No More PageRank Dilution with 30x Redirects

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A few years ago, Matt Cutts, a Google software engineer, confirmed many SEO specialists’ suspicions: 301 redirects affect PageRank, which is the algorithm Google uses to rank sites in its search engine results pages (SERP). Cutts’ confirmation stated that the PageRank of an old URL was not fully passed on to the new URL, causing a drop in rankings. In order to prevent movement in the rankings, it was suggested to link through using a normal link versus using a redirect. Two years later, our pal Matt Cutts released a statement that 301 redirects no longer dilute PageRank. SEO specialists celebrated as Cutts said, “The amount of PageRank that dissipates through a 301 is currently identical to the amount of PageRank that dissipates through a link.” Now that our 301 worries are relieved, what about 302 redirects or other 30x redirects?

Up until now, all other forms of redirects still caused a dilution in PageRank. It wasn’t until last month that SEO specialists could stop worrying about PageRank when Gary Illyes, a Google webmaster trends analyst, confirmed that using a 301, 302, or 30x redirect of any kind will not result in a loss of PageRank. Google’s John Mueller also confirmed this statement.

301 redirects are used most commonly when a page with good page authority from your domain has been removed from the site. It is encouraged to add a 301 redirect from that page to another relevant page from your domain. In terms of SEO, this is a better alternative than using 404 error pages, which have no SEO advantage.

Are you interested in optimizing your search engine results? RobMark Web’s team of SEO Specialists is here to help! With a mix of white hat SEO tactics, RobMark Web can help you improve your PageRank.

New Website SEO Mistakes

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So you’ve launched a new website and your search engine rankings plummeted. Now what? There are several things to consider while building and launching your new website to ensure your site stays optimized and/or improves in optimization. Some common mistakes that occur while building a new website that can affect your SEO include the following:

  1. Using unoptimized or Flash-based images — These types of images can lead to slow load time on your website and in the not-so-patient world of e-commerce, customers won’t wait for the page to load. Flash-based images can even prevent users from accessing the website via mobile devices altogether, which accounts for at least fifty percent of all web traffic nowadays.
  1. Neglecting to migrate important content — Informative and unique content is important in terms of SEO, which includes content that lives behind the scenes—meta data and alt tags. Sometimes while migrating from an old site to a new one, that content gets missed. These elements are crucial to preserve existing SEO practices.
  1. Blocking search engines from crawling the website — Occasionally during planning and development, a robot.txt code is used to block search engine crawlers from crawling an unfinished website. However, sometimes developers may forget to remove that code while transferring over to a live server, making the new website uncrawlable and unrankable. Or certain firewall settings could be preventing the website from being crawled. Search engines need to have the ability to crawl and read the website in order for it to be ranked.
  1. Lacking mobile-friendly optimization — Like previously stated, mobile traffic makes up approximately fifty percent of all web traffic, and in some cases more. Last year, Google adjusted its algorithm to weigh more on mobile-friendliness, i.e. ranking responsive, mobile-friendly sites higher than those that aren’t. While in the development stage, by primarily focusing more on the appearance of the site on a laptop, you’re doing more harm than good. Thinking about the user’s experience on all devices will set you up for the success.

These are just four of the common SEO mistakes that occur during new website launches. Next time, trust Savannah’s web design experts at RobMark Web. Staffed with web designers, programmers, and SEO specialists, every website launched by Robmark Web is run through a gauntlet of testing on all devices and a thorough SEO checklist to ensure your rankings go nowhere but up. Call (912) 921-1040.

Voice Search Technology Exploding

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What started with Siri in 2010 has quickly transformed into a growing industry that involves all the big tech players, including Apple, Google, and Amazon. Voice search has not only grown over the last three years, but it has exploded. In one year, voice search went from zero percent of searches to 10 percent, and as of June 2016, it now accounts for 20 percent of searches. That is huge growth in a short amount of time, and that percentage can be expected to continue to grow.

