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SEO Resources Vol.24

September 2, 2018

1. 5 Ways to Optimize for Personalized Search

A couple of years ago, Google was actively engaged into search  personalization.

 

Plus, let’s see how we can work out an SEO strategy perfect for ranking better in personalization search.

 

What Factors Influence Search Personalization?

 

If I were to define what personalized search results are, I would say that these are the results based on the combination of traditional relevancy factors and data that search engines have on individual users, such as their:

  • Current location.

  • Language.

  • Search/browsing history.

 

Let’s dive deeper into each factor:

 

Location
 

Location personalization usually comes into play when your query implies the need for a particular place. It makes perfect sense that users from different locations see different SERPs returned after the same location-based query.

 

Thus, we can easily assume that this factor is one of the most important ones. It doesn’t matter whether you are logged in or logged out, Google will know your location by your IP address.

 

What’s more, if you are logged in on your mobile phone and geotracking is on, Google may know even more than you would consider comfortable. Check out Google’s timeline of your location history.

 

So, with that archive of knowledge, the search engine can endlessly personalize your results once you’ve made a location-based query.

 

Search/Browsing History
 

Back in 2012, Google published a patent on creating user personalization profiles and using this info for personalizing search results.

 

It means that your search history and all pages you subsequently clicked on give Google an idea what you are interested in. This information allows the search engine to further shape SERPs in a way which is most relevant to you.

 

Social Media
 

For a couple of years already, people have been predicting the death of Google Plus. However, it is still alive.

 

In terms of its influence on search personalization, I would say that now you probably won’t see many posts from Google Plus in SERPs related to your query’s keywords.

 

Today, Google would rather show you some results from Facebook and Twitter (not just a result, but the whole Twitter carousel).

 

What I see from my experiments with Google SERPs as well as my routine search experience, there are really few results from Google Plus.

 

For example, I searched for keywords from my latest Google Plus posts, and I saw neither G+ posts of mine nor of my colleagues’ who shared the same posts. The story repeats with Facebook – no results from there.

 

For the time being just bear in mind, when you create an account in Google Plus, you fill in lots of info that can tell Google about your age and gender as well as your interests and connections with other people. This info can be used to shape your search results.

 

Device Type
 

We have already reached that point in time when mobile-first indexing is being actively rolled out and the mobile speed update is officially out.

The results can be more or less the same on desktop and mobile, but there are quite a few device-specific factors that can heavily influence whether the page ranks higher or lower.

 

For example, those pages that are deemed slow may appear much lower in mobile SERPs. Thus, I would advise tracking the performance of your pages on mobile and desktop separately with the help of Page Speed Insights.

 

Other Google Products
 

Google has a number of various integrations (Google Maps, Gmail, Google Calendar, etc.) where it can pull different information from when you are logged into your account. This information is of no SEO value because it is mostly personal and visible only to you.

 

For example, if I have created an event in Google Calendar, like a flight itinerary, I can ask about it right from the search bar.

What does it mean?

  • Google is becoming something bigger than just a search engine.

  • Taking into account the latest experiment with the SERP with zero results (it was closed after a week, for now), such personalization can grow into something similar – just the exact answer to your query.

 

How to Perform Better in Personalized Search

 

If you realize that your potential visitors can get biased in search results because your business is, for example, local-based, then you should consider including personalization optimization into your SEO strategy.

 

Here are the things you can optimize for:

 

1. Optimize for Locations
 

You should not bother about this one if your content is more or less universal for users from any location.

 

However, if you target specific markets or your business has a few locations, you have to make it clear both for search engines and people.

First of all, make sure that you have Google My Business listing. This is the place where Google takes all the local info from for its local packs and local knowledge graphs.

 

Check whether all the details are there, like a link to your website, name-address-phone, photos, descriptions, etc. Go for consistency among all the places where this info is indicated. Update it if anything changes.

 

Consider using local structured data. And please make sure that everything works ideally on mobile.

The thing is, most “near me” searches come from mobile (to be exact, about 80 percent). I’m sure you want to be near those searches.

Plus, try to win some reviews from your happy users.

