Browse Author

Nabil

Nabil is an SEO specialist who works directly with clients and also collaborates with a handful of multi-million dollar SEO brands. With over half a decade of experience, he has narrowed down the entire process of SEO to a few steps that deliver consistent, long-term results for all of his clients.

Google’s Process of Recognizing and Rewarding High Quality Content

Let’s be honest, we all want to rank higher in search engines and get visitors for relevant queries as well. And what better way of doing that than by ranking on Google, the biggest search engine in the world.

And unlike the people you find on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, these people are actually interested in what they are searching for. Their intent is to find more information about the subject, and that is the reason why they use a particular set of keywords. And when it comes to how much you can benefit from that, you are only limited by your own imagination.

But let’s just consider for a moment that you are creating the highest quality content that you can ever create. And you are also sharing it on all the major social networking websites, and visitors are coming in and enjoying all that amazing content.

How does Google recognizes that and rewards you for it?

Well, since you asked, here’s how they do it.

 

How Google Rewards High-Quality Content

Do keep in mind that Google wants people to create high-quality content. That way, they can present the visitors with the highest quality content they can, thus improving their user experience.

So the better your content is, the higher your chances will be of ranking higher in the search engines.

Which brings me to the first way Google rewards high-quality content:

 

  1. Increased Organic Traffic

The obvious way Google would reward high-quality traffic is by increasing the organic traffic that website gets. And to be honest, they are right in doing so. Because most companies would only need enough traffic to get off the ground or increase their quarterly revenue.

And if you do not currently have high search rankings for the products/services you are offering, you should continue writing high-quality content and check out my link building article.

Remember, you want to cover all your bases: have high-quality content, good link building strategies and better on-page optimization than your competitors.

 

  1. Improved Brand Image

Imagine that you are on top of the 1st page for your target keyword

Would that improve your brand image?

Definitely. Because people will know that you are the best source for the thing that they were searching for. And Google has always said that their primary focus is on improving user experience at all times. Whether that means they are designing a new browser or updating the algorithm.

User experience is the primary reason why they do it.

And quite honestly, it makes things simpler for you as well. Once you know exactly what they are looking for, you can align with those goals and reap the benefits.

And now that you know that Google is always looking to improving the user experience, you should also focus on the same thing on your website. Improve the design, make it easier for them to read content and check out other areas of your website.

You will be surprised by how far it can take you.

 

Those are the 2 ways Google rewards high-quality content. But now you might be thinking: how do I know that I’m creating high-quality content? Are there any pointers that would help me recognize?

Yes, there are always pointers that would help you recognize that you are on the right path.

And for that, you will need to start thinking like Google. Especially when they openly started updating the algorithm and focusing on improving the user experience.

The pointers are content curation, guest blogging and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).

Don’t worry, I will be going through each one of them in detail explaining what they mean and how you should do it.

 

What is Content Curation?

I’m sure you have heard of content marketing. But you have never heard of content curation.

Content curation means that you are gathering high-quality information from authoritative websites and then presenting that information to your audience in a coherent fashion. This way, it makes it easier for your audience to consume the content and connect the necessary dots in order to achieve their goals.

This is very similar to what a museum curator or a music website does. They categorize all the information in an orderly fashion that makes it easier for everyone to consume the information.

Do note that content curation is not stealing content from other websites. Is a general rule that if you are curating content, you ought to give credit to the original source in the form of hyperlinks. This tells Google that not only are you an ethical internet user, but you also have useful information on your website.

Content curation is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Just ask any content marketing specialist and they will tell you that churning out high-quality content on a consistent basis is no easy task. It takes a ton of research and time. Time that could be spent in gathering and organizing the high-quality information that is already out there.

A side benefit of content curation is that you can consistently update your website with fresh information. Sending even more signals to Google that your website only offers very high-quality content to its audience. And other industry influencers would find your website and may link to you as well as a trusted source, which will further help your website rank higher in search engines.

 

What are Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords

In the old days, the only way search engines would recognize a high-quality website was through the number of backlinks it was receiving, and by the density of keywords that were relevant to the web page.

To give you a perspective on how things were, let’s say that you have a blog post about the movie icon Robert Downey Jr. And you see that the #1 result on Google for the term uses the keyword “Robert Downey Jr” 25 times in their content. And you decide to use that keyword 30 times in your content.

That’s it. You would now rank higher than the other person.

It was the wild west during those times. And there were a ton of websites outranking other websites with high-quality information. And it wasn’t fair.

Obviously, if you did the same thing now, you would get penalized by Google in just a matter of days because it does not offer a better user experience. No one wants to see a page filled with keywords and do not get the information they were searching for.

As soon as Google started penalizing websites that were stuffing keywords on their pages, LSI keywords were born.

Latent Semantic Indexing is just a fancy of saying synonyms. You would use synonyms that are related to your target keyword in order to NOT appear as someone trying to stuff keywords.

This became extremely important because, with the help of LSI keywords, people could rank their websites for a lot more keywords than they previously could.

Let’s take an example from one my clients who is a chiropractor. Instead of including the keyword “best chiropractor” throughout the website, I found out a couple of LSI keywords that I could use like best chiropractor near me, chiropractic adjustment, chiropractor for back pain, etc.

It is incredibly important to use these keywords because not only do they sound natural when someone is reading the content, it also leads to a better user experience and eventually leading to increased search engine rankings.

And if you are doing content curation the right way, by default you would include LSI keywords.

How is that possible?

Well, the process that you will go through in gathering and curating content from authoritative and trustworthy sources will naturally end up with you using LSI keywords in your copy.

This is the reason why content curation combined with LSI is so powerful. There are tons of websites that do just this and sit on top of page one.

 

Guest Blogging for High-Quality Backlinks

Guest blogging is very different than LSI and content curation. The above 2 methods that I covered above are primarily focused on on-page optimization. Guest blogging is more about off-page optimization, link building to be precise.

It is true that if given enough time to curate content from trustworthy sources, you will eventually start getting backlinks from other high-quality websites. But guest blogging still remains the best way to rank a website higher in search engines through external links.

The meaning of guest blogging by definition is that you send a high-quality blog post to an external website (a website that you do not own) in the hopes that it would get featured on their website.

You will find a ton of websites that offer guest posting opportunities and they have created sort of a checklist that you have to follow to get your posts accepted. Things like the word count, topics, linking, etc.

My suggestion would be to write up an amazing blog post that adheres to their policies and then include a backlink to an inner page of your website instead of the homepage. This will let search engines know that you have a very relevant page on your website as well.

Let’s say that I was guest posting an article about back pain for my chiropractor client on a health website. I would include an inner link on my clients’ website that talks more about back pain. And as is always the case with LSI keywords, you should always go for variety over repetition. Backlinks with different anchor texts look a lot more natural to Google.

And it makes sense because it is statistically not probable for a website to receive 50 links with the same anchor text.

Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s Webspam and Quality Control Team had stated that guest blogging for backlinks is definitely a great way to get backlinks and rank higher on Google as long as everyone adheres to two important things.

First, the content should be unique, engaging to the reader and should be of high quality. If it’s not high-quality content, then there’s no use for guest posting that article. And this also means that article spinning or article rewriting should be avoided.

Second, the posted content should be more than the minimum 300 words. This makes sense because it is very hard to write a high-quality blog post in just 300 words. Some people just use 300 words just as an introduction to the article.

Keeping those two things in mind, you should see guest blogging as an opportunity for you to show the world and to Google that you are an expert in your niche.

There are a ton of people who try to fool Google by buying links and posting low-quality articles. And there is a good reason why you cannot find those websites on page 1.

In conclusion, if you just focus on content curation combined with LSI keywords and sprinkling in guest blogging with backlinks, you will be all set to cover all the bases of your website. And before you know it, you will be sitting on top of page one.

Is Having HTTPS Good For SEO?

So you have been noticing that a lot of your competition is using HTTPs on their websites. And so you wanted to know if that has an effect on your SEO.

Maybe you are planning to get into a particular niche and wanted to scope out the competition. But you keep seeing that most of them have the same things. And they are ranking on page 1 for their target keywords.

I’m glad you asked that question. And that is exactly what I’m going to answer in this blog post.

We will go into detail about how having HTTPs on your website affects SEO and also some additional reasons why you should spend some extra bucks and get it.

 

What Is HTTPs?

Every website has what’s called “HTTP.” And when you install an SSL certificate on your server, that changes to HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Security). This means that the URL that has https is more secure than the URL that only has HTTP.

The SSL 2048-bit key protects the website connection with authentication and encryption.

Typically most internet users were not aware of this until the recent large-scale cyber attacks that led to huge amounts of data being stolen from different companies.

With the SSL certificate, the visitors can be assured that their activity on the website cannot be tracked by any outside parties, nor any of their information will be stolen.

 

So How Does HTTPS Affect SEO?

Back in 2014, Google rolled out an algorithm update and included website security as one of the ranking factors. And the algorithm was in favor of websites that had SSL certificates installed on them, aka, HTTPS websites.

This was Google’s way of contributing to making the internet a safer place. And back then, it was a ranking factor that even if you ignored it, you would still end up on the first page without any issues.

