SEO Articles

10 Tips & Techniques For SEO Content Writing

10 Tips & Techniques For SEO Content Writing

Every year, SEO trends change. The majority of the recommendations that were valid five years ago are now significantly out of date. What was once effective for audience interaction is now not only inefficient but can even bring your content under search engine filters, resulting in significantly lower positions. What trends will be relevant for creating SEO content in the future?

Creating blog posts that are appealing to both search engines and readers is an art. Writing effective content will necessitate not only time and effort, but also basic optimization knowledge, good writing skills, and profound proofreading.

Visit one of the essay review websites, such as Best Writers Online, for writing assistance. So, do you know how to write articles about SEO content that will rank highly in Google searches?

What Is SEO Content?

There is a significant difference between writing regular content and writing SEO-oriented content. To understand what is meant by “SEO content,” it is helpful to break the phrase down into components:

The term“SEO” refers to the process of optimizing a website for search engines such as Google;By“content,” one means any information that exists on the network and can be accessed via the network.

As a result, by combining these two concepts, one gets the following definition: SEO content is any content created to attract traffic from search engines.

Writing articles for SEO entails creating content that is well optimized for both search engines and your target audience, whereas regular content writing is written only for people.

You can get help with written content by visiting an essay writing service website such as Writing Judge.

What Is SEO Content Used For?

SEO content is used to:

The output of the site to the top based on the specified list of search queries;

Bring more people to a resource;Converting new users into buyers, subscribers, etc.

What Are Different Types Of SEO Content?

The SEO content may include any of the following:

Product Pages

A good product page can serve as both SEO content and the target PPC
page.

Blog Posts

A blog is one of the simplest ways to generate a steady stream of SEO content. In general, blog posts are more appealing and frequently attract incoming links than product pages.

So, they can be a great way to boost your site’s authority. Blogs are very adaptable, and you can use them to include any of the following types of content on this list.

Articles

Consider a news article, an interview, or a topic article. It is the most common type of content on most newspaper or magazine websites.

Lists

The list may also be an article, formatted in a specific way (for example, “10 ways to renovate a house”) makes scanning easier. When this topic appears in search results or on social media, it appears more clickable.

Guides

A guide is a longer piece of content that explains in detail how to do something. You can publish the entire guide on your website, a resume or excerpt, requiring visitors to fill out a registration form to read the entire guide.

It may be a good way to generate leads, but keep in mind that putting up a registration wall will likely reduce the amount of SEO traffic you can direct to this guide.

Videos

In 2020, 96% of content consumers said they had increased their consumption of online video content. And statistics proved that!

As a result, over 99% of video marketers said they would continue to use video in the future to promote their content. Why?

Because there are fewer videos on the Internet than text pages, it may be easier to rank a competitive keyword on the first page by creating a video instead of an article.

Depending on the type of site or business, video can be a great way to attract an audience. Consider creating video tutorials on how to use your products. Alternatively, illustrate the process associated with your business.

For example, a plumber can create a video showing how to release a sink. Note on SEO: You should consider including a text transcription of your video.

Infographics

Infographics, or large-format images that contain a lot of data (often in the form of graphs or charts) on a single topic, can generate a lot of page views and links.

However, because the majority of the content is embedded in the image and thus cannot be read by search engines like text, it is critical to carefully optimize the rest of the page.

What Is The Best Way To Write SEO Content?

The work on SEO content preparation and writing is now done differently than before. It is critical that your content contains all of the required components while also being competitive.

Three-quarters of your time is better spent on finding a potentially free niche that can be occupied and becoming a leader in it. Here are some pointers to help you get there.

#1 Determine Your Target Audience And Learn Its Needs

Take some time to get to know your target audience before you start writing for them.

Learn about your target audience’s demographics based on age, location, gender, and education. Why do you need to know these parameters?

You can choose the approach to content that best suits your target audience by better understanding it. To collect the necessary data, use tools such as SurveyMonkey.

Also, ask your readers direct questions about topics that may be of interest to them. Google Analytics can also be used to gather comprehensive location and popular search data. This information will help you enhance your SEO strategy further.

Aside from that, you can seek inspiration for new topics on Quora. It is beneficial for a variety of reasons:

For promoting your website;It is a source of the traffic to increase your site’s attendance;It is a platform for honing writing abilities;It is a blog idea generation platform.

#2 Create A Consumer Profile

A user profile is a fictitious image created from data gathered during an audience study. You can create a typical buyer image if you know their age and location. Once you have defined an image, you can tailor your ideas to this fictitious person.

For example, if the character is a teenager who enjoys sports, the content should be centered on sporting events.

#3 Keyword Research

First and foremost, search engines such as Google require information about the subject matter of your content. You will not get any search traffic if you create content without targeting any specific keywords.

You cannot write SEO-friendly content without researching keywords. The key to increasing search traffic is to find and use keywords with high search intent but low competitiveness.

