Onsite VS Offsite SEO

If you’ve read some of my blogs based around SEO that was written early in my Track5Media career, you’d see that I was just dipping my toes into the SEO waters. I’ve covered everything from link building tactics to SEO audits. However, now that I’m almost two years into my SEO role, I feel like I FINALLY have a grasp on two of the most important aspects of the industry – Onsite and Offsite SEO. Onsite VS Offsite SEO is something that not all companies think about. In many cases, they’ll focus on one aspect, but not the other. However, if you’re able to execute both, you’ll see your brand grow in popularity as you climb the ranks on the SERPS. Below we’ll take a look at Onsite VS Offsite SEO and how you can optimize both to grow your online presence.

Onsite VS Offsite SEO

What is SEO?

Onsite SEO is done by adjusting certain components of the site so that the intent of your content can be clearly understood by search engines. Using various SEO tactics, you’ll be average to leverage your site to ensure that you’re ranking high on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) when they search for specific keywords. SEO is a major component of any digital marketing campaign, but it’s still something that not every company pays attention to. We’ll break it down into two separate categories and go over Onsite VS Offsite SEO.

Onsite SEO

Onsite SEO is the process of making your website search engine friendly. To do this, you’ll be adjusting various elements on your page to make sure that Google can crawl the page and index it with ease. “Crawling” is essentially when Google’s bots comb through your pages to determine the relevancy of your website. If your website is about used cars, they’ll try to make sure that your website appears when people search for that term. Here are just a few key elements that you need to consider when optimizing your pages to be SEO friendly,

Title Tags and Descriptions – You want to include the keyword in both the title tag and description because that will be the first thing that Google crawls. Try to fit in the keywords at the beginning of both.

H1 and H2s – When crawling your site, search engine bots look at your headers as a shortcut for understanding the content. Your H1 should be larger and stand out from the rest of the text. It should also contain the keyword you’re trying to rank for because H1s are one of the first elements of your site that are crawled.

Content – We’ve written plenty of blogs about it, but the fact remains that content is key. When it comes to onsite SEO, writing keyword-rich, informative content is what with separate you from your competitors. Internal pages are often the first destination a visitor to the website will land on from the search engines, links from other sites or PPC campaigns. The goal is to provide high quality, useful, and easily digestible information that will meet the needs of the reader such as an answer to a question, a product they desire, or a service they need.

onsite vs offsite seo

Offsite SEO

When it comes to onsite VS offsite SEO, offsite SEO is very different. Instead of optimizing your own pages, you’ll be interacting with other websites to grow the authority of your website. Offsite SEO is the concept of having other sites link back to yours, indicating that you are an authority in your industry. The Google search engine algorithm places a decent amount of weight on authority for a site. This can come from the site having been around and active for a long period or time, or from outside engagement. In the onsite VS offsite SEO realm, having an authoritative site will ensure that your brand gets the exposure it needs to be successful. Below are a few offsite SEO techniques that you should take advantage of.

Link Building – I like to think of this tactic as my specialty. Just in the last year, I’ve built over 100 links for our brands. So what? Well, links provide “link juice” that goes to your site and tells Google that you have an authoritative voice when it comes to the subject you’re covering. These links not only drive your site up the search rankings, but they also will cause an increase in traffic and in many cases, conversions. It’s also important that you’re getting links from “good” sites. When links are coming from trusted, relevant sources and are backed by high-quality content; the results are positive.

Influencer Outreach and Social Media – This tactic won’t get links directly, but outreach to influencers via email and social media will create buzz around your site. This will then increase the chances that you get links to your site. This is a great way to indirectly create more links to your brand.

Content, Content, Content – Not only does content help with onsite SEO, but it always helps with offsite as well. Creating great content to pitch to potential link partners. Nobody wants to link to thin content, which is why it’s important to write content that’s both unique and thorough.

When discussing onsite VS offsite SEO it’s important to know that both types of initiatives play a vital role in the success of your website. If you have any other SEO tips to share, feel free to drop them in the comments below!

What Makes a Good Backlink?

