Topic: Search Engine Optimization

Learn About Google’s Recent Algorithm Updates

We saw a lot of changes in Google’s algorithm back in the fall of 2016. It was one the most dramatic updates we’ve seen and many websites felt its impact. It’s clear that Google is shifting towards rewarding websites with a strong mobile interface and creating more room on the search results page for AdWords.

Things seemed to be fairly smooth in December, but like clockwork more changes came in the early months of 2017. There were two fairly minor updates in January and early February. These updates focused on private blogs and external links.

On February 7th, Google launched what proved to be a major update. There have been big shifts in rankings for websites throughout the Internet. We’ve seen some of our clients jump ten or even twenty spots overnight.

Google has been very clear in the philosophy behind their updates; Google wants high-quality content to appear on their search results page. Each of the updates they make to their algorithm is meant to increase exposure to good content.

Whenever there is an update to Google’s algorithm we tend to see some confusion for the first few days after the update happens. It usually doesn’t take Google long to make corrections and to tweak results.

There are many elements that go into Google’s ranking. Aggressive advertising, auto play videos, deceptive content, aggressive pop-up ads and various other things can hurt your website’s rankings. It’s also important to make sure your site loads quickly and looks great on any desktop or mobile device. Google wants people to know how to rank well and publishes a great guide.

Websites that contain things Google is regarding as negative are seeing certain keywords generate less traffic. It’s important to check your Google Analytics regularly to watch for unusual shifts in organic keyword traffic. Typically, some keywords will generate similar traffic, while other keywords will suffer from significant decreases.

One of Google’s biggest updates was found last year when the various versions of Panda launched. Many sites not meeting Google’s recommended content took a nosedive. Google looked at the update as a rankings adjustment, they were not trying to penalize website owners.

We find that web pages with low-quality content or pages lacking content are most likely to lose their rankings. It’s important to continually review your website and improve your content as you go.

Google is in the process of rolling out a mobile-first search page. This is making a mobile design that much more important. Sites without a strong mobile design will see their pages not rank well on this mobile search page. More importantly, a website with mobile issues will cause a frustrating experience for many of your users. So, make sure you check your website on various mobile devices to ensure your users will have full functionality.

It’s important to ensure your website is not embedding third-party advertising with malware. Also, advertising with misleading content can cause your Google rankings to decrease quickly.

Understanding Google’s updates will help keep you ranking well in Google and will also give your users a great user experience. We help Markham businesses stand out in Google by using the latest SEO marketing strategies to achieve sustainable organic keyword growth. Feel free to speak to one of our SEO specialists and get your website optimized for 2017.

SEO? SEM? Which Is Best For My Business

Businesses in every industry can benefit from Search Engine Optimization; also known as SEO and Search Engine Marketing; also known as SEM, PPC or paid search marketing. You are missing out on a lot of targeted traffic if you aren’t optimizing your website.

If your not sure what the difference is or what the best route to take in your industry? Here are some answers to help you make the right choice for your business.

What is Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and how can it help your business?

Its paid search engine marketing such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads and it’s an easy way to get website visitors. If you go this route and decide to advertise your website through SEM, you will pay the search engines to list your website for certain keywords of your choice and to have them display the ad you have written (linking to your website). When a person searches for that keyword, the search engine will show your ad. You only pay when someone clicks your ad, the amount of times your ad shows up in the search results will depend on your budget for the day.  You can set a maximum budget for the day and a maximum budget for the actual cost per click.

SEM is a great way to ensure you have a search engine listing for the keywords or keyword phrases you have chosen, as long as you have a big enough budget to have your ads displayed often. There is a big disadvantage if you choose to do Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and that is the cost can get outrageous if you are paying for the wrong keyword and isn’t driving targeted traffic to your website, you will lose a lot of money.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how can it help your business?

Search Engine Optimization is a process of over 200 different elements performed to improve your website or web page rankings on the organic or unpaid search engine result listings.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) includes two main elements.  The first is on-page optimization (optimizing the contents of the pages on your website so they are relevant to the keywords or keyword  phrases) and off-site optimization (creating and optimizing the inbound links that link to a specific page of your website).

Proper Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes sure that search engines can understand the content of your website. If search engines think that your website is relevant to a specific keyword search, they will show a page from your website as a search result. If your page is more relevant (and properly optimized) than your competition the search engines will display your result above your competitors.

