tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/seo Latest SEO content from Econsultancy 2016-10-27T11:46:54+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68441 2016-10-27T11:46:54+01:00 2016-10-27T11:46:54+01:00 Site speed for SEO: Why it's about more than just loading times Chris Smith <p>Being new to SEO, I had many questions, but as this was one of the first things I was told, I thought it would be best to take a keen interest in it, and try to understand exactly how your site speed effects performance.</p> <p>Cue my head exploding.</p> <p>Yes, site speed can be a difficult thing for a newbie to get to grips with, especially when you consider every possible factor – images, style-sheets, flash, scripts – the list goes on and on.</p> <p>As my knowledge of site speed grew, I began to understand that it’s more than just how fast your pages load.</p> <p>We know that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/usability-and-user-experience-digital-marketing-template-files">user experience</a> is a ranking factor. How fast (and well) a page loads will come under this, but I think we need to stretch site speed a little further than this.</p> <p>I realised that yes, there are a number of practices you can follow to make sure your site loads as quickly as possible for the user, but how they interact with your site once the page has loaded is just as important – perhaps even more significant.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0803/Pagespeed_insights.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>On site content, another <a href="http://searchengineland.com/now-know-googles-top-three-search-ranking-factors-245882">confirmed ranking factor</a>, is the best example of this.</p> <p>Yes, you can have a page that loads in less than a second, and checks off all of the boxes in Google’s <a href="https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/">PageSpeed Tools</a>, and is technically the best damn page out there, but if you’re presenting the wrong content, then what’s the point?</p> <p>If you’re ranking for a query along the lines of ‘Who is the all-time top goal scorer in the MLS?’, and your returned page is a three-hour read on the history of soccer (or football, as we call it here in the UK) with one sentence on who the top goal scorer is near then end, then you’re not really providing great user experience, which we’ve already established as an important ranking factor.</p> <p>It’s California’s own Landon Donovan, by the way.</p> <p>Now, if the above scenario really is happening (or something similar) then it’s not going to be long before search engines take notice.</p> <p>Your bounce rates will increase, users time spent on your page will be very low, and people won’t interact or share your page – it’s bad news.</p> <p>Whilst search engines might not use data straight from analytics, they’re smart enough to recognise a poor page when they see one.</p> <p>If your page isn’t useful to the users, then it’s not useful to search engines.</p> <p>Technological advancements have not only changed how we access the internet, but also how we interact with it. The more options we have for finding online content, the less time we spend looking at it, seemingly.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0804/computer_screen.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>Generation Z spend up to 25% less time on your online content, and <a href="http://www.cmo.com/features/articles/2015/6/11/15-mind-blowing-stats-about-generation-z.html">according to CMO.com</a>, by 2020 this generation will make up 40% of your market. That’s a drop in market-share that you shouldn’t ignore.</p> <p>People are becoming quicker, so to speak. They’re always in a rush, they’ve always got something to do.</p> <p>They don’t have time for the aforementioned three-hour read on the history of soccer, especially when what they were looking for could have been presented in less than a paragraph.</p> <p>This fickle generation needs instantaneous assurance that they’ve come to the right place.</p> <p>So, what can you do? What are the biggest ways of improving your site’s speed, and your visitors’ recognition of it being exactly what they are looking for?</p> <p>Below is a selection of both technical actions and content advice that can help you on your endeavours.</p> <h3>Using the right images</h3> <p>Now, this might seem very obvious and some might reply “yeah, we always use our own images” or “we always credit our image sources correctly.”</p> <p>This is great, but there’s a little more that you need to think about.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0805/images.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>Both image size and image formats can make a difference to your page load times.</p> <p>If you’re using a picture that can only be viewed at a maximum of 500x500 pixels, then don’t upload the picture as a 1000x1000 pixel image. That’s just giving your page more to think about, when it really doesn’t have to.</p> <p>Additionally, look at the type of picture you’re uploading. Is it a bright, vibrant and colourful picture? If it is, use a JPEG.</p> <p>If it’s more saturated, black and white, or even transparent, use a PNG.</p> <p>Image formats are better suited to <a href="http://1stwebdesigner.com/image-file-types/">specific picture types</a>, and this can again make a small but noticeable difference.</p> <h3>Redundant scripts and code</h3> <p>If you’re an internet user, there’s a fair chance that you’ve visited The Oatmeal’s website.</p> <p>There’s also a fair chance that you’re aware of the pterodactyl that lives in the site's <a>source code</a>. Pretty cool, huh?</p> <p>Well, as cool as it is, this will be slowing down the page load time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0806/code.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>Okay, it’s not a lot of code, so it won’t be slowing down the loading time by much, but it acts as an example of the point I’m trying to make.</p> <p>If your site doesn’t need it to function, then it shouldn't be there. It’s as simple as that.</p> <p>Style and layout sheets also fall in the same category. These need to process before the page can be rendered. If you’ve got redundant sheets on your page, then this will also be slowing down your load time.</p> <p>You can <a href="https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/service/InlineSmallResources">inline small resources</a>, if applicable of course, and this can shave off some time. But, the important thing to remember here is that if something can be minimized or cut down, then do it!</p> <h3>Understand your audience</h3> <p>Now, you’ve looked at the technical aspects of your site speed, what’s actually presented on the pages should be your priority.</p> <p>You can have a page that loads super-fast, but if it isn’t useful to the user, then they’re going straight back out of there.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0807/Users.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>A mistake that a lot of content creators make, is that they write content that they think is going to do well in the rankings. This isn’t necessarily good practice.</p> <p>People are writing content that they think the search engines want to see, when what they should be doing is writing for their audience. Knowing your audience inside out will help you do this effectively.</p> <p>Web psychologist Nathalie Nahai is a staunch supporter of this, and has much to say on the case.