SEO Articles

The Pros and Cons of Collaborating in the Metaverse

There has been a lot of talks lately about collaborating and working in the Metaverse. There are some big advantages to using these new tools but also some disadvantages worth considering before you adopt them for your entire team.

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Should your SEO team invest in SEO tools?

Understanding your current marketing processes, knowing how to measure success, and being able to identify where you are looking for improvements, are all critical pieces of the SEO platform decision-making process. But deciding whether your company needs an SEO platform calls for the same evaluative steps involved in any software adoption, starting with a comprehensive self-assessment.

Read next: SEO software tools: What marketers need to know

Use the following questions as a guideline to determine the answers.

Do we have the right human resources in place?

Employing people to implement and use SEO platforms is a prerequisite to success. If you have marketing staff, utilizing SEO toolsets can make them more efficient and effective. The vast majority of organic search marketers struggle to justify their SEO budgets. SEO platforms and tools are a key component of helping to keep overall costs down while getting the required work done. Their analytical capabilities can also help SEOs prove the impact of their work on the bottom line.

Do we have C-level buy-in?

Enterprise SEO software can be a five- or six-figure investment annually. It is critical to demonstrate the value of SEO to C-level executives by running pilot test projects and agreeing to a definition of “success” in advance.

Do we have the right technical resources?

Successful SEO needs dedicated technical resources deployed to it to act on the recommendations and opportunities surfaced by the analytics and reports.

Who will own enterprise SEO?

Enterprise SEO is commonly placed into marketing, editorial or IT, depending on the nature of the business. Unfortunately, in large companies, it usually ends up with either whoever has the budget, or whoever can best articulate the business case. In a best-case scenario, it should be both.

Can we invest in staff training?

It is vital to provide training to technical, design, content, and marketing teams, and reinforce it on a regular basis. A successful enterprise SEO implementation will find ways to inject SEO knowledge into existing training programs and identify internal evangelists to broadly distribute the messages. Training needs to be comprehensive, consistent, and continuous. Some tool companies include or offer training for an additional fee, so be sure to ask about this.

To what extent do we need to share reports with non-SEO staff?

Some tool providers focus significant development resources on simple interfaces that can be utilized by people in other organizational roles — such as writers or C-suite executives. If this is important to you, make sure you specifically look for this when evaluating possible platforms.

Have we established KPIs and put a system in place for tracking, measuring, and reporting results?

It’s important to know upfront what you want your SEO to achieve. Do you want to improve SERP rankings or the time visitors spend on your site? Is conversion – whether a product purchase or whitepaper download – your key objective? Having goals will help you decide if you’re ready to put an enterprise platform to good use, as well as help you decide which tool will best meet your organizational needs.

How will we measure success?

Depending on your site’s monetization strategy, make sure you know how you’ll determine if the rollout of the platform and the successful execution of the established KPIs actually increased sales, conversions or pageviews.

Do we have realistic expectations?

It is not uncommon for enterprise SEO efforts to take at least six months to generate tangible results. If SEO is a new initiative within the organization, there are cultural shifts and workflow processes that will need to be implemented and refined. Setting realistic timelines and goals will help build support at all levels of the enterprise.

Do we have an SEO culture?

Many organizations begin to invest in SEO but find that a lack of understanding of SEO across the organization cripples its progress. Broad educational programs are often required to provide consistent performance and results.

Get the full report on Enterprise SEO Tools here

The post Should your SEO team invest in SEO tools? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google’s page experience update coming to desktop next month

Google’s page experience update coming to desktop next month

Malte Ubl, a Software Engineer at Google, reminded us that coming next month, Google will be releasing the desktop version of the page experience update. He posted this on Twitter as a reminder:

Page experience ranking in Google Search based on Core Web Vitals on Desktop (Laptop/Tablets/the 523.94 remaining actual Desktop computers) is going out next month. Metric threshold are the same as on mobile. https://t.co/oVFF0W2Zih https://t.co/KKBIEi6v0Z

— Malte Ubl (@cramforce) January 10, 2022

Google told us this was coming this past November and it should go live next month. The rollout will take a couple months, it will start in February 2022 and finish rolling out by the end of March 2022. This update will include all the current signals of the mobile version of the page experience update, outside of the page needing to be mobile friendly.

