Top Tips for Optimising Images on GMB

Top Tips For Optimising Images on Google My Business

Many businesses lack a diverse range of images on their Google local listings, yet they are an essential element to having a well optimised Google My Business listing. Google’s algorithm will look fondly on a business with a range of well optimised photos. It’s so important that GMB Insights will even tell you how your photos perform against competitors in your local area.

Business Photos

Your image dashboard can be found by logging into your GMB profile and clicking on photos in the menu.

You will first be asked to add a Profile, Logo and Cover Photo to your local listing. Your profile and logo should both be different and measure to 250 x 250 pixels. The best dimensions for your cover photo are 2120 x 1192 pixels.

Once you have uploaded these, click the ‘What are these?’ link. This will allow you to select the photo you recommend to show first on Google Maps and Search. Make sure to keep track of what image is being pulled through on Search in your business knowledge box, Google will typically show the latest image you uploaded.

GMB Image Dashboard
Neither Google or potential customers are interested in stock photos, it’s highly recommended that you use real photos which ‘tell the story of your business’ as Google’s guidelines stipulate.

Google's Guidelines GMB

Image Optimisation

For best practice, here are Google’s guidelines on what size your images should be:

  •  JPG or PNG
  • Max 10 KB and Min 5 MB
  • At a minimum 720px tall and 720px wide
  • Your photo should represent reality and be well lit. Do not make excessive alterations.

Photo Categories

At its basic level, depending on the business category you have chosen, you will have 5 image categories which you are encouraged to fill out. These usually include:

  • Interior Photos (of your office or shop)
  • Exterior Photos (of your office or shop)
  • Photos at Work
  • Team Photos
  • Additional Photos

You should add a minimum of three photos into each segment.

GMB Image Dashboard - 3 Photos


Don’t stop there

Once you have uploaded your well optimised and real life images, you need to ensure you manage and check your photos and insights.

Periodically adding more images to these categories is a great way of keeping your profile active, a necessary strategy to ranking well as Google suggests ‘business with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their website’.

GMB Tip
In December 2016, Google My Business added insights for photos. Ensure you keep track of your GMB Photo Insights, you’ll be surprised just how many of your photos have been viewed, but most importantly keep track of your competition in the ‘photo views’ section. You can also view the photo quantity in comparison with business like you, a great metric to judge if you should be adding more images to your profile.

GMB Photo Views
As we mentioned before, you should keep track on which image Google is showing on Maps and Search as it is subject to change to the latest image uploaded.

GMB Flag ImagesBeware! Anyone can add photos to a business’s location and those photos are likely to display on search. If it’s a malicious attack the images are unlikely to be anything to do with your business. In this case, you will need to flag the images to Google, this can take a few days to resolve. Click to enlarge the image and look for the flag. We recommend flagging the image by three different accounts at a minimum.

If you would like further advice or a free consultation about your Local SEO get in touch today, we’d be happy to help.


British Library

Making the most of your content assets for improved SEO

British Library

Writing for the Independent’s i-news Daily Briefing recently, journalist Ian Burrell reported on how the British Library is using SEO to become a major digital media publisher. With over 150 million items in its archives, including rare manuscripts and original recordings, it’s probably fair to say that the British Library’s content assets are among the most valuable in the UK, if not the entire globe.

Having such an abundance of valuable, original works at one’s disposal must be every SEO’s dream. One of the hardest parts of the search engine optimisation process, especially for businesses operating in quite obscure niches, is in the creation of original and authoritative digital content that people are likely to willingly share upon discovering it. It’s a complex job that starts long before you even begin drafting the content for your website archives. Branding, website accessibility & design, the perception of trustworthiness that your domain projects; these are just some of the factors that can determine whether or not your content assets will be successful at generating backlinks to your site. Understanding who is interested in your content and how they might use it is absolutely pivotal. The digital team at the British Library clearly understand this, as evidenced by the deep links pointing through to some of their internal pages. Here’s a good example:

20th Century Literature

The British Library rank #2 on Google UK (at the time of writing this) for the key-phrase “20th Century Literature”. That’s a highly competitive term with powerful sites such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Open University trailing in the rankings behind them. Almost certainly one of the reasons why they rank so well is down to the highly sophisticated level of digital content curation, banking on their own archives in order to present a page that is genuinely unique and a stand-out in the search results.