</p> <p><a href="http://cmxhub.com/web-psychologist-nathalie-nahai-shares-the-secrets-of-online-persuasion/">Nahai states</a> that “to succeed online you have to understand and leverage the hidden psychology of your users.”</p> <p>While this might sound obvious, it’s a really good point to make as if you don’t truly understand your users, then they’re not going to be interested in what you have to say.</p> <p>If you do have a proper understanding, then you won’t have to worry about trying to write for your audience.</p> <p>It will just come out naturally, and that is exactly what search engines want.</p> <h3>Present the right information</h3> <p>As previously mentioned, users are becoming less engaged with online content, hence they’re spending less time looking at it.</p> <p>This is usually caused by poor content targeting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0808/user_2.jpg" alt="" width="640" height="480"></p> <p>While we can say that users are more ‘fast paced’ than ever before, this doesn’t mean that your content needs to be fast as well.</p> <p>It’s the quickness of the user recognising its usefulness that is essential.</p> <p>While we have talked about not presenting a three-hour read for certain queries, that’s not to say you should avoid in-depth content.</p> <p>If the subject calls for a three-hour read, then definitely do that. But, if it calls for something snappier that is easy to digest, then create the appropriate content.</p> <p>Can you present your information in a user-friendly table instead? Would a user benefit from a list of bullet points?</p> <p>It’s about presenting the content in a way that the user needs it, not what you think looks best.</p> <h3>Putting it all together</h3> <p>Everything discussed above can find its way into all aspects of SEO.</p> <p>The ‘fast content’ idea is definitely taking off in mobile with the introduction of <a href="http://www.eqtr.com/blog/2016/04/how-will-accelerated-mobile-pages-affect-your-business/">Accelerated Mobile Pages</a> project, for example.</p> <p>Even Facebook has introduced its <a href="https://instantarticles.fb.com/">Instant Articles</a> to compete. The social network recognised that this would be a great way to present content to their users, and acted on it accordingly.</p> <p>The axiom rings true - Fast content for fast users.</p> <p>Site speed can definitely make a difference to your revenue too. A few years ago, <a href="http://www.globaldots.com/how-website-speed-affects-conversion-rates/">Walmart</a> found that for every one second that its load time improved, it registered a 2% increase in conversions.</p> <p>Those numbers might not seem that impressive, but <a href="http://fortune.com/2016/05/20/the-silver-lining-in-walmarts-slowing-e-commerce-growth/">Walmart made $13.5bn in global online sales in 2015</a>, so a 2% increase in conversions equates to a lot of money.</p> <p>You might not see improvements on a scale that large, but you will see a difference. And your users will also notice it too.</p> <p>The above might seem straight-forward, and even rudimentary to many of you.</p> <p>However, something that I’ve found in my time in SEO is that quite often, we can forget the basics. There’s a desire out there to excite.</p> <p>Many feel that impressing and standing out from the crowd with something flashy and out-there is the most effective approach.</p> <p>You’ll get no argument from me that this isn’t a good attitude to have, but don’t forget the basics, and above all don’t forget the users.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/"><em>SEO – Digital Marketing Template Files</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>Search Marketing Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/934 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 2016-10-27T10:15:00+01:00 Digital Marketing Template Files Econsultancy <h3>Overview</h3> <p><strong>Digital Marketing Template Files</strong></p> <p><strong>Authors:</strong></p> <ul> <li>James Gurd, Owner and Lead Consultant, <a title="Digital Juggler" href="http://digitaljuggler.com/">Digital Juggler</a> </li> <li>Ben Matthews, Director, <a title="Montfort" href="http://montfort.io/">Montfort</a> </li> <li>Ger Ashby, Head of Creative Services, <a title="Dotmailer" href="https://www.dotmailer.com/">Dotmailer</a> </li> <li><a title="Starcom Mediavest Group" href="http://smvgroup.com/">Starcom Mediavest Group</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.searchlaboratory.com/">Search Laboratory</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>Files available:</strong> 10 file bundles, 50+ individual template files<br></p> <p><strong>File titles:</strong> See sample document for full breakdown of section and file information.</p> <h3>About these files</h3> <p>Need help with an area of digital marketing and don't know where to start? This pack of downloadable files contains best practice templates that you can use in your digital marketing activities. Feel free to adapt them to suit your needs.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jxKmQGxspc8?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>Contents</h3> <p>In this release we have 10 template bundles containing over 50 individual template files for digital marketing projects.</p> <p><strong>Download separate file bundles below:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Affiliate Marketing</li> <li>Content Marketing</li> <li>Display Advertising </li> <li>Ecommerce Projects</li> <li>Email Marketing</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: PPC</li> <li>Search Engine Marketing: SEO</li> <li>Social Media and Online PR</li> <li>Usability and User Experience</li> <li>Web Analytics</li> </ul> <p><strong>The template files bundle also includes a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/small-business-online-resource-manager/">Small Business Online Resource Manager</a> that </strong><strong>can help you effectively manage and own your online assets.</strong></p> <p><strong>There's a free guide which you can download to find out more about exactly what is included.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-10-20T16:10:00+01:00 2016-10-20T16:10:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68432 2016-10-20T10:53:00+01:00 2016-10-20T10:53:00+01:00 Black Friday 2016: How are UK retailers optimising search landing pages? Nikki Gilliland <p>Here’s a closer look at the opportunity it presents, as well as how retailers can best capture consumer interest through organic search.</p> <h3>What happened last year?</h3> <p>Despite murmurings that consumers are becoming fed up of Black Friday madness – and some retailers like <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67109-rei-opts-out-of-black-friday-sort-of/" target="_blank">Rei even taking a stance against</a> it - last year’s figures speak for themselves. </p> <p>While online searches in the UK were down, overall sales during the Black Friday period increased by an impressive 62%.</p> <p>Likewise, overall sales in the US increased by 14.3%, and ecommerce sales are predicted to grow by 17% this year.</p> <p>So, we can certainly see that Black Friday still presents a mammoth opportunity for retailers – the key is knowing how to seize it.</p> <h3>Identifying opportunities for organic search</h3> <p>The below chart, taken from a Black Friday report by <a href="https://www.pi-datametrics.com/insights/black-friday-2016-market-performance-report/" target="_blank">PI Datametrics</a>, highlights the most valuable search terms from November 2015.