But in 2015, Google stated that they will be increasing the weight of this ranking factor. Not only that, they also stated that HTTPS could serve as a tie-breaker between you and your competition.

Let’s say that your website and your competitor’s website is equal in terms of speed, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization, etc. but your competitor’s website has HTTPS and yours doesn’t. Then Google is more likely to rank their website ahead of yours.

So how do things look like today?

Well, the statistics show that only 1% of all the websites on the internet are safe today. But more than 40% of the websites ranking in the organic results on page 1 of Google have HTTPS. This means that a lot of website owners are taking this seriously and Google has been giving them a good reason to.

But do remember that the websites ranking on page 1 are also following a lot of Google’s best practices to be there. So just having an HTTPS website alone will not be enough. You will still need to do everything else to ensure that your website ends up on page 1 for good.

But according to the research done by Brian Dean, SEMRush, and Ahrefs, they were able to find a correlation between HTTPS and higher search rankings, but they were all combined with other ranking factors. And they also confirmed what Google had stated earlier that HTTPS would act as a tie breaker but it will not be a major ranking factor. At least not as major as link building.

But having an HTTPS website goes beyond than just adhering to a ranking factor. It also affects the conversions on your website.

 

How HTTPS Affects Conversions

Even if you just have an opt-in box on your website, visitors are more likely to give their email address if your website has an SSL certificate installed.

A recent survey done by GlobalSign showed that at 84% of the people would abandon a purchase if they found out that their information was sent over an insecure connection. And that is more than just a majority of the people. Imagine if 84% of the people did not make that purchase, or did not choose to subscribe to your newsletter just because your website didn’t have HTTPS.

Your business would end before it could get anywhere.

With and HTTPS website, you can ensure your visitors that they have nothing to worry about. And that their information will be safely handled.

 

Google Chrome Has Started Labelling Websites As Unsecured

Chrome is also going to start labeling websites that do not have HTTPS as unsecure.

So any website that only has HTTP will look like this:

Chrome HTTP Indicator for secure websites

 

 

That doesn’t look so bad, right?

Well, for now, it doesn’t. but very soon Chrome will start labeling all the non-HTTPS websites as non-secure with a red triangle.

And believe me, having a red triangle whenever someone visits your website is not a good sign.

If I’m on a website with that non-secure sign, I wouldn’t enter any of my information in there. And this is very crucial when it comes to eCommerce websites where customers will have to use their credit cards to make payments.

Now that you know how important it is to have HTTPS on your website, let’s find out the top 5 reasons why you absolutely need it.

 

5 Reasons Why Your Website Should Have HTTPS

Before we get into the reasons, I would like to address a small question that I get asked every now and then.

 

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a set of files that once you add to your server, you will have an encrypted connection between your browser and your server.

It is this certificate that gives you the green padlock sign on the top left corner of Chrome that lets you know that a particular website is safe.

 

So What is the Difference Between SSL and HTTPS?

There is no difference between them. It’s because when you installed the SSL certificate on your server, you get the HTTPS status in your browser. It is the result of installing that SSL certificate.

 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the top 5 reasons why you need to have an HTTPS website.

 

  1. Improved Website Security

Obviously, this is the biggest reason why you should want to have it. You do not want bad people stealing your customer’s information from your website. And with HTTPS, you can prevent that.

And this is the reason why Google announced this as a ranking factor in 2014, to make a better, safer user experience for people.

It makes total sense to keep things safer and secure for everyone.

 

  1. Higher Search Rankings in Google

With Google increasing the weight of this ranking factor in 2015 and also making it as a tiebreaker, you want to make sure that you are working on all the important ranking factors that could rank you on page 1 of Google.

 

  1. Updated Browser Labels

As I mentioned above, Chrome will be labeling websites that use HTTP as non-secure with a red triangle. And obviously, users will not trust your website if they see that. That trust is crucial especially if you have an eCommerce website.

With an HTTPS website, you will have a green padlock saying that your website is secure and trusted.

And if Chrome will be doing it, you can be sure that other browsers will also start doing it.

 

  1. Having Increased Conversions

No one needs to have an in-depth technical understanding to know what a red triangle means and what a green padlock means.

It means one is unsecure and the other one is secure.

And any website that asks for their personal information with an unsecure connection will have lower conversions compared to a website with a secure connection (a green padlock).

Heck, there’s already a test that was done between the conversion rates of HTTP and HTTPS websites. Check it out here.

 

  1. Increased Customer Confidence

Google has been making a lot of buzz on this topic. And they are right for that doing so because of all the cyber attacks that companies have been facing lately.

All this buzz has people specifically looking for websites with secure connections. And any website that has that; customers feel more confident in providing their personal information.

14 Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

Just a couple years ago Instagram was this new photo sharing app that people were using.

Fast forward to 2018, and now you are seeing full-time “Instagram” models making top tier money through Instagram sponsorships. And not just that, thousands of brands are now considering Instagram as a serious content marketing, networking, and an insanely powerful audience building tool. I’m assuming that you are one of those brands. Or at least you like the idea of being a full-time Instagram model who gets to travel the world for free J

Why wouldn’t you want to be famous on Instagram? There are more than 200 million people active every day. They share more than 60 million images and drop over 1.6 billion likes per day.

You will probably get more engagement with your audience through Instagram than through any other social media network out there. According to Forrester Research, engagement rates on Instagram is a whopping 58 times higher than Facebook.

 

 

Even if you get a small piece of that pie, you will be able to reach heights that you have never dreamed of.

But here’s what I want you to set your eyes to – anything but average. Anyone can achieve an average level of followers on Instagram and get average engagement. You want to strive for the best. The unicorn that is seen once every millennia and blows everyone’s mind with what they can achieve.

I want you to be a unicorn that can outperform not just their competitors, but everyone by a magnitude.

And if you apply these 14 attention-grabbing techniques that I mention in this article, you will be on your way to do that.

These include everything, from getting the right pictures to post on Instagram to hashtags, captions, setting up your profile the right way, etc.

So without any further ado, let’s jump right into the Insta-famous elixir and get your share.

 

14 Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

  1. Create a Dedicated Hashtag and Promote It

It’s great that you just created a dedicated hashtag for your company.

But how will people know they should use it when sharing content about you?

They don’t. So you have to tell them that you have a hashtag that they can use.

So, make sure that it is in your profile, on the back of your business card, on your receipts, print ads, etc.

Even better, add an incentive for people to post pictures with your product and have your hashtag in the caption. I recently went to Comic-Con and saw Mountain Dew giving out free drinks to people who could do 10 push-ups and would post a picture with their hashtag in.

Obviously, if you’re in a different niche you might want to just go for the posting the picture part with an incentive, but you get the idea.

 

  1. Get Creative With Your Hashtags

You know that hashtags allow your content to be found by people who don’t follow you. But when it comes to Instagram, you also want to make sure that you are not boring. Remember, the attention span of people on this social network is very low. You want to grab that attention not only with a great picture but also with exciting hashtags.

I’m sure that the first thing that comes to your mind would be those one-word hashtags. And you should definitely use them. But also dig in and see if you can use some ironic, funny or just mind-blowing hashtags that you can find.

I have seen people just talk about the hashtags a person used in the comments.

Use websites like Webstagram to find hashtags that are popular and relevant to what you are posting. While you want to use hashtags and often creative hashtags, you also don’t want to overdo this. People don’t like seeing a paragraph of hashtags below the pictures.

A good rule of thumb is to post a minimum of 3 hashtags and a maximum of 5.

 

  1. Take Part In Popular Conversations

You’re on social media my friend, time to get rid of shyness and start participating in conversations that everyone is talking about. But I’m not talking about the way you are thinking.

You want to participate through your posts, by adding in hashtags that are being used in popular conversations.

For instance, #ThanosDemandsYourSilence is a very popular hashtag right now because the movie Avengers: Infinity War is about to be released.

And if you are catching up on the movies from Marvel Studios, you could post a relevant picture with that hashtag and join in on the conversation that others are having about the movie.

Think of these hashtags as long-tail keywords. They make the pictures/conversations more personal. But you also want to include other universally trending hashtags like #OOTD, #instagood, etc. as well.

This way you will be able to get in front of more people in general, but you also would be able to engage in much more personal conversations.

 

  1. Take Advantage of Your Bio URL

Most people post the URL of their website in the bio and just forget about it. That could be the most boring thing ever.

Remember, you do not want to be boring on Instagram. And people really get tired very soon. So you need to keep things fresh and keep providing them with eye-catching photos and information.

My recommendation would be to change up your bio URL at least twice a week. You could link to your latest blog posts on your website. Or maybe just popular content that is evergreen and people love reading it.

You just want to make sure that you are rotating links and keeping things fresh.

 

  1. Describe Your Captions. Use Storytelling.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the whole using the words thing. You would still need to describe a picture in order to have an engaged audience.

I have seen hundreds of traditional media companies get this wrong. And the result of getting captions wrong has ended up with them struggling to get viewership on their networks.

But that is not the case with NatGeo and NASA. They have successfully thrived through the digital transformation. But by amassing millions of followers, they have more than just thrived on Instagram.

