Monday, July 29, 2019
Friday, July 26, 2019
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Posted by katemorris
Editor's note: This post first appeared in April of 2017, but because SEO (and Google) changes so quickly, we figured it was time for a refresh!
Meta tags represent the beginning of most SEO training, for better or for worse. I contemplated exactly how to introduce this topic because we always hear about the bad side of meta tags — namely, the keywords meta tag. One of the first things dissected in any site review is the misuse of meta tags, mainly because they're at the top of every page in the header and are therefore the first thing seen. But we don't want to get too negative; meta tags are some of the best tools in a search marketer's repertoire.
There are meta tags beyond just description and keywords, though those two are picked on the most. I've broken down the most-used (in my experience) by the good, the bad, and the indifferent. You'll notice that the list gets longer as we get to the bad ones. I didn't get to cover all of the meta tags possible to add, but there's a comprehensive meta tag resource you should check out if you're interested in everything that's out there.
It's important to note that in 2019, you meta tags still matter, but not all of them can help you. It's my experience, and I think anyone in SEO would agree, that if you want to rank high in search, your meta tags need to accompany high-quality content that focuses on user satisfaction.
My main piece of advice: stick to the core minimum. Don't add meta tags you don't need — they just take up code space. The less code you have, the better. Think of your page code as a set of step-by-step directions to get somewhere, but for a browser. Extraneous meta tags are the annoying "Go straight for 200 feet" line items in driving directions that simply tell you to stay on the same road you're already on!
The good meta tags
These are the meta tags that should be on every page, no matter what. Notice that this is a small list; these are the only ones that are required, so if you can work with just these, please do.
- Meta content type – This tag is necessary to declare your character set for the page and should be present on every page. Leaving this out could impact how your page renders in the browser. A few options are listed below, but your web designer should know what's best for your site.
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
- Title – While the title tag doesn’t start with "meta," it is in the header and contains information that's very important to SEO. You should always have a unique title tag on every page that describes the page. Check out this post for more information on title tags.
- Meta description – The infamous meta description tag is used for one major purpose: to describe the page to searchers as they read through the SERPs. This tag doesn't influence ranking, but it's very important regardless. It's the ad copy that will determine if users click on your result. Keep it within 160 characters, and write it to catch the user's attention. Sell the page — get them to click on the result. Here's a great article on meta descriptions that goes into more detail.
- Viewport – In this mobile world, you should be specifying the viewport. If you don’t, you run the risk of having a poor mobile experience — the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool will tell you more about it. The standard tag is:
<meta name=viewport content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
The indifferent meta tags
Different sites will need to use these in specific circumstances, but if you can go without, please do.
- Social meta tags – I'm leaving these out. OpenGraph and Twitter data are important to sharing but are not required per se.
- Robots – One huge misconception is that you have to have a robots meta tag. Let's make this clear: In terms of indexing and link following, if you don't specify a meta robots tag, they read that as index,follow. It's only if you want to change one of those two commands that you need to add meta robots. Therefore, if you want to noindex but follow the links on the page, you would add the following tag with only the noindex, as the follow is implied. Only change what you want to be different from the norm.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />
- Specific bots (Googlebot) – These tags are used to give a specific bot instructions like noodp (forcing them not to use your DMOZ listing information, RIP) and noydir (same, but instead the Yahoo Directory listing information). Generally, the search engines are really good at this kind of thing on their own, but if you think you need it, feel free. There have been some cases I've seen where it's necessary, but if you must, consider using the overall robots tag listed above.
- Language – The only reason to use this tag is if you're moving internationally and need to declare the main language used on the page. Check out this meta languages resource for a full list of languages you can declare.
- Geo – The last I heard, these meta tags are supported by Bing but not Google (you can target to country inside Search Console). There are three kinds: placename, position (latitude and longitude), and region.