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0504/UK_organic_search.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="492"></p> <p>While ‘Black Friday’ has the biggest search volume, it is only the fourth most valuable in the list in terms of 'Organic Value'.</p> <p>Organic value is a benchmark created by Pi Datametrics. It's worked out as 'search volume X CPC X PPC competition' of a search term or group of search terms</p> <p>On the other hand, we can see phrases that include the word ‘deals’ have greater potential for conversion, proving that it is worth optimising keywords based on this trend.</p> <p>In fact, November is now the primary month for searches around ‘deals’, even overtaking words like ‘cheap’ when used in conjunction with products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0505/Cheap_and_Deal_searches.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="485"></p> <h3>A missed opportunity for the UK</h3> <p>Interestingly, PI Datametrics has reported how US brands are dominating UK search results, showing how UK retailers are failing to optimise as well as their American counterparts.</p> <p>For the term ‘Black Friday’, five out of the top 10 sites in Google UK are US-based, with Target appearing for a variety of terms including ‘best black Friday deals’ and ‘black Friday bargains’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0543/UK_black_friday_search_results.png" alt="" width="800" height="435"></p> <p>Again, this points to a need for greater optimisation, with many UK retailers failing to research crucial trends and keywords to give themselves an edge.</p> <p>Meanwhile, US brands also appear to be making the most of data to re-target bargain-hungry consumers all year round.</p> <h3>The best UK perfomers</h3> <p>So, which brands are performing the best in terms of visibility in the UK?</p> <p>Undoubtedly, Argos is head and shoulders above the rest, with a 53% share of the most valuable search terms across positions 1 to 10. </p> <p>Likewise, it is also a consistent performer, ranking on page one for the term ‘Black Friday Deals’ all year round as opposed to during seasonal times only.</p> <p>One of the main reasons for this is that it has a well-optimised long-term landing page, enabling it to capitalise on search interest before and after the event.</p> <p>Moreover, this also allows it to build authority and consumer trust over time.</p> <p>Here’s a closer look at Argos, as well as a few other examples of good (and mediocre) landing pages.</p> <h4>Argos</h4> <p>With its long-term page, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67422-how-argos-models-ppc-on-tv-weather-seasonality/" target="_blank">Argos is a great example</a> of how to optimise for a seasonal event. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0496/Argos_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="599"></p> <p>As well as a prominent header, it also includes the repetiton of keywords combined with natural copy and useful information based around the event.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0498/Argos_black_friday_2.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <h4>Debenhams</h4> <p>Debenhams is another good example, capitalising on interest in this year's event as early as possible.</p> <p>While it's not the most attractive, it includes repetition of the core phrase, as well as keywords relating to Cyber Monday and Christmas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0500/Debenhams_Black_Friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="745"></p> <h4>Amazon</h4> <p>Amazon's landing page aims to take advantage of the user's interest in Black Friday by promoting current deals and discounts.</p> <p>It's a fairly dull page compared to the others on this list, but it includes similar information about why Black Friday and Cyber Monday exist.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0502/Black_Friday_Amazon.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="404"></p> <h4>Very</h4> <p>Very's landing page has a great design, and includes a few impressive stats from 2015. Will consumers find this data particularly interesting though?</p> <p>It could perhaps do with a more prominent mention of Black Friday 2016 to reassure customers that more deals are just round the corner.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0499/Very_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="759"></p> <h3>John Lewis</h3> <p>Finally, John Lewis raises the question of whether Black Friday should be based around big ticket items only.</p> <p>It is a well-optimised page, including informative content and regular mentions of Black Friday search terms.</p> <p>However, the URL comes under the 'electricals' category, meaning it shuts out interest relating to clothing and homeware.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0503/Black_Friday_John_Lewis.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="807"></p> <p>John Lewis traditionally puts a big focus on Christmas retail, and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67161-is-john-lewis-playing-with-fire-with-its-annual-christmas-advert/">its festive TV ads are always much-anticipated</a>.</p> <p>Equally slashing prices wouldn’t really fit with its brand image, so it could be that the retailer prefers to take a low key approach to Black Friday.</p> <h3>Key points</h3> <p>Brands that want to make the most of the organic search opportunity in the lead up to Black Friday should follow a few simple rules:</p> <ul> <li>Create an ever-green landing page and keep it updated.</li> <li>Focus on a variation of keywords including 'deals' and 'bargains' to capture year-round interest.</li> <li>Black Friday isn't prime time for every retailer - consider whether it is worth investing more in other seasonal events like Christmas or Halloween.</li> </ul> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy's range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">search marketing training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68397 2016-10-13T14:27:05+01:00 2016-10-13T14:27:05+01:00 If search marketers can't predict which pages will outrank each other, is SEO just a crapshoot? Patricio Robles <p>In the UK SERPs, respondents' accuracy in selecting the higher-ranked page was just 46%.</p> <p>It was higher in the US by about 10%, but for many search terms, accuracy was frequently in the 40% range.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0073/57ef16f0e9ee17.03715738.png" alt="" width="503" height="311"></p> <p>Since the survey included respondents with varying levels of SEO expertise, as well as laypeople, one might expect those with more knowledge to have better predictive capabilities.</p> <p>But that wasn't really the case.</p> <p>For example, for UK SERPs, while SEOs with three or more years of experience did perform better than laypeople and SEOs with under three years of experience, their accuracy was still equal to that of a coin-flip.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/0072/57ef16f17489b5.52075022.png" alt="" width="469" height="290"></p> <p>What's more, those who indicated that they were "sure" or "fairly sure" about their predictions were less likely to accurately predict which page outranked another for a particular search phrase by nearly 4%, and only slightly more likely to outpredict those who guessed. </p> <h3>Blame the Penguin?</h3> <p>While these numbers will provide ammunition to SEO skeptics, and might even give companies some pause about their own SEO efforts, it's also reasonable to look at these numbers as evidence of just how complex Google's algorithm is to decipher today.