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Category Archive: Google

  1. Why Doesn’t My Business Appear in Google Local Search?

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    Google pretty much dominates local search at the moment. When that works in your favor, you’ll see your company sitting atop the search results for many a local phrase. But if you’re not ranking high in local search, or not appearing at all, it can seriously impact your business. If people can’t find you, how can they buy what you’re selling? It’s a big problem with a multitude of solutions. For some, it’s as simple as getting listed. For others, it’s a bit more complicated. Though local search has specific requirements, it’s still search and requires SEO. Bearing that in mind, let’s look at some reasons a company might fail to appear in Google Local and what can be done to remedy the situation.

    You’re Not Listed

    articleimage380 yournotlisted

    This is by far the simplest reason you’re not appearing in local search results but not always the easiest to fix. Getting listed can be a bit of process. Google is very stringent in its listing guidelines so you absolutely must do your best follow them to the letter if you want to see progress. Your first step is to create a local business on Google. You only qualify for this option if:

    So long as you follow instructions, set up isn’t all that difficult. But this is actually where a lot of people get tripped up.

    You Didn’t Follow the Quality Guidelines

    As Local University puts it, Google’s quality guidelines for business listings shouldn’t be called guidelines at all — they should be called rules. Because if you don’t follow them precisely, the result is more often than not a failure to be listed or a failure to have your listing appear as you’d like it to. The guidelines are pretty detailed. For instance, if your business has a mail box or suite number, you need to include that information in Address Line 2, and under no circumstances should it appear in Address Line 1. It’s a bit persnickety, to be honest.  You should definitely take the time to review them on your own. But let’s take a look at a few aspects here just so you’re clear on some of the bigger requirements:

    • Only a business owner (or someone authorized by the business owner) can verify a business listing.
    • Try to use an email address attached to your company’s domain name to add trust to your verification request
    • The business name in your listing should be what it’s actually called, though you can use one word to clarify what your company does. You can also use a “single descriptor” to better identify your company’s location, which can actually be made up of more than one word. See what I mean about these guidelines being very precise?
    • Use your company’s real physical address
    • Only one account can be created for a business location unless you’re an individual practitioner within a larger business (like a doctor or lawyer) or the page is for a department that acts individually within an organization like a university or hospital.
    • Use a local phone number.
    • Select a category based on what the business is “not what it does.” You would say “Hospital” not “Vaccinations,” according to Google.
    • Fraudulent or illegal businesses aren’t allowed to create listings.
    • Google does have some country restrictions.
    • Some business models are ineligible for a listing including those that:
      1. Don’t make in-person contact with customers
      2. Aren’t open yet
      3. Consist of a class or event held at a location you don’t own
      4. Stock your products but you don’t own the retail store

    I realize that’s a lot to wrap your mind around and it will take some serious time to familiarize yourself with all of these rules before you can get a handle on it. But it’s worth the effort if you want to see your business rank higher.

    Your Business Isn’t Verified

    articleimage380Your Business Isn't Verified

    If you’ve gone to all the effort to do the above, it would be a real shame to forget to verify your listing, now wouldn’t it? But that’s often a reason why people fail to see their businesses in the local search results. They just never got around to this step. So take this opportunity, while you’re thinking about it, to verify your page. When logged into Google+ and navigate to your page then hover on the “Unverified” button at the top. Click on “Verify Now” and follow the instructions. Typically, you just need to input your mailing address and click on “Request Postcard.” You’ll have to wait a few days to get your postcard but this is your ticket to verification. Seems sort of low-tech, I know, but it’s Google’s way for business owners to prove they are who they say they are. Just follow the instructions on the card to complete the verification process. Your site should be listed and ranking in no time after that.

    You Didn’t Fill Out All of Your Business Details

    Once you’ve got the basics taken care of, you need to populate your listing with some real information. That means filling out your business introduction as fully as possible. Really take this opportunity to introduce yourself to your potential customers. What is your business all about? Why did you start it? What are you passionate about? What separates you from your competition? Don’t go all salesman mode in your introduction but you should definitely make the effort to demonstrate what makes you stand out. Another thing you need to remember to include is photos. As with anything online, photos add character and life. Without them, your listing will look incomplete and is less likely to engage potential customers. Plus, even if it does appear in the search results, it’s going to be a lot less enticing if there aren’t any images to attract attention. Your profile photo, especially, needs to be eye-catching. From there, you can share photos to your Google+ Page regularly. People always like to get a behind the scenes glimpse of how businesses operate, so the more photos of that nature you can provide, the better. Customers who frequent your business can upload their own photos and tag your company in them as well, which further adds to your credibility and literal visibility.

    You Don’t Have Any Reviews

    articleimage380 youdonthavereviews

    While not having any reviews won’t prevent a business from showing up in local search results altogether, it can impact your rank. A business in your niche with a ton of reviews will always rank much higher because it’s viewed to be a greater authority in your industry by Google. And reviews don’t lie. This customer word-of-mouth is worth its weight in gold and a highly coveted piece of the Google Local puzzle. Your “star” rating will appear with your business listing, along with review excerpts when somebody Google’s your company name. It appears along the righthand side of search results. This snapshot is your opportunity to really impress a potential customer. Think of how many times you’ve searched for a business or service. When greeted with the search results, which ones were you the most likely to click on? The ones with the most positive reviews, right? It’s human nature to pursue options that other people have already vetted for you. So by all means, take advantage of that fact! Google Local search results are becoming increasingly important — seemingly with every algorithm update. If you’re a small business owner with a brick and mortar location, you can’t afford to gloss over this optimization strategy.

  2. Is Google Slowly Withdrawing from Showing Rich Snippets?

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    Before we dive into answering this slightly complicated question, let’s first take a look at what rich snippets are, exactly.

    Rich snippets are enhanced listings that show up within the usual Google search results. These snippets contain all of the same information a typical search result would include with the addition of an author byline, an author photo, and Google+ follower counts. For a while, those who knew the importance of setting up Google authorship found their author photos appearing next to their articles in the search results.

    As you might imagine, this was great for click-through rates. However, Google is always adjusting things and it seems now the rich snippets are only being featured when you’re logged into Google+. And the follower counts have disappeared completely. So, what’s the deal here?