Same thresholds. As a reminder, the same metric thresholds will work for desktop. So what the thresholds were for mobile, will be the same for desktop. The original blog post said “the same three Core Web Vitals metrics: LCP, FID, and CLS, and their associated thresholds will apply for desktop ranking.” Malte Ubl reconfirmed this in his tweet saying “metric threshold are the same as on mobile.”

Don’t expect drastic changes. Google said with this rollout and this new Google update, do not expect drastic changes. “While this update is designed to highlight pages that offer great user experiences, page experience remains one of many factors our systems take into account… Given this, sites generally should not expect drastic changes,” said Google. We expect the same to be true for the desktop rollout.

Search Console tools any day now. Google will be updating the Google Search Console tools and reports to help site owners prepare for this update. “We are also planning to help site owners understand how their desktop pages are performing with regards to page experience using a Search Console report which will launch before desktop becomes a ranking signal,” Google said. So expect these new tools and reports to be released any day now.

Mobile vs desktop. Which factors is will be included in this desktop version? Google said all of them with the exception of the mobile friendliness requirement, which is kind of obvious. Here is a chart Google designed showing the specific factors:

Why we care. As I said last time, while I do not believe this page experience update will be a significant update where you will see tons of sites see their rankings drastically change, those working towards improving their page experience have been primarily focused on their mobile pages. Now, that you have your mobile pages ready for this update, you can shift focus towards your desktop pages.

The new reports are not out yet, but I hope they will be out shortly.

The post Google’s page experience update coming to desktop next month appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Yoast SEO 17.9: Track the performance of your keyphrases with Wincher

Yoast SEO 17.9: Track the performance of your keyphrases with Wincher

Today, we’re launching Yoast SEO 17.9. In this release, we have an awesome new feature to share with you. We’ve partnered up with SEO tool Wincher to bring you keyphrase performance tracking. This new feature will allow you to get a better understanding of how your posts are ranking over time. Let’s find out more about this brand-new feature in Yoast SEO 17.9!

Yoast and Wincher have joined forces to empower you even more when it comes to doing your own SEO.

Table of contentsKeyword tracking with the Wincher integrationHow to activate the Wincher integrationAn extra bonus for our Yoast SEO Premium usersYoast SEO 17.9 also comes with Japanese language supportUpdate to Yoast SEO 17.9 now!

Keyword tracking with the Wincher integration

The reason that we’re joining forces with Wincher is that we both believe in the power of SEO. Like Yoast, the team at Wincher wants to help you optimize your content for users and search engines. Wincher is an SEO tool that helps you track your keywords. This means that it can give you insight into how you’re ranking on the keywords or keyphrases that you’ve chosen for certain pages. This allows you to see how well your pages are performing, making it way easier to track the progress of your SEO efforts.

To bring keyword tracking to your website, we’ve built a Wincher integration that you can use in both Yoast SEO free and Yoast SEO Premium! In both versions of our plugin, you’re able to choose a free or premium Wincher account. When you decide on a free account, you’ll be able to track up to a total of 5 keywords for your entire site. With a premium Wincher account, you can track up to 500 – 10.000 keywords (depending on the plan you choose). Regardless of which one you choose, make sure to give it a try. Because this integration gives you a better understanding of how your most important posts are ranking over time and can give you the right tools to climb to that #1 position!

How to activate the Wincher integration

When you’ve updated to Yoast SEO 17.9, you will be able to active the Wincher integration in the sidebar of your post editor right away. The first time you use it, Yoast SEO will ask you to either login or register for Wincher. After that, you’ll be able to start tracking the performance of your keyphrases in the post editor! Just go to a post and click the tab ‘Track SEO performance’ in the sidebar. You will get a popup that shows you the position that this post has for this keyphrase and it also shows you a graph of your position over time. If you want to read more about how it works, check out our help article on how to use the Wincher integration in Yoast SEO.

It’s important to remember that when you choose to use the free version of this Wincher integration, that you’ll only be able to track a total of 5 keyphrases on your entire website. So make sure to choose wisely and track your most important pages! In the example below, you’ll see tracking for multiple keyphrases on one post, but this is only possible with the related keyphrases feature in Yoast SEO Premium.

Tracking for multiple keyphrases in one post is possible with Yoast SEO Premium

An extra bonus for our Yoast SEO Premium users

When you use the free version of Yoast SEO, you’ll be able to track one keyphrase per post (with a premium Wincher account that is). However, in Yoast SEO Premium we also have the related keyphrases feature allowing you to fill in multiple keyphrases per post (phrases that are related to your focus keyphrase). With the new Wincher integration, this means that you can also track these related keyphrases per post. Meaning that you’re able to track five keyphrases per post.

