Google; Publishers Not to Accept Bribes for Links

Google; Publishers Not to Accept Bribes for Links
In response to a controversial article published by The Outline, Google has reminded publications to refrain from accepting bribes for links. The article in question claims that major publications on the web, including New York Times, CNN, and TechCrunch, have accepted payments from companies in exchange for positive coverage.

Several writers, who remain anonymous, admitted to The Outline that they accept money for links. Some have done so for years, and people within the industry are well aware this is going on.

Bribing journalists for links is becoming so common that it’s now the new norm, which makes it challenging for publications to weed out such links despite their best efforts. The Outline does not go into much detail about the motivation behind buying links for prices that can soar above $1000 a piece.

Obviously, these unethical “journalists” are motivated by easy money, but The Outline doesn’t mention why links are being bought in the first place.

Companies are not buying links just to be featured in a one-off article. As SEOs, we know that being linked to from a high authority domain has the potential to influence search rankings.

Key Steps for any SEO Campaign

Key Steps for any SEO Campaign

SEO is an essential strategy for any business owner. However, out of all the internet marketing strategies available, SEO takes the most work and time to get right. Once you lay the foundations correctly, you’ll have set the seeds for future traffic to arrive at your website. By creating an SEO-friendly website from the onset or from today, you’ll reap the benefits in the coming months and years.

In this article, we’re going to check out how to optimize your website for SEO using both on-page and off-page techniques. “On-page” means that the SEO you carry out will be integrated into the actual code of your website, while “off-page” means that you’ll be utilizing SEO techniques on other websites to benefit your own.

1. On-Page SEO

Follow this checklist to make sure that you have each of these implemented on your site.

  • Optimized Tags: Do your title, meta and heading tags include the keywords you are targeting? On this blog, we’ve written about keyword research extensively, so make sure to check out our other articles for an in-depth take on keyword research. This is a black-hat title tag, and may be penalized by Google: “Manchester Plumbing Manchester”. Why is this black-hat, you ask?  Well, it contains keyword stuffing, i.e. it includes the word Manchester twice and it doesn’t provide much help to the reader in terms of the services you offer. Always put user experience ahead of keyword/on-page optimization.This is an optimized title tag: “Plumbing Services For The Manchester Area”
  • Keywords in Content: Sprinkle your targeted keywords sparingly throughout your homepage, including in the meta description, textual content and in paragraphs. However, make sure to use them sparingly. A little bit of keyword magic is the correct dose; you don’t want to abuse keywords by placing them everywhere you can. But make sure that you’ve included your keywords at least twice per page, whether they’re in the title tags or in the text. If you’re writing with user experience in mind, you’ll probably use them anyway.
  • PageTime: The time it takes for your website to load up is a major factor Google uses in ranking your website. If your homepage contains an excessive amount of Flash-based animation, video, and stylesheets which are stuffy and unclean, the result will be in a website that’ll take too long to load. Several surveys have found that if a website doesn’t load up in at most ten seconds, the majority of users tend to leave. This is a harrowing statistic, showing just how important Page Speed really is. There’s no use in ranking number one on Google for your keywords, when your website takes too long to load. You can test the PageSpeed of your website here: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/  The tool will also give you suggestions on how to speed up your website (Suggestions are personalized and tailored to your website.)
  • Mobile Optimized: Is your website ready for mobile users? As a webmaster myself, over two thirds of my traffic is mobile. The statistic speaks for itself. If my website wasn’t optimized for mobile, I just might have lost out on all that traffic, without a doubt.

2. Backlinking

Once your website is on-page optimized, you’ll need to start getting links to your website. Google measures the credibility of your website based on the number of backlinks it receives as well as the content you produce. This core idea is what made Google such an accurate search engine, because it accurately measures the authenticity and usefulness of websites with a single metric. In recent years, this method of SEO has waned a little, because Google have accounted other metrics into raising or lowering a website’s status in the search results.