What makes a good backlink? Just over two years ago I had no idea what a backlink even was, but fast-forward to the present, and backlinks are the gold that I continue to mine every single day! Backlinks are a crucial part of growing your online presence no matter how big or small your company is. On one hand, it’s an exercise in relationship-building, on the other hand, it puts your problem-solving skills to the test. So, what makes a good backlink? Well, below we’ll answer that question and provide a basic overview of backlinks and why they’re so important.

What Makes a Good Backlink?

A Brief Overview

So, what makes a good backlink? Well, before we get into that, it’s important to know what a backlink is, and why it’s so important to your marketing campaign. A backlink is essentially when a website other than your own, links back to your site. These external links will then pass on “link juice” which essentially is the weight that Google uses to rank your website. The more “good” backlinks directed towards your website, the more authoritative it appears to Google. Backlinks are essentially the way for other websites to vouch for yours, telling Google that you have a clean, authoritative, and informative site that should be ranked well.

what makes a good backlink

Backlinks are vital to your marketing campaign because it gives you the exposure that your brand needs to succeed. While the “word of mouth” marketing tactic can work in some cases, you still need to ensure that you’re being seen on the search engine results pages (SERPs). For nearly 20 years Google has used backlinks as a ranking signal for keyword searches. Even laymen with little SEO knowledge now know that backlinks are the key to ranking in Google. The best link builders, however, are able to pinpoint specific pages on his or her website and build links that go directly to that specific page. That page will then hopefully shoot up the Google rankings, ultimately generating more traffic, and more importantly, more business. We’ll break down some of the factors that make for a good backlink below!

Relevancy

One important factor when it comes to a good backlink is the relevancy of a site. Up until a few years ago, link building was a lawless arena of dirty tactics and blackhat SEO. Okay, maybe it wasn’t as scary as it sounds, but it really was much easier for websites to snag backlinks that weren’t necessarily “good” in the eyes of Google. After various algorithm and policy changes, Google now strongly takes into consideration the relevancy of the site. So, what makes a good backlink? Well, a good backlink should direct the audience to a relevant piece of information. For example, if you’re selling computer software online, it wouldn’t be relevant to get a backlink from an online pet store. Relevancy lets Google know that you can provide the information that your specific audience is looking for.

Diversity

What makes a good backlink? Well, one thing that even experienced SEO marketers forget is that it’s important to have a backlink profile. In SEO, there are “dofollow” and “nofollow” links. Dofollow links send link juice through the backlink, while nofollow backlinks do not. You’re probably thinking “well, we only want backlinks that provide link juice, right?” Well, Google has stated in the past that they also that the diversity of your links into consideration. This means that although your “nofollow” links may not provide any link juice towards your domain, it will still look good in the eyes of Google.

Trust

This is probably the most important trait of a good backlink. With literally millions of domains out there to get backlinks from, you’ll want to ensure that you’re only getting links from trustworthy sites. For example, sites like CNN, HuffPost, and government websites usually have high trust valued by Google. If it’s a blog written by a sixth-grade class in Iowa, then it’s probably not a very trustworthy site. Back in the day, the number of backlinks had a bigger role than the quality, which caused a surge in unsavory tactics to get as many backlinks as possible directed toward their site regardless of trust. If you have untrustworthy sites linking back to you, Google has the ability to hit your site with hefty penalties that could greatly decrease your traffic and cost you a lot of money.

So, what makes a good backlink? Well, a good backlink should be relevant, diverse, and trustworthy. If you follow these guidelines during your link building endeavor, you should have no problem pushing your SEO marketing campaign to new heights.

The SEO Toolkit: Best SEO Tools For 2018

We here at Track5Media, LLC like to think of our company as a well-oiled machine. Actually, we think of it as more of a sleek sports car. We try to be fast, dependable, and of course stylish with our brand. However, it’s not all about good looks. What really matters when it comes to a great company is what’s under the hood. Luckily, I’m going to give you a peek under the hood when it comes to the SEO tools that we use to ensure that our brands are coming across your radar. We’ll look at some of the SEO tools we’re currently using, as well as some that we’re looking to invest in. Below are some of the best SEO tools for 2018 so you can ensure that your SEO toolkit is ready to tackle any issue.