 

As search results vary depending on the location, you have to track rankings for each of your target locations in order to see how you perform in each of them.

 

2. Optimize for Languages
 

Optimization for languages goes hand in hand with international SEO. It should be applied if your relevant audiences speak different languages, and you want to provide them with unhampered experience.

 

There is a tricky moment here: it only makes sense to engage in international SEO if you are sure you can do it right. Otherwise, you can end up with a pretty bad case of poor UX.

 

First of all, you should decide what international format of a website suits you.

 

Here are three popular options:

  • One website with multiple languages to target one country where people speak different languages (like Switzerland, for example).

  • One website to target no specific country, just multiple languages.

 

In these both cases, the content can be the same along all the language versions of the site.

 

  • A number of site versions targeting multiple languages: here you may want to create similar site versions with specific differences depending on the target audience.

 

3. Get Exposure in Social Media
 

The challenge for SEO professionals here is that personalized results from social media take the real estate of organic listings. But it also means that your social media posts can also occupy this space.

 

The best and most obvious thing here is to create quality content that people would want to share.

 

Do not discard your Google Plus account, as the posts from this social network can still appear in SERPs, and people who follow you in Google Plus can see these posts in their search results.

 

Plus, as you can figure out by looking at search results, Google closely cooperates with Twitter, so it is possible there will be more personalized stuff from this social media platform in the future.

 

4. Optimize for Multiple Devices
 

Optimizing for mobile searches is of utter importance, and the first thing to do is stick to responsive web design.

 

If you follow Google’s guidelines for mobile-first indexing, then you shouldn’t experience any ranking drops due to mobile issues. Plus, you can separately track rankings for desktop and mobile to spot and fix any problems.

 

What’s more, in the light of Mobile Speed Update, you have to make sure that your mobile pages load fast. When I say fast, I mean fast enough for the user to stay on your page, which is usually under 2 seconds.

 

You can use the following resources to evaluate your page’s performance especially when you suspect that your site was affected by this update:

  • Chrome User Experience Report with a dataset of key UX metrics.

  • Lighthouse, an automated tool for tracking the performance of web-pages.

  • Page Speed Insights, a tool that indicates quality of page’s performance and shows optimization suggestions.

 

For example, if I have created an event in Google Calendar, like a flight itinerary, I can ask about it right from the search bar.

What does it mean?

  • Google is becoming something bigger than just a search engine.

  • Taking into account the latest experiment with the SERP with zero results (it was closed after a week, for now), such personalization can grow into something similar – just the exact answer to your query. 

 

Article source: searchenginejournal.com

 

2. Why Search Engine Optimization Is the Key to Making Money Online

There are all sorts of ways to make money from a blog or website. You could sell ads, write sponsored content or work with content partners. You could create an online shop or use affiliate links to send your readers to someone else’s online shop. You could even create a subscription model, where readers need to pay to view your content.

 

However, none of those strategies are going to work if you don’t have a consistent flow of people coming to your site. That’s why the first step in making money from your blog or website is building an audience. That’s where search engine optimization(SEO) comes in.

 

What is search engine optimization?

Any time you google something, Google’s algorithm works to choose stories and posts that will answer your question. SEO is all about understanding those algorithms. That way, when someone googles something that applies to your website or blog, they won’t have to dig through several pages of results to find yours. It'll be right at the top.

 

How much does being ranked highly on Google really matter?

In short, a lot.

 

You might think that using social media is the best way to get your blog or website seen. I don’t want to discount them. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all the rest can be powerful tools to help you build a following.

 

But, there are two great parts about being ranked highly on Google search results:

  1. Google is the highest-trafficked website in the world. Even getting a fraction of Google’s traffic is significant for your website.

  2. Optimized content can stay in the top spot for as long as it’s relevant. A Facebook post shows up in a feed for a couple of hours. One tweet might be skipped over. But a top-ranked Google post can last for months or even years. For example, I wrote my “How to Start a Business” post in October, and it’s No. 1 eight months later. You just can’t get that on social media. Even if you use a pinned post, you only get one. There’s no limit on how many top-ranked Google articles you can write.

 

So, now we know what SEO is and why it’s important. But, how do we actually optimize our content? How do we make online content that appears on the first page of Google, Bing and other search engines?