When looking for the right keywords, it is important to consider both short-tail and long-tail keywords. Both types of keywords are important for increasing traffic.

When compared to short-tail keywords, however, long-tail keywords not only rank better but also have a higher conversion rate. To find the above and conduct proper keyword research, you can check out this blog post on keyword discovery to find out what tools you can use.

Keyword research is one component, and proper search engine optimization of your content is another. If you want to improve your search ranking, insert your main keywords in the appropriate places:

The title of your blog post;Blog post headings and subheadings (H1, H2, H3, etc.);In the first paragraph of your blog post;Last paragraph of your blog post;Meta-descriptions for your blog posts;Image captions in your blog posts;URL of your blog article.

Here are some key reasons for locating the best keywords:

By using the right keywords in your content, you will attract “target visitors from search engines”;Keywords help to boost your website’s conversion rate;Keyword research provides you with many potential blog post ideas that will increase your sales and search traffic;You can learn which keywords perform well for your competitors. This will make it easier for your content to rank higher.

#4 Select Catchy Headlines

No matter how mind-blowing and informative your content is, a bad headline will turn people off from publishing it. Make your headlines interesting and informative as possible to attract more attention.

You can also include keywords in the headline to improve your SEO content.

#5 Structure Your SEO Content

The content of your publication may be extensive enough. However, due to the disorganization in the structure, users may simply not want to read your content.

Instead, they will go to your competitors, whose content may be many times worse but easier to read. Divide your content into smaller paragraphs and use subtitles to avoid this. Use various lists to make reading the material easy and enjoyable.

Search engines rely on the backend organization too. To maintain a well-structured article, it is critical to use the correct tag hierarchy when tagging headers (H1, H2, H3).

#6 Make Use Of Graphics

Modern writing tips encourage the use of multimedia in addition to written content. This hybrid strategy integrates visual elements and makes your content more accessible.

Here are some of the most common graphics examples that may be useful for your content:

Infographics;Images in
GIF format;Images;Tables;Video.

Furthermore, media content is beneficial to SEO. It allows you to optimize metadata such as alternative text and image descriptions.

Use target keys to spell out alt-text and give graphics unique names. Search robots are not always capable of recognizing what is in the image. Algorithms now use alt-text as a priority description.

Make sure that your content is SEO-friendly as well by using SEO content editing tools like BiQ’sContent Intelligence.

#7 Improve Organic Traffic By Attracting Links From Other Websites

Whether you know it or not, Google prioritizes the search result in the search results, based on the quality of its available links.

This means that if you want to rank first for a potential keyword or topic, you can get this rating by attracting as many quality links from other sites as possible. Google prioritizes web pages with a large number of links.

As a result, if you truly want to increase organic traffic with your content, you should not overlook the importance of attracting links from other sites.

#8 Link Building

Internal textual references are critical for SEO. They send strong signals to search engines about the importance of another page on your website.

Maintain balance when linking to content that your audience might be interested in. Put links where they are truly needed and provide the user with valuable additional information.

Make strong anchors.

Wanda Lafond is a professional content writer, copywriter, content strategist, and communications consultant. She started young with her writing career from being a high school writer to a university editor, and now she is a writer in professional writing platforms— her years of expertise have honed her skills to create compelling and results-driven content every single time.

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The Semantic Revolution in SEO & SEM Strategy

Author | Zach Wales 
Bio | Zach Wales is a senior strategist in search marketing who has been honing complimentary SEO & SEM strategies for over a decade. He architected the digital marketing department of a full-service agency, HZDG, where his clients included NVR, Inc.; Hilton Hotels; Organic Valley, and more.

Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) have complemented one another as marketing channels since the dawn of Google AdWords (Google Ads’ pre-2018 name) in October 2000. 

As their names suggest, SEO and SEM are two sides of the same coin. Troves of blog posts, podcasts, and other media have attempted to explain how this is so. Indeed, the SEO/SEM discussion has evolved over the years in stride with search engines themselves, which have evolved to deliver more user-tailored experiences.

This article will address some of the present-day differences between SEO and SEM, and show you how you can leverage them in your all-encompassing search strategy.

We stand at an important crossroads in the SEO/SEM relationship narrative. In recent years, Google, the all-powerful influencer of search marketing trends, has gotten better at detecting keyword semantics and their respective contexts.

The implications on SEO and SEM are profound. The winners in this new era are marketers with a full-funnel perspective on search, and a willingness to share insights between SEO and SEM.

Special note: For simplicity, this article will refer to the practitioners of SEO/SEM as “an SEO/SEM” (singular) or “SEOs/SEMs” (plural). The gender-neutral pronouns “they/their” will be used in place of the gender-specific singulars “he/she.” 

What’s the difference between SEO & SEM?

As marketing channels, SEO and SEM share the same “What”: Their basic objective is to promote website content in search engines. They also share the core strategy of targeting the intent behind people’s search terms or keywords. 

