December is when every business owner out there is busy getting the biggest pie from the holiday cake. So it’s very rare that you see any buzz in SEO forums. But this time, we witnessed something different. Many people were online, sharing their experiences. Just like an unexpected tornado caught them off guard, and took away everything they had. Well maybe it became way too more dramatic, but we would like to inform you that Google has made changes to their core ranking algorithms. And as a result, may websites witnessed a drop in traffic as massive as 35%!
Moz reported high volatility in search results through Mozcast as can be seen below.
A non seasonal site owner, who hardly witnesses any fluctuations witnessed a drop of 30%! However, they were not alone and this was not due to any glitch. Many other users started sharing their trauma on webmaster forums. After a thorough research, we found out that Google did make changes to their core ranking algorithms and later on they confirmed the same. The statement Google sent was “we released several minor improvements during this timeframe, part of our regular and routine efforts to improve relevancy.”
We decided to do some number crunching ourselves. Our dataset of 4000+ websites and 350,000+ keywords (local and national) makes it easy for us to get a birds-eye view of how our client campaigns are performing.
Not surprisingly, we were happy to find that this update didn’t have any negative impact on our client campaigns. Most probably, the SEO deliverables which we offer saved our clients from this update. This is another example of how our strategies future-proof your business.
So if your organic leads were affected, especially around December 13th or 14th, open Google Analytics and check whether your site was hit by MACCABEES or not. If you were hit by this update OR want to make sure you’re not going to be a likely victim, we can help. Just connect with us and let our professional SEOs to do the work for you.
December is considered a pretty slow month from the SEO point of view. But This December was different. There was a lot of buzz in the SEO forums because Google dropped a big algorithm change without warning (as it always does). Many SEO experts are calling it the Maccabees update which targeted keyword permutations as well as hit some celebrity websites.
But not every update from Google was shocking. Since 2013, Google promised to add a year plus of data to search console from quite some time, which they actually delivered. Here’s a screenshot of how the new Google Search Console will look.
So, all in all, we can say that it was pretty busy December for Google just like the rest of us.
Recently Google published their quality guidelines mainly for Google Assistant and Voice Search Results. As per the guidelines; better the quality of the voice search apter will be the responses generated.
Here’s what Google wrote —
"In the past we have received requests to see our evaluation guidelines from academics who are researching improvements in voice interactions, question answering and voice-guided exploration. To facilitate their evaluations, we are publishing some of the first Google Assistant guidelines. It is our hope that making these guidelines public will help the research community build and evaluate their own systems."
Google will be evaluating these dimensions for rating voice search responses.
The full and short PDF is available as a download over here.
It seems like Google is testing a new feature, as some users have witnessed an image from the landing page, right next to the description area of the text ad.
Google spokesperson gave a generic statement regarding this — "We’re always testing new ways to improve our experience for our advertisers and users, but don’t have anything specific to announce right now."
So they neither denied nor accepted it. Google has tested many imaged ad formats over the years, and none made it to the mainstream. But we are seeing a lot of images right next to the text ads lately, so this time, they might fully role out this feature.
Last years Google launched large format mobile ads exclusively for automotive makers. It allowed the automotive company to entice the customers by showing the carousel of images of car models. Because the looks of cars play an important role, this update was considered useful for the car makers. Google might launch similar ad formats for other industries too, in near future.
We will keep you posted.
Facebook constantly keeps updating its news feed algorithm to improve user experience and to serve them with relevant and engaging content. Marketers should be always aware about these new updates, as they can sometimes cause problems to them.
Recently, Facebook released three updates that can reduce marketers organic reach. The updates are about the type of content Facebook prefers to serve its users. Businesses who want to make the most of their Facebook presence, need to pay attention to these updates.
It gives preference to videos that has intent or repeat viewership
Videos are one of the most popular mode of marketing on Facebook. But as per Facebook’s last news feed algorithm update, it will give preference to the videos which people are searching for or returning to Facebook to watch.
