How to Use Google Algorithm Updates to Improve Your Website

How to Use Google Algorithm Updates to Improve Your Website

Content Marketing

Did you know that over the last several years, Google has tweaked its search algorithm thousands of times? While many of these updates were barely noticeable others were major changes in the way Google serves up search results. Google’s engineers like to inject a little humor when creating algorithm names and while Panda and Penguin may sound cute, for those websites whose page ranking suffered because of them, they were anything but cute.

Maybe you’ve never heard of an algorithm and with all the juggling you do every day trying to run your business, do you even have time to understand what one is? The problem is, your website acts as your online storefront and is often the lifeblood of your business. If your page rank nosedives because of an update to the algorithm, new customers are going to have a hard time finding you, costing you business.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to stay ahead and not fall prey to one along with improving user experience.

So, what exactly is an algorithm?

“The formula Google uses to sort through the billions of web pages in order to return the best, most relevant answers to the people using Google to source information.”

Google’s end goal is to provide the most relevant answer to a search query in as little time as possible. With billions of webpages to comb through and more being indexed every day, Google has to continually fine tune its algorithm to provide the best answers as well as adapt to changing technology and device use.

Three of the major updates in the last few years are Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Each addresses a different component of search results.

Penguin targets websites that violate Google Webmaster Guidelines. It penalizes websites that engage in the following:

penguin algorithm

  • Links where the anchor text is overly optimized
  • Paid links
  • Questionable link profiles
  • Low quality backlinks and those coming from poor quality websites
  • Using “Black Hat” SEO tactics in an effort to game search results in order to improve page rank

 

Want to avoid getting hit with a penalty?

  • Have a natural looking link profile
  • Backlinks that share the same niche as your company
  • Use branded, domain and webmaster name anchor text more often
  • Avoid quick schemes to improve page rank.

Panda algorithmPanda’s aim is to weed out spammy websites and bad content from search results. In other words, websites that don’t provide value to the reader. Take a look at your website and notice if you have any of the following on it:

  • An abundance of ads on every page, especially if those ads are slowing page load time
  • Thin content or duplicate content
  • Confusing website navigation
  • Web pages written for search engine robots, not humans
  • Keyword stuffing
  • Your website is more about making money and less about providing useful content

The key takeaway?

  • Have remarkable, relevant content on every page of your website that is written for your visitors
  • Content that visitors will want to share, increasing your website’s influence
  • Non-intrusive ads
  • Easy, logical website navigation

hummingbird algorithmThe Hummingbird algorithm update improves search results and addresses the change in how users perform a search query. As more users access Google on mobile devices, instead of typing a one or two word question, users are speaking them. Hummingbird attempts to make search more human. It uses the context of conversational speech to see how well the content on a web page answers the user’s question and focuses on the meaning behind the keywords entered and not just the keywords themselves.

This is another reason why having useful and relevant content is important. The content on your website should be written in a conversational style according to the language particular to your niche. It should be able to anticipate and answer the questions your user needs help with and at every stage of the purchase process. The content needs to serve your visitors and should make use of long tail keywords to better match your user’s question, not just one keyword.

As the world wide web continues to grow along with the evolution of technology, Google will continue to serve up new updates to its search algorithm. While you may not be an expert at SEO, if you can employ some of these tips it will help keep your website from being penalized. Plus, it will improve the experience your visitors have when visiting your website making them more likely to become customers and help your business profit.

How Can I Get Page One Rank on Google?

How Can I Get Page One Rank on Google?

Have you ever heard or thought “How do I get page one ranking on Google?” Consider this:     Google

  • There are billions of search queries entered into Google’s search box every day and over one hundred billion every month.
  • Google has over 60 trillion pages indexed and is well over 100,000,000 gigabytes.
  • Google has spent over one million computer hours building the index so far.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely can’t count that high!

So how does your website get ranked by Google?

Google Page One Rank

First off, let’s define page rank. Page rank is an algorithm used by Google Search to rank websites in their search engine results. Page rank is a way of measuring the importance of website pages. It works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to estimate how important the website is.  These links are like popularity votes, but not all votes are counted equally. Some links or votes are more “important” than others and therefore have more influence on page rank.
In addition to the number of links, Google looks at the content on each webpage as well as the content on the website linking to it to determine if it’s a good match for the user’s search query. Google combines page rank with continually evolving text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant.

Each website listed is part of Google’s index, which is like a giant reference book. It organizes all the content on the web open-bookand through the use of algorithms and “signals”, it is able to determine what webpages to serve up based on a user’s search query. These signals are like clues and there are currently over 200 signals that Google uses to figure out what webpages to serve up. Here are just a few signals:

  • Page URL and Title
  • Freshness of the website
  • Number of websites linking to it and their authority
  • Quality of web page content

When you look at a page of search results, do you know which one has the top ranking? 
There are two ways a website can rank on a page:

  1. Organic results are the web pages that most closely match the user’s search query based on relevance.
  2. Paid results are advertisements that show up when a user’s keywords match the keywords in an ad.

There can be a top ranking for a paid result as well as a top ranking for an organic search result on the same search results page. The important thing to remember is that no matter whether it’s a paid search result or an organic result, the top results are the ones that are most relevant to what the web user is looking for.

How can I help my website rank well?
While there are many factors that influence page ranking, here are some relatively simple methods you can employ to help your website rank better.

  • The website should be easy to navigate with an easy to understand hierarchy that avoids making the visitor click too many links to find what they are looking for.
  • Each webpage should be designed to be information rich, useful and relevant to what users are looking for.
  • The pages should be written in the natural language of the user and not written for search engines. In other words, keywords and variations of them, should be sprinkled throughout a webpage in a way that makes sense; not crammed into every sentence.
  • Have an accurate title tag and meta description for each webpage.
  • Communicate what makes your website unique and stand out from its competitors.

