SEO Articles

SEO vs. SEM: What do SEO and SEM stand for?

SEO vs. SEM: What do SEO and SEM stand for?

Optimizing your content’s searchability online is a vital and practical marketing approach for businesses trying to draw attention and drive site traffic as they grow their brands. And this does not just refer to any attention or traffic, but traffic that really converts into sales and leads.

Now, although there are other ways to get exposure online, Google is still on the frontline when it comes to helping firms get the best out of their marketing campaigns. This is mainly attributed to its considerable market share as well as the user base.

Google itself owns 92.07% of the search engine market share worldwide, Bing coming in second only owns 2.44%.

That said, there is one puzzle that most businesses still struggle with when trying to utilize different search engines to grow; should they concentrate on SEM or SEO?

Simply put, should you devote your resources to search engine marketing (sponsored ads a.k.a pay per click) or search engine optimization?

Overview of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is fundamentally a marketing method that involves all the techniques of drawing traffic and enhancing the visibility of a page or website via free advertising efforts and organic search results.

Its main goal is to optimize a website to earn top rankings in search engines. It includes both technical and creative components to help businesses gain traffic, brand awareness as well as rank higher.

Components of SEO;

Keywords;

Finding the right and relevant keywords is a crucial factor in SEO and the first step to any on-page SEO effort.

A keyword is usually the phrases and words that users usually key in when searching for a particular topic.

You can discover these keywords using some common sense and also a lot of hints from the various keyword tools available in the market. Google itself has a couple of tools that are helpful like Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner. Both can help you find appropriate keywords for your service or product.

Here at SEOPressor, we use LSIGraph for keyword research purpose.

LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. while LSI keywords is used as a broad term for any keywords that are deemed closely related. For example “ice lemon tea” and “ice lemon tea recipe”.

The LSIGraph tool provides all the useful information in helping you out to pick a keyword, like search trend, keyword volume and more.

Useful content;

There is a saying in the SEO industry that “Content is King”.

This is partly true. Every user of Google is there looking for content, for infomation, be it written down in text, an image, or video.

This is why, if you want to have good SEO, you need to create and provide useful content to solve whatever questions they have in mind.

There exists content marketing, which in itself is a whole new branch out of marketing focusing on creating content as means of advertising. Read more about content marketing to know how it relates to SEO.

Relevant Backlinks

Backlinks is another big part of SEO.

There are 2 types of links, internal links that come within your own website and external links where someone else or some other website links to you.

Having internal links can help search engines, such as Google and Bing, to explore your pages better and thus understand them better, giving you a better chance to rank high. Read more about internal links to understand how that helps your website.

While every external backlink you received acts as a confidence vote to your website, which can boost your authority in the eyes of search engines, also helping you to rank higher in search result. Get some tips on how to gain external backlinks.

Social Media

This is where the SEO vs. SEM vs. SMM question comes in.

As mentioned earlier, SEM and SEO are all part of online marketing. The same applies to SSM (social media marketing). Which also, is part of both marketing techniques.

Nowadays, marketers incorporate social media into their marketing strategies and plans. It is a considerable driver of popularity and brand awareness. Through platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can provide product information, advertise, solve concerns, and even get client feedback. The possibilities are endless.

Overview of SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Search engine marketing mainly involves gaining search visibility via paid adverts through search engines like Bing and Google. The adverts are usually referred to as PPC (pay-per-click) ads.

There are other phrases used for different SEM related activities, including CPC (cost-per-click) ads, paid search advertising, and paid search ads. This essentially means that the highly controversial debate on SEO vs. SEM VS PPC is partially misguided; PPC is part of SEM.

PPC adverts allow businesses to target buyers through pertinent keywords and ad copy that match their respective searches. The ads usually show up in SERPs (Search engine results pages) just next to organic results. They give your brand’s blog articles, landing pages, and landing pages enhanced visibility.

Some SEM strategies include;

Google AdWords is, by far, the most effective search engine tool for hosting adverts. That doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t other noble platforms. Yahoo search ads and Bing ads can also do the job.

Now, regardless of which platform you decide to spend your marketing resources on, here are some critical aspects of a successful SEM campaign?

Have a budgetLaunch a campaign with a particular audience in mindCreate ads that involve various variations of your target keywordWrite useful and relevant copy using the keywordsMonitor statistics like impressions and clicks by analyzing things like average cost per click as well as click-through rates

Though other factors determine effective ad campaigns, these are very important for beginners in the game.

