The Four Fixes To Avoid The Google Mobile-Apocalypse

The Scarlet Mobile Letter

Fix mobile usability issues found

If your client has recieved this email then you are among the thousands of SEOs who have been shaken into action by Google’s pending mobile update. Could I include graphs and infographics that show the increase in mobile use by online customers, of course but that’s not really important right now. What’s important is how do I fix this and prevent my client (or my own site) from losing rankings because it’s not mobile friendly?

An Update Like No Other: They Actually Tell You Specifically What To Do

Pass/Fail. Yes/No. In order to push the business world into paying for mobile friendliness Google is sounding all of the alarms, and making SEOs jump to take care of those mobile accessibility issues that have malingered in the background of Google’s page speed insights for the past year. However, this is not a subjective update where the criteria are vague or abstract and implemented on degrees.

“Will degrees of mobile friendliness impact rankings? E.g. two sites, same SEO, both mobile friendly but one site has a better mobile experience. Would the site with better UX on mobile rank higher in mobile search?”

“As we mentioned in this particular change, you either have a mobile friendly page or not. It is based on the criteria we mentioned earlier, which are small font sizes, your tap targets/links to your buttons are too close together, readable content and your viewport. So if you have all of those and your site is mobile friendly then you benefit from the ranking change.” – Mary from Googl at the 47:10 mark and here’s the full Q&A session:

In case you missed that, they cited 4 concrete, specific pass/fail criteria for you to check.

The four horsemen of the Mobile Apocalypse

How to Set Your Mobile Viewport

This meta element basically communicates with your browser to set the initial size of the screen so you don’t end up with 1/2 the page content unviewable which is a terrible mobile experience.

<meta name=”viewportcontent=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1“>

Articles on how to configure your Viewport

Size Tap Targets Correctly

Set your tap targets for Homer

It’s kinda like that but with smart phones.

If you have been using your smart phone’s browser for more than a day, you’ve run into a situation where you’re trying to click a link that right next to another and you’ve got less than a 50/50 chance of getting it right the first time. This is an unfortunately common occurance, so I for one am happy this made the list of issue for Google to target.

Articles on how to size your tap targets appropriately

Appropriate Font Sizes For Mobile

Sneakers-Movie-Cinemagraphs

Your site’s not going to be very useful if the font is so small that it’s illegible or the users have to pinch to zoom to be able to read the text.

Articles on selecting font sizes that work on mobile

Mobile Readable Content

Don't Kick the bots

If you try to kick the bots, you’re gonna have a bad time.

It’s tempting to block all the bots you know are scraping your site, but you may accidentally be blocking some vital elements with that robots.txt file. If Google can’t render your site correctly because Googlebot is being blocked from accessing resources you refer to in your site design then you just might fail the mobile friendly test. This often happens in wordpress when you’ve disallowed  /wp-content or  /wp-includes in your robots.txt file.

Articles on finding blocked resources:

Have your sites already been affected by the update? Any other major mobile friendly action items that you have on your list? Please share in the comments!

In House SEO Recap: #Pubcon Austin

Brian-Erin_Keith

The following is a recap of material presented at Pubcon Austin regarding issues unique to in-house SEOs.

Keith Goode, Chief SEO Evangelist seoClarity

Selling Your SEO Value Proposition to Decision Makers

Challenges – Time and Resources

33% of an SEO’s work time is spent pulling data and 44% of that time is spent analyzing and reporting. Not much time left for execution of SEO strategies.

SEO is not an off-the-rack solution. In order to win the budgets and resources needed to be effective, you need to make sure that your requests align with business goals. The things that are important to you in your SEO world are only a small slice of the over-all needs of the business for the C-suite. It’s not that they don’t understand or don’t value what you do. They have to balance your needs against the rest of the needs of the company. Keeping that in mind will help you frame your requests for budget and resources in a way that will help your team and the decision makers.

Brian McDowell, Director of Search Intelligence Conductor, Inc.

How to hire an SEO

SEO is technology, marketing, and sales.

What should you look for during an SEO interview?

