All posts by Andrew Radics

Andrew Radics is our master of Search Engine Optimization and Online Reputation Management. He has a deep understanding of how to get the right traffic to websites without paying search engines for placement.
google's core web vitals for page experience update

Are you ready to ride the wave of Google’s May 2021 algorithm update?

google's core web vitals for page experience update

Core algorithm changes from Google, Facebook and other key marketing platforms can be bad for your rankings, visibility and traffic if you’re not prepared for them.

And after the year we’ve had, it could well be that you’re less than prepared.   

But Google doesn’t stop changing – and their page experience update is rolling out in May 2021.  

Unfortunately, this algorithm change could dump your SEO rankings in the soup – because it includes some key changes that need planning and time to respond to.

With May only weeks away (scary, isn’t it?) –  it’s time to do a health check on your readiness to ride this wave.

How to prepare your website for Google’s page experience update 

The key changes requiring preparation are all things that have probably been on your “We should get around to that” list for a while anyway.  

They’re things like:

  1. Making your website more mobile-friendly – especially making the mobile experience faster.
  2. Making sure your website is secure for your visitors – especially if one of the items on your to-do list includes the detailed, time-consuming shift from http:// to https:// 
  3. Fixing broken links and pages.
  4. Making your pop-ups intelligent, appropriate and non-irritating (especially on mobile).

These are all sound website housekeeping practices. Ideally you’d do them anyway – like your housekeeping.

Think of it as updating your office premises and getting your customer-facing areas looking like they belong in 2021.

You may already know what’s needed

If you’re a MSD client and we’ve been “suggesting” for a while that you need to take action on:

  • 404 errors 
  • Switching your site to https:// 
  • Improving your page speed, especially your mobile speed
  • Making your pop-ups more sophisticated

Then Google is upping the ante. They want a good, safe, fast, engaging experience for their users. 

That’s most likely what you want too – an online “retail presence” that’s fast, reliable and safe.

So don’t play “wait-and-see”- because what you’re likely to see is a drop in your rankings that you’ll have to work to restore.

What is the Google Page Experience Update (and WHY are they doing it)?

Google wants their visitors to have a really good experience on the websites they send them to – so they’re making the user experience (often called the UX) more important in their ranking of search results.

The purpose of this update is to make sure that sites that rank at the top aren’t creating experiences that frustrate and annoy their users. So user-friendly sites will rank higher than sites that are:

  • Slow
  • Awkward
  • Frustrating
  • Annoying

According to Google:

“These signals measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page and contribute to our ongoing work to ensure people get the most helpful and enjoyable experiences from the web.”

Google will also test showing searchers which pages have great usability – with “a visual indicator that highlights pages in search results that have great page experience”.

Make this a priority for your business

We suggest that you don’t just treat this as “we have to do what Google says” and instead make it an opportunity for a bit of online business development. After all, a better user experience means that the humans who visit your pages will like you better (as well as Google’s web-crawling bots).

Happier visitors makes for an improved authority level and potentially more conversions (if your branding and your offer are clear).

What are the experiences that users value?

According to Google: 

“Page experience is a set of signals that measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value. It includes Core Web Vitals, which is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. It also includes existing Search signals: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines.”

search signals for google's page experience update

So let’s start with Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are Google’s latest set of key user experience (UX) performance metrics for web developers. These include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures the speed at which a page’s main content is loaded. This should occur within 2.5 seconds of landing on a page. This is often to do with large images and videos slowing the speed down. 
  • First Input Delay (FID): Measures the speed at which users are able to interact with a page after landing on it. This should occur within 100 milliseconds.
    You need to ensure your browser responds quickly to a user’s first action on the page. As pages are assembling how long does it take for the page to respond to clicks, scrolls and typing?
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures how predictable the presentation of your page is, and how much control your visitors have. (No weird parallax, no jumping images, etc). Pages should maintain a CLS of less than 0.1.

