’t seem that the URL has crawl issue, yet, it is not indexed by Google. It is a unique content piece, with no special indications (it doesn’t have noindex directive). 

 

The article was published on the BrandMentions’ blog on October 13.  I don’t believe it was a “Tuesday, the 13th” bad luck. Most likely, Google didn’t manage to fix the issues for 99% of the URLs as they were claiming. And yes, there might be the chance that the article is within that 1% of not-fixed URLs. But this is not the only example. 

 

 

The second example is a page that presents info on brand tracking, also belonging to brandmentions.com. This time, the page seems to be crawled (on the same unlucky Tuesday, 13) but today, 20th of October, is nowhere to be found within the SERP.

 

Of course, we hope that this will change and by the time you’re reading this article the page will be indexed and ranking pretty well. Yet, for the moment, the Google Indexing issue seems to be persisting. 

 

 

What Is the Google Canonicalization Issue 

 

Google stated in a Tweet from October 2nd that “ […] If the canonical issue is involved, URL Inspector may show the URL as a duplicate & the Google-selected canonical will be different from it.  The issue with canonicals impacted roughly about 0.02% of our index, beginning around Sept. 20 until late yesterday around 4:30pm PT. We’ve since restored about 10% of those URLs and keep reprocessing more.” 

 

What does this exactly mean?

 

It’s somehow a duplicate content issue.  Let’s say that you’d publish a fresh article and soon after a scraper copies your entire article and publishes it just the same. 

 

The canonical tag added on your site would tell Google that your article is the original one and that it is the one that should be ranked first. You can basically tell Google “Instead of this page, show this page.” So, if you have page B ranking on some keyword, you can basically tell Google to show page A instead.

 

Yet, once the canonicalization issue appeared, Google would not show the original content, but the syndicated one (the one that it’s a copy of the original one). 

 

Canonical tags are Google’s recommendation for several situations, as you can see on their page or on the image below. 

 

 

There are billions of web pages, and Google has the job of ranking them. Ideally, all websites should have unique pages. Each and every page should contain original content. In reality, however, duplicate pages are to be found more often than you’d think. 

 

So, Google crawls your website and finds 3 pages trying to rank for the exact same keyword. Not only that Google has to pick between billions of different websites, it now also has to choose between duplicate pages on the same website. That seems tough indeed, so that’s why the canonical tag is there, to tell Google what is the original piece that should be ranked.

 

And when an issue of this size appears, you remember how important it is for the search engine to do their job correctly, but also for the webmasters to have everything set up correctly. 
Yes, it seems that even with even if you have everything alright on your side, issues can still appear. 

 

At the time you are reading this post, this type of issues shouldn’t appear anymore as Google stated that they have been fixed. Yet, given the current situation and the fact that webmasters are still complaining about it, let’s hope for the best and expect the worst. 

 

What Is the Google Mobile Indexing Issue

 

The Mobile indexing issue caused new web pages to take a very long time to get indexed and appear in Google’s index. Some of the new published content is still not indexed. 

 

Even the big sites where affected by these issues. Below you can see some screenshots made by Ewdison Then. He reported this issue on September 29, as he found it really strange that all these sites posting news every couple of minutes have nothing indexed from the past hour.  

 

 

Google stated that “if a previously indexed page has gone, it might be the mobile-indexing issue, where we’re failing to select any page at all to index.”

 

As you could see in the screenshots above, lots of webmasters complained that they simply vanished from the index.  As you can see in the screenshot below, Google stated that the issue impacted just a few websites (roughly 0.2%).

 

This may sound like a small number but remember that Google’s index is huge and 0.2% of it is still a big number.  The Google Search index contains hundreds of billions of webpages and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size. Therefore, 0.2% of all this enormous amount of data doesn’t feel that small of a percentage anymore. 

 

 

The mobile indexing issue was the first to be fixed according to Google, with almost two weeks before the canonicalization one. Yet, hopefully this issue won’t appear anymore in the future as this is impacting the search and people’s businesses big time. 

 

Google faced indexing issue in the past as well. Last year, for instance, a similar problem happened, with people facing indexing issues from all domains and countries. Let’s hope that this time the fix is for good and these types of issues won’t appear anymore. 

