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SEO Resources Vol.23

Google Algorithm Update

As the month of August starts with Google confirmed on Twitter that it released a “broad core algorithm update”. This was after the search community noticed shifts in rankings and traffic. Google will release several algorithm updates per year that it may confirm, while many others are not confirmed or recognized by Google.

The March update and April update from earlier this year were also “broad core algorithm updates.” Google said its advice to webmasters on these updates has not changed. Here is what Google said back then:

Each day, Google usually releases one or more changes designed to improve our results. Some are focused around specific improvements. Some are broad changes. Last week, we released a broad core algorithm update. We do these routinely several times per year.

As with any update, some sites may note drops or gains. There’s nothing wrong with pages that may now perform less well. Instead, it’s that changes to our systems are benefiting pages that were previously under-rewarded.

There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.

In short, Google will continue to refine its algorithms in order to make its search results better for their users. Google is telling webmasters that there is nothing a webmaster can do to “fix” their pages to rank better after an update. Instead, try to keep making your website better over time, and Google may recognize those improvements over time, and your rankings may improve.

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Blogger Enterpreneur

With blogging aka creative writing not restricted to ‘intellectuals’ alone, the domain has been considered as an entrepreneurial venture which could potentially open up new opportunities whilst allowing writers/bloggers to present their thoughts on a wide range of issues. In fact blogging also qualifies as both full-time as well as part-time entrepreneurship. Bloggers today are beginning to get the attention that they rightfully deserve with respect to recognition for creative work.

Ensuring consistent reader traffic flow to blogs is not easy, but can be achieved efficiently through lateral thinking. In this regard, if you are a first-time blogger entrepreneur, check out below steps following which you could potentially ensure that your content stays on top of readers’ minds:

  • Draft a proper logic for your content: Going with the flow and trend is easy, but what differentiates your blog is the logic on which you have crafted content. This logic should be unique from competition and must creatively answer the Five Ws and One H of writing. However, remember not to overly indulge in stuffing in value-additions to your content as the core essence could get diverted leading to rejection from your target audience. Nonetheless, a creative logic should automatically add value to your content. A well-written piece always gets featured on top by search engines (in case of online blogs) thus eliminating competition.

  • Never overdo SEO: Search Engine Optimization is clearly a misunderstood concept when it comes to ensuring traffic flow for your content. Ensure that you put in only the right keywords while compiling the SEO parameters for search engines. Never stuff keywords thinking that you will appear within the top search results (in search engines). Keyword stuffing and improper meta SEO aspects could lead to blacklisting by search engines.

  • Avoid Duplication: This is vital to increasing your reachability in online search engines. For the sake of competition, do not duplicate content written by your peers (competition) and by yourself as well. You can always update old content with newer stuff. Duplicated content is considered as spam by search engines. Therefore, it is vital to formulate a unique logic and put-in value additions to create original content. This increases traffic to your blog.

  • Maintain timeliness: Remember that in the online domain, timeliness matters. Major developments should be covered at the earliest with a unique angle. This ensures loyalty of readers as well as drawing in new readers to your blog.

  • Shelf Life matters: In today’s digital age, content with long shelf lives is rare to find; hence, ensure to take this as an advantage and craft evergreen blogs so that a loyal reader base is maintained and these are the people coming back to read your content repeatedly. Here, timeliness gets second priority, what matters is the angle that you take and the subject matter on which the content is being crafted.

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mobile site speed update

In today’s competitive, ever-changing marketplaces, establishing a great online presence is clearly of utmost importance. However, our report recently found that 87% of the UK’s top online retail brands alone are risking a significant drop in their visibility by neglecting mobile site performance; rating as ‘poor’ in terms of mobile site speed. Google’s own research supports this by revealing the average site takes five times longer than the ideal 3-second time-frame to load.

These slower sites notoriously see increases in bounce rates, as well as lower online visibility and search engine ranking.

So what can you do to rectify this issue and bolster a websites SEO?

Research suggests the key to addressing the above issues and adhering to the latest speed update, is by focusing specifically on the mobile site user journey and eliminating any potential pitfalls. By eradicating unnecessary desktop elements on mobile sites and specifically focusing on adapting material for smart phones, you can expect to boost page speed, online visibility and meet Google’s revised website requirements.

With this in mind, let’s explore how you can adapt to Google’s most recent speed update.

Lazy loading

A quick and effective way to improve page speed is by adopting ‘lazy loading’. By only showing images ‘below the page fold’ when a user scrolls to view them, as opposed to fetching and loading everything when a user lands on a page (regardless of whether they’re going to scroll down or not), a website’s efficiency is instantly increased.

Online brands that have adopted this format are already experiencing the benefits by enabling pages to be displayed on mobiles and tablets in a shorter time frame. Eating up less mobile data is another advantage of this technique.

Unsplash is a prime example of a brand doing really well in this space. As an image dominated site, lazy loading has played a key role in maintaining its quick page speed.

However, this tactic alone is not enough to sufficiently decrease loading times and maintain search engine visibility.

Optimizing images

With images making up 65% of web content, it is widely recognized that high-resolution pictures are one of the main culprits for slow loading times.

To address this issue, you need to reduce file sizes and ensure that only the right images are shown to users based on the device they’re using. Adding image compression functionality to a site’s admin system achieves this by ensuring that uploaded files aren’t larger than necessary (without compromising quality).

In addition, you should work to ensure that size-appropriate image files will be served to mobile visitors and retina displays (where retina images are available).

Websites without optimized images run the risk of being penalized by Google for poor practice. This could clearly cause a drop in page visits due to reduced search engine ranking.

Removing hidden content

As space is limited on mobile devices, it has always been common practice to create a scaled down version of the desktop site when building a mobile version. However, the key to improving speed is to implement server-side mobile detection. By preventing the site in question from attempting to fetch and then hide desktop-only images and/or features, its perceptual speed to users will be improved.

By stripping away these unnecessary elements, space is freed up to incorporate mobile-enhancing features without detracting from page speed. One example of this is location awareness. Enabling brands to send relevant content, specific to a user’s surroundings using Geo-location API technology, helps sites stand out from competitors.

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