  • Strong math skills
  • Outgoing personality
  • Predictive thought process
  • Analytical thought process
  • Site audits for SEOs
  • SEO agressiveness
  • PPC or Development experience
  • SQL, mySQL or Excel proficiency a must
  • Advanced implementations of analytics
  • Favorite tools and when they use them

Resources for Training an SEO

  • Beginners Guide to SEO from Moz
  • Google intro to SEO
  • How search works
  • Google webmaster guidelines
  • Dirty little secrets of search by David Segal
  • Periodic table of SEO success factors
  • Mobile SEO from Google Developers

Erin Everhart, SEO Manager The Home Depot

Proving the Value of SEO

Decision makers understand that SEO is important, but they don’t understand how that happens. And Google doesn’t make it easy. Every time the algorithm changes SEO must explain themselves again.

SEO and content marketing takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. You must communicate that to executives. There’s an incubation period for SEO. What we fail to communicate is the compounding benefit of SEO. $1 spent on SEO now continues to pay dividends over time, unlike PPC.

Show a competitor beating you. It’s amazing how quickly an executive will move to give you what you need when you can demonstrate that the business is falling behind the competitors.

Tell the right story with your data. Don’t focus on just SEO. Show how what you do impacts the overall business. Demonstrate how visits relate to revenue. Include how search is part of customer research. This is particularly important for businesses that have both brick-and-motar and online shopping. Search is just as likely to lead a customer in store as it would be to lead to a sale online.

What Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Update Means For Businesses

Strap on your seat belts and get ready to be blown away. Facebook made yet another algorithm update to their News Feeds in attempt to better the user experience and add even more obstacles for businesses. The idea behind the update is to provide a better balance (and division) of content from friends to pages, giving users more updates from their family and friends and less updates from the pizza parlor down the street.
mike-myers-gets-some-pizza-hut-in-waynes-world
Image Source: PerizHilton.com

What Exactly Did Facebook’s Update Change?

Facebook has always tried to come up with new ways to provide a quality News Feed, filled with updates from people we care about, or at the very least want to creep on. As business pages began evolving into our News Feeds, Facebook faced the battled between balancing business updates with baby pictures. Trying to find a happy middle and give users the experience they actually want, Facebook updated three sections of it’s News Feed algorithm to show more real content from real people.

Update 1:

For those who don’t have a lot of followers or follow those who don’t post often, Facebook’s first update is directed towards you. Instead of restraining from showing multiple posts from the same user, Facebook is “relaxing that old rule” so you have more content to see in your News Feeds, regardless of if it’s just 62 photos from your Aunt’s wedding.

Update 2:

I think I can speak for all of us when I say most of the important announcements about family and friends are shared on Facebook before through a call. The second algorithm update is to ensure you see each of those announcements and stay better in the loop of the exciting news. Posts from users you engage with the most on Facebook will appear higher at the top of your News Feeds. Updates from public figures and pages you follow will still have relativity on your News Feeds, but most likely won’t beat your sister’s engagement announcement on Facebook.
gen-why-engage-elite-dailyImage Source: Elite Daily

Update 3:

As a marketer, Update 3 hurt the most. Have you ever discovered a new page or business because a friend you follow on Facebook commented on the post? Facebook’s third and final algorithm update will lower the order of these stories on your News Feed, decreasing the chances of new businesses being found organically on Facebook. Apparently, users told Facebook they don’t care to see what pages their friends are liking or commenting on. Facebook listened and is lowering the possibility of you seeing this type of content in your News Feeds, pushing more baby photos to the top.
baby

What Does This Mean For Business Pages?

In Facebook’s blog post announcing these updates, Facebook gently stated that, “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline”. So what exactly are the cases that could make our post reach and referral traffic decline even more than it already has? According to FB, it all depends on your actual posting activity and who your audience is:

  • How often you post updates
  • What kind of updates do you share (videos, text, images, etc.)
  • What time of day you’re posting, compared to what time of day your audience is online
  • What type of content your audience interacts with regularly
  • If your audience follows more pages than actual friends
Of course, advertising with Facebook is always a huge help and increases your chances tremendously of showing up in News Feeds.

What Do We Do Now?

