Are Traditional Writers Plagued By The Modern Demands Of SEO?

I recently came across an article that outlined the impact SEO has on the quality of written content. It was argued that, despite persistent historical criticism stating the opposite, SEO was more than capable of enhancing the calibre of our web-based writing.

writing-336370_640The writer sarcastically introduces their article by denouncing the use of SEO within high quality content, citing ‘awkward, keyword-stuffed phrases’ in the deriding opening paragraph.

It seems SEO has received plenty of unmerited condemnation in the past with regards to its effect on quality content. Perhaps it remains an easy target for many an infuriated writer who struggle with the ever-changing demands Google likes to throw at us.

The article I read this week stated that anyone who feels SEO is disrupting their standard of content should be classed as “not a very good writer”, although I find this harsh in the sense that SEO is a rapidly growing and developing industry practically dictating the paths which skilled and ambitious writers must now follow in order to succeed on their website.

We want to know if SEO has changed content writing for the better and whether we should feel despondent about compressing our content with a plethora of regimenting keywords from now on.

Prioritising SEO

As writers, we have to understand that prioritising SEO with keywords is crucial to the success of our website and that Google wants to see as much keyword-ridden content as possible. We spend much of our time acknowledging our own work; concluding that this is exactly what the reader wants and anything else wouldn’t live up to expectations.

What SEO gives us is the opportunity to discover more about our audience and what it is they want to be reading, thus improving our use of vocabulary (as well as keywords) within that specific sector.

We might be using the right words and providing our audience with an excellent source of information that’s plentiful, insightful and appealing to any industry expert but are the writers out there finding it easier to produce high quality content as a result of this?

The point of SEO and Google’s newfound ideology is to have clients, customers, fans and enthusiasts leaving with a superior amount of knowledge and ideally with everything they’d hoped to obtain, but those of us who venture to supermarkets once or twice a week know full well how difficult this is to achieve.

Instead we take something that’s just as appealing, albeit different, or nothing at all. If we can somehow formulate this similarity between websites and supermarkets, there could be a valid reason to support writers who feel oppressed by the often manipulative characteristics of Google algorithms that offer very little in the way of compromise.

Of course, it won’t help a website achieve its potential if we search too vigorously for the opportunity to shun keywords wherever possible. Instead, we need to avoid circumventing and utilise the benefits of meeting SEO requirements. So how do we do this?

SEO Does Generate Ideas

The article I refer to at the start of this post helped me find the origin of what is widely regarded as a seasoned writer’s nightmare.

Generating ideas for content can be debilitating at times and if there’s anything out there that has the potential to blemish a consistent writer’s portfolio, it’s discovering up to the minute topics to write about.

Analytics provides us with a monumental amount of topics covering everything from e-books to on-site content.

It’s now easier than ever to find similar topics using related search results provided by search engines and sufficiently fuel the part of our brains that allows the creative juices to flow.

SEO – Turn It On Its Head

“I’ve just written the best piece of content I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of completing, what without all those problematic little keywords to hold me back…”

“Great, how many views does it have?”

It’s important that we don’t embarrass ourselves and forget that anything we do write must have the pleasure of being read. This is probably the clearest reason yet why writers should be embracing SEO instead of uncovering its distinguishable flaws.

We effectively organise content, we learn how to incorporate the right terms and we adopt new styles of writing. We couldn’t just expect someone to stumble across the work we do either.

SEO and Writers Unite

There’s no debate that keywords and SEO are systematising from a writer’s point of view. However, what’s taken away from us is given back in the shape of something a whole lot more valuable in the modern world; recognition.

For the traditional writers out there I say this; there’s always something new to learn and written content is fast becoming a huge part of SEO, so embrace it as early as possible and you’ll have forgotten the substance behind your quarrels faster than you can type out a troublesome old keyword.