You still should have a few high-quality links pointing to your website. You can garner these through trying out the following:

  • Guest Posting: This involves writing an article for another website and then asking them to place a backlink to your website within the article. If your website is “Y”, you need to go to a website that is a similar industry to your own, let’s call it “Z”. You can then write an article for “Z” and ask them to embed a link to “Y” in the article. This is very popular, because it means that these webmasters can get content for free, and you get a link in exchange. Guest posting is no longer as popular as it used to be, but do it right, and you’ll definitely see results.

 

  • Make An Infographic: An infographic is basically a longform graphic that displays information or statistics in an appealing and attractive way. You can design an infographic through many free online tools including Piktochart, which is my favourite. Add statistics to the graphic and facts about your industry. Then, you can contact other websites in the same category or industry as yours and offer them the infographic in exchange for a backlink. Most of the time, these web-owners will be delighted to feature it on their website, because it’s entertaining and valuable for their readers. At the end of your infographic, they can provide a link to your website and also provide some information on your website. That way, you might get new customers and a valuable backlink!

3. Content Creation

Google highly values websites with high-quality articles. If you’re interested in gaining more traffic and raising your rankings in the search results, make sure to create high-quality content!

Here’s a checklist:

  • Any articles should be t least seven hundred to a thousand words minimum. This higher word count promotes a better user-experience to Google.
  • Include images and make sure that you have appropriate licensing for each image. In other words, don’t just go to Google Images to find images, as they are copyrighted and you’ll get into deep waters. Instead, try searching for images in the public domain such as those on Unsplash.com or Pixabay (there are hundreds more). These websites offer high-quality images for free and you’re allowed to use them on your blog without any licensing. Images greatly enhance the user experience and
  • If you know of a fascinating video to embed to the bottom or top of your article, it might help keep your users on your page for longer.
  • Make sure to always treat the reader experience first, before any SEO.
  • Sprinkle your targeted keywords throughout the article, but use them naturally!

You can create a variety of content from how-to’s to informative articles.

Content creation is an essential step to any SEO campaign, and it greatly enhances the user experience. Make sure that it entertains and informs; once your article is enjoyable to read, the majority of your work is done. All you’ll need is some backlinking and you’ll be well on your way to ascending the ranks. In the pre-Panda times, webmasters valued backlinking over high-quality content. The result was a lot of short, poorly-written articles that had thousands of backlinks, but didn’t offer a good user experience. Nowadays, articles with a small number of valuable backlinks and a long, enjoyable article is a lot more useful to Google.

Final Thoughts

In this guide, we’ve touched on some of the fundamental steps to any SEO campaign. If you want more information on any of the steps mentioned above, just do a quick Google search on them to learn more. There are many, many guides online that’ll help you to carry out SEO efficiently and effectively, and you can use the points mentioned above as stepping stones. If you never checked your website’s PageSpeed, for example, at least now you know of it and you can get started on researching what your site’s speed is and how to lower it.

Google Increases Length of Snippets in SEO Results

Google Increases Length of Snippets in SEO Results
Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that it has made a change to the way it displays snippets in search results. A snippet is the description of a page shown below the URL in an organic search result that helps show how it relates to the search query. A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Land that:

“We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.”

Some webmasters and SEOs may consider updating their meta descriptions, but we don’t believe Google would recommend doing so. The snippets are more often dynamically generated based on the user query and content found in both the meta description and the content visible on the page. If Google is going to go with a longer snippet, it likely will pull that content from the page.

Popularity of Search in the UK & Beyond

Popularity of Search in the UK & Beyond
Do you know which search engine is the most popular in the UK and beyond? Obviously Google springs to mind but Bing has made some seriously surprising inroads into Google’s territory, managing to snatch a considerable chunk of the search market in the US and UK.

However, before we look at the data first of all let’s redefine what a search engine is:

“Search engines are programs that search documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. A search engine is really a general class of programs, however, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Google, Bing and Yahoo! Search that enables users to search for documents on the World Wide Web.”