What differentiates SEO from SEM?

SEO and SEM are two intertwined ideas used to increase site traffic and promote brands. While they are related considerably, the two concepts have some differences. Let’s delve into them;

When utilizing SEM to enhance business visibility online, both paid and unpaid techniques are used. Whereas in Search Engine Optimization, a business owner or marketer tries to rank higher via natural or organic strategies. The processes are usually free, unless you’re using any paid tools and hiring any agency to get this done for you.
SEM cannot survive with paid adverts only. As such, with Search Engine Marketing, there should be some middle ground between organic results and between paid through Search Engine Optimization.The leads generated from Search Engine Marketing are particular and have a higher chance of conversion because it is targeted. Organic leads, on the other hand, are generic and present various options to a query. This essentially means that when a user clicks on an advert or site with SEM, the results are usually much better and relevant.

Which one should you choose for your Business?

Your brand, whether it is a start-up or an SME, it has its own audience.

You can reach them with SEM or SEO, but the outcome will largely depend on your marketing and business objectives. While for some brands, Search Engine Optimization makes sense, and PPC is entirely out of the equation for some, the opposite is true.

For instance, if you are an accounting firm that wants to generate local leads gradually, developing and implementing a sound SEO campaign can work out well in the long term. However, if you are a law firm in competition with other similar agencies, you are better off going for SEM to get better and more targeted leads.

So it is essential to scrutinize your current objectives and then asses how they relate to your general long term goals. Also, create a strategy that not only guides you correctly but also allows you to adjust when necessary.

Balancing SEM and SEO

Most successful brands online today like Sky News, talkSPORT, and Vodafone started by implementing both techniques. According to econsultancy, these companies leveraged the two methods to get to where they are now. Similarly, an advertising report by Adobe shows that click-through rates are on the rise signaling a shift to paid search ads.

As such, if you are a brand that cares about developing a robust online presence and gaining returns both in the long run and short run, balance both SEM and SEO. Your focus should be on covering up for the cons of SEM and SEO while taking maximum advantage of each.

Final Word

Knowing your brand’s goals is very vital when it comes to creating an online marketing approach that yields positive results. By concentrating on both SEM and SEO, you are taking advantage of both worlds and countering competitors who are only concentrating on only one method.

What’s more, if you go on top and stick there, don’t just grasp how SEM and SEO work in the current environment and then get comfortable; Try to do some research and look at how the methods will evolve as the world becomes more and more reliant on the internet. This will be important for your brand’s marketing strategies in the coming years.

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[CASE STUDY] The Best Strategies to Rank Your Content on Google

5 Effective Ways to Drop Your Content Bounce Rate
7 Surprising Results that Actually Affects Google Ranking
Rank Your Content with Not Just One, but Multiple Keywords

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Conversion Rate Optimization Consulting

Conversion Rate Optimization Consulting

Are you currently running an online business?

Do you think you can sell more of your products applying the same actions?

Because that’s exactly what Conversion Optimization does for you.

You’re using the same ads, landing/sales pages, and funnels but they just convert more.

That’s something you absolutely want to focus on if you’ve been running ads for a long time but you haven’t found the formula for healthy scaling.

Just imagine doubling your conversions…

Wouldn’t that be CRAZY?

Well with today’s conversion rate optimization strategies you can easily do it.

You just have to know what to look for and how to get it.

So without further ado…

Here’s a detailed guide on how to find the best conversion rate optimization consultants and how to work with them to guarantee real trackable results.

5 Ways a Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business

The professional CRO Consultant is going to optimize your funnel to the very last bit.

But there are always activities that just generate more results than others.

Say for example your sales funnel is driving the most sales for your business.

You would want to optimize the pages in it first and then move on to optimizing different social media and other website pages.

So make sure you rank your activities from most to least important and then find a CRO Consultant that can help you with the top ones.

Further down this post, I’ll go over the questions you need to ask yourself in order to understand what to focus on first.

But for now, here’s the number one way a consultant can help you optimize your CRO:

#1 Webinar and VSL Conversion Rate Optimization

Many people think conversions can be optimized only on paper.

But the same CRO process goes for any sales video you use in your business.

And with nowadays fast-paced world, most businesses have switched to selling high-ticket offers through webinars.

If you’re currently running a webinar you NEED to maximize the conversions coming from it.

You can’t keep pouring water into a leaking bucket, can you?