The main difference between SEO and SEM resides in the “How” and “Where.” Both channels value keywords for their respective search volumes and the likelihood of conversion. But each utilizes keywords in slightly different ways. 

For the purposes of this article, we will define SEO and SEM as follows:

SEO Defined 

SEO is the ongoing creation, enhancement, promotion, and technical maintenance of website content that appears in the organic (or non-paid) real estate of search engine results pages (SERPs). 

More than a channel, SEO is an earned marketing effort. Keyword rankings are earned through on-page (e.g. website content optimization) and off-page (e.g., content marketing) efforts. 

SEO leverages keywords like a builder leverages cement. They are building blocks in planning, creating, and optimizing website pages that appear on desirable SERP property for those keywords. 

SEO is a long game. Organic keyword rankings can take months—and no small amount of effort—to come to fruition. Once a top ranking is earned, the effort doesn’t necessarily decrease. That depends on how desirable one’s keywords are, and what one’s competitors are doing to earn their place in the SERPs.

SEM Defined

SEM is the strategic placement of ads within a search engine’s advertising real estate. It happens to go by other names like “PPC” (pay-per-click) or “AdWords,” just as it comes naturally to say “Kleenex” for any brand of facial tissue. 

SEM is a paid marketing channel, but like SEO, on-page optimizations (e.g., landing page UX) come into play.  

In SEM, keywords are bid upon in real-time online auctions for the time, intent, and actions of potential website visitors. Generally speaking, ads appear in desirable locations when you outbid your competitors in that micro-moment, AND when the webpages your ads target meet the search engine’s (really Google’s) criteria for quality and keyword relevance (known in Google Ads as Quality Score, the counterpart to Core Vitals in SEO).  

Compared to SEO, SEM is a short game. Brands with deep pockets may run Google Ads continuously throughout the year, but SEM tactics have near-term results. As with SEO, keywords serve as building materials for strong and relevant landing pages. But like all things PPC, they can be surgically applied (or bid upon) and switched off on demand.

The “How” and the “Where” of SEO and SEM are ever-evolving. The present-day visual landscape of Google SERPs—complete with image carousels, knowledge cards and more—is a far cry from the ten, all-text results of the pre-2007 era.

Understanding that landscape provides insight on how to situate SEO and SEM in your broader marketing strategy. 

The Role of Google in SEO & SEM

Google has always dominated the global market of online search and its intent. It has also maintained a technical edge in that space. It has the most sophisticated algorithm and has always been a contributor to, if not the source of, new SEO/SEM trends. Most updates you hear about in non-Google search engines are their attempts to catch up with Google’s innovations.  

Today Google accounts for 76 percent of all online searches, which amounts to over 3.5 billion daily searches (or 40,000 per second), and 1.2 trillion each year. Baidu takes a distant second 15 percent, while Microsoft Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, Ask, DuckDuckGo, Naver, AOL, and Dogpile make up the remaining 9%. 

As stated earlier, there have been numerous changes to Google’s SERP-scape since 2007 (the year after Google acquired the world’s leading video search engine, YouTube). Behind these changes is the commonly held objective of all search engines: To generate revenue by making their product as relevant and reliable as possible.

 What does this mean to SEO and SEM? Fairness, in a word. Google has made it increasingly impossible to merely buy your way to the top, or to clutter SERP real estate with flimsy, overly exaggerated, or misleading information. 

Sure, bid amounts matter in SEM, as with any auction. And bidding strategy is a key pillar to managing Google Ads. But their success hinges on Quality Score, Google Ads’ unique criteria that weights webpage quality and user experience as much as—sometimes more than—how you flex your bids.

Conversely, link building matters in SEO. How else can Google measure the authority of one website without seeing how other credible websites (e.g., ones with a top-level domain of .gov or .edu) link to it? 

But Google has gone to great lengths to identify and penalize SEOs who create superficial microsites for the sole purpose of link building. By doing this, Google is policing junk results from its product: relevant results.

The following rule of thumb helps illustrate the prominence of Google in SEO: If you ever doubt the career credentials of a new SEO vendor or staff candidate, just ask them to talk about Panda and Penguin. If they can speak to how these Google updates have helped level the SEO playing field over the past decade, they’re knowledgeable.  

If they do the same thing but with a visceral expression of agony, they are experienced. 

Is SEO or SEM Better?

This is a trick question. No one answer applies universally. As a paid advertising channel, SEM campaigns can return results within days of being launched. SEO typically takes months, or weeks depending on the strength of your domain. 

For that reason alone, one might favor SEM during times of urgency—when your CEO demands a 5 percent increase in sales between November and year’s end. 

But the case for SEM cannot be made on timelines alone. If your business lives in a saturated market dominated by large brands who are heavily invested in Google Ads, then SEM could be a money pit (unless you aim for very niche longtail keywords, which might convert well but not with the desired volume). 

Conversely, if you’re selling to a relatively exclusive audience with a new or unique offering, SEM could be your next marketing windfall.  