Although update 1 and 2 don’t affect business pages directly, the overall updates decrease the chance of posts from our company pages showing up in News Feeds. Lucky for us, Facebook was kind enough to end the blog post with tips for driving referral traffic and posting. Here are a few of their suggestions and recommended best practices for posting:
  • Post Frequently
    Post frequently, without posting too frequently. Posting every hour, on the hour, is downright annoying. Limit your posts on Facebook to 1-2 a day at times your audience is online most, while quickly responding to any engagement.
  • Share Links, Photos, and a Variety of Content
    Text updates are boring and less likely to be shared on your audience’s News Feeds. Post inciting content that your audience actually wants to see and represents your brand positively.
  • Upload Videos to Facebook with a Call to Action
    This is probably the best tip they could have given. Videos have taken over social media and are currently the most engaged media. Refer to my Beginners Guide to Video Marketing for tips on shooting and posting your marketing videos.
  • ​Create Content with Social Context in Mind
    Stop writing bad posts. People didn’t share your pixelated images before, and they definitely won’t now. ​​Take time to curate quality content that you would want to share on your own page.
  •  ​​Target Your Posts
    1. At the top of your Page click Settings, then click Post Targeting and Privacy and check the box
    2. Create a new post on your Page
    3. When done, select the target icon in the bottom left corner and click Add Targeting
    4. Target based on gender, interests, age, location and more. As you refine your targeting, you’ll see how many people your post could potentially reach.
  • ​Use Trending to Find Popular Topics on Facebook and Post about Them
    The trending feature Facebook offers is similar to Twitter’s trending and highlights the top stories people are talking about. If you can relate your business to a topic, do so and include hashtags and @ mention relevant pages.

What do you think of Facebook’s new algorithm update? Comment below and tell us what steps you’ll take to protect your business page against the new update.

Local Search and Mobile Search Optimization #Pubcon Austin 2015

Brian-Combs-Loren-Baker

This session at Pubcon Austin featured Loren Baker and Brian Combs addressing the overlap of local and mobile SEO

Loren Baker, VP of Business Development Foundation Digital

Localization of SERPs

If you’re using a rank tracking tool that only gives you Google USA data, then you’re not getting the full picture. Rank is based on personalization and geographic location. With the knowledge graph, any organic result beyond 1 or 2 shows below the fold. News, reviews, maps, images all draw users attention away from the top ranking organic result.

That’s why our ranking tools at AuthorityLabs enable you to account for rank variations by location, keyword usage, and desktop or mobile ranking. Our reports can also help clients understand their placement in knowledge graph and local pack positions.

Are you ranking along with blogs, guides, and things other than your direct competitors for key terms? Those results will change based on location.

Tactics for Competing

  • Geographical Hierarchy – prioritize
  • Nested URL structure. Include rich data with local schema markup
  • Local landing pages need to be authentic as well as relevant to the local customer base. Neighborhood guides help users discover you.
  • Local social profile must link to local pages. Specifically, if people are searching for you on their phone.

Produce content local influencers will like, link and share.

Brian Combs, CEO ionadas local LLC

Mobile

Mobile matters because a larger and larger percentage of search users access via mobile. Second screen interaction happens on mobile. 40% of sites are still not mobile-friendly (portent.com study)

Google will determine on a page by page basis. It should affect mobile results only. It’s not tablet specific. Based on page cashe. Will affect organic rankings. May affect local.

Test your site for mobile-friendly results.

Responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs are all mobile friendly.

Responsive Design

  • Easier to share and link
  • No redirection required
  • Less content engineering
  • Easier for googlebot
  • Implementation is generally easier

Dyanimc Serving

  • Easier to share and link
  • No redirection required
  • cContent can be specific to device

Separate URLs for Mobile

  • Two versions of the site
    • www.yourbrand.com
    • m.yourbrand.com

Recommendations

  • javaScript, CSS and images must be crawlable
  • check robots.txt
  • Optimize titles and meta descriptions
  • Use schema.org for rich content
  • Google mobile-friendly test
  • Test with different devices

Design Recommendations

  • Avoid flash
  • Avoid pop-ups
  • Format for mobile – font size and content formatting
  • Watch out for faulty redirects
  • Design for fingers

Not Ready?

  • Don’t panic
  • Use appropriate speed – don’t rush a crappy mobile site out
  • Benefits will happen quickly

Check out the one easy-to-use tool to set benchmarks and track how these suggested updates affect rankings over time.

Learn MoreTake the AuthorityLabs Tour

Best SEO Strategies from 2015 #Pubcon Austin

SEo-Pubcon-SessionChange is the only constant for anyone in the Internet marketing industry. SEOs know this better than anyone and many clients live in fear of the next Google algorithm update. So, what do some of the top SEOs in the industry say needs to be the focus of your search efforts for the remainder of the year?

Following is a summary of the take-aways from the presentations by Tony Wright, Rob Woods, and William Leake during Pubcon Austin.

