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Search Engine Optimisation

Google Stops Web Alerts, Replaces with Everything

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If you use Google Alerts, whether to track content on your site, follow mentions of your name or simply follow topics you are interested in, you may have gotten an email earlier this week informing you of some changes to the service.

In short, Google has gotten rid of the “Web” alerts and replaced them with searches for “Everything”. Previously Web alerts focused on sites that were not in News, Discussions, Video or other Google Alerts searches but still tracked keywords found on the majority of the Web.

The difference certainly is not a profound one, Google admits it only made the change after it realized that very few of Google Alerts users even set up Web searches and the results were already available in ones for Everything. Still, Leena Rao, the author of the TechCrunch article above, hinted that it might be the beginning of the end for Google Alerts as a service.

However, that seems to be a wildly unfounded statement, instead, the move seems to be bringing Google Alerts in line with the rest of the changes Google has made and, for all intents and purposes, seems to be going very strong as a service.

The Bigger Picture

Google has been making a series of very drastic changes to its search engine over the past few months. Most publicly, Google added the side bar to its search results, which is where it introduced the concept of “Everything”. Behind the scenes, it also made changed to the way it indexes pages, introducing Caffeine, a new system of indexing content in chunks.

In addition to dropping the Web filter in Google Alerts, Google has been making other tweaks to the system, including improving the accuracy of the service and allowing users to select the length of the emails they want to receive. These two changes go a long way to making the service more useful, especially for those with very active alerts set up.

Granted, these are the first major changes since the addition of RSS in 2008, but it is still proof that Google Alerts has not been abandoned by Google.

The More Likely Explanation

While it is true that Google Alerts has not gotten a great deal of attention from Google over the years, that’s because it hasn’t been necessary. Google Alerts is a very small portion of the bigger picture for Google and is only updated when necessary, for example, when Google changes wording on its main search product and doesn’t want to create confusion.

Combine that with the fact that the Web search was, almost certainly, heavily underused because of the minimal distinction between it and the “Everything” option, it’s easy to see why Google decided to drop it. It eliminates inconsistency with the existing navigation/marketing and eliminates a largely superfluous option that was unused and could have caused confusion.

In short, it was the right move to make for Google and it doesn’t herald the beginning of the end for Google Alerts, just a change in the options offered to bring them in line with other Google offerings.

What to Do If You Are Affected

If you are one of the ones who had your alerts changed by this move, your best bet is to simply try out the new alert for a while and see if it works. If there is too much noise, you may be able to refine it.

Given, however, that the vast Everything is comprised almost entirely of results that were in the Web filter, there is little reason to assume that there would be a huge uptick in the amount of results. The only way it should be a problem is if you were specifically using the Web filter to leave out results for videos or images.

If your needs are that specialized, you may do better with a service like Brandseye or Trackle anyway, as they can do even more to help you drill down even more.

Bottom Line

In the end, this doesn’t seem likely to be the death knell for Google Alerts. Far from it. Though the service certainly isn’t the darling of the Google enterprise, it is still going strong, receiving updates and getting attention.

All in all, it is doing fine and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Though one can never really predict what Google is going to do with the products it has, it doesn’t seem like Alerts is in the crosshairs so to speak. In contrast, the fact it is valuable to update to their current presentation indicates that Google is thinking about it and working on it, if only behind the scenes.

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Search Engine Optimisation

4 Keyword Research Mistakes that Will Permanently Haunt Your Blog

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Almost every blogger depends on organic search traffic from Google to drive steady traffic to their sites. They can’t depend on that without a solid SEO strategy, which requires thorough keyword research. Keyword research is the foundation of your SEO campaigns. Your blog will thrive or die based on how well you research keywords for your niche.

Unlike most other aspects of SEO (like link building and keyword usage), there aren’t many guides on keyword research. Many bloggers tend to wing it, which leads them to make a number of mistakes. Here are some common mistakes to look out for.

1 – Vetting Keywords Based on the Competitiveness Metric on the Keyword Planner

The Keyword Planner has a column for the keyword’s competition score. Many bloggers make the mistake of thinking that this is a good indicator of the competition they will face with their SEO campaign. Unfortunately, it isn’t always accurate.

The competition score indicates the competition that AdWords advertisers will face. A keyword with little competition in the AdWords network may be very difficult to rank for in organic search. You need to do a more thorough keyword research to know.