It’s your personal duty and obligation to make the most of your sales process in order to:

Help the most amount of people with your productsGenerate the most amount of sales possible for your business

And that’s why hiring a professional CRO Consultant to look at your webinar, the pages, the emails leading to it, and of course the follow-up after is extremely essential.

He can quickly assess what needs to be improved and how to do it most efficiently.

Because I’m sure you wouldn’t want to record a 90-minute webinar from the scratch.

#2 Website Conversion Rate Optimization

For many businesses, their website is basically their sales funnel.

It’s the place where they drive the most traffic and get the most sales.

So if your business is in the same spot, you’ve got to realize that depending on a single thing to bring in sales (the website) is a little ambitious.

And not having it fully-optimized for conversions is straight-up idiotic.

That’s why you need to hire an Expert CRO Consultant that can optimize every single bit of your website.

You would be surprised that 43% of business owners don’t know which is the most important page on their website.

That’s why it is very easy to get distracted and focus on the wrong thing when trying to scale your business.

#3 Pay Per Click Conversion Rate Optimization

Let’s say you already have your funnel up and running.

If that’s the case, you need to start focusing your attention on paid ads that bring in more and more potential customers to your pages.

That’s an easy way to check your actual funnel conversions and optimize accordingly.

But you can’t sell your products/services if your ads don’t convert, right?

Of course, if you’re just starting, you can try setting them up on your own.

But hiring a professional to at least check your work and give you valuable split-test suggestions is crucial if you want to run the same ads for a long time.

And trust me — you want long-term result generating ads.

#4 Social Media Conversion Rate Optimization

Imagine this…

You’ve got a fully automated sales funnel that profits like crazy with ads.

You’re scaling it up but you want more…

That’s where you put your mind into social media marketing and social media presence.

Regularly posting conversion-optimized content on your Facebook Page, Facebook Profile, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok… is essential if you want to be in front of everyone at all times.

I’m sure you know about the ancient rule of marketing — The Rule of 7.

It says that a prospect must see your marketing message at least 7 times before he proceeds to become a partner, investor, customer for your products and services.

That’s why you need to close your potential customers on all platforms.

Because if you don’t, they’re just going to lose their hype and forget about you.

Also, a well-thought-out social media strategy will not only increase your social media conversions but also your overall business followers.

Which helps in the long-term game.

#5 Back End Conversion Rate Optimization

And here comes the last but definitely not the worst option.

Which is optimizing your back end sales through with higher converting pages and follow-up.

We covered how to get traffic, how to convert it through your funnel/website, and now comes the fun part…

Your Back End. for most businesses that’s the place they make the most profits.

So neglecting it is the last thing you should do if you really want to scale your business to the moon.

Famous back end follow-up is Email Marketing.

An expert consultant will not only show you the best email marketing practices you can use in your business…

But also, he’ll suggest new ideas you didn’t even know existed till this point.

How to Get Started With Conversion Rate Optimization

After you pick what you need help with, it’s time to find out how to start with conversion rate optimization.

Firstly, you need to find a consultant that specializes in what you need help with.

Simple right? Wrong!

Hiring a consultant can either be a walk in the park or an endless lion chase.

What do I mean by that?

Basically nowadays everyone pretends to be ten times better than they actually are.

You don’t want to individually outreach people that say they’re good on their social media.

The best way to ensure results is to prepare a detailed job post and put it on freelancing platforms like Upwork.

That way only people that have experience and results in the industry will reach out and start a chat with you.

Again, be very detail-oriented in your job post and make a step-by-step checklist covering what you need before proceeding to hire your ideal match.

Measuring the ROI of Conversion Rate Optimization Consulting Services

Let’s say you hire a CRO Consultant and begin your first conversion rate optimization journey.

How can you know that you made the right choice?

Well, an easy way is to ask your consultant for expectations you can have during the project.

What increase in revenue can you expect in the first month? What will be changed and what will stay the same?

And most importantly, if you’re currently not doing it, start checking your sales and conversions daily.

I’m sure that the marketing tools you currently use track enough data to see if your consultant really makes a difference in your business.

Your ROI (Return On Investment) is crucial and you can’t craw through the desert blindfolded for months.

Meaning you can’t trust empty claims. You either get results or not. There’s nothing in between.

6 Point Checklist For Finding the Right Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant

This section will be useful for you if you haven’t hired consultants in the past.