Best SEO Tools For 2018

Yoast Plugin

Let’s start with a tool that you might not be aware of. Your website and/or blog has to be hosted and created somewhere, right? Yes, you can always create a website from scratch and then host it yourself. However, most companies, especially smaller ones will opt to use a service like WordPress. WordPress is probably the most common website software. We use it for our blogs because of the user experience as well as the ability to add plugins. That’s where the Yoast plugin comes in. When it comes to the best SEO tools for 2018, this plugin should be a staple in your arsenal.

yoast plugin - best seo tools for 2018

The Yoast plugin is perfect for SEO. It will essentially look at your written content to ensure that it is SEO friendly. By combining basic SEO practices with more complicated standards of measurement Yoast enables both new and experienced writers and SEO gurus to quickly analyze their SEO performance and ensure a piece of writing will have the greatest impact before it’s even published. With Yoast, you can ensure that you’re ranking for the desired keyword as well as providing the best possible written content for your audience.

 

Google Analytics

SEO is almost all about making sure you’re on Google’s radar, so what better way to do that than to grab your information right from the source! We hope at this point you’ve at least heard of Google Analytics, but if you haven’t we’ll explain why it’s one of the best SEO tools for 2018. The most valuable SEO data is that which helps you better understand your visitors and how they interact with your site. Lucky for you, this FREE resource will crawl your site and provide feedback based on how users are interacting with your website.

You can use it to monitor your organic traffic performance and compare it to past performance. Once you notice any major differences in your traffic, you will most likely want to move on to another tool to find out what is causing the changes. This is where our next tool comes in.

Screaming Frog

No, this isn’t the name of your local punk-rock band. Actually, it’s one of the best SEO tools of 2018. Once your website and brand are established, performing a website audit is a great way to figure out any issues that you may have on your website. Remember, SEO isn’t just about content, a tool like Screaming Frog can check whether or not you have duplicate content, broken links, server issues, and more. This is a great way to look at the backend of your site and see exactly how Google is crawling your website. When it comes to the best SEO tools for 2018, Screaming Frog or another website crawling software is a must-have.

SEMrush

We were lucky enough to get this shiny new toy a few weeks ago. This Swiss-Army knife of SEO is a great tool to have in your toolkit. While it does cost a monthly fee, the program is great for keyword research, link building, and looking at your website’s overall performance. You can view the full report of keywords or you can export them into an excel spreadsheet. Long tail keyword phrases have many benefits. For instance, long tail keywords are much more targeted to a specific subtopic. The nice thing about discovering the long tail keyword phrases in your particular niche is they typically have a much lower level of competition, so it is easier to rank within the top ten results of a search engine.

SEMrush is also great for competitor research. You can look at the text they’re using for ad campaigns as well as what kind of backlinks they’re getting. You can also see which keywords they’re ranking for. You’ll be able to use a tool like this to start outranking your closest competitors.

If you want to know the best SEO tools for 2018, this is a good place to start! We’d love to hear what kind of SEO tools you use, so feel to let us know by listing them in the comments below!

SEO Trends For 2018

With 2018 well underway, we hope that you’ve been thinking about SEO. Whether you’re a small business looking to leverage local SEO into revenue or a major company wanting to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, it’s important to pay attention to the SEO landscape. SEO tactics change on a regular basis. As Google continues to tinker with their algorithm, SEO experts must continue to tinker with their tactics when it comes to SEO. With a new year underway, it’s time to look at some of the top SEO trends for 2018.

SEO Trends for 2018

The Mobile Monster

One of the biggest SEO trends for 2018 has to do with the importance of mobile when it comes to your website. With Google’s AMP project trying to push more and more company’s to think mobile-first, optimizing your site is a crucial step in creating a successful brand. Now when you search for a topic or keyword on Google using your mobile device, Google will rank sites using AMP in their Top stories section of each search result pages. Any story you choose will load blazing fast, which in turn, helps the SEO for your business as it will reduce bounce rates and lead to higher conversion rates. You can even use website auditor tools to test your new mobile pages to ensure that they’re up to snuff.SEO trends for 2018

In other words, you can expect Google to gradually put more and more weight behind mobile, and signals that used to only impact mobile searches could shortly impact all searches.