20th century literature

The page is beautifully designed and very user-friendly, presenting the 20th century through a mixture of featured articles, theme organised content, significant people and, perhaps most importantly, from a content asset point of view; digital copies of some of the century’s greatest works. Here you can browse a first edition copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses or view handwritten notes by George Orwell in preparation for the write up of his ground breaking dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Few other online resources can compete with this in terms of the exclusivity of the content; its richness and ease of accessibility. The quality of the presentation and curation of the content is evident in the backlinks to the page. Numerous authoritative websites from across the web link directly to it:

Links

Sites such as The Guardian, The Week, Open Culture and American Libraries Magazine all rave about the fact that rare and important works and letters can now be viewed for the first time online, linking directly through to the British Library’s 20th Century Literature page. This is a great example of an organisation maximising their content assets for full SEO benefit.

Improving use of your own organisation’s content assets

Admittedly, your average business does not have access to first edition works of great literature. So, how can businesses make the most of what they do have? I think the first step is in identifying what resources you have available and whether or not there is a public interest associated with any of that content. Perhaps you contracted a market research agency to conduct some bespoke research around your particular product or service a couple of years back? Did that highlight any interesting data or statistics that could be developed into an online presentation? Has a member of your team written interesting research or academic papers, perhaps in a ground breaking area of new technology? If so, can this be made available as a PDF download on your site? If you determine that you have limited content assets, are there experts on your team who could be freed up to create a definitive guide to a specific area of your trade or industry?

This last point might sound like an extravagance, especially for a smaller business with limited human resources. However, this process could potentially help you to clarify your strengths and unique capabilities as a business, as well as with providing a content asset that can be used again and again to market you both on and offline.

In summary, maximising the benefits of your content assets requires considerable input into improving the quality of your online presence, identifying what you have at your disposal that is of public interest, identifying the internal resources who can help you make that content as engaging as possible to your target audience, then executing a plan to get it in front of that very audience. If you can do this in an imaginative and creative manner, then the chances are you will generate the links back to your site that will boost you up in the search results for those competitive key-phrase terms.


Google Confirms: Penguin Update Imminent!

 

facebook-google-confirms-penguin-4

 

John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, recently announced they are working on the announcement for the launch of the latest Penguin algorithm; version4.0. Yes, you did read that correctly, they are working on the announcement itself, which may or may not mean they have finished work on the actual update. It could also mean the update may have already been fully tested as Google is not known for announcing something before it happens. It has been almost two years since the last Penguin algorithm update which rolled out in October 2014, however, in the interim time there has been a great deal of talk about the functionality of Penguin being written into part of the main Google search algorithm and so negating the need to ever run a specific update again.

Skip to the 44 minute and 30 second mark for announcement…about the announcement itself.

For those of you who may not know the Penguin algorithm is designed to identify poor quality and unnatural backlinks. A site that is hit by a penguin update can be severely penalised and knocked a long way down the rankings across a wide range key terms. Many sites which were penalised by Penguin 3.0 have attempted to clean up their backlink profile using Google’s disavow tool in preparation for the next update, in hope they may recover from their penalty but it is still a point of some debate whether or not it is even possible to regain old rankings after a penalty.

It remains to be seen what the announcement will bring and some people are even suggesting Mr Mueller may be playing a slight prank on a lot of over eager SEOs by describing the work on the announcement itself rather than the update. Throughout all of this current wave of debate the critical fact remains that link building is critical for good rankings and taking short cuts leaves sites at great risk. After all, why sit around hoping for an update that might fix a mistake made by you or your SEO agency when you could have avoided the penalty in the first place by sticking to top quality links.

If you would like to discuss this subject or any other SEO concerns, contact us today.

Keep a look out on our blog or social platforms for further updates as our SEO Team keep up to date with SEO news, day and night.


