SEO – Key Component of Digital Strategy (Part 2)
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SEO – Key Component of Digital Strategy (Part 2)

Author: Sachin Gupta | Categories: Digital Marketing

In this second of a 2 series blog, I will cover –

    • Mobile SEO
    • Role of Social Media
    • Website redesign – How to protect page/site ranking?
    • SEO Metrics

In case you missed, here is the link to the first blog in this series –

Mobile SEO

Google uses “Googlebot-Mobile” to crawl and index content specifically optimized for feature phones and smartphones in order to serve the mobile user the best content based on the device. Googlebot-Mobile works in addition to Google’s desktop crawling and indexing technology.

As a result of Googlebot-Mobile, a Google query performed on a mobile device might receive different search results from the same query performed on a desktop computer.

Mobile SEO doesn’t require significant changes as compared to your desktop SEO strategies.

Google recommends responsive design.

Responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device. It is easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Contrast this with a separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML than its desktop counterpart, requiring Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.

Separate mobile sites redirect users to a different URL depending on the user-agent. Redirects can contribute to a poor user experience and incur hundreds of milliseconds of extra latency on networks.

Google advises to eliminate redirects entirely, and mobile URL (m. or /m) redirects when possible and industry experts agree that it is a counter-productive approach. However, the majority of mobile platform providers still provide this approach as a solution, and many mobile websites are run this way today.

If you have separate sites for desktop and mobile, make sure to use bidirectional link annotations to indicate the relationship between the two URLs for search engines.

To help algorithms understand this configuration on your site, Google recommend using the following annotations:

  • On the desktop page, add a special link rel=”alternate” tag pointing to the corresponding mobile URL. This helps Googlebot discover the location of your site’s mobile pages.
  • On the mobile page, add a link rel=”canonical” tag pointing to the corresponding desktop URL

Social & SEO

Social media sharing determines site’s search engine ranking. When social media users share links of content, search engines read the activity as a confirmation of quality content, and links will be ranked higher and indexed faster. Links that are not shared on social media will have significantly lower visibility.

Similar to search rankings, indexing time is affected by social media sharing. For e.g. If a topic is trending on Twitter, links to related articles will be indexed faster than non-tweeted topics.

Website Redesign – How to protect Page Ranking?

Search engines index pages. Pages are determined by their URL, and each URL is the combination of domain, file name, and extension. If you change any of them, it is considered a new page for a search engine.

Whenever you redesign website on a new platform or migrate from one platform to another, Page URL would get changed. Most of the time, domain and page name remains same, only page extension gets changed. For e.g. if you move from.Net platform to any CMS e.g. Adobe CQ, Page URL will change from www.yoursite.com/home.aspx to www.yoursite.com/home.html

Any change in URL will impact SEO, and required to inform search engine to consider new URL in place of old URL and provide a credit of your existing ranking to new URL.

The right solution to this scenario is to implement 301 redirects.

301 redirect is a permanent redirect from the old URLs to the new URLs. This informs search engines that pages have moved, the search engine then updates their indexes with the new pages and also gives credit to whatever links were added earlier.

Without 301 redirects, the new URLs have to start over from zero to earn the ability to rank in natural search.

There are few other ways to redirect but NOT recommended. Hence please make a note of below options and avoid recommending them to customers in this scenario.

  • 302 temporary redirects only redirect the visitor to new URL but do not pass link authority or prompt de-indexation.
  • 404 file not found errors only prompt de-indexation; no value to ranking
  • Meta refresh and JavaScript redirects only redirect the visitor without passing link authority.

How Google Ranks your website?

Google has different algorithms to analyze websites. Primarily PageRank algorithm (with other algorithms) with 200+ factors define ranking of your website. Here are some of the key factors:

  • Duplicate Content on Site
  • Mobile Optimized
  • Social Sharing of Pages
  • Repeat Traffic
  • Number of Comments
  • Number of Tweets
  • Number of Facebook likes
  • Google+
  • Searches by Brand name
  • Ads
  • Domain Name
  • Domain Age
  • Frequency of content updates
  • Grammar and Spelling
  • Images & other multimedia elements
  • Broken Links
  • URL length
  • Content presented in bullets and numbered list
  • Server Location
  • Contextual links
  • User Generated Content Links
  • Breadcrumb Navigation
  • Keywords in Title Tag
  • Keyword in Description Tag
  • Presence of sitemap

Not Ranking in Google?

If your site is not ranking in Google or suddenly lost ranking then how to find out why exactly your site is not ranking well in Google.

The reason could be – Change in the search algorithm, Google penalty, content quality went down or competitor site has got better content. But it is difficult to find the exact reason. You can login to webmaster tools account to see if there is any penalty or any other notification. If not, then easiest way is to modify your site. Google penalty is a general term that refers to a negative impact on a website’s search rankings based on updates to Google’s search algorithms and/or manual review. The penalty can be an unfortunate by-product of an algorithm update or an intentional penalization for various black-hat SEO techniques.

It is recommended to apply analysis on what the other site is doing that you should be doing or that it is doing well, then it’s always possible for the algorithm to rescore your site or Google to recrawl and reindex the site and for it to start ranking high again.

SEO Metrics

The Search Engine Optimization reports in analytics use below given metrics specific to Google web search data:

Impressions: The number of times any URL from your site appeared in search results viewed by a user.

CTR: Click through rate, (Clicks / Impressions * 100)

Clicks: The number of clicks on your website URLs from a Google Search results page.

Average Position: The average ranking of your website URLs for the query or queries. For example, if your site’s URL appeared at position 4 for one query and position 8 for another query, the average position would be 2.

Summary

Market trends are changing towards mobile, social, right information to users, quality content, user experience, and online interactions. Google search engine understands the importance and has incorporated these elements in ranking algorithms. Configurations and keyword are the only subsets of ranking factors. Content and quality of content should be the main focus. Define your digital strategies as per changing trends, and incorporate changing expectations of search engines to get top ranking of pages.