Crawl Speed and Search Ranking
Internet users don’t want to waste any time typing in your URL and you can’t really blame them. They want a fast and seamless experience and that is why they favor search engines like Google. And to show up there, on the booming avenues of the internet, you need to get your pages crawled and indexed.
In other words, you have to face the technical side of SEO, one that often gets neglected and unsolved. However, this effort is the only way to lay the solid groundwork and elevate your website’s usability, speed, and visibility. So, you must be able to appease the internet deities and delight its users at the same time.
Get your priorities straight
Make no mistake: crawl speed can make or break your internet presence. Although officially not a ranking factor, it has a profound impact on SEO. It affects all other aspects of your strategies and determines their ultimate success. All in all, not having your pages crawled and indexed undermines your SEO aspirations.
It is not an overstatement to say that this can be an utter disaster for websites that update content on the regular basis and want to get it in front of users as soon as possible. Therefore, before pondering your content marketing and social media strategy, you might want to take a look at what is going on “under the hood” of your website.
Make it snappy
First off, note that there is a strong correlation between your web speed and crawl speed.
In case you have a sluggish internet presence, the crawl speed of Google bots can be hampered. Namely, Google has expressed discontent with high-response times for requests made to the website. Its officials admitted that they differentiate between sites that are really slow and those that have normal load times. If it takes two seconds to fetch a single URL, then the number of URLs that bots crawl is severely limited.
This indirectly, yet substantially impedes your ranking. Of course, optimizing on a millisecond level doesn’t change anything. But, if you improve response time by one second you can make a real difference in terms of how quickly Google picks up new content and related updates.
Strengthen the supporting pillars
In the eyes of a Googlebot, a speedy website is a reflection of a healthy server infrastructure. This is to say that it receives a positive signal, one that indicates the possibility of grasping more content over the same number of connections. On the other hand, 5xx errors and connection timeouts serve as red flags that reveal server deficiencies. In the wake of the latter scenario, crawl speed slows down.
In the mobile world, speed plays an even more pivotal role. Google has announced that as of July 2018, it will use mobile site speed as a ranking signal. All pages will be measured in the light of this criterion, regardless of whether they belong to a dedicated or a responsive site. Slow websites will be penalized and fast ones will be awarded better ranking. This seismic shift will be introduced by an algorithm change called “Speed Update”.
So, take action now to brace yourself for the mobile-first digital world. You will have to figure out the exact moment when the tide of change hits your pages. To do that, you can access your server logs and see if there is an increase in crawling activity of Google’s smartphone variant (accompanied by the decrease in the activity of the desktop counterpart).
Full speed ahead
Furthermore, website speed testing is a must.
There are various instruments to do this, so take your pick. Also, make sure to use SEO audit tool to gauge the SEO-friendliness of your pages and uncover any technical issues and errors that could hamper your ranking. Make it easier for your search engines to crawl your pages faster and you will be able to forward your overall optimization strategy.
In the case of mobile pages, you can utilize Search Console to estimate how your pages hold up. To be more precise, a “Smartphone” tab, which you can find under ”Crawl Errors,” allows you to identify any problems that encumber your mobile pages. “Fetch on Google” is another key feature that gives you insights into how Google bots see your website. Use the acquired knowledge to make the necessary adjustments.
Of course, there are some other things you can do to improve crawl speed. The list of solutions goes on and involves activities such as minimizing the downtime, creating an XML sitemap, and taking advantage of robot.txt files. So, go on, explore all avenues, and make an effort to cover all the technical bases.
Get a move on
If you are serious about taking your organic visibility to the next level, you have to enable search engines to efficiently crawl and index your pages. This is a real game-changer in the domain of SEO.
Thus, familiarize yourself with the way crawling process plays out. Realize that Google algorithm chances stem from shifting user preferences and trends such as the explosion smartphone-based online browsing. Make crawling a breeze for bots and let your pages run like clockwork.
You should be able to drive an immense amount of traffic your way and advance by leaps and bounds towards the forefront of the SERPs.
With the rise of the web, people’s approach to making purchases has changed significantly. They are now aware of how important they are to small businesses trying to survive in such a competitive marketplace. And, in return for their loyalty, they expect you to provide them with the exceptional buying experience and they won’t accept anything less than that.
Your customers not interested in your products only. Namely, they want to know the story behind your brand, as well. They expect you to answer their questions fast, connect with them on social networks, and create relevant and interesting content. They don’t want to waste their time, either. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, they will abandon it and look for your competitors. The same goes for your navigation, mobile-friendliness, content, and the overall visual appeal of your site.
Given all these facts, here is how you should do digital marketing in 2018.
Prepare for the Google Mobile-First Index
If you haven’t heard yet that Google has finally rolled out their mobile-first index, then you’re living under a rock. This has become one of the hottest news in the digital marketing sphere, but what does it actually mean? From now on, Google will focus on the mobile version of your site when indexing it.