Tony Wright, CEO/Founder WrightIMC

Mobile is the new black. To survive mobilegeddon we need to go back to the basics. SEO is not about links. Code, content, connections, and communication are all critital to successful search engine optimamization.

Link building is about relationships. Easy links don’t exist anymore. Link building is more like a PR campaign. You have to talk to people to gain a link from a quality site. You have to pour into influencers.

Move SEO out of the IT department. Search is marketing. SEO as IT is like putting the chess club in charge of the prom. They understand how the equipment works, but aren’t motiviated by the communications going on via that equipment.

Rob Woods, Independent Consultant, Rob Woods Consulting

Before you go crazy about mobilegeddon, estimate the impact of losing mobile search traffic and assess the cost of converting your site to a more mobile-friendly site against what you’re currently earning on mobile search conversion. Page speed matters. Check your own site speeds in comparison to your competitors. Page load speeds are critical on mobile data. PageSpeed Insights from Google will give recommendations.

Keywords matter but not in the way they used to. It’s not the words on the page but the meaning behind them. Does the content on page answer the questions behind those search terms? Pay attention to how keywords appear together in both queries and on page. Google can understand the relationship between the words in a search term and the words that actually answer the question. In case you’ve missed it, Google has become sophisticated enough to understand a user’s intent behind a search query. It’s important to adapt to how your customers and the public talk about what you do.

Link building is about relationships and outreach. You can still get hit by Penguin. Make sure that you are cleaning up backlinks. Do it on a monthly basis. Monitor new links for negative SEO.

William Leake, CEO Apogee Results

There is not one golden strategy that fits every business. Your strategy will depend on the goals for the business and the relationships with your customers. SEO is cooking, a blend of many things. Define victory first. Many agencies do not challenge their clients enough. SEO can’t be treated like a commodity. Rankings aren’t the end result, rankings make success possible.

Make sure that metrics and measurement are aligned with business goals. Considered purchases are where we are not properly measurement and attribution. Move away from last click attribution. Email tends to steal the thunder from search. Search is what refreshes the email list.

Consider how you can cross-pollinate your messaging through your entire marketing structure. Lean into the other marketing channels to enhance search. Search is the big dog in consumer and small business circles, but it becomes a smaller player in business with large B2B relationships.

Relationships and social signals matter. If ranking is all about what you say about yourself on properties you control, Google is nothing better than Altavista. Content has to be culturally authentic for the geographic areas you hope to rank for. Google is going to continue to move the content bar.

​Infographics 101 – How To Create A Viral Infographic ​

Wouldn’t it be nice if everything you put time and effort into went viral? We can send praise to the Google gods as much as we want, but in order to make anything go viral nowadays you have to put in good ole fashion work.

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Image Source: Tumblr

Sharing your infographic online is no different. There are hundreds of thousand of infographics out there. In fact, if you search the term “infographics” in Google over 43 million search results populate. Everything from the latest blog post about infographics (like this one) to different tools and programs you can use to create an infographic appear in search results.

So, how do you get your infographic to not only show up, but be shared across networks? Follow the below five steps, do even more research than necessary, and begin your road to virality.

Viral-InfographicsImage Source: Shout ME Loud

 

1. Developing Your Infographic Content

The first step in making an infographic go viral is by providing readers with valuable content and data. What information do you want to portray to the world? Do you have data that no one else has or that your demographic would be interested in? Create an infographic!

Providing Emotional Content

Data and statistics are the core of infographics, but emotion is what drives sharing. Readers need to feel attached to the content in one way or another, whether that be through curiosity, amusement, greed, sadness, anger, or passion. A great way to incorporate such emotions in your infographic is in the headline. Touch on people’s needs and wants right away with a captivating headline, while carrying emotion throughout with supporting statistics.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 7.57.39 PM

Image Source: Piktochart

Including a Call to Action

No company creates infographics for fun. There is always a purpose and business goal behind each infographic: increase sales, website traffic, link building, lead capture, or useable internal content. What helps accomplish the goal, while gaining a viral presence with an infographic is by inserting a call to action in the beginning or wrapping up the infographic with a CTA at the end. Give the viewer a reason to keep reading or desire for more information.

2. Designing the Perfect Infographic

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.16.40 PM

Image Source: Visual.ly

When it comes to infographic design, the most ideal way to accomplish this task is by hiring a company that specializes in infographics. This streamlines the process and allows your design team to focus on their client’s design projects. A few of the better companies that specialize in infographic design are:

If the budget isn’t there for hiring an infographic team or if you have top-notch designers in-house, there are several different programs and resources available to assist with your infographic design.