The preference depends on two factors:
It devalues engagement bait content
According to the latest news feed update, posts like “Share with a friend…” or “Like this if…” will be devalued and few people will only be able to view such posts.
Facebook has decided not to promote such spammy tactics to attract engagement, it has created a machine learning model to detect distinct types of engagement bait and it will take action against people or pages who upload such posts.
Here are few examples of engagement bait:
It devalues links to low-quality websites
With increasing spam and junk on the internet, Facebook will ensure that users don’t have to encounter such things by devaluing links that provide poor web experience.
Facebook has reviewed thousands of different pages linked to Facebook and has prepared a list of common characteristics that shows the web page has low-value.
Tips to ensure this update doesn’t affect the organic search of your website:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results – often referred to as “natural,” “organic,” or “earned” results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search,video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
Excerpt from <https://en.wikipedia.org>
If you want to have organic traffic for your business, then you must learn the basics of SEO. Even if you have people working for you, learning SEO is a must for all business owners in this age of information technology. As search engines, especially Google, changes their “algorithm… businesses must consistently keep up with these changes. Even if you use purely “white hat” SEO, your competitors are out there and you must deal with this changes ethically and strategically.
So let’s get to the most basic concepts of SEO.
Short for search engine results page, the Web page that a search engine returns with the results of its search. The major search engines typically display three kinds of listings on their SERPs. Listings that have been indexed by the search engine’s spider, listings that have been indexed into the search engine’s directory by a human, and listings that are paid to be listed by the search engine.
Excerpt from <http://www.webopedia.com>
How is your website performing in Google searches? Use our Instant Audit Tool to find out:
[button size=”big” text=”FREE INSTANT Website Auditor Tool” link=”http://www.ebizuniverse.com/seo-audit-request-form/” color=”blue”].
For search engine optimization (SEO), keywords are the connector, the relationship between you and your prospects, established and indexed by the search engine. Users search on words or phrases, and, if your site is well optimized, your pages turn up in the search results.
The starting point for SEO is having a clear and thorough understanding of which keywords are relevant and will perform for your site.
The mistakes often made at the start of the SEO process:
– Not thinking broadly enough about which keywords could be effective.
– Selecting keywords that people don’t actually search for.
– Being unaware of which search terms are most popular among customers.
It also is important to remember that the search engines are working on behalf of the end users, not for the Web site owners, and will do everything they can to recognize when they are being sold to. Your content needs to be engaging and relevant in order to guarantee returning relevant traffic.
Google continues to adjust its algorithms to make it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly and Matt Cutts has made it clear that only quality content will be easily discovered via Google search. Bing has also stated that content checks are key for marketers who want to see an increase in rankings on Microsoft’s search engine.
Excerpt from <https://paradisesocial.wordpress.com>
WordPress, straight out of the box, comes ready to embrace search engines. Its features and functions guide a search engine through the posts, pages, and categories to help the search engine crawl your site and gather the information it needs to include your site within its database.
WordPress comes with several built in search optimization tools, including the ability to use .htaccess to create apparently static URLs called permalinks, blog-rolling, and pinging. There are also a number of third party plugins and hacks which can be used for search engine optimization (SEO).
Excerpt from <http://codex.wordpress.org>
WordPress Is “A Fantastic Choice”
Matt Cutts praised WordPress for being SEO-friendly platform. WordPress automatically solves a ton of issues bloggers might have. It is a fantastic piece of software, makes your site easily crawlable by search engines, solves some 80-90% of mechanics of SEO and is the first big step anyone can take towards creating a popular online business. Watch the full presentation and see the full list of tips below:
Excerpt from <http://howtomakemyblog.com>
Google’s Matt Cutts discusses ways to manage SEO from within WordPress. Although below video is several years old, 98% of the information in it is still valid. This is a must see for any business or blogger using WordPress to publish content.