    The Rich Snippet Slim Down

    articleimage348 The Rich Snippet Slim Down

    Rich snippets were sort of all over the place in Google search results there for a while. If you’d bothered to set up Google authorship, then your face was probably popping up next to just about everything you wrote. It was exciting for authors everywhere,especially those trying to expand their online reach. And let’s be honest here, who isn’t?

    Along with an author photo – pulled from your Google+ account — the rich snippet would also feature your byline and the number of people currently in your circles. It made for an intuitive way to integrate G+ into the search experience. Though some viewed it as Google forcing their hand a bit. After all, why should its social network be the only one integrated into search results when there are bigger, and arguably better, social networks to consider?

    But the politics of that aside, it’s important to note that Google has since removed much of what made rich snippets “rich.” In fact, search results look much as they did prior to the whole Google authorship rollout. This has been disheartening to some who view the inclusion of rich snippets as a way to better identify authors and build online reputation points.

    Now, when the average user searches for something on Google — who is not logged in— he will only see the author’s name next to or below the search result title. It’s better than nothing, sure, but a lot of content marketers are sorely missing those headshots right about now.

    Some are arguing that a lack of author photos in search results is actually a good thing, however. Now, no one gets an advantage over anyone else. If you’ve made the appropriate authorship connection for a page, your byline will appear with the article title, just like everyone else’s articles. Before, who would receive a photo and who would receive just a byline seemed to be a bit random. Now, if your content is great, it’ll show up with a byline and so will that other guy who wrote something on a similar topic. No one really gets and advantage over anyone else except for where the page ranks in the search results.

    Rich Snippets Aren’t Really Going Away

    articleimage348 Rich Snippets Aren't

    Okay, so I know I just said that rich snippets have gotten the ax, but the truth is they’re just being moved around a bit. Instead of being featured so anyone can view them, they’re only visible now those who are logged into Google. And even then, you’ll only see the author photos of those who you are personally connected with on Google+.

    It’s all apart of Google’s personalized results effort. So yes, it’s totally possible you’ll see familiar faces pop up on in search results because you’re connected to them socially.

    The truth may be even more narrow than that, actually. Relevancy plays a key role here as well. According to Joshua Berg, you’ll only see an author photo next to an article written by someone in your circles if they are relevant to you. This can be difficult to establish, yes, but investing time in building a Google+ following and being active there on a regular basis should help you to realize greater relevancy in a greater number of people’s personalized search results.

    It’s a significant scaling back of the rich snippet concept, but they are still in use, at least as of this writing. And since not just anyone can receive an author photo anymore in rich snippets, those who do will stand out even more. That’s a definite step up for those looking to establish authority.

    Google+ More Important Than Ever

    articleimage348 Google+ More Important Than Ever

    As I already said, being active on Google+ will increase the likelihood of your author photo appearing next to your articles in the search results of logged in users. But you might be curious as to what “active” means. After all, every social network is different and a lot of people have yet to come over to Google+ land.

    Just for posterity’s sake, here are a few tips for using Google+ and boosting your engagement there.

    Cross-Posting is Not the Answer

    First and foremost, it’s important to note that G+ is its own network and should be treated as such. It’s okay to post the same content across multiple social networks on occasion, but do this too much and you cause the original post to lose some of its punch. Offer something unique for your G+ followers and you’ll do well to capture their attention.

    Longer Posts Make an Impact

    Unlike Facebook and Twitter where brevity is important, you can actually get away with making quite lengthy posts on Google+. In fact, it’s encouraged. The site supports up to 100,000 characters in a post. Many people are opting to put entire blog posts — or at least lengthy snippets from them — on Google+ and the results are pretty impressive. Engagement goes up considerably, mostly because your followers don’t have to click through to read your content. They can just read it straight within their feeds, comment, and engage. Convenience is key.

    Use Photos

    This is sort of becoming a mantra across all of the social networks but photos stand to make a big impression on G+. They appear quite large on the site and are an effective way to make a statement. There are plenty of free graphics services out there you can use to create custom images for your blog posts and social posts. Or, if you have the skills, you can create your own graphics using Photoshop or Pixelmator.

    Build a Relevant Community

    One of the most important things you can do to make the most of your Google+ presence is to only follow people who are relevant to your industry and niche. This will help to ensure your posts are seen by people who would be most interested in them. And don’t forget to segment your followers into circles, too. This will help you to target your posts more effectively.

    Last Word

    Google is paring down its use of rich snippets but Google+ users shouldn’t notice that much of a difference, especially if they are actively engaged on the network. While it’s probably all just an elaborate push to get more people to use G+ more often, it’s a worthwhile endeavor for the moment. Especially if you want to expand your content’s reach and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

  3. What to Learn from the eBay Google Penalty

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    articleimage355What to Learn from the eBay Google Penalty

    Back in May, eBay was hit was a manual penalty from Google that knocked the site down in the search rankings. At first, the penalty appeared to be automated and a result of the Panda 4.0 rollout. The timing would suggest as much. However, further reporting by Re/code revealed that a manual action was likely the culprit for the rankings drop.

    The Panda updates are designed to boost sites with high quality content and demote those with low-quality or duplicate content. According to Re/code, people following the Panda update noticed that several eBay pages were bumped off the search results shortly after rollout. But the tell-tale sign it was a manual action had to do with what pages were affected. You see, an automatic penalty due to Panda would’ve resulted in all of eBay disappearing from the search results. Instead, just individual pages were wiped, indicating a manual action was to blame.

    But what does all of this mean for you, the regular, everyday site owner? There are several lessons to be learned from the eBay fiasco. Let’s take a look at each in greater detail.

    Big Sites Aren’t Immune to Bad SEO

    articleimage355Big Sites Aren't Immune to Bad SEO

    eBay has been around for how many years now? The specifics don’t matter. Let’s just say it’s been around a long time. And a lot of people would assume that since it’s beenaround for such a long time, it would never run into any problems with its SEO strategy. So, this Google penalty should be one loud, “guess again,” to those who ascribe to that line of thinking.

    It doesn’t matter how big your site is or how well established it is — if you do something that Google views as spammy or low quality, you will get penalized for it eventually.

    I would think most site owners would find that fact comforting. The idea that the big name brands out there have to play by the same rules as everybody else has a stabilizing effect. No one can opt out of the Google Webmaster Guidelines. No one is above it. Not eBay. Not Amazon. Not any number of other big sites out there.

