Are you still wondering why everyone is talking about Hummingbird suddenly? Read on and these links will answer all your questions.
What is Hummingbird?
Hummingbird is the name of Google’s new search algorithm. Google claims it will provide better search results. Hummingbird is one of the biggest updates ever to how Google interprets user’s search queries and how it evaluates indexed webpages for a better match. Search Engine Land has a nice FAQ post that will give you more details. If you prefer a more visual approach, try this infographic.
Why is this important?
Wired has a good explanation on the impact and importance of Hummingbird, and to give you a glimpse:
“The biggest improvements involve longer search queries. Rather than just examining each individual word in a search, Google is now examining the searcher’s query as a whole and processing the meaning behind it.”
What will be the impact of Hummingbird on my site’s SEO?
Exact details are yet unclear and Google likes to keep people guessing when it comes to search algorithams. But Don Dodds has given a good summary of what is known as of now.
“Site owners that rely on the provision of high-quality content, that steer clear of black hat techniques, and that look to build multiple traffic streams using a universal marketing approach are those that will enjoy better long term results.”
Not much has really changed if you are a small business and are relying on good content, social referrals and customer feedback. HubSpot summarizes important factors nicely in their post.
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It’s bad news.
The day many SEO professionals hoped would never come, but feared eventually would, apparently has arrived today. It appears that Google has cut off keyword data altogether.
Nearly two years after making one of the biggest changes to secure search that resulted in a steady rise in “(not provided)” data, Google has switched all searches over to encrypted searches using HTTPS. This means no more keyword data will be passed to site owners.
What does this mean? Search Engine Land explains:
When searches are encrypted, search terms that are normally passed along to publishers after someone clicks on their links at Google get withheld. In Google Analytics, the actual term is replaced with a “Not Provided” notation.
Why does this matter? Search terms are a great measure of user intent, and we won’t have that anymore. We’ll still see how many visits we’re getting through Google search, but not what those visitors were searching for. So it’s going to be difficult, to put it mildly, to optimize your pages for search if you don’t know what terms you’re ranking for. We’ll all be left shooting in the dark.
So what do we do? Ruud Hein explains five ways to get around this, including keyword data from other search engines and using Google Webmaster Tools.
Edited to add this excellent post that went up after I published this: Neil Patel explains how this move by Google might actually make you a better marketer. He also provides some great tips for managing the change.
Ultimately, none of these other tools will make up for the visibility we’re losing with this change, but we’ve got to work with what we have. The silver lining I see is maybe we’ll stop obsessing over keyword rankings and search results and algorithm changes and focus instead on delivering the best content for our audience.
Brian Dean, as he says himself, is “living the dream”: his SEO expertise enables him to “work as a digital nomad and travel in countries like Thailand, Japan, Spain, and Turkey” (and currently, Germany). He is also a popular blogger: his SEO blog, Backlinko, has fantastic resources and advice about SEO.
We ask him about how he got to where he is, and get him to share tips about SEO and blogging.
My questions and comments are italicized.
1. Your profile is intriguing: tell us how you got here. You make the shift from freelance writer to SEO sound so easy: was it actually as easy as that?
One industry that I think is fertile ground for marketing content is Bed and Breakfast inns. These inns provide a more picturesque, intimate experience than bigger hotels, and as far as I know, most of them seem to be run by the owners. So it seems to make perfect sense that innkeepers would blog about their inns. But do they?
I searched for [bed and breakfast blog] on Google.
What surprised me is that most of these blogs haven’t been updated recently. If you look at this screenshot, one of these blogs was last updated in April! The blog with the most recent post (not in the screenshot) was on August 24.
I changed the search to pages updated in the last week, and got a wholly different set of results. Even so, one blog listed in the first page was updated 2 days ago; everything else was between 5-7 days.
The Blue Door on Baltimore, for example, has a charming blog with photos and behind-the-scenes info about the running of the inn, as well as tips on what to do in Baltimore. But the blog hasn’t been updated for over a year: there were three posts in the first week of June 2012, and nothing since. Is the inn still running?
Facebook just rolled out embedded posts to everyone, so now you can embed Facebook posts in your blog post or web page.
Why embed a post instead of posting a screenshot? Because all the links and other information in the post remain intact. Your website visitor can click on the links in the post to go to the post on Facebook or to your Facebook page.
Go to any Facebook post, or scroll down in your Timeline to find one. Click on the little arrow on the top right of your post. The last item on the dropdown menu should be “Embed Post”.
Likes and retweets are all very well, but what you really want is conversions: someone signing up to your newsletter, filling up your lead form, or buying your product. This week, let’s work on improving conversions.
First, are you tracking conversions on your website? You can do this easily by setting up goals in Google Analytics.
Neil Patel offers copywriting tips that will increase your conversions. The first few are great copywriting tips for any piece of writing: focus on benefits (i.e., the reader, not you), format your text, use images, and so on. But there are some less obvious tips in there too.
The Leaky Bathtub offers an easy way to get your prospects to take action: treat them like dogs. What does this mean? Tell your prospects what you want them to do, not what you want them to not do.
Search Engine Land explains how to optimize all your pages, not just your “landing pages.”
The Visual Website Optimizer blog explains five conversion best practices.
Now let’s get to work! Use some of these tips to improve your website’s conversions and get more money pouring in.
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Since last week was Small Business Week in the U.S., we’ve been tweeting about marketing for small businesses all week. Here are a few of the links that are useful all year-round.
On Small Business Trends, 5 reasons why signs work for your small business.
But if you’re thinking you only need signs, think again: Search Engine Journal explains why offline businesses need online marketing.
