Category: SEO

6 Outdated SEO Tactics to Avoid in the New Year

6 Outdated SEO Tactics to Avoid in the New Year

We’re always harping on about how organic SEO is a changing landscape and that it’s important to keep on top of the latest trends and Google algorithm updates. This hasn’t changed, however it’s important to note that whilst you are adopting new techniques, some practices become outdated by Google and, in some cases, can even be harmful to your rankings if you continue to apply them.

These “old ways” are more common than you would think, and to some people they may even be second nature when setting up a new website. These tactics will have worked a few years ago, but now many of them are just defunct.

With the New Year just around the corner, you may be looking to give your website an SEO audit and overhaul to keep things fresh. Below are 6 of the most common outdated SEO tactics that are still employed all too often, that you should most definitely avoid:

  1. Keyword Stuffing

Most people by now are aware of keyword stuffing and just how bad it is for your organic SEO. It’s one of the oldest tactics and one of the worst these days, involving adding your keywords multiple times in just about any place possible – Meta title, heading tags, alt tags and throughout the whole body of the page.

Keyword stuffing has been outed by search engines for a long time now and they are smart enough to understand when text is unnatural and manipulated. It’s important to remember that you should structure your content to be digestible by humans, not the search engines. Of course there are things to do in order to ‘appease’ Google’s algorithms, but if your information isn’t valuable and useful to human searchers, you’re not going to get very far.

  1. Content Spinning

This involves using software or tools available on the web to take a piece of content and swap out words and restructure sentences in order to make the content ‘unique’. Well, unique is certainly one word for the garbled mess that is usually spat out from these types of tools. This is most definitely a black-hat technique and it’s quite easily found out. Even if the AI behind these types of software is always improving, they still can’t produce the level of quality and engaging content that search engines require.

  1. Link Farms

Buying links has long been a shady technique and it continues to grow despite being so bad for organic SEO. A long time ago it was acceptable practice to buy a high volume of inbound links to give your new domain a quick boost, however, like with all areas of SEO, link profiles require quality and attention to be beneficial.

Google can spot low-quality websites easily, as well as the domains they are linking out to. Get too many low-quality sites sending an abundance of links your way and your rankings will drop dramatically. These days, if you want to gain any benefit from backlinks, you have to put the time and effort into earning them.

  1. Pages for Keyword Variations

This used to be an effective and expected tactic in order to rank for a multitude of similar keywords. However, with the Hummingbird and RankBrain algorithm updates, Google is becoming more and more effective at understanding how variations of the same keywords are all related to the same topic.

By creating dedicated pages for each word variation, you will only be causing keyword-cannibalisation and creating a poor user experience since a lot of your pages will be very similar. It’s far better to now conduct thorough keyword research and populate your page with valuable information that is all relevant to the topic of that page, with keyword variations and semantic phrases used throughout to help that page rank for multiple search terms as opposed to just one per page.

  1. Exact-Match Domains

Including keywords in your URL is important, but only to some extent, and it shouldn’t have a negative impact on user experience. It used to be the ‘done thing’ to purchase a domain that matched your most valuable search term exactly, however this just isn’t effective any more.

The general rule of thumb is to keep your domain consistent with your brand. Offer valuable services and products under a brand name and Google will do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to making your brand visible under relevant search terms.

  1. Poor Quality Content

It used to be possible to rank well using thin, almost-useless content, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. Stealing content, stuffing it with keywords or creating it with a poor structure that is bad for user experience and you’re not going to get anywhere.

Having a high ranking position is a reward for hard work, and that hard work involves research and creating content that is quality, valuable and then distributing it accordingly.

Recovering Your Lost SEO Rankings After a Re-design

Recovering Your Lost SEO Rankings After a Re-design

Establishing you have lost traffic is your first port of call. After that, there are some common issues (such as 404 errors, redirects and other protocol issues) that can be addressed fairly easily in order to get your SEO back on the upturn.

When you are looking to give your website a design refresh, SEO should always be part of your planning process. It’s important to understand that SEO is actually a vital part of web design (if you want to do it correctly) and shouldn’t just be tacked on after a pretty website has been constructed; it should set the very foundations of your build. When the two are done in harmony, you’ll generally retain, or even improve, your traffic and rankings.

