Displaying items by tag: SEO Spain
As you probably know, search has changed a lot in recent years! But are you taking advantage of the new possibilities that now exist due to the advancements in technology and actually delivering the answers?
Because recent developments are now taking these processes onto another level.....and that level is Artificial Intelligence!
It's called RankBrain...... which is the name that Google have given to it's machine-learning artificial intelligence system. Previously any changes in search algorithms had to be programmed into the system by humans, but now it has the capacity to learn, and to expand it's knowledge and efficiency based on the original parameters that were applied. It's goal is to take search queries, interpret what the user's intent is, and then deliver the best possible results for them.
Now did you see the important word there? Intent! What Google is looking to achieve is to match the user's intention to the optimum results. Ten years ago people were using shorter search terms.....but now both the end users' knowledge and the technology have advanced beyond all recognition! Users are now putting in questions, and they want answers. Google's role is to evaluate the available options and provide the best answers based on the analysis of user intent.
Of course there's now the mobile factor as well.....with queries on these devices exceeding those of desktop computers! Which brings us onto Voice Search! Let me give you an example how this can work! If you go to your voice search on mobile and say "OK Google.....What do People say about WebSpain"......you should get a search delivered with the answer at the top!
Points to bear in mind are that the search request was delivered in plain conversational language......not a sequence of robotic disconnected keywords. Keywords used within the content in a natural manner are still very important, but if you're using these keywords then you must expand upon them and deliver the answers within the actual page content. If you don't, people will hit the back button (which Google monitors), and eventually your listing will no longer show in the search results as users are telling Google that the result wasn't acceptable. And RankBrain learns from that.
In the quoted example I could probably have got the same result by just putting in those keywords and nothing else!
But how long before the search engine algorithms figure that the end result was I didn't deliver any answers?
Do you see the critical factor? Keywords and empty cliches that deliver nothing in the way of valid information are now no longer acceptable!
Example.....it's no good just telling people how easy it is to buy a house in Spain......you've got to demonstrate how!
Unfortunately, many site owners still seem to think they can get away with the practices that were prevalent back in 2005, things like keyword jamming and overloading metatags.....but those days are gone. Do that now while simultaneously delivering no content value and you'll be dropping like a stone.
Going forward, think of these Google initiatives as a quality filter. Deliver quality, and in principle you should see the benefits. The key is knowing your clients' needs, requirements, possible questions or doubts etc......and then delivering the answers as a tangible benefit to them within your content. So basically you're pre-empting the question and making it easier for search engines to recommend you.
If you know your business, then you know the answers! So just make sure that you're delivering them.....and not just on your site but right across Social Media as well. Because if you don't......your competitors will!
Facebook have announced that it has now completed indexing the 2 trillion posts that have been made to it's network!
In addition, it's made them searchable! So what does this mean to you as a business?
Well if you consider that billions of people spend 40 minutes of their time on FaceBook every day, and 20% of their time online is on this network......quite a lot. FaceBook's objective seems to be to position themselves as direct search rivals to Google. Their thinking seems to be if so many people are on their site, why make them navigate to Google and Bing for information? From now on, if they search for "Spain Property" on FaceBook they'll get a list of results related to this topic.....not just pages but also posts.
So if your FaceBook page has no recent activity and very few likes then that's not really going to inspire confidence in potential clients. The fact that your website looks great and has good Google positioning is irrelevant......because they may not even look at it.
I'm certainly getting more business related enquiries on FaceBook, so make sure you have mail notifications for these in place or you could miss potential client enquiries! Remember that social media activity happens in real time.....not Monday to Friday office hours! If you don't make contact promptly then somebody else will, and that's lost business.
This initiative by Facebook is without doubt a challenge to Google’s authority as the world’s most dominant search engine. So you can see how essential it is that you show up on these listings, because if people can find what they want on FaceBook, why would they go to Google or Bing?
It also gives potential clients the opportunity to see how you interact with enquiries posted publicly. Therefore, if your previous responses are unhelpful, or you don't even respond at all, then users are just going to go elsewhere. So in a sense, interested parties can now also evaluate you as well. It goes without saying that anything negative on there is now going to be searchable as well, so you need to ensure that nobody can post on your business page except you.