<META NAME="geo.position" CONTENT="latitude; longitude"> <META NAME="geo.placename" CONTENT="Place Name"> <META NAME="geo.region" CONTENT="Country Subdivision Code">
- Keywords – Yes, I put this on the "indifferent" list. While no good SEO is going to recommend spending any time on this tag, there's some very small possibility it could help you somewhere. Please leave it out if you're building a site, but if it's automated, there's no reason to remove it.
- Refresh – This is the poor man's redirect and should not be used, if at all possible. You should always use a server-side 301 redirect. I know that sometimes things need to happen now, but Google is NOT a fan.
- Site verification – Your site is verified with Google and Bing, right? Who has the verification meta tags on their homepage? These are sometimes necessary because you can't get the other forms of site verification loaded, but if at all possible try to verify another way. Google allows you to verify by DNS, external file, or by linking your Google Analytics account. Bing still only allows by XML file or meta tag, so go with the file if you can.
The bad meta tags
Nothing bad will happen to your site if you use these — let me just make that clear. They're a waste of space though; even Google says so (and that was 12 years ago now!). If you're ready and willing, it might be time for some spring cleaning of your <head> area.
- Author/web author – This tag is used to name the author of the page. It's just not necessary on the page.
- Revisit after – This meta tag is a command to the robots to return to a page after a specific period of time. It's not followed by any major search engine.
- Rating – This tag is used to denote the maturity rating of content. I wrote a post about how to tag a page with adult images using a very confusing system that has since been updated (see the post's comments). It seems as if the best way to note bad images is to place them on a separate directory from other images on your site and alert Google.
- Expiration/date – "Expiration" is used to note when the page expires, and "date" is the date the page was made. Are any of your pages going to expire? Just remove them if they are (but please don't keep updating content, even contests — make it an annual contest instead!). And for "date," make an XML sitemap and keep it up to date. It's much more useful.
- Copyright – That Google article debates this with me a bit, but look at the footer of your site. I would guess it says "Copyright 20xx" in some form. Why say it twice?
- Abstract – This tag is sometimes used to place an abstract of the content and used mainly by educational pursuits.
- Distribution – The "distribution" value is supposedly used to control who can access the document, typically set to "global." It's inherently implied that if the page is open (not password-protected, like on an intranet) that it's meant for the world. Go with it, and leave the tag off the page.
- Generator – This is used to note what program created the page. Like "author," it's useless.
- Cache-control – This tag is set in hopes of controlling when and how often a page is cached in the browser. It's best to do this in the HTTP header.
- Resource type – This is used to name the type of resource the page is, like "document." Save yourself time, as the DTD declaration does it for you.
There are so many meta tags out there, I’d love to hear about any you think need to be added or even removed! Shout out in the comments with suggestions or questions.
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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Friday, July 19, 2019
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Posted by KameronJenkins
If the last day of MozCon felt like it went too fast or if you forgot everything that happened today (we wouldn't judge — there were so many insights), don't fret. We captured all of day three's takeaways so you could relive the magic of day three.
Don't forget to check out all the photos with Roger from the photobooth! They're available here in the MozCon Facebook group. Plus: You asked and we delivered: the 2019 MozCon speaker walk-on playlist is now live and available here for your streaming pleasure.
Cindy Krum— Fraggles, Mobile-First Indexing, & the SERP of the Future
If you were hit with an instant wave of nostalgia after hearing Cindy's walk out music, then you are in good company and you probably were not disappointed in the slightest by Cindy’s talk on Fraggles.
- “Fraggles” are fragments + handles. A fragment is a piece of info on a page. A handle is something like a bookmark, jump link, or named anchor — they help people navigate through long pages to get what they’re looking for faster.
- Ranking pages is an inefficient way to answer questions. One page can answer innumerable questions, so Google’s now can pull a single answer from multiple parts of your page, skipping sections they don’t think are as useful for a particular answer.
- The implications for voice are huge! It means you don’t have to listen to your voice device spout off a page’s worth of text before your question is answered.
