“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
Read Google’s full announcement here – Googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ie/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
I’ve noticed this in news posts around the web in recent times and have had clients asking me about it. I guess it’s the way things are going with more and more people accessing online content via mobile devices and Google are probably right to reward sites with higher rankings if they satisfy this trend. Nevertheless I can’t help feeling a little annoyed for 2 reasons:
1. Google I’m sure know that to make a website mobile friendly or include a separate mobile domain completely is possibly a big job and big outlay for companies. Doing a little seo tweaking is one thing but expecting companies to either completely re-build their sites to make them mobile friendly or building an entirely new website is asking a bit much in my opinion.
2. Web design clients are quite likely (some of mine have already) to expect their website to be mobile friendly already even though it might have been built before smart phones were even invented and they might expect the site to be “fixed” for free as if it were broken in some way.
So potentially massive hassle all round because of this.
What to do?
I guess if you are conscientious about seo and Google rankings etc you may need to act on this rather soonish. If you happen to have a WordPress site or possibly any modern CMS powered site there may be plugins you can install that will show basic mobile versions of your site’s content. Failing that you’re probably looking at a full rebuild with a responsive design. Again, a little easier if you have a WordPress or CMS site but not so easy if you have a static, custom built one.
You can test your site to see if Google thinks it’s mobile friendly or not here – Google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
Contact me for advice if you feel the need.
When it comes time to think about expanding your market outside your own country you’ll need to be doing a bit of “International SEO” but it can be pretty tricky to target multiple countries at once. Probably the best way to do it would be to have a different website, web address and hosting for each country to be targeted and possibly different language translations too (auto translation wont cut it with Google!) but that’s a huge amount of work. Here’s a few quick tips on how to do it more efficiently.
Your Web Address:
Buying a few international versions of your main domain name is a must if for no other reason than to protect your ‘trademark’ so to speak. Concentrate on the large English speaking markets (if you are an English speaking business of course!) like the UK (.co.uk), US (.com) and Australia (.au).
You should purchase hosting that has an IP address located in the country whose market you want to target foremost or the country in which your business is located. The domain TLD take precedence over the hosting IP location here so for example you can target the UK effectively with a .co.uk address while hosting in the US. Hosting IP location can be checked at Whois.sc.
Google Webmaster Tools:
Sign up for webmaster tools and add each domain name remembering to set the Geographic Target in Configuration – Settings. Google will attempt to do this for you based on the domain TLD/Extension.
So as to have only one website to maintain and market, pick a web address/country as the main site/market and redirect all other domains to this via a 301 redirect. You can then market each individual address in the respective country, ie market the .co.uk on UK located websites etc..
I’ve always concentrated on just building websites and when I started out first it was nearly enough to just have a website. There were fewer sites around, less competition and more room for success but the internet is so crowded these days that you really need to work at getting your new site noticed and having it bring in revenue.
I’m hoping to move more into the “Performance” side of web design so if you feel you need help with any of the following for your existing website, give me a shout:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO),
- SEO Reports,
- Keyword Research,
- Competitor Research,
- Google Analytics,
- Internet Marketing/Online Advertising,
- Social Media/Networking Integration,
- Website Upgrades/Added Functionality,
- Content Management Systems (CMS),
- Email Marketing/Newsletter Systems,
- Viral Marketing (Image & Video),
- One to One Mentoring.
Firstly, a definition of “Content Scraping”. My own:
Content Scraping is the process whereby your website content is copied, usually via RSS feed pulling, and re-published at another URL, usually for financial gain.
Secondly, an admission. I currently engage in some content scraping myself but completely for the right reasons, ie – local resource creation and with no ads plastered all over the place. I also provide credit and back links to the original sites.
So what’s the best way to deal with scrapers who steal your content for all the wrong reasons? Most would say, search for exact copies of your content or post titles in Google to find scraped articles then contact the site owner to have it removed. There are technical ways you can block scrapers too but my favourite idea is to use the scrapers for your own benefit. Here’s how.
While writing posts, simply include a few ‘key worded’ links to other pages on your own site. When your content is scraped, so too will be the internal links so the scraping site will automatically give you some great key word back links and real readers will be pushed back to your site too. SEO benefits all around!
If you are an affiliate marketer, add some affiliate links in your post content and if those links are clicked on the scraping site, you’ll earn dosh!
Since your RSS feed is probably the means by which your content is scraped, why not edit your feed layout to include links back to your site or include affiliate or ad banners? This is easy to do if you use the WordPress SEO plugin.
Google have just started recognising the ‘rel=author’ tag on sites which means you can use it to show your Google + profile photo and url on any google search results showing pages/posts from your site. I think it’s a cool thing because it kinda highlights your result among others..at least until everyone starts doing it! It also gives your result/business a personal edge or a bit of branding right in the results page:
Here’s how to set it up, not rocket science: Add the following line to the ‘Head’ section of your website html:
[html]<link rel="author" href="<a href="https://plus.google.com/xxx/posts">https://plus.google.com/xxx/posts</a>"/>%5B/html%5D
Where the ‘href’ url is the url to your Google + profile. Next, make sure you have a link pointing back to the site you’ve added this tag to, in your Google + profile. It should go in the About – ‘Other Profiles’ or ‘Contributor’ Section. Finally, make sure your Plus one’s are public in the Google + profile settings and that you have chosen a suitable Google + profile pic! You can test whether it’s set up right or not here – Rich snippet test. Leon
I’ve just recently re-coded my main site and blog to take Heading Tags into account. I thought they were added okish to begin with but an article from WordPress guru Yoast de Valk made me have another look. I’d like to try paraphrase his article here and simplify it so it’s a bit easier to digest both for me and for you.
Basically, you can endear yourself to Google and the other search engines a little bit more if you write your markup/code semantically which basically means being tidy, adding code hints and most importantly perhaps, adding the correct Formatting and Heading tags to the content you want highlighted the most/least. The idea is to make the most important keywords on the page your H1 heading, the next most important H2, and so on so when the Google bot visits your page it can then see at a glance so to speak, the most important areas and hopefully index same.
There should be only one H1 tag on a page and this should be your Page Title, Blog Title, Business name, etc..Your H2’s might be the titles of the individual sections on the page or perhaps your Article titles if you have a Blog. H3’s would be Sub-headings, H4′ s might be sidebar headings, etc..etc..
It’s important to style your headings accordingly so people too (not just Google bots!) can easily scan through longer pages of text and pick out the important parts but also that the heading tags actually contain valuable keywords. There’s no point having headings if you don’t follow both rules. If you do it correctly your page will be nicely ‘outlined’ for both search engines and real people.
Here’s a couple of screenshots from my main site and blog to explain things better and show how I’ve personally set things up.