Google Launches New Tool That Grades A Site’s SEO Implementation

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Google has launched a new tool that measures many aspects of a website, including how well it follows SEO best practices.

The new tool is currently in open beta and available at web.dev.

Web.dev is designed to help developers and site owners apply modern web capabilities by providing analysis and recommendations.

Google says this tool is the culmination of 10+ years learning about user needs.

In an effort to help site owners provide the best possible experience for users, web.dev has audits for SEO, performance, accessibility, and more.

The tool looks for: – Read More

How to Optimize Your Website for Voice Search

My Post502.jpgThe number of spoken web searches is growing by leaps and bounds. Recent data from Google shows that about one in five searches are voice-driven.

Come 2020, as many as 50% of searches will be conducted via voice, a ComScore study predicts. Naturally, then, your site should be optimized for voice search. These five tips can help make it so.

1. Improve Your Page Load Speed. Google gives special priority in voice searches to sites that load quickly, so make sure your site’s download speed is fast. A service like developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ can help with load time insights and improvement.

2. Answer Questions With Content. Voice searches often come in the form of natural language questions. That means it’s important to populate your site with info that answers key questions prospects might ask in searching for the products and services you provide. Online services like AnswerThePublic.com can help you develop insights into natural phrases people might use in asking questions related to your business. Also helpful: Google Analytics can reveal keywords people use to locate you online. – Read More

3 Big Reasons Why You Must Audit Your Internal Links

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Link acquisition has been all the rage in SEO for as long as most of us can remember.

What is interesting is the lack of attention paid to internal linking vs. inbound linking.

Yes, inbound links are important for driving referrals and portraying brand and domain authority to search engines.

But your internal links serve three fundamental functions on your website.

Let’s dig into these three areas.

Read on to learn how to understand, optimize, and manage your website internal linking structure.

1. Internal Links Portray Page Importance to Search Engines

A healthy exercise for any organization is to sit down and list the role of the website.

Answer these two important questions:

  • What do you want each user to do when they visit?
  • What is most important about your site?

The answers will vary, but may sometimes be identical.

For example, we want every user to see what products and services we provide.

We also feel that this is our most valuable content. That for which is most important to us should also be of SEO focus as well considering that we want this content to rank well. – Read more

 

5 Tips for Better Website Navigation

My Post405.jpgAs a business, your website should be informative, and the key to a seamless user experience lies in the navigation.

Any time a user visits a website, they want and expect all content to be clear and concise. Your navigation is the map—and therefore digital portal—between the visitor and what you have to offer.

According to Silverback Strategies, “A key step to staying ahead of competitors is ensuring that your company makes a great first impression, and your website is often the first encounter consumers have with your brand.” Unfortunately, not everyone puts the right amount of time and effort into crafting a navigation that works. With that in mind, these seven tips will help you create a better website navigation that users will appreciate and understand.

1) Plan Your Navigation Early

It’s not uncommon to be eager when creating a website and to simply start adding pages in your website host dashboard. However, this can easily lead to an ill-planned navigation menu, and you can do much better by prepping your pages ahead of time. When you prepare your navigation menu ahead of time, this is called a “sitemap”—and just as it sounds, it’s a map of your website. There are several ways you can do this. Start off by drafting a map via pen and paper to help get your ideas out. Then, begin creating it in something as simple as a Google doc – Read more

Recovering SEO traffic and rankings after a website redesign

My Post142.jpgAfter a review to confirm a drop in traffic, there are some typical problems (like redirects, missing pages and protocol and domain issues) that can be fixed to get your SEO back on track.

When building a new website, retaining and improving your SEO and organic traffic should be a key design goal. This requires a clear understanding of how SEO and website design work together and careful planning for the site migration. If everything is done correctly, you should retain (and improve) rankings and traffic.

Unfortunately, in the real world, this is often not what happens. The site launches. Organic traffic tanks. And then panic sets in. Unfortunately, I get a call like this every week. Most often from small business owners where the loss of organic traffic means that leads or sales slow down and put the business at risk.

It is important to realize that all is not lost and in the majority of cases, there are a few usual suspects to blame for the loss of traffic. In this article, I cover how to diagnose and recover traffic and rankings when a website design goes wrong.

Step 1 – Gathering Information
We don’t need a lot here but in an ideal world we would want the following:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Date of launch
  • Website URL
  • Historic or alternative URLs
  • Historic keyword rankings (if available)

Step 2 – Confirmation Read More

Can you trust website design best practices?

My Post131.jpgYou have to test every proposed change to your website to see what actually works for your business and your audience. Without good testing, your website is just a collection of guesses.

If you want advice on how to design your website, you don’t have to look very far. There are countless articles out there with “best practices” and even more case studies where someone made a specific change to their website and produced incredible results.

The assumption is that if it works for someone else, it should work for you, too.