Yoast SEO 17.9 also comes with Japanese language support

In addition to the Wincher integration, Yoast SEO 17.9 also comes with full language support for Japanese. This means that Yoast SEO now recognizes the Japanese language and gives you feedback on your content, both on readability and SEO! Find out why that’s so important on our page on language availability in Yoast SEO.

Users of Yoast SEO Premium have access to the full suite of tools in Japanese. That includes the related keyphrase, synonym and word forms features. These features help Yoast SEO recognize different versions of your focus keyword and include them in the analysis. Which makes the analysis a lot smarter and even more accurate. Japanese is actually the 20th language that Yoast SEO understands and we’re not planning on slowing down any time soon.

Update to Yoast SEO 17.9 now!

Yoast SEO 17.9 is now available for you to download. And thanks to our partnership with Wincher, it comes with a shiny new feature that allows you to keep an eye on how your pages are ranking for certain focus keyphrases. It’s available in both Yoast SEO free and Yoast SEO Premium and you can decide on a free or Premium account. Whichever fits your needs best. Make sure to try out this new keyphrase tracking feature and let us know what you think.

Go Premium and get access to all our features!

Premium comes with lots of features and free access to our SEO courses!

Get Yoast SEO Premium »Only $99 USD / per year (ex VAT) for 1 site

The post Yoast SEO 17.9: Track the performance of your keyphrases with Wincher appeared first on Yoast.

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Why server logs matter for SEO

Why server logs matter for SEO

The majority of website operators are unaware of the importance of web server logs. They do not record, much less analyze their website’s server logs. Large brands, in particular, fail to capitalize on server log analysis and irretrievably lose unrecorded server log data.

Organizations that choose to embrace server log analysis as part of their ongoing SEO efforts often excel in Google Search. If your website consists of 100,000 pages or more and you wish to find out how and why server logs pose a tremendous growth opportunity, keep reading.

Why server logs matter

Each time a bot requests a URL hosted on a web server a log record entry is automatically created reflecting information exchanged in the process. When covering an extended period of time, server logs become representative of the history of requests received and of the responses returned.

The information retained in server log files typically include client IP address, request date and time, the page URL requested, the HTTP response code, the volume of bytes served as well as the user agent and the referrer.

While server logs are created at every instance a web page is requested, including user browser requests, search engine optimization focuses exclusively on the use of bot server log data. This is relevant with regard to legal considerations touching on data protection frameworks such as GDPR/CCPA/DSGVO. Because no user data is ever included for SEO purposes, raw, anonymized web server log analysis remains unencumbered by otherwise potentially applicable legal regulations. 

It’s worth mentioning that, to some extent, similar insights are possible based on Google Search Console Crawl stats. However, these samples are limited in volume and time span covered. Unlike Google Search Console with its data reflecting only the last few months, it is exclusively server log files that provide a clear, big picture outlining long-term SEO trends.

The valuable data within server logs

Each time a bot requests a page hosted on the server, a log instance is created recording a number of data points, including:

The IP address of the requesting client.The exact time of the request, often based on the server’s internal clock.The URL that was requested.The HTTP was used for the request.The response status code returned (e.g., 200, 301, 404, 500 or other).The user agent string from the requesting entity (e.g., a search engine bot name like Googlebot/2.1).

A typical server log record sample may look like this:

150.174.193.196 – – [15/Dec/2021:11:25:14 +0100] “GET /index.html HTTP/1.0” 200 1050 “-” “Googlebot/2.1 (+http://www.google.com/bot.html)” “www.example.ai”

In this example:

150.174.193.196 is the IP of the requesting entity.

[15/Dec/2021:11:25:14 +0100] is the time zone as well as the time of the request.

“GET /index.html HTTP/1.0” is the HTTP method used (GET), the file requested (index.html) and the HTTP protocol version used. 

200 is the server HTTP status code response returned.

1050 is the byte size of the server response.

“Googlebot/2.1 (+http://www.google.com/bot.html)” is the user agent of the requesting entity.

“www.example.ai” is the referring URL.