Why WordPress is the essential CMS for SMEs

wordpress-cms-essential-sme

Here at Artemis we have worked with pretty much every content management system (CMS) under the sun. From custom built platforms designed for bigger or more specialist companies to very basic systems accompanying free website building software. Every system has its challenges but some can be truly awful to use from an SEO perspective. Those free website builders, in particular, are every technical SEOs’ worst nightmare! The limitations often include: inability to access the site files via FTP; inability to apply 301 redirects and extremely limited control over the architecture and coding of the site. Luckily, only a small minority of our new clients arrive at our doorstep having used a free website builder or having installed a CMS which is detrimental to their search engine rankings. But occasionally they do which then leads to their question “which CMS should we be using, then?” 9 times out of 10, our response is usually:

WordPress, WordPress, WordPress

This then leads onto the question, “well, why WordPress?” I could probably list about a hundred reasons why the vast majority of small to medium size businesses should be using WordPress but I am going to limit it today to just my top five.

1. It’s extremely flexible and easy to use

Some CMSs really overcomplicate matters and, for internal staff who are not especially tech savvy, you will need a Ph.D. in Computer Science just to figure out how to get past the login screen. WordPress is incredibly easy to set-up. If you are building a website from scratch, many website hosting companies will offer 1-click install for WP, meaning you can have the framework installed on your web space in a matter of minutes with no coding or FTP experience required.

2. Popular with developers and easy to customise

Many developers specialise in designing good looking WordPress sites, including our own here at Artemis. For clients on a shoestring budget, there are literally thousands of WordPress themes that you can quickly and easily install that will pretty much work out of the box (some faffing about with xml imports required and, of course, setting up your pages and menus). Unless you have a very specific business proposition or technical brief, WordPress is likely to be able to handle whatever it is you need to do; from basic brochure site and lead gen through to complicated eCommerce functionality – the framework to do what you need is likely to already be there.

3. Great for SEO

Google seems to love WordPress sites, dependant, of course, on how the theme is coded. Originally built as a blogging platform, many businesses have adopted it as the engine behind their main website front, in part because it is so search engine friendly. There are some technical issues which often need to be addressed after your theme is designed and your pages are up, but plugins such as Yoast are incredibly easy to install and (with a bit of knowledge) easy to configure. Yoast can sort an awful lot of the technical SEO basics, from ‘noindexing’ specific pages to whole archives or remedying common issues to WP.

4. Big Community

Because WordPress is open-source, it has a huge community behind it. If you’re having a technical issue with your WP site, a quick Google search containing a few keywords about the problem will normally return the answer you need to get it fixed. A big community also means masses of development – there are themes and plugins available for almost anything you can imagine; from Mailchimp integration to job board functionality.

5. Great for blogging

Might sound a bit obvious, given that it’s a blogging tool, but WordPress is great for keeping your customers, clients and database up to date with your latest news and articles. Hugely flexible in terms of archiving, author branding and displaying news content; it can be adapted well to meet the requirements of simple local businesses through to professional journalistic organisations.

Like any platform there are always the downsides. WordPress requires frequent updates and security is a major concern; especially for any businesses dealing in sensitive customer data or payments. Security software is an essential must-have, for any business of any size, and you will need to ensure that both WP and any plugins running on the site are kept up-to-date.

Advice

Need advice moving over to WordPress or building a new WordPress site? Give us a call today, we’d be happy to help!


PPC versus SEO

SEO Strategy in an Increasingly PPC Dominated World

The layout of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) has changed dramatically over the years. With maps, videos, images, featured snippets, the Knowledge graph, news and various personal suggestions all claiming their place, the first page of Google’s SERPs is now almost unrecognisable.

As marketers, one of the biggest shakeups we’ve seen this year is the increasing real estate given to paid search.

In February of 2016, Google announced (after years of testing) that paid search ads will no longer appear on the right hand side of the SERPs and that for ‘highly commercial’ terms, they’ll show an additional ad at the top, thereby increasing the space given to paid advertising from three places to four.

Four paid search ads and Local within SERPs

 

Paid search ads that didn’t make the top four places were moved to the bottom of the page. This meant that for some ‘highly commercial’ queries, you could see no less than seven paid search ads, which severely limited the number of organic possibilities.

The reasoning behind this shift was fairly sound and understandable. With the explosion of mobile usage and the corresponding local signals, Google wanted to standardise the listings across devices.