 

 


Google Reveal Plans for Child-Friendly Search Results

Google has started work on child-friendly versions of their services, from Chrome to the search site itself. A US-based report states that Google are developing these modifications in an attempt to provide parents with more security when children are surfing the web.

google-76522_640

“The big motivator inside the company is everyone is having kids”

Pavni Diwanji, Google’s vice-president of engineering, is leading the project and told USA Today a little more about what to expect from their child-friendly version of the search site, stating that the new modifications would be designed for children up to the age of 12. There is still no news on a release date for these modifications.

Child-Friendly Search Results

One of the examples Ms Diwanji put forward revolved around search results and how search terms such as “trains” could provide and prioritise child-friendly results such as “Thomas the Tank Engine” when children were using the search site instead of sending them in the direction of ticket booking sites.

Improved Online Security for Parents

As well as child-friendly search results, Google are also developing tools that let parents monitor their child’s time surfing the web, including the sites they visit and how much time they are spending online. While there are already Safe Search tools available for parental use, it’s believed Google’s plans will take child safety a whole lot further.

Potential Hurdles

Google may come unstuck at some stage during the development of these site modifications however. This is down to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa) in the US, which specifies the amount of data that can be collected about children and what it can be used for.


Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly For SEO?

IS YOUR SITE

It can be quite frustrating having to go through a website on your mobile phone that hasn’t been optimised for mobile devices. In fact, it’s probably one of the most frustrating things consumers have to deal with when surfing the net on the go.

Poor Text, Link and Image Visibility

What’s the point in accessing a site using your mobile if the text is practically impossible to read, the links are barely visible and the images are hardly recognisable?  Well, Google have decided that enough is enough and revealed a useful addition to search results will be introduced in the coming weeks specifically aimed at those using mobile devices.

Criteria For A “Mobile-Friendly” Page

Those of you that are avid Google users on your mobile phones may have already noticed that Google has started to introduce a “Mobile-friendly” label in their search results on mobiles.

The ever-reliable Googlebot will now analyse a selection of criteria before stating that a search result is “Mobile-friendly”. You’ll be able to see the label alongside the meta descriptions in the search results.The criteria that a web page must comply with in order to be classed as “Mobile-friendly” are as follows:

mobile-friendly
  • Software that is uncommon or not regularly used on mobile devices i.e. flash will be avoided
  • Text must be readable without the user having to zoom in
  • Links need to be far enough apart so that it’s not an absolute nightmare trying to tap the link you’re actually after
  • The content on the page needs to be sized automatically so that scrolling is no longer necessary

You can use a Mobile-Friendly Test provided by Google to see if your site complies with the set criteria. Google have stated that they are keen to ensure mobile users have “a better mobile web experience” and that they are “experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal”.

Why Is A Mobile-Friendly Website Important?

There’s no doubt having mobile-friendly pages available on your site will only increase traffic and improve the overall performance of your online business.

The capabilities of modern mobile devices allow access to detailed and concise content. Potential clients are using their phones on public transport to access web pages more than ever before, so you could be losing out on a significant number of potential enquiries.

We Can Help

We’re always up to date with changes such as this one here at Artemis and something like this certainly can’t go unnoticed if we’re to get the very best results for our clients.

To learn more about mobile-friendly pages and how they can help your site, make the most of our free consultation service.

P.S. In case you’re wondering, no our site isn’t responsive yet! We’re working on it now and we’ll be writing a blog post about what it takes to make a website responsive.


Auto event tracking in Google Tag Manager to trigger goals

gtm

The Problem

A very common issue with a lot of sites was that to be able to track a successful form submission we would recommend a unique URL following the form submit. Many Content Management Systems whether they are bespoke or off the shelf sometimes forget that bit and it is a PITA to get set up, costly or you wait an age. Google Tag Manager addresses this issue with ease thanks to a number of event listeners, not just for forms. We have Click Listeners (yes we really can track which elements within your page are being clicked), Link Click Listeners and so much more. For the purposes of this guide we are going to solve this common problem with a Form Submit Listener. It may seem a little in depth but with a little practice you can have this set up inside 10 minutes.

What is Google Tag Manager?

