seo

Today I read a quite good article about Sitemaps on http://blog.referralcandy.com/.

According to the Google help files for sitemaps, you could list up to 50,000 files in an individual sitemap, which would cover almost every website, except very large portals.

However it is a much more effective and easier to maintain configuration to use multiple sitemaps – but use the sitemap index map first ( WordPress SEO plugin will help you with it)

  • Products Only – this XML file will list only individual products and will be modified as new products are added/removed.
  • Categories Only – this XML file will have only the category or department pages.
  • Images – this XML file will have the images  only
  • Video – this XML file will have the videos  only
  • Mobile – mobile website sitemap XML
  • News –  news XML

If you have multiple stores on one platform like Magento, you should add following e-commerce sitemap per store:

Yoast SEO is a great free plugin for WordPress that will create in easy steps all needed sitemaps for you.

  • Get more visitors from Google and Bing
  • Attract more visitors from social media
  • Increase your readers’ engagement

XML Sitemap Generator is a tool for all types of sitemaps, especially for huge online shops. You need to buy and install it on your hosting server.

E-commerce sitemap can be very easily generated:

  1. It has no limits on the number of pages included in sitemap
  2. It generates any kind of sitemap you require:
    XML sitemap
    HTML sitemap
    Text formatted sitemap
    Mobile sitemap
    Images sitemap
    Video sitemap
    News sitemap
    RSS Feeds
  3. Images information can be optionally included in an e-commerce sitemap
  4. It will work on all sites including dynamic websites such as portals, blogs, forums, and online stores.
  5. Fast and easy installation onto the same host that should be crawled
  6. Support of LARGE websites, dividing the sitemap into the parts per 50,000 URLs each and creates a Sitemap Index file according to the Google sitemap protocol.
  7. Informs (ping) Google and other search engines automatically when sitemap generation is complete
  8. Any broken links that are detected by the application are reported on a special page, providing you with the URLs pages that refer to these bad links enabling you to fix them and keep the search engine robots on your site.
  9. Can be setup automatically with a cron job to create sitemaps without any user interaction
  10. Free Updates for life.

 

A couple of days ago Google switched on a new search algorithm, new Google Hummingbird Algorithm, the system it uses to sort through all the information it has when you search and come back with answers.

It was merged together with 15th anniversary of Google.

We love Google for its great search engine, for helping us finding the most relevant information, for collecting so many information globally.

I believe that Google is a great source for education, business and inspiration. It gives equal opportunity for all people with Internet access to the knowledge and information.

Yes, we are in an information age.

Recently I read a couple of post about SEO changes due to Google recent algorithm. It looks like Google finally judges the content value, brand and technical preparedness – not links, backlinks and all SEO hidden activities.

This will change the whole situation.

“Hummingbird” Algorithm

I see it very well on my own websites. It looks that natural search rules, like great content, great meta tags, alt tags and speed of website, are the most important now.

Google said that Hummingbird is paying more attention to each word in a query, ensuring that the whole query — the whole sentence or meaning are taken into account, rather than particular words. The goal is that pages matching the meaning do better, rather than pages matching just a few words.

google hummingbird

I see it – my websites statistics show better data now and are more visible in natural search.

Paid Search – Google Adwords

On the other hand I noticed that Google Adwords take now 6 lines on each page and sidebar.

It looks like it is the very important change and income source for Google.

Let’s see if this recent change has impact on average conversion rate.

We managed a couple of campaigns recently for our clients and we noticed many major changes: more functions and more customization possibilities.

Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are two critical components of inbound marketing. Recently I read a few interesting articles about it. These is a summary of my findings.

The larger the organization, the more challenging it is to get approval and buy-in to build a sustainable content marketing program that will significantly move the needle in SEO

Your content marketing strategy will provide the biggest boost to your organic search visibility if you follow these four rules:

1) Know your key personas

2) Know and write to all stages of the buy cycle

3) Talk outside-in vs. inside-out

4) All write in the same direction

Know Your Key Personas

We all know how important it is to know your customers, core audience and key personas on the web. This applies directly to the content you create – especially for B2B companies – that usually have a limited content creation budget.