</p> <p>Google's core algorithm now consists of over 200 unique signals that can affect rankings.</p> <p>And with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68337-the-10-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-penguin-4-0/">Penguin 4.0</a>, Google has not only integrated one of its most important spam-detection algorithms into its core, it is refreshing Penguin's data in real-time, "so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page."</p> <p>That means SERPs can change very, very quickly, and frequently.</p> <p>Throw in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/5406-personalized-search-a-boon-to-multichannel-marketers/">personalized search</a> and it's really no surprise that even experienced SEOs can't accurately predict whether one page will outrank another.</p> <h3>The future of SEO</h3> <p>And that really isn't what legitimate SEO is. Given the complexity of Google's algorithm today, an SEO's worth today comes down to two core capabilities: </p> <ul> <li> <strong>Being able to identify and fix problems known to be detrimental to rankings.</strong> While it might be nearly impossible to predict exactly what will produce a top ranking for any specific search query, there are numerous well-established mistakes that, when present on a site, can harm rankings.</li> <li> <strong>Monitor and analyze data to suggest and implement improvements that might produce ranking improvements.</strong> There is no science for achieving top results, but a good SEO is capable of analyzing data and making changes over time designed to produce better results and respond to negative changes.</li> </ul> <p> In other words, companies should expect SEO to help them avoid the big no-nos and engage in educated, data-driven iterative experimentation to try to boost results.</p> <p><em>To learn more, check out these resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>Search marketing training courses.</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/search-engine-marketing-seo-digital-marketing-template-files/"><em>Search Engine Marketing: SEO – Digital Marketing Template Files.</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68337 2016-09-28T11:21:30+01:00 2016-09-28T11:21:30+01:00 The 10 things you need to know about Google Penguin 4.0 Patricio Robles <p>Here are the top 10 things you need to know.</p> <h3>1. Penguin is all about spam</h3> <p>As a refresher, Google's Penguin algorithm is designed to identify spammy sites that slip through Google's other filters.</p> <p>It was first launched in 2012, and the last update was rolled out in October 2014.</p> <h3>2. It's real-time</h3> <p>As Gary Illyes of Google's Search Ranking Team explained:</p> <blockquote> <p>Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time.</p> <p>Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google's algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed.</p> <p>With this change, Penguin's data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. </p> </blockquote> <p>This is probably good news for sites that get hit by Penguin, as they won't need to wait for an update for the chance to make changes and recover.</p> <h3>3. It's granular</h3> <p>According to Illyes: "Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site."</p> <p>What does this mean in practical terms? That isn't so clear. </p> <p>Search Engine Land's Barry Schwartz asked Google for clarification, and based on the company's response, <a href="http://searchengineland.com/google-updates-penguin-says-now-real-time-part-core-algorithm-259302">says</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Our best interpretation... is that Penguin might impact specific pages on a site, or it might impact sections or wide swaths of a site, while other pages are fine.</p> </blockquote> <h3>4. It's in all languages and countries</h3> <p>Nobody escapes the Penguin.</p> <h3>5. It's part of the core Google algorithm now</h3> <p>Until now, Penguin has been its own entity.</p> <p>With Penguin 4.0, Google says that "Penguin is now part of our core algorithm," which it notes consists of more than 200 other unique signals that can affect rankings.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/9642/penguin.jpg" alt="" width="670" height="440"></p> <h3>6. There will be no more announcements of Penguin updates</h3> <p>Now that it's part of the core algorithm and will work in real-time, Google says that it will no longer comment on future Penguin refreshes.</p> <h3>7. The effects probably won't be seen immediately</h3> <p>It's not known whether the new Penguin code has been rolled out to all of Google's data centers.</p> <p>But even if it has, it could take time before the effects are seen given that there are almost certainly many URLs that will need to be recrawled.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/dawnieando">@dawnieando</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/rustybrick">@rustybrick</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/Marie_Haynes">@Marie_Haynes</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/dr_pete">@dr_pete</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu">@JohnMu</a> yup, that one</p> — Gary Illyes (@methode) <a href="https://twitter.com/methode/status/779320657762856961">September 23, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>8. It will be difficult to identify Penguin's fingerprints</h3> <p>Because of Penguin's real-time nature, it will be increasingly difficult to identify whether ranking changes can be attributed to Penguin refreshes.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/512banque">@512banque</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/methode">@methode</a> Given the way these things roll out, I'd say "good luck" -- I don't think that's easily possible, lots of things overlap</p> — John Mueller (@JohnMu) <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/780153459358203907">September 25, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>9. Google's old advice stays the same</h3> <p><a href="http://www.thesempost.com/google-launches-real-time-penguin-40/">According to</a> TheSEMPost's Jennifer Slegg, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the company has not changed its linking guidelines, and despite rumors to the contrary, has also not changed its recommendation for using disavows.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/glenngabe">@glenngabe</a> OK, clearer: no change on using the disavow file. Use it thoughtfully, as always.</p> — John Mueller (@JohnMu) <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnMu/status/779304742929465344">September 23, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>10. Google still wants you to focus on content quality, not SEO</h3> <p>Google's Illyes closed the announcement of Penguin 4.0 with a reminder...</p> <blockquote> <p>The web has significantly changed over the years, but as we said in our original post, webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites.</p> </blockquote> <p>While this almost certainly won't put an end to the art and science we call SEO, updates like Penguin 4.0, coupled with the vast number of signals Google incorporates into its algorithm, mean that companies looking to earn and maintain top rankings can't ignore the forest for the trees.</p> <p>As TheSEMPost's Slegg notes, it's even possible that sites penalized by the last Penguin update two years ago that thought they cleaned up their act won't see the recovery they hoped for.