However, all too often the SEO-web design relationship doesn’t exist and the ‘new’ website launches. This usually results in a drop in traffic and subsequently a panic around the office. In small businesses in particular, this drop in traffic can have a huge impact on sales and put the business at risk.

Luckily, there are ways to put your traffic and rankings back on track, and usually it is a select few of the ‘usual suspects’ that are to blame for traffic losses. With that being said, let’s take a look at how we can diagnose and recover rankings and traffic flow following a re-design:

Step 1 – Getting Your Information Together

To get started, you will ideally need the following to hand:

  • Google analytics
  • Date of launch
  • Website URL
  • Historic or alternative URLs
  • Historic keyword rankings (optional)

Step 2 – Review and Confirm

Using your Google Search Console and Google Analytics, take a good look into the drop in traffic and try to determine where it began. In this case, it will most likely be the day or week of the redesign. It could be a sudden drop or a slow decrease.

Via Google Analytics, you will want to look at Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. By process of elimination, if you can see a drop in organic traffic whilst the other channels are relatively unaffected, then it’s safe to say that the redesign is the cause of the issues.

Step 3 – Assess Losses

Before attempting to recuperate, it’s important to have an understanding of what has actually been lost in the process. This involves getting a better understanding of the pages and keywords that were the most affected.

Keyword Rankings

If you have historic ranking data available, then running these reports will give you an overview of where positions have been lost. If you don’t have any historic keyword rankings, there are various SEO tools that can provide you with this data. Alternatively having a good sense of what may have been lost, whilst not highly accurate, still give you a good base to start from.

Step 4 – The Usual Issues

As discussed, there are usually a list of the most common SEO issues after a redesign. After determining what’s been lost, it’s much easier to cross reference these to see how we can correct each scenario.

Redirects

It’s easy for redirects to become a bit of a mess, and whether they are missing or just set up incorrectly it is possibly the most common issue we come across. When you are redesigning your website, in an ideal world you will want the following for all of your most important pages:

  • Keep the URLs the same (best scenario)
  • 301 redirect from the old page to the new page

You can run a quick and simple test for this by taking a sample of 10 of the highest traffic-producing pages from the ‘old’ website and try to visit them in your browser. If there is no redirect and you hit a 404 page, then you know this is a part of your problem.

If there is a redirect in place, you will want to check the status codes with a tool (such as ScreamingFrog) to ensure they are 301 redirects and not a 302 temporary redirect.

You will also want to check that the pages being redirected to are correct and not resulting in 404 – you’d be surprised how often this happens.

Missing Content

Ensure that all of your high traffic content from the previous design exists on the new one. If it doesn’t exist, you can’t rank for it. It’s that simple.

Protocol Issues

Moving from http to https or changing subdomains can also have a big impact on your SEO and rankings. You will need to make sure that all of the relevant redirects are in place and you aren’t suffering from mixed-content issues (http content on https URLs).

Technical Issues

Sometimes redesigns can be poorly executed and it may be a case that the optimisation of the new design isn’t the best. This can be crawl issues (having pages too deep), duplicate meta information and indexation issues. You will want to conduct a full technical SEO audit for these to come out in the wash.

 

 

5 Tips For Boosting Your Organic Video Results

5 Tips For Boosting Your Organic Video Results

Video marketing and the popularity of video content continues to grow at a rapid rate across all mediums and platforms. In research conducted by Forbes, video will account for a whopping 80 percent of global consumer internet traffic by 2019, and believe it or not, Video SEO exists and it can make a huge difference on how your brand competes online. When done properly, video is one of the most powerful weapons in the content marketing arsenal and is a fantastic opportunity to capture the attention of your audience, improve your brand engagement and, in an ideal world, increase your sales and leads.

But how can digital marketers make the most of the growing importance of video? We’re here to give you 6 tips for boosting your YouTube and organic video results right now:

1. Assess your current video library and visibility

If you don’t already have your videos categorised, optimised and prioritised, it’s time to do a little housekeeping on your library.