Mobile friendliness

mobile friendly ecommerce store

More and more people are doing research and passing the time on their mobiles – and more are gradually buying there too. So Google increasingly favours mobile-friendly pages.  

What’s a mobile-friendly page?: 

  • It’s streamlined, with a minimum of interactions required
  • It prioritises and supports the most important and common tasks that users do
  • It presents fast and skinny, respecting speed and data constraints.

It’s consistent across all devices – from mobile to desktop – so you look like the same business.

Safe browsing

google's safe browsing warning

Google Safe Browsing aims at helping protect Google users by showing warnings on dangerous sites or dangerous download files. According to Google:

“Safe Browsing also notifies webmasters when their websites are compromised by malicious actors and helps them diagnose and resolve the problem so that their visitors stay safer.” 

Their primary target is “websites that repeatedly switch between compliant and policy-violating behaviour for the purpose of having a successful review and having warnings removed.” 

Their goal is to help webmasters provide a safe and secure browsing experience for their users.  

We suggest that you don’t wait for Google to tell you that you have a problem – be proactive about your security and your visitors’ safety.  

(If you’re a Mad Scientist client, you will already know what needs to be done.)

HTTPs

locked padlock and chain

Google is giving secure sites with an SSL certificate a minor ranking boost. This is part of Google’s algorithm because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

According to Google:

HTTPS currently enables the best performance the web offers and powerful features that benefit site conversions, including both new features such as service workers for offline support and web push notifications, and existing features such as credit card autofill.

If your website is still on HTTP and you are looking to move to HTTPs, remember to follow a proper transition plan to ensure your SEO is maintained and your traffic doesn’t suffer.

Please note:

The shift from  HTTP to HTTPS isn’t just ‘flipping a switch’ – it’s a significant process that has some non-trivial time limitations. Your hosting service probably won’t be able to do it at 5pm on April 30th.

(Mad Scientist Digital offers a website transition service – so get in touch early.)

DON’T be frustrating and irritating online

You know what irritates you as you browse – especially if it’s on your mobile while you’re waiting around between appointments.

Ten steps to get to relevant content is a turnoff, and blanket popups on every page probably has you leaving the site.

According to Google:

Pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.

Make your popups user friendly

princess polly website popup

Google is reinforcing its emphasis on the mobile search experience with a penalty on intrusive interstitials (i.e popups) on mobile pages. 

According to Google the types of interstitials that are going to be problematic include:

  • A popup that covers the main content, displayed immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • A popup that the user has to dismiss before they can access the main content.
  • Layouts where the above-the-fold portion of the page looks like a popup, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

You can still use certain interstitials on your website but they must adhere to Google’s guidelines, including:

  • Where there is a legal obligation, such as a cookie used for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, private content such as emails or un-indexable content behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a moderate amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. 

Clean up broken pages on your website 

page not found 404 error

404 errors on your website mean that a requested page could not be found. It’s not a good look! 404s are frustrating for users searching online. 

404s can also negatively impact your SEO as it makes it harder for Google to crawl your site, and that means you could see a drop in rankings. 

Having lots of 404s on your website can also increase your site’s bounce rate as your visitors  leave after landing on a broken page. (And remember, bounce rate is one of Google’s many ranking signals and can cost you if it’s too high.)

As user experience becomes more and more important in Google’s algorithm, cleaning up the 404s on your website is a non-negotiable.

A key cause of 404s on a website is when pages have been removed or deleted and haven’t been redirected to a new page. Another common cause is when the URL of a page is changed.

Changing any part of a URL will result in a 404 error and you will need to redirect the old page to the new page with the updated URL. 

Don’t wait till your rankings drop, get your redirects done – and if you don’t have time, talk to Mad Scientist about getting it done –  before May.

So how do you know what needs doing on your site?