I know some of you will say that you don't like Social Media, but the fact remains that it's a very important marketing and promotional tool. And the bad news is that it's not going to go away. It's big now, and it's only going to get bigger with initiatives like this.....so don't get left behind!
Over the years I've encountered a regular misunderstanding by potential clients regarding web design. It's the scenario where someone focuses solely on aesthetics at the expense of everything else.
In fact with some people, critical elements like content quality and user friendliness don't matter one bit. All that matters is their personal vision of what it should look like, with no regard whatsoever to the needs and expectations of their target audience. It's what I describe as "Flowery Syndrome".
Points to consider:
1. Websites are business assets whose sole focus must be to achieve specific business objectives. They are not your own personal scrapbook.
2. Google doesn't rank your site on how artistic and pretty it is.....it doesn't care. And quite frankly neither do your target audience.
3. In a similar way that the user and Google doesn't care if your artwork is on a par with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, they're also not interested in whether you have the literary expertise of an Oscar Wilde. Communicate in plain language with no ludicrous catch phrases or ambiguous cliches.
4. Content must engage the readers and involve them.....it's not a platform for you to give a speech about "me, me, me".
5. Understand that your website is no more than a marketing tool to enable you to generate business. Don't trivialise it with self indulgent ideas that are not related in any way to making money. Logically, why would you want to put anything on your site whatsoever that is not a business initiative?
6. You want stunning visuals? Then introduce great pictures relating to your business which will generate a need and desire within the user to purchase your products or services! Random pieces of meaningless artwork, (or even worse, cartoon elements) littered around your site are not going to do that. You're just diminishing your credibility to prospective clients.
7. You are building the website for others.....not yourself. Just because you'd like the site to have every colour of the rainbow in it doesn't mean that everybody else would!
8. If you're looking for a web designer, make sure you get one that understands how business actually works in the real world. Because you will need their input to advise you on best practices so you don't fall into the situation I've described.
Now don't take all these points as meaning the appearance of your site doesn't matter....because it does! A lot! Your site needs to have a professional appearance, it needs to be user-friendly, and the content must relate to the user while delivering value to them.
When somebody gets to your site you definitely need the "WOW" factor to hit them. But let's back it up with some quality content that actually imparts information, along with a great user experience. That scenario is infinitely preferable to introducing the useless, distracting trivia and irrelevance associated with "Flowery Syndrome".
Google and Twitter appear to be getting closer as the announcement has been made that Tweets will now be appearing in Google search results. Initially this will only take effect on mobile search results in English, but desktop searches will be following right behind.
What this means to you is that even though you may not have the search engine positioning that you'd like, you can now fast track your products or services into the results via Twitter.
The same method applies to this as with all Social Media marketing.....a little and often, because the shelf-life of these posts tends to be about 6 to 8 hours. After that it's old news. Choose your times carefully though, early morning and early evening is primetime for target audiences.
Now I know some of you tend to be less than enthusiastic about Twitter, and I readily admit that I spend no time on there other than to post a few tweets a couple of times a day. But the fact remains that it does reach a huge target audience.
And with these latest changes where they will show up on the Google search results, I'd advise you all to take advantage of this opportunity.
As with all Social Media, remember that you don't have to like it to use it. You just have to keep in mind that it's part of the game that we all have to play these days. And now this part of the game just became a whole lot more important.
So are you taking FaceBook seriously? If not, maybe it's time to reappraise the situation? Simply because FaceBook is now referring more traffic to websites than Google.
A new industry study shows that in July 2015 FaceBook pulled ahead by three percentage points in referral traffic to 38.2% compared with Google's 35.2%. Contrast that with 2012, when Google had 50% and FaceBook 10%......and you'll see that the balance of power has completely changed.
This is something that I've noticed for some time with this site, as we generally get a lot more hits from FaceBook than from Google's organic search. And that's despite the fact that we sit on the top of the search engine rankings. At first I thought this could be just an isolated occurrence, but it's now been confirmed by recent industry studies from www.parsely.com.