So if you have any questions or concerns about the process you’re about to go through, just follow this detailed plan and you’ll end up with trackable and real results.

#1 Write down exactly what you need from your consultant on a google docs file

I’m sure you’ve used google docs before. If you haven’t it’s Google’s alternative to Word.

So the first step of your journey is to clear your mind on what exactly you need from your consultant.

What part of your business drives the most sales?

Do you believe it can drive even more sales? (it probably can)

What aspect of your business have you been neglecting until this point?

The answers to these three questions should give you a good idea of what you need help with.

If you end up having 2-3 different answers then you should pick the one that can generate the most sales in your opinion. 

#2 Create your job post

After you know what you need, it’s time to get it.

The easiest way to do it is to create a job post on a freelancing platform.

That’s a quick way to find medium-tier consultants that can do the job fast.

But if you’re a big business looking for the best of the best, you should consider talking to a leading consultant in a proven marketing agency.

Agencies have a lot more clients and that way they have access to much more relevant analytics for what works.

We recommend NP Digital as it is the best marketing agency when it comes to SEO and CRO.

So if you’re ready to take your conversions to the next level, book a call today and talk to an expert in no time:

#3 Make sure your consultant has proven results in the field you need help with

This is critical. Always make sure your consultant has a proven track record behind his back. 

An easy way is to ask for previous results these consultants have generated for similar clients. 

Of course, if you’re talking to a marketing agency like NP Digital, you don’t need to worry about results.

Then it’s time to set up some calls. Try to talk to at least 3 consultants and always ask for their opinion about the strategy you should be using.

That way you’ll have different perspectives and maybe find out something you missed when doing your personal assessment.

#4 Hire them and do NOT be cheap

After you’re sure who’s the best consultant of the bunch, you should begin your contract.

But don’t jump the gun too fast. You never know what could go wrong.

So before you start a long-term retainer with your CRO Consultant, you should first hire him for a test project.

Find a small thing they can optimize to start with.

If they do a good job, then move to a larger project.

And don’t expect results from consultants that charge 5 dollars an hour. 

Go all out on this project and hire the best of the best so you get your desired results.

#5 Track the results daily

Tracking your ROI is extremely important as we mentioned previously.

You should always do the math and see if your consultant makes you money in return.

If you’re not happy with the results and don’t see a positive future at some point in your contract, just end it.

Still, if they did a great job until the point you decide to end the contract, always make sure to leave him a positive review/testimonial that he can use for future clients.

#6 Keep investing until you stop getting results

But what happens if this consultant never stops generating results?

That’s more common with agencies that specialize in multiple marketing skills.

And if that’s the case for you, just keep investing until they stop.

You wouldn’t want to throw away your golden goose, would you now?

If the results from the first month exceed your expectations, you should consider raising your consultant’s salary/working hours. 

Let him manage and optimize even more parts of your business. 

Of course, don’t force him to do it.

If they just optimize your funnel and you want to focus on social media presence, you should first ask him whether they do that as well.

If he’s not up for it, you can look for another talent that can handle this part of your business.

It’s time to make you some money!

Please use the process I just shared with you and do it now.

If you procrastinate on hiring a CRO Consultant, you can really lose on a lot of money.

Your conversions are the thing that drives your sales.

So leave what you’re currently doing and go get your Conversion Rate Optimization Consultant.

Also, have you ever worked with a CRO Consultant? If yes, how was it? Share your experience in the comments below:

The post Conversion Rate Optimization Consulting appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Miles Beckler Has Over 152,000 YouTube Subscribers (Here’s How He Did It)

Miles Beckler is a digital marketing expert who has amassed 152,000 subscribers on YouTube. He’s accomplished that through consistency and ridiculous amounts of content production. Miles has a wealth of experience in affiliate marketing, YouTube marketing, and digital marketing in general. In this discussion, you’ll learn: The best publishing frequency for YouTube (based on over …

Read moreMiles Beckler Has Over 152,000 YouTube Subscribers (Here’s How He Did It)

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Holiday shopping SEO: Last-minute tips and techniques for e-commerce sites

Holiday shopping SEO: Last-minute tips and techniques for e-commerce sites

Before the holiday shopping season approaches, online retailers should be readying and refreshing content, category and product pages to maximize search visibility as interest surges, and auditing their sites to ensure a smooth user experience.

While there may only be a few weeks left before Black Friday, there is still plenty of time to implement the tips and techniques below to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the work your teams have already put in, and that you’re not committing errors that could potentially hurt your business during this critical season.