This is how you can check and optimise your website for these signals: 

  • Your website has its own Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console.
  • You can check for a range of 400 errors – including the dreaded 404 – in Google Search Console. 
  • Use Lighthouse reports. (Lighthouse is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. You can run it against any web page, public or requiring authentication. It has audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO and more.)
  • There’s a mobile friendliness test in Google Search Console.

If you have time, then this useful article from Search Engine Journal is a good starting point Google Now Has 6 Ways to Measure Core Web Vitals.

It really is time to do your website housekeeping

Your website – its health, performance and friendliness AS WELL AS its look and feel – is your online retail space.   

To get the most out of it, you need to keep it clean and tidy and looking as good as the results your business delivers.  Regardless of turndowns, pandemics and market conditions, keeping it current MATTERS.

If you’re a Mad Scientist Digital client then you already know we’re constantly monitoring Google’s changes and their impact on your website, so you will get plenty of timely advice on how to take action.

Quality content still matters, but…

While page experience is important, Google still seeks to rank pages with the best information overall, even if the page experience is subpar. 

A great page experience doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have great page content.

However, in a growing online market place where there are many pages that may be similar in quality and relevance, a good page experience is increasingly important for good rankings and your overall visibility in Search.

search engine results page serp spelled out in letters

How to optimise for Google’s featured snippets in 2021

search engine results page serp spelled out in letters

What’s a featured snippet anyway?

Featured Snippets are short pieces of text that Google pulls from a relevant website to provide a quick answer or summary for searchers. A featured snippet is the best possible Google ranking – because it comes BEFORE organic search results. It’s often called “position zero” – it appears first, and Google chooses what to put there. You can’t buy a featured snippet.

paragraph featured snippet indoor plants

What Google tells us

Google: “When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results”.

(Featured snippets usually come from content that’s already ranked on page 1 for the query.)

For some searches, Google provides a quick answer or summary with a content snippet from a relevant website. These featured snippets are most likely to show up when your search is in the form of a question.

Featured snippets include:

  • Information quoted from a third-party website
  • A link to the page
  • The page title
  • The URL of the page”

Why does a featured snippet matter? Because a featured snippet gives a significant boost to your organic click through rate – even if you’re close to the top for your chosen keywords.

The data scientists behind the Semrush online marketing platform have also found that Search Engines give Featured Snippets a significant amount of screen real estate – particularly on mobile devices.

“And we found that on average on a modern phone, if you earn a featured snippet, it takes over 50% of the screen on a mobile device. So you’re getting a lot of attention, a lot of bang for your buck.”

mobile featured snippet

How do featured snippets work?

Featured snippets try to provide fast answers – so they’re a whole lot more likely to appear as answers to questions.

For example: “why did my souffle collapse?” or “what are featured snippets?” or “how do i choose a good accountant?”

Featured snippets are extracts of content that Google chooses as being a relevant answer to the search question.

A well-crafted featured snippet can bring your website more organic traffic – so it’s worth investing in quality content with the goal of solving a searcher’s problem and winning a featured snippet.

Your goal is also to demonstrate that you are an authority in the area where your ideal customers are looking for solutions. When you do, a link to your content is put right under the searcher’s nose. 

Plus there’s potentially an extra trust boost because Google has evaluated your content and decided to put you in “Position 0”. (If you saw our post on the Psychology of Influencing and Trust, you might remember that your perceived authority is a key element of trust.) 

Featured snippets are useful answers to quite specific questions. The more useful, helpful, supportive content you have on your website about the specific issues your ideal customers are trying to solve, the better.

For example, our client Vortex Basketball earned a featured snippet for their blog post ‘World’s Top 10 Most Amazing Basketball Courts’. Over the last year, this post has been one of the top performing pages organically on the website, receiving 38.6% of all website clicks. 

vortex basketball featured snippet

What content increases your snippet potential?

Think about how to address your visitor’s needs – especially helping them to understand more clearly what their needs actually are. A lot of people searching online are beginning a journey – so it can be useful to help them understand “what they don’t know they don’t know.”