</p> <p>As she observed: "A few years back, some ways of building links were seen as fine, while today they are definitely viewed as problematic.</p> <p>"And some of the sites that previously had high quality links two years ago could be a low quality site today, if the site was abandoned or the site changed owners." </p> <p><em><strong>For more on this topic, check out our international range of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/">SEO Training Courses</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68272 2016-09-08T09:58:00+01:00 2016-09-08T09:58:00+01:00 Local search experiences: The good, the bad and the ugly Ben Davis <p>David Whatley of <a href="http://mishoplocal.co.uk/">MiShop.local</a> talked at BrightonSEO about Google local listings as the join between retail and search.</p> <p>Those with healthy local listings are those that likely have organisation integration between retail and digital.</p> <p>Let's contrast a great Google Places experience with some not so good ones, using David's examples.</p> <h3>Schuh - an excellent local search experience</h3> <p>Schuh's Places listings are all in order, as you'd expect, including link to website, opening hours and phone number. </p> <p>Note I can also click through to the Places listing for the shopping centre the store is located in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8854/IMG_3129.PNG" alt="schuh google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8853/IMG_3130.PNG" alt="schuh google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8855/IMG_3131.PNG" alt="schuh google places" width="200"></p> <p>When I click through to the website, I am sent to a store-specific URL (/stores/machester-market-street). </p> <p>It is mobile optimised, but for clarity I'm including the desktop screenshot here.</p> <p>Things to note:</p> <ul> <li>Location-specific stock check.</li> <li>Location-specific content in schema (reviews of this particular store are included and picked up in Google Places).</li> <li>Address, phone number and opening times consistent with Google Places. </li> <li>Local content.</li> <li>Mobile optimised site.</li> <li>Store specific page.</li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.schuh.co.uk/stores/manchester-market-street/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8856/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.24.10.png" alt="schuh store page" width="615" height="458"></a></p> <h3>William Hill - a poor local search experience</h3> <p>As you can see from the screenshots below, lots of stores seem to lack Google Places listings.</p> <p>Those that are listed have no opening times, branding or information.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8859/IMG_3132.PNG" alt="william hill google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8857/IMG_3133.PNG" alt="william hill google places" width="200"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8858/IMG_3134.PNG" alt="william hill google places" width="200"></p> <p>It gets worse once you click through to the linked websites.</p> <p>The Places link takes me to the William Hill homepage, not to a store specific page.</p> <p>On desktop, store information is hard to find (see below) and there is no store information <em>at all</em> on William Hill's mobile site.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8860/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.48.42.png" alt="william hill homepage" width="615" height="315"></p> <p>Once I have clicked the stores link on the William Hill homepage I'm taken to an entirely separate website.</p> <p>Here, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65622-store-locator-tools-which-retailers-offer-the-best-mobile-ux/">store finder</a> makes you start again and input your location, even though William Hill should know you have clicked through from a Places listing.</p> <p><a href="http://shoplocator.williamhill/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8862/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.55.39.png" alt="william hill shop locator" width="615" height="289"></a></p> <p>Finally I get the information I need.</p> <p>It's obvious that William Hill's digital team is not working with its shop team.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8863/Screen_Shot_2016-09-07_at_10.57.17.png" alt="william hill store locator" width="615" height="425"></p> <h3>Other local search experiences that can be improved</h3> <p>Pets At Home's Google Places listings link through to a website that isn't mobile optimised.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8870/IMG_3135.PNG" alt="pets at home google places" width="300" height="533">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8871/IMG_3136.PNG" alt="pets at home store locator" width="300"></p> <p>Debenhams' Places listings link to a store finder that doesn't sit on the Debenhams website (even though it does have one here).</p> <p>Nor is the store finder mobile optimised.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8868/IMG_3137.PNG" alt="debenhams google places" width="300" height="532">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8869/IMG_3138.PNG" alt="debenhams store finder" width="300" height="533">  </p> <h3>What have we learned?</h3> <ul> <li>Google Places can be the link between retail and search.</li> <li>Listings need to be properly formatted - consistent name, address, phone number.</li> <li>Good photos, logos and keywords should be included in Places listings.</li> <li>Places listings should link to store specific web pages on your main mobile optimised site.</li> <li>These webpages should include local schema, including reviews.</li> <li>Store web pages can enhance the experience by providing local stock check, click and collect info, and content.</li> </ul> <p><em>More on local search:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64925-what-is-local-seo-and-why-do-you-need-it/">What is local SEO and why do you need it?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64164-local-seo-best-practice-dos-and-don-ts/">Local SEO best practice: dos and don'ts</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67882-what-do-google-s-expanded-text-local-search-ads-mean-for-marketers/">What do Google's expanded text &amp; local search ads mean for marketers?</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68226 2016-09-07T11:27:39+01:00 2016-09-07T11:27:39+01:00 23 mobile UX mistakes that Google doesn't like Ben Davis <p>The information is taken from a variety of Google resources and includes both factors that Google has explicitly stated could be detrimental to search performance, and other factors for which the same could be implied (e.g. from Google's developer guides).</p> <p>Of course, many factors are used to judge page quality and ultimately if Google judges a page to have the best quality content, it may survive these UX errors.</p> <p>So, on we go...</p> <h3>1. Slow-loading pages</h3> <p>For some time, speed has been acknowledged as crucial for mobile search performance, with Google providing its Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights tool to help developers understand where they can improve.</p> <p>Minifying code, <a href="https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/media/images/optimize-images-for-performance?hl=en">reducing image weight</a> and asyncronously loading Javascript are all common suggestions for reducing load time of pages.