Search Market Share
According to Net Market Share (as of April 2017) the global marketing share percentage, in terms of the use of Search Engines heavily favours Google, with over 77%. This again reinforces that fact that Google are the market leaders, however it also highlights that the “Others” such as Yahoo, Bing and Baidu etc still hold a large audience and it would be silly to simply ignore them. It’s interesting to note that Google’s large market share is still on the increase. Last year we saw a 67% market share for Google, so Google has taken another 10% of the market from its rivals in just the past 12 months.


Internet Search Numbers
The number of people using internet search engines is increasing year on year is reported as 6,586,013,574 searches a day worldwide.

Breaking this down using the above Market Share chart and the data from Internet live stats, below you’ll find the number of daily searches per Search Engine.

Search Engine Searches per day
Google 4,464,000,000
Bing 873,964,000
Baidu 583,520,803
Yahoo 536,101,505
Other (AOL, Ask etc) 128,427,264

It was several years ago now that Google announced that we had passed the tipping point whereby the number of Mobile searches had taken over that of Desktop stating “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”

The graph below highlights the rate at which Mobile has surpassed Desktop search, specifically in this instance in the form of Local Search i.e. users searching for local businesses.

 

It Pays to be Listed in the Search Engines
So it obviously pays to have your website well ranked in the major search engines. A simple look at the numbers of searches per day involved should be reason enough. If you’re not listed, just think how much potential business you could be missing out on!

SEO is a concept that continues to play a vital role in business website management on a daily basis and for businesses that have leaner marketing budgets; SEO can be a cost-effective and worthwhile solution that will address your need for online exposure.

Including SEO in your overall online marketing campaign will enable you to draw more quality traffic to your site.

Direct Submit Digital Marketing Services
We’ve helped many Businesses grow and develop their respective online presence. Find out how we can help grow your business by speaking to one of our Marketing Services Advisors and learn more about how Direct Submit can help grow your business!

Direct Submit prides itself on the underlying process by which we approach each and every SEO project we are involved with. We understand that each client will have specific, individual needs and our approach in creating and implementing the correct SEO strategy is vital to the success of the SEO project. This approach and attention to detail is what has helped Direct Submit become a leading Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) company. Call us today on 0845 2722350 and get your website working harder for your business.

Use Long-tail Keywords to build Short-tail Rankings

How to use long-tail keywords to build your short-tail rankings
Some SEO professionals may advise you not to bother chasing rankings for competitive keyword terms, but columnist Stoney deGeyter believes that you can build your authority for these keywords over time by focusing on the long tail. In this published article he outlines a positive way to use long tail keywords in your SEO project.

If you have a relatively new or low-authority website, then you know how difficult it can be to rank for high-volume, short-tail keyword phrases. Heck, any competitive keyword can pose a challenge, even for well-established sites.

I often hear experts talk about going after the low-hanging fruit of keywords. “Forget about the short tail,” they say.

I agree that that going after the low-hanging fruit is a good strategy, but not at the expense of those highly competitive phrases that will drive some great traffic to your site. Rather, it’s that low-hanging fruit that paves the way to ranking for those more competitive phrases.

Very few searches are truly unique

When it comes to search terms, there isn’t a whole lot new under the sun. Google says that 15 percent of all queries they get have never been used before, but that doesn’t mean it’s unique in the true sense of the word. Let’s assume, for example, that neither of the following searches has ever been entered into Google:

  • how to eat a lemon without cringing
  • how to eat a lemon without making a face

Are either of these terms really unique? Well, according to Google autocomplete, they are relationally similar to these:

And that tells us that even if my two made-up phrases fall within Google’s 15 percent of “unique” queries, we can see that it’s only the particular query string itself that’s unique, not necessarily the sentiment behind it.

And it’s that intent that gives us a goldmine of optimization opportunities.

Optimize for topics, intents and desires

Search any given topic, and you’ll uncover hundreds, sometimes thousands, of keywords. Those keywords represent different things searchers want to know about that topic. One look at a 100+ keyword list and it’s easy to see why you can’t possibly optimize a single page for every (relevant) keyword on a given topic.