According to the BIA/Kelsey report, 97% of consumers use online media before making local purchases. Google Research showed that 9 out of 10 internet searches resulted in a follow up action, such as calling or visiting the business. Mobile searches triggered an additional action or conversion 73% of the time; and 28% of mobile searches resulted in a store visit or purchase.
Your Website Performance table on Markitty is a quick snapshot of your website over the current month and the previous three months. It gives you a quick look at how your website data is trending, answering questions such as:
- Are visits increasing but unique visitors decreasing? (Do you need to reach out to more new visitors? Are your visitors becoming more loyal?)
- Are visits decreasing but page views going up? (Are your visitors more engaged with your website?)
- Is average visit duration increasing over time? (It should!)
- Is your bounce rate going down?
In our interview series, we asked marketers and entrepreneurs we admire about their marketing practices. One question I asked most people was about metrics: what metrics do they measure or think are most important for small businesses should measure?
If your website is also your product (content sites like Ask A Manager and YourStory, product startups like AppSurfer, e-commerce sites), website metrics are of paramount importance.
The AppSurfer team tracks website metrics regularly, especially engagement-related metrics: pages per visit, bounce rate, etc.
We met Jubin Mehta of YourStory recently, and he told us that YourStory focuses on the number of unique visitors — not total visits or page views, but the number of readers.
A call-to-action at the right time can make all the difference. Pop-ups are a great way to catch user’s attention but an intrusive pop-up can put off your users. Scroll Triggered Box is an ideal solution for this problem.
What do you know about your website visitors? Earlier, we looked at site traffic and engagement metrics on Google Analytics, and at how your visitors get to your site. Now let’s look at your visitors and what we can find out about them.
The Audience Overview report is what shows up first when you open Google Analytics. So you can scroll down and click to view the detailed report of language and locations of your visitors, or you can click on the left sidebar on Audience > Demographics > Language (or Location).
Yesterday Google officially launched its new tool, AdWords Keyword Planner, to help create better AdWords campaigns. Keyword Planner will replace our favorite Google Keyword Tool and AdWords Traffic Estimator.
You should learn to use this tool even if you never used Keyword Tool or Traffic Estimator and do not plan to use Google ads. Understanding search terms is important because that tells you what words your potential customers use to describe yours and similar businesses so that you can tweak your marketing and sales content accordingly.
Last week, we looked at basic site traffic and engagement metrics on Google Analytics, such as visits, page views, time on site, bounce rate, etc. We also looked at how to look at the performance of individual pages on your site.
This week, let’s take a look at a few other metrics that you should be looking at regularly. (Haven’t set up Google Analytics yet? Here’s how.)
From where are people coming to your site? The Sources report answers this question. Click on Traffic Sources on the sidebar to see your options.
We have been talking a lot about Google Analytics lately. Do you know of the new Google Analytics reports that show trackbacks and links from social media more explicitly? You should, so read this week’s links for details.
But first, how do you get to these reports? On your Google Analytics sidebar on the left, go to Traffic Sources, and then Social. You’ll see the links for Data Hub Activity and Trackbacks.
Here’s a screenshot of our Trackbacks report. It shows us who linked to our site recently.
If you have a website for your business, you must track visitors to your website and what they are doing. There are a number of tools available for tracking this, and the most popular and one of the most useful is Google Analytics. (Here’s how to set up Google Analytics if you haven’t yet.)
In these two posts, I’ll explain some important metrics you should be looking at in your Google Analytics data (or any other website tracking tool you are using).
The first thing to do, after you have logged into your Google Analytics account and selected the website you want to view data for, is to adjust the date range to your liking. The date range you select at the top applies to all the graphs and tables inside Google Analytics. I usually set it to current month or current week. You can change this any time you want, so feel free to try out different options. Click on compare to get all data for the previous period as well.
Now let’s get started.
Visits: Total Visits, Unique Visitors, Page Views, Pages per Visit, Time per Visit, Bounce Rate
Do you know how many people are visiting your site and where they are coming from? Do you know how much time they are spending on your site and what content they are looking at?
It’s easy to get answers to these questions, and as a business-owner you are missing out on very valuable information if you aren’t looking at this regularly. Google Analytics is a free (and most widely-used) tool that you can use to track visitor and usage information for your website or mobile application.
On April 20th, we conducted the third and the last session of our marketing workshop for start-ups and small businesses in Pune.
We talked about how to interpret online marketing results and make better business decisions by understanding the impact of various marketing activities on your data. Looking at a single metric like site visits or Facebook likes could lead you to make wrong inferences, which we demonstrated with a small case study.
Here is the presentation from the workshop for those who could not attend.
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I’m going to show you some useful Markitty graphs, stats, and features, and explain why we put them in and how you can use them. For the very first in this series, I’ve picked this graph displaying data from Google Analytics.
As the graph title says, this line graph shows you the total visits to your website, the number of visits that were referred by other sites, and the number of visits referred by social sites. You get all of these for the last three weeks (if you signed up with Markitty over three weeks ago).
Why did we put this graph together?
Today, we’re going to talk about your website and SEO and all that fun stuff (that makes you want to pull your hair out if you — like me — aren’t much of a techie). This is going to be rough, so fasten your seatbelts!
First: improve your website. This article has 16 tips you can start with. Is 16 too many? Here are the five things you absolutely should have in your website.
Second: are you using meta tags correctly? Do you have good descriptive tags for your content, that will help users understand what your site is about (and hopefully, push you higher up search results as well)?
If you blog, claim your authorship on Google. I don’t hang out much on Google Plus, but this is one reason why you should absolutely be using it if you’re a blogger.
If you need to move your domain, here’s how to go about it. As you know, we moved a month ago from BetterMarketing.in to Markitty.com. In this post on Search Engine People, I explain every step of how we did it with minimal impact to our site or search results.
And lastly, if you’re also using WordPress, avoid these five mistakes.