Timelines are one of many variables that weigh in on the SEO vs. SEM debate. The only constant in that debate is that everyone prefers the best of both worlds. Anyone with a sales funnel has a need to familiarize people with their products/services and then convert them. The best results occur when both options are available in the SERPs. 

Speaking to this, Brainlabs SEO Strategist Anthony DeSordi says: “Our tools and processes for keyword research are very good at identifying top and middle-of-funnel keyword opportunities. The data from PPC helps us with the higher-converting, lower-funnel keywords.” 

Joaquín Espliguero, who works with DeSordi as a Paid Search Strategist, adds, “We can then utilize the upper-funnel keywords from SEO to generate awareness campaigns. These insights also bleed into non-search paid tactics like social media campaigns. If done right, you can teach your audience which keywords to use to arrive at the products/services that you want to sell.”

BERT and the Relationship Between SEO and SEM

The updates to Google’s search algorithm and its Ads platform are numerous. Standalone resources like Moz’s Google Algorithm Update History and Screaming Frog’s Google Ads History provide comprehensive timelines detailing how these updates impact the SEO/SEM industry. 

Each of those updates reflects a sign of the times in SEO and SEM—together and separately. Knowledge of this relationship is the first step to capitalizing on it. 

The Google BERT Update

BERT, short for the easy-to-remember Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a Google algorithm update that launched in October 2019. BERT improves the way Google understands the context and intent of search queries. 

Because BERT has implications on the way Google “perceives” keywords, it’s worth noting how it impacts SEO and SEM. And what you can do about it.

Google BERT & SEO

The BERT update essentially advanced Google from understanding the meaning to understanding meaning within meaning. It improved how Google distinguishes between phrases from sentences, and how to interpret “polysomic nuances”—words with two or more meanings. 

The BERT update dovetails with the similarly-purposed Panda (2011), Hummingbird (2013), and BrainRank (2015) updates. Each represents a milestone in Google’s ability to detect quality content and keyword semantics.

For marketers already heeding the SEO best practice of creating long-form, credible content,  BERT was like an act in good faith: It was (more) proof that Google was capable of rewarding their efforts. 

What that looks like in SEO is increased visits from long-tail keywords, and therefore greater potential for webpage content to rank for voice search queries, Featured Snippets, Knowledge Cards/Panels, Image Packs (for optimized image & media files), and the like. 

Google BERT & SEM

Although the direct implications of BERT are felt more in SEO than SEM, the update ushered game-changing trends in Google Ads. 

Google said it is now using BERT in Google Ads as part of its “improved understanding of search intent and more predictability in how keywords match.” This improved understanding resulted in the death of Google Ads’ Broad Match Modifiers. Google’s machine learning can now find the context and intent of broad match keywords without modifiers. 

Moreover, Google’s emphasis on Responsive Search Ads, along with its sunsetting of Expanded Text Ads, points to a new era of confidence in automation and artificial intelligence.

RSAs let you enter 15 headlines and four descriptions for each ad. Google chooses the most relevant combination of headlines and descriptions by analyzing various cues from the user—but also from your webpage content.

“The more headlines and descriptions you enter, the more opportunities Google Ads has to serve ads that more closely match your potential customers’ search queries,” says Google, adding that this “can improve your ad performance.”

Indeed, if your SEM campaigns do not include RSAs across the board, you’re missing a very important bus. But how does this relate to BERT? 

BERT, SEM and SEO Working Together 

If the AI that empowers Google Ads to choose the “best of” 15 headlines and four descriptions sounds like the AI that empowers Google to transpose webpage copy into a Featured Snippet in organic results, then you might know where this is going. 

What makes two of 15 headlines better than the rest? Relevance.

What makes them relevant? Let’s say, hypothetically, that the most compelling and converting headline in your RSA arsenal is “Buy Weatherproof Shoes.” If there is no corresponding landing page copy that elaborates on the benefits of weatherproof shoes, this winning headline won’t see the light of day. It becomes a conversion gap in your SEM strategy.

This might seem like an obvious and avoidable oversight, but not if your approach to SEM is siloed from SEO. After all, a well-formulated SEO plan would have uncovered the importance of “weatherproofing” in keyword research and avoided such apparent content gaps. 

But let’s say you don’t have that luxury: Your SEM campaigns were launched without giving SEO a thought. You work for the most siloed marketing department in your industry. 

The above factors may stack the cards against you. But if you understand the “how” behind Google’s AI, you are better positioned to anticipate things like semantic associations and content gaps. And that something can be done about them.

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Google adds documentation on translated search results and ad networks with Google Translate

Google added two new help documents to the Google Search developer area around translated search results and how to enable your ad network to work with Google Translated web pages.

Translated Google search results

The translated results help document explains how Google may automatically translate the search result snippets from the language it was written in, to the language of the Google Search results page. Google said “sometimes Google may translate the title link and snippet of a search result for results that aren’t in the language of the search query.”