As a blogger, your two main goals are creating quality content and driving as much organic traffic as you possibly can to your site. As such, you should be careful when choosing your WordPress theme. While WordPress is generally SEO-friendly, few WordPress themes out there are optimized to rank high on search engines. Below are just two top SEO friendly WordPress Themes.
This theme only got released a few months ago due to the high demand for a modern WordPress theme that is optimized right out the box. And this is where Schema comes in, it has been well accepted within the WP community as one of the best. Schema as also best mentioned in our fastest loading WordPress theme collection that Google has announced in recent years that a site’s speed does contribute to a site ranking signal.
Socially Viral is laid out in a way that increases your readers time on site and page views Created by MythemeShop the guys who created Schema, you get the same attention to detail and built-in SEO options. You might want to consider this not just for its search friendly coding but to help you rank more social shares and traffic. Other noteworthy features of this theme include mega menus, social share buttons, WPSubscribe Pro plugin
In search engine optimization, on-page optimization refers to factors that have an effect on your Web site or Web page listing in natural search results. These factors are controlled by you or by coding on your page. Examples of on-page optimization include actual HTML code, meta tags, keyword placement and keyword density.
Excerpt from <http://www.webopedia.com>
Here’s a great infographic about On Page SEO from Ben of SimpleContentCreation.com. Ben is passionate about content creation and sharing his experiences, creativity and knowledge to everyone who is interested. Here’s his 10 Easy Steps To Better On Page SEO
Check your Google Webmaster tool for 404 / 500 errors, duplicate content, missing titles and other technical errors that Google has found.
You can also use BrowSEO to find even more technical errors. The most common detrimental errors people tend to make are 302 redirects that should be 301 redirects. BROWSEO is a web app that allows you to view any webpage without distractions caused by styles. It also highlights parts of a page that are relevant for SEO.
Use Screaming Frog to find broken links, errors, and crawl problems.
Keyword research is a practice used by search engine optimization professionals to find and research actual search terms people enter into the search engines when conducting a search. Search engine optimization professionals research keywords in order to achieve better rankings in search engines. Once a niche keyword is found, it is expanded upon to find similar keywords. The process is usually aided by keyword suggestion tools, like the Google Adwords Keyword Planner, which offer thesaurus and alternate keyword suggestion functionality. Most of the time the various search engines provide their own keyword suggestion tools as well which also include the number of searches made for each of those keywords. This information is then used in order to select the correct keyword depending on the SEO goals of the website.
Excerpt from <https://en.wikipedia.org>
The ideal keywords you need to target are those that have high monthly search and relatively easy competing websites to outrank. This is a complicated topic but good thing there are keyword research tools that can help you out.
Check your competitor link profiles. Once you know where their backlinks are coming from and what anchor text they are using, you can imitate and improve. You can use the following site to do your competitor analysis:
How is your website ranking in Google for searches? Get an instant website audit by using our tool:
[button size=”big” text=”FREE INSTANT Website Auditor” link=”http://www.ebizuniverse.com/seo-audit-request-form/” color=”blue”].
There are a lot of writing services out there that offers 500 word articles for webmasters. It seems that this is the standard. But analyzing sites on page one of Google, statistics shows that you must have at least 2000 words. Here’s a study from SERPIQ.com
“When it comes to content length, there are a lot of opinions as to what’s considered “good.” While there are no hard rules, it’s generally assumed that more content is better…but is this true? Let’s kick off the post with a graph of the average content length of domains on the first page of the SERPs:
As you can see, there is a drop in content length as we move from first to tenth position. On average, 10th position pages have 400 less words on the page than first position pages. This does point to the trend that higher ranked sites have more content, but keep in mind that this graph is not segmented in any way – this is just a graph of all of the SERPs we’ve analyzed.
Excerpt from <http://blog.serpiq.com>
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords are essentially keywords related to the keyword that you search for on search engines such as Google. In a nutshell, they are keywords that are semantically linked to your main keyword. In practical terms, Google has confirmed that by using more LSI keywords, your page will typically rank better.