 

1. Before you write your post, make sure your site is optimized.

Search engines care about more than just the words on the page. They also take into account factors including the quality and consistency of your site speed and authority. There are tons of other factors that go into website SEO, but let’s break down these two.

 

Speed

There are a ton of reasons why you should want your website to run as fast as possible. Web users are notoriously impatient, and they’re liable to leave your website -- maybe forever -- if it takes just two seconds to load. At the same time, improving website speed can lead to an increase in conversions, downloads and views. 

 

Entrepreneur contributor Thomas Smale has two great strategies you can use to improve your website’s speed.

 

The first is to optimize your images. He writes, “Research shows that, on average, more than half of a website’s memory load is taken up by images. One of the easiest ways to improve your page-load times is to optimize all your images for the web.”

 

Authority

Authority comes from different sources -- users, other websites and search engines -- but really, it comes down to trust.

 

How long has your website been relevant, and how long have you been creating content around a given topic? Just as important, do other experts use your website as a source? Are they linking to it or citing you?

 

2. While writing your post, you should have a keyword or search term in mind.

Google isn’t going to magically rank your website in the top 10 just because you write a post. You have to help search engines out by predicting what people will search to find your story. For example, let’s say I write an article for Entrepreneur about what kids need to run their own lemonade stand.

 

If I were writing the headline of an article about lemonade stands for a print newspaper, I might try to write a funny or punny title

 

Once you pick your key search term, you have to use it in the post.

Putting the keyword in the headline is important, but it isn’t the only thing you should do to optimize your story. You should also include your keyword throughout the story, including in your intro and in a "heading 2," or H2, tag somewhere in the piece.One potential way to add keywords is through the use of related links -- by adding related links with similar titles, you can add keywords without actually changing the content of your article.

 

You should still write like you’re talking to people and not a machine.

Search engines penalize short articles (think less than 300 words) that jam in keywords without saying anything. Google and others prefer longer articles.

 

Depending on the subject matter, what “longer” actually means can vary. For an article on lemonade stands, 700 words might be longer than average. For an article on how to start a business, search engines might demand something closer to 4,000.

 

This is another difference between writing for search engine optimization and writing for a newspaper. In a newspaper, every word is taking up physical space on the page. Every unnecessary word is literally a waste of space.

 

Online, it’s worth taking the time to make sure you’re clear, even if it takes a few extra words.

 

3. After writing your post, you have to share it.

And you need to get other people to share it, too.

 

It’s pretty simple: If people share your article, it means they think other people should see it. Isn’t that the whole point of a search engine -- pointing people to the posts, websites and information they should see?

 

In the same way that you might be more likely to buy a product or service after someone recommends it, Google and other search engines are more likely to commit to your page after others have shared it.

You need to use social media to start that conversation, so others can recommend your post.

 

Article source: entrepreneur.com

 

3. 12 Success Tips to Conduct a Social Media Audit

 

A social media audit is equivalent to a marketing health and wellness check-up.

 

It’s an opportunity to proactively check the vitals, DNA, circulation, deficiencies, activity levels of your social media efforts.

 

Auditing the performance and outcome of your social media marketing gives insights on how your brand compares to the size, weight, reach and influence.

 

Here’s how you can conduct a successful social media audit in 12 steps.

 

1. Schedule it

Instead of waiting until a potential problem is detected or for failing results to appear, proactively schedule an audit for your brand at least two times a year.

 

A social media audit will create an efficient and actionable update to a social media strategy.

 

2. Include PR, SEO & PPC to the Audit

Living behind closed doors in the social media marketing room leads to dehydration and loss of healthy nutrients to a social media marketing plan.

 

Public relations, search and PPC will add depth, optimization, and vital content to a social media plan.

 

Combining marketing agendas gives a sense of synchronicity and supplements the social media planning with aligned business goals and objectives.

 

3. Grading Scale

Having a process and methodology for a social media audit is essential for long-term success and efficiencies.

 

Whether it’s your own process using Excel, a template from a third party source, or a platform such as Sprout Social, using consistent methods puts a science behind the historical comparisons.