Good marketing strategy today is all around “making your customer the hero” – after all they’re the one on a quest to solve a problem. Good positioning is generally about demonstrating your ability to be their guide or mentor – so THEY win.

For example, someone who wants to make the perfect French macaron probably wants to DO the baking. Otherwise they would be asking “where do I buy the best macaron?”  So think about your visitor’s goals in their terms, not your expertise.

Snippets are most typically informational. They can be paragraphs, lists, tables, or videos.

semrush featured snippet format comparison

Source: https://www.semrush.com/webinars/how-anyone-can-win-featured-snippets-backed-by-data-science/

Fundamentally, they’re responses to questions – solutions to problems that people are facing – whether it’s making the perfect French macaron, getting an investment loan or moving house without having a nervous breakdown.

So think about the questions that your ideal customer would be asking as they search online:

Why do my macarons go sticky?

How can I afford my first investment property?

How do I protect my staff from COVID?

Then build rich, helpful content around answering those questions. You’re after a click-through, so make sure there’s more to click through to. For example:

Twenty tips for perfect French macarons.

How to buy your first investment property.

Snippets are extracts from your content – so rich, helpful supportive content will encourage searchers to click through to your website to read more.

Invest the time to create a high-quality explanation. For sequential information, do a well-designed table, list or video – something that Google can use as an effective featured snippet.

But think at least as much about really helping your visitors as about “what Google wants”. At the end of the day, people do business with people. So the best content is always about helping your customer. That’s what Google wants too. However much they play around with their algorithms, they want their users to find interesting, useful and entertaining content.

Is your content detailed and well-structured?

Create a broad range of content so that you can answer more specific users queries. Remember that their needs are likely to be more complex than their initial query may indicate.

Depending on what you do and the variety of solution spaces you work in, it may be worth revisiting the way you structure the helpful content on your website – so that it’s organised around subject areas.

How do I work out what questions people are asking?

cut out paper question marks

If you’re a Mad Scientist Digital client, then your targeted keywords are the foundation of your Featured Snippet experiments. There are also a range of tools related to developing keyword lists.

The Semrush platform (whose video inspired this post) offers a number of fantastic tools to analyse keywords and find opportunities. Check out their Keyword Magic tool to find question-based keywords relating to your targeted keywords. 

Another helpful tool is Also Asked – put in a keyword and it will aggregate Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ data to give you insights into what users are searching for. 

For the purposes of building content that could become Featured Snippets, we suggest that you hunt down fully formed questions. That’s because the full question helps you best understand the search intent – what the user is TRYING to search for. 

And it’s worth going beyond the research – a 10 minute chat with your best existing customers could also be a good way to explore the questions and concerns that brought them to you – or that they’re currently exploring.

What content will help me win a featured snippet?

Semrush found these patterns on the source content of snippets:

  • 98% were on secure servers (HTTPs).
  • They are mostly longer five minute reads – at least 1100 words.
  • They’re well-structured long-form content:

    • they use subheadings for scan-readers
    • they embed questions in the content to help Google extract answers
    • they use imagery and associated alt tags
  • They use structured data like lists and tables, which works extremely well (if it’s WELL-structured). Lists are great for any ‘How-to’ content whilst tables work well for anything that is comparative such as prices, rates and data. 
  • A longer-tail search with ‘Why’ in it triggers a featured snippet 70-80% of the time. Other question keywords such as ‘Can’, ‘Do’, ‘Are’ and ‘How’ also trigger featured snippets 65-72% of the time.

why do cats knead featured snippet

Is it worth the investment?

Supportive, strategic content focused on your customers and their needs is always a good long-term SEO investment.

So even if you don’t win a featured snippet to start with, it’s still worth investing in quality, well-structured content.