Google said it does this because “a translated result is a Google Search feature that enables users to view results from other languages in their language, and can help publishers reach a larger audience.”

These translated results work for Indonesian, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu languages at the time we published this story. It should be only available on mobile devices with any browser that supports Google Search.

After the user clicks the translated search result link, Google said that “all further user interaction with the page is through Google Translate.” Google said you can opt out of this through a meta robots tag notranslate. Here are more details on opting in or out of translated results.

Ad networks with Google Translate

If Google will be automatically translating your web pages using Google Translate and you do not opt out of that behavior, you will want to make sure that if you have ads on those pages, that the ads load properly. This new help document discusses how to enable your ad network to work with translation-related Google Search features. It is a pretty technical document, so make sure to share it with your developers and engineers.

Why we care. If you prefer that Google does not translate your search result snippets, you can now opt out of it. You can even opt in, if you want Google to translate those results. Plus, if you want to ensure your ads load with Google Translate, Google now has clear documentation on how to make that work.

The post Google adds documentation on translated search results and ad networks with Google Translate appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Got an old website? Update it and refresh your SEO

Do you have an old website that’s seen better days? Or a site that’s been offline for a few years? In this post, we’ll explain what you should check to get it up to modern standards, and how to update your SEO at the same time. We’ve tried to cover all the main things you need to look at. Of course, you can skip some steps if you already know that part is up-to-date. (If you simply want to update your SEO knowledge with the latest best practices, you might want to try our SEO news course instead). Now, it’s time to brush the dust off those pages, refresh your content and, if you’ve got them, plug in your Yoast plugins!

Table of contentsCheck the site set-upCheck your contentCheck technical SEOStart publishing and sharing

Check the site set-up

Want to make any big changes? Do that first

Before we start delving into the depths of your old website, it’s worth thinking about any big changes you want to make. Maybe you’ve always wanted to change your domain name or your URL structure, but it was too much work when everything was up-and-running. Or perhaps you could benefit from changing to a different CMS, such as WordPress. If you do want to make sitewide changes, you’ll be far better off planning this from the start.

Is your domain still active?

You will have registered your domain when your website was still live, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s still available now. Check whether your old domain still belongs to you, or if it’s still available. If it’s not, you’ll need to choose another one.

Bear in mind that changing your domain name comes with several drawbacks:

If your website was popular in the past, you might have built up some domain authority. This is a kind of value that your whole site can earn over time, and many people believe it has an impact on SEO. So when you change your domain name, you’ll lose any domain authority you’ve gained previously.Your old URLs will no longer work, and you’ll need to come up with a plan to migrate your old content to your new domain. This can be a lot of work, so don’t underestimate it!

Is your CMS up to date? What about your plugins?

The next thing you’ll want to check is whether your CMS is up to date. Depending on how old your site is, that could mean all kinds of things. As new trends and possibilities arise in web development, a good CMS will adopt these and implement them for you (mostly) automatically. So it’s well worth keeping your CMS up-to-date! Make sure to back-up your site and test the changes first, though.

The impact of out-of-date plugins really depends on which plugins you have installed. But whichever plugins you use, you should check these too. The same goes for themes; these can stop functioning if they’re too old, or not supported anymore. On the web, the older your technology is, the more vulnerable it is to hacks — so keep everything updated!

Tip: If you’re using WordPress you can use the site health section or install the Health Check plugin to make sure your site’s essential parts are all fit-for-purpose.

Check your robots.txt / indexing settings

Some people prefer to noindex their site while they make big changes to it, to avoid leaving users with a bad impression. Whether or not that’s something you want to do depends on what state your site is in currently. To noindex your site, you’ll need to make changes to your robots.txt file. But you shouldn’t really play around with this unless you know what you’re doing. If you’re a Yoast SEO user, you can manage your indexing in your configuration settings without ever touching your robots.txt file. An easier way to update your site behind the scenes is by using the WP Maintenance Mode plugin.

Check your data privacy set up

If your site is more than a couple of years old, there’s a good chance your data privacy setup isn’t good enough for modern standards. For instance, if your site uses cookies and tracks user behavior, it’s now a legal requirement to ask users’ permission for this in most regions of the world. Similarly, if you have user data stored on your site, you absolutely need to make sure that you’re storing it securely and using it in a legally compliant way. If that data is old user data, the safest option is probably just to delete it all.

Check your content

Refresh your keyword research

When it comes to updating the content on your old website, refreshing your keyword research is a good place to start. The words people use in their search queries change over time, so the longer your content has been out-of-action, the more likely it is you need to do this.

When checking your keywords, you should see if you’re still using the most suitable keywords for your site and your audience, and whether you can still compete in the rankings for those keywords too. Aside from changing the keywords themselves, you should also check if you’re still using keywords correctly in your content. Keyword stuffing is very much a thing of the past, and doing so nowadays is bad for SEO. So when you go to update your content, make sure you use keywords in a natural way.

