Tag Archives: google

Tackling Thin Content & The Battle Over Quality vs. Quantity

SEO Content Strategy: Tackling Thin Content & The Battle Over Quality vs. Quantity | CenterTable Digital AgencyHow many times have you heard someone say “you just need a blog!” to improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy? Don’t get me wrong, there’s merit to this claim – when it’s done right. Fresh, quality, original content is king. But how do we define quality? Simply aiming to hit a certain number of blog posts in the name of SEO, rather than writing robust, meaningful content on the topics that are most relevant to your users is probably not worth your effort.

What is Thin Content?

So, what is thin content? And how do we make it thick? In 2011, Google rolled out the Panda update, which assigned quality scores to web pages, aiming to reward the high-quality websites and demote the low-quality websites in search results. In 2016, those filters became part of the algorithm. Google defined thin content as pages with little or no added value, typically those that include: Read more after the jump…

What Does the Data Say?

weekly-reads-header-5

The unending flow of data within our countless digital platforms can make it easier to know what’s working and what’s not – if you know what to look for. Check out these recent case studies and new data points that can help you navigate and make sense of your digital campaign results.

Instagram 

Social Media Today: What We Learned About Instagram Story Performance by Analyzing Over 800 Accounts
Social Media Today monitored more than 800 Instagram accounts’ story analytics to determine early usage trends and best practices. Read what they’ve discovered about adoption rates, influencers and prime posting times. Read more after the jump…

My How the Job Search Scene Has Changed

I remember looking for jobs in college. I walked down the street to the Career Center on campus, pulled out a giant binder full of job postings and thumbed through them until something caught my eye. I updated my cover letter and resume from the computer lab, printed off *hard* copies of them and then either dropped them in the mail or hand-delivered them to the hiring manager.

Job Searching in the Digital Era

Since then, things have certainly changed – a lot. Entire websites dedicated exclusively to networking and job seeking, like LinkedIn, and a plethora of other job posting sites have erupted along the way. And then feeds became available that would automatically email you a notification when a job that meets your criteria pops up. Read more after the jump…

Siri Gets a Facelift

Siri - Apple Updates Its Default Search Engine Provider | CenterTable Digital Agency

Photo credit: iphonedigital

In recent years, Apple devices used either Google and Bing to provide search results for users depending on how they searched. Safari on Mac and iOS search results were powered by Google, where Siri, Search inside iOS (previously known as Spotlight) and Spotlight search results were all powered by Bing.

This week, Apple has announced a change. Google will once again be the default search engine for Siri, Search inside iOS, and Spotlight on the Mac. However, image search results from Siri will still come from Bing, for now.

“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” Apple said in a statement. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”

Given Google’s large search market share, it will be interesting to see how this change impacts trends in organic search traffic to websites.

On a related note, you may also notice Siri is little more chipper while reading those Google results today. Last week, Apple’s virtual assistant had some work done on her vocal cords to sound less robotic and more life-like.

Disasters in the Digital Age

weekly-reads-header-5

It’s hard to believe that when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 we were living in a T9-texting world without smartphones, Twitter and Instagram, and only college students could use Facebook. Since then, we’ve learned to harness technology and social media to respond to breaking news, including natural disasters. We can declare ourselves safe on Facebook, act as amateur photo journalists on Instagram and donate to charity efforts via Twitter. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma reveal that while Americans continue to demonstrate resolve and resourcefulness, the tools we use to react to natural disasters have changed.

Social Media Today: How to Use Social Media to Stay in Touch Before, During, and After a Disaster
We’re usually explaining why social media is essential to bolster marketing campaigns, but in times of crisis it’s a necessary form of communication. Be sure you are prepared by ensuring you follow key accounts on social and have a game plan, just in case. Read more after the jump…

You want video? We’ve got video.

weekly-reads-header-5

With the addition of our CenterTable Studios video production and motion graphics team you might accuse us of having video on the brain. It’s no coincidence that we’re beefing up our video capabilities while almost all the new features being rolled out this week in social media land are video-related. Projections from people who know say demand for video on digital and social platforms will continue to grow. In fact, a 2016 report says 43 percent of people surveyed wanted to see more video content from marketers.

Google

think with Google: What Brands Can Learn From Educational Content on YouTube
If you pitted grumpy cat vs. Mr. Rogers in a YouTube watch time battle, Mr. Rogers would take the prize. According to Google, education and learning videos earn 4X the watch time of animal videos. For brands, that means creating educational and entertaining content can help engage your customers. Another point of engagement, making an effort to put diverse faces on camera. Read more after the jump…

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Bing

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to BingWe recently covered how to submit your XML sitemap to Google as part of your onsite SEO efforts, so we wanted to be sure we circled back to talk about submitting that same XML sitemap to Bing, as well.

Submitting the XML sitemap is a great way to tell search engines about all the content on your website and make it quicker and easier for the search engines to find, index and return the website in search results.

Steps to Submit the XML Sitemap to Bing

  1. Jot down the URL for your website’s XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  2. Create a Bing Webmaster Toolsaccount and verify that you own the website.
  3. Once logged into your Bing Webmaster Tools account, go to Configure My Site, then Sitemaps.
  4. Paste the entire XML sitemap URL into the box. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  5. Click “Submit” and you’re done! The status will update when the sitemap has been crawled and indexed.