 

I’m sure that all these Instagram techniques look like a lot of work to you. But it is better if you get on the right track from the beginning and work it into your overall strategy. This will not only help you mold yourself into an Instagram star, it will also be loved by your audience. Because who doesn’t want to know the full story about a picture that you took?

 

  1. Use Influencer Marketing to Its Full Extent

Never have it been easier to get in touch with influencers. And once you have identified someone as an influencer in your niche, you want to interact with them on a regular basis.

This means that you want to get notified every time they post a new picture. This will give you the opportunity to be one of the first people they notice. And soon you will become one of their favorite person or brand.

This will take some time, but with consistent effort, you will get there.

 

  1. Get Rid of Tagged Photos You Don’t Like from Your Profile

Let’s be honest, there might be some pictures that you might’ve clicked that you don’t like. And they definitely have tagged you in those pictures.

This is the time to visit the tagged photos area of your profile and see if you have some pictures that you don’t like. If you don’t like them, it is possible that there is someone who doesn’t like them either.

By using the Edit Tags option, you can choose with pictures you want to stay and which pictures you want to hide from your profile. You will need to confirm that you want to hide them, and so you should say yes to that.

Obviously, that wouldn’t get rid of the picture from Instagram entirely. It will just hide it from being shown on your profile.

 

  1. Manually Approve Which Tagged Photos Shows On Your Profile

I love this feature because it gives you more control over what other people see on your profile.

And if someone tags you in their picture, you will have to manually approve it in order for it to show in the tagged pictures section.

Where will you find this option?

It is under Options -> Photos of You -> Add Manually

I know this can mean that fewer people will be able to see how cool your brand is. But trust me, this is a good thing to control. You do not want to end up with a ton of tagged photos and find yourself or your brand in a potentially embarrassing situation that could be completely avoided by using this setting.

 

  1. Your Account, Your Style

I understand that you might want to follow the same tried and true technique. If other brands can have success with a particular style, you could have success as well thing.

And while that might be true, it is better if you develop your own style.

Because people love to follow brands that are doing something unique. Or at least posting pictures that look like they are doing something unique. Even if they are doing the same thing as the other brands, with their own style, they make it unique and likable for their audience.

This will not only set you apart from your competitors on a profile level, your audience will also be able to recognize your picture as soon as it pops up in their feed. Your brand would just click in their mind and they would be more interested in reading your caption rather than just scrolling past it.

 

  1. Narrow It Down. Get Local.

Check out what’s going on in your city, a specific area that you might be interested in, or maybe even your neighborhood.

You can do this by going to the search page and choosing the Places tab. Then type in the name of the place that you would like to see all the geotagged posts for that particular location.

This can be helpful in a ton of ways.

You can use this information to decide on what things you would post next. Or if you are traveling, you can check out those particular spots and see what’s so interesting about them (obviously if other people post interesting pictures of that place).

But not just that, you also want to know what other people in your city/ neighborhood are posting about. This will help you connect with them on a more personal level and spark conversations that you never thought would happen.

 

  1. Calls to Actions Are Still Very Important

Remember, Instagram is similar to every other social network out there. You are basically having a conversation with your audience. Here, you’re having it through pictures.

So you always want to have a call to action on your post. But what should people do when they see your post? Are you always confused on what you think would be a good call to action?

If that is something you’re facing, then you should go back and think why you are posting that picture in the first place.

But while doing the research for this post, I found that Staples are very good at these calls to actions. They let people know exactly what they want them to do after they see their posts and that drives a ton of engagement.

The best call to action one can have is if they are taking something mundane like liking and commenting and making it fun.

Remember, calls to actions are the very things that often get people to share your posts and potentially make them go viral.

 

  1. Posting at the Right Time

This is very important. Because you want as many people viewing your photos as possible.

So before you post anything on Instagram, make sure that you know the time zone of the where the majority of your audience lives. And more importantly, at what time they are scrolling through Instagram.

Different people use Instagram at different times, but usually, the engagements are at their peak during Wednesdays between 5-6 PM. This doesn’t mean that you should only post at that time.

Most people use Instagram whenever they are free like while commuting home from work or school, the first thing in the morning, or on Sundays.

A good rule of thumb here is to remember that your photo has a good 4 hours to maximize its visibility before it gets lost in the news feed with other pictures. This is the reason why you should post when you know your audience will be having their downtime.

Like for instance, if the majority of your audience is adults, it is better to post between 6 – 9 AM or 6 – 10 PM.

 

  1. Asking Questions in Your Captions

If you’re looking to get more comments on your photos, this is the best way to go about it. The best thing about asking a question is that it has a dual effect:

  • You get more likes, and
  • You get more comments

And remember, the more you engage with your audience, the more followers you will have.

 

  1. Post Frequently. But Don’t Post Too Much

This is something that you will need to hone in. Because once you start getting more followers, the immediate thing you will have to deal with, is how you can keep up with their interest.

Once the best and the easiest ways to keep up is to post photos that are relevant and attractive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you constantly have to be on a photoshoot. Well, that will depend on what niche you are in.

But let’s say that you have a couple hundred photos that you can post on Instagram right now. The best thing to do would be to post 2-3 photos per day instead of flooding all the pictures like a madman.

People won’t like that and they will probably end up unfollowing you because of that. Plus, your profile won’t be as attractive to new followers as well.

So, are you using any of these strategies to increase your followers on Instagram? Do you have a particular technique that you absolutely love and it always delivers you results? Let me know in the comments below.

Do Local Directories Still Work?

Let’s be honest, link building has become sort of a struggle these days because you have no idea what Google loves and what it doesn’t. And in the 2006 era, directory submissions were like the invention of the wheel. Every kid on the block was using it and reaping the benefits.

But these days, it has become somewhat risky to get links from local directories. Moreover, we have seen websites get penalized because they overdid the directory links thing.

Does this mean that local directories and all the directories, in general, are bad and you should drop them like a hot potato?

Well, the answer is in the grey area.

It all depends on which directories you are using and whether or not you are taking the right precautions. In fact, I should put more emphasis on the word precaution because if by mistake, you happen to submit your website to a dodgy directory, you will run into a huge risk.

And the whole world knows how painful it can be to get a link removed from a directory. Unless you are going to use Google Disavow Tool.

So for example, you would find your website in hot waters with Google if you decide to submit it to a lot of low-quality directories.

Instead, you should choose to opt for fewer links, but they should come from a better quality of directories. Directories that have a better reputation.

Gone were the days when you could just hand over your money for those “link building” services and they would take care of the whole thing for you. But that would put you on a fast track to penalization these days.

These days you want to go for quality over quantity.

But how do you decide which local directory is better than the other one? Shouldn’t there be some points that you should be able to check off and easily decide which directory would be suitable for you?

I’m glad you asked that question. That’s exactly what I’m going to answer here.

 

How to Choose the Highest Quality of Local Directories

Instead of crossing off local directory submission off your list, why not use my handy checklist that will guide you.

In fact, if you use these 4 points to identify the high-quality directories, they will, in fact, be a LOT better for your SEO strategy. Because then you will have a couple different types of links pointing to your website. And that’s something Google loves to see – a variety of links.

So, there are 4 things that you should consider before deciding to submit to a local directory. These things are absolutely critical and should not be ignored at any cost.

I had to find out the hard way that not all directories are created equal.

 

  1. Not Accessible to Masses OR Paid Directories

This point wouldn’t be applicable in a lot of situations, but you should still look out for this option. Paid directories have the revenue to actually analyze the links that are being submitted to them and so they can turn down spam links to maintain the integrity of their directory as a whole.

But you should also ensure that they are indexed on Google. In fact, you should always check that every directory you check out is indexed on Google. If they are not indexed, just ignore them.

You should also make a rule of only submitting your website to directories in your category. There is no point in getting a link from a directory about dentists to a website that is talking about car accessories. And Google can see that.

 

  1. Local Directories Relevant to Your Niche

Again, this is an important one. If the directory is not relevant to your niche, you might as well spend that time watching videos on YouTube.

What do I mean by this?

Always try to ensure that the directory you’re looking to submit a link to, has a relevant category in it. So if you had a website that talks about SEO, maybe look for Internet Marketing or something related to the Internet in the category section.

And if you are too lazy to do that, try searching for your keywords with the name of the directory and see if it appears in the search results.

For instance, if you wanted to find out if directory1.com has a category related to SEO, you would go to Google and type in “link building directory1.com” and see if it comes up.

Link building would be a relevant search term for SEO.

If you cannot find directories that have that category, start following blogs that compile a list of directories. Through that, you are guaranteed to land at least a couple local directory links.

 

  1. Have Variety. Change Things Up a Little

The best thing you can do while creating local directory links is to have variety. This will diversify your backlink profile and dilute the concentration of keywords you have. You never want to have a ton of links coming in that have the same anchor text. That is a dead giveaway that you are doing something fishy.

Your best bet here is to write different titles and descriptions. These titles and descriptions can contain long and short tail keywords that you are targeting.