    Gateway or Doorway Pages Are a No-No

    Many of the pages knocked from the rankings had “bhp” in the URL, according to a RefuGeeks report. In fact, 90k of the 120k bumped had this subcategory in their URLs. These URLs aren’t linked to normally within the eBay site structure and instead are only directly accessible through Google search results. These are starting pages made specifically for search engine users.

    Now, there isn’t anything wrong with this on the surface, and it’s certainly not all that shady, but it does seem like eBay did a bit of overkill with this tactic. The pages themselves are very optimized — in totally legit fashion, mind you — and are obviously meant to carry the full weight of the site.

    Someone in the comments on the Refugeeks report notes that Google seems to be ignoring the majority of the “bhp” directory now, “which was really a host for doorway pages.” And another commenter claimed that the pages in this directory are related to an eBay content marketing push to create buying guides with tons of links to “bhp” pages within the content.

    All that being said, you’re probably wondering how this relates to the average site owner who doesn’t have hundreds of thousands of pages to deal with. The answer is quite simple, actually: too much of anything can be bad. Though eBay had a decent strategy here, they tried to do too much too fast with no real control for quality. The content on these pages was okay but certainly not high-quality. And that’s what Google is looking for now. High quality content that is obviously created for readers. Not search engines.

    SEO is Serious Business

    articleimage355SEO is Serious Busines

    According to Search Engine Land, eBay suggested it might have lost around $200 million in revenue thanks to this SEO snafu as of July 2014.

    This juicy tidbit was revealed during an earnings call with Bob Swan, eBay’s chief financial officer. Specifically, he said that eBay was receiving less traffic from Google, which has affected revenue and growth for the auction business. Swan then said that the company is focusing on getting eBay users “reengaged” through the use of “couponing, seller incentives and increased marketing spend…”

    eBay has yet to address specifically what the SEO issue is but, as the analysis compiled above shows, it seems pretty clear at this point. One thing the company does admit is that fixing the SEO issues will take a long time and will likely cost a lot of money.

    Finally, Swan adjusted the eBay’s high end revenue estimate from $18.5 billion to $18.3 billion. Not all of that can be blamed on a drop in SEO traffic, but it seems a good chunk of it can.

    At this point in time, eBay is leaning toward paid search as its method of digging itself out of the SEO hole. But I realize that’s not a viable solution for everyone. If you’re a small company with a relatively small advertising budget, investing in paid search might not work.

    To the average site owner, eBay’s run in with Google should act as a gigantic warning sign. SEO is serious business. Really. It’s not something that can be taken lightly or ignored. It’s essential. And as eBay has swiftly found out, SEO errors can leave you hurting in a major way.

    Now imagine if the same type of penalty had been incurred on a small business? eBay is a huge company with plenty of revenue and other business ventures to keep it afloat, even in times of struggle. But if you’re small, having a Google penalty levied against you could literally mean the downfall of your business. No traffic = no sales. A million times, ouch.

    Moving Forward

    The most important thing you can learn from eBay’s SEO penalty is to use it as an example of what not to do. No, eBay’s SEO problems weren’t all that egregious but that just goes to show how specific and precise your search engine optimization efforts need to be. To avoid an eBay-style debacle, you can:

    • Keep up to date with the latest SEO trends
    • Monitor for new algorithm updates
    • Learn by example • Follow the Google Webmaster Guidelines
    • Focus on building high quality content

    Those takeaways should help to keep your site atop the search engine ranks for the long term.

  4. 10 Reasons to Love the New iOS Google Analytics App

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    iPhone and iPad users have cause for celebration. The Google Analytics app long beloved by Android users finally have access to all of its mobile data goodness. The iOS version was just released and it’s pretty similar to the Android version. In fact, it’s pretty similar to the browser version, which I think is great. There’s virtually no learning curve here, so site owners can dive into data analysis from the moment they download the app.

    So, why should you care? Try on these 10 must-download reasons for size:

    1. Slick Presentation

    articleimage346Slick Presentation

    It certainly doesn’t hurt that the new Google Analytics app actually looks nice. Really nice, in fact. It’s got a sleek design that is totally mobile-optimized. This was intentional. The design is completely in tune with the other Google iOS apps including Google Webmaster Tools and Adwords. It’s everything you love about the web version but optimized for mobile.

    2. Familiar Interface

    articleimage346 Familiar Interface

    Even though Analytics is redesigned with mobile in mind here, it’s also very familiar. That is, people who use the web version day in and day out won’t suddenly feel like a fish out of water. Quite the contrary. Everything is still where it’s always been, in particular the lefthand navigation on reports. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for and just get down to the business of data analysis already!

    3. Mobile Access

    Yes, yes, Android users have been able to access their Google Analytics data on-the-go for two years now but the convenience of access for iOS users can’t be overstated. Now the full-breadth of the mobile user base can access their analytics data from anywhere at anytime. I mean, who hasn’t had the urge to check their site stats late at night while in bed at one time or another? Just me…?

    4. Full Google Analytics Access

    Just because this is a mobile version of Analytics, that doesn’t mean functionality has been scaled back. In fact, everything you’d expect is there. You get the full scope of Google Analytics features and functions on tap. In case you need a reminder, the information you can view includes the number of people who’ve visited your site, traffic sources, page views, conversions, behavior insights, and more.

    5. It’s An All-in-One Solution

    articleimage346 It's An All-in-One Solution

    There are several apps out there that tap into the Google Analytics framework but there’s only one official solution. And it’s also an all-in-one solution. Instead of piecemealing your data from multiple sources, it’s gathered together for you all in one place. Only one app needed. And seriously, anything that lets me streamline the number of apps I need to use each day, is a good value in my book.

    6. Real-Time Data

    The real-time reports are by far the best thing about the iOS app. You can select time frames for your reports or they can be generated in real-time. You can monitor site activity while it’s happening, even if you’re not sitting at your computer, which is pretty neat if you ask me. This way, you know exactly how your site is doing at any given time.

    The overview screen will give you a nice snapshot of how your site is fairing at the moment in a variety of ways. Then you can click through each report to view a more detailed view of these metrics. The reports are presented as different cards that can be clicked. You can add segment filtering, too.

