If a website is a mess of URLs and duplicate content, Google will throw their hands up in the air out of frustration. This is a bad spot to be in. You’ll find your traffic and rankings drop while your indexation becomes bloated. Your crawl rate (which we’ve found correlates with traffic) will be curbed. It could seem all very sudden, or it could be gradual. Every case is different – but it’s always a nightmare. Keeping track of website changes is critical with SEO. The other day I peaked into our own Google Webmaster Tools indexation report, and saw something pretty alarming in the “index status” report.
HTTP2, the new Web protocol slated to go live any day now, aims to be a faster, more efficient protocol. HTTP1.1 is the current predecessor and has been around for about 15 years. The problem with HTTP1.1 is that can only load requests one at a time, one request per one TCP connection. Basically, this made browsers run parallel requests to multiple TCPs for the same Web asset. This clogs up “the wire” with multiple duplicate data requests, and can hurt performance if too many requests are made.
The “official rollout” of HTML 5 in October 2014 ignited renewed interests in an old SEO debate: whether or not using multiple H1 tags on a single page is bad for SEO. Depending on the school of thought, some designers debated the true use case. Likewise, some SEOs had a similar debate. We know H1 tags have value, to which some SEOs try desperately to insert several H1 tags on a page (usually with target keywords). I’ve seen H1 tags in breadcrumb trails, hidden behind wordless graphics, and pushed to the margin with CSS. But other SEOs, who worry about being seen as spammy, go with the “one H1 per page” rule of thumb. When one of our clients recently asked this question, we found ourselves reevaluating and realigning our multiple H1 best practices. We had to establish where we stand on the answer.
Last year I introduced The Simple SEO Site Audit Tool to quickly get a sense of your entire site’s tags, complete with a schema audit – right out of Google Sheets. It’s a glorious invention between Sean Malseed (of RankTank) and myself. Check out the newest tool for checking out how your SERPs look.
A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but good luck trying to find good results for “thorny red flower” on the first page of the SERPs! Until Google gets even better with their relationship-mapping (thanks Hummingbird, you’re a great start!), long-tail optimization will be a huge part of SEO. Whether your goal is to optimize content for the search engines or getting fresh new content ideas, using the right keywords and phrases is a big factor for success. The trick is knowing which keywords to incorporate in your content. If you’ve done a Google search for “keyword research”, then you probably know there are tons of methods, some using hardcore SEO tricks or simple keyword research tools. The most popular keyword tool by far is the one and only Google Keyword Tool called Keyword Planner. Conceived originally for AdWords, this once external keyword tool is loved by SEOs for the metrics it provides. It’s biggest shortcoming? It mostly reveals only head or body keywords, and you have to wrestle it out of an Adwords account. But what about those times you need more detailed, long-tail keywords?
Last week our team attended a local (Philadelphia) SEO meetup where there was a presentation from local wiz Sean Malseed of Circlerank. The presentation was called “Build Your Own Damn (SEO) Tools With Google Apps.” He showed us how to use Google Sheets for scraping and pulling API data to build your own custom tools. He also shared his own site that has some really incredible tools ready for free use: http://www.ranktank.org.
The folks at Mountain View made the conscious decision that keywords alone couldn’t deliver them the results they wanted to see (ahem, “their users wanted to see”). Google tried some different modeling, but ultimately came around to semantic search (that is, using semantic technology to refine the query results). Now I said much of the industry has picked up on it. Not all. I still see a lot of pretending Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird never happened. That’s unfortunate for innocent clients around the world. But for most of us probably reading this, we’re students of a new lexicon. With words like “triples” and “entities” and “semiotics” and “topic modeling.”
Ah, the SEO report. Embraced by some agencies and despised by others, an agencies’ level of interest typically dictating if the monthly report becomes a detailed monstrosity or just a quick export from whatever reporting tool being used. Note that neither of these scenarios address whether anyone has taken the time to do insights. Smart companies look for ways to use APIs and programming to speed up data pulling; gathering the necessary data in a timely manner.
Entity optimization as a big SEO play isn’t quite upon us yet. It’s a slow, growing Google addition. I know – it frustrates me too. So much potential, of which I believe will greatly improve search results in the future. Google isn’t nearly showing the fruits of everything it knows through entities, whether through cards or search results – at least not relative to the way they rank on keywords alone. But can knowledge cards help bring qualified traffic while considering searcher intent? SEOs always talk about searchers intent. Anyone who’s been doing SEO for a while knows that building for intent can be a challenge.
The link management function isn’t new to the SEO space. Many tools do it already, like Buzzstream and Raven – and they do it quite well. Additionally, link discovery is an existing feature of tools like Open Site Explorer, yet this is an area where I see opportunity for growth. I love the idea of these ‘new link’ reports, but honestly, haven’t found anything faster than monthly updates. I know it’s a tough request, but I mentioned this to François. By tracking “as-it-happens” links, you can jump into conversations in a timely manner, start making relationships, and maybe shape linking-page context. You might even be able to catch some garbage links you want to disassociate yourself from quicker.