While there’s nothing wrong with trying these recommendations, not every business will get the same results from the same tactics. In some cases, a tweak that changes someone else’s website for the better could actually hurt your site’s performance.

To avoid this sort of problem, you can’t just change your site on blind faith. You have to test every proposed change and see what works for your business, your audience and your site. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at a few tests we’ve run at Disruptive Advertising that yielded counter-intuitive results.

1. To stick or not to stick?

Most web designers encourage the use of sticky nav bars. Their logic isn’t bad, either. Your navigation bar makes it easy for people to get around your site, so if the nav bar is always easily accessible, people won’t get frustrated.

As a bonus, you can use your navigation bar to guide people towards the most important pages on your site, so they should be more likely to convert with a sticky nav bar, right?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way.

One major site we work with wanted to add a sticky navigation bar in the hopes of increasing their conversion rate. But when we tested adding the bar to the site, it cut their lead volume by two-thirds!

As we eventually discovered, this client’s customers placed a high priority on screen spaceespecially on mobile. The nav bar reduced screen space, so it actually caused frustration rather than reducing it.

2. Is your value proposition worthless?

When it comes to web design, conventional wisdom states that you should make your value proposition immediately obvious — above the fold, if possible. After all, you don’t want people to come to your site and then leave because they don’t know what makes your business special.

That sounds good in theory, but “conventional wisdom” doesn’t necessarily mean “universally applicable wisdom.”

For example, during another test on the site in the previous section, the client wanted to place various relevant awards that they had received near the top of the page. These awards were proof that the company was dependable and skilled – which was a key part of the client’s value proposition – so everyone thought that putting the awards front and center would increase conversions.

However, just like the sticky nav bar, this logical tweak actually dropped the client’s conversion rate. It wasn’t a small drop, either. Including the awards reduced form submissions by almost 20 percent. – Read More

How to help today’s impatient customers on every step of the purchase journey

My Post112.jpgWhen it comes to spending time, everyone wants to spend it wisely.

More than ever, people are applying that mantra to how they shop as they look for more ways to get what they want immediately.

We’re seeing this as mobile searches for “open” + “now” + “near me” have grown by over 200% in the last two years (for example, “stores open near me right now” and “pharmacy open near me right now”). But “right now” isn’t just about a purchase. It applies to finding information right before the sale and customer service afterward.

This consumer impatience across the entire purchase journey (whatever shape it might take) provides marketers with new opportunities. But the reality is some brands aren’t always keeping up.

While over 60% of people expect brands to “provide consumers with information they need when they need it,” less than half of them feel that brands are delivering.

Marketers can close this gap between consumer expectations and reality. Brands and businesses that are ready to help in the moment will build trust, be appreciated, and earn the sale.

Find out what people want

The first step is recognizing the kind of assistance people are seeking and when. While it may not be a crystal ball, search data can shed light on how consumers expect brands to assist them before, during, and after a purchase.

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  • Product availability. “Can I/to buy” + “near me” mobile searches have grown over 6X in the last two years. For example: “where can i buy stamps near me,” “places to buy scrubs near me,” and “where to buy vinyl records near me.”
  • Status updates. Over the past two years, mobile searches for “track” + “package” have grown by over 120%. For example: “track my package” and “track a package.”
  • Instant customer service. “24/7” + “customer service” mobile searches have grown over 400% in the last two years. For example: “at&t customer service phone number 24/7,” “playstation customer service 24/7,” “usaa customer service 24/7,” and “wells fargo customer service number 24/7.”

This sort of data allows marketers to anticipate when and where they can be most helpful to people.

You might not be able to offer assistance for every single person’s request. After all, there’s not much you can do if weather or logistics interrupts shipping. But you can be there with an explanation. – Read more

How to improve your website’s indexation

My Post14.jpgGoogle’s vast database contains information from over 130 trillion individual pages and, when a user types something into the search engine, a search algorithm parses through this enormous wealth of knowledge to deliver results it thinks are relevant to that particular search.

This database is referred to as an ‘index’. You want your website and its pages to be included in this index, simply because, once they are, you can start jostling for the top spot in the all-important search results. This will help you establish yourself in your particular sector, attract traffic and, hopefully, convert visitors into customers.

Crawling vs indexing
Google indexes your site through a method called ‘crawling’ – this is where bots or spiders trawl through the pages on your website and rank them in the index depending on how useful, relevant and valuable they are to search engine users. These spiders are always searching for new, updated content, but, if your site has lots of new pages, they could take time to find, meaning there is a delay in terms of how visible you are in the search results. You need to ensure your site is indexed as soon as possible – according to Neil Patel, only 5.7% of new pages make it on to the first page of the SERPs within a year of publication.

Is my website already indexed?
Unless your website is very new, it’s likely that it will be indexed. However, there’s still probably plenty of room for improvement. In this blog, we’ll take you a number of ways in which you can improve your website’s indexation.