</p> <p>Of course, Google's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67567-four-things-you-need-to-know-about-google-accelerated-mobile-pages-amp/">Accelerated Mobile Pages</a> (AMP) project is the latest innovation designed to reduce load times even further. In May of this year, <a href="http://searchengineland.com/google-amp-reached-125-million-documents-expanding-apps-recipe-sites-250059">it was reported</a> that 125m+ documents had been indexed, across 640,000+ domains.</p> <p>Adoption of AMP is increasing rapidly though 2016 among publishers, and is now starting to spread to ecommerce.</p> <p>Whilst trackable buttons and other featues haven't yet been mastered within the format, <a href="http://www.ebaytechblog.com/2016/06/30/browse-ebay-with-style-and-speed/">eBay is making progress</a>, with 8m browse nodes currently live.</p> <p>Eventually, the pureplay retailer wants to use AMP to help improve its site search functionality, as well as interactive elements.</p> <p><em>An AMP eBay browse page.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8524/Screen_Shot_2016-08-29_at_19.29.39.png" alt="ebay amp page" width="400"></p> <p>The benefits of AMP can be seen in the numbers.</p> <p>John Shehata of Searchmetrics told Search Engine Land that amongst his clients "AMP is about 5% of total traffic (9% of total mobile traffic), 3% of total impressions, +2% in CTR and +5.6% in ranking position.”</p> <h3>2. Large popups</h3> <p>Google has made <a href="http://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/08/helping-users-easily-access-content-on.html">its position on mobile interstitials</a> clear. As of January 2017, sites 'where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.'</p> <p>Popups are one such example of this content. Google defines them thus:</p> <blockquote> <p>Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.</p> </blockquote> <p>In the blog post announcing its position, Google states that banners will be deemed permissible providing they 'use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible' - app install banners for example.</p> <h3>3. Standalone interstitials</h3> <p>In the same blog post, Google also cites 'standalone interstitials that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.'</p> <p>The illustration below shows how these interstitials typically appear.</p> <p>Again, there are exceptions - legal obligations (such as cookie consent) or login dialogues (for private content) often necessitate an interstitial.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8543/Screen_Shot_2016-08-26_at_09.56.40.png" alt="interstitials" width="550"></p> <h3>4. Main content below the fold</h3> <p>Not an interstitial per se, but the use of a layout which relegates the main content below the fold is also a no-no.</p> <p>This is often designed for the same purpose as an interstitial, to encourage signup for something ahead of the main website proposition.</p> <h3>5. Low ratio of main content to supplementary content</h3> <p>Sticking to the subject of so-called 'main content', we can refer to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67412-12-practical-content-tips-from-google-s-page-quality-guidelines/">Google's Quality Rater Guidelines</a> for some general advice on sensible web page layout.</p> <p>Google's guidelines use the analogy of a bad student, who may fill their work with distracting pictures, in order to disguise its lack of content.</p> <p>Similarly, having an appropriate ratio of main content to supplementary content to ads is important for web pages to be seen as high quality.</p> <h3>6. Video elements overflowing their containers</h3> <p>Video dimensions can be controlled with JavaScript or CSS.</p> <p>Element size dependent on viewport dimensions can be specified in CSS, with 'max-width: 100%' ensuring no overflow.</p> <p>If video elements do overflow their containers, users won't be able to see all of the video.</p> <h3>7. Waffle</h3> <p>Text on web and mobile in particular should be goal-oriented, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66120-12-handy-tips-for-writing-better-web-copy/">should get to the point</a> and be written in the active voice.</p> <p>In addition, imagery can often be used to increase readability.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66833-is-user-experience-important-for-a-higher-google-ranking/">A Searchmetrics study</a> from 2015 reported websites that rank in the top 30 use around 25% more images in their landing pages than in 2014.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0006/6311/ux_images-blog-flyer.png" alt="images and ranking" width="470" height="266"></p> <h3>8. Long and complicated menus</h3> <p>Keep them short and sweet is <a href="https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/getting-started/principles/site-and-page-navigation?hl=en">Google's developer advice</a> for mobile.</p> <p>Using as few options as will make navigation quick and easy.</p> <h3>9. No easy route back to homepage</h3> <p>A long-standing convention of web design is a logo in the top left that links back to the homepage.</p> <p>Without this, mobile users in particular will be frustrated.</p> <h3>10. Site search tucked away</h3> <p>Yet more advice from Google's mobile developers fundamentals.</p> <p>Site search, especially in ecommerce, is always visible on desktop homepages. </p> <p>On mobile, site search may be even more important, as smaller screen real-estate means navigation can involve more clicks, scrolling and page loads, which users will seek to avoid with site search.</p> <p>Therefore, site search should be visible on the mobile homepage, not located within a menu.</p> <h3>11. Unhelpful site search</h3> <p>Once users have located the site search function, it should provide them with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66658-24-best-practice-tips-for-ecommerce-site-search/">relevant search results</a>.</p> <p>Autocomplete, spelling correction and intelligent suggestions (as illustrated by Google below) are all advantageous.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8545/Screen_Shot_2016-08-30_at_10.01.33.png" alt="site search" width="615" height="505"></p> <h3>12. Hidden content</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64823-the-five-golden-rules-of-responsive-web-design/">Responsive design</a> should not lead to completely hidden content.</p> <p>Users should be able to find your content, even if it is deemed low priority on mobile.</p> <h3>13. Launching new windows</h3> <p>Flitting between mobile browser windows isn't something that all mobile users are comfortable with.</p> <p>Launching new windows should be avoided where possible. </p> <h3>14. Lack of filters</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68222-ecommerce-product-filters-best-practice-tips-for-a-great-ux/">Filters are needed</a>, not just in ecommerce, to help mobile users refine results and speed navigation.</p> <p>Other UX features can improve filters, such as numbers to show how many products/articles (etc.) each filter will return.</p> <h3>15. Upfront registration required</h3> <p>Being forced to register at checkout, instead of being allowed to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65457-be-our-guest-a-guide-to-ecommerce-guest-checkout-best-practice/">continue as a guest</a>, is even more annoying on mobile than desktop.</p> <p>Offering guest checkouts the chance to register at the end of their purchase may increase conversion.