Tip: The Yoast SEO plugin can help you to check if you’re using the best keywords, and whether you’re using them correctly.

Does your content need updating?

It’s important to update your old posts and pages to keep them fresh and relevant. Old content can face various issues:

Is the quality still good enough? Modern internet users expect useful information, provided in an easy-to-read format.Is your information accurate and up-to-date? Is your content optimized for SEO according to the most recent guidelines?

Take a look at each page, and be critical. What could be improved? Do you really need to keep each page? Will you need to rewrite the whole thing, or will some small adjustments be sufficient? It could take a while to get through all of your content; if some pages need a lot of work, you might want to set them to noindex until you can improve them.

Tip: Use the readability and SEO checks in Yoast SEO to get your content in tip-top condition. Our analyses will give you loads of guidance for making high-quality content that Google and users will both love, and save you a bundle of time too! Plus, don’t miss out on our handy Duplicate Post plugin — the Rewrite & Republish feature makes it much easier to update your content.

Check your internal linking and site structure

Making sure your content is high quality and well-optimized is only half of the story. It needs to be findable too. By linking related pages together you make your content easier for your users to reach. And on top of that, if you make sure your most important pages get the most internal links, it helps Google to understand your site structure. As a result, those central pages (we call them cornerstone content) are likely to rank higher in the search results!

Tip: We have loads of tools in the Yoast plugin to help you link your content together and build a great site structure. For the best results, get Yoast Premium and do our internal linking SEO workouts. The workouts help you work through your internal linking in a few easy steps, so you can be sure you’re getting it right.

Check technical SEO

Mobile-friendly is a requirement

More and more people are using mobile devices like cellphones and tablets to access the internet. As a result, Google switched to mobile-first indexing (for most sites) starting in 2019. This means that if your site doesn’t work well on mobile, it won’t rank as highly in the search results. Things like switching to responsive/adaptive web design and checking mobile usability are more of a requirement now, rather than a nice extra. Make sure everything works, and that it looks good on all kinds of screens sizes.

Core Web Vitals and page experience

Back in the days of dial-up internet, you always had to wait patiently for pages to load. But that’s a thing of the past; pages that load quickly are a basic expectation nowadays. And loading quickly isn’t the only consideration — your pages need to actually work well once they’ve loaded. In 2021, Google introduced a new ranking factor to measure things like this. So you need to make sure you’re meeting expectations for the following aspects:

Loading performance (how fast does stuff appear on the screen?)Responsiveness (how fast does the page react to user input?)Visual stability (does stuff move around on the screen while loading?)

The details behind these factors are quite technical, but it’s worth delving into to make sure your technical SEO isn’t holding you back.

Read more: Learn about the three Core Web Vitals: LCP, FID & CLS »

Clean up bad backlinks

One or two bad backlinks aren’t a big problem. But if there are a lot of bad backlinks pointing to your site, Google might notice a pattern and flag your site as spam. So do check your backlinks, and if there are a lot of low-quality sites showing up, clean them up!

Check your media usage

Another thing that changes over time is the best practice for using images and videos on your site. Nowadays, high-quality images are expected by most users, and they’re expected to load quickly too. Meanwhile, since Google’s Panda update in 2011, so-called ‘thin content‘ has been an issue for SEO. And that means it’s no longer an option to have a page containing only an image or a video (at least not if you want it to rank). Don’t forget to optimize your images for SEO as well.

Accessibility

As more and more people have started to use the internet in recent years, you have to accommodate the needs of different types of visitors. Accessibility means making small adjustments and additions that let everyone enjoy your content. You don’t need to redesign everything; there are simple improvements you can make, such as adding alt text to your images.

Structured data

If you want to have the best-looking search results in Google, you’ll need to start adding structured data to your site. Structured data is a way of telling Google about the context or purpose of different types of content. You can label your news items as news, for example, and Google can identify that and add your content into its News section. Or you could label your products using structured data and have a chance of getting listed in Google’s Shopping results. There are loads of ways that structured data can give your content a boost, so give it a try!

Tip: If you’ve got the Yoast SEO plugin, we’ll automatically add structured data to your pages. All you need to do is select the content type, and the plugin will take care of the rest.

Start publishing and sharing

Check your robots.txt / indexing settings (again)

Give your indexing a final check and make sure the pages you want Google to index are crawlable. You can start by checking your robots.txt or your indexing settings. Google Search Console can be a great help at this point. Submit your sitemap — it will let Google know your site is ready for indexing again, and help it to understand what’s changed. Search Console will flag any crawl errors, so you can easily check whether everything is set up correctly.

Start (re)publishing and sharing content

And now for the final step in updating your old site: start publishing content again! Publishing content regularly and sharing it on social media will help you to build awareness of your site. Plus you might be able to gain some new fans and followers! If your social media pages are outdated, give them a refresh to let people know your site is back and ready to welcome them!

