Adapting to the 2017 SEO World

It’s a new year and it’s time to reassess the ever changing world of of SEO in the eyes of Google. Google is smart and how to get your website ranked above others takes a lot of thought and expertise. Here are a few things to consider. Name of the site should not be in the meta title tags. It is a waste of character space. Both the name of the site and the title tag are essential in SEO, but they should be treated separately. Google is smart enough, generally, to have you rank for your domain name/ website name. It does not need the title tag reminder. Therefore, use the little space you have to hit the descriptive keywords you want to rank for. Keep it short. As a good rule of thumb, a title tag should be 55 characters or less. Google actually uses pixel space not characters. So when it comes to letters, an “m” will require more pixels than an “i” and capital letters use a lot of pixel space, so use them sparingly. On your homepage, make sure that any text is actually text and not an image. A search engine is going to look at a homepage differently than a person. Although we want it to be visually appealing, images don’t give as much for the web crawlers to attach to. So, any keywords that you have on your website, make sure they aren’t locked in an image, but are actual text. This includes for sliders! HTML5 allows for a lot of easy ways to beautifully layer text above an image. The higher up text is on the homepage the more important Google will see it. Above the fold is the first thing your user will read, and Google bot knows it. Google will assume that the higher up a page the text is and the more prominent, the more important it is. Which leads us to… Small text is actually not counted as much Small, or hidden, text is not engaging or meant for humans. Therefore, Google bot will assume if the text is really tiny or a similar color as the background that it is keyword stuffing. If a reader can’t see your content very well, then it won’t count for Google either. As the crawlers continue to learn, human behavior will start directly correlating with search rankings. Large blocks of copy, in small text with keywords linked to other pages is considered SEO copy and not counted You have worked hard and are proud of that list of keywords. The right keywords and combination of keywords is no easy feat. Let those keywords work for you, not against you. If you pile them all into one giant paragraph with links to other pages from those keywords, Google is going to see it as trying to game the rankings. Do a featured products section instead or break up the copy into smaller chunks in larger fonts. Content copied from another site is considered duplicate copy (ie. copying an article from NYTimes, or sites copied to multiple domains) All this does is increase your spam score with Google. Don’t just copy articles. If you want people to get the information, summarize the articles and link out or put together a newsletter. Copying the whole article will only damage your credibility as it knows that NY Times is the source not you. Have 301 redirects setup for all versions of the site (www., Http:, Https:, etc.), and not just canonical structures 301 redirects tell Google that the content is definitely to be counted the same, canonical tags are just a suggestion to Google and can be ignored. If they ignore it, each version of your site will be considered duplicate content. On a side note, maybe try out a few 302 redirects too and see which passes page rank the best. There is some disagreement and people have seen results with both. Sliders and carousels are conversion killers In a nutshell, readers do not pay attention to sliders and carousels. They are busy, not reader friendly and the content does nothing for your SEO. People only ever read the first slide, and you want people to take an action. Why confuse the matter with multiple action items? Need help navigating the new world? Schedule a strategy review with Josh.

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