How to use server logs

From an SEO perspective, there are three primary reasons why web server logs provide unparalleled insights: 

Assisting to filter out undesirable bot traffic with no SEO significance from desirable search engine bot traffic originating from legitimate bots such as Googlebot, Bingbot or YandexBot. Providing SEO insights into crawl prioritization and thereby enabling the SEO team with an opportunity to proactively tweak and finetune their crawl budget management.Allowing for monitoring and providing a track record of the server responses sent to search engines.

Fake search engine bots can be a nuisance, but they only rarely affect websites. There are a number of specialized service providers like Cloudflare and AWS Shield that can help in managing undesirable bot traffic.In the process of analyzing web server logs, fake search engine bots tend to play a subordinate role.

In order to accurately gauge which parts of a website are being prioritized other than major search engines, bot traffic has to be filtered when performing a log analysis. Depending on the markets targeted, the focus can be on search engine bots like Google, Apple, Bing, Yandex or others. 

Especially for websites where content freshness is key, how frequently those sites are being re-crawled can critically impact their usefulness for users. In other words, if content changes are not picked up swiftly enough, user experience signals and organic search rankings are unlikely to reach their full potential.

Only through server log filtering is it possible to accurately gauge relevant search engine bot traffic.

While Google is inclined to crawl all information available and re-crawl already known URL patterns regularly, its crawl resources are not limitless. That’s why, for large websites consisting of hundreds of thousands of landing pages, re-crawl cycles depend on Google‘s crawl prioritization allocation algorithms.

That allocation can be positively stimulated with reliable up-time, highly responsive web services, optimized specifically for a fast experience. These steps alone are conducive to SEO. However, only by analyzing complete server logs that cover an extended period of time is it possible to identify the degree of overlap between the total volume of all crawlable landing pages, the typically smaller number of relevant, optimized and indexable SEO landing pages represented in the sitemap and what Google regularly prioritizes for crawling, indexing and ranking.

Such a log analysis as an integral part of a technical SEO audit and the only method to uncover the degree of crawl budget waste. And whether crawlable filtering, placeholder or lean content pages, an open staging server or other obsolete parts of the website continue to impair crawling and ultimately rankings. Under certain circumstances, such as a planned migration, it is specifically the insights gained through an SEO audit, including server log analysis, that often make the difference between success and failure for the migration.

Additionally, the log analysis offers for large websites critical SEO insights. It can provide an answer to how long Google needs to recrawl the entire website. If that answer happens to be decisively long — months or longer — action may be warranted to make sure the indexable SEO landing pages are crawled. Otherwise, there’s a great risk that any SEO improvements to the website go unnoticed by search engines for potentially months after release, which in turn is a recipe for poor rankings.

A high degree of overlap between indexable SEO landing pages and what Google crawls regularly is a positive SEO KPI.

Server responses are critical for great Google Search visibility. While Google Search Console does offer an important glimpse into recent server responses, any data Google Search Console offers to website operators must be considered a representative, yet limited sample. Although this can be useful to identify egregious issues, with a server log analysis it is possible to analyze and identify all HTTP responses, including any quantitatively relevant non-200 OK responses that can jeopardize rankings. Possible alternative responses can be indicative of performance issues (e.g., 503 Service Unavailable scheduled downtime) if they are excessive.

Excessive non-200 OK server responses have a negative impact on organic search visibility.

Where to get started

Despite the potential that server log analysis has to offer, most website operators do not take advantage of the opportunities presented. Server logs are either not recorded at all or regularly overwritten or incomplete. The overwhelming majority of websites do not retain server log data for any meaningful period of time. This is good news for any operators willing to, unlike their competitors, collect and utilize server log files for search engine optimization.

When planning server log data collection, it is worth noting which data fields at a minimum must be retained in the server log files in order for the data to be usable. The following list can be considered a guideline:

remote IP address of the requesting entity.user agent string of the requesting entity.request scheme (e.g., was the HTTP request for http or https or wss or something else).request hostname (e.g., which subdomain or domain was the HTTP request for).request path, often this is the file path on the server as a relative URL.request parameters, which can be a part of the request path.request time, including date, time and timezone.request method.response http status code.response timings.

If the request path is a relative URL, the fields which are often neglected in server log files are the recording of the hostname and scheme of the request. This is why it is important to check with your IT department if the request path is a relative URL so that the hostname and scheme are also recorded in the server log files. An easy workaround is to record the entire request URL as one field, which includes the scheme, hostname, path and parameters in one string.

When collecting server log files, it is also important to include logs originating from CDNs and other third-party services the website may be using. Check with these third-party services about how to extract and save the log files on a regular basis.

