SEO Blog

Mobile First SEO

The introduction of the Mobile First Index has long been speculated about in the SEO industry. Google has confirmed that the mobile pages will be used primarily for indexing and ranking to present mobile users with a better result.

Nobody knows yet whether classic websites will lose traffic and rankings. Google writes that desktop sites do not have to fear ranking losses, but here the coming months will show first experiences.

Since Google has already begun to gradually move to Mobile First, you should take steps now not to follow up your rankings later.
What does Mobile First Index mean?

Google has so far indexed websites by first crawling the desktop version. Based on this, a related or equivalent mobile variant was crawled and indexed.
Google has decided to provide a common index for mobile content and desktop content so that mobile users can no longer see the desktop version and because the mobile search volume has increased. This means that desktop and mobile content are included in a common index.

Check if your SEO is ready

If you don’t have a mobile website, Google will continue to crawl and index the desktop version in the future. Nevertheless, we – and Google – recommend to create a responsive website. If you already have a responsive page, you are on the safe side. However, it should still be tested with various tools whether a website is recognized and indexed by Google accordingly. Since there are many mobile users, a mobile version of the site or a responsive site is actually a must and brings advantages in ranking.

So do the Google Mobile Friendly Test and take a look at the recommended measures. The Google Search Console may report bugs in usability on mobile devices (buttons too large/fontsize too small and similar). With the Search Console you can also realize the retrieval of your website like Google. For this you have to select the setting ‘Smartphone Mobile’. So you can see how your website is seen by the Google Bot.

The roll-out has been expected by Whos Talkin SEO since the end of 2016 and a test phase has been announced. Since the announcement, SEOs have been speculating, especially in the social media, about how the Mobile First Index will continue until Google announced in March 2018 that Mobile First Indexing would begin. Google confirmed in the course of that that web pages, with which primarily the mobile sides are already indexed, get a message in the Search Console.
What action do I need to take?

The recommendation is clearly to create a mobile responsive website and also to realize the responsive web design.
Google has published a tutorial that explains step by step how to move an “m.subdomain” to a responsive variant.

If you already have a responsive site, the following audits and analyses can help you to ensure that your site is well recognized and indexed by the Google Bot.
If you are planning a move, you should carry out these three audits as preparatory measures:

Configuration independent audit

A configuration-independent audit analyzes and considers your onpage factors independently of the mobile configuration. You will then receive recommendations for action.

Configuration dependent audit

A configuration-dependent audit refers exclusively to the mobile configuration. If you already have a responsive page, then check if the viewport meta tag is configured correctly, CSS and Javascript files are not excluded and if graphics adapt to the size of the screen.

3rd Mobile Parity Audit

The Mobile Parity Audit checks whether mobile content and desktop content are identical. This is important for the Google Bot to recognize your responsive or mobile page as the equivalent of the desktop version. It doesn’t matter anymore whether content is hidden content or whether content is stored in hidden or collapsed tabs. Google has already announced that this approach can be implemented as a web design solution.

What happens next?

Google has probably been experimenting with the technology of crawling and indexing mobile websites for several years now.

As soon as a page changes to the Mobile First Index, you will receive a notification in the Search Console. You can also check the log file data to see whether the mobile crawler’s accesses are higher than those of the desktop crawler. This also points to the mobile index.

The conversion of the index should be done very carefully so that desktop-only pages are not neglected and traffic and ranking drops are minimized. Some pages may remain Desktop-First.

Whether mobile websites will be preferred in the future is unclear. Nevertheless, Google clearly recommends that you provide a mobile version. With the increasing number of mobile users, you should not do without the mobile user friendliness anyway, because that could bring large declines in the number of visitors.

Also the time of the conversion for each individual page is not known, so you should be prepared at any time.


SEO in the Future

The SEO trends 2019 are likely to be influenced by the criteria “relevance” and “quality” as well as Pagespeed. Other criteria include the Mobile First index, search engine friendly JavaScript and voice search. At the end of each year, this question always arises: What will the upcoming SEO trends look like? In contrast to previous years, there are currently a number of criteria that will most probably determine the success or failure of websites in Google search next year.

Why is it possible to make a fairly reliable forecast of the upcoming SEO trends at this point in time? One reason for this are past updates of the last few months, which have provided valuable insights. Numerous statements by Google also indicate what will be important.