- Google wants to index more than just websites. They want to organize the world’s information, not websites. Fraggles are a demonstration of that.
Luke Carthy — Killer Ecommerce CRO and UX Wins Using A SEO Crawler
Luke Carthy did warn us in his talk description that we should all flex our notetaking muscles for all the takeaways we would furiously jot down — and he wasn’t wrong.
- Traffic doesn’t always mean sales and sales don’t always mean traffic!
- Custom extraction is a great tool for finding missed CRO opportunities. For example, Luke found huge opportunity on Best Buy’s website — thousands of people’s site searches were leading them to an unoptimized “no results found” page.
- You can also use custom extraction to find what product recommendations you or your customers are using at scale! Did you know that 35% of what customers buy on Amazon and 75 percent of what people watch on Netflix are the results of these recommendations?
- For example, are you showing near-exact products or are you showing complementary products? (hint: try the latter and you’ll likely increase your sales!)
- Custom extraction from Screaming Frog allows you to scrape any data from the HTML of the web pages while crawling them.
Andy Crestodina — Content, Rankings, and Lead Generation: A Breakdown of the 1% Content Strategy
Next up, Andy of Orbit Media took the stage with a comprehensive breakdown of the most effective tactics for turning content into a high-powered content strategy. He also brought the fire with this sound advice that we can apply in both our work life and personal life.
- Blog visitors often don’t have commercial intent. One of the greatest ways to leverage blog posts for leads is by using the equity we generate from links to our helpful posts and passing that onto our product and service pages.
- If you want links and shares, invest in original research! Not sure what to research? Look for unanswered questions or unproven statements in your industry and provide the data.
- Original research may take longer than a standard post, but it’s much more effective! When you think about it this way, do you really have time to put out more, mediocre posts?
- Give what you want to get. Want links? Link to people. Want comments? Comment on others people's work.
- To optimize content for social engagement, it should feature real people, their faces, and their quotes.
- Collaborating with other content creators on your content not only gives it built-in amplification, but it also leads to great connections and is just generally more fun.
Rob Ousbey — Running Your Own SEO Tests: Why It Matters & How to Do It Right
Google’s algorithms have changed a heck of a lot in recent years — what’s an SEO to do? Follow Rob’s advice — both fashion and SEO — who says that the answer lies in testing.
- “This is the way we’ve always done it” isn’t sufficient justification for SEO tactics in today’s search landscape.
- In the earlier days of the algorithm, it was much easier to demote spam than it was to promote what’s truly good.
- Rob and his team had a theory that Google was beginning to rely more heavily on user experience and satisfaction than some of the more traditional ranking factors like links.
- Through SEO A/B testing, they found that:
- Google relies less heavily on link signals when it comes to the top half of the results on page 1.
- Google relies more heavily on user experience for head terms (terms with high search volume), likely because they have more user data to draw from.
- In the process of A/B testing, they also found that the same test often produces different results on different sites. The best way to succeed in today’s SEO landscape is to cultivate a culture of testing!
Greg Gifford — Dark Helmet's Guide to Local Domination with Google Posts and Q&A
If you’re a movie buff, you probably really appreciated Greg’s talk — he schooled us all in move references and brought the fire with his insights on Google Posts and Q&A
The man behind #shoesofmozcon taught us that Google is the new home page for local businesses, so we should be leveraging the tools Google has given us to make our Google My Business profiles great. For example…
- Images should be 1200x900 on google posts
- Images are cropped slightly higher than the center and it’s not consistent every time
- The image size of the thumbnail is different on desktop than it is on mobile
- Use Greg’s free tool at bit.ly/posts-image-guide to make sizing your Google Post images easier
- You can also upload videos. The file size limit is 100mb and/or 30 seconds
- Add a call-to-action button to make your Posts worth it! Just know that the button often means you get less real estate for text in your Posts
- Don’t share social fluff. Attract with an offer that makes you stand out
- Make sure you use UTM tracking so you can understand how your Posts are performing in Google Analytics. Otherwise, it’ll be attributed as direct traffic.
