A #style that is chrisp, cogent and consistet appreciates the reader’s intelligence by showing that you respect and want to earn trust of the visitor to the website. Trust is vital in search engine result pages (SERP) for all your local seo results.
Google’s algorithms have become sophisticated enough that the quality of content has more importance than use of any particular keyword or phrase or string. Thus, the first SERP might not contain an exact match keyword anywhere in the body of the page.
When it comes to marketing your business / website, your writing style matters a lot. Sadly, it gets ignored enough time.
What is important is that your writing be clear, concise and consistent.
What is SERP CTR? Short answer: It is the page that got viewed because the search engine rendered it to the user. Google is like a jealous overlord. If it brings you something, it wants you to enjoy it. If you do not, it remembers it and will make sure you do not get the same page again (or another person for the same search).
How can yo make users experience richer?
There are three ways to do this:
• Ensure that the rich snippet page description which appears on the SERPs accurately describes the actual content of the page.
• Make the content of the page available to the visitor as fast as possible. Check the page is fast loading and relevant content is situated “above the fold” (so visitors won’t need to scroll)
• Make content relevant for visitor, not the search engines.
With much of the SEO sphere focusing on link-building and (to a lesser extent) social media metrics, it can become easy to place all efforts on off-site SEO while neglecting on-page factors. However, even the most impressive link profile or social media presence does not tell search engines enough about what the linked-to site is about or how it translates into a good user experience. As such, it becomes imperative to put time and energy into what could easily be an overlooked yet easy-to-control aspect: on-site SEO.
A page’s title and description are absolutely critical in telling search engines and (equally important) users the topic of a page. As search engine results pages (SERPs) become cluttered with search results intermingled with local results, it becomes more important to have descriptive, well-written titles and descriptions with an adequate use of keywords and command modifiers. Use keywords as appropriate to convey the topic, but do not go overboard. Being spammy will not only be frowned upon by the Googles of the world, but it will also translate into a lower click-through rate by users. The general consensus is that using more than 70 characters for titles and 160 for descriptions is overkill, and it’s OK to use less. Always write with the user in mind.
Note in the photo above of a SERP for ‘Atlanta Real Estate’, which is one of the most competitive real estate markets in the U.S., that each entry uses different keywords in their descriptions and titles. For example, www.PremierAtlantaRealEstate.com includes information about schools and neighborhoods, which will appeal to a different kind of buyer than that of the entries above it, which put more emphasis on ‘luxury’.
Ideally, every page on a typical website should be within three clicks of the home page. Clearly this is not applicable for large sites such as Wikipedia, Amazon, etc., but for the average local real estate site this should be a clear-cut objective. As such, keep it in mind when structuring your site into folders; the goal is to have a logical, well-thought-out and easily understood structure.
For example: domain/city/property type/landing page could be feasible for most agents, depending on their target audience and niche. Of course, there could be variations such as domain/property type/city/landing page, but the objective is the same: Have a clear, easy-to-understand structure from both a user’s and search engine’s perspective.
Remember, structure is (and will continue to be) important, as it helps users understand relevancy and helps search engines in placing relative importance of any given page.
Oftentimes underused, how pages are interlinked from one to another can create a better user experience and keep authority/trust flowing freely throughout the site. Just as in link-building, use different variations of keywords to link to a page, which is clearly much easier to control on-page than off-page.
For example, linking to a Boston condos page can be linked to with varying anchor texts such as “Boston condos for sale,” “Condos for sale in Boston,” “Beantown condos,” etc., and can effectively increase rankings on long-tail searches.
The example above, taken from www.LuxurySarasotaRealEstate.com, illustrates interlinking well-done. It has contextual links to similar pages that a user may find interesting, links on the main navigation to key pages throughout the site for quick browsing, and anchored links within the same page for easy navigation – useful for particularly long pages, where a user may not be able to locate the information they are looking for based on the sheer content quantity.
Use HTML-based text to write links, as links in Java, Flash or other plug-ins have a good chance of not being reached by the search engines’ spiders. Furthermore, avoid unnecessary linking; after all, having too many links not only dilutes the “juice” passed on to each link but in many cases crawl spiders will not follow all links on a page to its destination.
Although articles about link-building and social media strategies continue to dominate the SEO landscape, it is imperative to put time on an aspect over which a website master has immediate and direct control: on-site SEO!
Startup Training School is sponsoring a one day worldwide marathon for 1000 women to start their own websites.