The following topics are likely to be among the SEO trends for 2019:

  • Relevance and quality
  • PageSpeed
  • voice search
  • Mobile First
  • The search engine friendly use of JavaScript

Relevance and quality

Basically nothing new is the news that the relevance of a website has a significant influence on Google rankings. This has become clear recently, especially in connection with the core updates carried out by Google. Google’s regular recommendation after such updates is to check the relevance of the website. Anyone who has to complain about worse rankings after an update should check whether the content offered still fits the needs of the users and whether all their questions are answered sufficiently.

Selective improvements or certain “SEO tricks” hardly help any more. This means that good rankings involve a lot of work. It is necessary to know one’s own target group and its needs and to address these needs as comprehensively as possible on the website.

One tip for better identifying the information needs of users is to take a look at the Google Search Console and see which search queries have led to impressions in the search. These search terms can be used as a basis for creating new or expanding existing text.

However, the quality of a website does not only depend on the relevance of the content. Further quality factors are usability, security (e.g. by playout via HTTPS) and page speed.

Page Speed

In July of this year, Google carried out the so-called speed update. With this update, the loading time of mobile websites has become a ranking factor, after Google had previously only included the desktop loading time in the rating.

Another change resulting from the speed update is that even small improvements of the loading time can have a positive effect on the rankings. However, this applies almost exclusively to particularly slow websites.

And this seems to be exactly what Google is currently looking at. It is shown by warning messages that Google has been sending to operators of particularly slow websites since last week. In it three characteristic numbers are emphasized:

  • First Contentful Paint: Indicates when the browser starts rendering a page. This is important for the user experience and shows that something is happening on the page.
  • Time to Interactive: After this period, the page can be used interactively.
  • First Input Delay: Delay after the first user interaction with the page, such as clicking a button or link.

Admins of websites that receive such a warning message should urgently work on improving their page speed. Tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or Google Lighthouse show which optimisation potentials exist.

Voice Search

There’s still been no breakthrough on spoken searches. But the spread of digital assistants like Alexa, Siri or Google Home is progressing and will increasingly affect the search. Google still has no official data on the share of voice searches in the total search volume. Google also does not yet offer the option of displaying spoken search queries separately using the Search Console.

However, there are older statistics that show that a high proportion of adults and an even higher proportion of young people already use spoken search queries, for example to obtain route information or information about the current time.

With regard to voice searches, two factors are particularly important:

  • The search queries are on average longer and more complex than typed search queries.
  • Normally only the top pages are seen by people

This means that it is important to know what users are looking for via a digital assistant and what questions are asked. These questions have to be taken up and answered on the website. Those who don’t make it to the first place of the search results will be left behind. The experts at the Memphis SEO company have written that as long as articles are diverse enough and contain many phrases, Google can understand the overall relevance of the page for all kinds of related search phrases.

Of interest in this context is Google’s announcement to use a new type of structured data for content that is suitable for spoken language output. Although these structured data are currently only relevant to news sites in the US, they should be kept in mind.

Mobile First

Google’s transition to mobile indexing, known as Mobile First, is in full swing. The decisive factor is that Google will no longer calculate the rankings on the basis of the desktop display, but will evaluate the mobile presentation.

It is therefore important that the mobile version of a website has all the essential content of the desktop version. In addition to the texts, this includes above all

  • metadata
  • Structured data
  • Media files such as images, videos, etc.

You don’t have to worry about backlinks: Google will continue to evaluate all links together – both the desktop and the mobile version.

The switch to Mobile First will probably take some time over the next few years. First of all, pages will be converted where the differences between mobile and desktop presentation are small. This applies in particular to pages with responsive design, but also to desktop-only pages.

JavaScript and SEO do not have to be opposites

JavaScript is becoming an increasingly important part of many websites. Functionalities, which give a website functions of a native app, are often only realizable via JavaScript. For this there are suitable frameworks like Angular or React.

However, this has potential disadvantages with regard to the search, because Google can interpret JavaScript in the meantime, but needs time to do so. This can lead to Google not being able to index content that needs to be rendered using JavaScript until days after crawling – a big problem for news sites in particular.

This can be remedied by server-side rendering. This year Google has introduced the Dynamic Rendering approach. The server delivers HTML and JavaScript for normal website visitors, which is rendered in the browser. However, if a crawler like Googlebot visits the page, a component for rendering the Java script is interposed on the server. This delivers the finished HTML of the website for the crawler, which can then process the content immediately and use it for the index.