For many brick-and-mortar businesses, this meant a renewed interest and push for better local listings. The reward for appearing in the local three-pack was never more attractive. With the local listings appearing just beneath the top paid ads and above the normal organic ones. In essence, jumping into first place for anything organic.

More recently, and somewhat more controversially, Google has started to offer paid listings in the local finder as well, reached after clicking “More places” from a local three-pack in the main Google search results.

This is yet another piece of prime real estate that has been sold to advertisers.

Paid search ads in local listings

What does this mean for organic listings?

Before answering this question, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind these changes.

Search engines and Google, in particular, have become increasingly good at understanding user intent. If I’m searching to buy a laptop and search the exact laptop model with the words ‘buy’ or ‘purchase,’ Google knows and understands this intention, and being a strictly commercial one, they’d most likely present me with a series of paid search ads.

Is this a bad user experience? The answer, in most cases, is no. I’m looking to buy a laptop, I know what kind of laptop I want to buy and at this stage in my decision making process I just want to be presented with options of where to buy it. My intent is purely commercial and transactional. Displaying a series of paid ads is more relevant to me and provides better performance for advertisers. In many ways, a win-win situation.

It’s the informational ‘Micro-moments’ that SEO strategy should be attempting to target. The billions of queries that are not highly commercial and offer some scope for branding and connection.

There are over 3.5 billion searches on Google a day. Over 15% of these search queries have never been seen before.

Google’s engineers now feel confident enough in RankBrain’s ability to sift through these unrecognised queries (sorting them into vectors and assigning a ‘probable’ meaning to them) that they’ve recently announced RankBrain is now used in every search. It has become the third most important ranking signal (after links and content).

As we mentioned in our article about semantic search, we’re moving away from strings to things. Towards meaning and providing true value to the user.

A combined PPC and SEO search strategy

Having a combined SEO and paid search strategy is a good way forward for many companies. Particularly for e-commerce sites.

You’d have a carefully targeted PPC campaign with different landing pages for the commercial ‘I-want-to-buy-now,’ moments and a strong organic presence for people at the informational and research stages. Rather than competing with each other, these different listings would compliment one another, reinforcing your brand and presence at every stage of the decision making process.

The path to purchase is fragmented and non-linear. More so now than ever before.

The consumer journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny decision-making moments at every stage of the ‘buyer’s funnel’—from inspiration to purchase.

For SEO to succeed, we need to address these ‘Micro-moments.’ We need to answer people’s questions, exceed their expectations and meet them at whatever stage of the decision making process they are currently in.

As a recent study by Google concluded – you need to be there, be useful and be quick. Therein lies the key to success online.


Google Analytics

Integration of Search Console in Google Analytics

In May Google announced that Google Search Console could be deeper integrated with Google Analytics but what exactly does this mean, what insights will it give and how do you enable this feature?

Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps website owners and marketers manage and monitor how they appear in Google organic search results. Google Analytics focuses on the data that the traffic creates once it has reached your website.

Search Console allows you to analyse a websites performance in Google search. It shows you data on Total Impressions, Clicks, CTR and Average Position for keyword phrases that the website is ranking for. These phrases may not have been identified as phrases to target but could still be driving significant traffic to your website.

Anyone wishing to analyse, understand and improve organic traffic from Google will be interested in this update. Essentially the Search Engine Optimisation reports in Analytics have been replaced with a Search Console section. The new reports combine Search Console and Analytics metrics, allowing you see the data for organic search traffic from both in one report.

What do the reports show?

The reports pull in the following data from Search Console – Impressions, Clicks, CTR and Average Position and the following from Analytics – Sessions, Bounce Rate, Pages/Sessions, Goals/Ecommerce, Conversion Rate, Transactions and Revenue. For the first time this data appears side by side.

landing-page-report

There are 4 new reports – Landing Pages, Countries, Devices and Queries which are found in Analytics under Acquisition.

analytics-searchconsole-reports

Landing Pages Report

Each landing page appears as a separate row within the report and allows you to see at glance how the organic search traffic performs for that specific page, how visitors reached the website and what they did when they go there.

What does it all mean?