Again, you want to make sure that these keywords are relevant to the directory. Or you should just find a relevant category that your keywords would fit in. Vice versa.

Directories are actually a great way if you are looking to diversify your backlink profile.

 

  1. Timing Is Everything

Now that Google almost instantly knows when you are creating a link, you want to be very careful about when you are creating these links.

And not just that, you also want to be careful about how fast you are creating these links.

If you are using a software tool for this, then you might want to make sure that the software is creating these links as slow as possible. Because if it just goes out and creates thousands of directory links in just a matter of days, then you might as well say goodbye to your website.

That will trigger an instant penalty because Google hates software’s that are used for link building.

You want to schedule your links so that they are spread out over a couple of weeks and the links are gradually going live.

Here’s the truth.

After the Panda and the Penguin update, links that are organically created have a lot more value these days. So your main goal here should be to make these links look as natural and organic as possible.

 

Some High-Quality Local Directories That You Should Check Out

I know how hard it can be to find a decent local directory to submit your website to. So I have compiled a small list of directories for you to check out and see if your website fits in any of their categories.

If it does, then you’ve got a head start J

  1. All Business Now
  2. YellowPages.com
  3. Better Business Bureau
  4. Vlib
  5. Clasione
  6. Seek On
  7. Pick N Buy
  8. Joe Ant
  9. Map Quest
  10. CityData.com

 

Conclusion

These days a ton of people are dealing with local companies and websites. So the value of getting links from local directories is much higher than websites that are not targeting a specific geographical area.

This also means that you want to be careful with the few local directory submissions that you do.

Google still loves local directory links or any directory links in general. As long as they are high-quality links. Because these types of links will never go out of style as long as they are of high quality.

What Is a Backlink? Why Is It So Important For SEO?

Backlinks. Ah. The magic word that roams around in those search engine optimization (SEO) circles that make the world go around.

I know how strange it can feel when you hear that word because you don’t know its meaning. And quite honestly, it is a strange word. But it makes a lot of difference in the digital space. I was just like you when I got started.

So in this post, I hope to give you an in-depth understanding of this amazing word and how important it is when it comes to SEO and your overall success.

 

So, What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are the links that other websites are pointing to your website. This is also known as all the incoming links to your website.

Whenever a webpage links to any other webpage, it is called a backlink.

Let’s say that I link to Google. Now that is a backlink to Google.

And in the past, backlinks were one of the major ranking factors when it came to search engines. The more backlinks you had, the higher you would rank. And the website with the most backlinks would sit in the #1 position.

And while a lot of things have changed since the year 2006, backlinks are still one of the major ranking factors out there. But they are not as huge a factor as one would think.

Search engines, especially Google, have diversified their ranking factors a lot over the years. Things like the quality of links (I will actually go over some of the things that you need to keep in when dealing with backlinks), the content on your website, the average length of the content on your website, whether you are on the most important social networks, etc.

These all things are important now. But Google would only know that if you have a backlink coming from all those social networks. So again, backlinks are still a major ranking factor.

But, just like all the human beings, not all backlinks were created equal. This means that you only want your website to get the best of the best backlinks. Or you would be better off not getting any backlinks at all.

So, here are some of the terms that you absolutely must know when you are thinking about getting some of those juicy backlinks yourself:

  • Do-Follow Links:

    These links by default that pass authority, aka, link juice. This means that if you are getting a lot of do-follow links from high authority websites like Forbes, Huffington Post, etc. then your website as well will be high authority.

  • No-Follow Links:

    These links are the exact opposite of what do-follow links are. These links do not pass any link juice. This also means that no-follow links have no bearing on where that website ranks. No-follow links are usually used by websites if they are not sure about whether the website they are linking out to is reliable or not.

  • Link Juice:

    You saw me mention the word link juice above and you couldn’t figure out what it was. Well, you can think about link juice as a smoothie that a website shares with another website. If a high authority website, aka, a website with a high domain authority is linking out to you, your website will also become a little bit of a high authority website. Obviously your website wouldn’t drink the whole smoothie, but it will drink a little bit.

  • Low-Quality Links:

    All the links that are coming from websites that have spam, are automated, harvested, or even contain porn are considered as low-quality websites. You generally want to stay away from these kinds of websites. So if you are getting any ideas about purchasing backlinks, this is the reason why it is better to do your homework before you go out and do that because a low-quality backlink can do you more harm than good.

  • Internal Links:

    When you link from one of your blog posts to another one of your own blog posts, that is called internal linking. Let’s say that you own abc.com. And you posted a blog post on abc.com/blogpost1/. And you link from that blog post to abc.com/blogpost2/, that will be an internal link.

  • Anchor Text:

    This is the thing that gets websites ranked for the keywords that they want to rank for. The anchor text is the text that is used for hyperlinks.

Now that we know the important terms to remember when dealing with backlinks, now let’s get into why backlinks are so important. And exactly how and what types of backlinks you should get.

 

The Importance of Backlinks

As I mentioned in the beginning, backlinks are still one of the major ranking factors in almost all search engines out there. But for now, let’s just think about Google because they are the biggest search engine in the world right now.

Search engines think that the more high authority websites that give a backlink to your website, the more reliable and trustworthy your website is. Think of this as a recommendation from a big critic.

Like when a new 5-star restaurant opens and it is being reviewed by a critic.

When your website gets a backlink from a high authority website, Google thinks that you are getting a positive review from a critic that checked out your website, and liked the information that you have on there.

And remember, Google is in the business of providing the most trustworthy, relevant information to their users. And when you have a lot of websites recommending what you have to offer, then Google thinks that the users might want that as well.

But there’s another side to the coin.

Google also monitors how many people are visiting your website. Because if you are getting popular among other website owners, then you ought to be receiving traffic as well. But since you are getting backlinks the right way, you have no problem with the traffic. So you are in the good graces of the internet giant.

 

What Type of Backlinks Should You Get?

Getting backlinks is a good start, but there are a certain type of backlinks that you should get in order to be most successful at SEO with fewer headaches. So to avoid you having to go through at least 10 hours of research on your own and drawing on that whiteboard like you see in Hollywood movies, I saved you all that trouble and listed them down for you.

 

  • Highly Relevant

This has never been truer than right now. If you are looking to just dominate the 1st page for your target keywords with fewer backlinks, this is the way to go – get relevant links.

If have a website that is selling flowers, get backlinks from websites that talk about flowers. Maybe websites that write about the history of different flowers, etc. This tells Google that you are popular amongst your peers which makes twice the impact.

 

  • Website That Are High Quality

I know I mentioned that a lot, but it couldn’t be more important.

Let’s say that you were looking for a basketball player for your new basketball team. Would you take advice from a high school coach in Virginia, or would you select the player that LeBron James would recommend?

I’m pretty sure you would go with what LeBron James would advise.

So, continuing with our previous example, if you have a website that sells flowers, you would want to get backlinks from websites that are well established in the flowers industry.

 

  • Speed of Your Backlinks

This is where the good ole’ truth comes into play: anything that is good, takes a while to come.

You cannot have a thousand backlinks from relevant high-quality websites come in overnight. Those kinds of things don’t normally happen. And that will make these state-of-the-art search engines suspicious about your website.

These things take time. So make sure that you spread them out even if you are buying those links.

You want to make things look as natural as possible because if Google even feels like you are trying to trick their search engine, they will penalize your website. And then you will have to go through the dreading process of undoing all of that.

 

So, at the end of the day, it is better to take it easy, slow and only have the best backlinks you can because only they will increase your chances of ranking on page 1.

6 Ways Social Media Has An Impact On SEO

A long time ago, in a land far far away, was the headquarters of a company called Google. They never used to consider the popularity of other people to rank websites. They used to rely on the quality of the content and the type of backlinks that a particular website was getting.

But soon everything was about to change. Because they wanted to live an exciting life. They started integrating the social signals as part of their algorithm. And soon the websites would have a hard time ranking on page 1.

Let’s be serious now (I loved that bit of storytelling though 🙂 )

It is true that Google has backtracked on their stance about social signals directly affecting the rankings of websites. But that does not prevent the SEOs from ranking their websites with the help of social signals.

Is it possible that these social signals are indirectly affecting their rankings?

That is quite possible.

And for that reason alone, I’m writing this article. Because it is an interesting topic to research about and dig in.

You will be surprised by what I was able to find out.

Social media does have an impact on your SEO strategy. But it might not be what you think.

Let’s dive deep and check out the 6 ways that social media has an impact on SEO.

 

  1. You get traffic from social media

If you have built up an audience on your Facebook page, or Twitter or any other social network. And you share high-quality links to your website or other websites, sharing relevant information that your audience loves. Then you are bound to get some traffic to your website as well.

That is valuable traffic that you are receiving. And Google can see that.

In Google’s eyes, your website seems well rounded. You don’t rely solely on search engines to receive traffic. And you produce good enough content on social media that people like to click on it and visit your website.

 

  1. Social Media Profiles Do Rank in Search Engines

Love it or hate it, you have seen social media profiles rank for some of the most competitive terms out there. And if you can create an optimized social profile for a particular keyword and create backlinks for it, you will see it rank just like a normal website, if not better.