The Power of Voice

Voice search will go hand-in-hand with mobile search when it comes to SEO trends for 2018. One in five mobile search queries currently comes from voice search — a number that is likely to rise as Google Assistant-enabled devices such as Google Home continue to grow in popularity.

Google has announced that they’ll be taking voice search into consideration when ranking their SERPs. This means that you’ll need to write content that is voice-friendly. An example of this is writing content that will answer questions, such as, “What is local SEO?” or “How do I link build?” These type of queries will help your brand to come up more frequently during voice searches. Keyword research is vital to optimizing your content for voice search, so make sure you’re putting in the time and effort.

Machine Learning and AI

With RankBrain just celebrating its second birthday, Google’s machine-learning AI system has been helping to crawl and structure search results pages. As RankBrain grows older, you can expect more and more reliance on this system from Google. As Google continues to embrace AI and incorporate more of it into their search algorithms, we can expect search results to start behaving in less predictable ways. This will not always be a good thing, but it is something we should be prepared for. AI shouldn’t change how you approach SEO for your brand, but it’s certainly something to be aware of. Eventually, instead of announced updates on a monthly basis from Google, we can expect continuous changes from the machine-learning algorithm.

Linkless Mentions

When it comes to SEO trends for 2018, this one is less clear than the others. Bing has already stated that they’ve begun to track and factor linkless mentions into their search results. While Google hasn’t confirmed whether or not they will consider factoring linkless mentions, they have taken a patent on an algorithm that will do exactly that. If this ends up the case, you’ll also want to explore tactics that will generate brand mentions and not just backlinks.

Featured Snippets

In Google’s hope to make the SERP more appealing, one of the biggest SEO trends for 2018 will be increased exposure of the featured snippet. Featured snippets satisfy the user’s need for a simple answer to a question, and the displayed content is taken from web pages that Google interprets as being the most suitable for answering the user’s question. As these featured snippets become more and more prevalent, you’ll want to make sure your pages are optimized for Google.

What do you think will be an SEO trend for 2018? Looking for an awesome team to join? Check out our job openings today!

How Effective is SEO? | Digital Marketing 101

Digital marketing is a diverse field with many distinct components to explore. Generally speaking, digital marketing simply refers to all of your online marketing efforts. However, this can include social media, video content, blogging, email campaigns, and much, much more. While these different types of digital marketing may be unique, they all share one common element: the internet. Search engines allow digital marketers to disseminate information about their goods and services like never before. Yet, with so many good and services available and countless digital marketers promoting them, how does your product stand out? The answer is, of course, SEO. Given that you’re reading this blog, you probably have a decent understanding of what SEO is. Just to recap though, SEO is the process of generating traffic from free and organic search results. The video below explains this further. But, how effective is SEO? Well, that depends on who you ask. Here at Track5Media, LLC we have our view. However, before we get to that, let’s explore a few of the other opinions.

How Effective is SEO?

“SEO is Dead!”

If you work in digital marketing, you’re sure to have heard someone claim “SEO is dead”. While this view is certainly inaccurate, there may be some merit to it. SEO as it existed years ago, is dead. Before 2012, many marketers discovered high strategies that we now call “Black Hat SEO”. When search engines first began optimizing results, simple and quick tactics like dropping links to your site in comments or overloading your content with keywords helped boost website rankings rapidly. However, this was problematic. Since people were writing content for search engines rather than for the users themselves, there was a lot of content created that wasn’t helpful. In order to address this, Google began penalizing websites for many of these “Black Hat SEO” tactics. Today, the savvy blogger knows that this approach will only hurt them in the rankings. Since 2012, search engines have only become more sophisticated. Although the SEO of the past may not necessarily be relevant anymore, this does not mean that SEO is ineffective.