Here is the info:
Confections, Coding and Community Get your website up and running in one day at this local Philadelphia meet up for ONE K in 1 DAY Do you have a great business concept, but lack a website? Are you overwhelmed at the thought of creating and launching your web presence? On September 9th, 1,000 women around the world will be getting their website up and running in StartupTrainingSchool.com’s ONE K in 1 DAY event. For an extra dose of community and support, Philadelphia-area women will be gathering at the Huntingdon Valley headquarters of AWeber Communications to work through the steps together, and access the knowledge of local web experts.
Here is the link: http://philadelphia1kin1day.eventbrite.com
As of February, the smartphone share in the United States has reached nearly 50%. 2012 is FINALLY “the year of mobile” and this means that you need to invest in a mobile user experience. Check your analytics — that mobile traffic share keeps growing!
With all of the hype that responsive web design is getting, what are the biggest implications for marketers and SEOs regarding its fit as the long-term mobile strategy?
First Of All, What is Responsive Web Design?
In a nutshell, responsive web design (RWD) is a technique which uses fluid layouts (which “stretch” to as much screen real estate as possible) in addition to the CSS “@media queries,” which apply different style sheets (CSS) based on the current screen size of the device. With responsive design, your website will fit virtually any device with a full browser: smartphones, iPad + other tablets (both landscape and portrait modes), and even TVs. It doesn’t matter that the Galaxy Tab’s resolution is different from a Nexus S phone — your site will render beautifully, as long as responsive design was correctly implemented.
One of the most famous examples of responsive web design is BostonGlobe.com: simply go to the site and re-size your browser window: the website will automatically adjust to the current width of your browser. BostonGlobe is probably the biggest, most complex site which has implemented this technique, but there are hundreds of other examples available at mediaqueri.es, including UC San Diego, Smashing Magazine, and more.
What are the Alternatives to Responsive Design?
Responsive design became a hot topic since the growth of mobile. Some people view it as the best solution to improve the mobile (and tablet) user experience, however it is not always the case. The purpose of this post is to go over the RWD in detail, but in order to see the full picture, “going mobile” via RWD does have two alternatives.
Separate mobile site.
Usually hosted on the “m.” sub-domain, mobile sites are usually developed from scratch. Visitors will redirect to the mobile site after server detects that their User-Agent is a smartphone.
For example, the user-agent of an iPhone looks like this:
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5
While mobile apps (Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry, or Windows Phone) are the best in controlling the user experience and taking advantage of the smartphones’ hardware capabilities, they are expensive to develop and they are not part of the “open web,” making apps impossible for search engines to crawl.
How Does Google Crawl/Index Responsive Sites?
About 6 months ago, Googleintroduced a new smartphone Crawler, which mimics the iPhone’s user-agent.
Since RWD simply adjusts to the screen size and does not change the content based on the mobile user-agent, Googlebot-Mobile has access to all of the content of the full site (HTML, CSS, images, etc). The only difference is: in the case that Google can read through CSS and understand “@media” queries used by RWD, Google can figure out which elements are hidden on your mobile site (it doesn’t seem so, but still is an open question). To be on the safe side, I wouldn’t hide any elements containing important content at widths higher than 600px.
Image Previews in SERPs.
Google mobile SERPs show the listings’ previews on the latest smartphones. For responsive designs, the preview is shown at the width of about 640px wide (iPhone’s resolution in a portrait mode). See example screenshot below.
Indexing and Caching [with an Experiment!].
I ran an experiment to figure out if Google actually indexes mobile-specific pages. I took the following steps:
On the bottom of each page of my site, I added a text which targets mobile user-agents and is only visible if the visitor’s device is a smartphone.
The exact text (which is “mobphone teststring”) didn’t match any pages in Google nor Bing
I did “Fetch as Googlebot” (Mobile: Smartphone) in Webmaster Tools. The result showed that my text is visible to Google Bot. [April 27/9pm EST]
I waited until my pages got crawled again (checked my server logs after running “Fetch as Googlebot”). Googlebot-Mobile crawled by homepage on April 29th at 9pm EST.
I searched for “mobphone teststring” in Google & Bing… No results found (still, after 10 days).
When searching for my own site on Google using a smartphone, the “Cached” pages belong to the desktop site and “mobphone teststring” is not there.
VERDICT: When crawling mobile versions of the pages located at the same URLs as the desktop pages (either RWD or done via user-agent targeting):
Google will NOT cache the mobile version of your pages.
Currently, Google seems to ignore any content which shows up only for the mobile visitors.
If your visitor goals are different on the mobile site than on a desktop site (e.g. car insurance companies: quotes on desktop vs. road-side assistance on mobile), then I tend to agree with Bryson Meunier: currently, the hybrid approach to mobile URLs (having an “.m” subdomain) would ensure that the mobile site’s content gets cached and treated equally to the desktop sites. (Although at the end of this post, I describe how I’d like this to be taken care of by Search Engines long-term.)