Want to improve your Social Media performance? Well in my experience, the best method to employ with all social media marketing is a little and often. Bear in mind that the average post on these networks has a "shelf life" of about 6 hours, so you need to be feeding information through on a regular basis. Just a few minutes a couple of times a day is all you need.
Be aware that you need to get a wide network of friends, followers etc in order to maximise your outreach. Because there's no mileage whatsoever in just talking to yourself. Try to engage with people by posting content that they'll want to share and interact with......but pick your times carefully. Early on in the morning and then again early evening is when you will reach the maximum audience. It goes without saying that a link to your site must be included, and the biggest attention grabber is a great image! The lead image is critical!
It's a numbers game! So the bigger the numbers the more you increase your odds of success. As an example, I have over 10K friends, likes, followers etc across all the networks. So in principle, this content could be seen by many thousands of those today. Nothing like this has ever been possible before, so use it to your best advantage. And best of all it costs you nothing.....other than a few minutes of your time!
The fact of the matter is that Google is now not the only show in town. So don't ignore the power of Social Media referrals or you could end up "outside looking in". It was possible to get away with that back in 2012, but those days are gone. And they're not coming back!
The plain text web refers to all sites that are not protected by HTTPS/SSL encryption, and more major steps are being taken to get webmasters to deploy this technology. I would recommend you to read this carefully, because if you don't have encryption on your site then you're going to be affected.
First.....let's establish what is HTTPS/SSL?
It's a 2048bit data encryption method and it's used on this site.....you can see the padlock in the browser address bar.
SSL encrypts the connections to the site giving a higher level of personal security and confidence to users. For the last few years Google has been going down the path of encrypting all their sites, along with the likes of FaceBook, Twitter, Wikipedia etc. It's now becoming a universal.
In the past we've covered the importance that Google accord to HTTPS/SSL encryption on websites. A year ago they announced that they were assigning more emphasis on this factor in regards to search engine positionong. See SSL for SEO
Recently Google stated that this ranking factor was growing in importance, and would continue to do so. Additionally, they recommended webmasters to put this system into operation as soon as possible in order to provide a better web experience for users. The ramifications were that they would assign higher value to the site based on the professionalism demonstrated. And in June there was a major swing in the results towards SSL, see Google and SSL Security.
Now there's other major players besides Google planning to move against the standard insecure HTTP transmissions used in the plain text web. The Chrome browser is making moves toward warning users visiting insecure web sites. And Mozilla (Firefox) have also laid plans to follow suit by deprecating HTTP transmissions.
What does this mean to you?
No doubt you've visited sites where your browser has warned you that it was insecure and it was a danger to proceed?
This normally happens when an SSL certificate has expired......but we could be heading towards this warning for all sites without HTTPS/SSL. If you were considering the move to HTTPS/SSL, then now would be a good time to put this into place, before these site warnings get deployed.
So are we moving towards the end of the plain text web? I wouldn't bet against it!
A Visit From The Phantom? Yes it's true.....we've all had a visit! And we didn't even know it!
What I'm referring to is a Google algorithm change called Phantom 2 that's been going on invisibly (hence the name) for the past two months. And because it was done without any warning, unlike Mobilegeddon, there have been complaints from businesses that have suffered because of it.
The reality is that they only have themselves to blame, because the evaluation criteria in Phantom 2 was nothing new. It was just a reinforcement of what had been previously advised about acceptable website standards. Except in this case, Google tightened up on it much more than before.
The alarms went off in the aftermath of Mobilegeddon when sites that were actually mobile compatible started inexplicably dropping from searches. Google initially denied that something was going on, but later admitted it was a "Quality Update" rather than a major algorithm change like Panda or Penguin.
Who was affected? Sites with poor quality content (yes I know we've been here before), sites who had plagarised other sites' content, sites with excessive banner advertising, sites with popups, and sites that had videos or music on autoplay. Basically anything that was cheap, tacky, and annoying!
For those who complain about Google's continual changes, there's one thing you have to take onboard! Their goal is to deliver the best quality search results to it's users. So in this context as a site owner, what you want just doesn't enter into it. It's all about the user experience. Google are more than willing to reward site owners with favourable positioning (think of positioning as a recommendation by them) but you need to prove yourself by delivering value to users and establishing a trustworthy status.
