Have an Old Website That No Longer Ranks Well in Searches?

p-google-search-boxFor years, many have believed the age of a domain name is a factor in Google search results rankings. We have seen anecdotal evidence that it seems to be true, to a point.  Google’s Matt Cutt’s answer to a related question in a Google Webmaster Tools video prompted this post.

Does this sound like your business?

  • Your domain name was registered several  years ago.
  • You had a website before a lot of others understood the importance.
  • Your website was doing pretty well in Google for many keyword searches
  • Lately, the last statement is no longer the case.
  • You are wondering why you no longer do as well in Google SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.

Does this sound like your business or organization?

  • You have not done any meaningful updates to the content on your website in years
  • You have not redesigned the look and layout of your website
  • Your photos and graphics are not optimized to be fast loading
  • You are not using Social Media
  • You have not included Social Media share & follow buttons
  • Your competitors have been doing all of the above

Take a fresh look at your website to see just what visitors are experiencing, and compare that to what they experience on your competitor’s or other similar websites.

Don’t just listen to us. See for yourself what Google’s Matt Cutts says in his video, “How can an older site maintain its ranking over time?

Three Important SEO Facts to Remember for 2014!

1. The Google Search you remember from 2 years ago doesn’t exist!

GoogleMost likely, what you thought you knew about getting ranked in Google SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) rankings, matters very little anymore. Think semantic and entity search with keywords as the tertiary element.

2. Just having a website is not enough!

Social Media needs to be included as well. Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook – know the social media platform used by your target audience and connect with them frequently.

3. You can’t ignore Google+ anymore! Especially, those of you with local businesses.

I know. I know. I don’t like it either. When someone searches locally for your business or the products or services you offer, you simply have to control the narrative.

Google’s Hummingbird – Why? What Have We Learned? What You Need To Do.

The Hummingbird algorithm update has changed Google search. You don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, and you don’t have to be a Search Engine Optimization expert to know that Google search results are not the same as they were. The change isn’t necessarily bad. It is just different.

Why and What?

There are a couple of things in play here.

For at least a couple of years, Google has been moving towards “semantic search” and “entity” (which we’ll talk about in a future blog post) results, and with the Hummingbird algorithm update, Google is continuing that path. Simply put, semantic search tries to understand searcher intent and the contextual meaning of the keywords in a search query.

Humming BirdAs we all know Google has a treasure trove of data about how we search, how it relates to us, where we are, and on and on it goes. The results are meant to be more natural, or “conversational,” because search queries are increasingly more conversational in manner. Hummingbird is an effort to leverage that premise and provide more relevant search results, which is what Google is always trying to do and sell.

The other thing in play is the extremely rapid embracement of mobile devices and Google’s refinement of voice search capabilities. The keyboard (with shorter queries for many reasons) is falling victim to voice search on phones, tablets, notebooks, and even some desktops. For most people, voice search is as “natural” as it gets.

What do you need to do?

Those of you who read this blog or know me, might expect me to say, “your content needs to be well-written, describing the benefits of each of your products and/or services.” That is exactly part of what I would say. The content has to be structured correctly on the page. You should take advantage of linking (correctly) to other relevant pages within your website. Of course, there is more that can be done to individual websites, that I won’t generalize here.

Quality, well-written content will be rewarded even more, as long as it is natural and conversational. Keyword cramming won’t work so well for you, and that’s a good thing.

Of course, we are always happy to help. If you would like some help sorting out all the talk about Hummingbird, please give us a call at 1-800-281-9993 or 608-822-3750, or email us contact@webwisedesign.com.

Search Engine Optimization Benefits from YouTube Videos

YouTube One ChannelNot many think of their YouTube videos as a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool, but here at WebWise Design & Marketing, we do. A high percentage of our clients who use videos on their websites, or on YouTube, have experienced excellent improvement in SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. Next time you do a search on Google, take note of the companies with YouTube accounts linked to their websites and how they rank in the search results.

To benefit the most effectively, start by creating a YouTube “One Channel” for your business, community, or organization, and upload your videos there. Be sure to include keyword search terms in your titles and descriptions so your videos will be found when people search.

Setting up a YouTube “One Channel” (an abbreviated version):

Do

  • Do: Create short, quality videos for display on your website and on YouTube
  • Do: Create and customize your YouTube “One Channel”
    • Use a properly sized, quality version of your logo.
    • Use the same color scheme as on your website. (Think consistency in marketing)
    • Enable the Overview tab
    • Link to your website
  • Do: Upload your videos on your YouTube “One Channel”
  • Do: Search Engine Optimize your YouTube Channel
    • Write keyword-rich titles and descriptions for your videos, and use relevant tags
  • Do: Judiciously embed your YouTube videos on relevant web pages

Do Not

  • Do not upload business or organization videos to a personal account, and likewise, do not  upload personal videos to a business account.
  • Do not use the default settings when customizing your YouTube One Channel
  • Do not ignore the fact that users present multi-device and multi-platform challenges
  • Do not upload videos that are not relevant and complimentary to your website content

Summary: DO use videos as part of your content and SEO marketing efforts. If done properly, you will reap rewards in more and relevant traffic to your website.

Of course, we are happy to help you with any or all of the above. Give us a call or drop us a note.

Introducing YouTube One ChannelFor you DIY people:

Website SEO Health Check List – 5 Important Elements

How long has it been since you reviewed your website SEO health? Here is a tried and true checklist to use.

Check markPage Title – The page title is the most important element of your page. A concise, well-written “Title” with your primary keywords at or near the beginning makes a world of difference to Google and the other search engines.

Check mark Description tag – These descriptions are often used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results. The description needs to be page specific, provide an overview of page content, and include the keyword search terms. New page = new description.

Check mark Headers – Generally, every page should have a header, coded as an H1. If at all possible, your header should contain the keywords used in the previous elements.

Check mark First paragraph – The first sentence is very important and should include your most important keywords. This paragraph may be the only paragraph your visitor reads before making that “should I stay”, or “should I go” decision.

Check mark Internal Links – When possible, your home page should include a short paragraph introducing each of the major areas on your website. Link to those internal pages using the keywords in their titles, descriptions and headers. Google loves that kind of linkage.

There you have it! Review your pages, make those changes, and enjoy improved SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) rankings.