Google Releases Reminder About Links in Large-Scale Article Campaigns

Google recently released a brief reminder on the Webmaster Central Blog regarding links in large-scale article campaigns. Google stated that they have recently seen an influx of spammy links that are found in contributor posts and guest posts. These types of syndicated posts are typically written by or on behalf of a particular website, but published on a different one. Within the blog post, Google reminded webmasters that they are not against these types of links, but that isn’t to say that webmasters shouldn’t be mindful when it comes to quality. What does become an issue and a violation of Google’s guidelines is when the primary intent of the content is to build links in a large-scale way to support the author’s site.

Here are a few factors Google named, that when taken to an extreme, can cause a violation.

  • Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles
  • Having the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
  • Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on
  • Using the same or similar content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site

Once Google has detected a website that is publishing content that contains a number of spammy links, Google may begin to question the integrity of the website. If Google has reason to believe that a website is publishing spammy links that contain questionable content, it may begin to affect the website’s ranking signal. Google says that if link building is the main drive behind a piece of content, the quality of the piece can greatly suffer and can create a poor user experience. Google encourages webmasters to focus on the quality of the content they are producing for their website. By focusing on creating useful and informative content, links and other organic benefits will eventually follow.

Keep SEO Strategy in Mind During a Website Redesign

 

Are you thinking about updating your company’s website? Before you start launching any changes, it is important to be sure you’re taking all of the necessary steps that will ensure you can execute a strong SEO strategy once your new website is complete. With Search Engine Optimization (SEO) playing such a key role in establishing a healthy ranking signal, it is important that it is not an afterthought. Not sure where to start? Here are a few SEO elements to keep in mind when designing your new website.

Choosing the Right Domain Name

First things first, your domain name is a chance for you to give your new website some serious SEO power. One of the safest solutions for your domain name is to use your company’s brand. Using the brand name in your domain will build brand awareness within your target audience and increases your chances of being found within a navigational search. Other than building brand awareness in the minds of potential consumers, using your company’s brand as the domain name will fire off brand signals to search engines. Brand signals are simply any mention of your company’s name or website online. Establishing quality brand signals can help push your website into a high ranking position.

Other than using your brand name, you may consider an exact-match domain. What’s an exact-match domain? It’s a domain name that uses a keyword phrase. For example, if your company wanted to rank for “buy cheap flights,” your exact-match domain would look like, www.buycheapflights.com. Even though you’re using more keywords, the jury is still out on how effective it is. In September 2012, Google noticed how many companies were using exact-match domains and launched an EMD update. This update prevented low-quality websites from establishing a high ranking position for just having keywords in a domain that matched a search query. However, if your business plan is to maintain a high-functioning and honest website, an exact-match domain may still work in your favor.

“In the long run, it’s usually better to build your brand name over using a generic domain name,” Brad Pitzl, SEO Manager at Intertwine Interactive, said. “A good example would be brands like uber.com and lyft.com. You probably haven’t heard of the website rideshareservice.com.”

Invest in a Strong Hosting Platform

In a world where everyone wants information within seconds, a quick loading time is a key factor for your new website. However, the web hosting system is not always to blame for a slow loading time. It is important to be sure your website’s coding system is up to snuff in order to eliminate any cause for a slow loading time. Your website speed can fluctuate, especially if you are constantly uploading new products or content that contains images.

“Since a faster site creates a better user experience, Google has made page speed big priority in its ranking algorithm,” Pitzl said. “If you choose the wrong platform or Content Managing System (CMS) you can see technical difficulties that will end up hurting your user’s experience.”

Speaking of platforms, investing in a mobile-friendly website has never been more important. With 60% of searches now being conducted on mobile devices, you will want to make sure your company isn’t missing out on easy business opportunities. Even though there are a lot of aspects to consider when constructing a mobile-friendly website, less is always going to be more. It is important to keep your layout and navigational tools simple and easy to find since you have a lot less space to work with compared to a desktop website layout.

“Site navigation helps SEO in two main areas. Having a solid site structure helps users and it helps search engines find your pages for indexing,” Pitzl said.

Quality Content is Key

The whole point to having a website is to promote the product or services your company offers. Potential consumers come to your website or blog in hopes of fulfilling a purchasing need or to read up on the latest developments within your industry. However, when it comes to content, it is important that you don’t stuff keywords into your website in the hopes of boosting your ranking signal.

“Google has become so good about knowing what is on your website, you really have to create quality content to rank. The days of low-quality spam content are over,” Pitzl said.

This type of writing not only creates a poor user experience on desktop and mobile websites, keyword stuffing does not advance your website in search results. It is important to implement industry-related keywords into your content, but don’t overdo it. Creating useful and high-quality content is what will get your website noticed by consumers.

When was the last time you had a SEO audit conducted? Contact our SEO department today!

Why Monitoring Your Mobile Website Loading Time is Important

We have all been there. You find a mobile website that you believe will answer a question or fulfill a purchasing need you have, but once you click the desired link on your mobile device you are left waiting for the page to load. In today’s mobile era of instant gratification and the high expectation for a seamless user experience, how long do you wait? Five seconds? Three seconds? For a business owner that relies on their company’s website for conversions those few seconds may seem minuscule, but you may be surprised! When it comes to mobile websites, less is actually more. Think with Google recently released a study that stated that the probability of bounce rate increases to 90% if a mobile website takes one to five seconds to completely load.

“It’s no secret that shoppers expect a fast mobile experience. If there’s too much friction, they’ll abandon their cart and move on,” Daniel An, Global Product Lead at Google and author of the case study, said. “Today, it’s critical that marketers design fast web experiences across all industry sectors. Consumers want to quickly pay bills on finance sites, get rapid results when they’re browsing vacation reviews, and view an article immediately when they click through.”

With mobile speed being directly linked to revenue, the study explored a variety of industries to track Google’s advertising partner’s success. 

“We did an analysis of 900,000 mobile ads’ landing pages spanning 126 countries. That new analysis confirmed our thesis: The majority of mobile sites are slow and bloated with too many elements,” An said.

It was discovered that for 70% of the webpages that were reviewed, it took almost seven seconds for any visual content above the fold to load. It also took more than 10 seconds for the content below the fold to properly load.

“The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, yet 53% of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem,” An said.

Despite the frustrating results, there is still hope for slow loading mobile websites. According to the case study, 30% of pages could save more than 250KB by compressing images and text. A few other ways that can help decrease a mobile website’s loading time include, optimizing images, browser caching, optimizing CSS and keeping the scripts below the fold.

“When it comes to mobile pages, speed and size matter,” An said. “Marketers must keep consumers engaged on mobile and focus on building mobile-first experiences.”

Are you not sure how your mobile website matches up against your local or national competitors? Check your mobile website scores today at Test My Site.