Make It Loud Blog

Advice and Knowledge from EXPERTS

May 5, 2017

Website Search Engine Optimization for Google

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Bond. James Bond. It’s that kind of cool.

Have you ever wanted to spy on your own website? Just to see where users are clicking on your site. Well now you can.  Do you know where people spend the most time on your website? Now you can collect data about it. We recently obtained the ability to use heat mapping technology to track exactly where users click (and where they don’t). This allows you to see which elements on your website are attracting the most eyes- and the most clicks. This data can help you test what works and what doesn’t in converting website traffic to actual paying customers.

The way it works is simple. Like Bond going to Q for cuff link lasers, we would put the technology on your site for a month and you’ll find out more about your traffic during that period than you would in months of looking at analytics. A color-coded screen shows where people are moving around your site and where they are coming from to get to your site. It shows where they move the mouse (red for well-traveled parts, blue for not so much). This gives you feedback about the parts of your website that are literally left out in the cold, shown no love, (insert your own cliché here). It’s kind of like measuring the Feng Shui of your website- although that sounds like an enemy of 007. Regardless, that kind of information is powerful in terms of marketing your business online. It can help you answer a lot of questions such as “Are people seeing what I want them to see?”; “Are they reading my text?” or “Are they clicking on my contact form?” Now you can find out as if you’re looking over their shoulder while they surf. To find out more, give us a call or email us. Of course, it’s our website, we know where you’ve been.

The Facts About Google

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There’s a ton of chatter and speculation about all the changes that Google has made to their algorithm this year, and there’s a lot of reason for that. Google has announced that they made 52 changes in April (2012). As a small business owner, you need to know which of these changes are relevant to your website rankings and how to react to these changes. We thought we’d try to help you clarify some things.

Which changes are relevant to your web page rankings?

The following changes have the biggest impact on the position of your web pages on Google’s search result pages:

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Improvements to how search terms are scored in ranking. One of the most fundamental signals used in search is whether your search terms appear on the pages you’re searching. If they appear on the site, it’s also to consider how. This change improves the way those terms are scored. For many sites, this simply means we need to go back and do more advanced keyword research and optimize for different keywords. Keep in mind, many sites took a hit because they were over optimized for too many keywords. Without a lot of unique text on the page, having too many keywords confuses the search engines and will result in a drop-in ranking.

Keyword stuffing classifier improvement. We have classifiers designed to detect when a website is keyword stuffing- putting too many keywords on the page just to rank. This change made the keyword stuffing classifier better. The “fix” is to place keywords on the page in a relevant, natural way.

More authoritative results. We’ve tweaked a signal we use to surface more authoritative content. This means they are striving to give users relevant content for the keywords they search. Unfortunately, the results are mixed on this which means more algorithm adjustments are on the way.

More domain diversity. Sometimes search returns too many results from the same domain. This change helps surface content from a more diverse set of domains.

These first two items probably refer to the Penguin and Panda updates that Google released last month. Other items in the update list referred to site links. Some search results might get two layers of site links instead of a text snippet. Google also updated the algorithm for local searches and the way titles are displayed for some pages.

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Whenever you see a drop-in ranking, it’s natural to want to panic. Keep in mind, Google makes mistakes as well. Some of the adjustments they make to their algorithm is to fix these mistakes which means results will “bobble” up and down. Getting good rankings will always depend upon good keyword research (are we focusing on what the customers are typing into the search box?), proper usage of these keywords and a diverse backlink strategy which includes conversations about your business in social media outlets.

A website audit can often identify some of the issues the search engines may be having with your site. If you have concerns, feel free to give us a call. We’ll see how we can help.

It’s the end of summer, but surfs up at Google! So, hold onto your (key)boards and enjoy the ride. Today, we learned that they changed their search algorithm again. This time they’re focusing on websites with domain names that have hyphens in them. They’re considered “spammy”.  So, www.your-site-name-atlanta.com gets de-indexed. That’s right. Tossed out of the search results altogether while www.yoursitename.com/atlanta hangs ten (that’s my surfer dude lingo for “does well”). It’s just another major change in the rules that most people didn’t see coming. Thus, hundreds of thousands if not millions of legitimate, non-spammy sites just got tossed into a major time out. We have no idea right now if this is a permanent change to Google’s search algorithm or if this is a preview of a coming attraction. We’ll have to wait and see.

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The reality is that many business owners are completely confused about what Google is doing with their search algorithm. Truthfully, so are many SEO experts, but the good news is that we’ve had enough time to test out a few things and a pattern is starting to emerge. It might be helpful if we shared a brief bit about the biggest changes Google has tossed at us recently.

First, a lot of people find all this stuff very technical, so it’s easy to get lost. Simply put, Google used a panel of quality raters to look at hundreds of websites to determine “user friendliness”. Issues like user navigation, content credibility, trustworthiness of information, etc were rated. They asked questions to the raters like “Would you trust this site with your credit card? Or, would you trust the medical information on this site to use with your kids? User metrics like time spent on the site, number of pages looked at, how diverse the traffic is to the site, etc were also looked at to help determine which sites seemed to be quality and which ones weren’t. Sites of quality were given higher ratings and the others dropped rankings. This was a complete change in the algorithm and changed the game for SEO. It didn’t matter how good your content was, or how much you had, or how good your backlinks were. The overall user friendliness of the site and the user metrics were what mattered. Suddenly, SEO experts were forced into a different paradigm. They were forced into being web strategists because now, everything about the site matters. Google has issued numerous tweaks to this update since it came out in April of last year.

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The Google Penguin update also changed the way we do SEO. While Panda was about the user experience and feel of the site, Penguin was about spam. Just as your email most likely has a spam filter that sifts through what’s important and what’s not. Google placed a spam filter on its search results and sites that have backlinks that they don’t like lost rank as a penalty. What used to be common and acceptable SEO practice in backlinking techniques is now considered spam and will hurt the site rankings. It was a major change in the rules. We now realize that backlinking is still important. It’s just that the links need to be more diverse and involve more social media elements. This update went into effect in late April of this year and we are just now getting enough data together to know what adjustments will work and which ones won’t. In fact, Google announced that they made 52 changes in the algorithm in April alone!

It’s a fair comparison to think of a change in the search algorithm like a wave on the ocean. Each one shapes the beach in some slight manner while others hit so hard, they change the shape of the continent.

The main point is that we are adjusting along with the search engines and will continue to find appropriate, acceptable ways to get our clients higher in the rankings, increased traffic and more business. We love to make your phone ring. Atlanta SEO, Seo Atlanta, Website SEO Georgia

If you need a consultation about SEO or Web Design, our company, Make It Loud, can at the very least help you to discover if SEO or a good website fits into your budget.  It doesn’t cost anything to find out and we’d be honored to serve you, face to face when geographically possible.  Feel free to contact us by email at:  info@makeitloud.net, visit our website at: www.makeitloud.net, or call us at: 678.325.4007.  Even if you’re not local to Gwinnett or Atlanta, we’d be happy to do an assessment.

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