SEO News and SMO News
January 30th, 2013

Creating 301 redirects for any website changes is one of the fundamental SEO practices to ensure your pages stay indexed in search engines and keep their link juice.  Matt Cutts has decided to start creating longer more informative videos, and his first was a great refresher on 301 redirects.

301 redirects are an integral part of almost all Emboodo’s search engine optimization projects.  It was good to hear confirmation directly from Matt that we implement redirects exactly how Google wants us to.  Some key takeaways:

  1. Unique redirects should be developed to corresponding pages (as opposed to redirecting everything to the homepage)
  2. Minimize the use of hops because at some point search engines will stop following them
  3. There is no limit on the number of 301 redirects that a site can implement (something that was very important for us while migrating a site with over 5 million pages to a new platform)

You can watch Matt’s video for yourself below, and contact us for assistance in correctly implementing 301 redirects to your site.

 

July 19th, 2011

Google + SEO

Google + is hoping to be the next big social thing.  Whether it will succeed or not is up for debate (and unsurprisingly has been debated all over the world).  I found Tom Anderson’s prediction that both social networks will survive and keep different niche purposes interesting (although maybe I am biased because the MySpace founder was my first “online friend”).

Does Google + have SEO potential?

In a word, yes!

Google has been giving increasing amounts of importance to social elements for years already.  Below are just a few of the ways how Google + may effect search:

  1. Google + posts and comments have already begun showing up in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).   Now that Google is losing Twitter as part of their real-time results, Google+ posts are poised to replace “Shared by”, and Google is in the process of developing an algorithm to rank importance of Google+ posts by content, comments, shares and friends.
  2. Sparks are set up as a way to talk with Google + circles with similar interests.   As Google + grows, getting content into Sparks will be increasingly important.
  3. The Google Plus One button is intrinsically linked to Google +, and studies on the button usage have already indicated an effect on SERPs ranking and CTR (click through rate).

It is too early to tell whether Google + will truly revolutionize the Search Engine Optimization industry, but at Emboodo we have already begun incorporating Google + SEO strategies into our clients campaigns and continue to work on innovative solutions to make the most out of this new social platform.

 

July 11th, 2011

Yahoo has been threatening to shut down Yahoo Site Explorer for quite awhile now, and later this year it will officially be shut down.

SEO backlinks

What does this mean for Search Engine Optimization?

Yahoo Site Explorer, has been one my preferred methods for checking back links because it gives far more detail than Google.  Yahoo claims that they will be transferring the information to Bing Webmaster Tools, but it seems unlikely that we will be given the same vast amount of information.

Working in SEO means constantly adjusting to search engine changes and new regulations.  At Emboodo, we will test out who Bing Webmaster Tools work, while still using third party link checker tools such as Majestic SEO in order to ensure clients links are properly managed.

July 10th, 2011

Yahoo Clues has been around since 2010 as a keyword tool for Search Engine Optimization.   The tool gives deep demographic information about search trends for popular keywords.  Yahoo recently revamped the tool, adding more capabilities and making it more useful for SEO keyword research.  Below is a breakdown of how it works and why you should be using it.

You can compare detailed information of several keywords in order to determine which will best improve your sites performance.  The revamped tool gives you insights throughout the world, not just the United States.  For example, Hurriyet and Sabeh are 2 of the largest media companies in Turkey:

yahoo clues demographics

From Yahoo Clues we learn about the demographics of each keyword:

  • There was a large peak in search volume for “sabeh” in March.
  • Women between 25-34 are the highest percentage of people searching for “sabeh”
  • Men between 35-44 are the highest percentage of people searching for “hurriyet”

Clicking on an age bracket will give you even more detailed information about how women and men in that demographic are searching:

yahoo clues age brackets
The location factor is particularly helpful if you are trying to target a specific population.  Locations can be broken down into countries, states and cities.  World search trends for “sabeh” versus “hurriyet” are very different:

yahoo search locations
The Search Flow and Related Searches will help give you a sense of exactly how users are searching for these terms, and give you suggestions of other keywords that may be worth exploring further.

yahoo clues search flow
Creating a successful keyword map is the foundation of a successful SEO project.   Enjoy exploring Yahoo Clues as part of your detailed keyword research!

June 3rd, 2011

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Images not only enhance your site by adding color and a pretty picture, they are also important for SEO.

In the past year, Google has begun incorporating videos and images into SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), and giving them more and more importance.

Today, Google began displaying images in a tiled layout, with the ability to scroll over the picture for a larger thumbnail and more information.

For example, if you search for “photography” you will see the following:

google images seo

Get the most out of your images, with Emboodo’s Search Engine Optimization!

May 27th, 2011

Google has introduced a new tool to its labs called Google correlate, that I have been having fun using for clients.

It is great for understanding search patterns and how search changes over time, or in different states in order to improve your search engine optimization.

It basically works like Google Trends in reverse.  Instead of typing in a term and the  getting back data about that query, with Google correlate you enter the data and you will then get a list of search terms following similar patterns.

You can use it by exporting your own data, or entering your query into Google’s search term.