This is where you need to segment keywords into groups, each group representing a similar intent. Good SEO and usability dictate that each intent requires a unique page of content to satisfy the searcher’s needs.

Let’s look at a simple set of short-tail phrases:

20,200 monthly searches, according to Moz

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to keyword volume data from Moz, these two phrases alone garner over 20,000 searches per month. And while they may not be the most competitive keywords you can find, they’re important to this industry — which does make them competitive.

But that set of keywords spawns other keywords with differing intents:

The green group is easily optimized on the same page of our core terms. As for the rest, if you do the quick math, the total monthly search volume represents only about 10 percent of the volume of the main group. But this is a small sample — four groups out of dozen grouped possibilities. Add in the rest of the researched keywords, and you get much closer to the 20K number of the core terms.

Breaking out your short-tail keywords into related groups of long-tail keywords makes for some good keyword targeting, provided you have (or can create) the pages and content for them.

Don’t throw out the short tail

Many people may tell you to ignore the short tail. It’s competitive, too difficult, too costly and so on. And, yes, those are all valid points. But the key is not to focus on the short tail exclusively, but rather to use the long tail to build up relevance for the short tail.

And, in truth, this is a rather simple process. Let me introduce you to a little thing I call “Optimize the Long Tail.”

In my process, you want to optimize not just for some of the long-tail phrases — you want to optimize for all of them. Find all the keywords in a given topic that have similar meanings, group them together, and find or create a page to optimize.

Another quick example: Say you find a few keywords for your product with the following qualifiers: discount, clearance, sale, closeouts, surplus, cheap.

You see a pattern to those? They all have similar meaning, which means they can be optimized together. Simply build a page where you put all your discounted stock for quick sale.

But no discount page would be complete without a link back to your main product page. After all, if the item they want isn’t discounted, they may just go ahead and buy it at full price. So add in your text link to the short-tail optimized page.

And then do it again with other keywords of similar intent. And then again, and then again, and then again.

In fact, you may want to optimize out one entire short-tail topic page before moving on to your next short-tail topic. This might mean five, 10, or even a couple dozen pages, but each page optimized for a similar-intent long-tail group provides a link and power back to the short-tail keyword that you want to rank for.

Patience is key

It’s important that in all of this, you exercise patience and have realistic expectations. Optimizing a dozen long-tail phrases won’t automatically get you traction on the short-tail phrase you really want. You still have to build authority to all the pages. Without authority, you’re just not going to rank for those short-tail phrases, regardless of how well you’ve optimized.

But optimizing out all those long-tail pages is great for authority-building. Get those pages to rank on their own merits, and with each page addition, you’ll be building on top of the existing authority you have.

You still have to market and promote and provide value. (Don’t ever forget to provide value!) That may take years, but eventually you’ll see your efforts pay off.

And the beauty of it is, while you’re optimizing long-tail in order to achieve short-tail, you’ll see the traffic and sales build. Even those less frequently searched long-tail phrases can add up to 50 to 100 percent of the traffic you’ll get from the short-tail phrases. And that’s what makes long-tail a crucial part of your strategy. They may drive less traffic per term, but they’ll drive just as much traffic in total.

Quick SEO Guide for Small Business

Quick SEO Guide for Small Business
Almost every small business will have been told or read about the importance of search engine optimisation to their business. But for many small businesses, the question we often hear is “this doesn’t really apply to me,” or, “We’re just a small business and SEO probably isn’t important for us.” However, just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be looking at applying good SEO practices to your website as part of your marketing strategy.

Make your website SEO friendly
Although SEO can seem quite technical and time consuming, there are a few basic issues you can make to your website that will help to increase your search engine optimisation.

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
With the number of people using their smartphones these days to search for a product or service, it is very important to make sure your website looks good on a small screen as well as a traditional computer screen. This is an ever increasing area of search and you will be missing out if you ignore this.

