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on-site-optimisation-tips on-site-optimisation-tips Document Transcript

  • STAY PANDA-FREEWITH THESEON-SITEOPTIMISATION TIPSA publication ofintermediateSEOFROM THEEXPERTSseriesBy will critchlow, DISTILLED
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips2www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Introductory content is for marketers who are new to the subject. This contenttypically includes step-by-step instructions on how to get started with thisaspect of inbound marketing and learn its fundamentals. After reading it, you willbe able to execute basic marketing tactics related to the topic.INTRODUCTORYIS THIS BOOK RIGHT FOR ME?Not quite sure if this ebook is right for you? See the below description todetermine if your level matches the content you are about to read.Intermediate content is for marketers who are familiar with the subject but haveonly basic experience in executing strategies and tactics on the topic. Thiscontent typically covers the fundamentals and moves on to reveal more complexfunctions and examples. After reading it, you will feel comfortable leading projectswith this aspect of inbound marketing.INTERMEDIATEAdvanced content is for marketers who are, or want to be, experts on thesubject. In it, we walk you through advanced features of this aspect of inboundmarketing and help you develop complete mastery of the subject. After readingit, you will feel ready not only to execute strategies and tactics, but also to teachothers how to be successful.ADVANCEDTHIS RESOURCE
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips3www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!... brings your whole marketing worldtogether in one, powerful, integrated sys-tem.HubSpot’s All-in-OneMarketing Software.Marketing analyticsYRequest A DemoVideo OverviewAnalyze your web trafficand see which sourcesare generating the mostleads.NBloggingCreate blog contentquickly while getting SEOtips and best practicepointers as you type.MemailSend personalized,segmented emails basedon any information in yourcontact database.search optimizations Improve your rank insearch engines by findingand tracking your mosteffective keywords.ULead managementTrack leads with acomplete timeline-view oftheir interactions with yourcompanyqsocial mediaPublish content to yoursocial accounts, thennurture leads based ontheir social engagement.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips4www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!SEO from the experts: staypanda free with theseon-site optimisation tipsExpert Advice By Will CritchlowWill is the founder and CMO of Distilled,an SEO and PPC agency. Will foundedDistilled with Duncan in 2005. Sincethen, he has consulted with some of theworld’s largest organisations and mostfamous websites, spoken at most majorindustry events and regularly appearedin local and national press.Follow me on twitter@willcritchlowFollow me on twitter@DetectiveddubsDesigned By Desmond WongDesmond is currently a creativedesigner and inbound marketer atHubSpot. He has worked with a varietyof start ups, medium, and large sizedcompanies over the years with a focusin branding and business development.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips5www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!The words and phrases that appear on web pages are used by thesearch engines to understand which pages should appear in searchresults, as well as how to rank those results. The text on the page,meta information about the page and internal links to the page all helpgive context to search engines. It is therefore crucial that your websitecontains pages specifically about the topics and phrases that areimportant to your business, and that the structure of your website linksprominently to the most important of those pages.Early versions of Google (and other links-based search engines) usedthis information along with the link strength of the page and domain toorder their results. These factors remain important today.This bias towards keyword-rich content on powerful domains led tomany search results prominently featuring pages and websites that weresolely designed to rank well, to gather search traffic, and to make moneythrough advertising. These pages and sites typically failed to satisfysearchers who either clicked on the advertising (making the ownersmoney) or bounced back to the search results.IntroductionGoogle realised that the perception of declining quality in its searchresults was becoming a major threat to its dominance. It started takingalgorithmic measures to reverse the trend in average quality of thepages appearing its results - leading with the so-called Panda update inFebruary 2011.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips6www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!The Panda update is apparently named after an engineer who workedon it. It was originally christened the “Farmer update” by the searchindustry because it appeared to be a response to “content farms”appearing so much in search results.Google’s approach to this problem started with humans. They felt thatpeople could tell the difference quickly between quality sites and thekind of content churned out to meet keyword volume demand with littlethought for users. At the time, their computers couldn’t match humanintuition, so they started with a manual process of reviewing thousandsof sites against a “trust and quality” questionnaire. These reviewersgraded a range of websites against questions like “does this site appearto be written by an expert?” and “would you trust this site with your creditcard details?”How Panda Changed the GameA Web site that exploits the way search engines retrieveand rank pages by incorporating popular search termsand topics in its content, often with little attention to theoriginality, appropriateness, or quality of the subject matter,in order to elevate the ranking of its articles in online searchresults and attract advertisers.Also see: “Content Mill”Content Farm (noun)[kon-tent] [fahrm]