Excerpt from <http://lsigraph.com>
When we say internal linking, we are interlinking other contents of our websites with each other. For each of our articles, we must strive to link out to other related contents in our website.
An internal link is a clickable hyperlink which directs the user from one page to another page on the same website. Below is a video tutorial that explains the process.
A good majority of people define Off Page SEO is all about increasing your backlinks, but they are wrong. Off Page SEO is all about branding and increasing your chances of getting backlinks. It is not about increasing backlinks because people can buy backlinks and increase the count, but that is not the optimial way because you will be gaming the system. There is a positive correlation between your site’s popularity and the chances of getting backlinks. But the fact of the matter is that you do not have a popular site when you start.
Excerpt from <http://www.wpbeginner.com>
Make sure that you claim your business / website name on major networks for reputation management reasons. One reason is to ensure that nobody else gets your account name on these networks. The second and most important reason is for you to have the chance to own all of the results on page one of Google for your business or website. Here are some of the major networks you should be signing up.
And don’t forget about major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
Google is all about the user, and these day people are more and more browsing through their smart phones. You can use BrowserStack to check your websites mobile friendliness. If you are using WordPress, you can easily browse for Themes that are already built for mobile browsing.
Now it is time to ACT! Find out how your website is doing in searches by our instant audit tool:
Ready to take the next step? If you are, interested in SEO Chicago services, contact us at 847-220-9541 now. We also opened an SEO Dallas operation, so if you’re based in Dallas, Tx Feel free to contact us for a free quote.
So you want to post a video online eh?
Are you aware of what counts as a ‘view’, or if a particular platform will allow you to autoplay your video? Maybe you’re unsure about the maximum length of a video or if a metric dashboard is available to track your hits.
Regardless of the reason, we have provided an infographic below (via Marketing Land) providing answers to the above questions and more.
When was the last time you used Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Was it this morning? An hour ago? Maybe you’re on it now as you read this article. Social media has essentially taken over our lives to keep up with family, friends, current news, and to meet new people. But we have a feeling you aren’t taking full advantage of what social media has to offer.
To help you, we’ve put together an infographic (below) illustrating the top 8 benefits of using social media for marketing purposes.
The word “Social Media” is commonly used by many different people, but when it comes to explaining social media, it is very difficult to explain it because no one exactly know what social media is. Here we will tell you what social media actually is.
Social media covers websites and applications that not only give you information, but also allow you to participate in social networking with others around you. Your participation may be vary from something simple, such as commenting or ‘liking’ something someone has written, to more complex websites such as Flixster which recommend movies to you based on ratings by your friends. Basically, social media allows you to communicate to others around you. Some of the most popular social media websites are:
Facebook is one of the most popular social channels in the world, with just over 1.3 billion users around the globe. If you haven’t already heard of it, Facebook is free social media network where you can create your own profile, upload videos and photos, share a ‘status’, and you can also send messages to your friends and family.
Twitter is also a very massive and popular site. Over 500 million users use twitter. Twitter is a very effective social channel as it allows its users to interact very closely. Here user can broadcasts short posts which are known as tweets.
Google+ is another effective media tool. It is designed to reproduce the way people interact offline more closely than other social networks, and integrates closely with Google Authorship.
Wikipedia was founded back in 2001. Rather than being a website which allows you to connect with peers to share updates on your life, Wikipedia instead aims to provide you with information. It is a free encyclopaedia created by the users of Wikipedia, for users of Wikipedia. Anyone who is registered on the website can create and edit an article.
LinkedIn has over 277 million users across the world, and you can connect with all these 277 million users through it. LinkedIn is specially designed for business relations – that’s why it is the best media channel to promote your content. The website aims to allow you to network between people who have similar professional interests, and it can also be used as a tool to reach out to people you may have in mind for a job, or to discuss your product/service.