    7. Track a Marketing Event As It Happens

    The real-time data is so good, it had to be featured on our list twice! One of the biggest benefits of real-time reporting is that it allows marketers to watch a site to see the effect of a marketing campaign as it launches. Or you can see the effect of a specific social media post as it goes live. The possibilities are virtually limitless here and that’s the point. Real-time data gives site owners and marketers a greater opportunity to be innovative in their marketing practices since they can see their effect immediately.

    8. It Includes App Data

    The launch of the iOS app comes on the heels of Google’s launch of its mobile Analytics software last month. And of course, these reports are integrated into the app. So, you can easily monitor the progress of your apps as well within the same interface.

    The three key metrics the mobile analytics platform measures are acquisition and user metrics, engagement, and outcome. You can quickly see app views or profiles. In fact, it’s included on the main overview screen that displays the cards for your primary reports.

    9. It’s a Good Back Up Plan

    It’s always a good idea to have an alternative means to access your data. So, even if you’re away from your computer, it crashes, or you don’t have Internet access at the moment for one reason or another, you can get to it via your iPhone over your cell network.

    When you’re a marketer or your run an online business, you need to have access to your data at all times. This app offers the perfect solution. I mean, yeah you could probably load up Analytics in your mobile browser but it would be a royal pain to navigate. Mobile optimization wins all the way here.

    10. Perfect for Meetings and Elevator Pitches

    I think the best reason to love the new iOS Google Analytics app is tied up in its potential. I can best explain this via example, so bear with me:

    Imagine you’re at a conference somewhere. You’re surrounded by fellow industry professionals. You want to make a good impression, of course. And one of the things you’re most proud of is your site stats. You totally rocked it over the past six months and a site that was doing just so-so for its market sector has taken off. Page views are up. Conversions are up. Seriously, all of your charts show an upward trend.

    Now let’s say you run into someone that owns a business that would make a killer partner. We’re talking profit potential out the wazoo here. And while you can talk a good game, it would be a real shame if you have no solid evidence on your hands to prove your success on the conference floor.

    But if you have the Google Analytics app installed on your phone, you can just pull that out, draw up one of your reports and watch your potential partner’s face light up with obvious glee. Or you could show him a real-time report and be even more impressive. How cool would that be?

    Really, if you’re an iOS user and manage websites, there’s no question you need this app. What are you waiting for? Get to downloading!

  5. Is It Possible to Be Hit by Panda and Penguin Simultaneously?

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    Understanding specific aspects of SEO is part and parcel in running an effective and boisterous website. Website content generators need to implement SEO correctly on their websites to avoid taking hits to their traffic statistics. This can be especially difficult when SEO standards are constantly changing. In this article, we’ll take a look at Panda and Penguin SEO algorithms and analyze how they can affect your website’s traffic.

    I’m sure by now, many of you are familiar with these two SEO algorithms that Google rolled out. However, for those of you that aren’t currently familiar with them, the section below will give you a quick overview of these technologies.

    articleimage344 What is Panda

    What is Panda

    Google’s Panda SEO algorithm debuted on February of 2011. The intention of this algorithm was to lower the rank of low quality websites. Writers of mostly great and properly optimized websites were not affected Panda. Panda’s aim was to bolster the ranking of high quality websites. Folks who followed Google’s 23 guidelines for proper Panda SEO implementation benefited greatly from Google’s Panda’s algorithm. Many news and social media websites saw huge gains from Panda.

    However, many people did not fully benefit from Panda. It unfortunately drew the ire of many web content producers as they argued that people who used copywritten material were disproportionately punished in comparison to those who used original content.

    Google’s Panda algorithm is very comprehensive. It affects websites as a whole, rather than just parts of many websites. Panda was written in a way that excludes and punishes over optimized websites. It doesn’t take much to be punished from Panda SEO algorithm. It only takes a few small pages of low quality material to ruin solid websites.

    As of now, it is still supported and updated. Although it doesn’t receive as many updates as it did when it originally came out, it is still updated pretty frequently. Its most recent update was implemented May of 2014.

    articleimage344What is Penguin

    What is Penguin

    Google Penguin was released on April of 2012. It was created to crack down on sites that use ‘black-hat SEO‘ techniques to artificially boost their website rankings. Like Panda above, it aims to reduce the web presence of low quality websites and boost the content of high quality websites. This algorithm was meant to crack down on rabid and infamous website spammers. Legitimate websites were caught in the wave of Penguin’s crossfire. 3.1% of searches in English were affected and about roughly 3% of searches in Chinese, German and Arabic were affected. Highly spam-prone languages were hit even more.

    Anchor Text violations was found to be the culprit of lost rankings for a lot of websites. Doorway pages were also affected. This is because these websites are built to only generate traffic. This goes against Penguin’s rules and algorithm.

    The latest version of Penguin is Penguin 5. This hasn’t been updated since October of 2013. Those who still find sites that violate Penguin’s algorithm can report it to Google via their feedback forum.

    Can Folks be Affected by Both Panda and Penguin Algorithms?

    How do you as a web content writer avoid being destroyed by Panda and Penguin algorithms? The most essential way to avoid being caught in the crosshairs of Panda and Penguin is to create great and original content. Great content that is properly tagged and not overly optimized will thrive on the web. Content that is stuffed with keywords, artificially promoted and spammy will be rightfully rooted out by Panda and Penguin. As long as you avoid these pitfalls, you can avoid creating web content that is penalized by Google’s algorithms. For users that have already been ravaged by both Panda and Penguin, please implement the tips below to salvage your website.

    Avoid Keyword Misuse within your Website

    We have already advised against keyword stuffing earlier in the article, but I think this concept bares repeating. You need to be absolutely sure that you are using keywords, meta tags, header tags, hyperlinks and URLs properly. Adding to many of these things in each of your posts can be deadly to your website traffic. Misuse of keywords is very easy for Panda and Penguin algorithms to screen, so be sure to tread lightly.

    articleimage344 checkyourgoogleanalytic

    Check Your Google Analytics

    First and for most, users should check their Google Analytics. If your website has been established and you have noticed a dip in your web traffic, it may be because you have violated Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms. Be sure to check your Google Analytics to note the trends in your website’s traffic. If your websites have been thriving before the updates but are flailing now, you might have to clean up your content to align to Google’s standards. Be sure to follow Panda’s 23 guidelines towards creating good SEO optimized content. Make sure that you delete spammers and unoriginal content. If you website is still relatively new to the internet, but isn’t picking up traffic wise, you may need refer back to Google’s guidelines and remake your content so that it conforms to Google’s standards.

