You’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
Visit your website and make note of the URL of your XML sitemap. For example, com/sitemap.xml.
Finding your audience in search – or more so making it possible for your audience to find you – can be a bit of a moving target. This week we’ve got updates from both the paid (PPC) and organic (SEO) sides of search to keep you on your toes.
The numerous recaps of 2016 have been written, so it’s clearly time to usher in the “what will happen in 2017” articles, and we have a number of interesting insights and predictions for you this week. This is for certain: the only constant in our industry is change.
The decline of organic reach on social platforms continued in 2016. Changes in platform algorithms are making it harder and harder to get your messages in front of your followers. But fear not, says Fast Company, “The new social media order that’s taking shape in 2017 promises companies the kind of precision and measurable results long expected from traditional channels like print and broadcast.”
While the Fast Company article tells us as many as 25% of purchases are influenced by social media, this research-based article is a bit more specific, “45% of people are more likely to tell friends and family about a brand after watching a good video by that brand on social media.
Juxtaposed against organic reach, the social media and digital advertising target continues to move at a breakneck pace. The advent of live and 360 video offerings are the latest keeping advertisers on their toes…and there doesn’t seem to be any end to the constant change in sight.
Speaking of change, Google’s latest offering is connecting brands directly with YouTube personalities/influencers, leaving some influencer-related agencies wondering what their future seat at the table will look like.
What CenterTable and GroundFloor Media Blogged About This Week:
There was a lot of news coverage of “fake news” leading up to and following the recent presidential election, but after doing some digging, it became clear that fake news and fake news sites are nothing new.
And it’s not just fake news that’s getting attention. I came across a story about how a police department in Central California issued a fake news release to the media to protect a person who was sure to be killed by rival gang members. Many in the local media were highly critical of the police’s actions, but the Santa Maria police made no apologies.
In an ever-shrinking media landscape with fewer and fewer “real” media and reporters, how do you tell real from fake news? The New York Times covered this topic in an appropriately titled headline: Inside a Fake News Sausage Factory: ‘This Is All About Income’. The article covered how a computer science major from Georgia (the country), started creating fake stories about Hillary Clinton on a website he set up, and watched his Google ad sales soar as more and more people found the site. He really started making money when he began creating content about Donald Trump.
Ready or not, the time to convert to Expanded Text Ads (ETA) in Google pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is here.
Earlier this year, Google introduced ETAs, which provide more space for ad text over the standard text ads we’re used to, and they are better optimized for the mobile experience.
ETAs have been available to most advertisers for a few months now and many have already started to make the switch and see positive results. If you haven’t already tackled this project, don’t panic (yet!). Google will continue to support and run your existing ads until January 31, 2017. However, after that you will no longer be able to edit those existing standard text ads or create new ones – you will have to make the switch and create new expanded text ads moving forward. Read more after the jump…
At the risk of negatively impacting your blood pressure, there are a few things that our industry needs to figure out – not the least of which are mitigating fake news, and relying on social networks for accurate metrics. We have a couple articles that address those touchy topics this week, and a few that highlight new features within Instagram and Google that could have an impact on your business. That said, don’t forget to check out the last article to help put some things in perspective (and hopefully lower your blood pressure) as well!
Instagram continues to add features, including shopping tags that allow consumer brands to tag products in photographs with a link to purchase. In an obvious challenge to Pinterest, it will be interesting to see how much traffic Instagram will be able to drive to eCommerce sites, and how this update might change the platform’s approach to content.
No matter where you stand on politics, these past few months have sure been a roller coaster. And whether you’re currently at the high point or the low, there’s no doubt that algorithms from Google to Facebook are feeding you news and information that align closely with your personal beliefs and validating your position.
The Benefit and Challenge of Algorithms
Eli Pariser’s illustration of a filter bubble.
Algorithms aren’t new, and as communications professionals we benefit from their ability to help serve information directly to our target audiences. But as conscious consumers, algorithms can present challenges that are perhaps amplified in light of this recent election.
Interestingly, this 2011 TEDTalk by Eli Pariser, founder of Upworthy, has been circulating the Twittersphere lately and while the talk, titled “Beware online ‘filter bubbles,’” is five years old, it’s pretty incredible how little seems to have changed. Read more after the jump…
If you’re still searching for a treat-worthy costume this Halloween, Google has you covered.
Here we’ve spent all these years trying to figure out what users are searching for in the name of optimizing our websites for better search rankings.
But now we can turn all that good search data into something even more useful: A guide to the nation’s most popular costume searches online.
Frightgeist gathers data from the top 500 costume searches in the U.S. and uses Google Trends to tell you what’s hot – and what’s not.
Little Red Riding Hood, The Joker, Unicorns, Princess Jasmin and Ghostbusters are just a few of the 50 most popular costumes among recent searches.
Photo Credit: headred.net
If one of those top 50 costumes doesn’t strike your fancy, consider dressing up as one these clever SEO Halloween costumes. If you’re still looking for a costume this late in the day, then perhaps the 404 Error is the perfect fit.
With the increasing mobile adoption rates, we should all be concerned with providing a good mobile user experience. This includes the need to maintain a fast site speed.
Typically you have about three seconds to capture a users attention before they abandon your website. What happens if it takes three seconds for your site to even load? They’ll likely never even get there.
Recognizing the need for websites to load quickly, Google recently started working on an open source initiative called the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. This project gives website owners the tools to create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). These AMPs use various technical approaches to load content almost immediately, creating a faster experience for mobile users.