2 – Focusing Mostly on a Small Set of Generic, High Volume Keywords

Every blogger obviously wants to have a lot of traffic to their site. They often try to accomplish this by targeting a small number of very high traffic keywords. This doesn’t work well for a couple of reasons:

  • They are missing out on hundreds or even thousands of lower volume keywords that would drive at least as much traffic. Around 50% of all search queries are at least four words long, so you are limiting yourself by not targeting them.
  • Very generic keywords tend to be more difficult to rank for, since hundreds of blogs in your niche is going to be targeting them. You will find that focusing on smaller volume keywords will usually be the path of least resistance.
  • You will have much higher conversion rates by targeting the right buyer focused long-tail keywords.

The only downside with adding a larger list of smaller volume keywords to your arsenal is that you are going to need to dedicate more time to keyword research. Don’t let that dissuade you. You are going to save yourself countless hours of frustration in the future by choosing keywords that you can rank for.

3 – Failing to Consider the Implications Keywords Will Have on Your Content Marketing Strategy

You will choose keywords based on their competitiveness, relevance and volume. However, some keywords hit all of those points, but still will cause problems for you in the future. This is often the case when it comes to your content marketing strategy.

Some keywords are going to be more controversial, which makes it difficult to optimize for them off-site. The CEO of iNet Ventures, says that sometimes you need to choose some additional keywords that are going to be easier to build content that you can syndicate. One example is if you are building a blog about payday loans. Due to the controversial nature of payday loans,  you might want to build some other keywords around terms like “installment loans.”

4 – Neglecting to Target Buyer Focused Long-Tail Keywords

Highly focused long-tail keywords tend to convert better than broader keywords. The average conversion rate of a long-tail keyword is 36%, compared to only 11.45% of most organic search traffic. However, you need to look at them in full context to see whether they are likely to convert. Some long-tail keywords are very off-topic to your niche.

While looking at your keywords, you should assess the mindset of people that are using them in the search engines. Here are some examples of buyer-centric long-tail keywords that could convert well:

  • “{product type} bargain”
  • “best {product type}”
  • “{brand name} alternatives”
  • “buy {product type}”
  • “cheapest OR cheap {product type}”
  • “deals on {product type}”
  • “free {product type}” (This kind of keyword wouldn’t work well for selling right away, but might be good for attracting email subscribers with free ebooks or other lead magnets and they might be valuable followers later)
  • “product type for men OR women OR seniors”

There are a lot of keywords that target people that are eager to make a purchase. You just need to dig deep and find them.

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Search Engine Optimisation

4 Quick and Easy Ways to Improve Search Rank High for Local Searches

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Google is the leading search engine and dominates the market. In April 2018, it processed 11.28 billion searches. It’s closest rival, Microsoft, processed less than half of that at 4.27 billion. So, when it comes to search engine optimization, it could be better to optimize for Google before any others.

In the past, this would mean keyword stuffing and get as many links to your site as possible. Nowadays, though, things have become a lot more complicated. Google’s algorithm has been evolving with an eye on quality content.

It has become better at recognizing the signs of SEO tactics being used, and may even mark you down for these if it feels your site is spammy. The basic upshot is that getting that top position has become much more difficult, as search engines become harder to fool.

How To Get The Top Spot

First of all, it is time to re-evaluate what the top spot means to you. If, for example, you are selling informational, digital products, ranking at the top for all your keywords would be a worthy goal. This is because you can sell your products to anyone at any time.

But, what if you are a plumber working in Somerset in the South West of England? A top SERP for the keyword “plumber” would be difficult and expensive to maintain and not likely to do you as much good as you would like. Everyone from anywhere looking for a plumber would be able to find your site.

Which is great if they are in the South West of England, but not quite so useful if they are in New York. It would be better for you to rank high in a local search instead. Another reason you should focus on this is that, according to a study curated by SEO Tribunal, 46% of all searches are local, with the goal of finding a product or service physically close to the searcher.

Using Visuals to Increase Social Sharing and Engagement

When it comes to content creation, we all know that there is definitely more out there than we need. With over a billion active sites creating content on a daily or weekly basis, it’s overload to the max. With all of this in mind, more content creators and brands need to focus on the power of visual content.

A great resource for this can be seen in this Gifographics guide, which highlights how to best use visual content and images to increase visibility and engagement for your site or blog. Social media also tells us that text content is making its way out the window, and that visual is here to stay.

How To Rank High In A Local Search

Quality Content

Providing top quality content is the first step. That means ensuring that the content is flawlessly written. Search engines are becoming adept at interpreting natural language, so make sure that your content fits the bill for your area.

Write it with the end readers in mind. Make it interesting for them so that they will spend more time on your page. The longer they spend on the page, the more credible your site appears to a search engine.