3. Sharing on Social

Upon content and design completion, a social media sharing plan needs to be developed. Throwing an infographic into the cyber-wild and hoping enough people will like it enough to share isn’t realistic. Yes, there are infographics released by companies with large enough followings to go viral. But, for a guarantee of viral sharing you’ll need a social media plan, an embeddable infographic on your blog (makes it easy to share), and a solid scheduling tool.

Twitter

Sharing your infographic is easy using Twitter. It can be organized in specific Twitter lists, @ mentioned to influential people, and direct messaged to users who have shared infographics before. Use a tool such as Followerwonk to identify such users and hashtags.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.41.10 PM

Because tweets are constant and very rarely overused, it makes Twitter the best place to share an infographic consistently.

  • In the beginning of your infographic launch, schedule your #infographic to tweet 3-5 times a day (morning, afternoon, mid-afternoon, evening, late-evening).
  • Use completely different sentence structure and previews so users are still given unique content while discovering new pieces of the infographic.
  • Post images of different sections of the infographic, use call-out points with links, and tweet those extra statistics that didn’t make it to the final design round.

In-between posting snippets of the infographic, share your regularly scheduled tweets and blog posts. This will help break-up your feed and give Tweeters even more variety. After a few days of constant posting, cut back to once a day for about a week. A month later you can increase and decrease tweets depending upon the past month of interaction and feedback. If you’re over-inidating users with your infographic on Twitter, they’ll let you know. Listen and respond accordingly for your future Twitter posting calendars.

Pinterest, Tumblr, and Flickr

These primarily image-based social networks are the perfect place to share a new infographic. Optimizing the caption will be the most important step during upload. Hashtags and keyword phrases that relate to the content on the infographic, as well as hashtags that are trending within the topics, will help make it go viral.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 8.53.11 PM

The preview size on these networks is also smaller than the actual size of most infographics, sometimes cutting as much as 1/4 depending upon length. Use this to your advantage by highlighting sections of the infographic as a preview, similar to Twitter. This gives opportunity for a call to action in the caption or a pop-up graphic on the shortened infographic with a link to the rest.

“Discover the other 8 reasons why #craftbeer has become so popular in #America
with the rest of our #infographic: bitly.com/infographic!”

Facebook

You must share your infographic on Facebook. It’s the top social network, regardless of poor organic reach, and has great potential for viral sharing. To ensure a large audience reach and views on Facebook create different Facebook ads, such as Promoted Posts and custom audiences.

Develop a budget for Facebook ads and keep the infographic ads active for at least the first month of launch. This will increase the likelihood of it being viewed and shared. For example, refer to advertising on billboards in big cities. The more you see a brand’s ad spread across multiple platforms, the more you’re reminded of it.

Honorable Mentions

  • LinkedIn. This business and networking-focused social network is a great place to share infographics of educational value. Post the infographic to groups it relates to, share on your own feed and @ mention people who would appreciate and share it.
  • Instagram. The size of Instagram images are much too small to include all of the infographic. That’s why Instagram is another great network to give sneak-previews with links to the rest. Take screenshots of the most attractive and data-driven parts of the infographic and post on Instagram with related hashtags. #infographic #awesome

4. Submitting to Directories

Directories specific to infographics are great sources to quickly get your infographic out there, while gaining SEO benefits, such as backlinks. There are tons of directories out there happy to share your infographic. Here are a few:

5. Re-Activating Your Guest Posting Super Powers

Just as you scouted for potential bloggers and companies to share blog posts (and links) with, create a new list of potential websites to share your infographic with. Using the same research tools you would for blogging (Ontolo, Group High,) develop an organized Excel doc of potentials and their contact information.

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Reach out to them personally and give them a reason to share, mainly why their audience would enjoy it. This will increase your chances of them sharing it, as well as create new online relationships with similar brands.

love2Image Source: The Quizzical Llama 

Extra tips to make your infographic go viral:

  • Press Releases. Create social media and SEO-specific press releases with several different statistics included. It’s okay to include some information about your company, but remember to keep the focus on the infographic and why it relates to them.
  • Self-promote. Send your infographic to people you know and your email list, while posting on all of your social networks. Don’t be afraid to “spam” your family and friends with your new and exciting project. Develop an angle that will make any audience want to press “share”.