If you are not familiar with what Google Tag Manger is yet, don’t sweat it, we all start somewhere. In a nutshell it is a Tag Management System (TMS). All of your external tracking scripts, click to call, facebook pixels, remarketing, Google Analytics and a whole host of others all managed in one place.

Why Google Tag Manager?

A reduction in code bloat, faster pageload times and a new kind of marketing agility that gets at insights so much quicker. We are not talking about getting rid of developers here we are talking about working with them but not interfering with all that HTML and fancy jquery stuff over there.

A little background about me and GTM

It has been known that I am a little bit of a fan of Google Tag Manager (GTM), from talking to clients, colleagues and anyone who would listen … they quickly glazed over, nodded and let me get on with it. Sometimes I forget myself and event the guys here at Artemis are calling me a geek. That came as a bit of a shock as both Mike and Justin here have been internet marketers since just after The Right Reverend & Lord Sir Berners-Lee invented our playground.

The Solution

  1. Google Tag Manager
  2. Google Analytics

Get started

  • Within your GTM container create a new Tag
create-new-tag
  • Within this empty Tag give it a name then select the Tag type “Form Submit Listener” within “Event Listener”
select-form-submit-listener

Firing Rules

Now we have the basic Event tag set up we need to decide when this will be fired. All Tags need firing rules, an instruction as to when to get to work dependent on the pages you tell it to fire on. In most instances we fire the Form Submit Listener on all pages.

Google Tag Manager comes with a default “All Pages” firing rule out of the box and in this instance we select this rule for what we need and click save.

default-firing-rule
  • Back within the main Tag we can go ahead and click save, that’s all we need to do in here.
main-tag-save

Creating a Form Submit Listener Tag

Now we have a basic Form Submit Listener set up we can now concentrate on a specific event, in this case a contact form submission.

So again we click on “New” and “Tag”

create-new-tag
  • Give the tag a name

Within Google Analytics select “Universal Analytics” (if you have not upgraded yet now would be a good time, you will be automatically upgraded soon enough but better to get it done now.)

select-universal-analytics

Once selected you have a little configuring to do, don’t panic though, it’s mostly self explanatory!

Access your Google Analytics account and grab your tracking ID (under Admin > Property Settings) (link to GA property ID)

grab-tracking-id

Back in GTM paste in your copied tracking ID and now we need to define the event. It’s up to you how you describe it but we will be revisiting this step near the end.

Select “Track type” & “Event”

select-track-type

You will then be faced with the following fields which I have filled in for the purposes of illustration, you can enter in the first 2 fields whatever you choose. The Label field in this instance though has been defined using the Macro {{element url}} the reason I have used that macro is in this instance I am listening for a form being submitted but the form is on every page of the site and I want to know which page that form submission has come from.

gtm-event-fields-setup

OK so if you have made it this far without shouting at me you either have the patience of saint or you take this technical stuff in your stride. Take a break, go for a run, see where you rank for that vanity term you keep staring at every day in the hope that it will move.

Ready for the next part?

As with the previous Tag we need to set up a rule for where this event will be fired, go ahead and click add on the firing rules

firing-rules

This time around though we need to create a new rule as we are going to be listening for specific form. The reason we do this is because there can be multiple forms within a site from internal search through to newsletter subscriptions. We need to define which one we are listening for so we set up the macro to match the form submit listener we created previously using “gtm.formSubmit” and creating the second rule that listens for the ID of the form that we want.

contact-form-rules

If you do not have an ID within the form then that is another task, otherwise you can listen for the form if it also matches a number of other elements not just the ID including class, target, text and a number of other macros. Finding what to match it against takes a little digging ion the HTML but it’s a lot easier if you are already using the Webdeveloper Chrome extension 🙂 In my case I have used the ID of the form as the trigger (I had to create it as it did not exist).

finding-unique-form-elements-to-track

Clicking on save for your firing rule brings us back to the Tag, we’re all done in here too so we can go ahead and click save here as well.

This will bring you back out to the GTM container and now we need to test that what we have set up actually works! To do this first we need to create a version & publish the container.

create-gtm-version

Now for the fun part!, what do you mean that was no fun?