Use the natural language that your readers are more likely to understand. Throw in some slang here and there that is specific to your area, and make references that locals will understand.

Drop The Click Bait

There was a cute little meme on Facebook which said, “See a blonde pole dancer.” You clicked through, and there was a picture of a golden retriever pup holding onto a pole. It was very cute and quite clever, but serves as a perfect example of clickbait.

People thinking that they were going to see a sexy, human pole dancer, might not have been amused and would probably have clicked away from the site quickly.

And, while this might increase the number of hits your website gets, it can do more harm than good, because Google and other search engines also factor in the bounce rate of your website when determining credibility.

The next time that someone uses the search phrase, your site may appear far lower in the results or not be included at all as a result.

Be honest to people about what they are getting if they click through by using a great meta-description. It might result in fewer clicks, but will enable you to have more engaged visitors which is what you want anyway.

Conclusion

Provide content that is high quality and that is useful to your target audience. Let them know what to expect from your site and watch your bounce rate decrease. Over time, attention-grabbing gimmicks could do more harm than good and you should avoid them.

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Search Engine Optimisation

Top Reasons Why You Should Hire SEO Consultant for Your Blog

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There are countless bloggers wearing multiple caps trying to juggle various things like creating quality content, search engine optimization and social sharing etc. In this situation, they often failed to rank the blog higher in search engines when battling with different things to save money. In results, they lose the content quality and position of the blog in search engines when not hiring an SEO consultant or agency.

As search engine optimization is vital to make a blog rank well in search engines, a blogger should be doing it properly by hiring professionals instead of doing it personally when managing different things as well. There are so many reasons why you should hire SEO consultant for your blog and some of them are given below in this article.

Reasons why you should hire SEO Consultant for your blog

In-depth Knowledge of SEO

An individual who is expert in SEO has the in-depth knowledge and expertise to make use of the right search engine marketing practices to optimize the blog or website in order to make it noticeable in search engines. An SEO Consultant will perform a website analysis before taking any step for blog optimization. He/she will assess the strategies used by your competitors to plan something unique and dynamic as well to beat them in the race of appearing at the top in SERPs. That is the reason, hiring someone expert in the field can do great things for your blog to make it popular in search engines to help you secure a visible place in search engine result pages.

Keeping Up with latest trends

As Google is continuously updating its search algorithm, getting high ranks for a blog is becoming difficult in the age of huge competition. However, an expert can find the creative ways and latest SEO trends to make your blog easily searchable as they always know precisely when new updates are about to happen and what should be done to maintain the current search engine positions.

It can save a lot of time

Search engine optimization is a time-consuming practice that can eat a lot of your time that you might be spending on creating content for the blog. Saving the precious time is one of the top reasons to hire SEO consultant for a blog. By doing so, you can easily free up some time to discover creating the quality and engaging content for your readers.

Cost-effective operations

If you are not expert in the field of SEO, you are most likely to spend money on SEO tools and many other things that you are not aware of how to use wisely. On another hand, search engine optimization is something that needs to be consistent and continues in order to get better outcomes and if you are spending few days on it and then waiting for the results, you are just wasting your money and time nothing else. Hence, paying to a professional SEO consultant can provide you desired outcomes even without wasting a lot of money in terms of buying SEO tools and backlinks etc.

Keep you on the good list

Brands and companies that take shortcuts or use black hat SEO techniques, usually suffer in terms of dropped rankings or penalties. While an expert can provide you quality services to keep you on the good list by employing only favorable and legal things. If the ranking of your consultant business or company is dropped due to bad SEO, you will need to spend more time and money for retrieval of the lost position in search engines.

Proper and regular reporting

Keeping track of SEO efforts for a blog is vital in order to measure the success and return on investment and preparing such reports could be a hard job for a blogger. Hence, an SEO agency or consultant can prepare the proper and regular SEO reports for clients to provide them each and everything in easy to understand approach. A professional SEO expert always understands the importance of the statistics provided in the reports to make sure that everything is on the right track.

Boosted return on investment (ROI)

When an expert is doing proper work for you, success is always sure and you can enjoy the boosted return on investment for your blog by getting services of an SEO consultant.  They always provide you easy to digest SEO reports that clearly show the increased ROI for the money spent in terms of the fee of the expert or professional hired for the blog.

Now that you’ve had an opportunity to skim through some of the benefits and considered factors and reasons behind hiring an SEO consultant or agency for your blog, is it time you expanded your time, effort, and resources into this area as well?

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