Consumers are using voice search in a few ways, which Hound, a voice query app, has divided into the following four categories:

  • Personal Assistant — creating events, shopping lists, reminders, making calls, or sending texts
  • Fun and Entertainment — listening to music, social media, searching video, or playing games
  • General Information — web searches, news, recipes, or banking and finance.
  • Local Information — finding restaurants, shopping, directions, home services weather, or traffic

Voice-controlled Personal Assistant and the General Information searches are the majority of voice queries.

With this change in how consumers are searching, businesses are going to have to employ new strategies in order to keep up. Since certain voice searches are bypassing the opportunities for competitors to try and attract your attention with high organic listings and paid advertisements, new strategies need to be developed to ensure that small businesses don’t get left behind in the new voice search era. Some things to consider include online reputation, search result rankings on search engines other than Google, and long-tail keywords.

Online Reputation:

Amazon Echo relies on “Skills,” which is Echo’s version of apps, to provide data for its searches. This can leave small businesses at a competitive disadvantage due to lack of capital to create a comprehensive application like big brands and franchises are able to do. This means the best way to compete is to optimize your presence on vertical sites that have applications, like Yelp, for example. Yelp is especially important since it is also the skill that Echo accesses when looking up local businesses such as restaurants or retail shops.

Search Rankings:

Being on the first page of Google is great, but what if a user is searching via Bing, Yahoo, or DuckDuckGo? Where does your site rank on the non-majority search engines?

Amazon Echo is the leading personal assistant at the moment and its default search engine is Bing. It’s important to make sure you have good standing across all of the top search engines, not just the majority leader — Google.

Search Queries:

Queries, when using voice search, tend to be more conversational, longer, more nuanced, and actually reveal a greater intent than basic searches. For example, a user who is typing may search for “ac repair near me,” whereas a user using a voice assistant may say, “There is a burning smell coming from my Trane ac unit.” Or instead of searching for a pizza restaurant near you, you will ask your personal assistant to order you a specific pizza from that app on your device. This is also the case with local service providers. Instead of searching for an electrician in your area, you will request your personal assistant to book an appointment with the highest-rated local electrician who is available during a certain time. This last instance can circle back around to our first objective: online reputation.

Since this is relatively new technology, competition, issues, and updates will undoubtedly arise, making it difficult to anticipate what strategies will work. However, if small businesses stay on top of the technology and actively participate as it grows, it lessens the chance of being left behind as this industry changes.

Google Has Updated Local Listing Ranking Signals

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Google has updated the ranking signals for local listings. Instead of focusing mostly on proximity, it now takes into account traditional ranking signals used for organic search.

The three main areas Google considers when determining local rankings are relevance, distance, and prominence. “Prominence” is the new section added to the Google document, and within the document, it explains prominence as how well-known a business is. Not only does the prominence ranking factor take into consideration how prominent a business is offline, but they also use information like Google Review count and score, links, directory listings, articles, and organic search ranking to judge how prominent the business is online. This means that SEO best practices and your website’s ranking directly affect how well your Google My Business listing shows in local search results! Another way of looking at it is if you aren’t focusing on traditional SEO, the visibility for your Google My Business listing will suffer, and vice versa. If you haven’t paid too much attention to your Google My Business page, but have been focusing on traditional SEO tactics, your local rankings are likely to increase.

If you’re coming to the understanding that SEO is a necessity for your business’s website, call us! Robmark Web has a talented team of SEO specialists that stay up-to-date on the latest changes and adhere to all of the best practices guidelines.

10 Red Flags of a Shady SEO Provider

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Search Engine Optimization has been a buzzword for several years. Even people who may not know exactly what SEO is know it’s important in order to appear on the first page of Google. Because it is a rather convoluted conversation, many business owners stick to what they know, and hire a company to do SEO for them. Unfortunately there are several companies who take advantage of the complexity of it and may not be fully transparent in their actions. From giving the business owner wrong or bad advice to not following through on promised services, here are ten signs your SEO provider may not be legit.

 

  1. Producing Duplicate or Low Quality Content: Duplicate content is a big SEO no-no. However, some companies will copy and paste the same copy and simply swap out keywords in order to save themselves time and effort. No bueno.
  1. Lazy Tactics: Cramming all of your keywords into a title page and/or Meta keywords is just lazy and outdated. The SEO process takes more thought than that. 
  1. Blogs Only: There is so much more to SEO than blogging. Yes, blogging is one tactic in an overall strategy, but only focusing on blogs will not get you the desired results.