“Better to Just Focus on PPC”

A common frustration for digital marketers looking to gain leads quickly is the fact that SEO takes time. Unfortunately, there is no immediate route to the top of the search results. After all, if there were, we’d all be there right? In fact, developing strong SEO results can take months of work to accomplish.  But does this mean that SEO is not worth the effort? Some people suggest that it does. With the speed and availability of PPC (pay per click), many marketers suggest that it is better to focus on this option. However, while PPC certainly does generate quick leads, it should not be used at the exclusion of SEO. SEO and PPC both have certain pros and cons that cannot be ignored. For example, generating organic search through SEO can help develop the trust and credibility of your brand in the mind of consumers. PPC, on the other hand, can make your brand visible to highly relevant users. Given the obvious merits of SEO, it would be a mistake to entirely exclude it from your marketing plan. If you want to see results immediately through PPC, consider using an integrative approach that employs SEO as well.

“SEO is the Way to Go!” (The Track5Media View)

How Effective is SEO

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the view of Track5Media’s marketing team; SEO is the way to go! While we’ve mentioned a few of them already, there are countless more reasons to love SEO. Obviously, search engines change their algorithms frequently. This means that an effective SEO strategy must continuously stay up to date with any industry transitions. If this seems like a daunting task, don’t worry! The SEO community is huge and growing. There are countless resources available to help you learn how to optimize your web content. Here at Track5Media, we use SEO for all of our brands like AllTruckJobs.com and TravelNurseSource.com.

So, how effective is SEO? Obviously, there are competing opinions. Well, it has helped us become one of the fastest growing businesses in the country! That’s just one of the reasons that we’re convinced that SEO is very effective.

How effective is SEO in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

Link Building 101: What I’ve Learned so Far

Link building is kind of like gambling. You sit and work at it for a long time, there’s very little guidance on how to “win,” but it’s really exciting when you do. The main difference between link building and gambling is that no one comes around serving me free drinks while I build links… although they probably should. I started link building about three months ago, so I’m a newbie. I knew essentially nothing about link building before I got started. However, I used to work as a journalist so I found similarities. I reach out to websites that are relevant in some way to our brands, find a reason why they might want to link to us, and pitch the idea. Sometimes I actually get a response back! That’s winning. In my short time doing link building, here are five things that I learned. Welcome to link building 101!

Link Building 101: Five Things I’ve Learned so Far

link building 101 lessons

1.     You might be getting links and not know it

The first thing I realized, is that not everyone who chooses to add your link is going to tell you they did it. Most of the links I’ve acquired so far, I found by checking our fresh index backlinks on Majestic.com. Each week when I start my link building, I check our newest backlinks and compare them to my list to see if any of the links are from websites I contacted recently. I was pleased to find that they were. I had been feeling very discouraged about my link building progress until I learned from a coworker to check this. Essentially, I was winning and didn’t know it.

2.     Organization is key

Link building 101 lesson number two – organization. In order to be successful at link building, you need to be organized. This is especially important if more than one person is doing link building for the same brands. Make sure you’re keeping track of who you’ve reached out to and when, so you’re not harassing someone or sending them the same request from multiple people. Follow up is important, but you don’t want to overdo it. That’s why keeping track of all lines of communication is key.

3.     Keep your emails short and to the point

I keep my emails short and to the point for a few reasons. The first reason is that I recognize the person I’m reaching out to is probably getting a bunch of similar emails every day. The longer my email is, the less likely they are to read it. Secondly, if their job is anything like mine, email tends to take up a lot of time that they don’t really have free. That’s why when I reach out about a link, I tell them about my brand, suggest a place for my link, and thank them for their time. It’s short, simple and direct.

4.     Broken links are your best friend

I’ve had the most success in getting links by finding broken ones and suggesting one of my brands as a replacement. Many times, people aren’t looking to add more links to their page. However, if they know one of the links already there is broken they are more likely to take time to replace it than they are to add a brand-new link. This is why broken links are your best friend. I personally use a Chrome extension that checks sites for broken links, but I’m sure there are other resources out there.

5.     Don’t get discouraged

The final lesson of link building 101 – don’t get discouraged. It may seem like you’re doing a terrible job and you’re never going to catch on, but that’s probably not true. Like I said in the beginning, link building is like gambling. You’re not going to win every time. It could take a while, and sometimes it simply comes down to luck. However, you will eventually get links! They trickle in over time, and you’ll slowly start to see all those weeks of outreach pay off.