Not just that. You have also seen social profiles rank for a lot of brand name searches. Like for instance, if you searched for the keyword “Rolls Royce” in Google, you will definitely their social media profiles in the results.

Why does this happen?

Well, Google knows that you are searching for a brand name, and it wants to give you the full picture of what that brand is all about. And social media profiles are a great way to do that because they are much more personal than webpages.

That’s what a normal person would like to see.

If you’re researching about a company that you know nothing about, what would you do?

Check out their website?

Or would you go on their Instagram and Twitter to check out what kind of things they tweet/post about?

I’m assuming it’s the latter option that you’d choose because that would give you more insight about the company.

 

  1. Never Say Never

Google might have backtracked on their stance about social signals, for now. But remember, that is not a permanent decision.

And as different link building strategies like guest blogging, etc. are becoming less and less reliable as a way to judge the authority of a webpage, Google will most certainly be looking for different signals to look for authority and value.

And it is possible that very soon, the social media presence of a person will come into play.

So to avoid your website falling off of page 1, it is better to start building your social authority right now. And it’s not even that hard to do. You only need to focus on some key social networks like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

You can add Pinterest if you are in the wedding niche or anything that has a lot of things that people would like to see before buying. Pinterest and Instagram are the perfect social networks for those kinds of niches.

 

  1. It Is Easier to Get Links with Social Media

I know it sounds surprising. But here’s the thing, Google considers both sides of the coin when someone is linking out: the authority of the website linking out, and the authority of the website receiving that link.

So, if you are actively promoting your content through social media, and someone links to your social profile, you are indirectly receiving a link to your website, albeit in a much safer environment.

Because that link will be filtering out everything bad and will only pass on the good link juice, all thanks to that social network.

#SocialNetworksFTW

 

  1. Social Media is Very Important for Local SEO

It is reported that as much as 80 percent of the people use their smartphones to find businesses near them. This means that if you are not leveraging your geography, it is possible that your competitor’s shop 2 blocks down the road is getting the customers that you should be getting.

Not just that, websites like Yelp take this to a whole new level of leveraging geography. They not only allow the businesses to list themselves in a specific geographical area, they also allow the customers to openly talk about their experience with the business.

And if you manage to have a lot of happy customers leaving a ton of positive reviews, you can start planning your vacation to Paris very soon. Because the most positive reviews you have, the higher your listing will be on these websites. And not just that, Google will see these reviews and also list your website higher as well.

I know this sounds like an endless party. And it is.

But the key here is to make sure that your geographic information like Name of the business, Address and Phone number matches across all the platforms that you have profiles on. This is very crucial because even a single misplaced comma can end up with you having a lower ranking in search engines.

 

  1. Bing Is Right Behind Google

A lot of people forget about Bing. And they shouldn’t because it is the 2nd most-used search engine in the world. And its market share has been steadily growing for the past couple of years.

So it is a better idea to optimize your website for Google as well as Bing to leverage everything that you can get.

And while Google might not be directly considering social signals as a ranking factor, Bing does.

They have clearly stated that they do look at the social authority of a user. And this social authority does influence the rankings of that website in their search engines.

What is this social authority you might ask?

Social authority is just a cool term used to define how many followers you have, and how many people you follow.

In an ideal world, if you are serious about internet marketing and SEO, you would want to have more followers than the people you follow.

But then again, everything is compared to your competitors. So it might be a good idea to see what your competitors are doing with their social media accounts.

 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you want to have a website that is optimized for everything: Search engines and social media. This will give you the biggest edge over your competitors.

Why Choosing a Web Host is Important to SEO

Any business that is serious about SEO, know how important it is to completely optimize your website for search engines while also providing great value to their customers. But the optimization goes beyond those keyword relevant posts, backlink creation and “SEO-friendly” themes.

The biggest thing that most people forget about, is hosting. And while most people disagree that hosting does not affect your search engine rankings, I beg to differ.

Because you wouldn’t notice a thing if you choose a good hosting company. But if for some reason, you end up choosing a bad hosting company, you will definitely see negative results in terms of SEO.

It might be mind-boggling to you right now, but as you continue reading the reasons that I mention below, you will realize that it makes total sense.

It makes total sense as to why Google would choose websites/businesses that are using highly reputed hosting companies, compared to other so-called “low-cost” hosting companies.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.

 

Bad Neighbourhood

 

What do I mean by that?

Well, let’s compare it to the real world.

What does it mean for someone to live in a “bad” neighborhood?

It means that usually, the area is not very safe for people at night. There is a possibility that people in your neighborhood might have committed a crime before. And you also wouldn’t let your kids play outside after 6 pm.

The obvious effect of all of that is that the rent/cost of buying a house in these neighborhoods is lower compared to other neighborhoods that are much safer.

So, when you opt to buy cheap hosting, you are essentially giving your website a house in one of those bad neighborhoods. Neighborhoods, where the websites have a low reputation and the general public, might not like to trust the information on those websites.

And Google really notices those websites and tries to make sure that they don’t rank higher.

And so, if your website is hanging around those low reputation websites, then guess what, your website too is not going to rank as well as is should’ve been.

So, it is better to opt for a somewhat mid-range hosting that offers annual plans. And even if you end up paying a lower amount of hosting compared to other cheap hosting companies it still works in your favor. Because a lot of people who own those low reputation websites, wouldn’t pay $150-200 for the hosting of an entire year because they don’t plan on keeping that website live for that long.

That is the reason why they prefer paying $7/month.

So, it is better to choose a reputed hosting company that only offers annual hosting plans, rather than going for a hosting provider that is famous for “cheap hosting options.”

 

Uptime or Availability Time of Your Website

One of the biggest factors that affect the SEO of a website, is its total availability time. Or as most SEO experts would like to call it, Uptime.

Uptime/availability time means the total amount of time your hosting server was working without any interruptions. The higher this number is, the longer it will be available for your visitors.

A website that is unstable and the servers are usually facing issues are not only frustrating for you as the owner of the website, it is also frustrating for the visitor as well. Because they are not able to access your website for the information they wanted.

And as you know, Google is all about improving the user experience. And this obviously harms that. So, you will have a hard time ranking very high in the search engines.

Not only that, you will notice that if a website is ranking #1 for a particular keyword, it’s ranking will drop instantly if they experience a downtime. But if that happens very often, the rankings will keep dropping until your website is nowhere to be found in the search results.

Highly reputed companies do offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee. So you can worry about other things. But it is also a good idea to keep checking on that guarantee to make sure that they are actually delivering on their promise. A great tool to check the availability of your website is Pingdom.

 

The Speed of Your Website

I went into a lot of detail in my previous post about how important it is to have a website that has a very low loading time, aka, a website that loads very fast. (Check out the 4 ways to improve the page load speed of your website.)

And Google has officially made website speed as one of the ranking factors. So it is very important to take this seriously.

A ton of businesses these days are using CDNs, optimizing their image files and also caching their files on the visitors’ computer to increase the speed. And while doing all of those things are very important, it is also important that you choose the right host. This will ensure that you have a fast website right off the bat.

So how does hosting affect the speed of your website?

Well, let’s check it out.

Every time someone visits your website, there are certain resources that are being used by your hosting server. These resources could be the processor or the memory. And the more visitors your website gets, more of these resources will be used to load the pages for them.

And if your web server has insufficient resources, it will slow down the loading speed for some of your visitors. In worst cases, your website will be totally inaccessible to the visitors. And this is a very bad signal to Google.

A good rule of thumb is to track how many visitors your website gets each month. And based on that, you can decide which hosting plan you want to go for.

And if you are confused, you can always contact the customer support of that hosting company to suggest you the right plans for your situation. They usually ensure that you have a great hosting experience.

You can also test the page load speed of your website on the Google Page Speed Tool.

 

The Safety of Your Website

Oh, this is a big one.

The more vulnerable your website is to the hackers, the more chances there will be for your website to be injected with malware. And this malware can do a lot of things that you won’t like.

It can do things like slowing down your website or maybe even infecting the computers of people that visit your website. And if that wasn’t enough, having malware on your website can also mean that your website can end up on the blacklist.

Yes, there is a blacklist that every search engine has. And they prevent all the websites on that blacklist from being indexed. This can be the ultimate SEO failure for you.

So how do you protect yourself from these attacks?

Well, it is sort of a 50-50 responsibility between you and the hosting company.

On your end, you need to make sure that you are doing the regular maintenance routine on your website. This includes updating your plugins, doing regular malware scans and taking backups of your website.

The other half of the responsibility is of the hosting company. They need to monitor their servers and ensure that they are able to avoid a majority of the attacks. And even if they are attacked, they are able to mitigate the risks and ensure that any customers that were harmed are now safe.

I must mention that if you do plan on using dedicated servers, then it will the client’s responsibility to ensure the security of that server.

And if you are extra cautious, you can always use external tools to ensure that your servers and websites are never vulnerable.

 

Having HTTPS and SSL Certificates on Your Website

Having an SSL certificate on your website is an absolute must these days. This not only increases the trust factor of your website in the eyes of your audience, it is also considered as a ranking factor in results.