It means greater actionable insight into the performance of a website for organic search results. The landing page report joins acquisition data with behaviour and conversion data. You can therefore see at landing page level how many clicks, the average position, bounce rate and conversion rate that page gets.

Let’s say for example you had an optimised landing page for pink girls bikes – mymadeupsite.co.uk/pink-girls-bikes with a form set up as a goal, you would be able to see the keywords that had driven traffic to that landing page and at a rolled up level what happened to the visitors when they were on the site. Did they bounce? Did they navigate further into the website? Did they convert? It creates insights which creates actions to better optimise the landing page.

Devices Report

This report allows you to deep dive into the devices – desktop, mobile and tablet and how they arrive and navigate your website, You can see at a glance the comparison between Click Through Rates (CTRs) and Goal Conversions of desktop, mobile and tablet and the landing pages and search queries behind them. This is incredibly valuable data. Back to Pink Girls Bikes you might see that the conversion (remember a form was setup as a goal) is better on desktop and mobile than a tablet. This might mean you review how the form looks or is setup for a tablet user to help improve that conversion rate. You might also notice that some landing pages perform better on mobile than desktop and therefore may look at why that is.

This all sounds great but how do I enable it?

You will need to link your Search Console and Analytics properties through Analytics.
Step 1: Navigate in Analytics to Acquisition > Search Console where there are 4 reports – landing pages, countries, devices and queries. Select one of them and select “Set up Search Console data sharing”:
Step 2: Select “Property Settings”
Step 3: Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Adjust Search Console”
Step 4: Select the site to be linked, Save and Select “add a site to Search Console”
Step 6: Start gaining valuable insights

Summary

In summary integrating Search Console with Analytics will enable a deeper understanding of search data from beginning to end and enable actionable insights such as:

  • Understanding the search queries that are ranking well for each organic landing page rather than the website as whole
  • Examining how desktop, mobile and tablet users find and interact with the website
  • Improve landing pages in two specific ways:
    • Improving the landing pages where many users are arriving at the landing page (high click through rate and impressions) but not spending time on the website by navigating through the site (pages/sessions), immediately exiting the website (bounce rate) or not converting to a goal (eg: filling in a contact form).
    • Improving the search presence of landing pages where the users are navigating further through the website and converting but have a low click through rate.

All of these insights should help build a better user experience and in Google’s eyes a better search experience too.


Quantum computing and SEO

Quantum Computing and SEO

Quantum computing and SEO

The Guardian newspaper recently asked its readers the question “has the age of quantum computing arrived?” In the world of search engine technology the short answer to this question is “yes”. Google has been testing and utilising the power of quantum computing for some time now in an effort to improve its search results. In October 2015, Google announced the existence of the artificial intelligence component of its algorithm known as RankBrain. Whilst many in the SEO sphere had been anticipating AI developments in search, the announcement still surprised many people as Google also stated that this new component was one of the most critical factors in determining the ranking of resources on the web. It’s almost certain that RankBrain’s deployment and announcement wouldn’t have been possible without the aid of quantum computing.

There is plenty of evidence to link Google’s use of quantum computing to their RankBrain algorithm. Prior to the launch of RankBrain in 2015, they made the following announcement:

GOOGLE IS UPGRADING its quantum computer. Known as the D-Wave, Google’s machine is making the leap from 512 qubits—the fundamental building block of a quantum computer—to more than a 1000 qubits. And according to the company that built the system, this leap does not require a significant increase in power, something that could augur well for the progress of quantum machines.” Source.

Certainly, computers with this level of computational power will assist with the ultimate aim of RankBrain, which is to sort through, understand and learn from billions of web pages then deliver the most relevant results. This is the basis of semantic search, which has been at the heart of Google’s development strategy since their inception.

How does quantum computing assist RankBrain?

I’ll readily admit that I’m no expert on quantum mechanics, the subject is notoriously brain taxing and has perplexed some of the greatest minds in physics. So, I will keep the science brief! In simplest terms, quantum computing provides the computational power required to do extremely complex calculations quickly by borrowing the concepts of superposition and entanglement as theorised in quantum mechanics. In regular computing a bit can be a 0 or 1, however, through superposition each quibit in Google’s quantum computer can be 0 or 1 or 0 and 1. What this means is that Google can perform two equations at the same time and, as the Guardian article states “two qubits can perform four equations. And three qubits can perform eight, and so on in an exponential expansion. That leads to some inconceivably large numbers, not to mention some mind-boggling working concepts.”