What additional link building 101 tips do you have? Share with us in the comments below!

Website Upgrade Tips: Show Some Love

Love is in the air and that means that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. This capitalism-created holiday will surely have you scrambling for last minute gift ideas and dinner reservation. While you should always be showing love to your significant other, now’s a perfect time to think about showing love to someone else. I’m talking about your website! Like any significant other, your website needs some TLC and attention. Your website is an extension of your brand, so you want to make sure it represents you as best it can. On average, over 100,000 domains are registered every single day, which means there’s a lot of competition out there. Luckily, there are plenty of website upgrade tips that we can offer so your site remains up to date and taken care of.

Four Website Upgrade Tips

1. Content Is King

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the content you have on your website is crucial to providing a stellar user experience. If you haven’t yet, make sure to start a blog that is updated frequently. One of the best website upgrade tips we can provide is to create a blog with content that people want to read. Keep it short! It’s pretty well known that web users have very short attention spans and that we don’t read articles thoroughly and in their entirety. A study investigating the changes in our reading habits behaviors in the digital age concluded that we tend to skim web pages to find the information we want. Use bullet points and small paragraphs so readers can easily skim and digest what they need. Various headers are also a great way to break up content as well as enhance your onsite SEO. We’ll get to that in a minute.

2. Add Other Media

A blog is a great place to start but let’s not stop there. When it comes to website upgrade tips, adding a variety of different media is a great way to improve the user experience. It’s no surprise that the majority of content we consume online (especially mobile) is of the video or image variety. If you’re not a writer, it may be easier for you to update your website with images and videos. Just remember to make your images and videos search engine friendly (don’t worry, we’re almost there) so the search engines can see your new content.

website upgrade tips

3. Onsite SEO

Okay, so you’ve heard me mention SEO and making things “search engine friendly,” but what do I mean by that? One of the best website upgrade tips I can give you is to ensure that your website is SEO friendly. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of making sure your content is able to be crawled by Google. It will then show up during the user’s search process. We have an entire post dedicated to helping you perform an SEO audit, but a few things you should think about are your keywords, your image alternate text, and your user search intent. SEO is and always will be a major factor in your website’s success. Make sure you continuously look into your onsite SEO to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your website.

4. Mobile Friendly

2017 was the year of the mobile experience, so it’s important that you’re keeping up with the times. It’s no surprise that optimizing your site for mobile is extremely important. Almost everyone has a smartphone. Recently, Google started penalizing sites that aren’t mobile optimized, making the need for responsiveness even more crucial. This is probably the single most valuable way in which you can improve your website’s usability.

I hope these tips will give you the chance to show your website some love. I definitely wouldn’t recommend buying it chocolates or flowers, but you can certainly make sure it’s optimized for 2018. If you have any other tips on how to upgrade your website, feel free to comment below!

Why Your Site Needs an SEO Audit

It’s about time you have yourself your good ol’ fashioned audit. No, I’m not talking about an audit in a traditional sense, so you can stop burning those receipts and allocating your funds into those secret bank accounts, I’m talking about an SEO audit for your website. Before we get into things, however, I’ll give you a brief rundown of what an audit is, and what it will do. An SEO audit essentially combs your site to find areas where you can improve your onsite and offsite SEO. You’ll be to identify broken links, pages that aren’t optimized, and duplicate content among other things. While everyone should perform an SEO audit every now and then no matter how successful your site is, below are a few warning signs that you should perform an SEO audit ASAP.

5 Reasons You Need An SEO Audit

SEO audit

1. Broken Links

If you notice, or if your audience is noticing a lot of broken links, it might be time for an SEO audit. Broken links are a nuisance for visitors of your site, and they can often deter viewers from staying on your site. Essentially, broken links can decrease your conversion and lose you a lot of money if you let them get out of hand. An SEO audit will essentially find all of these broken links so you can repair them as soon as possible.