- Anyone can ask and answer questions — why not the business owner! Control the conversation and treat this feature like it's your new FAQ page.
- This feature works on an upvote system. The answer with the most upvotes will show first.
- Don’t include a URL or phone number in these because it’ll get filtered out.
- A lot of these questions are potential customers! Out of 640 car dealerships’ Q&As Greg evaluated, 40 percent were leads! Of that 40 percent, only 2 questions were answered by the dealership.
Emily Triplett Lentz — How to Audit for Inclusive Content
Emily of Help Scout walked dropped major knowledge on the importance of spotting and eliminating biases that frequently find their way into online copy. She also hung out backstage after her talk to cheer on her fellow speakers. #GOAT. #notallheroeswearcapes.
- As content creators, we’d all do well to keep ableism in mind: discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. However, we’re often guilty of this without even knowing it.
- One example of ableism that often makes its way into our copy is comparing dire or subideal situations with the physical state of another human (ex: “crippling”).
- While we should work on making our casual conversation more inclusive too, this is particularly important for brands.
- Create a list of ableist words, crawl your site for them, and then replace them. However, you’ll likely find that there is no one-size-fits-all replacement for these words. We often use words like “crazy” as filler words. By removing or replacing with a more appropriate word, we make our content better and more descriptive in the process.
- At the end of the day, brands should remember that their desire for freedom of word choice isn’t more important than people’s right not to feel excluded and hurt. When there’s really no downside to more inclusive content, why wouldn’t we do it?
Visit http://content.helpscout.net/mozcon-2019 to learn how to audit your site for inclusive content!
Joelle Irvine — Image & Visual Search Optimization Opportunities
Curious about image optimization and visual search? Joelle has the goods for you — and was blowing people's minds with her tips for visual optimization and how to leverage Google Lens, Pinterest, and AR for visual search.
- Visual search is not the same thing as searching for images. We’re talking about the process of using an image to search for other content.
- Visual search like Google Lens makes it easier to search when you don’t know what you’re looking for.
- Pinterest has made a lot of progress in this area. They have a hybrid search that allows you to find complimentary items to the one you searched. It’s like finding a rug that matches a chair you like rather than finding more of the same type of chair.
- 62 percent of millennials surveyed said they would like to be able to search by visual, so while this is mostly being used by clothing retailers and home decor right now, visual search is only going to get better, so think about the ways you can leverage it for your brand!
Joy Hawkins — Factors that Affect the Local Algorithm that Don't Impact Organic
Proximity varies greatly when comparing local and organic results — just ask Joy of Sterling Sky, who gets real about fake listings while walking through the findings of a recent study.
Here are the seven areas in which the local algorithm diverges from the organic algorithm:
- Proximity (AKA: how close is the biz to the searcher?)
- Proximity is the #1 local ranking factor, but the #27 ranking factor on organic.
- Studies show that having a business that’s close in proximity to the searcher is more beneficial for ranking in the local pack than in traditional organic results.
- Rank tracking
- Because there is so much variance by latitude/longitude, as well as hourly variances, Joy recommends not sending your local business clients ranking reports.
- Use rank tracking internally, but send clients the leads/sales. This causes less confusion and gets them focused on the main goal.
- Visit bit.ly/mozcon3 for insights on how to track leads from GMB
- GMB landing pages (AKA: the website URL you link to from your GMB account)
- Joy tested linking to the home page (which had more authority/prominence) vs. linking to the local landing page (which had more relevance) and found that traffic went way up when linking to the home page.
- Before you go switching all your GMB links though, test this for yourself!
- Joy wanted to know how much reviews actually impacted ranking, and what it was exactly about reviews that would help or hurt.