4 indexation best practices
1. Install Google Analytics & Search Console
You may already have these tools installed, but if not, it’s vital that you add them to your repertoire. If you don’t, you’re effectively blind to how Google indexes your site. Google Analytics records visits to your website and gives you insight into visitor habits, such as how long they spend on your site and which pages they tend to look at. Google Search Console, which was previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, lets you see when your website was last crawled. It also alerts you to any issues with indexing, or security problems. For help with getting these set up, you can consult LunaMetrics’ helpful guide.

2. Create and submit a sitemap
Create a sitemap using a free plugin such as Google XML Sitemaps and submit it to Google Search Console to tell the search engine how often it should crawl your site. Now that you’ve created a sitemap, you’ll need to submit it to Search Console. After you’ve done this, you can also use the Index Coverage Status report in Search Console to find out which pages have been indexed and how you can fix those that haven’t.

3. Be proactive
There are a number of SEO best practices you can use to get Google to index your site faster. These include on-site improvements, such as creating links pointing to your new pages and regularly blogging, as well as off-site improvements: earning inbound links and sharing on social media. You can find out about more indexation best practices here, or consult SEO professionals.

4. Mobile-first indexing
Mobile-first indexing has been rolled out by Google this year and reflects the increasing likelihood that visitors will be using their smartphone – rather than their desktop – to access your site. ‘Mobile-first’ refers to Google considering the mobile version as the primary version of your site. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, the desktop experience can still be included in the index, but it’s likely that you’ll fall behind competitors who do cater for those using mobiles.
Although it’s still in its early stages, ‘mobile-first’ represents a shift in the way Google treats your site. If your site is responsive anyway, it’s likely that you won’t have to change anything for now, but you should ensure that visitors’ mobile experience is optimised, with quick page load times and easy navigation. There should also be consistency between the mobile and desktop versions of your site.

Common mistakes that lead to no-index
If some of your pages aren’t being indexed by Google, there’ll usually be a reason for it. Here are a few common mistakes that can lead to no index: – Read more

Website redesign mistakes that destroy SEO

My Post7.jpgTo keep up with user preferences, you have to redesign your website now and then. Learn how to avoid the most common pitfalls when you do.

Redesigning a website, whether it’s your own or a client’s, is an essential part of marketing today. It’s essential because technology, trends, and the expectations of users change over time, and if we want to remain competitive, we must keep pace with these changes.

But this task, while essential, also presents certain risks from an SEO perspective. A number of things can go wrong during the process. These issues can potentially cause search engines to no longer view that website as the authoritative answer to relevant queries. In some cases, certain mistakes can even result in penalties.

No one wants that.

So in this article, we’re going to explore some of the common web design mistakes that can destroy SEO. Knowing the potential risks may help you avoid making the kind of mistakes that tank your organic search traffic.

Leaving the development environment crawlable / indexable

People handle development environments in a lot of different ways. Most simply set up a subfolder under their domain. Some may create a domain strictly for development. Then there are those who take the kind of precautions to hide their development environment that would give a CIA agent a warm fuzzy feeling in that empty spot where their heart should be.

I tend to fall into the latter category.

Search engines are generally going to follow links and index the content they find along the way — sometimes even when you explicitly tell them not to. That creates problems because they could index two versions of the same website, potentially causing issues with both content and links.

Because of that, I place as many roadblocks as possible in the way of search engines trying to access my development environment. – Read more

25 Amazing Contact Us Pages That Will Make You Rethink Your Website

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The Contact Us page is one of the most visited pages on any website.

That seems like a compelling enough reason to redesign your Contacts section to better meet your users’ needs and grab their attention.

While working on this post, I came across hundreds of beautifully made websites, yet their Contact Us pages were, for the most part, disappointing.

Most Contact pages are made for show, with just an email address, phone, location, and some short boring text on a plain background.

Such run-of-the-mill pages won’t inspire your visitors to leave a message or call the company.

However, I managed to find some Contact Us pages that almost made me forget about writing the article, as I became engaged in exploring the rest of the website.

Let’s get some inspiration from the following 25 amazing Contact Us pages and try to figure out what exactly makes them so special.

The Power of Words
First of all, you do not need to hire a team of designers to come up with a colorful and original design for just for one webpage.

Creativity means thinking outside the box.

Sometimes the right words on a simple background can be more engaging for users than bright colors and fancy pictures.

Here are five examples of webpages that stand out using only a few well-chosen words and a simple design.

1. Make It Interactive
Focus Lab came up with the most brilliant solution for an interactive Contact Us page.

All the visitor has to do is type in a couple of words and select a budget amount (optional).

And voila, the message is ready.

A backup plan is also in place. Visitors can scroll down to view the location, email address, social media links, and phone number. – Read more