Always look to include good content
No matter how big or small your business is, whether you hire someone to do this for your or you handle it on your own, good content is crucial when it comes to SEO. Your content includes the information on your homepage, your “about” page, your product pages, etc. You want your content to be well-written while being mindful of your carefully chosen keywords that describe your business and mention it by name.

But that’s not all. Having a blog on your website can also help in a few different ways. First, it creates more opportunity to boost SEO by using your keywords and other relevant content so that your ranking can improve. Overall, it helps to build trust with your existing customers and is a way to attract new ones.

Inbound link management
Another way to make to improve SEO is by having good links. Google in particular will often use an inbound link as a measure of credibility and trust. Just be sure that you’re linking appropriately; links should be visible and relevant to your business. Linking to your social media pages is a great way to get started! Or, link to other local businesses, and ask them for a link in return.

SEO is a concept that continues to play a vital role in business website management on a daily basis and for businesses that have leaner marketing budgets, SEO can be a cost-effective and worthwhile solution that will address your need for online exposure. Including SEO in your overall online marketing campaign will enable you to draw more quality traffic to your site.

Looking at Search Engine Relevancy

Looking at Search Engine Relevancy
The leading search engines look to provide the most relevant results to a searchers query, however complicated or simple the search query may be. The process involved for each search engine in the provision of these search results is entirely down to their own respective search algorithms. No one can be sure what these are, although the SEO community try to understand and work these out, it’s highly likely the algorithms will never be fully understood.

However there are search factor based around relevancy that we can all be sure influence search results. These include a searchers location, search history, content and much more. Also, Search engines typically assume that the more popular a site, page, or document, the more valuable the information it contains must be. This assumption has proven fairly successful in terms of user satisfaction with search results.

However, perhaps the key metric of relevance is how well you actually solve the problems that your audience are experiencing. If your content answers a query in an effective manner, then you are delivering precisely the sort of user experience that search engines want to promote.

Increase Your Website’s Domain Authority

Increase Your Website’s Domain Authority
Domain Authority is a measure of how well a website is likely to perform in search engine results. It’s a search engine ranking score developed by Moz to give an overview of likely site performance. After Google deprecated and then stopped publishing PageRank, DA became one of the go-to replacements.

As search engines and their algorithms become more refined, more ranking signals have emerged to help rank sites and order them so searchers can find what they’re looking for. One of these is domain authority.

In layman’s terms, domain authority is a website rating. The higher your domain authority, the better your website in comparison to other websites. Unlike SEO, a higher domain authority won’t directly affect your PageRank, but it is an indirect metric that can help you determine how your website fares compared to others. If a site has a higher domain authority, that is an indication that it will rank higher than comparable sites.

Domain authority is a metric developed by Moz. It was designed to be a prediction of a site’s rank on a search engine results page. Domain authority scores are measured from 1 to 100 and higher scores are better. A lower score means you’re less likely to have a favorable rank on a search engine. However, a lower score also doesn’t mean that your website is necessarily bad.

One of the primary drivers of domain authority is your link profile. As with SEO, the type and number of sites with links to your domain matter a great deal. MozRank and MozTrust are other metrics that go a long way to determining how high your domain authority is. Moz explains that there are many different factors that influence domain authority because it is meant to measure how a site will rank in Google search results. Google uses many factors to rank and so, too, does Moz.

Raising your domain authority can help you rank higher on a search engine results page, because the same things that raise your domain authority also improve your SEO. Improving your link profile goes a long way toward raising your domain authority. So how can you increase your domain auhority?

Number of Backlinks
Increasing the number of backlinks from quality sites will raise your score more than other factors. Keep in mind, though, that you must keep your focus on quality sites. If you use low-quality sites, it can actually hurt your domain authority and SEO.

Link Diversity
Another way to make your link profile work for you is to diversify it. If you’re getting most of your links from the same sites or types of sites, look elsewhere for new links. Consider ones with different domain extensions or locations around the world. It’s important that these sites are high-quality as well.