  • Start by analysing your YouTube metrics, your Google Analytics reports and any other video hosting provider stats. You will want to understand which of your videos are actually getting views and which are under performing.
  • Do some keyword research for each topic your videos cover, and identify opportunities to optimise each piece of content accordingly for each topic.
  • Analyse the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and assess which of your videos are displaying for the relevant key phrases
    • Prioritise these videos as high priority on your Video SEO list
    • Optimise these videos further to give yourself the best opportunity for boosting your brand awareness and qualified traffic

We know the above takes time and effort, however it is certainly the most fruitful route to take and allows you to establish baseline metrics that you can continue to improve upon. Here is a basic table of the attributes you want to establish and track going forward:

2. Identify gaps in your video content

Start by assessing popular search queries and comparing these to the keywords your video library currently covers. By doing so, you will identify where there are holes in your library so that you can create new content to bridge these gaps. This will give you beneficial insight into what users are searching for as well as buyer needs. This will also set up your new videos for success, as you will be optimising for popular and searched-for topics.

3. Adding optimised links

It’s actually quite common, believe it or not: videos without any links back to the website. Don’t forget to include links back to relevant information, as it gives users a route to additional info should they require it, rather than forcing them to have to search for it. Just pop a link in to your YouTube video description, and ensure it is clickable – another common mistake is to add a URL without making it a hyperlink, and these are poor for user experience and unlikely to net you any click-throughs!

4. Use video for semantic SEO

You can treat your video optimisation activity as an opportunity to expand your keyword focus. Don’t be afraid to stray away from the keyword map you are focusing on for your website. Instead you can target semantic phrases and variations of keywords for your video descriptions and titles.

5. Embed videos into relevant web content

You may want to first start out by assessing your most-viewed pages and their associated engagement metrics. You may find there are opportunities to embed video into your page to increase the view time and improve the engagement rate. By adding videos, you are enriching the user experience and could potentially spark more conversions. Very text-heavy pages can often be broken up and made more-digestible by adding a relevant video.

Summary

The very first step, as with most good strategies, is to assess and analyse what you currently have in place and understand what’s missing. Incorporate good link structure to drive traffic back to your website, and add video as part of your informational pages to increase engagement metrics.

Video SEO continues to grow as a great way to expand your band and outrank your competitors online.

 

SEO Facts, Figures and Landscape in 2018

SEO Facts, Figures and Landscape in 2018

SEO continues to grow and get more sophisticated by the month, let alone year-in-year-out. Shifts in the industry, such as mobile device focus and voice search continue to change the landscape when compared to previous years and we can only expect those changes to impact more and more in the coming months.

Digital Assistants & Voice Search

The increased popularity of voice search and digital assistants in the past couple of years has entirely changes the way people are searching online. A study carried out by Statista shows that the number of people who are using digital assistants to conduct search is projected to increase from 504 million in 2018 to 1.8 billion by 2021. According to Google, 1 out of 5 searches are a performed as voice queries already!

In order to adapt to this change in the way people search, SEO agencies like ourselves have to research and understand how voice search differs to traditional text queries – natural language, for example, may come into play in voice as opposed to how people use text search. You wouldn’t necessarily ask someone a question in person the same way you look for information on Google, would you?

Voice Search Statistics & Predictions

  • 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, per comScore. (Is it even a post about voice search if you don’t lead with this stat??)
  • About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020, per Gartner.
  •  13% of all households in the United States owned a smart speaker in 2017, per OC&C Strategy Consultants. That number is predicted to rise to 55% by 2022.

SERP Features

Google continues to introduce and roll out new features to its organic SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) in a bid to enhance its user experience. From new rich snippets, knowledge panels and improved business listings, there are more and more opportunities to grab the attention of a searcher. But with those new opportunities also comes a new learning curve for each. Whilst it’s impossible to guarantee yourself a rich snippet, there are ways to optimise accordingly for answering specific queries and therefore give yourself the best chance of landing a ‘position zero’ feature.