How important JavaScript and knowledge of the programming language can become for SEOs in the coming years is also shown by a current statement by John Muller: He sees JavaScript as an opportunity for technical SEOs to set themselves apart from their competitors and form a unique selling proposition.

The Google Search Console, for example, can be used to test whether Google executes JavaScript correctly on a page. Here, the function “retrieve as if by Google” shows what the page looks like for the Google bot.

Conclusion

Quality and relevance will be the SEO success factors for 2019. This, combined with the appropriate focus on voice search and the associated information needs as well as a fast and user-friendly and search engine friendly playout of content, creates the prerequisites for good rankings.

Anyone using JavaScript on their website should ensure that Google can render the page correctly. Especially when it comes to the fast indexing of new content by Google, server-side rendering or dynamic rendering should be considered.


March 2019 Google Core Update

Some case studies suggest what webmasters can do to restore lower rankings after a Google Core update.

The Google Core update of March has led to a loss of ranking for some websites. Other websites, on the other hand, benefited, including some that had lost the core update from last year’s August.

Meanwhile, there are some findings of possible factors that might have played a role in the updates. In summary, it can be said that there seems to be a connection with the Google quality guidelines and especially with EAT, where EAT stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness”.

The quality guidelines serve Google as a basis for the evaluation of websites within the scope of manual tests. The results of these tests do not directly affect the rankings but are used to optimize the algorithms. The quality guidelines give examples of good and bad quality.

EAT plays an important role in this: it is about expertise and knowledge, i.e. being an authoritative source of information and trustworthiness. EAT is particularly important for Google when it comes to so-called YMYL pages (“Your Money, Your Life”), i.e. websites on sensitive topics such as medicine, finance or law.

How Denver websites manage a trend reversal

Current case studies by an SEO company in Denver and Colorado Springs show that there can actually be a connection between EAT and ranking gains as well as ranking losses due to the current core update. In a report on Search Engine Land, the development of three different websites was followed exemplarily. In each case, the measures that had been implemented in the run-up to the last core update of 12 March were described. There does not have to be a causal link between these measures and the ranking process. If one considers the changes made against the background of the Google quality guidelines, however, a connection appears at least plausible.

The most important findings are summarised below:

No or bad ratings available: If there are no or predominantly negative reviews of a website on the web, this could have a negative impact on Google’s assessment of the website. Efforts to revise the evaluations and to react appropriately to them seem to have paid off for the pages considered.

No reference links: Particularly in the case of scientific topics, theories should not be published without evidence. This is especially true for websites with a medical background. Here, care should always be taken to substantiate allegations with serious reference links.

Too little information about the authors: Even a highly competent author is not shown to advantage on a website if there is too little information about him to be found there. A few sentences about the experience or even better a complete page with the previous publications can help Google to recognize and appreciate the value of an author. It’s also quite possible that Google may use information about an author’s publications on other sites, as well as awards he’s won, for rating purposes.

Minor changes such as improving page speed, solving problems with mixed content and downgrading some dubious links can also help to improve the rankings.

On e-commerce sites it can be helpful to improve product sites: It should be avoided to simply adopt the texts of the product manufacturers. It is better to formulate your own texts and enrich them with additional information such as videos, FAQs, and instructions.

Thin content should be reduced as much as possible. Only content that adds real value for users should be published on a Denver website.

And finally: Relevant links are important! Google evaluates the relevance of a website not only by the number of backlinks but also by their quality. And here, if the links come from sites that Google believes are relevant to a topic, the backlinks from those sites will help make Google consider the linked sites more relevant.

A study shows the importance of quality content

The importance of content quality can be seen by looking at a website that has been and is still being optimized by the author of this article. In the initial situation, the website consisted of a number of information texts written by a text agency. There were around a dozen texts, all of which had no significant added value in terms of information. One had the feeling that the texts had only been written to fill the page with content.

An example: For the product, which is the object of the website, there was a post with the topic “Buy online”. But those who expected the possibility to buy the product online on the site were severely disappointed. There were only general descriptions of online shopping and not even links to suitable shops.

In addition, there were hundreds of Denver city pages with automatically generated content on the website, i.e. a lot of thin content. So it’s no wonder that Google punished the site with the August core update.