What we found is almost every single time we went and applied the principles of structuring the data, refreshing the content to optimise for featured snippets, our organic traffic increased every single time.

We didn’t always get the featured snippet, but the principles that are guiding it are important, because it’s forcing you to understand the user’s search intent, and to better the user experience, to answer their queries better and more succinctly and more purposefully.

You do that, and you’re going to win long term, the algorithm should chase you, not the other way around, at that point.” – Semrush

So get out your target keyword list and start turning it into questions – and create content that answers those questions. And if you don’t have a keyword list yet, or still feel unsure about how to find snippet opportunities, let us do the work for you and get in touch with us today. 

The core game of SEO is Influencing

The core game of SEO is Influencing

The core game of SEO is Influencing

SEO is more than Optimising

When we optimise one of your web pages for Search, what we are doing is making what your page is about super-clear to the search engine crawlers. The clearer, more consistent and more engaging your content is, the better it will rank.

So what we’re really doing is influencing – influencing search engines to prioritise your content. 

You can buy influence

You can buy influence through pay-per-click advertising. What and where depends on who you’re seeking to attract and what platforms they’re active on.

Businesses have been relying on advertising since day one. The thing is, though, in this heavily distracted modern world, it’s just not going to work on its own. The whole advertising game is in a state of flux. It’s changing. And people are starting to mistrust what’s put in front of them – especially online.

We recommend that you don’t rely only on paid advertising as your sole marketing strategy.  

(It is worth remembering that paid advertising shows up as paid on most platforms – so that alone can sometimes reduce its influence in the wrong context.)

You can earn influence

You can earn influence by investing in supportive content, and maximise it with good SEO. It’s a long game, but it returns well over time.

(Beware of people telling you that Google is so smart you don’t need to do SEO – ask them for their evidence base. We see measurable ranking shifts every time we onboard a customer – so if there is contrary evidence, we’d like to know about it.)

There’s nothing wrong with buying some awareness, but it has to be backed up with a strong organic presence. This means starting with a compelling story, a clear message and a real brand.  Then following through with engaging content on the right platforms targeting the right audience –  at the right times.

The best strategy is to invest in both – helpful, supportive content that explains your business offer and its benefits PLUS targeted advertising in support of particular campaigns and promotions.

How do you maximise the return on your SEO investment?

The starting point isn’t technical, nor is it a bathtub full of random content. 

It’s mostly about how well you’ve done your marketing ‘homework’:

  • How well do you know your ideal customers and what drives them?  
  • How do they describe the benefits they are ready to give you money to deliver?
  • What are the questions they’re typing into the search engines that could bring them to your website?

With this information, we can research the right keywords and develop the best strategies to improve your rankings and get you found.

This isn’t just a numbers game – it’s also about relevance.  

The quality of the customer you will attract depends on the clarity of your value proposition and how well you talk your customer’s language.  Get this sorted and you’ll attract more of the right visitors and less of the wrong visitors (time-wasting tyre-kickers and bounces that work against your overall ranking).

Your traffic over time influences your ranking

Traffic is a Google signal – wherever it comes from.

Genuine organic traffic is less in volume but more valuable – because you’ve attracted someone who cares. It’s particularly valuable when your visitors stay and engage on your website.

Paid traffic that brings you lots of the wrong visitors who bounce will cost you. It may even negatively affect your rankings.

Your visitors are increasingly savvy – and suspicious

In the print media space, readers learned the difference between a billboard and a news article. And how to spot the advertorial “articles” that weren’t really independent content.

The online audience is more discerning now – and much more aware of implicit advertising. There are people who will read a great article – but won’t share it just because they know it’s paid.

The growth of “influencers” has an up-side. Online audiences are developing a real craving for transparency and genuine, considered, valuable content.

So go back to basics

Ask yourself  “What are the legitimate nuts and bolts of our offering?  How do we prove in multiple forms that a) it’s real and b) that it works?” 