Bing & Mobile.
While Bing doesn’t have a separate mobile crawler which mimics a smartphone, Bing seems to use BingBot for crawling the desktop and mobile sites. Also, a fairly recent post by Duane Forrester talks about how the “one-URL” policy for all devices is preferred by Bing. I couldn’t find any other information online, in the server logs, or by experimenting (Bing doesn’t give an ability to see cached pages on mobile).
Responsive Web Design: Ultimate List of Advantages and Disadvantages.
Responsive design is not a one-size-fits-all solution to mobile. According to the author of the Responsive Web Design book, Ethan Marcotte:
“But most importantly, responsive web design isn’t intended to serve as a replacement for mobile web sites. […] And as a development strategy, it’s meant to be evaluated to see if it meets the needs of the project you’re working on.”
Keeping this in mind and considering implications listed below, does RWD meet the needs of the project?
ADVANTAGES of Responsive Web Design.
User Experience (UX): Website adjusts to any screen size, making it a good long-term solution to UX with the current plethora of devices (including mobile/tablet hybrids). Hiding elements which aren’t crucial for mobile visitors helps to achieve their goals faster.
Analytics: One complete view for all the traffic. To get insights on the mobile visitors, create a “mobile-only” segment (note that by default, Google Analytics puts all the tablets under “Mobile” segment).
Sharing/Linking: One URL to accumulate all of the shares, likes, tweets, and inbound links. Contributes to a better user experience as well: have you ever clicked on a link in a tweet just to see a mobile version of a page in your full browser? #badUX
SEO: Going with the advantage above, one URL accumulates all links, PageRank, Page Authority, etc. However, as Search Engines get smarter at determining the relationships between mobile-optimized pages and desktop pages, this advantage won’t matter.
Development: RWD involves no redirects to take care of, no user-agent targeting.
Maintenance: Once your website is responsive, there’s very little maintenance involved, as opposed to up-keeping a separate mobile site. It is not required to up-keep a user-agent list with all of the up-to-date mobile devices.
Information Architecture (IA): With a 1-to-1 relationship to the desktop site, mobile mimics the full site’s IA, reducing the learning curve to get accustomed to using the mobile version.
DISADVANTAGES of Responsive Web Design.
User Experience/Load Time: Users need to download unnecessary HTML/CSS code (not a huge deal) and most of the time, images are simply scaled down, NOT resized — negatively impacting the load-time (bigger issue).
SEO: With RWD, you cannot easily adjust Titles, Descriptions, and Content for the mobile users. Mobile users use different keywords, more likely to use voice search and for some verticals, there can be significant variation (use Google’s Keyword Tool, which separates mobile searches from the desktop).
SEO: As determined by my experiment, Google doesn’t rank sites based on the mobile-only content located at the same URLs. If your responsive site targets user-agents to serve certain mobile-only content, it will not be indexed nor used to rank your website.
Development: The initial development of responsive web design takes more time. It is usually much easier to create RWD from scratch than to convert an existing site.
Design: Since layouts of RWD are “fluid” (other than two extremes: mobile and a full desktop site), there’s less control over how the “in-between” layouts will look and it is time-consuming for designers to show all the possible mockups beforehand. Instead, designers usually show wireframes & mockups of the desktop + mobile layouts. When both are approved, RWD is implemented and designers can then show operational layouts of the site in all screen sizes.
I tried to keep the list above as straight-forward as possible. I will offer some generalizations in the section below, but by all means, it is ultimately up to you to decide if RWD is the best solution for your mobile strategy.
When Using Responsive Web Design Makes Sense (And Doesn’t).
As mentioned earlier, RWD is not a cookie-cutter solution; therefore, it works for some sites better than others. Below are some generalizations, but make sure to go through the full list of pros/cons above if you haven’t done so already.
If your website contains fewer than 50 pages, does not include advanced functionality, and user intent is not significantly different on the mobile devices, chances are, RWD would be a great solution to improve the mobile users’ experience.
If your website is fairly simple, without too many different page “types” (e.g. article pages, category pages, browse by pages, etc.), and the user intent is not significantly different on the mobile devices, RWD can be a good solution to improve mobile UX.
If you have a complex site with a lot of page types, user intent is not significantly different on the mobile and you’re planning a redesign, you should at least consider RWD.
If people have significantly different goals when using your site from mobile devices, chances are, RWD is not for you.