In order to improve the situation, a dual strategy was chosen: The city pages were set to “noindex”, the information pages are gradually filled with well-researched content that brings real added value to the site visitors.

This paid off, as you can see from the sales of impressions and clicks from the Google Search Console. Since the 12th of March, things have been clearly improving here again:

Bottom line

The examples described show: Google is increasingly focusing on content quality and EAT. This applies in particular to websites in the sensitive YMYL area.

Webmasters of sites that have lost a core update should read Google’s quality guidelines carefully. It contains valuable information on what Google understands by quality.

In particular, the expertise of the authors of a website should be underlined. References should also be made to reputable sources to support claims and theories.

It’s all work to do. With small adjustments here and there, however, unfortunately, one will not be able to achieve any more lasting successes.


Law Firm SEO Optimization Basics

SEO for law firms or “attorney SEO” is a hot topic for us, because professionals have to spend too much money on ads these days, as the prices have gone through the roof. SEO is far more cost effective and also can also bring in a lot more clients than conventional advertising.

With your own blog you have a valuable tool for your online reputation and your visibility on Google. If you know the basics of search engine optimization and use it in your blog, you will benefit from a higher visibility.

A customer told me this week that she was happy to have found me by chance on the web. She had searched for “clear communication” via Google at the time. But the fact that she found me there on page 1 has little to do with chance.

In order for your desired customers to find you via Google & Co., you need good, relevant content – and should pay attention to the most important SEO tricks. At t3n today I stumbled across a suitable article about OnPage-SEO. I would like to highlight the most important points from the infographics here for your WordPress blog. Because Google loves good blogs.

What is OnPage-SEO?

Search engine optimization distinguishes between OnPage and OffPage optimization. OnPage optimizations include all measures that you implement on the website itself. In addition to the content factors, optimizations in the code are also included. If the website itself is optimized, you can work OffPage on backlinks etc..

URLs – the address of a page

Very often I see web addresses in the form of “www.domain.com?p=4759”. The meaningfulness for the search engine and the visitor is zero. For Google it is particularly important that the most important keywords also appear in the URL. Therefore you rather use “speaking URLs” for example in the form of “www.domain.com/blog/”.

Google rates the first terms in the URL most highly. Therefore you should put the most important terms at the beginning and omit filler words. So it’s better to use “/law-pages” than “/about-about-law”.

In WordPress you can change the default structure of your blog URLs in the settings (section Permalinks). It is important here that you choose a variant with the post name instead of the default setting. When writing a new article, you can then manually adjust the Post Name area for each post. This makes sense, for example, to remove unnecessary filler words. You can find the permalink with the button “edit” under the heading of your blog post. To mimmic professional law firm search engine optimization, make sure that all of your URLs are relevant for law topics.

Please be sure to pay attention to the URL before posting the blog post. A subsequent change is often associated with problems. Especially when other blogs have already linked you or Google has already listed the post. The link will then lead you into emptiness if you have not set up a corresponding redirection.

Headings

In addition to the main heading, which is entered in the separate field in WordPress, subheadings in the text are important. On the one hand, they give the reader orientation and structure the text into reader-friendly canapés. But they also provide valuable information for search engines.

Google rates terms in the headings higher than in normal text. The headings themselves are graded in their value. In HTML this is defined by the attributes <h1> to <h6>. The main heading is usually predefined by WordPress and has the highest value. The subheadings in the text are usually marked as <h2>. For correct formatting, go to the “Paragraph” menu in WordPress and select “Heading 2”. If you format the subheading in bold only, you will not get this effect.

Make sure that the most important keywords appear in your (sub)headings. The sooner the better. Avoid exaggerated keyword stuffing. But if you write about pension insurance, the term should also be placed in a prominent place in the headline.

Links in the blog post

An often underestimated factor for readers and search engines are links in the text. They offer readers links to suitable content and Google draws conclusions from the linked content. There are two types of links that you should incorporate into your text in a meaningful way.

Do you have suitable content in your blog that you can refer to? Great! With internal links. With internal links you show the reader and Google further relevant contents in your blog and put your contribution in a good context.

But also external links – e.g. to specialist portals, wikis or other blogs – increase the relevance for your contribution. Google recognizes the context of your contribution and ideally gives it more weight. The reader is looking forward to further information.