So, make sure you optimize your site for mobile searchers. After all, 60% of all web searches are done via mobile devices. Make your keywords longer and more conversational to optimize them for voice search. Use Google’s AMPs to speed up your site significantly. Your navigation should be simpler, while all important elements of your website should be above the fold. For additional information, take a look at what Google says about preparing your site for the mobile-first index.
Do you know that an average U.S. household participates in about 29 loyalty programs? They love them for different reasons- some join these programs to save money, while others want to receive a reward for their loyalty. For some, the availability of rewards programs is the major factor that determines whether they will buy from you or not.
Now, loyalty programs vary and you need to choose the option that works for your target audience. You could give them points or vouchers that can be later redeemed at your stores or offer them exclusive deals for every purchase or referral they make. However, recent studies point out that people have labeled financial rewards or highly targeted incentives far more enticing. So, to make customized loyalty programs, you could offer personalized visa gift cards, with your customers’ names on them or even organize a contest and let them win your premium products.
Focus on User-Generated Content
Let’s face it- people trust other customers more than you. According to the Local Customer Review Survey, 85% of them trust online reviews as much as their friends, while 73% of them will trust your business more if your customers’ reviews are positive.
In light of statistics like this, it’s obvious that user-generated content (UGC) is one of those tactics you simply cannot allow to ignore. After all, it’s your customers that sell your products today.
Use your social networks to invite people to share their own videos of your products or services.
Boost the visibility of this content by sharing it regularly and creating dedicated hashtags.
Most importantly, you need to know what works for each of the social networks you use. Share live stories and videos on Facebook, post photos on Twitter, while the user-generated content your Instagram account could be the combination of these forms of UGC.
Use Social Networks to Offer Instant Feedback
In the past, your communication with your customers was based on phone calls and emails. However, the times have changed and, today, your communication channels cannot be observed in isolation. All instant messaging apps, video conferencing tools, social networks, email providers, and telemarketing strategies are highly intertwined, creating what we call the omnichannel approach to communication.
Today, your customers can move from one device to another uninterruptedly. They can find your phone number on your site and call you instantly, not having to switch between different apps. They can scan your QR code that will lead them to the piece of content they want to read or a product they want to buy. They can stumble upon your business on social networks, read the reviews, ask questions, and follow the link to your site to learn more about you.
If you’re too busy answering your customers’ messages regularly, then hire someone to do so for you. Even better, use a chatbot. Even this is still a pretty new concept, chatbots are predicted to revolutionize the digital marketing industry in 2018. Namely, these AI-powered tools have become smarter and more intuitive. They will provide your customers with relevant, real-time feedback and, at the same time, do all repetitive and time-consuming tasks for you.
You can use social media monitoring tools to keep track of your brand or product mentions. Whenever someone mentions you, you’ll get notified. This is called social listening and it’s immensely important in providing your customers with real-time customers services and collecting their feedback.
Create Interactive Content
Gone are the days when you could write a 1000-word blog post and generate a bunch of links, shares, and comments. We’re living in the era of augmented reality and people expect your content to surprise and excite them. So, update your content strategy with interactive content, the one your customers can actively participate in, such as polls and quizzes. Don’t forget about visual content, especially videos, as they’re expected to account for 82% of the total internet traffic by 2020.
Tell your Customers a Story
You’re not doing content marketing for SEO purposes solely. You’re creating your content for your customers. And, to engage them and get them emotionally involved, each article you write needs to have a good story to back it.
That’s what storytelling is about.
Namely, 92% of people emphasized that they expect all major brands to create ads that feel like stories. Stories share a real-life experience, add the human element to your brand promotion, and evoke nostalgia and empathy. Most importantly, as they don’t seem overly promotional, they will take your relationship with your customers to a completely new, more personal level.
Over to You
Digital marketing is not about promoting your business and ranking higher on Google. It’s also about building and nurturing strong relationships with your target audience. That’s exactly what will set you apart from a sea of businesses similar to yours.
Hope these tips help!
How To Get To Number 1 On Google Using SEO
When looking for a business in your vicinity that will sell you a perfect toy for your kids’ birthday or fix your favorite pair of shoes, where do you find it?
You search for it online, I suppose.
And, your customers will do the same.
Namely, studies show that 50% of the consumers that conduct local searches via mobile visit the store within a day.
This is exactly why you need to make your store more visible to your potential customers. And, to do so, you need to invest in a solid SEO strategy.
Here are a few local SEO techniques that will help you lift your rankings in the SERPs and drive more traffic to your site.
Write SEO-friendly and Unique Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
On-page SEO is immensely important for your ranking. The idea behind it is simple- once you do your keyword research and find all relevant phrases you want to rank for, you need to optimize your page elements for them.