 

  1. Promises of a Low Bounce Rate: Depending on the website and its calls to action, the lowest bounce rate may not be your ultimate goal. For example, if you are urging people to call, a low bounce rate shows they are taking a long time to convert. Whereas if there is a high bounce rate, this could mean your customers are quickly converting and then leaving the site. If your SEO provider promises to drastically lower your bounce rate, you should ask them how they are doing it. There are companies that do it artificially by adding a script that pings Google Analytics, versus optimizing the content on the website.

 

  1. Al La Carte Services: SEO is an overall strategy that is broken up into several tactics, including copywriting, authoritative link building, Meta keywords, and more. These tactics work best when all done together. If an SEO company is giving you an option to choose one or the other, reconsider.

 

  1. Promised Outcomes: Google’s algorithms change with the wind. New businesses come into the market every day. Businesses change their strategies frequently. There are a lot of variables when it comes to organic listings, which is why nobody can guarantee rankings. If your SEO provider promised you the number one spot on a search engine results page, walk away.

 

  1. Cheap Services: SEO is a service that requires a human. It cannot be automated. And paying a real person to do real work is not cheap. This is very much a “you get what you pay for” service.

 

  1. Setup Fees: Because SEO is a manual task, not an automated one, there is nothing that needs to be “set up.” If a company tries to charge you a setup fee, ask them what it includes. A lot of research goes into an SEO project and providers will try to recoup the time by adding this extra fee. Or it is a possibility that they are just charging you extra money because they can. Either way, setup fees are something worth inquiring about.

 

  1. No Analytics Access: If your SEO provider set up Google Analytics, but won’t give you access, that is a huge red flag. And vice versa. If you already have analytics set up and your new provider doesn’t ask for access, buh-bye. How can they know what is going on with your website if they aren’t monitoring the website analytics?!

 

  1. No Monthly Reporting: R&M does offer quarterly reporting options for a client with a smaller budget, but monthly reporting is always recommended when it comes to SEO. Because there are constant tweaks being made and the organic listings atmosphere is frequently changing, it is beneficial to be able to see the continual progress.

 

If you are working with an SEO company and you noticed one or more of these red flags, cut your losses. Robmark Web has been Savannah’s top SEO company since 2008 and we pride ourselves on staying up on the latest trends and being fully transparent when it comes to our actions, access, reporting, and billing. Your success is our success.

Reviews Trump Testimonials in 2016

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A lot of pieces of the local marketing puzzle moved around in 2015. For example, Google’s 7-pack shrank to 3 and Google+ removed location information, marking two of the biggest recent changes in this arena. Until Google makes additional changes, right now, your business listing’s Knowledge Box and Google Maps are the only places where your business information, including reviews, is shown.

Reviews have always been important, especially when it comes to potential customers. And now that Google has purged information from the listings, including the business description, categories, and photos, all you’re left with is your business name, basic contact information, and reviews. This means the importance of these reviews has increased, so much so that it may be time to rethink your review/testimonial strategy.

Customers want to see unbiased, honest reviews on a third-party site, not hand-picked testimonials. Have you ever looked at your website analytics to find activity on your site’s Testimonial page? If you have one, it is most likely one of the least-visited pages on your entire website. Consumers want to read the good with the bad and gather enough information about a company to make a decision themselves.

That being said, instead of a testimonials page, we suggest a reviews page that links to various off-site reviews, including Google Reviews as well as other sites your customers may frequent. For example, restaurant-goers are more likely to use Yelp, while those reviewing a medical facility are likely to use Healthgrades.

Keep in mind that Yelp frowns upon direct links to a listing page. However, by conducting a Google search for “[your business] Yelp” and using that SERP URL as the link, you are putting the Yelp reviews on a platter for the user without sending them directly there, and Yelp sees it as the visit coming from an organic search.

Now your Reviews page is a wealth of useful information that a customer can appreciate. Having these links also makes it easier for customers to leave reviews. It’s a win-win!