Google's First Commandment is “Focus on the user and all else will follow”. In fact, I would suggest that you read their "Ten things we know to be true" mission statement if you haven't done so. Because you'll find that their initiatives of recent years are just the more sophisticated implementation of those original goals!
The thing is, you can't have it all ways. No doubt virtually all of you go straight to Google for internet searches, and you receive a list of site options that best meet your criteria. How many times have they delivered a page full of worthless results to you? Probably never! So you're happy with the results they give you!
Yet when you look for your own site with keyword searches you're annoyed because your site doesn't show up. Now you're not happy with the results they give you!
Now why do you think that your site doesn't show up where you think it should? Maybe it's because Google doesn't think think your site is delivering the value that others do? Just because you like your content and user experience, and you think it delivers value, doesn't mean that Google (or anybody else) actually agrees.
Just remember the mantra..."Focus on the user and all else will follow".....and make user experience your top priority. Google will like you all the more for it you know!
I think you may find this very interesting......and hopefully it will change your way of thinking about the processes involved with attaining good search engine positioning. Because once and for all I'm going to explode the myth of the SEO Magic Bullet!
To get the full picture, let's take a trip down Memory Lane back to 1996 at the very dawn of the Internet, when Bill Gates made his famous "Content is King" speech! It's long since been deleted from his page, but I managed to trace the full article on the WayBack Machine.
Some of the many interesting (and prophetic) points that he made were these:
"Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet" and "If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will".
So what Bill Gates was saying is that Content would be the primary driving force behind the growth of the internet. Now here we are 20 years later.....and what's changed? In my opinion.....only peoples' perceptions of what is actually important to their websites. Because many still believe in this mythical Magic Bullet of SEO practices being the be all and end all of how successful their site will be.
It's understandable they think that way.....just look at the never ending wave of BS and white noise they get bombarded with via e-mails trying to peddle various SEO services that supposedly "guarantees" them Google number 1. Plus, let's not forget the mass of self appointed SEO "experts" giving advice on their Google Adwords funded blogs, and of course the guy down the pub who has got "connections" at Google.
I do accept that certain onsite initiatives can influence Google's assessment of your site, but these cannot counteract poor quality or non-existent content on your website. I've told people this for years, but invariably they don't want to accept it.
So I'm going to put this SEO Magic Bullet myth to bed once and for all! To do this, I ran 3 SEO audits using one of the highest rated and most precise professional analysis tools that are available.
Here's Site A....which was WebSpain! And what do you know?.....we got a fairly respectable 88%.
But how does that relate to our position on Google? We're always around the top.....we have been for years in fact. Same on Bing and Yahoo too. So initially it appears as if the onsite initiatives that we did have got us to that position. But one test proves nothing......so let's look at one of our clients' sites.
This is Site B, who is one of our clients......and it's also 88%. Which demonstrates that there's nothing been done on our site that hasn't been done to our clients' sites. In fact everything is the same including the software! Presumably this one should be number 1 or thereabouts as well? Well it isn't....it's at the bottom of page 3. What? Look at the SEO score....it doesn't make sense! When I had this result I then went to the top ranked site in their industry (who's not a client of ours) and ran the test.
This is Site C, who is not one of our clients.....and they scored 75%, which is a fairly decent result. But it's obviously a long way behind the 88% of our client's site. So we have a strange situation here! A site with 88% SEO on the bottom of page 3, while another site with 75% SEO that is ruling Google! How can this happen?
It happened because the technical audit for onsite SEO initiatives is not sophisticated enough to assess the quality and relevance of the content in the way that the Google searchbot does it. After examining Site C, I came to these conclusions:
1. Site B (done by us) looked visually better and had more technical optimisations than Site C. So everything we were physically able to do, we had done.
2. Site C (not done by us) looked the poor relation, but their content was very good indeed for that genre. It was educating and informing readers, telling them what to look out for, giving them tips and ideas, and answering any potential queries.
So what can we learn from this? Site A (WebSpain) had the technical initiatives and the content, while Site B (our clients) had the technical initiatives, but was let down by a lack of quality content. And Site C (not our clients) overcame the lack of technical initiatives by having good content that delivered value and information to the users.