Tip: We’ve included a handy preview feature in Yoast SEO to manage how your posts will look when they’re shared. Want to share everything you publish automatically? Use the Zapier integration in Yoast SEO Premium!

Update your old site’s SEO more easily with Yoast

As you can see, there’s a lot to check when updating SEO and refreshing your old website. Once you’ve got your site back to its former glory, make sure you maintain your site and your SEO. Otherwise, in a few years, you might be doing it all over again. Luckily our Yoast SEO plugins can help you update your old site — and maintain it, too! You can do our SEO workouts regularly to stay on top of things, and keep an eye on our Stale Cornerstone Content Filter to find articles that need some attention. Remember: keep your Yoast plugins up-to-date and you’ll always have access to the current best practices in SEO!

Unlock our SEO workouts with Yoast SEO Premium

Get Yoast SEO Premium and enjoy access to all our best SEO tools, training and SEO workouts!

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The post Got an old website? Update it and refresh your SEO appeared first on Yoast.

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SEO The LSG Way: Earn Your Knowledge

SEO The LSG Way: Earn Your Knowledge

I love this scene from Jurassic Park

People always remember this scene for the could/should line but I think that really minimizes Malcolms holistically excellent speech. Specifically, this scene is an amazing analogy for Machine Learning/AI technology right now. I’m not going to dive too much into the ethics piece here as Jamie Indigo has a couple of amazing pieces on that already, and established academics and authors like Dr. Safiya Noble and Ruha Benjamin best deal with the ethics teardown of search technology.

I’m here to talk about how we here at LSG earn our knowledge and some of what that knowledge is.

“I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you are using here; it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step.”

I feel like this scenario described in the screenshot (poorly written GPT-3 content that needs human intervention to fix) is a great example of the mindset described in the Jurassic Park quote. This mindset is rampant in the SEO industry at the moment. The proliferation of programmatic sheets and collab notebooks and code libraries that people can run without understanding them should need no further explanation to establish. Just a basic look at the SERPs will show a myriad of NLP and forecasting tools that are released while being easy to access and use without any understanding of the underlying maths and methods. $SEMR just deployed their own keyword intent tool, totally flattening a complex process without their end-users having any understanding of what is going on (but more on this another day). These maths and methods are absolutely critical to be able to responsibly deploy these technologies. Let’s use NLP as a deep dive as this is an area where I think we have earned our knowledge.

“You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves so you don’t take any responsibility for it.”

The responsibility here is not ethical, it’s outcome oriented. If you are using ML/NLP how can you be sure it’s being used for client success? There is an old data mungling adage “Garbage In, Garbage Out” that is about illustrating how important initial data is:

https://xkcd.com/1838/

The stirring here just really makes this comic. It’s what a lot of people do when they don’t understand the maths and methods of their machine learning and call it “fitting the data.” 

This can also be extrapolated from data science to general logic e.g. the premise of an argument. For instance, if you are trying to use a forecasting model to predict a traffic increase you might assume that “The traffic went up, so our predictions are likely true” but you literally can’t understand that without understanding exactly what the model is doing. If you don’t know what the model is doing you can’t falsify it or engage in other methods of empirical proof/disproof.

HUH?

Exactly, so let’s use an example. Recently Rachel Anderson talked about how we went about trying to understand the content on a large number of pages, at scale using various clustering algorithms. The initial goal of using the clustering algorithms was to scrape content off a page, gather all this similar content over the entire page type on a domain, and then do it for competitors. Then we would cluster the content and see how it grouped it in order to better understand the important things people were talking about on the page. Now, this didn’t work out at all.

We went through various methods of clustering to see if we could get the output we were looking for. Of course, we got them to execute, but they didn’t work. We tried DBSCAN, NMF-LDA, Gaussian Mixture Modelling, and KMeans clustering. These things all do functionally the same thing, cluster content. But the actual method of clustering is different. 

https://scikit-learn.org/stable/modules/clustering.html

We used the scikit-learn library for all our clustering experiments and you can see here in their knowledge base how different clustering algorithms group the same content in different ways. In fact they even break down some potential usecases and scalability;

https://scikit-learn.org/stable/modules/clustering.html

Not all of these ways are likely to lead to positive search outcomes, which is what it means to work when you do SEO. It turns out we weren’t actually able to use these clustering methods to get what we wanted. We decided to move to BERT to solve some of these problems and more or less this is what led to Jess Peck joining the team to own our ML stack so they could be developed in parallel with our other engineering projects.

But I digress. We built all these clustering methods, we knew what worked and didn’t work with them, was it all a waste?

Hell no, Dan!

One of the things I noticed in my testing was that KMeans clustering works incredibly well with lots of concise chunks of data. Well, in SEO we work with keywords, which are lots of concise chunks of data. So after some experiments with applying the clustering method to keyword data sets, we realized we were on to something. I won’t bore you on how we completely automated the KMeans clustering process we now use but understanding the ways various clustering maths and processes worked to let us use earned knowledge to turn a failure into success. The first success is allowing the rapid ad-hoc clustering/classification of keywords. It takes about 1hr to cluster a few hundred thousand keywords, and smaller amounts than hundreds of thousands are lightning-fast.