For example, the following are terms with similar patterns to “search” over time:

Google Correlate

and this is the data comparing US states:

google correlate US states

 

May 26th, 2011

We are now living in a post-farming update world, which means that finding creative and effective link building methods is more important and challenging than ever.

One of the most effective methods I have found is guest blogging. Here is our 5 step approach to guest blogging for SEO:

  1. Find blogs: Niche blogs connected to your industry will work best, because they are more likely to be interested in your content and because the link they share with you will be relevant.
  2. Approach blogs: Explain to your niche blogs why you are an industry expert, and why they should want you as a guest blogger.
  3. Develop unique content: If you are working with a website with quality content, this step will be easier – and you just need to modify their content so that it is unique and fits the blog you are connecting with.  If your website does not have quality content, write a short and interesting article you can use.
  4. Submit content: Make sure you follow all of the blog requirements so that they accept your post.
  5. Follow up: Stay in touch with the blog to ensure your post stays live, and so you do not need to re-build the relationship when you are ready to submit a new guest blog post.

guest blogging for seo

May 19th, 2011

Google’s Social Search has been around since 2009. Google has been tweaking it since then, and this week will roll out the feature in 19 languages throughout the world. They also plan on introducing +1 to people outside the U.S. shortly.

This is important, because it changes the way results are displayed and increases the trend towards personalization.

Social Search features results that your social network are connected to more prominently, and indicates who in your network interacted with that results.

Watch this short video from Google to learn more:

May 2nd, 2011

The death of Osama Bin Laden is a major historical milestone. As President Barak Obama asserted “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda.”

So, how are people tweeting about it?

April 1st, 2011

Imagine: For months you have been planning to launch a new site.  The design looks great, the content is engaging and you are excited about the update.  However – the site launches, your traffic drops dramatically, and you are never able to recover from the loss.

Migration to a new site can significantly damage a sites organic traffic if not correctly managed.  Search engines need to be properly instructed and redirected to the new site in order to maintain ranking and indexing and ensure the above scenario does not occur.

After successfully migrating high volume websites (ranging from 40K to 5M pages) I have learned that no matter what you do, your ranking will decrease for 20-30 days.  However, implementing the following model will ensure that after a month you regain your SERP position.

Redirect URLs
If possible, keep the same URLs.  If you are changing the URL, it is important to properly set up redirects so that search engines understand it is a new site and not duplicate content they are indexing. Implement 301 redirects for each URL in order to keep the links from the original site.  Use a 301 redirect rather than a 302 redirect, because the redirect is permanent and if you are using Windows or Linux it is a header configuration that works for all servers. Make sure to look for hidden URL changes such as moving from .php to .cfm.  Internet Officer is a good tool to check your redirects.

 

301 redirect map

 

Content and Meta Data
If you are changing the structure of your site, then you need to ensure that the meta data can either be transferred or rebuilt.  This is a good time to perform a content audit, and add optimized content to be included on the new site.

Be careful not to change too much content so that search engines don’t lose trust in your site.

Linking
Don’t forget both your internal and external links.  Internal links help distribute link power to important pages, indicate to search engines the important pages on your site, and help search engines understand the new structure of your site.  Use a link checker such as Xenu or Yahoo Site Explorer to make sure you don’t have any broken links.

Implement a external link building campaign to the full URL of the new site so that search engines understand you have changed your site and index it a quicker rate.  For example, do not link to http://www.domain.com, instead link to http://www.domain.com/index.php.  Publishing an online press release is a quick way to gain some links.

Webmasters
Properly submit your data and verify site ownership to Webmaster Tools so that search engines are aware that new content is available and that they should begin crawling it.  Sitemaps are the easiest and quickest way for search engines to discover your new site, so make sure to take advantage of them.

Remove all of your old sitemaps, and then create and submit a sitemap listing based on your new URLs and site structure.  Make sure to ping search engines and check your crawler rate.  Any changes to off-limits content should be updated in your robots.txt.  In your robots.txt you can also block sections or paths that existed in the old site but not in the new one.

 

google sitemaps indexing rate

 

Domain Information
Don’t change your WhoIs information or search engines will think your website has changed owners, and it may effect your ranking.

Timing
If possible, migrate your site in stages – first the site and then the redesign.  If your website is seasonal, migrating during off-season is recommended.  This will also reduce the possibility of a server performance crisis.

Post Migration
Completing the actual migration does not mean that your work is completed.  Use the following methods to identify potential problems and fix them:

  • Closely monitor your site on search engines, web analytics and your server logs.
  • Use statistic tools to check and compare pre and post launch traffic.
  • Monitor crawl errors such as 404 pages for signs that something went wrong, and that you are missing traffic because an old page is not properly linking to a new one.
  • Keep both the old and the new site verified in Webmaster Tools.
  • Watch search engines to ensure the new pages are properly being indexed.
  • In order to prevent any confusion, maintain control of your old site domain for a minimum of 180 days.

Google webmasters crawl rate

 

This article covers the basics of what is involved to ensure safe SEO migration of your site.  If implementing these elements yourself seem overwhelming or confusing, contact Emboodo for a free consultation of how we can help ensure your site migration is a smooth and safe transition.