Take advantage of free product listings

Google opened up its Shopping search results to unpaid, organic listings in April, and Bing followed suit in August. Getting your products into these results can mean free exposure to the millions of people that use Google and Bing Shopping to look for holiday gifts.

Google’s organic Shopping listings as they appear on desktop.

To be eligible to show up in Shopping results, you’ll need to upload product feeds into Google and Microsoft Merchant Center, respectively. If you operate a physical store, there is a separate program in Google Merchant Center (GMC) called “Local surfaces across Google,” which can be used to show product availability in Google search, Google Images, Google Shopping, Google Maps and Google Lens.

RELATED: FAQ: All about Google Shopping and Surfaces across Google

Keep track of campaign performance. Tracking your campaigns can enable you to make more strategic decisions in the future. Unfortunately, reporting for these organic listings isn’t as sophisticated as paid campaigns.

Reporting was not available when Bing’s free product listings launched, but the company expects to roll out basic metrics (clicks and impressions) this fall.

In GMC, the Performance report shows clicks from Surfaces across Google. In Google Analytics, clicks from free Shopping listings are categorized as “google / organic” traffic, meaning that it’s not possible to tell how your organic Shopping listings are doing compared to your traditional organic search listings. As a workaround, Kirk Williams of ZATO Marketing offers a tagging process to track user behavior after the click.

Add structured data to signal relevance and inform shoppers

Product Schema. “Google has introduced countless new Shopping features directly in search results,” said Karen Bone, SEO director at digital marketing and SEO agency Ayima, pointing to structured data-powered features like product Knowledge Panels and the Popular Products carousel, and their prominence in search results pages. “Without incorporating your products to be featured, your classic ranking position may not be enough to drive traffic,” she said.

A standard search result listing (above) for a video game, compared to a listing for the same game that uses structured data (below) to make star rating, review and price information available in the search results. Source: Dave Davies.

“[Product Schema is] the easiest way to clarify to Google that you should rank for phrases like “buy X,” said Dave Davies, CEO at Beanstalk Internet Marketing, adding that this structured data type can help draw the attention of prospective customers and provide them with useful information to base their decisions off of, as well as potentially improve your click through rates.

The Popular Products carousel. Mobile users may also encounter Google’s Popular Products carousel if they’re hunting for apparel and fashion products. This mobile result type enables users to filter through product categories, view different colors, read reviews and compare prices without having to click through to a retailer’s site (although they will have to click on a store link to complete the purchase).

The Popular Products carousel in Google mobile search results.

You can get your products into this carousel by marking them up with product Schema and/or submitting a product feed in Google Merchant Center. You can read more about the exact feed and Schema requirements, as well as how you can optimize for this feature, in our FAQ article on Google’s Popular Products.

Refresh and reposition your evergreen content

Keep your content working throughout the year. Evergreen content can be a resource for prospective customers year-round and continue to serve your business year after year. “Don’t create campaign pages for holiday and then retire them immediately after,” said Bone, recommending instead that merchants create evergreen content, such as gift guides, that they can link to internally throughout the year and feature more prominently towards the holidays shopping season. “Allow that content to gain links and work for you each year, rather than removing it and starting fresh year over year,” she said.

Accommodate the holiday consumer. Segmenting your queries and repositioning your evergreen content accordingly is crucial to its success during the holidays.

“Ask yourself, during the holidays, are the same people making the buying decisions?” said Davies, “A good example is video games: During much of the year, the primary buyer will be the player, but during the holidays, the stats reveal it’s an extremely popular gift.”

In this example, if you have content geared at ranking for queries related to “top games,” you’ll want to adjust the content for the holidays to address the questions of the new consumer (the gift purchaser). Shifting content this way will help you take advantage of existing rankings, Davies said.

“On these pages, you want to consider not the big pitch you can make to a consumer already salivating for the latest Call Of Duty, but rather the questions that their parents, relatives, etc. will have,” he said, “What is it rated? Why does it have that rating? What do other parents think? These types of questions.”

In addition to refreshing your content, you should also revise your descriptions, headlines and page titles; for example, a title such as “A Parent’s Guide to 2020’s Top Video Games” is more likely to attract clicks from parents than “2020’s Top Video Games.” Reworking your content with these factors in mind can help you attract more clicks during the holidays and convert the traffic you’re getting.