Remember that (probably since the first cavemen swapped a stone axe for a fur blanket) people do business with people.

You can’t just push your product any more – you have to give it an authentic human face. 

Did you know that 65% of our client base who pay for SEO also do content? And they also invest in PPC. There is no silver bullet, guaranteed single answer. Test and measure and find the right combination that works for you in your market.

You can buy traffic – but not trust

You can buy influence to attract people – but to keep it you have to earn it with helpful, supportive content and clear, authentic branding. Then you need to optimise it – that way SEO crawlers have absolute clarity.  

That’s how you develop a sustainable online presence for the long term.


Listen to this Hacker Moment on Earned Influence with Ian Hopkinson, the original Digital Mad Scientist.

Why You Should Be Using Google+ in Your Business

google+,marketing campaigns with google+Google + has long been viewed by many as nothing more than a failed attempt at taking on Facebook. Failed attempt or not, there are some very powerful reasons why you should take Google+ seriously when it comes to your online marketing campaigns. When you use it right, it can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Just how powerful? Well, consider some of the facts about Google+ and judge for yourself.

Who uses Google +

  • Currently around the world there are over 500 million registered users
  • 63% are males
  • 37% are females
  • 48% of Fortune Global 100 Companies use Google+
  • 40% of marketers use Google+

Information About Google+ Users

  • 28% make at least $60,000 per year
  • 31.5% of users live in the USA
  • 42% of users are single
  • 45% of users are between the ages of 18-24

Other Facts

  • 1.5 billion photos get uploaded to Google+ every week
  • 300 million monthly active “in stream” users

If those figures do not impress you, then you are missing out on a very valuable marketing resource for your business. If you can see the potential in using Google+, then you need to take action. However, like with any marketing tool, it’s not just a matter of slapping together a profile, putting up a post or two and hope for the best. There is a methodology to making your message seen by as many users as possible.

A good place to start is to understand some of the features Google+ has.

  • Within your Google+ account, you can set up pages where you can share your photos, promotions, thoughts and links
  • You can put up posts which allows you to interact with your clients or customers and share relevant information with them
  • There are what Google calls ‘Hangouts’ where you can video chat with your customers and colleagues and get valuable face to face feedback
  • The ‘Circles’ feature allows you to connect and direct specific content to different types of customers

By sharing related videos, you can gain approximately 28% more engagement with people in your circles on Google+. One tip is that if you post on a Friday between 11am and 2pm, your posts are more likely to be read as there are more people on between those times.

To leverage Google+ for your marketing, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort. If you participate in the community, in no time at all you will notice an increase in the amount of relevant traffic being sent to your site from Google+.

The Impact of Googles Hummingbird Update

Googles Hummingbird UpdateGoogles Hummingbird UpdateAt its 15th anniversary event, Google announced an update, called “Hummingbird” to its search algorithm and informed participants that it would impact more than 90 percent of searches worldwide. Amit Singhal from Google later said it was perhaps the largest change to the algorithm since he joined the company back in 2001.

Hummingbird dramatically improves what Google call the “semantic search” and provides a greater ability for people to perform searches using normal conversational language. As the trend for conversational search becomes the norm, the “Hummingbird” update lends understanding not only to the intent but the contextual meaning of terms that are used in a query.

It appears that with Hummingbird, Google now has the ability to better answer those long-tail queries even if a certain page is not optimized for them. This means that some pages may have a better chance of being found for certain queries.

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan explained: “Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query – the whole sentence or conversation or meaning – is taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words”.

The Need to Concentrate on Quality

Google has had a tendency to bemoan poor quality sites and advocates the introduction and use of high quality content on all websites. This latest update can be seen as simply another step by the search engine giant to make sure they offer the most relevant pages in their search results.

All website owners need to make sure that their website is built on quality. This benefits not only search optimization campaigns, but also online business in general. A websites conversion will increase, average sales value will also rise and bounce rates will drop.