2. Algorithm Update

These updates are constantly occurring, which changes the things that you need to rank well on a SERP. Things you may have done in the past could be hurting your website after an update. When there’s been a massive change in search engine algorithms, it’s time to perform an SEO audit. This will enable you to maximize the compatibility of your site’s current SEO with that of any new algorithms. These algorithms occur pretty frequently, so make sure you’re checking in for any major updates that could hurt your site.

3. Visitors Are Down

Many website owners will notice that their traffic amount and conversion has decreased recently and immediately assume that it’s a marketing or advertising issue. However, it might be the way your website is optimized, so an SEO audit can make sure that you’re not spending money trying to fix the wrong problem. There are a few reasons that traffic could be decreased. You might need to reoptimize your pages. The way we search for things and what devices we use to search for them are constantly changing, so make sure that you’re optimizing your pages by using SEO best practices.

4. Duplicate Content

Duplicate content can strongly hurt your SEO rankings. While we hope you at least know that you shouldn’t be copying the same content onto multiple pages, there are still a few ways that you might be duplicating content without meaning to. If you have a product or service on your site that is on multiple pages, the descriptions of the content might be flagged as duplicate content. Although it can be a pain, make sure the content of your pages is at least slightly unique. One other aspect of duplicate content that many won’t realize is not using canonical tags for their site. Using the canonical tag prevents problems caused by identical or duplicate content appearing on multiple URLs. This is to prevent Google from viewing pages starting with “http,” “https,” and other URL starters as different pages with the same content.

5. Outdated Content

One final reason that you might need an SEO audit is to identify outdated content. Not only can you identify content that needs to be updated, you can even use an SEO audit to identify content that might be worth repurposing as a guest blog on another site, or a more extensive article on your own site. Either way, breathing new life into your content can go a long way.

Need some an advice on an SEO audit? Shoot us an email or a message on Facebook!

Duplicate Content VS Copied Content

Just this past week, Google introduced the new 2017 Google Search Quality Raters Guidelines. Big deal right? We know about SEO and organic search and using keywords, what else is there to know? Actually, there is one piece of key info that has many SEO nerds talking. We finally can tell the difference between duplicate content and copied content. The new guidelines actually fail to even mention the term “duplicate content” and with a little research, we can finally bust the myth of the duplicate content penalty.

Duplicate Content

Prior to these guidelines, it was widely believed that duplicate content was a major red flag when Google was crawling your site. Pages with similar or identical texts were seen as grounds for penalization, so many SEO experts urged users to stay away from duplicate content. However, this put many websites in a strange situation. In some cases, it makes sense to have multiple pages of similar or exact content (think job boards or travel sites). Tweaking a few words just for the sake of avoiding penalty seemed like a very time-consuming task. To add more confusion, Google released a variety of buzzwords like “thin content” and “boilerplate content” that made it even more difficult to pin down a clear definition and guideline.

Copied Content

Similar to duplicate content, copied content is widely known to be a reason to penalize sites. Copied content is any content that is copied from another domain. According to the guidelines, this is considered copied content:

  • Content copied exactly from an identifiable source. Sometimes an entire page is copied, and sometimes just parts of the page are copied. Sometimes multiple pages are copied and then pasted together into a single page. Text that has been copied exactly is usually the easiest type of copied content to identify.
  • Content which is copied, but changed slightly from the original. This type of copying makes it difficult to find the exact matching original source. Sometimes just a few words are changed, or whole sentences are changed, or a “find and replace” modification is made, where one word is replaced with another throughout the text. These types of changes are deliberately done to make it difficult to find the original source of the content. We call this kind of content “copied with minimal alteration.”
  • Content copied from a changing source, such as a search results page or news feed. You often will not be able to find an exact matching original source if it is a copy of “dynamic” content (content which changes frequently). However, we will still consider this to be copied content. Important: The Lowest rating is appropriate if all or almost all of the MC on the page is copied with little or no time, effort, expertise, manual curation, or added value for users. Such pages should be rated Lowest, even if the page assigns credit for the content to another source. (Search Guidelines)

New Guideline

Under the new guideline, as long as your site is the original source of the content, you will be able to have the same content on multiple pages without being penalized. While you still don’t want to have the same content across your entire site, this busts the myths that duplicate content can lead to heavy penalties. For SEO experts, this might finally settle a long-time debate and provide more clarity for all who are engaging in online marketing.