As you may already know, search engines don’t see all links equally, in the same way search engines also don’t count all social accounts similarly. Search engines use ‘social signals’ to determine how high your website is ranked. Social media websites rise more quickly than other website that’s why search engines use social signals to display social media sites on the top. Here are some of the main areas search engines considers about Facebook and Twitter accounts when ranking them:
As mentioned above, search engines often take some social signals into account when ranking a website. If the followers of the Google+ will increase its ranking will also increase and in the same manner the ranking of other social media is also increase on search engines.
With the rise of social media usage during the last decade, it would be a surprise if more companies were not utilizing their reach and potential to gain a business edge.
You’ve got Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, FourSquare, and Google+ to name a few where your business information and latest projects should be published for millions of people to see.
But, how do you properly manage the variety of social media platforms to your full potential?
One method would be to create a spreadsheet with your social media accounts and update the sheet daily for the dates you’ve posted something. Another is to set a daily Outlook or Gmail calendar reminder to post something across all accounts.
Or (pay attention here) you can sign up for a FREE Hootsuite account. Hootsuite is a social media management system that allows you link or network other social media platforms into its interface.
Hootsuite’s interface takes the form of a dashboard allowing you to see multiple streams simultaneously. This is particularly useful if you are a serial entrepreneur and want to quickly post across all accounts. Each individual stream then allows you to select the social media accounts you’d like to post to, add a photo or video, and walah, you’re done!
To recap, Hootsuite makes it easy to post across multiple social media accounts simultaneously, reaching potentially millions of followers in seconds. Having multiple streams set up allows for quick easy transition between companies which is especially useful if you are a serial entrepreneur.
Ten years ago, if you would have mentioned the term “social media” to an Internet friend, they would have had no idea what you meant. But in the year 2014, nearly everyone with an Internet connection has heard of sites like Facebook, adding momentum and force to the social media advertising trend.
Social media is big business, and financial figures state that social media is scheduled to generate 11 billion dollars in total revenue by the year 2017! In 2013, social media made a total of 6.1 billion.
So, you can see how social media is poised to become an incredible force in online advertising in the very near years to come, and why you should seriously consider incorporating a social media marketing strategy for your business.
StumbleUpon – Founded in November 2002 by Garrett Camp and a few other associates, as of April 2012, StumbleUpon now has more than 25 million registered users.
Facebook – Founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is the undisputed king of social media. As of March 2013, Facebook has a total of 1.11 billion active users, globally.
LinkedIn – Founded in December of 2002, LinkedIn boasts a total of 259 million users across more than 200 countries as of June 2013.
YouTube – Launched by three former Paypal employees in the year 2005, YouTube is now one of the most popular video sharing / social media comment sites ever. YouTube was purchased by Google for 1.65 billion dollars in 2006.
Tumblr – Founded by David Karp in the year 2007, this social media site is home to 205.9 million blogs.
Foursquare – This local search and discovery network site was launched in 2009 by Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley. As of 2014, it has 45 million registered users.
Twitter – Founded in 2006 by Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, and Biz Stone, as of 2014 Twitter now has over 500 million users. 271 million of these are “active” users.
Google+ – Launched in 2011 by Google and open to everyone, as of 2013 there are 540 million active, registered users.
Sharing information and what you like is what social media sites are all about. Google allows us to +1 a site, and show the world how much we appreciate a specific page. Facebook allows us to “Like” a page, and thusly increase Internet awareness of a specific page or site.
Additionally, we can leave comments on social media pages that contain helpful insight, allowing social media business owners to improve the quality of the products and services they offer.
Social media pages are also highly capable of going “viral”, which happens because of a chain reaction of events.
First, a social media page will post an original and unique piece of content.
Second, it becomes popular because of the valuable, unique, funny, or otherwise noteworthy characteristic of the content.
Third, the popularity of the unique content is shared with friends and acquaintances until many thousands of people visit and agree that the content is noteworthy enough to share. And it’s at that point, that a social media page has officially gone, “viral”.
With sites like Facebook having over a billion registered users, there’s no stopping social media and how it’s scheduled to play a part in fostering business. Social media sites are wonderful for allowing any Internet user to share pages they find valuable and to spread the word about content they find beneficial.
