Incorporating User Experience into Web Design and overall SEO Strategy Part 2 | What is your website visitor interested in?
Know Your Website UsersSome sample data and use existing models to determine what the user may want for their desired field and interests. This is a legacy method that, while it can’t be abandoned completely, has to adapt to incorporate new, and in some cases, yet to be developed methods. Using bots and spiders to pull information can give us a decent picture of the past, but little more. Simply assuming that what has always worked will continue to without refinement is a recipe for marketing disaster. Instead, we need to make use of the resources available to use and to constantly incorporate the ideals of “what is next” into our user engagement plan. Sampling data, while important, will need to continue evolving to keep up with the users of today and tomorrow. Some methods include using call and data tracking methods that will replace the antiquated methods of only a few years ago. There are voice and ad tracking software resources now that are able to determine exact ad responses, and the tracking of those ads. One might ask, “when will a data tracking software come out where the user is able to rate the ad itself?”. This may sound like an absurd question to those in legacy mentalities, but when thinking of what the user wants, there is no better place to begin.
Content That Writes ItselfIn the end, the most likely reason a user will be at your site is the content they are searching for. Ensuring that you have the right content for your target market is always the starting point of a strong User Experience Web Design and Development strategy. A futuristic idea is to eventually engage with more than just dynamic content. Some sites and developers are trying to design and develop with predictively created content in mind. No, this isn’t a reference to retrieving content predictively for an individual, but to aggregated and create content customized for that individual, based on their wishes. Many apps and sites are trying this now, but are still locked in predisposed rules, there is some traction to developing a truly customized experience with completely original and created content based solely on the user’s desires. The option of AI responsiveness is also worth mentioning since it would be the logical step forward in producing a truly responsive development. How long something like that will take to get here is only limited to our motivation to bring it.
How to incorporate User Experience into Web Design and overall SEO Strategy Part 1 | Empathy and SEO Keywords
Searchable Content Written For The Readers, Not GoogleRepeating the same phrases and keywords spamming with local pages is a great way to ensure that garnered traffic bounces from your site. Your goal as a business content creator is to inspire readers to become both customers and secondary promoters, you are not to be writing what "Google will enjoy". Inherently, if your content is satisfactory to your readers, describes and informs your product or service and inspires visitors to engage, then Google will already be satisfied and reward your efforts. Well written data will attract both Google and engage site visitors.
Optimizing Content For Visitor InteractionsIt's one thing to get people to read your content, it's another to have them find it important enough to respond with comments or even more important, to share with their Personal Social Networks (PSN). Everyone online has their own, individual PSN. Inspiring visitors to engage your content via their own PSN is the basis for using the facebook comment plugin or commenting widgets like Disqus. With every user that your reader is able to re-engage your content to, your site gets more than just another reader, it gets relevant linking with every interaction.
Traffic Strategy With Quality Page DescriptionsThis is likely the top failure we have seen in the Chicago SEO market. We will have clients come to us with incredibly high listings for quality terms.... and they will have horrid and useless descriptions for their search results (yes, this still happens even with the updates Google has made to results). This is often the direct action of a previous Chicago SEO Company they had managing their site. Descriptions written to please Google are almost certain to discourage real readers. Descriptions and page titles, while important to specific points of an SEO Strategy, can't be the one trick to Search Engine Ranking. Title and Description are the main driving force to bring readers to your overall content; if they don't match, or worse, are redundant and ridiculously written keyword spam bombs, then the readers will have no incentive to actually follow them. Consider signs for rest areas and food along an Interstate; if they don't adequately describe their product, you are less likely to stop unless desperate for a bathroom. If your content is ranking highly, yet the descriptions don't adequately match the search terms, you will only gain the traffic of those are desperate to get off the search. Again, Search Optimized Traffic (SOT) is the main strategy that should be the focus of any business with serious SEO campaigns. Listing high for the purpose of listing high is a strategy that can be a waste of resources. Ensure that your SEO Content and SEO Countermeasures are written to elevate user interaction and the overall conversions.
Media and Plugin OptionsWordPress 4.0 focuses on making it easier for site admins to write content, install plugins and manage media. If you spend any time at all in your site's back end (as opposed to using a client like WordPress for iOS or Android or MarsEdit 3 for Mac), these changes will be apparent and appreciated. There are now more options for adding rich content to your posts. Have an image, video or tweet to share with your readers? Since WordPress 2.9, authors have been able to paste the link directly into the WYSYWIG editor (or by clicking "Add Media > Insert from URL") and WordPress would automatically embed the referenced media at a width appropriate to their theme -- for example, so that a YouTube video would play within a site. There's been no need to obtain separate embed code or use the HTML editor. With WordPress 4.0, that automatically embedded media can now come from any of 26 supported sites. Joining essential platforms such as YouTube, Flickr, Twitter and Instagram are others such as CollegeHumor, Issuu, Mixcloud and TED Talks. Also new in 4.0 is the ability to see the embedded media in the WYSYWIG editor, offering a more accurate preview of the published post. But this feature works only when pasting in URLs from the aforementioned 26 hosts. If you prefer to manually obtain, configure and insert a site's embed code in order to, say, start a video at a certain time or add captions, WordPress will not show a preview of media embedded in this fashion. This is a repost for our Chicago, Naperville and Glen Ellyn web design network team.
- Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and website are consistent, on both your website and in local listings. Things that will cause ranking problems include having your business name listed as ABC Services in one place and A.B.C. Services in another, or having your address listed as 1500 West First St. in one place and 1500 W. First Street in another, or having your website address listed as abcservices.com in one place and www.abcservices.com/index.html in another.
- Encourage (but do not incentivize, bribe, or purchase) customers to write reviews about your business on the top local directories and review sites. The more positive reviews you have, the better your business is going to rank.
- Complete each of your local listing profiles as thoroughly as possible. If you are given the option of adding additional information, social network links, photos, and videos, be sure to do so.
- Create listings on Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, and Yelp.
- Search for your business name using Google and then claim and complete profiles for any of the listings that appear on the first couple of search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Use the GetListedresource pages to find the best citations for your business based on industry and city.
Outbound LinkingCertainly one commonly overlooked, and sometimes feared, tactic is hosting external links to relevant websites within your own site’s content. Some SEO's view this as the ultimate sin. You likely know that having authoritative sites that include a link back to your website can help generate traffic, leads, as well as increasing your rankings on SERPs. But you might find your self puzzled considering, "if we’re going back to basics, how exactly would linking out to other websites help?" And with the onslaught of websites that have fallen off the grid post-Google updates (Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird) for suspicion of trying to “game the system” – why on Earth would you want to risk having your website get penalized? Some SEO's here in Chicago have openly claimed that outbound links are a near and dear friend of the internet devil. The answer is very simple: user experience surpasses all other aspects of the algorithms. Search engines want you to provide relevant resources on your website that enhance your visitor’s experiences while surfing the web. Your dynamic content and lists of helpful resources will all add a great deal of value to your website in the eyes of your visitors…and the Googlebots.
Spammy vs. Natural LinksSo, how can you distinguish between “natural” and “spam” external links and why should you care? Well, what's useful and relevant to your website’s categories and topics. For example, if your website is geared towards sports, it would make sense to link out to other authoritative and relevant sport sites and pages that can enhance your visitor’s experience; whereas including a link to a dentist’s office would seem out of place (unless somehow the connection is legitimate). Of course, you also want to protect your visitors from sites that involve online gambling, payday loans, pharmaceuticals, or adult-oriented content. Avoid any links from sites associated with known spam content. Additionally, if you ensure that the keywords associated with the site linking into yours are similar to your own, there will be a greater chance of additional weight being placed on them. External links can also come in several shapes and sizes. Surely one of the more well-known tactics is to develop useful content that contains natural links out to other related sources and websites. Accepting authoritative guest posts is also a way to keep your site updated with unique content. The addition of an authoritative author is that you receive fan traffic from those who are avid readers of the guest author.
They're Still Votes From The InternetObviously, you want quality links coming in, and in doing so, you want votes of approval from the internet as a whole. While yes, Google has clamped down on the weight and power of any specific link, the simple reality is that they aren't currently able to get a good feel for a website's overall impact without using link data. Keep them clean, and Google will reward your SEO effort.
The Authorship markup was first unveiled by Google in June 2011 and SEO Techs everywhere rejoiced. Its roots can be traced back to the company's Agent Rank patent of 2007. Bill Slawski, an expert on Google's patents, says that the Agent Rank patent is a type of system wherein multiple pieces of content are connected with a digital signature that represents one or more "agents" (authors).
Three years after Google Authorship was launched, the company decided to discontinue the project and SEO's everywhere cried a little. The announcement came from John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools which he posted in Google+. According to Mueller, Google will stop displaying authorship in Google Search. Likewise, it will no longer track data from content with the rel=author markup in SERP rankings.
Google noticed that displaying the authorship information wasn't as useful as the company had thought it would be. At some point, it can even distract from the results. For these reasons, Google decided to axe the Authorship project.
Don't discount Author Rank as a result of this change and the reduced spinets.
According to Search Engine Land:
Google divulged that dropping Google Authorship shouldn't have an impact on how the In-depth articles section works so strong writers' SEO platforms should be intact. Google also explained that the dropping of Google Authorship won’t impact its other efforts to reward authors who perpetually make quality and engaging content. Well, if you read the above portion, you're likely scratching your heads. How is there to be author rank without authorship, when Google has also said that it’s ignoring authorship markup? The answer is that Google has other ways to the author of a quality story, if it wants. In particular, Google is likely to look for visible "bylines" and citations that often appear on news stories and blog posts. These existed before Google Authorship, and they aren't going away. One thing to keep in mind, you will want to ensure that all of your titled work is consolidated under the account name you will want tracked.