The clearer the picture of your personas are, the more targeted your content creation will be resulting in higher quality visitors that are closer to your ideal prospect.

Simply answer following questions:

• What are the main types of business problems the persona typically needs to solve?

• How does your product or service provide solutions to these problems?

• What are some specific tasks the searcher wants to accomplish?

• What are some sample search queries the persona might use?

• What can the site provide that will cause the searcher to accomplish this task?

• What is your business goal for the visitor? Lead gen? Newsletter sign-up? Sale? Inspiration?

• How will the searcher be motivated to complete this business goal? i.e., what’s the offer or incentive? What is the call-to-action?

With this intimate knowledge of your audience in hand, you can craft more relevant keyword and content topics.

Know and write to all stages of the buy cycle

Here are the four main stages of the buy cycle to build content for and the appropriate types of format for each:seo-content marketing

 Author: Scott Fasser, VP of Customer Experience at Optify

 

Talk outside-in vs. inside-out 

Knowing your key words that web users use via a search engine can help you drive a new way of your brand communication as well as modifying your basic message.

SEO helps reach more customers in an inexpensive way. If you don’t like words your clients find your company via search engine, you can invest your time and money into the keywords more relevant to you. But a wiser thing is to use what you have and create different communication by using your current key words.

The lesson here it to review your current and future messaging from the point of view of a persona that does not know about your brand, focus on true differentiation/value proposition and create content that they will understand without needing an explanation. Finding that balance between pushing new concepts and terms vs. serving the market where it exists today is an important input into your content marketing planning.

Write in the Same Direction

Content creation and SEO is no longer limited to the marketing department and copywriters. Blogs, social media, press releases, video, podcasting, etc. has created many ways to easily publish content to your company and other industry related sites. Profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare, Pinterest, Google + mean that there are MORE places to fill with content. All of this communication impacts your brand and visibility – positively or negatively.

One of the most important things you can do to amplify your content strategy is to get as many people in your organization to understand how their work can impact the SEO program and what they should to contribute. By giving them the education and the game plan for what key messaging and keywords are reinforces the central promise of your business.

Simply one voice and one direction = you are the king.

 

How to create a successful website – It is a common question. Every day we are being asked for helping in making it happen.
Some people think that only search engine optimization is a key for success.
Guys, it is not true.

STEP 1: Start by creating a basic road map.

This will help you in keeping the directions and your dreams together. Keep in mind that this is an evolutionary process. You can change it and modify. The most important thing is to start doing it. The visions and dreams are really important but building a great website, portal or online shop like e-bay, Amazon or onet.pl takes years.  Please remember it. Evolution is the best solution at the beginning. Start small and grow big.

STEP 2: Determine what the main goal for your website is:

  • informative about you, your current or future business,
  • a lead generation to concrete group of clients,
  • e-commerce,
  • fun,
  • content sharing, etc.

Each goal requires different tools, skills and investment of time, money. It can be a hybrid of many goals but please remember to start with realistic goals for you and your resources. Building some tools require a time ( 6-12 months) and money.

STEP 3: Once you choose your goals we can concentrate on designing your website:

  1. do you have your logo, visual identity
  2. what is your style – colors, behavior, clothes
  3. what are your clients that you have already and you would like to have
  4. what other websites you like and enjoy
  5. tools to drive traffic into your website or online shop
  6. and many other detailed questions

STEP 4: We present designs, layout of major pages for you, some tools:

like sliders, video or photo galleries, forms, quizzes and others that are in the scope of your initial project.

STEP 5: Development

Once you approve the designs  a typical agency will start working on coding and development of your website or online shop.

STEP 6: Tools creation or configuration to help drive the right traffic to your website.

The web is a very competitive space- over 11 billion web pages, so you need to be strategic in deciding what works best  for you. Some of these tools include search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization. We help in:

  • newsletter configuration
  • linking to most popular e-mail marketing tools like mailchimp, getresponse.com or Polish  freshmail.
  • setting social media:  Facebook fanpage, Youtube channel, twitter, etc.
  • setting web statistics

STEP 7: The time to decide how and where you’re going to spend your (limited) marketing budget.