And your title and meta descriptions are a brilliant starting point. These are HTML elements that get displayed in search results and tell both search engines and your customers what your webpage is about.
Writing these tags is considered pure art. In today’s highly competitive landscape, where there are numerous businesses similar to yours, optimizing their sites just like you, you need to stand out. Otherwise, you won’t engage your potential customers and your click-through rate will suffer.
Now that Google’s main search results are is 600px wide, every character you write is precious. You need to make sure your text won’t be cut off. Even though this may not be that dangerous for your SEO, it does look extremely unprofessional and unappealing. So, your text needs to be concise and, at the same time, informative.
- Your title tag should be approximately 50-60 characters long, while your meta description should be between 160 and 200 characters.
- To reach your local customers, add the name of the city or the area your business serves (SEO agency Chicago, Chicago SEO agency, etc.).
- Focus on implementing just one targeted keyword to both your title tag and meta description. Your aim is to place it close to the beginning of the tag.
Optimize your Site to Make It User-Friendly and Crawlable
To drive more traffic, convert customers, and jump to the first page of Google, your site needs to be impeccable. First, it needs to be user-friendly and easy-to-navigate. Second, its structure should allow Googlebot to crawl and index it effortlessly.
Apart from writing sweet title and meta description tags, here are some other elements of your website you should definitely optimize:
- Your domain name needs to be short, meaningful, easy-to-remember, and unique. Just like your business’ name, your domain name needs to be brandable. To make sure no one steals your branding idea, you could even consider completing your company registration, business name registration, and domain registration at once.
- The 2016 Google’s report highlights that 30% of all mobile searches is related to a company’s location. So, optimizing your site for mobile searchers is inevitable and it means adding easy-to-spot CTAs, making your forms simple to click on and fill in, boosting your site’s load speed, and making your phone number easily clickable.
- Add a map to help your customers find you.
- Show your most prominent customers’ testimonials. It’s not a secret that customers trust each other more than brands.
- Use Schema for local businesses to tell search engines what your site is about and showing that it is a local business and not a huge corporation.
- Make sure your NAP (your name, address, phone number) is prominent and correct.
Produce Quality Local Content to Earn Links
In today’s era of sophisticated Google’s algorithms and their initiative to penalize every spammy and unnatural SEO practice, earning links is directly related to creating top-quality content. It is what makes you authoritative and sets you apart from your rivals.
Start a blog
Start with building a blog on your site’s domain.
When optimizing your posts for search engines, ensure you implement local city and neighborhood information. To make your reach a bit wider, you should also include neighboring places and unofficial terms local customers use.
If there are any local news and events relevant to your business, elaborate them in your articles. This form of information is not only extremely valuable to your SEO, but also to your sites’ authority.
If you participate in charity events, sponsor any teams, or support any organizations relevant to what you do, make sure you let your customers know about it.
Most importantly, never focus on writing about your business. Instead, make your content insightful, engaging, and highly informative.
Sooner or later, people will start to see the value of your content and link to it naturally. And, as you already know, backlinks are the most prominent localized organic-ranking factor.
We all know that link building is the basis of every powerful SEO strategy. According to Moz’s research, link signals are the most significant localized ranking factor.
So, to boost your rankings, you need to have a detailed link building strategy.
Here are a few techniques you may want to try out:
- Start with publishing on relevant sites in your niche.
- Mention influential people in your niche in your piece of content and ask them to share it on their blog or social networks.
- Leave insightful comments on authoritative sites and blogs. Don’t overstuff your comments with links. Instead, aim to provide their followers with relevant information and answers.
- Find broken links on important blogs in your niche and offer your content as a relevant replacement.
A recent research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, while 7 out of 10 will review your business, if asked.
The reason why people love reviews is that they tell them honestly if you’re good as you say you are.
So, the first thing you need to do is check your reviews.
If you have anything less than four or five stars on all major review sites, well, that’s bad.
Your poor ratings will drive your target audience off, triggering the drop in your brand authority and revenue.
On the other hand, by boosting your score by just one star, you will skyrocket your cash flow by 10%.
Now, getting reviews requires a long-term strategy you’ll have to stick to for the life of your company.
Once you receive negative reviews (You will. Everyone does.), make sure you remain professional while answering them. Also, use them to improve your business and provide your customers with impeccable products or services.
Now, where to get reviewed?
- Amazon Customer Reviews
- Angie’s List
- Better Business Bureau
Pro tip: When asking your customers for reviews, don’t ask for too many of them. A huge inflow of positive reviews may seem suspicious and may get you removed from some of these platforms.
Over to You
The number of your competitors is constantly rising. Precisely because of this, the only way to reach the first page in the SERPs is to invest heavily in local SEO. It will not only help you boost your rankings and traffic, but also turn your leads into conversions and boost your brand’s authority.