Even though it does not carry a huge weight in the ranking factors, we want to do everything in our power to have factors on our side.

Because at the end of the day, you will be dealing with real people. And you want to make sure that they trust you. And having HTTPS and SSL certificates on your website is a sign of trust.

Plus, Google and other leading internet companies are taking a huge initiative to make the internet a safer place. So why not participate in that.

You should know that the implementation of the SSL certificate needs to come from the hosting. So before you opt for a hosting plan, make sure that you inquire about it. If you’re looking to save some money, you would want to go for the Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate because they provide it for free.

Any alternative methods of acquiring an SSL certificate will probably cost you around $180+ per year.

 

The Location of Your Web Server

Although this is not a huge determining factor, it is still something that will slightly influence your rankings.

Let’s say that your web server is located in India, and a visitor is accessing your website in the US, you might not have an upper hand compared to websites that are hosted in the US itself. It makes geographical sense for the websites hosted in the US to load much faster compared to the site that is hosted in India.

This does not mean that you should not go for a company that offers hosting options in India.

Before you choose a hosting company, you want to consider from which country will the majority of your audience be.

But it is not a big deal if you chose a hosting company far away from your audience because you can still take advantage of CDNs, aka, Content Distribution Networks to overcome that issue.

Again, this is not a huge ranking factor but if you still haven’t decided on your hosting provider, it is better that you host somewhere closer to your audience.

 

The Types of Hosting Services That You Use

I’m assuming that majority of the people reading this article will go for the shared hosting option. And you should know that with that option, you also run a risk of having someone that would use that hosting company to spam or possibly phish people on the internet. And you might be sharing your IP address with that person’s website.

This goes back to the bad neighborhood point I mentioned above. And although this is very rare if you choose a highly reputed hosting company, it is not impossible to find these cases.

This is not a huge thing, but it is something that you should be aware.

The good thing about choosing a hosting provider with a good reputation is that they constantly monitor their servers to make sure that no one is misusing them. And this is the reason why you really want to choose a great hosting company.

Because they usually will have to budget to monitor all of their servers and ensure that your website is in a great neighborhood.

 

In conclusion, your web hosting provider is very important when it comes to SEO. And if you choose a good one, you won’t notice anything negative. But if you do end up choosing a less than reliable host, you will definitely have some negative experiences when it comes to SEO.

Choose wisely, ladies and gentlemen.

The Importance of Page Load Speed & 4 Ways to Improve it

The world is getting smaller every day. People get things faster.

When Apple is launching their new iPhone, people start getting in lines days before the launch. They literally camp outside the Apple store.

Whenever there is a breaking news, you find yourself glued to your TV screen. And behind the scenes, the reporters are scrambling to deliver that fresh report to their network.

Everyone wants to be the first. And everyone wants to get there as quickly as possible. And the same thing applies to the websites that people visit and to the internet as a whole.

Don’t you just hate it whenever you see that buffering icon on YouTube?

So imagine how your visitors might feel if they have to wait even more than a millisecond for your website to load.

With the overload of information, people have no patience with websites these days. And they are right to be impatient. Because there are hundreds of other websites where they can access almost the same information as you were going to provide them.

So why not go to a website that loads much faster and overall, gives them a better user experience.

Every internet user expects any, if not all the websites they visit, to load within 2 seconds. And if the website has not finished loading within 3 seconds, they abandon the website. This is according to a study done by KISSmetrics.

But that’s not the worst thing.

If you are in the eCommerce business, you will have a harder time sustaining your business than in any other industry out there. Because almost 64% of the shoppers, that experience longer loading times usually go for an alternative website. Even if that means paying more for the same product.

So because of slow loading speeds, you might not just lose random visitors. You might actually start losing actually, loyal customers that once purchased from you.

This is mainly because when a website takes a lot of time to load, the trust on that particular website goes down. Because in this day and age, if you are a thriving business, you ought to have lightning fast page loading speed. And that’s what your visitors/customers expect.

So the trend that we’re seeing here, is not that it is okay if your website takes a couple more seconds to load because you have a ton of images on that page.

That’s unacceptable.

You just cannot have your website slow down because you have a ton of images, or maybe there are some unoptimized files on that page. You have to take care of that right now if you want to stay in business a year from now.

And on top of all of that, Google had also announced that the loading speed of your website will now be considered as a ranking factor.

So, don’t think that you are in the clear if you’re not the eCommerce industry. You will still need to optimize your website for speed.

But the good thing is, Google compares your website with your competitors. And whoever has the lowest load time, will win that competition. But don’t be a happy duck just yet if your website is very fast. Because Google also considers a couple different factors like the device, the network, the country, etc.

Now that we understand how important the loading speed of a website is, let’s jump into some of the ways through which you can improve it.

 

  1. Minimizing HTTP Requests

HTTP requests are used whenever a browser wants to fetch a file from a particular web server. If this does not happen, then your website won’t load (obviously).

Yahoo conducted a study recently and found out that more than 70% of the time is taken by these HTTP requests.

On top of that, every browser is only limited to have 4-8 simultaneous connections per domain.

So if you have 30+ files that need to be fetched by the browser, then good luck with that. Might as well get some popcorn because your website is going to be loading for a while.

But this also gives us room to improve. If you have a ton of HTTP requests, you need to lower them.

How Do We Decrease the Number of HTTP Requests?

Great question. Very relevant. I love it!

There are several things that you can do to reduce the number of HTTP requests. Here are some of them:

  • Use queries only to load what’s needed

    You can use specific conditional statements to do this. Let’s say that you know that you only need to load specific images on the desktop version of your site. And you only need to load a specific number of images on the mobile version. So, instead of loading them on both, you can add conditional statements. These are scripts that take the load off the browser and will also improve your website’s loading speed.

  • Combine CSS and JS files –

    If you have a ton of CSS or Javascript files that are being loaded on a page. Rather than keeping them separate, you can combine them. This will prevent the browser from using a separate connection to load a specific CSS/JS file. Instead, it will be able to load them together. But this can also be a challenging thing for you if your website varies from page to page.

  • Reduce how many images you use –

    I’ll put it this way. Only use images if you think that they will improve the overall user experience of your visitor. If you find some images that are heavy, then it probably a good idea to get rid of them. If not, you can try some image size reduction websites or plugins. WP Smush is a well-known plugin that does that.

 

  1. Start Using CDNs and Get Rid of Unused Scripts

It is very possible that most of the visitors coming to your website will not be in a close proximity to your web server. And the greater this distance is, the more time it will take for the web server to transfer information.

So, it makes sense if you were to spread out your content across a huge number of servers throughout the globe. But that will be a bit too complicated for people like you and me.

That’s where these CDN, aka, Content Delivery Network companies come into the picture. These companies own a ton of web servers across the globe. Once the files of your website are uploaded to their servers, they can then take advantage of the location to load your website quicker.

A ton of businesses just use a CDN provider like EdgeCast or some other provider to get this done for them. This reduces the headache that they would have to go through by owning all those servers.

Other smaller businesses might even think that having a CDN is unnecessary or maybe out of their budget. So they choose to go for resourcefulness to get the same quick loading effect. Websites such as CNDjs can help you with that.

They have a library of CSS and JS files that you can utilize and not host on your own servers. This will reduce your load time.

 

  1. Use Browser Caching

This is a nifty little trick that everyone should use. Through browser caching some of the files of your website can be downloaded to the hard drive of your visitor in a cache. A cache is a temporary storage space.

Once these files are downloaded in the cache, it drastically reduces the load times of your website. Because essentially it can just pull all the files from its cache instead of downloading them each and every time.

The best part about this is that whenever the visitors visit your website, if the first page loads quickly enough, certain files of your website can be downloaded into their cache. And if they decide to check out the other sections of your website, they will experience even faster load times.

But there is a catch to this amazing method.

All CSS, JS, images and media files that are being cached on the visitor’s computer must comply with the expiration times of the RFC. Ideally, people prefer to have the expiration of one year because anything more than that will violate the guidelines. So basically, you can choose something between a week and a year.

If you are interested in learning more about enabling browser cache and improving the page load speed of your website, you check out this article.

 

  1. Compressing Images and Files

If you didn’t realize it already, your images take up 60% of the average bytes that are loaded per page, if not more. And it makes sense that images take up a huge amount of HTTP requests to load.

And as I mentioned earlier. If you want to have faster load times, you want to lower your HTTP requests. If you find any images that do not fit the context of your content, get rid of it.

If it does not improve the user experience, get rid of it.

This also includes icons.

Now that you have gotten rid of all of the unnecessary images. Now it’s time to take a look at the images that you have left. You want to make them as light as possible. Because majority of the people that use images, they directly download these images from the stock photo websites and upload them without even thinking about reducing the size of those images.

Let’s be honest, even you have never thought about making your images “lighter” until you started reading this article and realized how important it was to have your website load faster.

Assuming that you have a lot of large images, you want to run them through different image optimization software like Compressio.io or the Image Optimizer. It depends on which one you prefer. Just choose one and go with it.

How small should be the size of your images?