Neither of these companies are clients, just used them to test but of course if either of you wants to see the data just HMU

We recently redeveloped our own dashboarding system using GDS so that it can be based around our more complicated supervised keyword classification OR using KMeans clustering in order to develop keyword categories. This gives us the ability to categorize client’s keywords even on a smaller budget. Here is Heckler and I testing out using our slackbot Jarvis to KMeans cluster client data in BigQuery and then dump the output in a client-specific table. 

This gives us an additional product that we can sell, and offer more sophisticated methods of segmentation to businesses that wouldn’t normally see the value in expensive big data projects. This is only possible through earning the knowledge, through understanding the ins and outs of specific methods and processes to be able to use them in the best possible way. This is why we have spent the last month or so with BERT, and are going to spend even more additional time with it. People may deploy things that hit BERT models, but for us, it’s about a specific function of the maths and processes around BERT that make it particularly appealing.

“How is this another responsibility of SEOs”

Thanks, random internet stranger, it’s not. The problem is with any of this ever being an SEO’s responsibility in the first place. Someone who writes code and builds tools to solve problems is called an engineer, someone who ranks websites is an SEO. The Discourse often forgets this key thing. This distinction is a core organizing principle that I baked into the cake here at LSG and is reminiscent of an ongoing debate I used to have with Hamlet Batista. It goes a little something like this;

“Should we be empowering SEOs to solve these problems with python and code etc? Is this a good use of their time, versus engineers who can do it quicker/better/cheaper?”

I think empowering SEOs is great! I don’t think giving SEOs a myriad of responsibilities that are best handled by several different SMEs is very empowering though. This is why we have a TechOps team that is 4 engineers strong in a 25 person company. I just fundamentally don’t believe it’s an SEO’s responsibility to learn how to code, to figure out what clustering methods are better and why, or to learn how to deploy at scale and make it accessible. When it is then they get shit done (yay) standing on the shoulders of giants and using unearned knowledge they don’t understand (boo). The rush to get things done the fastest while leveraging others earned knowledge (standing on the shoulders of giants) leaves people behind. And SEOs take no responsibility for that either.

Leaving your Team Behind

A thing that often gets lost in this discussion is that when information gets siloed in particular individuals or teams then the benefit of said knowledge isn’t generally accessible.

Not going to call anyone out here, but before I built out our TechOps structure I did a bunch of “get out of the building” research in talking to others people at other orgs to see what did or did not work about their organizing principles. Basically what I heard fit into either two buckets:

Specific SEOs learn how to develop advanced cross-disciplinary skills (coding, data analysis etc) and the knowledge and utility of said knowledge aren’t felt by most SEOs and clients.
The information gets siloed off in a team e.g. Analytics or Dev/ENG team and then gets sold as an add on which means said knowledge and utility aren’t felt by most SEOs and clients.

That’s it, that’s how we get stuff done in our discipline. I thought this kinda sucked. Without getting too much into it here, we have a structure that is similar to a DevOps model. We have a team that builds tools and processes for the SMEs that execute on SEO, Web Intelligence, Content, and Links to leverage. The goal is specifically to make the knowledge and utility accessible to everyone, and all our clients. This is why I mentioned how KMeans and owned knowledge helped us continue to work towards this goal.

I’m not going to get into Jarvis stats (obviously we measure usage) but suffice to say it is a hard-working bot. That is because a team is only as strong as the weakest link, so rather than burden SEOs with additional responsibility, orgs should focus on earning knowledge in a central place that can best drive positive outcomes for everyone.

The post SEO The LSG Way: Earn Your Knowledge appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

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The top 100 consumer products this holiday season, according to Google

The top 100 consumer products this holiday season, according to Google

Google has published its annual Shopping Holiday 100, a list of the top 100 consumer products that are predicted to trend the most on Google in the U.S. this holiday season. The predictions are based on the last several months of query data and are bucketed into seven categories: gaming, health & beauty, fragrances, kitchen gear, sports & fitness, tech and toys & games.

The top three products in the kitchen gear category. Image: Google.

Why we care

Knowing which products are going to be most sought out by consumers is always crucial for retailers, but this holiday season, it’s even more important due to challenges stemming from the pandemic: Consumers are shopping online more than ever, while supply chain delays impact inventory and prices.

If you’re selling some of these trending products, you might want to evaluate your inventory with respect to the heightened demand — more than one-third of U.S. shoppers say they’ll look for other retailers that carry the same product if items are out of stock, according to Google. For underdog retailers, this might also be an opportunity to increase awareness and attract new customers. And, all retailers should ensure that their product feeds are up to date so that they can show up in Google’s free Shopping results.

The post The top 100 consumer products this holiday season, according to Google appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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