It validates everything we've ever said.....no amount of SEO enhancements will ever compensate for lacklustre content.
And what did Bill Gates say 20 years ago? "Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet".
He wasn't wrong! And not just any content.....he was referring to quality content. Don't fall into the trap of thinking any content is good.....it's not! It is quality not quantity that gets results!
The best way I can sum all this up is to say that it appears that Content is still King......but be aware that Content Marketing is now Queen.
As you know, the way that people use the Internet is changing. We're experiencing a move away from the traditional desktop method into a more mobile centric environment.
So if your focus is only based around attaining high Google rankings, then you need to stop and evaluate everything you do right now......because Facebook are launching their own in-house app to corner the search market.
Google’s “Mobilegeddon” algorithm change that occurred on April 21st has now created a scenario where mobile searches are critical. And Facebook has been more than happy to take advantage of the new opportunities this presents by developing an in-app keyword search engine specifically for use with mobile devices. At present, search returns via this option are sorted by relevancy, though recently published articles that have attracted a high degree of social engagement are also in the listings.
Why is this happening? Mobile ad revenue is big business, particularly on Facebook. Their ad revenue is increasing and businesses are now willing to pay more for FaceBook ads than Google ads......so obviously they must feel that this avenue represents a better return on investment than traditional methods.
This is indicative of the power of social media advertising, and now with the search ap being launched we could be heading towards a situation where potential clients ignore Google completely and do their searches on FaceBook. So if you don't have a clearly defined and well established presence on there, you could find yourself outside looking in.
Still not convinced? Then I'd suggest that you factor in the statistic that Facebook attracts 1.44 billion active users every month! That is a massive outreach. And if they are going to offer the opportunity for users to do a full search on their platform, effectively eliminating the need to go to another search engine, then it's going to be a game changer.
Google has clearly defined the criteria that mobile based internet communications are critical, and now Facebook appear to be seizing this opportunity to grab a big share of the market.
They've already established themselves as an outstanding platform for businesses, advertisers and users.....so they have the numbers behind them to seriously challenge Google's dominance of the search market. And over a longterm basis, through the introduction of different initiatives, they have the potential to render the conventional search engine, as we know it now, virtually obsolete.
Therefore, I would strongly advise that you maintain a serious and active Social Media presence across all platforms (particularly Facebook), with ongoing daily promotional activity. What you posted yesterday is no longer relevant, and I always suggest the "little and often" method because 75% of engagement occurs within the first five hours. Additionally, make sure you expand your user base with more friends, likes, followers, circles etc.....or you'll end up just talking to yourself.
In the past all SEO activity has been based around the results of traditional desktop searches on Google......but now we have to prepare for the changing face of search. Don't get left out in the cold!
Google has recently announced that they are starting to use HTTPS/SSL as a ranking signal within their search engine algorithm.
The official wording was: “Over the past few months we’ve been running tests taking into account whether sites use secure, encrypted connections as a signal in our search-ranking algorithms. We’ve seen positive results, so we’re starting to use HTTPS as a ranking signal.”
So what is HTTPS/SSL?
It's a 2048bit data encryption method that previously was only ever in general use on ecommerce sites to make online payments safer, and on sites that required personal information like NIE, National Insurance, or Passport numbers to be input. Simply because SSL encrypts the connections to the site giving a higher level of security. Google has been going down the path of encrypting their own sites for some time, and now they want other sites to follow suit in order to make the Web a safer place to use.
Obviously anything that strengthens web security, online safety, and the secure transmission of personal data is a benefit to everybody. In addition, it definitely enhances a potential client's perception of you being a legitimate and professional business.....that's the reason we use SSL encryption on this site.
Having better site security and demonstrating professionalism is advantageous on many levels. But now that Google has announced this new initiative of favouring sites that demonstrate security measures are in place, people have been given an incentive to put these processes into place.
But one important point here is that just because you have an SSL certificate in place does not mean your rankings on Google will suddenly increase to top positioning. The reality is that if your site is technically poor with low quality plagiarised content then you'll be going nowhere! Because achieving high rankings on search engines is a combination of many different factors, and this announcement just means that HTTPS/SSL has now been added to the list of website criteria that will be evaluated.