According to a test carried out by Stone Temple Consulting, almost 30% of their test search queries yielded featured snippets. We can only expect to see this increase as more and more content creators tailor their experience for answering those most-asked questions. It’s important to keep an eye on what snippets are “up for grabs” as well as who of your competitors may be leapfrogging you in the organic results and snagging one for themselves.

Mobile First Index

Possibly one of the most impactful changes to the SEO landscape, the mobile first index finally addresses what we’ve all known for quite a while – more and more people are using their mobile devices to perform everyday tasks (such as Google searches) than desktop. It makes sense, really; just take a look around and you’ll see just how many people are glued to their phones at any given time. The Mobile First Index will now take your mobile site performance into consideration when dishing out those lucrative ranks, bringing new technologies such as Google’s AMP (accelerated mobile pages) right into the forefront of all SEOs’ minds.

“Link-less” Backlinks

We’ve all had back-links on our minds ever since Google created PageRank all the way back in 1996, and for the most part their fundamental operation hasn’t changed. Until now. Whilst you’ll still get the most effective results from high-quality backlinks, focus has also shifted to brand mentions as an off-page signal of almost equal weight. Search engines such as Google and Bing have evolved to now recognise and associate brands and products with mentions and use those as ranking signals to determine authority and quality.

How many of the above have you already included in your 2018 strategy? As the end of the year quickly approaches, it’s not too late to introduce some of these factors into your campaign and set yourself up for a successful New Year.

SEO & How It Affects Your Bottom Line

SEO & How It Affects Your Bottom Line

It’s not entirely implausible to run a business without having a search engine optimisation strategy in place. However, completely ignoring SEO in 2018 will certainly have an effect on sales, revenue and growing your customer base. You may have already heard the most common objections when it comes to SEO: it takes too long to bear any fruit, it’s an unpredictable form of marketing and Pay Per Click is better. However these are quite the misconceptions! Anyone who is really familiar with SEO knows that it is highly measurable and that it can produce far better value for money than the likes of PPC and social media advertising.

To put it simply, a quality SEO strategy will attract qualified traffic to your site, and more qualified traffic makes for more enquiries and more sales. Putting good content in front of your customers that meets their requirements increases conversion rate. So entirely ignoring SEO as a business will result in missing out on that part of the market. It’s really not rocket science, but lets take a look in a little bit more detail at how dismissing SEO could affect your business revenue…

Pure PPC and no SEO

It’s an age old debate in the online marketing world, but it’s one that is difficult to settle definitively. There are just too many variables in place, and the two forms of advertising are often completely different in their goals.

For example, a website that using organic SEO may be targeting keywords for searchers at different stages of the sales funnel, such as providing educational material or product information. More often than not, a PPC ad will lead users directly to a sales page. Typically, Pay-Per-Click casts a very narrow net, mainly targeting those who are ultimately about to make a purchase. Organic SEO, on the other hand, attempts to broaden the target audience, by way of semantic keywords and phrases, to capture potential customers who may be at the very beginning of their buying process, to those who are at the end.

Whilst we’re talking keywords…

Grab a FREE keyword report. Simply fill out our quick tool below to get your free keyword list relevant to your website & industry as well as the monthly search volumes for each to give you an idea of how big of a piece of pie you could be missing out on. Handy stuff!

Being Unprepared for Google Algorithm Updates

In August of 2018 Google updated its core algorithm. The “Medic” update, as it was called, had a huge impact on traffic for websites particularly in the health and wellness industry. Many businesses claimed that the algorithm change had gone as far as to completely ruin their online business.

Trying to foresee Google algorithm changes and how that is going to affect your rankings is near impossible. However, keeping to SEO best practices and being aware of Google updates in general will certainly mitigate any risk as opposed to not paying any attention whatsoever. Using the Medic update as an example, the majority of websites that were hit the worst were those that were lacking authority, trust and quality content. As part of a good SEO strategy, focus is places on building quality content and building an authoritative, trustworthy source of information, all of which tend to please Google’s algorithms.