The Future of SEO: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, or AI, is going to completely change search engine optimization in the near future. What SEOs need to understand about AI is that it is not a formula; it’s a system that is constantly learning and evolving. AI will totally change the future of SEO. It analyzes data like content, links, user behavior, citation, trust, and patterns to list the result a user most likely needs.

Today let’s take a look at the history and current state of SEO, then look at how artificial intelligence will shape the future of SEO.

History of SEO

In the past, it was incredibly easy to rank high on a search engine. Search engines based results on keywords, so all you had to do was put the phrase you wanted to rank for in the title and body of your content and VOILA! You were almost guaranteed a top spot.

The idea was that the more time the keyword was on your page, the higher you ranked. This led to some incredibly unethical SEO practices. You saw companies hiding text in the background of their sites or placing keywords off-screen. All sort of sketchy methods and tactics were developed, which led to Google making algorithm changes.

After battling black hat SEOs for years, in April 2012, Google finally introduced Penguin 1.0. Penguin was developed to battle web spam tactics like keyword stuffing, link schemes, cloaking and sneaky redirects, and duplicate content. Penguin decreased the rankings of sites that they felt were violating Google’s quality guidelines.

Current Landscape of SEO

Google’s various algorithms have helped to kill off spam-filled websites for the most part. The changes also made it essential for marketers to produce high-quality content. Where older search engine optimization techniques were centered around a keyword, current SEO practices focus on technical SEO, content development, and link building.

Technical SEO has grown from making sure you put a particular keyword on a page to focusing on creating the greatest experience for the user. Technical SEO now includes user behavior and web page performance metrics like time on site, page speed, and mobile responsiveness.

Keyword strategy no longer plays a major role in organic rankings. Google is looking for quality content that will provide value to the user. Engaging high-quality content will always outrank lower quality content with a solid keyword strategy.

The Future of SEO

Rather than rely on a formula to produce an organic search result listing for a user, the future of SEO will rely on artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence will rely on big data, user experience, and machine learning. Search engines will be able to learn from user behaviors and be able to list the content users are most likely looking for.

Let’s take a look at some the trends that will shape the future of SEO:

RIP to Keyword Phrases

Google introduced RankBrain to its search algorithm in 2015. RankBrain is a machine-learning AI system that will likely make keyword phrases irrelevant. Google has said that it is the third most important ranking factor in their algorithm.

Marketers should continue to write naturally for readers using related terms and concepts.

Search Intent

Understanding user intent will become a much more critical part of ranking as artificial intelligence becomes a larger part of search. When marketers are creating content for their sites, they need to think about more than keyword. Marketers need to think about what visitors are hoping to find on your site when they click from the search engine result page.

Marketers will need to look for clues in user intent from their query. There are four types of queries in regards to user search intent:

  • Navigational: a user trying to find specific content on a specific site
  • Informational: a user is trying to obtain information to read
  • Commercial: a user has an intent to purchase, or seeking information for a later purchase
  • Transactional: a user subscribing to a newsletter, paying a bill, or creating a new account

Schema Markups

At the end of 2016, I made some predictions about the top SEO trends for 2017. One of the trends I talked about was schema markups, which help search engines better understand the content on your web page. It seems Google is already making changes and we could be seeing new schema support for job listings, carousels, data feeds, and more.

The Goal of Artificial Intelligence

The future of SEO is bright with the emergence of artificial intelligence. There are some definite concerns that AI systems will learn too much, turn on humans, and kill us, but that’s a blog post for another day.

The goal of artificial intelligence as it relates to the future of SEO is to deliver a piece of content to a user that most likely fits their needs. Instead of sending users to a particular page just because it is on an authoritative site, AI will seek to send users to a page that will not only answer their initial query but will also answer potential follow-up queries.

In the long run, artificial intelligence is going to revolutionize the search engine optimization to deliver a positive user experience. Will we see a future where Google no longer controls its own search engine? We aren’t sure, but in the meantime, keep making high-quality content for your readers.