SEO plugins for WordPress

There are several plugins that help bloggers optimize their posts for search engines. For example, I can recommend WordPress SEO by Yoast. In addition to various basic settings, you will receive tips on optimization for each individual contribution and can store individual information (e.g. meta-description or description texts for Facebook & Co).

The right balance

Finally, I would like to give you a basic tip. Write primarily for your desired customers – for people – and not for search engines. It applies: Good content is the duty – SEO the freestyle. Google notices when you want to fool around with it. And what does a good placement on Google bring you if the desired customer does not find your site appealing?


SEO Foundations

First we have to separate two different topics: SEO marketing and search engine marketing (SEM).

SEO marketing includes all activities that result in web search engines being ranked better in natural results.

SEM or search engine marketing is a paid form of advertising that leads to web search engine results being listed in as advertised website.

For example, if you look at Google’s search engine results, you will see the differences between these two. You can see the difference between paid and organic results pretty easily. Advertised sites appear at the top of the results and have small “Ad” icons next to the link.

The advertised website is the result of SEM (search engine marketing), while the natural result is the result of the SEO-optimized website. After your website has been optimized for targeted keywords, it’s time to continue with SEO marketing activities.

Basic activities are:

  • SEO Check – Do a short SEO check of your content before you make a SEO Off Page
  • Keyword Analysis – Select the keywords you want to rank and analyze the metrics and statistics for them
  • Competition analysis – Analyze the competition currently being evaluated by targeted keywords
  • Develop link building strategies – choose and develop link building strategies for your pages depending on your niche.

After you have completed these activities, you should be ready to start building links.

Link building

Link building is a process of obtaining links from other websites that lead to your website. As a result, web search engines recognize your site as a verified source of information and rank you higher on search results page. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you complete your preparations as described above before you begin.

The link building strategy depends on the niche in which your website is located. Make sure your content is of high quality and interesting to readers. This will increase your chances of your content being linked to other websites. If you have bad content, the whole link building process becomes much more difficult. Therefore, always check the quality of your content. High-quality written content is both informative and understandable for the average reader. It must also be well structured and clear so that search engines can easily understand the information presented and evaluate your site accordingly.

Once you have ensured that your content is credited and optimized, it’s time to start building links.

You should define link building strategy depending on your website niche, but if you are not sure where to start, there are some basic link building strategies for SEO marketing.

Website directories

This is a great starting point. Website directories like the yellow pages or Yelp are sites that list other websites and give users information about other websites. On the SEO marketing side, they are great because they provide backlinks to listed websites.

There are countless website directories where you can submit your website. When submitting your website to the web directory, make sure that the website directory has a good domain rating and is relevant to your website. Most of them have different website categories, so choose the right one and place your website there.

It is also recommended to check if website directory links follow, as no-follow links will not help you in SEO. To check this, you can download any SEO plugin for your web browser. These plugins are very useful and show you the number of links on the current page and whenever they follow or don’t follow. If you are unsure about these links or would like to know more, you can contact us.

Forum links and comments

Other basic link building method for SEO marketing include forums and article comments. You will find many relevant forums and blogs with content that is relevant to your website. Publishing your links to related articles and blogs will help you with your SEO. Again, research on these sites is necessary before you start building links. You need to check how relevant these sites are and whether they provide do-follow backlinks. It is important not to post too many backlinks on the same website. If you have too many links in a particular blog or forum, they will be considered spam and may damage your SEO.

It is recommended that you post your links as a useful contribution to existing content. In this way, you can develop relationships with web admins that can lead to guest bookings.

Guest post

One of the most effective link building methods is guest posting. Guest post means that you write articles on certain topics and are published on another website with backlinks to your website.

With several different websites backlinking, your web search rankings will be greatly improved. If you use this method, adhere correctly to basic SEO rules and use keywords that you want to strategically place to get the best possible SEO marketing result.

Conclusion

There are many marketing methods when it comes to digital marketing. Some methods are known and tested while there are always new, experimental strategies. Some of the strategies may or may not work for specific website niches, but SEO marketing is almost always performed as it is one of the most powerful inbound marketing strategies.

SEO marketing is one of the strongest inbound marketing strategies. Optimizing your website for best SEO results is a long process, but overall results will bring you long-term success. Building backlinks as part of the strategy not only brings better SEO results but also brings a little referral traffic from other websites with it. If you are unsure how to start with SEO marketing, you can always contact us.