Poor Re-Designs and Website Changes

Even in 2018, many businesses opt to appoint a web design agency with very little SEO knowledge to resign their websites. Should SEO Experts Be Involved In Your Website Planning? Absolutely! Unfortunately, what may look pretty, doesn’t often keep Google happy without some serious input from a search engine optimisation specialist. Completely redesigning your website without taking SEO into consideration is just asking to drop from the SERPs, resulting in a loss of online income streams!

Trust and Credibility

There’s no doubt that there is a correlation between organic traffic and online sales, but if you ignore SEO you’re also missing out on a heap of other benefits that come with it. It is quite well known that PPC ads have somewhat of a stigma surrounding them, in that people place more trust and confidence in an organic listing than that of a paid ad. By dominating Google’s search results pages for search phrases relevant to your industry, you are portraying your business as an authority and an expert in the field.

However, if you give SEO a pass and your website hardly appears in organic listings, it may give off a bad impression to potential customers, whether online or not.

To Summarise

Running a business without search engine optimisation is possible, and some business may even be successful with this strategy. However, by ignoring SEO completely, you’re not only restricting the level of income you can generate, but you’re affecting your PR and credibility and leaving the online marketplace open for your competitors to take advantage of. A solid SEO plan will not only mitigate the loss of sales, but raise your digital profile and give your business the best possible chance of being as successful as it can be!

Are you ready to improve that bottom line? Get in touch with us today.

Improving Your Internal Links & Click Depth

Improving Your Internal Links & Click Depth

Internal links are often overlooked in favour of high quality backlink opportunities. However, the links within your website are some of the most important aspects of a site’s architecture, how it is viewed by Google and therefore ultimately has an effect on its search positions. Internal links not only give your website structure, but they show how content and pages are related and transfer equity between important pages similar to that of incoming links. Internal link structure also plays a big part in user experience, by giving visitors a logical way to navigate your website and find information related to their intent. Having a good link building strategy that takes internal hierarchy and page depth into consideration will increase conversions and other good metrics including time-on-page and time-on-site. First things first – lets take a look at the basics of internal link building and the mechanics behind it:

  • The more internal links pointing to a page, the more value it has in Google’s eyes. Similar to how backlinks indicate a high value source of information, internal links give Google a good idea of how important a page is in regard to the other content on your website.
  • The importance of internal links are so obvious that Google now considers that 1,000 links per page is perfectly reasonable. This does, of course, include all links in the header, footer, sidebar and menus.
  • You can help new pages get crawled by linking to and from fresh content

This brings us onto the next step – page depth.  Lets take a look at how you can optimise your  internal linking structure whilst also improving the overall organic SEO of your website by way of optimising crawl depth.

Get a FREE Backlink Analysis

Whilst we’re talking about links; how well do you know your backlink profile? Simply fill out our quick tool below to get your free report that analyses your current backlink profile and advises of any toxic backlinks you may have pointing to your domain!

Reducing Click Depth to Boost Rankings

Click depth – the amount of clicks it takes to get to a required page when starting from the homepage – matters in SEO. Pages that are ‘closer’ to the homepage are seen as more prominent and therefore receive more positive attention from Google. That’s great news for websites that have pages buried deep that aren’t getting anywhere on the search results, as it’s a relatively quick and easy gain:

  • Increase the number of ‘similar pages’, ‘if you like this you may be interested in…’ and ‘recommended pages / products’ on a given page. This not only boosts internal link structure, but may also help bring some of those deeper pages to a much more shallow level.
  • Increase the number of high-level categories listed on the homepage, bringing items within those categories closer to the homepage.
  • Cut down on pagination by increasing the number of items per page but also by the above point. Increasing the number of categories will decrease the number of items per category.

By putting the above points into place, not only are many pages reduced in terms of click depth, but generally the website will be crawled far quicker by Google and therefore indexed much more efficiently. This strategy is often very effective for eCommerce websites, where masses of products and categories can make your website bloated and difficult to crawl. By segmenting products and categories into logical, digestible ‘chunks’, pages will be crawled more efficiently, user experience is improved and you can reap the rewards of a better internal link hierarchy. To put it simply, internal linking and click depth should be taken into consideration in any good organic Search Engine Optimisation campaign.