- She decided to see what would happen to rankings when reviews were removed. This happened to a business who was review gating (a violation of Google’s guidelines) but Joy found that reviews flagged for violations aren’t actually removed, they’re hidden, explaining why “removed” reviews don’t negatively impact local rankings.
- Possum filter
- Organic results can get filtered because of duplicate content, whereas local results can get filtered because they’re too close to another business in the same category. This is called the Possum filter.
- Keywords in a business name
- This is against Google’s guidelines but it works sadly
- For example, Joy tested adding the word “salad bar” to a listing that didn’t even have a salad bar and their local rankings for that keyword shot up.
- Although it works, don’t do it! Google can remove your listing for this type of violation, and they’ve been removing more listings for this reason lately.
- Fake listings
- New listings can rank even if they have no website, authority, citations, etc. simply because they keyword stuffed their business name. These types of rankings can happen overnight, whereas it can take a year or more to achieve certain organic rankings.
- Spend time reporting spam listings in your clients’ niches because it can improve your clients’ local rankings.
Britney Muller — Featured Snippets: Essentials to Know & How to Target
Closing out day three of MozCon was our very own Britney, Sr. SEO scientist extraordinaire, on everyone’s favorite SEO topic: Featured snippets!
We’re seeing more featured snippets than ever before, and they’re not likely going away. It’s time to start capitalizing on this SERP feature so we can start earning brand awareness and traffic for our clients!
- Know what keywords trigger featured snippets that you rank on page 1 for
- Know the searcher’s intent
- Provide succinct answers
- Add summaries to popular posts
- Identify commonly asked questions
- Leverage Google’s NLP API
- Monitor featured snippets
- If all else fails, leverage ranking third party sites. Maybe your own site has low authority and isn’t ranking well, but try publishing on Linkedin or Medium instead to get the snippet!
There’s lots of debate over whether featured snippets send you more traffic or take it away due to zero-click results, but consider the benefits featured snippets can bring even without the click. Whether featured snippets bring you traffic, increased brand visibility in the SERPs, or both, they’re an opportunity worth chasing.
Aaaand, that's a wrap!
Thanks for joining us at this year's MozCon! And a HUGE thank you to everyone (Mozzers, partners, and crew) who helped make this year's MozCon possible — we couldn't have done it without all of you.
What was your favorite moment of the entire conference? Tell us below in the comments! And don't forget to grab the speaker slides here!
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Friday, July 12, 2019
Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Buying a house for the first time feels surreal. Finally, you have a place of your own and you will probably stay here for a long time, if not for the rest of your life. It’s important that you take good care of it so your home stays safe. Follow the tips below:
Find the main water shutoff valve
Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight — including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims.
Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need it to. Source: HouseLogic
Keep a home maintenance checklist
One of the new expenses that accompany home ownership is making repairs. There’s no landlord to call if your roof is leaking or your toilet is clogged. To look at the positive side, there’s also no rent increase notice taped to your door on a random Friday afternoon. While you should exercise restraint in purchasing the nonessentials, you shouldn’t neglect any problem that puts you in danger or could get worse over time. Delay can turn a relatively small problem into a much larger and costlier one. Source: Investopedia
Update the locks and have spare keys
One of the first things many homeowners do is change the locks on their new home. You don’t need to be particularly handy to install new door hardware, and a set of basic doorknobs and locks for your front and back door will only set you back $20-$80 or so. It may seem unnecessary, but there’s no way to know whether there are copies of your old key floating around, and who might have them if so. Investing a bit of money and time today can protect you from burglary down the road.
While you’re at it, get an extra copy of your key made and leave it with someone you trust, so you don’t have to shell out $100 to a locksmith when you inevitably lock yourself out. Source: TheSimpleDollar
There are many damages you can definitely repair on you own, but there are some that are better left to the professionals. Give us a call so we can help you out!
Kerrisdale Roofing & Drains
8279 Ross St, Vancouver, BC V5X 4W1
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