 

Key SEO Takeaways from SMX Advanced in Seattle

SMX Advanced Conference SEO Workshop with Google“Five years ago, you could do SEO in your sleep. Now, you have to actually be awake.” – Bruce Clay

Mobile-first index, AMP, PWAs, featured snippets, chatbots, voice search, virtual assistants… The world of SEO is changing – and changing fast. There were 1,623 Google algorithm changes in the past year alone. That’s an average of four to five updates per day.

I had a blast learning about some of these current and upcoming changes while attending the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle this week. Three days of back-to-back sessions – chock full of nothing but search, search, search. I even joked on day two that there was some hidden meaning in the fact that several of us had to search long and hard to find not only a place to sit to eat our hot lunches, but also to find silverware with which to eat them.

By the end of day three I walked away better equipped to serve GroundFloor Media’s and CenterTable’s clients and excited to for what’s to come. This conference packed quite a punch for those who work (or play) in the search marketing world – and certainly left me wanting more. But like all good things, SMX had to come to an end (until the next one anyway). Here are a few of the many takeaways from the conference:

Top Ranking Factors and Algorithm Updates

  • Top ranking factors in 2017 include more content, more images and faster speeds – and, obviously, mobile/responsiveness.
  • The more content you have, the better your chances of ranking well. Recommended page length varies by topic, ranging from 800-2,700 words per page. The most tolerated paragraph length for a user is two to three sentences.
  • Focus on getting one really good backlink rather than 10 mediocre ones. And buying links on large article sites (think Forbes) are a waste of resources from an SEO perspective.
  • Speed is crucial: 53 percent of people will bounce out of a webpage if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
  • You don’t necessarily need to have a high authority website or use schema to get a featured snippet. And if you’re in position six, it can be easier to get to position zero than position one.

Mobile is Huge

  • 60 percent of searches are conducted on mobile devices and 50 percent of website traffic comes from users on mobile devices. This trend is rapidly growing.
  • The Mobile-First Index is coming – although likely not until sometime in 2018. We need to be preparing now and responsive design is the preferred approach, otherwise you’ve got lots of work to do to get ready for the switch.
  • Hidden website content with the use of CSS will still rank in a mobile-first index, but Googlebots probably cannot see it if it’s something you have to click to see on the page, such as with JavaScript.
  • People research spontaneously on mobile so it’s a huge lost opportunity if you’re not there when they need you. However, people typically don’t complete their research or buy/convert on mobile. Desktop still matters!
  • Google’s mobile interstitial penalty was rolled out – make sure you’re compliant.
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) seem to be preferred over AMP. But you can apply AMP coding standards to your website to increase its speed.

The Latest in Local Search

  • Citations (which are online references to your business’s name, address and phone number) are the ante to play in the local SEO game. Once you’re in the game, they don’t make a big difference.
  • Although proximity is a huge factor in local search, it is not the only factor. You have to have at least decent onsite SEO in place to even make the cut to appear in the local pack. Once you make that cut, Google will then order listings by proximity.
  • Schema markup is essential for SEO success in local businesses and eCommerce sites for that matter.

Lastly, these quotes I overheard throughout the week really put SEO into perspective for us:

  • SEO is not something you do. It’s what happens when you have done everything else right.
  • Make your website so good that Google feels embarrassed if they’re NOT showing it in search results.
  • Building a website without SEO is like building a house without the wiring.
  • Over optimization is like putting on too much makeup. At some point, you don’t like it.
  • Now more people have smart phones than toilets.

 

 

Better visuals are the key to social media success

weekly-reads-header-5

You’ve probably heard that pictures are the king, or queen, of social media. But that doesn’t mean mean stock images. We’re talking infographics, and beautiful, original images. Driving people to action and helping them recall your content requires compelling visuals, unless you happen to be a sophisticated Russian hacker. Fortunately, there are a plethora of online tools to help create those visuals and new ones are always popping up.

Tools

VentureBeat: Google launches Data GIF Maker to help storytellers convey information through animations
It can take a lot of time to create infographics. Google aims to simplify the process with their new tool that creates animated GIFs with your data. The tool is meant to help you tell your data story in a more visual way. For now the types of graphs you can create are limited, but knowing Google, if it turns out to be popular they’ll add plenty more options. Read more after the jump…

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to Google

How to Submit an XML Sitemap to GoogleYou’ve poured your heart and soul into creating a new website. The design is perfect. The content flows beautifully. The graphics are stunning. Now you’ve got to get people there.

One of the simplest, and often overlooked, steps of SEO is submitting your XML sitemap to the search engines. Although the search engine bots will eventually find your site anyway, submitting an XML sitemap can help speed up the crawling and indexing processes for your website and help to improve its ability to rank well in search results.

Steps to Submit the XML Sitemap to Google

  1. Visit your website and make note of the URL of your XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
  2. Create a Google Search Console account and verify that you own the website.
  3. Once verified and logged into your Google Search Console account, go to Crawl, then Sitemaps.
  4. Click the red “Add/Text Sitemap” button then add the subfolder portion of the URL to the box. For example, sitemap.xml.
  5. Click “Submit” – and you’re done! Refresh your browser to see the sitemap is now listed. You will also be able to see if there are any errors with the sitemap you submitted.