3 Ideas for Boosting Your SEO Using Links

3 Ideas for Boosting Your SEO Using Links

It is often overlooked, but it’s without a doubt that links are an integral part of Google’s search algorithm. If two sites have equally strong content, the website that doesn’t have any backlinks will never compete successfully against a site that does.

Contextual links are the strongest you can acquire, but they are also the most difficult. These are links that are in the body text and usually surrounded by good content. Links that are positioned in footers or sidebars are generally less potent. Here are 3 tips to acquiring good quality, contextual links:

  1. Content Curators

Content curators scour search engines and social media to find useful content and by connecting with them and offer them quality content, you have a good chance of creating a contextual link embedded in good content. A smart google search relevant to your topic will likely net you a variety of curation websites to visit, where you can contact the authors to build a relationship, offer them constructive advice or point them in the direction of interesting articles they may want to use and potentially receive a link in return.

  1. Infographics

An infographic is a quality and useful resource to share with other websites, blogs and curators that are relevant to your industry. It’s not as easy as it sounds, and 90% of the battle will be creating an appealing infographic and promoting it in the correct way.

  1. Interviews

If you find it difficult to create unique content from scratch, there is certainly no shame in utilising the knowledge of others. Offering expert interviews can be a very powerful way of acquiring good quality links, as interviews are some of the most popular content on the web. Don’t be afraid to reach out to industry experts and ask their thoughts on a particular topic. Once you have created content to surround your interview, more often than not, the expert will likely link to your content from their blogs or websites.

In summary, link building is a powerful way to boost your organic SEO, but it can take a lot of time and effort to generate the quality links that Google respects and acknowledges. Remember, its quality over quantity when it comes to links, and more importantly contextual links within relevant content will always be the most valuable.

 

Mobile First Index, a Refresher

Mobile First Index, a Refresher

The new Mobile First Index continues to roll out and it’s a hot topic in the SEO industry. We’ve talked about it in the past, but now it’s time for a refresher to ensure you’re completely on board for this new Google experience.

In March of 2018, Google rolled out a new mobile first index.

But what does that mean? Well, going forward, Google will rank your website based on the mobile version rather than thee desktop version.

Historically, Google’s indexing and ranking system have always used the desktop version to rank your site, but now since the majority of users are using their mobile devices for browsing the web and making searches, Google will look at the mobile version of your site and use that in search results in order to offer a better mobile experience to its customers.

Each website is now evaluated individually and ranked based on how mobile-friendly it is (among many other factors of course).

If your website doesn’t have a mobile version, you don’t need to particularly worry about the mobile first index. Google will just use the desktop version to rank your site. But you should really consider making your website mobile friendly, as user experience is what Google takes into account most.

Google has previously said that content that’s not deemed mobile-friendly will not rank as well. That still remains the case with the new Mobile First index.

Google have also said, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”

If you have a responsive website, which means one that changes and scales the content accordingly depending on the type and size of device that’s being used, you are certainly heading in the right direction.

However Google has said that it will look at the mobile version of your site even if it has less content than the desktop version. If your mobile version has less content on page A than the desktop version of page A, then Google will probably just see the mobile version with less content.

If your content is the same across devices, there are no guarantees your rankings will remain steady, too. Research has found that 79 percent of keywords return different results across mobile and desktop, which points to the fact that users expect different content depending on their context.

(Also If you’re a Soar client, there’s nothing you need to do because we always use responsive design on our websites!).

As always, keep in mind that Google uses many factors to rank your site, but the mobile-first index shouldn’t be overlooked. Google will send a notification via your Search Console when your site has been switched over to the mobile-first index, so it’s best to keep an eye on this if you want to maintain and grow visibility when it inevitably does arrive for your site.

8 SEO Trends Heating Up In 2018

8 SEO Trends Heating Up In 2018

We already wrote about some SEO Trends to watch in the New Year, but we think it’s about time for a refresher. Here are some of the hottest topics being talked about in SEO so far this year:

Voice Search

We’ve been talking about optimising for voice search for quite some time now, and it’s only going to become more relevant. There’s no doubt about it: voice search will change how we create and optimise content, particularly how it relates to searcher intent.