Within your Google Analytics account for the site you are setting the auto event tracking up for navigate to Reporting > Real Time > Events.

ga-real-time-events

Now switch back to your site and complete a test form and submit it, then switch back to real time events again in Google Analytics and watch the magic of what you have created unfold before your eyes!

real-time-events

Now we have the auto event tracking set up we need to set up a goal that will be matched when this event is fired. To do that within your Google Analytics account navigate to your goals (Admin > Goals (within the 3rd column))

navigate-to-goals-in-ga

Click on “New Goal”

new-goal

Give your goal an easily recognisable description (I have seen some interesting descriptions over the years) and select the “Event” radio button then click on next step.

create-event-as-a-goal

Remember those fields you set earlier in Google Tag Manager? Aye well you need to have them match in this part for the goal to be considered matched against the event

goal-must-match-gtm-event-fields

Once the text in the fields tallies up click on “create goal” label is not necessary in here unless you explicitly gave it a label. You can now cool your head with a nice beer, oh you’re in an office? I will have one for you. Now we just wait for data! over time you will have an overview of how the site is performing for that 1 specific goal. But let this be the beginning! Why not set up auto event tracking to trigger much more than just your contact form!

Failing that why not put the whole thing on autopilot so you can have an overview of events in a custom report? That is a post for another day as I wanted to combine it with using auto event tracking using Google Tag Manager to listen for external broken link clicks (how geeky is that?).

If you get stuck leave a comment, if you would prefer the team here to do the heavy lifting pick up the phone and one of the lovely people here can arrange it all so that we get to do it for you!

TL;DR

A guide to creating event tracking that will fire a goal within Google Analytics without stressing your developers out with yet another task.

First image credit Dasheroo


Panda 4.1 – The Biggest Winners and Losers of Google’s Latest Algorithm Update

The Panda 4.1 update that continues to roll out this week has affected sites in different ways since it was released, with some sites witnessing better results than others. Last week Google confirmed Panda 4.1 would utilise the feedback received from users and webmasters alike to further improve the process of identifying low quality content.

Google-Panda-Algorithm-Update

What Is It Targeting?

So what is the Panda update looking at specifically? What we know is that these changes to the Panda algorithm will affect between three and five percent of search queries depending on the location of the user.

We’re also aware that Google are focusing on assisting the competitiveness of some of the smaller businesses who are looking to rival bigger, more established companies.

Who’s Been Affected?

Shortly after the update, SearchMetrics released some of the data collected as a result of a survey that focused on the overall effects of Panda 4.1. The earliest reports indicate that news, content and download sites have been the biggest winners, whilst those that have suffered include the lyrics, games and medical realms.

For example, medterms.com has been hit severely by the latest Panda update, with 40% of their SEO visibility being lost. Other sites that have been negatively affected by Panda 4.1 include ehow.com and hallmark.com.

According to SearchEngineLand, office365.com and hubpages.com have also lost out, although both have switched to new URLs and this could also be related to an SEO drop.

It’s also good news for those who have worked hard on their site since Panda 4.0 was released, with Google looking to reward those who were previously affected. Once again, it’s down to those who witness a fall in search ranking after Panda 4.1 to alter their site and discover where it is they are going wrong.

Future Panda Updates

The Panda updates have always been widely reported, mainly because they surprise and appear without an official prior announcement from Google.

However, despite stating in the past that any future Panda update wouldn’t be confirmed, Google have (for the second time this year) decided to tell users about the changes to their algorithm and contradict their previous statement.

Despite there being a reported set of winners and losers as a result of Panda 4.1, it goes without saying that this is not as significant an update as Panda 4.0, which reportedly affected around 7.5% of search queries.

However, Analysts have said that the emerging pattern of updates seems to point towards a quarterly update schedule for Panda, which is a change to the monthly updates we saw back in 2012.

How Could It Affect You?