Internal Link Structure
Make sure you’re using strong internal links on your website. Blog posts that reference one another should be linked together. Topics that reference others you’ve written about should be linked so readers can easily get more information. A strong internal link structure can offer link juice while also raising your domain authority.

Disavow Negative Links
Sometimes spam sites or low-quality sites link to your domain without your consent. Google offers a Disavow tool that allows you to remove the connection to your site. Removing negative links can help raise your domain authority because it removes any penalty for these low-quality associations. You can also contact the websites that link to your site and ask for those links to be removed.

Optimise Your Pages
If you haven’t already optimised all your title tags, image tags, images, and content for search engine purposes, do it now. Your search engine optimisation helps improve both your PageRank and your domain authority, and therefore it is essential that your page is optimised.

Getting Started with Twitter Advertising

Getting Started with Twitter Advertising
Twitter can be an effective platform to advertise your business. Over the past few years, Twitter has expanded its promotion types in order to encourage more brands to promote their business through its platform. The different promotion types and varying campaign objectives have engendered an increased interest in Twitter ads. According to eMarketer, 41% of people on Twitter purchased products following exposure to an ad in the preceding 30 days. This brings out a great opportunity for brands to explore the best ways to test Twitter advertising. The first step is to understand the different types of promotion, the campaign objectives, but also the target audience.

Twitter is powerful in starting a conversation, influencing people over purchasing decisions, or simply setting up new trending topics. All of these can be valuable for brands trying to increase their reach, engage with their followers, drive traffic to their site, or promote a new offer. Twitter ads are highly useful provided that they are used to target the most relevant audience in a way that they will genuinely connect with.

As with organic social media, different types of content can be more successful, with creative and authentic messaging giving you the best chance of success.

The various different targeting option can help brands to custom-build the perfect audience for each campaign. It may take some time to know how each type of targeting can help your campaign, but the testing with a smaller budget at first can ensure a message is sent to the most relevant audience. Not every campaign will necessarily be successful at first, but Twitter’s focus on offering best practice tips and new advertising features will ensure that your effort and patience pays off.

To read more about setting up how to get started with Twitter advertising visit the Search Engine Journal posting ‘How to get started with Twitter advertising’.

Google to Introduce Eight Trust Indicators for Publishers

Google to Introduce Eight Trust Indicators for Publishers
The online SEO journal, Search Engine Journal, Continuing its effort to guide searchers toward credible content, Google has announced plans to introduce eight new trust indicators. Google’s first step toward labelling news stories was came last year when the Fact Check tag was introduced.


Most recently, Google has added publisher Knowledge Panels to better educate searchers about the sources they’re getting news from. Google’s next step will be to introduce eight additional trust indicators with assistance from the Trust Project.

The forthcoming trust indicators are designed to help readers identify credible journalism from less-trustworthy content— such as promotional material or misleading information. Information provided by the trust indicators will also let readers know what type of story they’re about to read, who wrote it, and how the content was put together.

In order to accomplish this effort, the Trust Project is working with over 75 news organizations from around the world.

Here is a look at the eight trust indicators:

> Best Practices: Who funds the news outlet, their mission, and their commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, making corrections, and other standards.
> Author Expertise: Details about the journalist.
> Type of Work: Labels to distinguish opinion, analysis, and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports.
> Citations and References: Access to the sources behind the facts and assertions in a news story.
> Methods: Process and motivation behind pursing the story.
> Locally Sourced: Lets people know that the story has local roots, origin, or expertise.
Diverse Voices: A newsroom’s efforts to bring in diverse perspectives.
> Actionable Feedback: A newsroom’s efforts to engage the public in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, and ensuring accuracy.

These indicators are not yet ready to be displayed alongside articles that appear in Google News and Search, but the search giant confirms it is being worked on.

In the meantime, conscientious news publishers can embed the schema.org markup into the HTML code of their articles. That’s one way to ensure you’ll be ready when the indicators do roll out. The new trust indicators will work like the ClaimReview markup used for fact-checked articles.