Yahoo! beats Google in US traffic?

So according to comscore Yahoo! beat out Google as a top destination for US traffic. Their recent acquisition of Tumblr didn’t assist in this. This event is pretty surprising – what does it mean for SEOs and website owners?

#1 Don’t focus just on Google – or specifically on any search engines. Make your website technically excellent and your content compelling. We discussed this previously and I’m on the side of the 2nd section in that article – “Good SEO is Universal”.

#2 Things can and do change. Google & Facebook are here now and are very strong – so people spend a lot of time on them, but remember myspace and ask jeeves?

#3 Take advantage of Bing’s website toolset (Bing and Yahoo! currently partner on traffic). Remember that setting up with Google’s tools gives them more information and appears to help get pages indexed? Well, try that with Bing/Yahoo! too.

#4 Advertise on Yahoo! This is a no brainer – take some of your Google PPC budget and bring it over to Yahoo! as an experiment. You may find that there’s less competition for those clicks – could be more efficient.

You’ll also get Bing exposure and coverage on other partner websites.

#5 The figures don’t currently include mobile data. This could swing the results significantly but the point here is to make sure you include all relevant and significant types of visitor and optimise for them accordingly. Mobile is big and is only set to get bigger – so make plans to check your mobile website – is it fast? Is it easy to use? Does it look good? Test this comprehensively.

Get in touch with us for help with SEO, E-commerce websites, Social marketing and more.

Office of National Statistics: Over 7 million adults have never used the Internet

What this means for your website

As discussed in this article by the Daily Mail, over 7 million adults (14%) in the UK have never used the internet – the figure for elderly people is 33%.

This is a problem for those people as the government drives more of its services online and discourages – in some cases strongly – traditional methods of contact.

As a marketer (and a human) this poses you several challenges, areas where you can help. We’re leaving aside offline ways to help for the scope of this article as it’s about what we as marketers, programmers, technologists and UI experts can do to help those taking tentative steps onto the world wide web.

So how can you help?

  • Intuitive UI
  • Basic UI
  • Seamless UX
  • Accessibility considerations
  • Help & FAQ sections
  • Live chat assistance

These are things to think about ideally in the design phase, but if you’re already up and running you can still make significant inroads to a better website for the inexperienced, elderly and disabled.

The great thing about working on all of these is that they benefit ‘regular’ surfers too. Done right it can benefit everyone – therefore improving the experience, increasing traffic & potentially pushing you up the SERPs.

If you need help improving your UI/UX, providing accessibility or any other website concerns drop us a line.

Basic Link building – where to start?

What is link building and why should I do it?

In SEO, a link from another website to yours counts as something of a ‘vote’ for your website. So therefore link building is the process of obtaining more of these votes.

However it’s not all that simple – the quality of the link counts a great deal. Also if the link comes from a ‘trusted’ source that’s a bonus too. So good links can deliver a boost and bad ones can drag you down.

You therefore need to identify high quality, relevant websites to target as link building opportunities. A quick browse can tell you a lot about the quality of a website – furthermore metrics like its domain authority and its overall link profile will help too. NB: Domain authority is a logarithmic score out of 100 for the likelihood of that domain ranking well for given content – so high DA and content relevant to your website are good indicators of a quality link opportunity.

The trust rating is an interesting one – it’s a human curated list of websites that on the whole are very high quality, extremely low in spammy content and use best practise when it comes to linking. Think of .gov, .edu, .ac.uk types of domains – high quality, official websites and mostly restricted access to getting these domains. It’s pretty easy to register under most TLDs (top-level domains – like .com), but not just anyone can grab a .gov!

Identifying link opportunities

The question of how to identify quality link opportunities can vary between different niches, so we recommend starting a spreadsheet and doing some research. Who are key thought influencers in your field? Who writes about your subject – i.e. who are the top bloggers? Get some names/websites written down and then move on.

Next it’s time to look at the competition. Who is linking to them? These people could be great link opportunities for you too. Run a back link report using your favourite tool – limited features/usage are available for free on things like the open site explorer. Go to the ‘Inbound links’ tab and set it to show ‘all’ links from ‘only external’ pages to ‘pages on this root domain’ – you can then click ‘domain authority’ on the results to sort by this column.