</p> <h3>17. Incorrect input types</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">On the subject of forms, Google has a handy guide to <a href="https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/design-and-ui/input/forms/choose-the-best-input-type">HTML5 input types</a>.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Getting these wrong causes unnecessary extra clicks for users.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><em>The email input type, with its easy-to-access @ key.</em></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8552/email.png" alt="email input" width="450" height="338"></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Other boons for the user when filling out forms include real-time validation, letting you know if an error occurs before submitting and committing to a page load.</p> <h3>17. Repeated form interactions</h3> <p>Auto-fill is perhaps the most blessed UX feature of all. The relief a user feels when they only have to enter certain information once, then see it pulled through to other parts of the form is palpable.</p> <p>Amazon exemplifies a retailer committed to minimising repeated interaction.</p> <h3>18. Difficulty sharing</h3> <p>Copying and pasting URLs, then sending emails or composing social posts is a lengthier process on mobile compared with desktop.</p> <p>Therefore, websites should make use of share and email buttons. Ecommerce, for example, will find this encourages word of mouth online. </p> <h3>19. Faulty redirects</h3> <p>If you have a mobile website using different URLs to desktop, there should be accurate redirects in place.</p> <p>For example, when a user clicks a desktop link in an email on their phone, they should be redirected to the correct mobile URL.</p> <p>If a redirect is faulty and serves the homepage, for example, this is a particularly frustrating experience.</p> <h3>20 &amp; 21. Zooming and mis-tapping</h3> <p><a href="https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/11/helping-users-find-mobile-friendly-pages.html">In November 2014</a>, Google introduced a 'mobile friendly' label into mobile search results, to 'help users find pages where the text and content was readable without zooming and the tap targets were appropriately spaced'.</p> <p>This label has recently been removed from mobile search results, as Google has announced that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria.</p> <p>However, the other 15% will be acutely aware that until they implement a mobile optimised or responsive design, search performance will suffer.</p> <h3>22. Unfriendly software</h3> <p>Some content will be unviewable on mobile. Flash is the most oft-cited software, as it is not broadly supported on mobile.</p> <h3>23. Typos and bad grammar </h3> <p>Though this is a general complaint, not specific to mobile, it is one which Google's Quality Rater guidelines highlight.</p> <p>That means poor editing could be a contributing factor to poor search performance.</p> <p><em>That's enough to get the list started. What other UX bugbears do you have on mobile?</em></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68187 2016-08-30T14:35:43+01:00 2016-08-30T14:35:43+01:00 A handy six-month website migration plan Kumail Hemani <p>Site migrations come with a lot of risks which can potentially cause your business to lose revenue while the problem is fixed.</p> <p>Common problems include:</p> <ul> <li>Loss of current traffic.</li> <li>Page errors (404's).</li> <li>Drop in search rankings.</li> </ul> <p>I've been involved in several critical site migrations of large scale websites.</p> <p>We recently worked on a university website and as per their requirements we had to provide a month-on-month action plan that we would perform while they developed the website.</p> <p>In this post I will provide you with the migration plan as a downloadable Excel document and explain how you can create a successful site migration plan with a monthly task list.</p> <h3><strong>Brief</strong></h3> <p>Our client was focused on creating a fresh website with a new design and CMS that was expected to go live in six months.</p> <p>So, we created a six-month plan that was divided it into pre- and post-migration according to:</p> <ol> <li>User experience</li> <li>Strong infrastructure (technical SEO)</li> <li>Same URLs for new webpages and images (or redirection plan) - URL Structure</li> <li>Navigation menu links </li> <li>Removal of old pages</li> <li>Quality check for the addition of new pages</li> <li>Current keywords ranking</li> <li>Structured Data</li> <li>Source code</li> <li>Page speed</li> <li>Robots.txt</li> </ol> <h3>Pre-migration</h3> <p>Here I'll cover off several of the most important pre-migration tasks.</p> <h4>1. User experience</h4> <p>User behavior depends on the website design and how it enables the user to interact with any calls-to-action.</p> <p>The obvious rule of thumb is that better designed websites convert more, so you need to make sure that the new website improves the conversion rate and doesn’t frustrate any current or potential future customers.</p> <p>On this topic, here are some interesting reads about user experience: </p> <ul> <li> <a href="http://www.digital-tonic.co.uk/digital-tonic-blog/the-risk-of-redesigning-your-website/">The risk of redesigning your website</a> – Digital Tonic</li> <li> <a href="http://conversionsciences.com/blog/this-website-redesign-got-250-more-leads-before-it-was-finished/">Website redesign got 250% more leads before it was finished</a> – Brian Massey</li> <li> <a href="http://www.kumailhemani.com/5-website-usability-testing-tips/">Five Website Usability Testing Tips – Why Should You Care About Them?</a> – Kumail Hemani</li> </ul> <h4>2. Page removal</h4> <p>Page removal is often one of the reasons why site migrations don’t meet their objectives.</p> <p>This can happen while re-structuring and re-designing websites. For example, the organization might remove or change the URLs of some of the important, high-ranking pages.</p> <p>To make sure this doesn’t happen during your site migration, you need to create a list of the top 500–1,000 pages (depending on the size of your website) which were getting the most traffic.</p> <p>Then double-check if they are present on the current website using Google Analytics or any other web analytics tools you are using.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8574/pages-removal-analytics.png" alt="" width="149" height="283"></p> <p>If the site owner decides to remove any pages, make sure to implement 301 redirects on these pages to the most relevant content pages.</p> <h4>3. Adding new pages</h4> <p>When revamping a website, the site owner often wants to add new pages.</p> <p>Create a list of newly added pages and carry out the below quality checks: </p> <ul> <li>Pages don’t contain thin content.</li> <li>Title &amp; meta data is up to date.</li> <li>Page load time matches the other website pages. Ideally you want it to be below one second.</li> <li>Webpage layout and content alignment.</li> </ul> <h4>4. Strong infrastructure (technical SEO)</h4> <p>Technical SEO is vitally important for achieving high rankings, so you must ensure the new site adheres to Google's guidelines.</p> <p>These resources will give you all the advice you need in this regard:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64056-19-technical-seo-considerations-you-should-look-at-today/">19 technical SEO considerations you should look at today</a> – Kumail Hemani</li> <li> <a href="http://www.caliber.ae/Site_Migration_Plan.xlsx">Site Migration Checklist for Developers and SEOs</a> - Kumail Hemani</li> </ul> <h4>5. URL Structure</h4> <p>URL structure is a tricky subject. To migrate your website successfully you can either follow the old URL structure or create redirects to sustain the previous traffic.