Whilst increasing Google’s computational power without increasing their use of resources is clearly a key aim in the adoption of quantum technology, the desire to make a breakthrough in artificial intelligence and create computers that can “think” like a human is of paramount ambition. This makes perfect sense for an organisation like Google whose ultimate concern is with truly understanding the intent of its search engine users. Who can better understand what someone is trying to look for than an actual human being who is an expert on the subject matter? By investing heavily in AI development, Google hopes to replicate the reasoning capability of a human with the extended capability of being able to sort and understand a vast amount of data quickly.

What does this mean for the future of SEO?

Google’s investment in AI is likely to lead to its ever increasing capability to assess and understand the theme of a web page and the authority of that page on the domain it is served on. For businesses, this means it’s increasingly imperative for them to focus on and display their expertise via their web properties. This is especially critical for organisations who provide services based on knowledge and experience. Businesses should be thinking about how they can better address the needs and questions of their customer base, so that those searching on a particular topic are more likely to encounter their content. This requires a renewed focus on content strategy and on improving the quality of web pages. Detailed and in-depth pages should result in the “long-click”, keeping users on your site longer and helping Google’s RankBrain learn from each users’ action.


Content Marketing – How to Meet Searchers Expectations

content-marketing-meeting-searchers-expectations-670x340

 

Content is not King. Search engines only care about your content in so far as it answers searchers questions. In the last few years especially, the web has become one huge answering machine. People query search engines and search engines attempt to answer these questions by providing results. Simple. Not really.

As we saw in the introduction to semantic search article – A search engine takes our queries, tries to understand the words, and delivers the same results a human would – the same results a friend would give you. And not just any friend, a close friend. A friend who understands you, who knows your current and previous locations, who knows your tastes and preferences and most importantly, knows your intentions.

These days, your website doesn’t just have to target keywords, you need to meet, match and exceed searcher’s expectations. To achieve this you have to understand your target audience better than ever before.

You need to understand the kinds of questions they have and, most importantly, provide them with enough information that they will not have to pogo-stick back to the search engine results pages (SERPs)

This pogo sticking can have a dramatic effect on rankings.


Pogo sticking, Long and Short Clicks

Pogo sticking - Google's SERPs

A long click is a sign of user satisfaction. It’s a sign of expectations and intentions being met.

Many people mistakenly confuse a ‘long click,’ with low bounce rates. Although the two metrics do have some correlation, they are still very different.

Popular resource pages (think Wikipedia & Stackflow) and blogs often have high bounce rates. People come in, find what they need and leave again. Or in the case of blogs, they read the latest post and leave.

They have no need to carry on searching. And that is the key. Their intentions have been met.

They have no need to ‘pogo-stick’ back to the search results and click on other results.

This pogo-sticking is an easy metric for Google to calculate and keep track of. It also provides a very clear indication of user satisfaction.

When a user is actively choosing another website from the SERPs to get the information they are looking for, this shows Google that your content is not good enough and doesn’t deserve to rank for those queries. It also shows Google which websites should be ranking above yours.

If this becomes a common occurrence on your landing pages, search engines will notice these short clicks and your rankings will decrease. (this natural voting system is far more transparent in PPC and makes up a large part of the Quality Score).

How do you Match and Exceed Searcher’s Expectations?

In our semantically themed world, you have to understand your clients, understand their questions, their queries, you need to know what goes on in their heads. First and foremost, you should put yourself in their shoes.

What questions would they have before taking a decision?

A good exercise is to get a piece of paper and write down the most common questions you hear from your clients. Get everyone involved, ask all the members of your team for their feedback.  

Break these queries down for each one of your products and/or services and then look at your existing content. Are you addressing these questions? Are you addressing them fully? Would users need to go somewhere else to get the information they need? – to one of your competitors.

This ‘completeness’ is so important these days. It’s the difference between a long and short click.

Optimising Existing Content

Cyrus Shepard wrote a brilliant article – one that sums up perfectly what we’ve been doing at Artemis.