Undoubtedly, mobile visits keep growing fast, but despite the latest reports that only 9% of the top 1 million websites are “mobile-ready” (by Mongoose Metrics), the absolute majority of websites actually ARE smartphone-ready — since 2007, when Apple introduced the ability to browse any website on the iPhone. In fact, Apple believes that it delivered such a great product (full browser which made phones “smart”) that there’s no need for mobile sites: Apple.com on a smartphone is their full website.
Like any other project, set goals and realistic expectations for the mobile site (“increase conversion rate of mobile segment by X%” or “increase satisfaction rate of customers accessing mobile site by X%”) and determine if this is enough to justify the investment with your current mobile user base, accounting for the growth.
Where I’d Like to See Mobile Search.
As far as search engines go, IMHO, it is in their interest to determine the intent of the users depending on the device they use. Cindy Krum of MobileMoxie has blogged about SERPs differences depending on a device, and I think we will see more of these improvements going forward. We really cannot expect Bob, a restaurant owner, to do keyword research to determine that mobile searchers want to view menu and directions more than the “about the restaurant” section on the homepage. Search engines need to develop further and offer mobile visitors pages which are more likely to be clicked on (nothing new), but adapt this functionality for mobile.
Just yesterday, Google took an official stand on building smartphone-optimized websites and says that responsive web design is Google’s recommended configuration. With that said, advantages/disadvantages of RWD listed in this post are still the same.
Local search engine optimization (SEO) is a specialized form of SEO focused on optimizing businesses and their websites for optimal visibility in local search engines.
Local search takes into consideration not only the keyword the searcher entered, but also the location of the searcher, whether indicated through user settings, automatic detection, or a location in the keyword phrase (e.g. “Best Restaurants in Dallas, TX”).
Google, Bing, and Yahoo! all provide local search capabilities. Here is an example of the familiar Google local search results:
Local search has some similarities to traditional SEO (focused on ranking for a given keyword), but includes a lot of activities not applicable to global SEO. It can be difficult to know where to start!
Fortunately, there are many great local SEO resources available – for free – on the Internet. Here are five that I find helpful:
1) Local Search Ranking Factors
Have you ever wondered what Google (and the other search engines) consider when ranking local businesses in the local search results? Is it the number of reviews? Is it the number of images and videos? Is it the authority of your website for the given keyword?
Thanks to David Mihm, a Local SEO guru, you don’t have to wonder (as much…). Every year, he interviews dozens of experts in the field to compile his Local Search Ranking Factors report.
It is awesome!
For the best part, scroll down to “The Results.” There you will find the top ten ranking factors for local search.
Take a look at #2: “Manually Owner-verified Place Page.” I can’t tell you how many businesses I’ve worked with that have not yet taken this simple step. If you haven’t claimed your Google Place page, please do so as soon as you finish reading this post!
2) Comprehensive List of Local Search Directories (or “Yellow Pages”)
One of the factors that determine your ranking in local search results is the number of “citations” available for your business around the Internet. Adding your business to local search directories is a great way to rack up on citations (and also improves your chances of getting new traffic!).
The Local SEO Guide blog is one of the first resources I used to learn about local SEO. Shotland is an expert in the field and has been at it for a long time. He knows his stuff!
3) Understanding Google Places & Local Search
Another great local SEO resource is Mike Blumenthal’s wonderful local search blog, which is geared toward keeping the rest of us up to speed on the developments of local search.
Mike writes about local search news, Google Places (and other related Google topics), and Yahoo! local. He also addresses topics related to local & mobile and local & social. (To name few!)
Best of all, Mike responds to comments and questions (what a concept, right!). If you don’t understand something he’s writing about or want to discuss the topic further, he’ll take the time to discuss it with you.
Very accessible. Very friendly. Very local.
Isn’t it amazing that there are organizations who care enough about you to put lots of time and effort into providing tools, resources, and live training sessions to help you grow your business?
You Gert results only when the website design is effective enough to reach out the target market and communicate your message.
An intuitive web design, user-friendly navigation, strong message through high quality content, and aesthetic appeal are four most significant aspects of a successful web design that almost everyone knows about.
However, there is another aspect that is pivotal in determining the success of a website design, and that is –how up-to-date the content and design are?
From the content and graphics to applications and content management systems, the YourLoacalSEM.com team provides a complete package to ensure that the client manages to capitalize the abundant opportunities on the World Wide Web.
Each solutions offered by YourLoacalSEM.comis crafted for providing rich experiences to its clients, at a price they can afford.
There are a number of other services offered by YourLoacalSEM.comthat are aimed at simplifying business operations, allowing its clients to generate huge returns on their investments.