</p> <p>Different CMS platforms develop their own URL structure which sometimes can’t be controlled.</p> <p>If your URLs are dynamic or you cannot follow the old URL structure, you can use 301 redirects to the new page URLs.</p> <p>There are three main URL types on the website that could affect the website traffic after migration.</p> <p>We have similar advice for all of them - either follow the old URL structure or 301 redirect the old URL to the new URLs. This should apply on the following type of URLs:</p> <ul> <li>Page URLs</li> <li>Image URLs</li> <li>Attachment URLs</li> </ul> <h4>6. Page speed </h4> <p>Page speed has become one of the major ranking factors on Google. New websites often include large images that can impact negatively on the overall page speed.</p> <p>According to Kiss Metrics, "If an ecommerce site is making $100,000 per day, a one-second page delay could potentially cost $2.5m in lost sales every year."</p> <p>Before you begin the migration, analyze the page load times for the site and try to identify some quick wins to optimize page speed (e.g. resizing images).</p> <p>Compare the pre- and post-migration load times. Ideally you want the new site to be as fast as the old site, if not faster.</p> <h4>7. HTML structure</h4> <p>Although source code optimization (HTML structure) comes under page speed optimization, we want to cover this separately to give it the attention it deserves. </p> <p>Even if your page load time is fast, having good HTML structure allows Google to crawl your entire page quicker.</p> <p>For this you need to make sure that:</p> <ul> <li>All hard-coded JavaScript and CSS should be covered in separate .js and .css files.</li> <li>Ajax scripting is used on the internal pages.</li> <li>Wireframes are not used on the overall website.</li> <li>Navigation menu links are structured as the proper hierarchy level.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8563/hard-coded_JS.png" alt="" width="526" height="508"></p> <p><em>Ref: Hard-coded JS and CSS. Image Producer: <a href="http://www.caliber.ae/">Caliber Dubai</a></em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/8564/navigation_menu.png" alt="" width="442" height="229"></p> <p><em>Ref: Nav-gation menu links. Image Source: <a href="https://blog.kissmetrics.com/site-structure-enhance-seo/">KissMetrics</a></em></p> <h4>8. Current Google rankings</h4> <p>To ensure that hard-fought Google rankings are not lost after the site migration, you need to track all keyword rankings before you push your website live to re-check the performance.</p> <p>It's unlikely that everything will remain completely stable during a site migration, but a major drop off should be cause for concern.</p> <h4>9. Google Analytics tracking on overall website</h4> <p>Ensure that you have Google Analytics or other traffic tracking code placed on your site.</p> <p>This is usually done on the last day before going live.</p> <h4>10. Robots.txt management</h4> <p>Robots.txt should be handled carefully. Minor mistakes can mean that pages aren't indexed correctly in Google.</p> <p>You can encounter massive loss in traffic if you make any unnecessary additions.</p> <p>You can read up about this important topic here:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://varvy.com/robottxt.html" target="_blank">Guide to the robots.txt file</a></li> </ul> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>I hope you enjoyed the article and found this brief overview useful.</p> <p>Please feel free to download the month-on-month site migration plan, <a href="http://www.caliber.ae/Site_Migration_Plan.xlsx">here</a>.</p> <p>Good luck with your site migration!</p> <p><em>And for more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s range of SEO resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide/"><em>SEO Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/search-marketing/"><em>SEO Marketing Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68214 2016-08-24T14:41:52+01:00 2016-08-24T14:41:52+01:00 40% of banks in the US have registered a .bank domain Patricio Robles <p>Only verified banks and savings associations are permitted to register .bank domains, and registrants are required to adhere to "enhanced security" requirements, such as the use of strong encryption.</p> <h3><strong>So how is .bank doing?</strong></h3> <p><a href="http://www.bna.com/banks-flock-newbank-n73014446420/">According to</a> Bloomberg Law, 2,883 banks have registered nearly 6,000 .bank domains since the gTLD went live in mid-2015. </p> <p>fTLD Registry Services' Craig Schwartz says that that amounts to "a slightly better than 40% market penetration of banks that have bought .bank domain names" in the US.</p> <h3>Adoption versus use</h3> <p>Schwartz says that of the banks that have registered .bank domains, "a couple of hundred" have actually migrated to use a .bank domain.</p> <p>One such bank is Lead Bank, a three-branch bank located in Missouri, which migrated its website from leadbankonline.com to <a href="https://www.lead.bank/">lead.bank</a>.</p> <p>Lead Bank's marketing director, Melissa Beltrame, explained the rationale to Bloomberg Law's Paul Shukovsky:</p> <blockquote> <p>.bank allows differentiation of the bank from a branding perspective, a strategic perspective and a technology perspective. It’s the market perception that community banks lag and have less technology than national banks.</p> <p>It’s to our advantage to adopt .bank, which helps us to start changing that perception.</p> </blockquote> <p>Beltrame indicated that there were concerns about the effects the migration might have on the bank's brand equity, but that "clients understood why we were making the migration and came right along with that."</p> <p>She did not comment on any SEO effects.</p> <p>Despite the fact banks have been slow to put .bank domains into real-world use, fTLD Registry Services' Schwartz is confident that other banks will follow Lead Bank's lead and believes 2017 will be a "tipping point."</p> <p>In an effort to speed the process, Schwartz says his organization is working with banks to assist them with migration plans. </p> <h3>Low recognition of new TLDs a challenge despite security concerns</h3> <p>With hacking and identity theft on the rise, the security value proposition of the .bank gTLD is obvious.</p> <p>But banks considering a switch from .com to .bank will have to contend with comparatively low recognition of new gTLDs.</p> <p>While recognition is up in 2016 versus <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66557-new-top-level-domains-struggle-for-recognition/">2015</a>, awareness in North America is still well under 50% <a href="https://www.icann.org/news/announcement-2-2016-06-23-en">according to ICANN's latest study</a>, a far cry from the 95% awareness of .com. </p> <p>What's more, despite increased awareness, reported visits to new gTLDs have actually declined in the past year.</p> <p>Large banks like Barclays, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67789-five-companies-using-branded-top-level-domains-tlds-why/">which actually has its own brand TLDs</a>, .barclays and .barclaycard, might be able to overcome the recognition challenge.</p> <p>But expect smaller institutions, which don't have huge marketing budgets and may lack the technical expertise needed to ensure their website migrations go smoothly, to take a wait and see approach.</p>