Hello Again! Yesterdays post covered the best takeaways from SMX London: Day 1 and now I’m back with the best of day 2 and it just got better. The best of the takeaways from day 2 are focused around link building, schema (structured data), onsite SEO and some mobile facts that may take you by surprise. I’ll break it down into the 4 categories and highlight the most important parts for SEO moving forward.
We touched on this yesterday and I will say it again LINKS ARE NOT DEAD. Links are very much alive and well in the SEO world and you need to be focusing on them more than ever. Stop focusing on how you can get some and work to get them naturally. Its how you obtain them and the types of links you get that need to change.
But Do I Need Them? Aren’t Links Dead? – You can see a certain degree of success without building links to your website but for the more competitive phrases you are trying to rank for, you simply need to be building that authority through links and your brand.
But My Competitors Have Better Links – This is a possibility and you need to be comparing your links by using backlink tools on a regular basis. If your competitor has better links than you, you need to be looking into why? how? and what can I do differently?
How Do I Get Natural Links? – Engage your audience with striking and relevant content whether its text, an infographic or perhaps a video. Give people a reason to link to your website by starting with with engaging your audience better and this way people will be far more likely to want to share your content. If you website is based around a news heavy industry you can also focus on that, keep relevant industry news flowing down your blog and people will naturally link to it. Be a little bit cheeky, a little bit provocative and get people thinking but remember be careful that your content isn’t going to offend anyone.
So I Should Naturally Acquire Links? – You’re now spot on! Naturally acquired links can also lead to bigger better links for pages deep into your site structure which again will help promote a natural backlink profile.
It is now more important than ever to optimise your website correctly but never for the benefit of a search engine but instead for the benefit of a user which will then please Google.
Sitemaps – Every page of your website should be included in relevant sitemaps and of course an XML sitemap. This helps search engines crawl the pages of your website.
Indexed Pages – You need to be regularly checking in Webmaster Tools for the pages that Google are crawling, a sudden increase or decrease in pages indexed could spell trouble for you in the future.
Pages – You need to make every single page being indexed on your website awesome. Maintain your content by keeping it fresh, relevant and updated. If people are bouncing off certain pages quicker than others you need to be looking into why and working to improve that page to prevent low engagement rates. If people are bouncing off quickly Google may deem the page low quality and drop it in the rankings. Take some time and make sure you understand every page on your website and what its purpose is.
Products – If you are an ecommerce websites you need to be controlling your products pages effectively. If something is out of stock make sure the page isn’t crawlable because there is a high chance a user will see the product is unavailable and bounce off the page causing low engagement rates and again a drop in the rankings. When the product is back in stock, make the page available to index again and submit to Google using fetch as Google in Webmaster Tools.
Reviews – Get your customers to review your service. Approach customers around 12 hours of delivery and ask them to review your service and again contact them a few weeks after asking them to review the product they purchased. Often customers will be happy to place reviews if you offer them something in return such as a small discount off their next order.
Navigation – Again this about controlling the your website structure so ensure that pages you do not want to be crawled are not being crawled and indexed. Never link to a search page, make sure all of your internal linking is to actual product or category pages. Keep a tight watch over your category and subcategory pages. Using a tool such as Screaming Frog can help you assess the internal structure of your website.
Canonical Links – If pages on your your website contain similar or copied content due to product descriptions etc, then you must use canonical links which tells Google what the preferred page for ranking is. Ideally don’t have duplicate content but if you must then this could be a solution for you.
The long and short of it is that you need to stop focusing so much on page titles, meta descriptions, headings (tests have shown H1’s have fallen in relevance dramatically over the past year) and instead spend your time focusing on your customers journey. If your customers are bouncing off without purchasing or converting, use Analytics to see where they are dropping off and start asking yourself why. User journey is growing as a factor in rankings and is not something you can ignore, by sorting it out you will greatly benefit the user and also your company. Stop thinking about the search engines and start thinking about your customers and rankings will be come naturally.
We touched on Schema yesterday but I want to relay the importance of marking your data up so search engines can effectively produce it in rich snippets directly on the search results page.
Some small points to get you heading in the right direction:
- Search engines are relying on structured data markup more and more moving forward. It helps them understand the content and structure of your website.
- Schema.org is the most common used markup structure and is easy to implement onto your website.
- Rich snippets pulled from marked up data has proved to increase click through rates to a website.
- Only 0.3% of websites are using structured data at the moment so you have a great opportunity to utilise it whilst its still fresh and increase your visibility within search.
- Currently only 34% of searches do not return rich snippets and this will continue to drop as search engines rely more heavily on it.
- Organic views are decreasing the more rich snippets are being used so its important that you are covered to ensure you remain visible.
- Implementation is easy and you can find all relevant schema codes for your website at schema.org
- After implementation ensure you test it to see if its working properly using Googles Structured Data Testing Tool. If its marked up wrong, it simply will not work.
- WordPress and other CMS’ have plugins available to help you implement schema correctly onto your website s make sure you’re using them.
- Don’t spam your markup, keep it clean otherwise it may get dropped.
- You can use schema markup for reviews, products, ratings, recipes and everything inbetween. The more markup is used, the more it grows and in turn the more it will support.
- Tests have shown that websites using markup have increased up to 93% in organic traffic within a year, this is huge potential that you could be missing out on.
- You can markup your whole website and never be seen in rich snippets, Google displays rich snippets based on website trust which links back to keeping your SEO campaign natural and clean.
- If Webmaster Tools is showing you errors in your structured data you need to fix them as soon as possible.
Basically you should be utilizing schema and the sooner you start the better. Don’t miss out on a fantastic opportunity
Mobile search is growing more and more as people switch away from the traditional desktop and onto quicker devices such as mobiles and tablets. Here are some tips on mobile:
- 75% of people in the UK now own a smartphone and this is increasing rapidly year on year so mobile is not something you can ignore.
- People on average are now spending a total of one day per WEEK using their mobile phone
- People are using their mobiles to intake more and more information. An example of this is weather and map usage has decreased majorly on desktops and but increased a significant amount on mobile devices.
- Businesses that have dedicated app or good responsive mobile designs for their websites are much more likely to see increases in visitors and in turn market share.
- Mobile usage is increasing at an alarming rate but at the same time people are consuming content on the internet on other devices such as smart watches, games consoles and Smart TV’s; all of which you should be taking into consideration.
- Upgrade your analytics to universal as by theory it can provide you better data on users that use multiple devices to access your website.
Mobile is huge and I cannot recommend more that you jump on the mobile search bandwagon otherwise eventually you are going to be left behind as your competitors excel in the rankings.
The last thing I wanted to touch upon today was a technique of shopping called “Show-Rooming”. More and more people are browsing in store and then making their purchases online because chances are the product will be cheaper. Customers are using stores as showrooms. Apple is a great example of this as there stores are not actually set up for purchasing products, the employees in the stores don’t pressure you into buying products and instead demo them for you which is directly influencing your likelihood of purchasing the product in the future and we all know that Apple sells a ton of there products to consumers.
There is not a great amount of data available on this yet but as more comes I will collate another blog post and fill you in on the trends that we are seeing because of “Show-Rooming”.
That is it! All the best takeaways from SMX London and there was a lot! Certainly a valuable event for search marketers and I hope the information from these blog posts comes of use and you start implementing it onto your website as soon as possible and see the results you’re looking for.