It’s easy to get excited watching the number of “likes” and “re-tweets” accumulate. You feel important, like someone is listening to you and agrees with your brand. But does the number of “likes” you get on a social media post translate to brand recognition and more sales?
Counting your follows and tracking the amount of “likes” or “favorites” you get is an easy way to track success but it’s missing a few key metrics like, why people liked the post and whether or not the post converted anyone from a prospect to a sale. There are a lot of reasons why someone might click the like button on your Facebook business page or post including things that have nothing to do with your business, like the fact that their friend liked it or maybe because they thought the image you used was cute or funny. You’re not really going to find out if your social media accounts are making an impact until you start engaging with your followers.
Engagement is the conversation that happens about your brand online, it could be between you and your customers or it could be between your customers and their sphere of influence. With engagement an intentional action takes place that raises awareness about your business, your article or your post. Interaction is a much better validity test to your social media endeavors.
So how is engagement measured? There are several paid services out there but you can do some research yourself for free as well. Here are three easy and cheap ways to track your engagement:
Many companies have their ways of managing social media use in the workplace. Some block social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, while others allow their employees to log on to these sites during break times. Regardless of these policies, however, businesses have no way of controlling what their employees say about them during non-work hours. This is where problems start for employees and employers.
Research says seven out of ten employees use social networks. These users spend an average of 15 ½ hours on social networking sites monthly. Furthermore, one out of four social network users don’t set their privacy parameters. This means anyone can see their posts on anything – from updates on their busy schedules to complaints about their job. Many employees don’t see any harm in this. It’s their social network, after all; they can say whatever they want to say on it. But can you really?
There are no stopping employees from airing their feelings about their companies on social networks. This is why many businesses are now vigilant in monitoring what their employees say about them online. Sure, the First Amendment protects employees from legal actions of protected speech. This doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t deal with negative effects. Let’s think of it this way, you wouldn’t dare insult your employer to his face, for fear of getting fired. Right? Posting an insult on your social network is quite the same thing.
Here’s what can happen when you vent your dissatisfaction at work on your social networks.
Using social networking sites irresponsibly can cost you your career. Getting fired, however, isn’t the only consequence you have to deal with. You may face lawsuits, especially when you gave away confidential details about your company and their business processes. You may also have a difficult time looking for another job. Apart from monitoring their brands, companies use social networks to find potential employees. When they don’t like what they see on your profile page, they won’t even invite you for an initial interview. Furthermore, many hiring managers conduct online background checks on their future employees. According to a study, about 70% of job recruiters reject applicants after doing online investigations.
Creating a Good Online Persona
Your online profile is an extension of yourself in the real world. What you do on social networks say many things about your personality offline. While your employers can’t control what you post online, your actions can very well shape your career. How you use these social networking sites can either boost or ruin your profession.
It’s easy to create a good online persona. When you can’t stop ranting on social networking sites, think about fixing your privacy setting. This can effectively limit the things you share publicly. It can also prevent future employers from thinking you’ll be a bad hire for their companies. You can get your foot through the door and the chance to let them know you can be an asset to the company. At the end of the day, responsible use of social media can help employers and employees achieve their goals.
Do you want to learn more about social media? Contact us for more information on social media marketing and management.
WARNING: There has been a malware warning update from Sophos’ Naked Security, that follows the path of using photos as bait, they are coming out this time in the form of email attachments, made to look like they are coming from Facebook and claiming to contain photos that the users were added in, but they are actually a malicious Trojan Horse.
According to Naked Secruity, the emails contain the subject line, “Your friend added a new photo with you to the album,” and has a body as follows:
One of Your Friends added a new photo with you to the album.
You are receiving this email because you’ve been listed as a close friend.
[View photo with you in the attachement]
The attached file, rather than photos, catches the unsuspecting users of the social network with a Toj/Agent-XNN form of malware according to Naked Security.
See the image below as an example of what the email might look like.