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips7www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!They then built an algorithm designed to predict the humans’ trust andquality scores based on attributes their computers could see. This turnedout to score websites lower if they contained relatively little uniquecontent, if they contained too much (or too prominent) advertising, if thecontent and site failed to engage users, or a range of other factors.Although many content farms contain a large number of articles that cover an assortmentof interesting topics, the content is often of low-quality and written by authors of with littleto no authority on the topics they write about.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips8www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Of course, as with all algorithm changes, we don’t know the exact detailsof the ranking factors, but we know clearly what Google is trying toachieve. It’s relatively easy to combine that with observations of winnersand losers (those sites who increased and decreased in traffic). We canthen turn that into actions applicable to our own sites.As a marketer, you should care about all this talk of algorithms becauseit represents a sea of change in the kind of website that will be rewardedin the search results in the long-term. Even in the very first release,it apparently affected 12% of search results – a phenomenally largeproportion of the things people do online. Its influence has only grownsince then. After two years of dozens of updates and additional releases,Google announced in March 2013 that the factors considered byPanda were rolling into the main algorithm and would be updating on acontinuous, ongoing basis.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips9www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Website Design Post-PandaMore than ever before, Panda created ranking downsides for failingto focus on users’ needs with the design of your website. The specificactions we would take are:Make your text content as prominent as possible.It should be easy to find the primary content of your pages withoutscrolling. Not only should it be placed high up the page and visible onpage load, but it should be presented in a large enough font and highenough contrast to make it easy for real people to read it on imperfectscreens in all light conditions.In the past, “SEO” advice would have said to avoid “hiding” text(meaning white text on a white background, text positioned off-screenwith CSS and so forth). Post-Panda, we go further than this technicaldefinition of “hidden” and say that the main page content should beprominent and easily readable.Your headlines, copy, andany main page contentshould be easily readableand stand out to websitevisitors. Consider using largeheadlines with bold font thatcatches the readers eyes.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips10www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!We would actually go even further than that and say that a moderndesign and build as a whole are both becoming increasingly importantfactors. Although design is subjective, bad design is easy for humansto spot and increasingly available to the search engines throughmeasuring user behaviour and rendering pages as they index them.The build of your site is important - site-loading speed is a (minor)ranking factor on its own and likely a contributor to Panda. Regardless ofthe scale of its ranking impact, all the studies that we have seen point toit having a dramatic impact on user happiness and things like conversionrate.A poorly designed website can send visitors running. When your visitor behavior showsthat users are constantly leaving your page after a they get a good look at your site,Google will naturally drop your ranking.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips11www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Don’t stuff your page with adverts (or things that looklike adverts).It was immediately clear when looking at the early losers following theupdate that they all had pervasive advertising. Blindly optimising youradvert placement and design for clicks and attention can lead to aterrible user experience on your site as a whole. Ironically, if you useGoogle AdSense to monetise your site, there is every likelihood thatthey have been giving you advice that, blindly followed, would lead toyou placing too many advert blocks too prominently for the liking of thenatural search algorithm.If you have taken it too far with plastering adverts everywhere, dial itback in and let your own site shine.It’s always tempting to know that you can monitise your website and bring insome profit for your hard work. But, having pervasive adverts on your website cannegatively affect your search rankings and hinder your ability to bring traffic to yourwebsite.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips12www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Since the early updates, we have seen what we believe to be false-positives on this front as well. Sites that don’t actually have anyadvertising but appear to have been impacted because their layout,buttons, and sidebar content looked like excessive advertising.Either way, users’ opinions (rather than just their click data) should guideyou.Sometimes, websites containcontent that look too similar toads and overwhelm visitors. Tryto not to hide your ads amongcontent that may be construdeas adverts.The highlighted sections arenot actualy adverts, but looktoo similar for visitors to botherclicking.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips13www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Give off more credible trust signals.Anything that would give a human reason to believe that there was areal, trustworthy company and people behind a site can help the searchengines class content as high value. This can include obvious pure trustsignals like https on checkout pages as well as more subtle signalsof “real” businesses like a quality brand, physical addresses, people’snames, authorship data, privacy, and cookie policies and real phonenumbers.An effective way to helpput your visitors at ease isto have a reputable “AboutUs” page with up-to-dateand transparent informationabout your company.Inlcude an address, phone,number, email, and anyother additional informationthat will reassure yourcustomers that your area real and trustworthycompany.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips14www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Create significant quality content.“Unique” content has been an SEO buzzword for years - focusing on thereal importance of avoiding having your pages be exact- or near-copiesof others’ content.Pre-Panda, this was often not only necessary but also sufficient forlong-tail rankings at least. It was the driving force behind the successof database-driven sites that could take powerful domains and churnout immense numbers of relatively sparse pages containing essentiallyno real content based on offline databases such as business names orpostal addresses. Where there wasn’t a better option, these sites wouldrank for mid- and long-tail queries based solely on the existence of somekind of content matching the keyword and placed on a strong domain.One of the best ways torank well and avoid Pandapenalties is to create high-quality and unique contentfor your site. Choose anindustry topic and createhelpful content for youraudience.