If you are one of many who were penalised as a result of Panda 4.0, you should be able to find out whether or not your efforts to change your site for the better have been worthwhile in the near future, regardless of the specific topic or realm your online business is associated with.

To learn more about Google algorithms and how the Panda 4.1 update could affect your ranking capabilities, talk to the experts here at Artemis Marketing. We can help your site achieve the best possible rankings through expert online marketing techniques and a vast amount of SEO knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 


Google Obtain Patent for Using TV Shows to Influence Search Results

There are a number of different ways Google manages search results so that they rank in accordance with what we want to see, such as examining the trails we leave on the web, finding our geographic location and looking through our search history. There could now be a further addition to these examples, with what we watch on TV set to become a new factor in Google’s search ranking methods.

 

It was revealed earlier this week that Google had been given a patent that referred to the concept of using our TV’s to manipulate search results. This would incorporate making a judgement on what we were watching at that specific time on TV prior to providing search results. This major influential development was given further detail in the following patent:

‘A computer implemented method for using search queries related to television programs. A server receives a user’s search query from an electronic device. The server then determines, in accordance with the search query and television program related information for television programs available at a location associated with the electronic device during a specific time window, a television program currently being displayed in proximity to the electronic device, wherein the television program related information includes program descriptions for a plurality of television programs being broadcast for the associated location’.

So let’s say we’re watching a show about something related to World Number 1 Golfer Rory McIlroy and we decide to find out about the latest occurrences in Golf’s Ryder Cup.  Google would use a server to identify the location of the program through the electronic device making the search and subsequently provide information that has something to do with both the programme and the search query, so in this case we’re likely to be greeted with search results stating something along the lines of “Rory McIlroy leading the European Ryder Cup charge after the first round”.

What you should probably know is that Google already use this form of search technology with Google Now, so it’s not something they’ve only just started to get to grips with. In addition, there’s no guaranteeing Google will decide to use TV’s as a means of specifying search results just because they’ve acquired a patent.

If you’re curious to know about Google Now, it’s basically Google’s personal intelligence assistant that provides information about TV series and upcoming shows through the use of a TV Card. Whilst it’s available to try it now, it’s fair to say this latest development in Google’s search ranking techniques could have a significant effect on how we use online search in future.

To discover more about the importance of ranking in Google and what it could mean for the future of your online business, contact Artemis Internet Marketing today and get a free consultation.


Rivals Working Together? – Google Assist Apple Product Launch With Custom Knowledge Graphs

It’s fair to say we have been engulfed by the unveiling of the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch this week but if you’re keen to learn more about the devices, you can rely on one of Apple’s biggest rivals to fill you in.

White_AppleWatch_with_Screen

That’s right, it’s Google and they’ve reacted in a somewhat surprising fashion by providing Apple with an exclusive Knowledge Graph that features detailed information about the three devices, including an in-depth description and all the necessary specifications.

All you have to do is search for any of the three gadgets unveiled by Google on Tuesday and head to the right of the search page, where you’ll be greeted by a new Knowledge Graph design that’s specifically designed to provide you with an introduction to the devices.

So why are Google helping out such a phenomenal rival? It turns out that Apple and Google have worked together to build these exclusive Knowledge Graphs, which are usually the result of information taken from a number of different sources, including Wikipedia.

It’s certainly something out of the ordinary as far as Google are concerned, as they rarely compile information in this manner and often rely on automation for all search products. However, it does seem to have coincided with a huge spike in searches for terms related to the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

Google have stated that no payment between themselves and Apple was included in the agreement to display this information and have also claimed that this was one of a few exclusive Knowledge Graphs provided during product launches.

What do Google have in store for the future? Can they match the huge success Apple are likely to achieve as a result of these new devices? You’d think they may have something up their sleeve if they’re prepared to assist the developments of a direct rival!

If you’re keen to gain more from Google in terms of search through highly efficient, detailed online marketing techniques, get in touch with Artemis today and we’ll provide you with all the information you need surrounding SEO. We look forward to hearing from you!