 

Considering 72 percent of the content industry say they’re challenged with managing workflows and new technology, V.P. of Brand Creative at Hanson Dodge Sarah Collins shares her approach to a social media audit.

 

4. Headlines & Grades

“We start with competitors and look for ‘who’s to beat.’ Then we write the headline for what each competitor’s strategy appears to be. From there, we map it on a quadrant to determine the white space for the brand we represent,” Collins said.

 

Taking the quantitative and qualitative factors, Collins breaks down a social media audit approach like this:

 

Quantitative takes into account competitors, community size, engagement, native channels (including Facebook insights, analytics), and paid channels (such as Iconosquare, Cubeyou, Nuvi, Rival IQ).

 

Qualitative analysis content, paid social via Rival IQ, engagement.

 

5. Website & Blog Assessment

Check the relevant website and blog pages to check for social media factors including:

  • Shareability.

  • Meta titles and descriptions.

  • Formatting.

  • Keywords.

  • Visuals.

  • Content performance.

 

6. Social Media Channel Review

This is where you want to review each channel, including this checklist:

  • Page/profile optimization.

  • Cover and profile image use.

  • Visual assets.

  • Video optimization (i.e. playlists, featured, etc.).

  • Frequency and timing.

  • Content types/mix.

  • Comment sentiment and response time.

  • Live video use.

  • Engagement.

  • Branding.

  • Optimization.

  • Chatbots and messenger use and strategy.

 

7. Competitive Social Media Review

Compare your brand’s social media channels with at least two competitors or like-minded brand.

Create a spreadsheet and make notations of:

  • Publishing trends compared to competitors.

  • Creative.

  • Frequency.

  • Content types.

  • Influencers.

  • Engagement.

 

8. Content Style, Messaging & Optimization Analysis

This is an opportunity to see how well your content is feeding social media results. Look at the overall content style and brand voice.

  • Is your content robotic and informal or is it personalized and conversational?

  • Does your content reflect a strategic content calendar or are you winging it?

  • Are you using hashtags effectively to maximize reach?

  • Is your social team taking trends into consideration?

 

Look at each social media networks as its own search engine.

 

Social PR Secret: It’s important for brands to optimize for each social media channel just like they would optimize using keywords, links, and images for Google. Treat each channel like a search engine and optimize your content, images, video, and profiles.

 

9. Social Media Distribution & Publishing Assessment

Brand to self “I’ve created amazing social media content! The only problem is it’s not getting exposure, reach or results.”

Check to see the content channels and be sure the channels line up to your audience.

Consider additional distributions such as:

  • Press releases.

  • Medium.

  • LinkedIn.

  • Guest posts.

  • Events.

  • Conferences.

  • Trade shows.

 

10. Visual Asset Audit Including Video

Today’s social media visual trend mix includes all of the following:

  • Live video.

  • Vertical video.

  • Square images.

  • Stories.

  • GIFs.

  • Memes.

  • Infographics.

  • Augmented reality content.

  • Lenses.

  • Filters.

  • Text overlay on images.

  • Filtered images.

 

11. Dig Deep & Set up Accurate Tracking

When it comes to social media auditing you’ve got to be real. Social media is full of “fluffy” metrics, also commonly known as vanity metrics such as likes and comments. These metrics types don’t really tell us a whole lot of meaningful insights.

 

One of the best ways to track an actual purchase from a social media post is to do any of the following:

  • Use UTM codes within your social media posts with shortened links to product pages

  • Track the referral source in Google Analytics or SEMrush.

  • Create a unique promo code that you only share on a social media network (make sure you use a unique one for each social media network so you can track which network gives you the most purchases).

 

Maybe purchases aren’t your thing and those 500 likes are really the gold mine for your business. That’s totally fine!

 

What’s important is defining a realistic goal, something actually measuring from social media and give yourself a realistic timeline to do so, said Ward.

 

12. Third Eye Chakra

Consider bringing in a third party outside source to review or facilitate a social media audit.

 

This independent insight can unlock fresh perspectives and ideas while also identifying problems and blocks your in-house team might not be able to see.

 

Article source: searchenginejournal.com

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