At the beginning your website, domain is unknown. You need to start with some SEO elements:

  • adding urls to most common search engines ( we can help in it)
  • adding good content with key words you would like to be searched
  • adding meta descriptions and alt descriptions to your pages, photos and videos

STEP 8: If you have budget, it would be good to  start also:

  • paid search activities to promote your website.
  • adding your website to some professional catalogs
  • adding your online shop to price comparison portals like ceneo.pl, nokaut.pl
  • adding some offers into allegro.pl or any other partner portal

These activities depend on your main goal, budget and strategy.

Some tools work very well for online shops, some work better for websites and portals.

STEP 9: At the end what is the most important? CONTENT and CHANGES

You need to spend time to build your brand, your website, products to change it frequently.  Please apply what you learn from your web metrics. These include page views, length of visits, traffic volume and trends, and you should study them to improve your site’s content, navigation and performance.
This enables you to offer a better experience to your visitors and create a successful website.

Good luck! Of course we can help:)

Google officially announced some changes in its web search – Penguin 2.0.

Yesterday Matt Cutts, the head of the Google Web Spam team, presented one video with the information about near future changes. He is also seen in the SEO community as the SEO spokesman for Google.

The changes coming in Penguin 2.0 update related to web security are:

  • Improved detection of hacked websites.
  • Improved communication with webmasters when your site is hacked via Google Webmaster Tools
  • A differentiation between sites that are hacked and sites that serve up malware.
  • Better tools to diagnose and clean the hacked website available via Google
  • Webmaster Tools will be providing more concrete details and “example URLs” that you can go to to diagnose your site

Other interesting changes related to SEO are:

  • Google will still give preference to high quality content that “users love, bookmark, come back to and visit over and over again”. It means that content strategy and a great content creation are key drivers for Google.!
  • They will penalize paid links and paid websites that attempt to boost the ranking of other websites by linking to those other websites. They will be removing any PageRank that those paid sites pass on to the sites they’re trying to promote.
  • They are making two algorithm changes that will significantly affect the ranking of sites in sectors that are particularly spammy.

These changes looks promising. I always believed that the great content and usability were a king or queen for your clients, customers or readers.

It is a good approach.

Let’s see.

 

iPad and other tablets usage is growing rapidly. Two years ago I got my first iPad and I truly didn’t know why I need it. I had to learn how to use it, navigate, download apps, etc.

Of course it was a fast curve of learning but still it required my concentration.

ipad usability

Nielsen Norman Group posted their reports of iPad usability.

They looked at how iPad users interact with apps and websites on their devices, and whether usability improves with time as people practice and learn new interfaces. The design guidelines are based on 2 rounds of usability studies, conducted in 2010 and 2011.

What is the most interesting:

How People Use the iPad – simply no surprise  – it is exactly like me:

  1. games,
  2. checking email and social network sites,
  3. watching movies and videos
  4. reading news
  5. e-commerce: most of our users said that they had not done any purchases on
    the iPad because they didn’t know if it is secure. Others felt that it was easier to shop on the desktop computer. But they did some researching, browsing, checking classifieds (e.g., Craigslist) or auctions (e.g., eBay).

Who is using iPad

one device is used by many people. It is an interesting observation. It looks that it is a different situation than mobile phones or laptop’s usage.

  • children can play games or watch cartoons
  • family member use one device when it is available
  • some problems appeared like password changing, application installation that is available for everybody

Where is used

  • 50% carry iPad frequently with them
  • rest of users keep it at home and take outside only where they have to wait for something for a long time. It is typical for me:) I take it during flights.

The typical functionality of tablets like iPad are applications that should enable better usability and friendliness for users.

The research shows also some examples of websites and iPad applications that provided a different and surprised user experience. For example Amazon application and website – totally different user interface, navigation in application. That situation made a confusion.

The report also provides some tips for application developers:

  1. Design for repeat users
  2. Your iPad app should have a secret weapon compared to your website.
  3. Do not make users work more in your iPad app than on your website.
  4. Do not design an iPad app as if it were an iPhone app.

and many other nice findings related to usability – please read the full reports – here.