    Check Your Google Webmaster Tools

    Be sure to set up Google Webmaster Tools if you have done so already. Check the Google Webmaster Tools for your website. Google Webmaster Tools can give you feel for how people are accessing and clicking on your data and content. If you notice a steep decrease in clicks and access to your content via impressions, it may be because your website may have been affected by Panda and Penguin stringent SEO standards.

    Avoid Overdoing Anchor Text

    Although Panda and Penguin have cracked down on the overuse of Anchor Text, you can still use exact match or phrase Anchor Text within the content of you website. You just have to be careful to make sure that you are not over-utilizing Anchor Text. There are many resources available on the web to learn how to tune up your Anchor Text so that you can avoid misusing it. Sites like Search Engine Journal can provide ample tips on properly implementing Anchor Text.

    Check Your Website Structure and Links

    A lot of SEO blunders can be avoided by making sure that your websites structure and links are clean and fluid. You can use websites like ‘Link Detective’ to check your website’s backlinks. You also use the tools that are built into Google Webmaster tools and Screaming Frog to clean up problematic links and crawling problems. Ensure you are getting great backlinks from a variety of different sites and domains. Quality backlinks are key to directing a lot of traffic to your websites.


    Understanding many aspects of SEO is a key part of running a great website and promoting your content. Website content generators need to implement SEO correctly to avoid taking hits to their web traffic. In short, in order to avoid being hit by Panda and Penguin, you need to be sure that you are posting quality content that is properly structured, linked and free of spam and duplicated content. You also need to keep your website structure clean, consistent and free of errors. You can use many resources on the internet to help you in maintain your website and stay in accordance to Panda and Penguin SEO guidelines.

  6. Google Frowns Upon Flash Mobile Websites

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    As the number of people accessing the Internet from mobile devices continues to increase, finding an alternative to Flash animation and video is essential for every website administrator. Mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android phones don’t support the Flash video framework, so Google ranks mobile sites with heavy Flash content lower than sites using Flash alternatives, such as HTML5 and its graphical Canvas library. Web programmers have long used Flash for online games and video players, but with HTML5 gaining momentum, Flash development is most likely on its way out.

    articleimage339Getting Higher Google Rankings With Better Mobile Websites

    Getting Higher Google Rankings With Better Mobile Websites

    It makes sense for Google to penalize mobile websites for relying heavily on Flash content since very few devices can access this content. Not only do the iPhone and iPad lack Flash support, but most Android devices are incompatible with Flash, and Windows mobile devices natively support HTML5 as part of the Windows Metro interface. Google is simply making a rational decision to rank mobile Flash websites lower than HTML5 sites. While it can be a major undertaking to rebuild an entire mobile website using HTML5, the benefits of doing so speak for themselves. After all, most users won’t be able to access a mobile flash site unless they navigate there from a desktop or laptop computer, which hardly anyone ever does.

    When you switch to HTML5 from Flash, you provide a wide range of benefits to users visiting your site from mobile devices. Your site will be natively supported by the core libraries of most mobile devices running all the modern operating systems, including Ubuntu, Firefox, iOS, Android and Windows. Flash only provides a graphical library for streaming content, displaying advertisements, drawing vector graphics, hosting online games and building rich Internet applications. Adobe has been moving away from developing Flash for several years, and in 2011, they stopped supporting Flash updates for mobile devices. In their place, Adobe began developing HTML5 libraries for mobile websites and devices because this format is what most users demanded.

    articleimage339The Benefits of Using HTML5 Instead of Flash

    The Benefits of Using HTML5 Instead of Flash

    The difference between Flash and HTML5 is that HTML5 can perform all the tasks that Flash can perform, but HTML5 provides several other integrated services. Additionally, HTML5 is already built into the Web because it’s the latest version of the ubiquitous Hypertext Markup Language. In addition to Canvas Drawing, it supports several widely used programming libraries, such as GeoLocation, Offline Web Storage and CSS3. With Flash, you must build your website using HTML5 anyway, then integrate Flash into it using JavaScript code. The programming is prone to bugs and is much more cumbersome than the simple, clean HTML5 Canvas programming that all the highest-ranked mobile sites have adopted.

    Since mobile devices have interruptions in network connectivity, Flash tends to provide a disjointed user experience due to dropped connections and video buffering. HTML5 solves this problem by implementing the Offline Web Storage API, which caches content on a user’s device so that a mobile site can continue to provide content when a connection is dropped. Google is acting in its own self-interest by filtering out Flash-based mobile sites because they will either crash the user’s mobile browser or simply fail to load at all. If Google ranks these sites equally with HTML5 sites, their ad revenue will drop as users enter mobile domains directly into browser address bars or find a search alternative.

    Graphics and Video Without Flash

    While support is still in the early stages, well-known Flash-based sites such as YouTube and Vimeo are gradually adopting HTML5 video streaming as an alternative to the now-outdated Flash framework. It doesn’t really make sense to embed Flash video on a mobile Web page anyway since device screens are too small to navigate such a page. Mobile sites ordinarily play video in full screen mode in a separate window, and mobile sites with video content can use alternative programming libraries to embed video. As for graphics, games, advertisements, animations and page transitions, HTML5 more than makes up for its rudimentary support for streaming video. With CSS3, Web administrators can make use of some of the newest technology on the Internet, in terms of smooth, seamless mobile Web animations and graphics.

    Does Google Have a Hidden Agenda Regarding Mobile Flash Sites?

    It’s hard to answer this question without speculating on Google’s motivation for ranking Flash sites lower than HTML5 sites. Google and Adobe have cooperated on their respective roles in developing the Internet as we know it today. Of course, Google is not only interested in providing the best search results, but they want their Android customers to have the best mobile Web experience possible as well. When it comes to search results, however, they have to take into consideration the millions of iPhones and iPads searching for mobile websites on Add to that number the portion of mobile devices comprised of Windows users, and Google’s behavior is not hard to understand.