We’re aware of indexing issues that impacted some sites beginning on Friday. We believe the issues are mostly resolved and don’t require any special efforts on the part of site owners. We’ll provide another update when the issues are considered fully resolved.

— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) April 7, 2019

 

 

How Does Google Indexation Issue Affect Your Business

 

The short answer to this would be: BIG TIME. 

 

Home pages, articles, product pages were de-indexed all of sudden. Imagine your business’s site not appearing in searches anymore, at all. 
The errors in Google search will cause massive drop in organic traffic, your content marketing strategy will not be useful anymore 

 

It’s already a difficult year, and the indexing issue is making business lose even more. 

 

It’s easy to forget that, at the end of the day, Google is just a private business, like any other. One that has a worldwide monopoly on search engines, with a staggering 92.27% market share that we all depend on, and that has managed to insert its namesake as a common word in the dictionary. But a private company, nonetheless. So, while we would all like to understand what has and is happening and move on with our virtual lives, it might not be as easy as that.

 

Yet, with great power comes great responsibility. Or at least, it should. 

 

Whom should the businesses losing their income for over two weeks blame? Yes, bugs happen all the time and all apps, be them big or small have them. And yes, we tend to misuse the Google engine as a “reality interface”. But Google has their reponsibilites as well.

 

For instance, Google is influencing economy by the way ads are ranked right now: the more a company pays, the more often the add will be visible. Google answers that result from queries are also already ranked when searches are conducted. And Google is responsible (on a certain percentage, of course) for a company’s value. Google is of course doing this already for ads, but it does that for the whole SERP already. 

 

A sudden disappearance, or more generally a dramatic and sudden change event is an often-used narrative device in much of literature and film. It is sometimes left unexplained, but always manages to elicit a strong emotion. Such is the mass disappearance of 2% of the world’s population in TV series “The Leftovers”, or the sudden stop of any death for an entire country in Jose Saramago’s “Death with Interruptions” novel.

 

In real life, such events are usually much smaller and less dramatic in scale, but they are not without consequence.

 

We will probably never know the real number of impacted businesses.

 

What we do know is that an issue of this amplitude translates in very stressful situations for business owners and their employees, for companies’ general well-being and profit, in a year that is already difficult enough for so many. 

 

Can You Do Anything in This Situation?

 

The short answer is no. We just need to wait and hope for things to get back to normal, a phrase we are sure you’ve heard way too many times lately.

 

On September 30th, Google announced it had suspended the request indexing feature temporarily from their webmaster tool.

 

There were no detailed explanations as to why, just a vague mention of infrastructure changes.

 

As days went by, company officials insisted that things were fine, while complaints around Google indexing issues persisted as more and more businesses seemed to be impacted. 

 

Google is so ubiquitous nowadays that most of the time we do not even think of it as a private company. Both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary added “to google” as a transitive verb back in 2006. It is so common that it is just… there. And with an over 90% market share, this way of thinking is no surprise.

 

The problem with all of this is that we tend to think of common nouns as more trustworthy, for some reason. Like Google were no longer a company, but some public utility service, whose only intention is to help its users, rather than trying to balance that and make a profit as a market-leading private company.

 

And companies sometimes will be more interested in profit than in other things, like fairness or truth. Which is not to say that Google has purposefully lied in the past or did not put enough effort in fixing their bugs. But it has, at times, told it in ways that were profitable: not telling the whole truth about the impact of links from press releases, not disclosing anything about the Hummingbird algorithm update except long after its effects had already taken place, or not mentioning the current submit URLs and indexation bugs from the very beginning.

 

Even if all of this is true, though, it is what companies tend to do. They keep a little to themselves, they over or undersell, as it fits their purpose. But due to Google’s quasi-monopoly, they are also able to bend the playing field, not just accuracy or truth. Of course, the search engine giant is under no obligation to play nice. As a private company, they do not need to tell anyone how they update their algorithms, when they have bugs, what is the intended impact of their actions or what their strategy is. And yet there is a whole industry that is trying to figure out these exact things.

 

 

With the hope that this article will be indexed and you’ll get to find it easily within the SERP, we’re looking forward for your opinion on it. 

The post Why Your Pages Aren’t Indexed by Google – Confirmed Indexing Issues appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

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