The Analytics Chrome Extension For Busy Business People

Although I spend a significant portion of my day with my head stuck in Google Analytics for many websites, sometimes I just want to get a quick snapshot of how a specific page on a website is performing.

I recently started using a new Google Chrome extension which does just this, so I thought I’d share it with you.

It’s very easy to get up and running with this and you’ll quickly realise why I’ve become quite a fan of this extension.

Firstly, you need to be using Google Chrome.  If you’re not using this browser yet then you really are missing out on the best browser available today (cue hate mail from Safari users!).

Next, install the Google Chrome Analytics extension.

And that’s it!  At this stage you just need to make sure you’re logged into your Analytics account and we can now start using this.

A Quick User Guide

Here’s a quick overview to using this extension….

Once you’ve added the extension, in order for the website stats to appear you need go to the page of your website that you want to see the analytics for and click the arrows at the right of the address bar of the browser and select “Page Analytics (by Google)”:

Select Google Analytics Extension

If prompted, select where to display the data panel and, selecting “Top”, you’ll then get an analytics bar appear at the top of the website like this:

Google Analytics Extension Top Bar

Voila!  This is the data for a page on the Artemis website as we navigate the website it will show us the data for each page.

The great thing you can do is click on “Segments” and show data for specific segments, such as mobile traffic to that page, paid traffic, etc.

You can also click the “Compare” checkbox and see how the traffic compares to the previous period.

You can see that the orange numbers show what percentage of clicks each link gets on that page too!

I hope you can see the value in this extension. Have a play around with it for various pages on your website, select different segments to view and then if you want to switch it off just click the X in the top left.

For more information about how to use this extension read this great guide by Daniel Waisberg.

Have fun digging into your analytics!


Will Content Still Rank Without Links?

One of Matt Cutts’ summer webmaster videos involved answering the following question:

“How does Google determine quality content if there aren’t a lot of links to a post?”

As you may well know, quality content is essential for any webpage to flourish. However, there are a number of different aspects related to content that affect the overall ranking potential of a page. Cutts explains that, in order to fully understand how quality content is recognised without links, you need to take a look at how search engines operated before links were used as a ranking signal.

In the above video, Cutts gives us a brief overview of how content would be analysed through solely the text on the page. When a word first appears on a page, it is counted more in comparison to other words that appear.  As it continues to appear, the word is counted less but as long as additional appearances of the word occur, Google will come to the conclusion that this particular page is in reference to the topic being searched.

However, Cutts also said that repeating the same keyword multiple times to try and emphasise your affiliation with a certain topic could be regarded as keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing actually has the opposite effect and you could be penalised heavily for it.

Another way in which Google determines the quality of a page is through its domain. If the page covers a reasonably obscure search query, the chances are it won’t need any links to still be returned in search results. Remember that Google look to target the relevance of a page, so you don’t really need links if your content covers a rare search phrase.


New Google Analytics App for iOS Released

It’s the moment many iOS webmasters have been waiting for. Google Analytics is finally available on iPhone and iPod Touch, so there’s no need to envy the Android users any longer!

Analytics App 2Analytics AppAnalytics App 3

There are some pretty helpful features included in the app and most of them are ones you will already be used to. These include access to visits, sources, page views and other statistics.You can download Google Analytics for iOS from the App Store now. The app itself is compatible with a wide range of iOS devices, although it’s actually optimised specifically for the iPhone 5. Remember that you’ll need to be running iOS 6.0 at least to run the app successfully.

It’s also been claimed by TechCrunch that you’ll have access to Real Time reports, giving you the chance to monitor data as it changes. Overall, it’s a great alternative to sitting in front of the PC for hours and with the potential addition of Real Time reports, Analytics could become a much more user-friendly experience.

So if you’re an iOS user, get down to the App Store and download Google Analytics now! Tell us what your first experiences with the app are like in the comments below. There have been quite a few reviews already published, including reported error messages that occur after linking accounts, so we’d love to know your own initial experience with Google’s latest app.

For more information on the marketing service we have to offer here at Artemis, get in touch today or make the most of our free consultation service.