Author Rank Is Real — And Continues!
Schmidt was just speculating in his book, not describing anything that was actually happening at Google. From Google itself, there was talk several times last year of making use of Author Rank as a way to identify subject experts and somehow boost them in the search results:
- Google Authority Boost: Google’s Algorithm To Determine Which Site Is A Subject Authority, May 2013
- Google’s Matt Cutts: Someday, Perhaps Ranking Benefits From Using Rel=”Author”, June 2013
- Google Still Working On Promoting Subject-Specific Authorities In Search Results, December 2013
That was still all talk. The first real action came in March of this year. After Amit Singhal, the head of Google Search, said that Author Rank still wasn't being used, the head of Google’s web spam team gave a caveat of where Author Rank was used: for the “In-depth articles” section, when it sometimes appears, of Google’s search results.
If you're a small business owner, you've likely felt some pains because of the tighter lending regulations from banks. Your advertising budgets are already small or non-existent, making advertising even harder now. Fortunately, digital advertising has some low-cost options, allowing small businesses to be able to expand their limited budgets.
Many small businesses have Facebook and Twitter pages, and maybe a few listings in local directories, but that is the extent of their advertising. This is not for lack of interest, however. In a recent study released by market research firm BIA/Kelsey, 40 percent of small and midsized businesses plans to increase digital spending in the next year.
So how can businesses get the best return on investment from digital, internet and social media advertising methods?
It is understandable that companies do not want to put up the cash for traditional outbound marketing techniques, but there are actually a lot of inexpensive (and free) ways to market a business online that are underutilized. If you want to maximize your online presence, look beyond the typical social networks and directories and make use of these options as well:
Register your company with Google’s Places for Business. It's estimated that 97 percent of consumers decide what local businesses to frequent based on an online search? This free service from Google, Places for Business, literally puts you “on the map” so people can find the products or services you offer on a local level. If you do not have an office that is open to the public, you can choose a service area option during signup and hide your physical address. If you have multiple locations, you will want to sign up separately for each spot. Additionally, you will want to be added to several citation sites, to reinforce the Google Places listing. Ensure that the location, phone, and name of your business are the same on each of these sites. Bet results come from consistency.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce. For a small annual fee, you can take advantage of the many networking opportunities your local Chamber of Commerce provides. This is an excellent way to learn about the ways area laws will affect your business operations and also to rub elbows with potential clients. Usually new members get the chance to promote their business on the Chamber’s website or in its newsletter which could lead to a boost in business.
Seek out barter swaps with other local companies. This can take many different forms depending on the resources that you have available to trade. Consider comparable online banner ads or just simply leaving business cards at each other’s physical locations. You may also want to look into exchanging guest blog posts with other area businesses. By linking to each other, you will build up search engine credibility for people searching businesses in your area. There are really no limits here and business swap ideas are free. Try to find companies that make sense with which to trade – for example, a home inspector may find value in a swap relationship with a local Realtor or property management office.
Make a business video. People love to watch videos online, so why not ride that wave? Make a brief video explaining your services or products and post it several places, including your official website and YouTube. Show your expertise in your field with a video that explains what you do and why you are the best at it. People like to put a face with a business name, especially when it comes to local companies, so give them a reason to pick you over the other options.
- As you transition from your old website to a new SEO targeted Website, you can maintain the link equity in which you have invested in already. This is vital for getting your new website to rank quickly. The most effective way to achieve this would be to leave your URLs untouched. However, this is not always possible y if you make an attempt to improve your URL structure or moving to a new domain. Often, updating to a strong Database Built Web Design will result in some changes to link mapping.
- Images are ideal to make your new website engaging and attractive. Unfortunately, search engines have not reached a point yet where they can decode content that is image-based. The use of alt tags can enable search engines to comprehend the meaning of images; this can also be valuable for those who are visually impaired. Alt tags should be vivid and entail the same keywords for which your page aims to rank.
- External links can enable link authority to your website, while internal links can distribute that particular authority across your website pages. In page cross-linking, there are opportunities for appropriate referrals to additional pages with relevant data; they are typically unheeded during a redesign. Page copy can be an ideal place to link to deeper website pages with anchor text to point to long-tail keywords.
- Local results have taken a greater standing in the SERPs. Naturally, it depends on your brand; so, local can be your strategy instead of a small portion of your overall plan. Keep in mind, locally focused works only if your business model is only focused locally. There are several locally relevant recommendations to consider in combination with your fresh new website launch, but most importantly, your maps should always be the focus of local SEO. Our Naperville Web Design and SEO Team targets citation listings (map directories) and locally relevant review sites to ensure for a cohesive and universal set of data descriptions.
- A new Google search feature in authorship is expected to increase in relevance over time. Author-Ranking is the future of authorship where pages are ranked based on the authority of the writer, as opposed to the authority of the page/website. An investment in authorship can help you not only in the short term, but the long term as well. We suggest that your content creators work on and off of your sites to develop a stronger authorship ranking.