A good rule of thumb is to have them below 150KB for all the images that are at or below 1920px in width. This means that you will get the 72dpi quality which will be more than enough quality for these images to look good on most devices.

If the images go above 150KB, they will take more time to load and will also eat into the page rendering time as well. Not only that, large images also make the response times a lot slower. So your visitor might think that your website is broken. But in reality, you might just have a large image messing it all up.

So what file extensions you should use for your images?

Here’s a list of the file extensions that you should use:

  • SVG for vector images. Because you want to see more detail in vector images.
  • PNG for the images in which you want a transparent background.
  • JPG for the rest of the images. These will be the images where you don’t have to focus on the fine detail.

Here’s the reality, images will still take up majority of the HTTP requests. But if you optimize them and reduce the number of images you use, along with optimizing the other aspects of your website, you can improve the overall page load speed of your website.

10 Most Important Google Ranking Factors (Updated for 2018)

What will happen to those children in the Series of Unfortunate Events? What’s exactly there in Area 51? Why aren’t you still able to teleport?

There are so many mysteries to be solved.

What does it take to rank higher in Google? What are the different factors that it considers while deciding which website to rank first?

These are some of the greatest questions of the modern era. And the SEO-industry.

But all joking aside, it is really puzzling to see so many people still guessing what works and what doesn’t. And kudos to Google for still keeping things so mysterious. It’s really hard to keep something a secret for almost 20 years now.

Or must I say, they did a good job. But now the secret is out. Because I have tested these factors on several clients in different niches, even on my own websites. And the results were consistent.

Unlike other so-called “SEO-blogs” here at Website Rescue, we actually test things for ourselves before writing about it. That gives us important data that we can leverage and dominate our competition.

But the worst part is yet to come ladies and gents.

If you are not already on page 1 of Google, then you are losing a ton of sales to your competitors. Research has shown that almost 97 percent of the people NEVER click past the first page of results.

I bet even you don’t remember the last time you clicked past the first page. Unless you were doing some research for your university where you desperately needed some unique information for your thesis.

Then congratulations. You come in the 3% of the people who clicked past the first page.

Almost every business is now trying to get their website on the first page. Ideally, most of them would love to be in the top 3 spots of the organic listings. But that ain’t a child’s play.

And all of that desire has now led you to this very article where you will uncover the most important ranking factors that affect your rankings in Google.

But before we dive into the factors, we first need to know how Google works. Only then we will be able to truly understand why it needs those factors to rank your website on page 1.

 

How Does Google Work?

Let’s just say that over the years Google has improved a lot. And it’s not as easy to rank a website as it was in 2005.

At this point in time, Google takes almost 200 factors into consideration before deciding which website to rank where.

And if you thought that was amazing, wait till you learn this.

The algorithm is constantly changing, adapting and is smart. It uses all the data available out there to adapt in order to give the users the best experience. This also prevents some black hat SEO tactics that people use to manipulate the searches.

Quite honestly, you should stay away from those tactics because they are very temporary. And I’m assuming that you would want something that would keep your website ranked on page 1 for years to come.

So, why does Google does all that hard work just for a single search?

That’s a good question.

The reason it does that is because a search term can easily have a ton of different meanings. Let’s say that you search for the word “best restaurants,” Google does not know what you are really looking for. There are some of the possible results:

  • Finding the nearest restaurant
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Chinese restaurants
  • 5-star restaurants
  • Brand new restaurants
  • Multi-cuisine restaurants

By considering over 200 factors, what Google is doing, is trying to figure out what your intent is behind that particular search. And over time as you keep using Google, the algorithms will have identified and adapted to your types of searches. This lets it know our intent behind your searches.

These intents are basically divided into 4 sections:

  1. Know queries: The query where the user wants more information about something. Ex: “Why do people love In & Out?”
  2. Do queries: The query where the user wants to know about the subject and is ready to take action. Ex: “Best Italian restaurants in Downtown Manhattan.”
  3. Website queries: The query where the user wants to go to a particular website. Ex: “Netflix”
  4. Visit-in-person queries: The query where the user wants to locate a particular address and visit it. Ex: “Best dentist in San Jose.”

When a user is searching from a smartphone, then the algorithm adapts and produces data based on the intent where the user might need to go, do buy or know.

But this smart search algorithm goes beyond that. It also uses your historical data and combines that with the ranking factors that it considers in order to provide you with the best results possible.

And now that you have this information. It will help you tailor your SEO strategy and seeking out the intent of the people searching for a particular keyword.

You can then create content based on their intent.

Let’s say that I search for “electricians,” and in the top results, I see the different electricians in my local area. This means that Google has learned my intent for searching that. Its understanding is that I’m searching for an “electrician that can fix an issue for me.”

I see a ton of SEOs that rarely think about the intent of the searcher. That is the reason why their content is so disconnected from what people actually are searching for.

In Total, How Many Ranking Factors Are There?

SEOs have been testing different factors ever since they realized that they could make money by just ranking websites. After years and years of testing, they have now arrived at 200 different factors that Google’s algorithm uses to rank websites.

Now you must know that every factor holds different weight. And in this article, I am only going to list the factors that I know for a fact that they hold the most weight.

 

Most Important Google Ranking Factors Every Beginner Should Know in 2018

Below are some of the major factors that I believe will predict where your website will rank in the search engines. All these factors are based on the latest Google’s algorithm update in 2018.

 

  1. Title tag should have your keyword.

The title tag is one of the first things that lets Google know what your website is about. I even talked about it in my previous blog post about why it could be one of the reasons why your website isn’t ranking anywhere in Google.

Yes, it is THAT important to have your keyword in your title tag.

The best way to take advantage of this tag is to try to have your keyword at the start of the title tag. Pages that have their keyword closer to the beginning of the title tag are ranked higher compared to the pages that have their keyword toward the end of the tag.

 

  1. Having keyword in the meta description tag.

It is important to have your keyword in the meta description because at the end of the day if people don’t click on your website, there’s no use ranking on page 1. I agree that it doesn’t hold as much value as it used to, but you still want people to visit your website. So it’s better to optimize your meta description so that you gain visitors from all the hard work you are doing.

 

  1. Keyword in the H1 tag

It doesn’t matter what people might say in these SEO forums. It is always a good practice to include your keyword in the H1 tag. This lets Google know that your blog post is structured around that topic and you are explaining things in detail and in different sections.

 

  1. The length of the content.

Gone were the days when you could just write a 500-word article covering the basic details about the topic. And that would suffice to rank on page 1. But that is not the case now.

In fact, searchers want more information these days. They want to know everything that is there to learn about the subject they are searching for.

So it makes sense to have longer content because that increases the chance of you covering more topics and in-depth. So, if you are writing that next blog post on your website, don’t shy away from writing a 3,000-word post that covers everything about that topic.

 

  1. Avoid duplicate content at all costs

If you are putting all this time and effort on your website and trying to get it ranked on page 1, you might as well invest in unique content on your website. Having duplicate content negatively affects your rankings.

So, make sure that you do have duplicate content on any of your pages.

Better to be safe than sorry.

 

  1. Use Canonical tags

If you have a bigger website, it makes sense that there might be times when you would have to write content that is similar to something that you have written in the past.

In those cases, Canonical tags help you tell Google that both URLs are equivalent and that even though they are 2 separate pages on your website, they should be considered as one.

 

  1. Image optimization

I see this countless of times. People invest so much in their content. They literally have 5,000-word blog posts on their website but they forget to optimize their images.

Remember, Google cannot see. You have to describe the image in text so that Google knows what it is about and how it is relevant to the article.

You can use the alt text, caption and the description of the images to achieve that.

 

  1. Fresh content

Google loves fresh content. And it is better if you incorporate a content marketing strategy along with your SEO strategy. This will help you rank for even more keywords over time.

And if you have commercial pages such as product pages, then Google recognizes that and so they don’t need to be constantly updated.

 

  1. Outbound links

Having outbound links to authoritative websites will tell Google that you want the user to learn more about the subject from trusted sources. And believe me, this is a huge trust factor.

I have literally seen websites jump from mid page 3 to top of page 2 just by using this factor.

But the key is to use this in moderation. Because having too many outbound links will diminish the value of your website.

 

  1. Internal links

Having internal links is just as important as having outbound links. These links will help the user easily navigate through your website and learn more about the topic that they are interested in.

And anything that can improve the user experience is a ranking factor that Google considers.

 

So, if you just optimize for these 10 SEO factors, you will see your website jump rankings in no time.

Remember the 80/20 rule (Pareto’s Principle). You always get 80% of the results from 20% of the effort you put in. But that 20% is the most important percentage that gets the job done. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to achieve your goals. In this case, page 1 rankings.

6 Reasons Why Your Website Isn’t Ranking in Google

I’ve been where you are. You do everything you know about SEO, and you even manage to make your website look amazing.

But it’s just that thing that keeps nagging you because people are still not able to find you on Google. And the worst part is, if people can’t find your website online, you will not get any inquiries or sales.

Just like any other company out there, you might be asking “What would I have to do to get my website on the 1st page of Google?”