Create category and product pages specifically for holiday shoppers

Shoppers are likely to be searching for specific deals and you’ll want to ensure they can find yours as easily as possible. Extending your holiday shopping-focused optimizations to product and category pages will help you achieve this goal.

Create category pages that reflect how shoppers are searching. “Optimize your high-value category pages with the proper keywords for each holiday,” Jackson Lo, SEO lead, international growth at Shopify, said, “You can do this by updating your category title tags, meta descriptions and page content to include relevant keywords and products.”

Best Buy’s search listing reflects a specific, popular search query during Black Friday.

“For instance, ‘black friday deals on tvs’ is a very popular search term customers use during Black Friday,” he said, pointing to Best Buy’s category page that has been optimized for this specific intent.

Collaborate to avoid missed opportunities. As you create new product and/or category pages, work with your PR and social teams to help drive backlinks to those pages. “Often, marketing teams will create new campaign pages, without consulting SEO teams, and authority is diluted or lost,” said Bone, advising that if your business creates virtual flyers, ensure the links to those flyers are easily accessible. “These are often picked up by third-party sites and are a great source of backlinks and creating excitement to shop your deals,” she said.

Things that can hurt your visibility and sales during the holiday season

In addition to assessing what can be optimized during the lead up to the holiday shopping season, your teams should also audit your site to ensure it works as intended and postpone any major projects until this crucial sales period is over.

Check for errors that may affect conversions. “For instance, check to make sure there aren’t any important pages blocked by robots.txt from being crawled or indexed, broken category or product URLs or slow-loading pages,” Lo said. Tackling these errors early on can lead to a better experience for your customers, which may translate to more sales.

Scrutinize your user experience. Auditing your user experience can help you keep visitors on the right path. For example, if you have a standalone FAQ page for a particular product category, shoppers can get sidetracked on a page that isn’t conversion-oriented, Davies said. “Answer that question front-and-center in the conversion journey,” he said; in this example, you can do so by moving the FAQ section into the category page.

Save site migrations and other major projects for later. A site migration is a significant undertaking, and certainly one that should be shelved until after the holidays. While they can be performed correctly, any number of mistakes, even as simple as communications oversights between SEOs and developers, can result in errors that can potentially and negatively impact your search visibility.

If a botched migration affects your site’s ability to process transactions, you’ll be spending precious time leading up to the holidays fixing it, which means less resources spent on optimizations and potentially lost customers. Even after a site has been migrated, rankings for important pages may fluctuate and search engines may have to index new URLs, so save site migrations and other projects that could affect your visibility and user experience for later.

The post Holiday shopping SEO: Last-minute tips and techniques for e-commerce sites appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Allow Access to Your Site Without a Username and Password

Allow Access to Your Site Without a Username and Password

We can not tell you how many times we have had difficulty getting access to the admin area of a WordPress site so we can fix an issue that our customers are experiencing. So we decided to create a plugin that our customers can use to allow access to their site without handing over a username and password. They simply provide a link for us to click on and we are in. They can also set an expiration time on the user they created so once we are done with the work, they can clean it out of their site.

This is not only a great plugin for use when working with a support company or person but it is also pretty handy when you just need to create a temporary user and simply send a link to someone giving them admin access to your WordPress site.

Take a look at the steps below on how to use this.

Step #1 – Install the Plugin

You will need to download the plugin at the link below. Once you download it, please install and active it.

https://www.wpfixit.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/No-Need-Login.zip

Step #2 – Start Creating Logins

Once the plugin is active you can visit USERS > CREATE LOGINS

Step #3 – Share Login Link

After you create a login, you simply copy the link that is generated and then give this to the person you want to have access to your site.

The post Allow Access to Your Site Without a Username and Password appeared first on WP Fix It.

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What Google's Star Rating Rich Snippet Changes Mean for You

What Google's Star Rating Rich Snippet Changes Mean for You

On Monday this week, Google announced that they would be changing their treatment of star rating rich snippets in search results. 

We already know that Google wasn’t happy with how star rating rich snippets (like those pictured above) were being used in the wild. “Structured data penalties” have become common in the past couple of years, mostly (in my experience) for the practice of placing organisation-level ratings markup across your entire site, which Google considered inaccurate or misleading (as the ratings weren’t for the specific content of the page they were on). Lots of examples of this exact behaviour continued to exist, however, with Google seemingly unable to enforce their own rules at scale (as is common for activities requiring manual review).

So what has changed?