Overcoming obstacles to server log analysis

Often, two main obstacles are put forward to counter the urgent need to retain server log data: cost and legal concerns. While both factors are ultimately determined by individual circumstances, such as budgeting and legal jurisdiction, neither have to pose a serious roadblock.

Cloud storage can be a long-term option and physical hardware storage is also likely to cap the cost. With retail pricing for approximately 20 TB hard drives below $600 USD, the hardware cost is negligible. Given that the price of storage hardware has been in decline for years, ultimately the cost of storage is unlikely to pose a serious challenge to server log recording. 

Additionally, there will be a cost associated with the log analysis software or with the SEO audit provider rendering the service. While these costs must be factored into the budget, once more it is easy to justify in the light of the advantages server log analysis offers. 

While this article is intended to outline the inherent benefits of server log analysis for SEO, it should not be considered as a legal recommendation. Such legal advice can only be given by a qualified attorney in the context of the legal framework and relevant jurisdiction. A number of laws and regulations such as GDPR/CCPA/DSGVO can apply in this context. Especially when operating from the EU, privacy is a major concern. However, for the purpose of a server log analysis for SEO, any user-related data is of no relevance. Any records that can not be conclusively verified based on IP address are to be ignored. 

With regard to privacy concerns, any log data which does not validate and is not a confirmed search engine bot must not be used and instead can be deleted or anonymized after a defined period of time-based on relevant legal recommendations. This tried and tested approach is being applied by some of the largest website operators on a regular basis.

When to get started

The major question remaining is when to start collecting server log data. The answer is now! 

Server log data can only be applied in a meaningful way and lead to actionable advice if it is available in sufficient volume. The critical mass of server logs’ usefulness for SEO audits typically ranges between six and thirty-six months, depending on how large a website is and its crawl prioritization signals. 

It is important to note that unrecorded server logs can not be acquired at a later stage. Chances are that any efforts to retain and preserve server logs initiated today will bear fruits as early as the following year. Hence, collecting server log data must commence at the earliest possible time and continue uninterrupted for as long as the website is in operation and aims to perform well in organic search.

The post Why server logs matter for SEO appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Microsoft Advertising Shopping campaigns reporting enhancements

Microsoft Advertising Shopping campaigns reporting enhancements

Microsoft Advertising has added some new enhancements to Shopping campaign reporting, while also expanding some of its other advertising features this month, the company announced. Plus, Microsoft removed the minimum spend requirement to be eligible to use Customer Match targeting.

Shopping campaign reporting

Now the Shopping campaigns reports have been enhanced for the products tab with two new enhancements; performance and conversions.

The Performance enhancement lets advertisers see metrics such as clicks, impressions, average CPC, average CPM, and spend.

The Conversions enhancements lets advertisers see conversions, revenue, return on ad spend, and all conversions.

Microsoft Advertising also updated the functionality on the grid of the Products tab. These updates are rolling out this month.

Filtered total, Deleted items total, and Overall total rows are now available at the bottom of the grid.

Customer Match spend requirement

Microsoft has removed the minimum spend requirement to use Customer Match targeting with email match. Microsoft said the removal of this requirement “makes it possible for more of you to use this feature that plays an important role in moving into the cookieless world.”

How does customer match work? You can use the email addresses your customers have shared to re-engage with those customers across the Microsoft Search Network and Microsoft Audience Network. This feature is available in all markets except the European Union, UK and CN.

Microsoft Audience Network available to more advertisers

The Microsoft Audience Ads is now available to all customers in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Venezuela. Previously is was available in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, and Germany. Microsoft said this is being expanded again with additional markets coming soon.

Plus, Microsoft said that Audience Ads can also be served in French Canada.

Similar Audiences and in-market audience expands

Microsoft Similar Audiences are now available as open betas for the following markets: UK, AU, IN, NZ, ID, MY, PH, SG, TH, and VN. Microsoft Similar Audiences allow advertisers to engage with qualified prospective customers who are similar to those in your remarketing lists.

Plus Microsoft’s in-market audiences have expanded into Latin American markets, with more segments added as well.

Why we care. Here are more options for you to get your products and services in front of even more potential customers and refine those ads to a more segmented group of users. Give these solutions a try and don’t forget to try out the new Shopping campaign reporting.

The post Microsoft Advertising Shopping campaigns reporting enhancements appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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