Does your website crawl?
In internet speak, “crawl” doesn’t mean that your website or web page is moving or loading slowly. It means your site’s SEO, or search engine optimization, is working. SEO means your desired audience will find you…in the most positive, most lucrative stalker-esque way. But where do you even start to have powerful SEO?
Keep it Simple.
An important first step to know when building a website for strong SEO is to build it with good, clean code atop a reputable CMS. CMS, or Content Management System for those of you just getting started, is the system that helps you organize and publish your content. WordPress is inarguably the very best, most accessible CMS available to the masses. It offers everything you need to get you well on your way toward being found by the search engines. WordPress is inexpensive (great for your bottom line!) and super customizable. It has the best open source CMS Award and over 143,000 lines of code. Add in organized page structure, rich meta data in each post, strong navigational links and easy page indexing, and the fact that it’s used by 100 million+ websites…well, it just seems foolish to use anything else. And while we love a good time as much as anyone, Go Media doesn’t believe in being foolish. We use WordPress as our CMS platform for nearly every single website we build.
Actionable Tip: Once you have a powerful platform like WordPress backing your website, you can then take advantage of the unrivaled SEO plugin WordPress SEO by Yoast to really take control of your SEO efforts. All of the custom WordPress websites we develop at Go Media in Cleveland come with Yoast’s SEO plug-in installed.
Keep It Clean.
That’s right, no twerking. A clean website on the backend means an easy website to find and an easy design for your customer to use. Win-win! What factors are important for optimization? Start by utilizing effective hierarchical navigation. Good menus help your visitors find what they need faster. You want every click you can get. The search engines keep track of your clicks and consider more unique clicks to mean more relevant content. Be sure to use “pretty permalink” URLs. This means use your.com/about and not your.com/?pid=123. Do you use meta tags? You should! Meta tags like title should be appropriate for the content and one-of-kind. This helps people AND the search engines (<– notice a pattern here?) understand what they’re about to read. Not only will your customer be happy, you’ll be happy.
Thorough HTML template elements are another factor the search engines look for. You’ll want to use things like alt and title attributes for images & links. This ensures elements like anchors <a> are more descriptive. Not only does this assist users, especially those with any accessibility impairments, but the search engines will essentially award you for these. You’re helping them understand what every little detail of your website is about. There are even more hardcore elements and attributes we could touch on like microformats and RDFa, but we’ll just stick to the basics here.
I know this sounds like a lot of hard work, but keeping your site tidy and organized on the backend helps improve your SEO on the frontend. Go Media puts in countless hours to follow best practices for SEO. This means our sites have SEO that sets our clients’ hearts aflutter and their customers flocking. Why? We know our stuff, and we make sure we are putting our best foot code forward.
Actionable Tip: Want to know everything good and bad about your website from the leader in search? Want to dig deep into ways you can improve your SEO and fix obvious problems? Give Google Webmaster Tools a spin! You can profile nearly everything.
Keep It Rich.
At a fundamental level, search engines simply try to match text phrases and make a best-guess on the context. This “context” typically stems from groups of topics, across the web. If you’re well associated with your topic group, by way of links, the search engines consider you to be more relevant to the context of the search. The number of people pointing to you and how high-quality these links are help with your page ranking. And your page ranking helps with SEO. It would be easy if you could just jam a ton of content in your website and call it a day. Go for it, but your pagerank will absolutely not rise. (Thank you, Google and SEO guru, Matt Cutts.) Instead, have a point of view. Craft your content with your desired audience in mind. No one wants a fluff piece, least of all the search engines. Once you have your content in place, keep in mind that page ranking and all the other factors in optimization are a dynamic beast. Poor writing and poor content = a poor SEO rank. And we don’t want to be poor now, do we? Of course, Go Media works to attract high-quality links so that other websites direct their readers to your expertise… just another way we have your SEO back.
Actionable Tip: Before you write an article, take a moment to think about the keyword phrase you want to rank well for. Focus on one keyword phrase per article. For this article I wanted to connect Go Media with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Find a Partner in Crime.
When working with a web design firm, ask about their SEO efforts and make sure they follow best practices. You know the lingo now–ask smart questions and ensure they have the tools to help your customers find your business online. A lot of people can make a pretty website, but a pretty face doesn’t get you that far in page ranks. That’s why Go Media uses the 50+ years of human-labor on our team to create robust, creative, USABLE WordPress websites with SEO best practices in mind. We know how to build an amazing website like we know the back of our hands. We’re not actually sure what that expression means, but we can tell you that when you partner with us, we will help your website succeed and have stellar SEO. No one can promise a #1 page ranking, but we can promise you a good time and a killer website. So if you need web design help — don’t be shy!