Your Content Marketing Campaign

With the Hummingbird update, Google is trying to ensure that the content of a website is placed front and centre. The search engine is effectively promoting those sites that have on offer a general and well-rounded approach to a particular topic. If you provide this level of content, it will help ensure the best results for your site.

Authority

It has never been a secret that Google considers the authority of a page (and even the authority of a page author), to be highly important. Authority will become even more relevant and pertinent with even greater emphasis placed on page content.

The purpose of Hummingbird is to ensure that Google delivers users to the most appropriate page of a website, whereas previously it was more likely to take visitors to the site’s home page. With this in mind, every single page should be closely targeted to the needs of your potential visitors. This not only helps improve conversion rates as part of a conversion rate optimisation plan but will also help to drive traffic to the pages of a website via Google results.

To Help Hummingbird, Social Signals Play an Important Role

The key to getting your organization or business to place high in Google search results is to make sure it is influential in many social media networks. The number of followers and likes connote social proof. This is evidence that people think what you say really matters. Believe it or not, it’s just as your mother said: there’s nothing more valuable than a spotless reputation.

The social network of choice for Hummingbird is Google+

It’s hardly surprising that Google would design its new algorithm to privilege its own social media platform, which is Google+. Hummingbird is going to place you higher in its search results if you are able to demonstrate some degree of influence in the Google network. Given this, the sensible move is to put some energy and thought into your profile(s) on Google+.

Over the next decade, we can only expect the changes heralded by Hummingbird to become even better. With each new update, we can expect that Google’s algorithms will become increasingly more intelligent when assessing the quality of content. Content is king and by having original, high-quality content on your website, along with high-quality and relevant websites linking to your website, you are giving yourself the very best chance to rank and are guaranteed good conversion rates.

If anything, Hummingbird represents an opportunity for those businesses willing to invest the resources into quality content, because your sites rankings will improve. Less professional rivals will find themselves out ranked and out classed.

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

Is Your Site Web Crawler Friendly?

The most successful online businesses and companies all have one thing in common and that is, they all know how to make search engine optimization work for them.

Search engine optimization is the art and science of making websites attractive to the   search engines. The first essential step in successfully achieving stellar search engine optimization is to lure a search engine’s web crawlers to your website. Web crawlers are computer programs that the search engines use to gather data and index information from the webpages. The information the web crawlers gather is used to determine the ranking of a webpage.

One of the fastest ways to hamper a web crawler is to construct a website that has frames. Many search engines have crawlers that can’t penetrate the frames. If they can’t get enter a webpage to read it then that webpage remains unindexed and unranked. One search engine which is Google has web crawlers that are capable of penetrating frames. Before presenting your website to a search engine do some research and find out if they have a web crawler that is incapable of penetrating  frames.

If you have written URL’s that have a whole series of random numbers and letters, it would  be worth the effort to go back and rewrite your URL’s. Ideally they should be readable, make sense to the search engines and to people reading your website. Once you have revised your URLs you might be surprised to find that the new addresses are easier on humans as well as web crawlers.

A site map page is a page that contains nothing else except links to every single page of your website. Use the title of each individual page as the link text. This will also provide you some extra keywords that will help improve the ranking the crawlers assign to your website.

Typically, the site map page won’t appear in the search results. This happens due to the fact the page doesn’t have enough text for the crawlers to give that individual page a high ranking, since after all its nothing more then a portal to the rest of your site and your human users won’t need to use it. Don’t panic if crawlers don’t instantly appear to index your website. There is a huge number of websites available on the internet that need to be crawled, indexed, and ranked. It can sometimes take up to three months for a web crawler to get to yours.

Having a site that is set out properly and made as search engine friendly as possible should be high on your list of priorities when it comes to the design of your site. Your goal is to give a web crawler from a search engine as much assistance as possible in being able to index your site so that you can, in time, achieve high rankings in the search results.

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