It looks like Google is about to get far stricter on when they will and will not respect ratings structured data, the Schema.org property which has until now triggered these enhanced search results. 

In particular, the use of a rating widget (e.g. Trustpilot, Feefo, hardcoded) to show reviews of your organization or business on a site that is run by your organization or business will no longer be respected. You can see Google’s updated guidelines here.

This covers probably the majority of real world use cases I’ve seen, although that may just be my experience.

What is Google aiming for, and what are they enforcing?

It seems that Google wants to push these ratings to apply mainly to critical or genuine 3rd party reviews – for example, a newspaper’s review of a film. Weirdly the distinction that Google is making in what they’re aiming for is whether the reviews are “self-serving” – I’d argue that having a website at all is fairly self-serving in most cases, unless you’re a charity or are running the reviews section of your site as an act of altruism.

Unfortunately, my pedantry isn’t going to get anyone their ratings back, but it does seem that for now there’s a distinction between what Google is aiming for here and what they’re actually saying they’ll enforce.

In particular, reviews of your own products on your product or category pages are handled somewhat ambiguously here – although marking up products is allowed, this could be only in the case of expert, 3rd party reviews (e.g. by a car magazine, of a car), rather than “self-serving” reviews (e.g. on the car manufacturer’s website, of one of their models). 

This tweet from John Mueller at Google suggests reviews of products you sell are fine:

It’s specific to reviews about your business, we tweaked the text in the blog post to make it a bit clearer: “Self-serving reviews aren’t allowed for LocalBusiness and Organization” (reviews for, say, products you sell are fine)

— John (@JohnMu) September 16, 2019

But in most cases these could be your own products, in which case this seems equally self-serving, but Google will probably be unable to tell the difference. At the very least, Google seems at the very least to be implying by omission that they won’t enforce this.

I’ll update this article with some real world examples once it becomes clear whether this gray area remains an opportunity for website owners – right now, results are largely as before.

EDIT (26th September): Yes, you can just re-mark otherwise compliant ratings as product mark-up, with a named product, and get your ratings back.

Will I lose my star ratings?
Vendors

If the Schema.org “type” that star ratings on your site are attached to falls into the following list, then it’s very likely:

localBusiness (if you are that business)
Organization
Service

If the type that star ratings on your site are attached to falls into the official Google list, but you are the vendor of that thing rather than a critical reviewer, then it’s somewhat likely you’ll lose your ratings, but not clear right now.

Critical Reviewers

Google has narrowed supported types, and now requires the “name” field, so possibly, yes.

You can check whether you’re using a supported type using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool, which has been updated to reflect the new guidelines, but which does not currently identify whether a review is “self serving”:

Should I care?
Vendors

If all your competitors had markup that also falls foul of this, and you do too, then the commercial impact should be net zero.

On the other hand, if you were a business large enough to have to play by the rules, and your competitors were getting away with sitewide organization review markup, this is a net win for you – and you don’t even have to do anything!

And, lastly, if you spent a ton of money on a 3rd party review platform to enable these features but your competitors didn’t, you’ll be understandably annoyed.

Critical Reviewers

Yes, you should care – this is a good way to make your results stand out in search, now more than ever.

What can I do to get my star ratings back?
Vendors

If you were previously showing reviews of yourself or your own product or service, your best bet is to hope that Google doesn’t enforce reviews marked up as product reviews, as I mentioned above. However, there doesn’t appear to be any risk of penalty – the guidelines only suggest that in a worst case you wouldn’t be eligible for star ratings:

Critical reviewers

If, on the other hand, you are a genuine third party reviewer but were reviewing a type that is no longer supported (e.g. a service), then there is no ambiguity about whether you may or may not be “self-serving”, so you just need to confirm your markup conforms with supported types.

Is this a good thing?

Generally speaking, a lot of the behaviour around how sites were being encouraged to collect and display reviews did seem disingenuous towards the user. In that sense, this may genuinely improve search results, and clarity of what a star rating means.

The other side of the argument is that Google is defining what webmasters should implement more strictly than the actual Schema.org specifications do, and they’re doing it unilaterally and without warning. This puts an onus on webmasters to make a change which can be difficult in larger organisations, and which may also wipe out the business case for previous, large investments of resource.

It would have been better, in my opinion, to make this a “from March 2020” onwards announcement, similar to the recent nofollow/sponsored/ugc link markup change.

Let me know your view in the comments below, or on Twitter!

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