    Windows phones use Bing as their default search engine, and users must manually choose Google from the browser settings to perform a Google search. Apple, of course, has no search engine competing with Google and Bing, but Apple Maps has made much progress since its notorious debut in which it impressed users with its shocking mistakes and lack of functionality. Neither of these services use Flash to provide graphics, and mobile users frequently rely on Google Maps, and to a lesser extent, Apple Maps. Flash-based mobile sites that try to deliver such Google services will have a hard time reaching their target audiences unless it’s through a search engine other than Google.

    articleimage339 How to Convert a Mobile Flash Site to HTML5

    How to Convert a Mobile Flash Site to HTML5

    Switching from Flash to the Google-friendly HTML5 is simply a matter of porting your website’s code to the new framework. The task can be quite time-consuming and challenging, but both languages are fairly simple for programmers to implement. The good news is that converting a Flash site to HTML5 gives website administrators a great opportunity to fine-tune their websites for their mobile audiences. Programming libraries such as the GeoLocation API and Offline Web Storage can turn a buggy, disjointed mobile website into a slick, modern user experience. Probably the most important improvement will be the local caching feature built into HTML5. Not only will your website benefit from a higher Google page ranking, but your site visitors will use the site more often, stay on it longer and enjoy it more because it will provide a far smoother user experience. If your site provides location-based services, HTML5 natively supports the GeoLocation library, which can make suggestions and recommendations based on your visitor’s location.

    Google is only going to continue punishing mobile websites for using Flash, and website owners are only hurting themselves by holding onto a framework that is becoming obsolete. Only a small number of mobile users with devices built between 2009 and 2011 can access mobile Flash content, and in a few years, no one will be able to play Flash games, view Flash graphics or stream Flash video on their phones and tablets.

  7. When Will Google Start Considering Likes for SEO?

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    In the last few years, social media signals have been having an increasingly strong influence over search engine optimization factors, and this trend is likely to continue as Google and other search engines look for more ways to verify the credibility of a particular site or brand online. To a certain extent, optimizers have more trouble manipulating social media signals than they might have manipulating other off-page SEO techniques involving backlinking.

    articleimage329The current impact of Facebook likes

    The current impact of Facebook likes

    Online marketers tend to give conflicting opinions on whether specific social media signals such as Facebook likes influence search engine rankings. Yet repeated experiments among marketers seem to indicate that- while a site that ranks well is likely to have accumulated a great deal of Facebook likes- the link between Facebook likes and organic search engine rankings is due to mere correlation rather than causation.

    articleimage329According to Google

    According to Google

    In fact, statements from Matt Cutts seem to verify the lack of causality between Facebook likes and organic rank. Earlier this year, the prominent Google engineer was quoted as saying that Google will not EVER directly use social media actions like Facebook likes to rank websites. Cutts alluded to previous attempts at incorporating this data into organic search, reflecting that it was too complicated and difficult to work into the Google algorithm and the Google SERPs.

    Despite Cutts’ seeming confidence on the issue, search engine marketers know better than to take Google’s statements to the search community as the Gospel truth. Even Cutts’ remarks seem to leave open the possibility that Google would directly incorporate social media signals like Facebook likes if methods of doing so that were more practical and feasible were to be developed.

    articleimage329 The benefits and drawbacks of Facebook like data

    The benefits and drawbacks of Facebook like data

    Google and other search engines might benefit from making their algorithms capable of taking such social media factors into account. Looking to a website’s Facebook likes might help validate the authority and popularity of a site.

    Yet Google is no doubt aware of the vibrant market for social media services flourishing on websites such as Fiverr that makes it fairly simple for a website owner to rack up thousands of likes in no time. If Google were to allow Facebook likes to influence organic rank, it would perhaps be necessary to filter out the impact of phony likes from inactive or fake Facebook accounts. Cutts statements and the existence of methods for manipulating some social media signals shed some light on the apparent complications inherent in the task of using social media signals as search engine algorithm data.

    Social media and personalization of search

    One aspect of search that has been growing in significance in recent years and could possibly rely heavily on social media signals as it develops further is personalization of search. Google has already apparently been using Google+ activity to influence search results.

    For example, if a Google+ user runs a search, any +1s from that user’s contacts my influence the organic search results that he or she sees. Likewise, Bing has reportedly used Facebook activity in a similar way in search results. It is quite possible that- if Google were to begin incorporating like data into organic results- it would be done to personalize search rather than boost a site’s ranking overall.

    Leaving optimizers guessing

    When will Google start considering likes for SEO? Possibly, Google will never opt to exert the effort required to develop a method for using like data in ranking sites. If it ever happens, it will happen when Google both determines that it’s worthwhile to do so and develops techniques that make it practicable to do so.

    Perhaps algorithm engineers at Google will become capable of reliably analyzing such information for practical application in the coming years. However, it seems unlikely that the search engine would do so before developing a method of ignoring fake likes or even perhaps penalizing sites that have attempted to boost their online influence with fake likes.

    Unfortunately, those who work in the search industry can only ever rely on speculation and experiment when it comes to drawing conclusions about how Google’s algorithm works. It’s clear that likes are currently not directly influencing rank, but this could potentially change at any moment. One thing is certain: As soon as optimizers see that Facebook likes are impacting site ranking, webmasters and optimizers will immediately begin scurrying to rack up Facebook likes and analyze how they can use likes to catapult their sites to page one ASAP.

    Social media indicators that currently have an impact

    For now, an optimizer’s best bet is to stick with the tried and true factors for promoting websites in organic rankings via social media. Although likes are clearly not directly causing sites to rank well, there are some social media factors that many optimizers think are directly helping. Any efforts to boost social media exposure of a website will lead to increased page likes, so webmasters who focus on social media factors that will currently help them out will be prepared if Google ever does begin incorporating like data.

    The following are some social media signals that are widely recognized as directly influencing organic search rank:

    • Link building with social shares- Social media can help generate links to a site in a variety of ways. A particularly effective way of generating links through social media is creating a viral piece of content that gets shared among many different site members.
    • Sharing content- Social media is an important part of a website’s content marketing strategy and can provide additional platforms for disseminating content that will hopefully increase awareness of a site’s brand and products.
    • Connecting with the online audience- Every social media profile a business creates adds an additional channel of communication between the company and prospective clients. Some consumers do a lot of research and shopping using a particular social media platform like Facebook or Twitter, and website owners will reach such consumers much more effectively by being present on that particular platform.