That is important because Google is the biggest search engine in the world. And obviously, that makes it the search engine that provides the most amount of traffic to websites in the world.

And because of that, it is important for your website to rank on the 1st page of Google.

After doing SEO for businesses for half a decade, I have found that there are at least 5 reasons that your website is not ranking well in search results. And with those 6 things, I’m also offering the solutions so you can rectify them and see your website leapfrog its way to page 1.

So if you want to know exactly what you have to do on your website so that it gets moving in the right direction, this is the place where you should be.

And without any further ado, lets jump right into it.

 

  1. You Simply Have Too Much Competition

Let’s be honest, there are some industries that have a 100x more competition than others. And it is possible that the websites you see on page 1 might have a huge marketing budget to spend on SEO. And if you do have a similar budget, you might not be able to outrank them, or even compete with them in the first place.

This could be the biggest reason why you are not ranking on page 1 for your target keywords.

 

What can you do about this?

Let’s say that your target keyword was “3 piece suits for sale.”

Look at the competition that you will be facing for this keyword.

 

You will be competing with huge brands like Mens Wearhouse, Mens Suit Habit, Marks and Spencer, etc. These are all huge organizations that have a ton of money to throw on marketing campaigns. And the chance of you outranking them is slim to none.

And that is why we must take a different approach to things.

We need to start segmenting the marketing.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that instead of ranking nationally for a keyword like “3 piece suits for sale”, you could choose to rank for something easier and with less competition like “3 piece suits for sale in Boston.”

You can start segmenting your market by location. And if you target a smaller geographical area, it will be easier for your rank for that location.

Moreover, people would rather choose to buy from a local brand than a huge chain.

If you want to get really creative with your segmenting, you can go for something like “3 piece suits for men over 40.”

You will be shocked to see how less of a competition there is for keywords like that.

So, instead of directly going for the Goliath of your market, practice your shots on smaller segments of that market and build up from there.

Remember, SEO is like chess. You have to build up the strength of your website and dominate searches one-by-one. Until you surround the King and win the game.

 

  1. Your Website Has Not Been Indexed By Google

If you have recently registered a website, then it is possible that Google hasn’t listed it yet.

So how do you find out if your website has been indexed/listed or not?

You can use a search operator/prefix in your Google search to find that out.

Type site:yoursite.com (without the www. And “/”)

If you can see your website in the search results and your website is showing at the top, then you have nothing to worry about. Once your website is indexed, you will see a list of all the pages of your website that are indexed by Google.

But if you cannot see your website, then that means Google has not indexed your website.

 

How Do You Get Your Website Indexed In Google?

In 90% of the cases, Google automatically finds the website and indexes them. But that does take a little bit of time. In some cases, it can take a few weeks for Google to find and index your website.

But do not worry. There is nothing wrong with your website. It just takes Google a bit of time because there are literally billions of websites that are freshly crawled every day. And so it can take a bit of time to go through all of that.

But if you want to make this process go a bit quicker, you can add your website to the Google Search Console and submit your website sitemap.

This will let Google know that it has to crawl your website. And usually it can take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to complete crawling and you will be able to see your website indexed.

 

  1. Non-Mobile Friendly Website

This is a big issue.

About 2-3 years ago the overall mobile usage of Google had overtaken desktop usage and this is the reason why having a mobile-optimized website is so crucial to rank higher in Google.

If you currently do not have a mobile-optimized website, it is possible that Google will not index your website.

If you don’t have a mobile-optimized website, you should at least have a mobile “responsive” website.

What do I mean by a Responsive website?

It means that your website should be easy to use on devices like a smartphone or an iPad. There shouldn’t be a lot of dragging and pinching involved while browsing your website.

If the desktop version of your website is showing up on these devices, then again, Google will not index your website.

 

How do you find out if your website is mobile responsive?

Google has made it very easy to find out if your website is mobile responsive or not.

All you have to do, is head on over to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool and enter your website URL.

It will take a couple of tests to check the responsiveness of your website.

If it is mobile responsive, you will pass the test.

 

 

How do I make my website mobile responsive?

If you hired a web designer to design your website from scratch, then you can ask them to make it mobile responsive for you. It is possible that they might charge an extra fee for that. So make sure that you ask them about it beforehand.

On the other hand, if you are using WordPress, you can install a WordPress theme that is mobile responsive and you will be good to go. Alternatively, if you really like a WordPress plugin, then you can choose to buy the premium version of that plugin that is mobile friendly and you will be all set.

Those two will be your best case scenarios.

In the worst case scenario, you will need to convert an old website into a new one while ensuring that it is mobile optimized.

In that case, it is always best to spend a little more and get a fresh design.

At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your website is mobile optimized or mobile responsive to ensure that it is indexed in Google.

 

  1. Under-Optimized Title Tag and Meta Description

You might not know this, but search engines use different tags to identify the topics of the website and what it is about. Every page of your website has a Title tag and a Meta description tag.

These tags can be optimized in a way so that they let the search engines know what those pages are about.

Once you optimize these tags, you will notice that those exact words show up in the search results as well. And that’s the reason why it is so important to optimize them. So you can control what shows up in the search results.

 

How Can You Check Your Meta Data?

There are a couple of ways you can do that.

For instance, you can use this tool that will make a list of all the pages on your website along with their meta tags. All you will have to do is copy and paste the URLs of which you want to check the meta-tags and it will give you exactly what Google sees.

If you are using a Content Management System like WordPress, then updating the title and meta tags will be super easy. All you will need to do is install an SEO plugin. Yoast SEO is the most famous one and the easiest one to use by far.

This plugin will let you change the meta tags on the same page as you write your content. That makes the whole thing easier than ever.

 

How to write better Title Tags

Now that you know how to change your meta tags, now is the time to know how you can write better title tags (I will be talking about meta descriptions in a minute).

I see a lot of people writing title tags like this: 3 Piece Suits | Sale | Boston | Cincinnati

That’s the worst way to write a title tag. It is not the best way to optimize that page for humans. And Google wants their visitors to have the best browsing experience ever.

Do you think that people would click on that title if they saw it in the search results?

Or would they click on something like this: Best 3 Piece Suits on Sale in Boston Massachusetts

I bet that they will click on the latter. Because it tells them exactly what they will find on your page. And Google will love that title as well for the same reasons.

 

How to write better meta descriptions

Google has stopped counting the meta description as a ranking factor, but it will help you increase your click-through rate.

The meta description gives you an opportunity to give more information about your title and further entice the visitor to click on your website.

Why not capitalize on that chance and increase your click-through rate and possibly your conversions and sales?

A great way to write the meta description is to include your contact details and a call to action. This will make it easier for people to decide and click. And if not, it is possible that they end up calling you instead.

That’s even better.

 

  1. Low-Quality Content

In my personal experience, high-quality content the distinction between a website that is ranking on page 1 and the website that is stuck on page 5 and is not able to move.

Remember, Google loves high-quality content. And if your website does not have that, then it is possible that your competitor might. And they will rank higher than you.

Not just that, I see people just throw away their hard earned money. They spend thousands of dollars on the development of the website, and they hardly spend any money on getting high-quality content on it.

I personally recommend that you have at least 300-500 words of content on every page of your website. This lets Google know what that page is about and shows that the page is valuable for that particular topic.

If you have content of fewer than 300 words, then the chances of that pages ranking are very slim.

 

How do you check the word count on a page?

If you are using WordPress, then it is very simple. You can see the word count of your content below the content area. This word count excludes your title.

But, if you want to know the total word count on the entire page, not just the article that you will be posting, then you can use this tool for that.

Again, you want to make sure that you have at least 300-500 words on each page. That is not a strict limit, but I have tested that limit on my client websites and have gotten good results.

However, feel free to write long-form content as well. The longer the content, the better it will be for you. And also Google will consider your website more authoritative.

That is why you will see that on this website, a lot of my articles average over 1000 words.

 

How can you fix the low-quality content issue?

Well, there are a couple of ways you can go about it.

First, you can write the content yourself.

This will take a lot of your time especially if you have a ton of pages on your website. You will also need to do a lot of research if you don’t already know about the topic.

Alternatively, you can hire a copywriter or a content writer and they can write the content for you.

This depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you want higher quality content, it is likely that you will have to spend more.

 

  1. Zero Social Media Activity

These days Google is looking all over the place to find out if people love your website or not. And one of the ways it finds that out is by checking if your website has any social media activity going on.

If people are talking about your website, then chances are that they like your website and they are recommending it to their friends. And Google will pick up on that and rank you higher.

But if you do not have any social media activity going on, then chances are that your website is not liked by a lot of people. Or it is not famous enough to rank on page 1.

Remember, Google only wants to list the famous, high-quality, amazing websites on page 1. If your website is not one of them, then it will not rank high.

 

Conclusion

In a way, if you notice, this is a popularity contest. You want to show Google that your website is great, popular and it hangs around great people. And so Google will rank you higher.

I know that seems shallow, but that’s how all the search engines in the world work.

So, it’s better to take advantage of the knowledge you have than to feel bad about it and do nothing.

Apply these tips right now and see how quickly your website will climb rankings in the search results.

  • 1
  • 2