When you already have traffic coming to a website and have some information to work with, the place to start is Google’s Search Console.

Search console query data at the URL level

Pick a few underperforming pages. I tend to pick ones that drive some traffic, but could/should drive more, ones that often rank on the second page of SERPs and have low click-through-rates.

Select the individual pages, adjust the timeframe to the maximum 90-day of queries and filter by impressions. These are the queries that are landing on your page and they often give you great insight into people’s intentions.

Sometimes it’s not immediately clear and you need to dig around a bit, but usually, you’ll find a true mine of information.

Does the Content on your Page Satisfy User Intent?

There are various ways to address this. And we’ll be covering them in later articles.

A quick fix is to amend title tags and meta descriptions. By including these big traffic driving queries in your title tag (particularly near the beginning) or within the meta description, you will increase click-through-rates and drive more traffic. At least in the short term.

But remember, this traffic needs to be sustainable and you need to aim for long clicks.

It’s very important that title tags and meta descriptions are not deceptive. They need to fairly reflect what a user is going to find on that page. If they don’t, people will quickly bounce off, ‘pogo-sticking’ back to the search results, causing the whole page to lose rankings.

A far better solution is to provide real value to searchers. By having the best content, by being helpful and answering all their questions clearly and fully.

Content is no longer King. The new King is the long click.


The End of Referral Spam as We Know it?

Although, still unconfirmed by Google, it looks like there have been some big changes in how referral spam is handled in Google Analytics. We have been seeing a steady decline over the last month and the last week in particular.

It looks as if Google began aggressively filtering from mid-to-late February.

There are still accounts with some minor issues, but nothing compared to what we saw a few months ago.

Having examined over 100 analytics accounts, it does indeed look like referral spam is coming to an end. At last. We hope.

What is Referral Spam?

Wikipedia defines referral spam as

“Referrer spam (also known as referral spam, log spam or referrer bombing) is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referrer URL to the site the spammer wishes to advertise.”

What does Referral Spam Do?

 

Google Analytics

 

Basically, referral spam was an inconvenience. It was something you had to continually filter, monitor and explain. It wasted a lot of time. If it wasn’t filtered properly, it would also mess up your other metrics and skewer averages.

These automated requests would overload servers and slow down load times. With slower speeds and higher bounce rates, this would eventually translate into lower rankings. Many webmasters also feared the security implications, some of this spam traffic could be looking for WordPress, plugin and server vulnerabilities.

According to Jennifer Slegg from the Sempost, it looks as if the spam is being filtered after hitting the site, with it still visible in real time and then Google applies a filter before it hits the acquisition reporting.

Hopefully, this spells the end of referral spam as we know it.

For further reading, see How to Stop Spam Bots from Ruining Your Analytics Referral Data and for a free SEO and Analytics Audit contact us today!


Google officially launches AMP results in Mobile SERPs

 

Google has today started to display Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) pages in SERPs that trigger a news listing. To see the new AMP results, search for anything that triggers the news results box such as ‘The Brits’ or ‘Pensions’ from a mobile device.

You can identify the AMP compatible pages by the green lightning icon and AMP next to it.

 

When you click onto an AMP result, it loads a version that Google has cached. This is to help increase the speed that the page loads. You can also swipe left and right to see more results, rather than having to go back to the SERP and clicking onto the next result.

AMP Gif opto

 

If you run a website that triggers a news result SERP, you should start to implement AMP as soon as you can. There is plenty of documentation out there, but we recommend looking at the official AMP site for more information. If you use WordPress, you can install this plugin to help optimise your pages for AMP.

How does it work?

AMP works like the majority of other HTML pages, apart from it uses a reduced set of functionality that will still load in any modern mobile web browser. There are a number of technical and code based advantages when using AMP which helps page load time and the user experience.

Google also caches the AMP pages in the cloud to make the load time even better for users.

As it is a fairly new technology, it will be interesting to see if Google starts rolling this out to non news based SERPs. We are monitoring it closely here at Artemis to see how it progresses.

If you are looking for any help setting up AMP on your website or any help with your Search Engine Marketing, then please feel free to give us a call on 01444 645018 or drop us an email.