    Regardless of Google’s attitude towards Facebook likes, likes are and will remain important figures that indicate a page’s popularity and- to some extent- influence. Even if likes don’t boost your ratings, they do lend a certain authority to your site among visitors, and you enjoy free publicity every time a Facebook user likes your page. Website owners need to engage in efforts to boost their like count even if it won’t directly impact organic search results.

    As off-page SEO strategies, social media tactics remain significant. While it is still uncertain whether or not Google will ever begin to directly incorporate likes into organic results, it is highly probable that likes and similar social media signals from Google+ will exercise a growing influence on personalized search results.

    While Google has stated that it will never look to Facebook like as direct factors in determining search engine rankings, the unpredictable and rapidly changing nature of the world of search engine optimization makes it difficult for any absolutes to hold true for long when Google is adjusting its algorithm hundreds of times per year.


  8. Recover Website Rankings after Your Penalty Is Lifted

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    Google lifting a manual penalty is often a cause for excitement but don’t let a false hope of a rapid traffic rise set in. An instant increase in traffic is a rare event. If you’ve read other articles on this issue you may have realized that you’ve got your work cut out for you by now. Use the following information as your road-map to get your traffic back. The information within this guide is based on the assumption that you have access to the Google Analytics data of the website in question as well as access to Google Webmaster Tools.

    articleimage252 Lower Your Bounce Rate

    Lower Your Bounce Rate

    High bounce rates impact search engine ranking adversely so this is the first issue you want to take a look at. It’s an important element in ranking because the bounce rate is a key indicator of relevancy. Make sure that all the pages on the affected website are relevant to the keywords associated with the high bounce rate. If they’re not related, you need to delete the entire page and create a more relevant webpage that will deliver the content searchers are using that keyword to discover content with.

    articleimage252 Disavow Bad And Spammy URLs

    Disavow Bad And Spammy URLs

    Disavow all links associated with the entire spammy domain you suspect may be harming your place in Google Search. There is an easy way to find the links that need to go. Get rid of URLs that have absolutely no relevancy to the content on the afflicted website. For example, if 90% of the affected website’s content covers the topic of “dogs” and you see off topic URLs linking to websites that have nothing to do with the subject of dogs, disavow them.

    Reform Your Link Building Standards

    Getting links with authority to your website is just half of the battle now. Sufferers of manual penalties must focus on relevancy, which means you don’t only want authoritative websites linking to your website, you want relevant and authoritative links associated with your website. If your rankings were based on spammy tactics, and you’ve disavowed these links, recovering after the penalty will require legitimate links to take you back to the position where you were before. There’s no other way around this issue. It needs to be addressed.

    Identify if You Have The Resources to Remove Links You Did Not Create

    As for disavowing the spammy links you did not create, experts conclude attempting to remove these will now help you recover. Why? Because depending on the size of your website, you might not have the staff hours to carry out this task — this is especially true of websites with more than 30 pages of content. You’re going to have to decide if the added work is worth the effort or not. Before you completely abandon a once profitable website, investing the time to clean up links you didn’t create might be worthwhile.

    Steer Clear of Sponsored Link Sources

    Note that Google is well aware of link building through paid post opportunities. Be safe and just steer clear of these as you try to recover. Avoid sponsoring posts on websites that include the word “sponsor” at all costs. You’ll just waste your money on content production and hurt your efforts to recover at the same time.

    articleimage252 ncrease Your Website's Speed

    Increase Your Website’s Speed

    Perform a website speed test on your website. A good test to use can be found at Pingdom because it will give you tips on what you should do to increase your website’s speed. Caching your website’s pages will help reduce your server’s strain. Use a flexible caching mechanism if your website’s content changes a lot to control how often the site’s content is cached.

    Check Which Pages Are Indexed

    Check the title of your pages for those that are ranking well. Consider lightening your site’s duplicate content, especially if these are appearing on pages 3 or 4. Experiment and watch for positive results. Some of your deeper pages may be causing you more harm than good. The ideal solution will be visible when you start ranking for the specific search queries your pages are targeting. This is a strategy you’ll need to test as you go for optimal results.

    Consider Consolidating Content

    Ideally, all content associated with your domain should not be presented to users as tiny isolated islands. You will gain better ranking by having all of the content under one domain in sub-folders. It isn’t a leap in logic to believe that Google frowns on islands of content. This method of getting content on the web may create an impression that you’re spamming the Internet with content, even if that is not your intention.

    Migrate to Responsive Website Design Migration

    After a penalty is lifted, a good opportunity presents itself to consider how you are displaying content to users. Google cares about your website’s information structure and accessibility. Is your website mobile friendly yet? It should be.

    Use Page Sculpting With Care

    Page sculpting is dangerous. Google can see your footer, header, and content areas of your website. So consider where your links are going and if it will make sense to Google. Is your link structure logical, or was it designed to just get traffic? Now is the time to review how you present content and look for opportunities to enhance the user’s experience.

    Visit The Google Webmaster Forums

    Reach out to other professionals who can easily show you what you’ve done wrong. No man is an island, as they say, so collaboration with others can help speed up your website’s ranking recovery time.

    Update Your Post and Page Content

    Real websites feature content that can naturally change. Consider communicating these changes to users to increase transparency and add credibility to your website’s content.For example, include words such as “Updated on” x, y, or z date when you update page and post content. If pages have expired, don’t hesitate to incorporate the word, “Expired” on the page.

    Don’t Be a Spin Doctor

    Boiler room content won’t help you recover after a penalty is lifted. Hire writers who understand your website’s content, purpose, and subject matter. Make sure that your writers write in their own voice, too.

    Delay Your RSS Feed

    Make sure that you’re website’s content is the first on the web before you syndicate. Give your original content time to age before releasing it to the public. You don’t want to look like you’re pretending to be an original writer. Take any steps you can to avoid putting yourself in a situation where your content’s originality is called into question.

    How Long Will Recovery Take?

    There’s no concrete way to know how long it will take for you to recover after a manual penalty is lifted. Enterprise level sites can able to recover faster than smaller websites, simply because of the sheer volume of positive signals that come from larger websites. The amount of time it will take to recover will ultimately depend on the number of positive signals your site is sending to Google.