The main reason you would want to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is that you don’t pay for any clicks. The regular or organic search listings typically get many more visitors and clicks than the paid ads (SEM). The difference or disadvantage of SEO is that it takes longer to get listed in the organic search results. It can take months before your web pages rank well on the search engines, but once they do you will reap the benefits.

How to get the biggest bang for your buck! 

Many companies do both Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization, this approach will help you get your website in front of your target market. The idea is to combine both methods of optimizaton:

  1. Start with Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to test and find the keywords that deliver the best return on your investment (ROI).

Pay per click or Search Engine Marketing can be a great way to find the right keywords that work best for your industry. It allows you to see which keywords you should eliminate (and save you money) so you can concentrate on the proper more targeted keywords that will deliver new clients to your website.

  1. Once you have determined the best performing keywords you can optimize your web pages for these high-performing keywords

When you know the keywords that work best for your company, use Seach Engine Optimization (SEO) to optimize your web pages for these keywords. When your website is listed in the organic results, you will get many more visitors for a fraction of the cost.

Search engine optimization is essential to any business. There are many different elements involved.  It is best to leave it to the experts to guide you through the ongoing process.  Contact Insiteful Solutions today for more information at 905-947-8235 or by email at info@insitefulweb.com

 

Adding SSL Certification to Provide Better Security and Improved Search Results

Google recently announced that having an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) Certificate on your site will help boost your SEO ranking. The search engine giant has been trying to raise awareness about website security for a couple of years and this most recent update is the next logical step to accomplishing this goal.

SSL Certification adds an extra layer of security to a website by establishing an additional encrypted link between a web server and a browser. Basically, a properly installed SSL Certificate will ensure that data transmitted online stays private and secure. Users will notice a domain with HTTPS at the start as opposed to the typical HTTP (htttps://domain.com vs http://domain.com). It’s important to seek the assistance of a professional when making this switch. They will install the certificate properly and ensure that all redirects and 404 pages have been dealt with properly.

Google plans to boost rankings to any website with an SSL certificate, regardless if they collect personal information. That means even if your website doesn’t collect information for online payments, logins, or any other personal information you will still benefit from having the Certification on your website.

The goal is to make the Internet more secure for everyone. What better way to encourage people to spend the money and time to make a switch to SSL Certification than offering an SEO boost.

In order to implement SSL Certification, you will need to work with your web hosting company or your Markham website vendor. There will typically be both a setup fee and an annual subscription fee. The cost will prove to be worthwhile over time and will open the door to more data collection options on your website. Technically speaking, many smaller websites do not actually need the extra security that comes with an SSL Certificate, but installing one may be the difference between appearing at the top of search or falling to the bottom.

With the increase in websites moving towards SSL Certification, more and more average Internet users will begin to understand the importance of online security. Adding an SSL Certificate will tell your users that you care about their information, not having one may make your website appear less professional. Research shows that people feel more confident using a website with a security seal anywhere on the website. A trusted SSL Certification vendor will provide a security seal graphic which many people choose to place in the footer of their site and on any page where people are asked to enter personal information.

In the near future, Google Chrome users will begin seeing an ‘x’ beside search results Google deems to be unsafe. It’s very likely that websites without an SSL Certification will receive a failing ‘x’. This update to Chrome is expected to begin happening in January 2017.

WordPress, one the most commonly used website building platforms recently announced that they too will be encouraging their users to install SSL Certificates. Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress recently announced that upcoming builds of the popular software package will require an SSL certificate.

There are various SSL security options on the market, each offers different security and installation options. You will want to find a certificate that provides a full verification of identity, this shows Google that you securing your customer information properly.

Like many updates to Google, this shift towards a more secure Internet will likely happen in multiple steps. The transition from HTTP to HTTPS is happening and Google wants to accelerate this movement  by rewarding websites with SSL Certification. Many high ranking websites have already made this shift to better security.

It’s clear that moving towards better online security will be a focus for many website owners in 2017. Want to learn more about how to rank better on Google and provide better security for your customers with an SSL Certificate? We’d love to help, please feel free to contact us and we’ll find an SSL solution that works for your business needs and budget for both today and tomorrow.