Having a blog on your website, guest blogging and obtaining relevant backlinks are additional ways to help improve search ranking but they need to be done on a continual basis to have an effect.

Resist the urge to engage in any tricks or believe anyone who promises they can get you “number one ranking on Google.” These are nothing more than tactics used to manipulate search results and can get you penalized by Google – something you want to avoid at all costs.

If there is only one thing you remember, design your company’s website to give visitors the best possible experience so they will want to stay on your website, visit it more often and recommend it to their friends.
Understanding what page rank is and what goes into determining how websites rank is an important first step in achieving better page rank in Google’s search results. Do you need help improving your website? DLJ Creative specializes in communicating your brand to your visitors through the use of engaging content and website design built around your visitors.Contact us to learn more and get a free website evaluation!

E-Commerce: Finding Your Space in a Crowded Field

E-Commerce: Finding Your Space in a Crowded Field

Think about the last purchase you made. Did you drive to your local retailer or did you do your shopping online? From grocery shopping to same day delivery service from Amazon.com, there is almost no limit to what you can purchase online. If you’re a retail store owner who has yet to take the plunge into opening an online store, there are some compelling reasons to do so and it’s not as hard as you might think to get started!

 

 

Shopping online is:

  • Convenient – Shop anytime day or night from the comfort of your own home
  • Cost Effective – Get pricing from multiple stores to get the lowest price
  • Educational – Research product attributes, read reviews and find out what your friends on social media are recommending.
  • Global access – Wide availability of products you might not be able to source locallyecommerce

If you have a brick-and-mortar store, adding an online store will broaden your customer reach and with fewer people shopping at their local retail merchants, it’s a good way to capture lost foot traffic.

If you have a new product you’re going to launch, having an online store avoids the legwork and potential hassle of
finding distributors and sales reps as well as lessening the amount of inventory you’re going to need to carry (something many product developers don’t factor in). It also allows you to start slowly and easily make any adjustments to your product before going “big time”.

What are the key components of a successful online store?

  • It communicates who you are and what your brand stands for
  • It needs to have a clear and easy to follow navigation path. The more clicks a buyer has to make to find what they want, the more likely they are to leave without making a purchase.
  • It needs a homepage that is visually appealing without being overpowering as well as having a clear call to action.
  • It needs to be optimized for all devices – pc, tablet and mobile phone. With more people using their phone to make purchases having a mobile optimized website is vital.
  • Product photos need to be large – image zoom and light box features help show detail. Tiny photos are no good especially on mobile devices. What if you don’t have any photos? Ask your distributor(s) for suitable images. If you don’t have good product photos, consider taking and using your own photos. Just make sure whatever you do, the photos are professional quality and have a consistent look. If you’re not sure of your photography skills, it will be worth it to hire a professional photographer.
  • Use compelling content to describe product attributes – Content needs to entice, clearly describe the product benefit and differentiate it from similar products. Keyword loaded descriptions, are out. Instead, you’ll need to create a story around each product.
  • An easy checkout process – Preferably have a single page checkout process to make purchasing as easy and seamless as possible. Again, the more pages a visitor has to click through, the more likely they are to leave your website without making a purchase.
  • Accept multiple payment options – Besides the major credit cards, consider having PayPal and/or Google Wallet as an option.
  • Easy account sign up – Allow customers to create an account using their social media login details.

Behind the Scenes

While your customer will be concerned with what they see on the front end, the back end is just as important. You’ll need to be able to track inventory. Fortunately many shopping carts providers offer this. Make sure your inventory count is accurate from the get go. Otherwise you could be caught short stock and lose sales.

It goes without saying, inventory management from an order standpoint is key. You have to know how often and when you’ll have to replenish inventory along with the ideal amount to have on hand. This helps to insure that not only do you not run out of inventory, but that you’re not carrying (and paying for) too much.

Decide what shipping options you’ll offer. Will you use UPS, USPS, FedEx, free shipping, flat rate shipping? You should research the costs of each option before deciding. If you’re going to offer free shipping, where will you make up that cost? Many shopping cart providers have shipping and order management included but you’ll still need to know what percentage will be borne by the customer and/or your business.

Customer Service – As the online shopping place gets more crowded and competitive, having excellent customer service is one way to distinguish your store from its competitors. Even if you’re the sole employee, you need to be available. Customers should be easily able to find contact information on your website. You can have a virtual toll-free number that forwards to your office or mobile phone number and it’s less expensive than adding a toll-free number through your local carrier.

Consider offering live chat on your website. There are many live chat solutions and with mobile apps, you can manage your live chat conversations from anywhere.  In a study conducted by Bold Chat, in 2012, the majority of a group of 2,000 U.S. and U.K. shoppers viewed live chat positively and over 90 percent of those chats had a favorable outcome. Also from that year, more than 65 percent of online shoppers used live chat, a number up from roughly 50 percent just two years prior. The addition of Live Chat can help improve conversions and provide a solid ROI for your business.

Even if you’re a small company, it’s possible to run a successful online store. While the marketplace is very competitive, if you establish your own niche and are laser focused on who your customer is, you can achieve success. The beauty of being a small business is you can make product adjustments much easier than the big online merchants and no one will know how small you really are unless you tell them; you’re like the Wizard of Oz! One person, really can influence a lot of people.

 

 

Thinking of opening an online store? DLJ Creative can help you get started. As a small business we have the ability to see things from your perspective and can tailor a complete e-commerce package no matter what your company size is. Our passion is your success. Contact us today at hello@dljcreative.com.