This will give you an idea of the variety of linking domains – that’s another important part of building a good link profile. Say you get one link from bbc.co.uk, that’s great as it has a domain authority of 100. Instead of pursuing another bbc.co.uk link it would be better if you went after another high domain authority link – like getting listed in dmoz.org.

Making contact

You’ve got a vested interest in getting these links, but if that’s overly clear in your approach you likely won’t get very far. Make contacting a natural part of your community participation – ask questions, comment on articles – generally join in. Build that rapport and then ask for a link. Yes that’s harder, but it’s also way more effective.

Keeping tracking

Get back to that spreadsheet! You need to list who you’re building these relationships with and once you’ve gotten these links you could do with noting them down (maybe save yourself some time and use an SEO tool? Well, it’s up to you, if you love your spreadsheet that much, go ahead and do it manually…. You odd person!)

 

So in conclusion – quality links from relevant, high quality sites, build your community, track everything and there you go – you’re link building like a pro! For help with everything SEO – including link building get in touch!

 

 

Top 5 WordPress Plugins

WordPress is a great piece of software and if, after our last post, you opted for WordPress.org you’ve a whole world of quality – and not so quality – plugins at your fingertips. Some cost money, but a lot are free. So here is our run down of 5 of our favourites:

All in one SEO

This is a cracking WordPress plugin. Any website I make with WordPress gets this plugin instantly. If I had to only install one plugin it would be this. Enough hyperbole, what’s so great about it? Quick and easy control over things like page titles and meta-descriptions is very handy. Look at your HTML improvements listed in webmaster tools then jump into the appropriate areas in your WordPress admin and make the advised changes. So very easy.

It also makes adding verification codes an absolute doddle – you simply paste the code into the appropriate area on the main menu and it’s done. No fiddling with code, no uploading special files – just copy and paste and verify!

Ultimate Live Chat

I’ve tried a few chat plugins for clients that want customers to be able to contact them, live on the website for assistance and information. Whilst things like Zopim are amazing, they are a bit more ‘enterprise’ level. So if you want a basic chat plugin, at a low one off cost this is the way to go. Private one to one chats with one operator available to multiple customers.

If you’re not available you can become offline and customers clicking for live chat will be prompted to fill in a contact form inside the chat box. You can’t be around 24/7 (probably!) so this is very useful.

Sitemap

I’m not really sure why, but only wordpress.com automatically makes you a sitemap (this would normally be at example.com/sitemap.xml). A sitemap is a key part of SEO strategy, so a plugin to do this would be rather handy indeed. Enter the snappily named ‘BWP GXS’ – making sitemaps is easy again – and they will default again to example.com/sitemap.xml.

Get your sitemap made and get back onto webmaster tools: you need to submit your sitemap; it can help indexation.

InfiniteWP

Are you running multiple WordPress instances? Is the software up to date? What about the plugins? WordPress is a favoured target of spammers and scammers – it’s not that WordPress is inherently insecure; it’s just so popular a CMS that it’s a big target.

Enter InfiniteWP – for free you can add all your clients’ WordPress websites to one server and remotely back them up, before going on to issue upgrades to plugins and the content management software itself.

There’s a wealth of add-ons available, including being able to schedule the backups – so you could grab some Amazon storage and have peace of mind that all your WordPress websites will be routinely backed up to ‘the cloud’.

When initially playing with this plugin we found we were unable to add a website on the same server as the InfiniteWP software. This was no fault of InfiniteWP’s – we set it up on a shared hosting platform and one of the settings blocked the loopback needed for it to effectively check on the same server. Once we moved that website (and InfiniteWP) to a VPS it worked straight away. Just a little tip for you, in case you’re having difficulty backing up a site on the same server as InfiniteWP.

Gravity Forms

If you need to do some magic with contact forms on WordPress you need Gravity Forms. It’s got an easy to use visual editor, supports making order forms, contact forms, multi-stage forms etc. It even supports conditional logic which is great: Say you’ve got an offer on where the customer must fit a certain criteria to qualify – you can easily specify this and have the form act accordingly.

 

Try these plugins – they’re all free, with the exception of the live chat. If you like them donate or consider grabbing some premium features. If you need help with any of this, contact EBS Marketing.