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips15www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!It also enabled the success of the content farms that sucked in data onwhat people searched for across the long-tail and churned out “unique”content with little regard for its actual quality.Post-Panda, unique has remained necessary but is no longer sufficient.Real quality content is becoming increasingly important not only for theperformance of individual pages but also for the health of the wholesite. It’s so important that we split it out into its own section.Content farms like the one shown here, try to encompass a huge variety of topics andkeywords by creating “unique” content of questionable quality. With Panda crack downs,it is even more important to focus on quality.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips16www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Nothing has really changed for quality content.If you were previously treating your web content as quality writing, youlikely need relatively little adjustment to your processes. Hiring qualitywriters, engaging them to write on topics rather than about keywords,and providing them with the tools to publish beautiful, readable articlesand content are all evergreen tactics.The main changes come in those scenarios where quality was notnecessarily the primary focus previously. There are many good reasonsfor this, such as the need to rewrite hundreds or thousands of productsdescriptions or the reliance on user generated content. Unfortunatelyfor sites that relied on those kinds of content, they can easily fall foul ofGoogle’s search for content that is more than just unique.Writing for the Web Post-PandaA long standing SEO ranking tactic has always been to write high quality content ontopics that your audiences actually care about. Reputable writers like award-winningauthor, Seth Godin, can rely on the high quality of their content to attract links.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips17www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Don’t be tempted to outsource or automate shortcuts.If you are building out new sites or new sections of sites starting now,it’s more important than ever to avoid shortcuts. The two most commonshortcuts we see are:1..Being seduced by the availability of exceptionally cheapwriters online. The internet has freed us up to work from almostanywhere in the world without constraint, but it has also created amarket for the cheapest possible human written content. If you paysuch a small amount that you remove the possibility of workingwith native speakers, you are taking ever increasing risks.2. .Seeking to automate things that still need to be done byhumans. We haven’t yet seen computer-written text that comesclose to looking like real English. We haven’t even seen rewriting(so-called “spinning”) software that can fool a native speaker.Avoid the temptation to take automated shortcuts with yourcontent and certainly don’t think you can rely on pages rankingthat don’t have unique and high quality content.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips18www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!My focus would be less on the absolute score of any one result andmore on outliers where your site underperforms. Crucially, as you workto improve your web presence, you should be seeking positive changesin these scores as you roll out the improvements.In aggregate, Panda will be a positive force for improving the qualityof the whole web. As Google refines its approach, it will get closerand closer to rewarding the things real people want to see from thewebsites they rely on every day. As a marketer, you can jump ahead inthis process by committing all your energy to those things as early aspossible.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips19www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!None of us can know exactly how the Panda algorithm works, but we doknow the human responses that Google is trying to model. My approachhas always been to look to measure the underlying improvements ratherthan concentrating too hard on the signals that Google is using right nowin an attempt to measure those improvements.To this end, my approach to evaluating the current quality of yourwebsite in relation to the issues described above is to focus on users’opinions.We know that Google started out with a questionnaire and throughvarious official and unofficial sources, most of those questions becamepublic. I aggregated them and put together a survey that you can useon regular website visitors or that you can pay people to evaluate yourwebsite against. I talked about the process more in this video:How to Tell How You’re Doing
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips20www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!We also wrote up the questions and some more detail on our processfor gathering and reviewing the data. In summary, the respondents wereasked to answer “yes”, “no” or “don’t know” to the following questions(where relevant to the site in question):Would you trust information from this website?Is this website written by experts?.Would you give this site your credit card details?Do the pages on this site have obvious errors?.Does the website provide original content or info?.Would you recognise this site as an authority?.Does this website contain insightful analysis?.Would you consider bookmarking pages on this site?.Are there excessive adverts on this website?.Could pages from this site appear in print?
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips21www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!My focus would be less on the absolute score of any one result andmore on outliers where your site underperforms. Crucially, as you workto improve your web presence, you should be seeking positive changesin these scores as you roll out the improvements.In aggregate, Panda will be a positive force for improving the qualityof the whole web. As Google refines its approach, it will get closerand closer to rewarding the things real people want to see from thewebsites they rely on every day. As a marketer, you can jump ahead inthis process by committing all your energy to those things as early aspossible.Learn SEO theDistilled Way.Sign up for our online SEO university and master the art of searchmarketing. With interactive modules and over 80 hours of advancedvideo content, you can learn at your own pace and in your own time.Click here to learn more.
  • Stay Panda free with these on-site optimisation tips22www.Hubspot.comShare This Ebook!Now that you know about building links, learn how HubSpot can give youinsight into your SEO. Click here to start a free demo.GAIN INSIGHT INTO YOURSEO STRATEGY WITHHUBSPOT.SEE HUBSPOT INACTION TODAY.http://bitly.com/10HVpW3