SSL / HTTPS

Google announced quite some time ago that rankings would be impacted by website security certificates (SSL). Now browsers like Chrome display warnings if a website isn’t HTTPS secured. If you haven’t done so already, it’s important that you take the plunge and install a security certificate on your domain – it’s quite cost effective.

Searcher Intent

It’s obvious that Google continues to improve the way it serves results to its users, particularly in how it aims to serve quality content that is most relevant to the searcher’s query. It’s time that we optimise beyond simple keywords and traditional ranking factors to understand the types of content the search engines deem relevant for priority terms.

Video SEO

A study done by Cisco last year predicted that by 2021, video will account for over 82% of all consumer internet traffic. Not to mention, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, with no signs of slowing down! Optimising video content is still a work in progress, but a powerful tool nonetheless.

You also have options other than YouTube. You can simply embed videos directly on your site and increase your ‘time on page’ metrics – yet another reason for Google to rank your site higher.

Snippets

Google continues to test and roll out new SERP features, including schema and “rank zero” snippet results, answer boxes and much more. There has never been more canvas to aim for!

Site Speed

Yes, we’re going to talk about site speed again. Google has officially announced site speed as a ranking factor and is only becoming more and more important for mobile with the introduction of the mobile first index.

Local SEO

For business owners, Position 0 is the most convenient place to be in search results. Featured snippets are like billboards: big letters, bright logo, address and phone number, a couple reviews as a bonus – all covering a large chunk of the screen and shamelessly in your face. Absolutely worth fighting for, too.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

In 2015, Google launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, and it’s been a great help for webmasters who want to speed their sites up. If your site has pages that function without code that’s excessive by AMP standards, consider using AMP. Once more, this coincides with Google’s heavy focus on improving their mobile experience and introducing the mobile first index.

What’s happening to .EU domains after Brexit?

What’s happening to .EU domains after Brexit?

You’d have to be living in a cave if you haven’t seen Brexit invading headlines for quite some time now. Apparently, it will be impacting the web in surprising new ways too!

In an official statement, the European Commission announced it will be cancelling all circa 300,000 domains under the .eu top-level domain that have a UK registrant, following Britain’s eventual withdrawal from the EU.

“As of the withdrawal date, undertakings and organizations that are established in the United Kingdom but not in the EU and natural persons who reside in the United Kingdom will no longer be eligible to register .eu domain names,” the document states or if they are .eu registrants, to renew .eu domain names registered before the withdrawal date.”

This obviously will have some very serious implications for companies in the UK who have been building their brand on .eu domains.

It also surprisingly goes against internet norms, which usually permits grandfathering of domains. For example, the .SU domain (Soviet Union) still exists, even though the region itself ceased to exist all the way back in 1991.

The EU does have the right to do whatever it wants with the .EU domain, and the original, 2006 rules clearly outline that it’s only available to those with EU residence, which soon enough will not apply to those in the United Kingdom – According to the registration rules for .EU domains, these domains are reserved for European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, and once the United Kingdom is out of European Union, all the persons and businesses can lose access to these domains.

Under the current policies, an individual or organisation needs to have an address in the EU and a couple of neighbouring countries to qualify for registration:

(i) an undertaking having its registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or

(ii) an organisation established within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein without prejudice to the application of national law, or

(iii) a natural person resident within the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

The document from the European Union states that the United Kingdom submitted on 29 March 2017 the notification of its intention to withdraw from the Union pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. This means that, unless a ratified withdrawal agreement establishes another date, all Union primary and secondary law will cease to apply to the United Kingdom from 30 March 2019, 00:00h (CET).

According to a quarterly report from EURid, the organization that manages .eu domains, there were 317,286 .eu domains registered by UK citizens at the end of last year (Q4 2017).

Brexit is currently scheduled for March 30th, 2019, so if you are currently utilising a .eu domain and are keen to avoid any losses you may want to consider setting up a new domain name now and putting all necessary SEO and marketing foundations in place.

From an SEO perspective, having 301 redirects from one URL to another URL indefinitely is best, but if that is impossible, the longer you have 301 redirects in place, the better off you are with Google, and other search engines.