  9. 3 of the Best Alternatives to Google Analytics

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    Google Analytics tools are the most robust of all website analytics tools on the Internet. Simple to deploy and easy to use, the number one website analytics platform offers volume features for marketing analysis. The Google Analytics platform generates reports about website front-page performance. Since Google introduced Penguin penalties, Analytics has been criticized for its algorithmic bias.

    Goals and Content are the two main categories of metric reporting offered in Google Analytics. Metric ranking of goal conversions is about 3 percent monthly for most websites reported on Google. If a website is under-performing in conversion rankings, content or transaction process adjustments can be made to transform visitor conversion and sales performance results. Mobile has been the big shift. The Google mobile app is now responsible for over half of all conversions tracked by the tool.

    In spite of all of the hype about Google Analytics performance capabilities, the platform that brought use AdWords does not provide the best data reporting for manipulation of traffic statistics in concert with external reporting. New entrants in website metrics reporting offer users better features and tools than Google.

    The 3 of the Best Alternatives to Google Analytics


    1. Chartbeat

    Content engagement analytics from Chartbeat assist marketing professionals in controlling the quality of content. Real-time tracking of web assets in Chartbeat offers insights into audience-behavior online. Aggregate reporting on content categories informs users about who is reading what and why. Track content hits to analyze what if making audiences grow. Audience metrics in Chartbeat offer website owners a range of key metrics for monitoring visitor activity prior to, during and post clicking on a website.

    Loyal followers of content can be tracked in Chartbeat to record proportional recirculation of visitors to the same article in more than one visit. Time of engagement is also availed in metric tracking of website traffic on Chartbeat. For optimum content-based acquisition and retention of visitors to a site, the quality angle of metric reporting on the analytics platform offers better than average reporting on referrer conversion as well.

    Charbeat video analytics assist website owners in the integration of multi-media formats as part of website content. Play rate and length of audience viewing can be measured in comparison with other video collateral in an online repository.

    Personalized dashboards assigned users on Chartbeat enable customization of charting and management of analytics features. The dashboard features offer users the option of narrowing content tracking to types of publication. Distinct aspects of written or visual material, as well as social media activity can be designated for content analysis.

    The advanced analytics platform provides users full customer support with individual on-site training. Instructions for use are available in the Chartbeat Getting Started guide.
    Price: $9.95 per month. Up to 5 domains or subdomains are available on a single subscription. Chartbase offers a 30 day free trial.

    articleimage251 Clicky

    2. Clicky

    Real-time Clicky metrics in up-to-the-minute analytics reports require access to any Web browser or mobile device. The Clicky app full control of audience analytics is distinguishes the tool from Google Analytics. Google requires days to report on the same instances that Clicky analyzes in a second. The app tracks individual users from computer IP addresses, Internet service provider (ISP) or Web browser, as well as referrers.

    Operating systems tracking of activity in Clicky is fairly invasive. Yet, the type of record that Clicky provides is still legal, so users have deeper insight than with other analytics tools. Clicky reporting includes actions taken during a visit, length of session, and data associated with login ID usernames and email addresses. Beware of picking up bitcoin transaction records. Clicky is more apt than one would expect.

    Heat mapping provides a visual overview of website traffic intensity. Frequency of clicks is recorded in graphical illustration; showing detailed information about the location of audiences, pages clicked on, and referrals.

    Alerts in Clicky notify users of specific events. Event analysis alerts users to performance of a website in relation to goals, campaigns, IP tags, new visitors, searches, referrers, and custom data coded according to user preference. The Clicky alert system forwards notices to the mobile app, or to personal email account, desktop pop-up, or Twitter.

    The Clicky mobile app makes the platform more user-friendly than some of the other alternatives to Google Analytics. The app also generates mobile-centric hardware reporting on device and smartphone usage. Compatible with iOS devices not supporting Flash, Clicky is a strong contender against Google.

    Price: Pro Plus is $9.99 per month. Standard Clicky is a free website interface, limited to a total of 3,000 page views per day.


    3. KISSMetrics

    KISSMetrics analytics target e-commerce vitals. Metric monitoring of customer immersion during visit to a website is key to understanding the factors contributing conversion. The KISSMetrics analytics platform generates the data required for small businesses to attain competitive advantage.

    Trend analysis of historical data reported by KISSMetric in provides e-commerce website owners with the type of information they want to know about customer decision making. The entire historical record for a visit to a website is available to users. Google Analytics does not retain a comprehensive record of site visits and subsequent actions taken after.

    Cross-portability in KISSMetrics traffic reporting enables users to profile visitors to establish a basis for creating alternate codes with the data output. The universal tracking capabilities of KISSMetrics makes it possible to monitor visitors into the future, regardless of which device they are using to interact, shop or communicate.

    The optimal consumer segmentation features offered in KISSMetrics allows an e-Commerce enterprise to individuate among aggregate reporting statistics. Data stored on KISSMetrics cloud is available at any time. Regardless of last time of login, the analytics platform will track the same visitor across channels of engagement.

    KISSMetrics is perfect for e-commerce retailers. Product viewing is tracked at each juncture in a search or browse. Sorting of data on product actions such as adding to a shopping cart or wish list is recorded in process.

    Similarly, account registration actions are reported to have knowledge of how far the customer or would be customer progressed toward final point-of-sale. If a sale is abandoned midstream, KISSMetrics will capture those incremental steps leading up to the dropped purchase.

    Those visitors converted to customers by completing POS on a retailer’s e-Commerce website, may be analyzed into the future for retention strategies. Knowledge of who, what, where, and why a customer purchased on an e-Commerce site provides important clues about consumer behavior, and the path to POS.

    With KISSMetrics analytics data can be transformed into return on investment. Revenue analytics retain data on high-revenue customers for analysis of POS values and application to other operations such as marketing and sales strategies. KISSMetrics users have access to the referral revenue feature, reporting on each interaction. e-commerce website owners can track sources leading to sales income. Drivers to customer decision, and total revenue per referral conversion, makes KISSMetrics unbeatable in terms of accountability for sales.

    Price: $150 per month. Subscription to KISSMetrics provides users up to 500,000 events or 50,000 visitors, monthly. KISSMetrics analytics accounts are a commitment of one year. Those wishing to test KISSMetrics asset creating analytics, may request a no obligation, 14 day trial free.

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-The AudienceBloom Team